How to Build a Valuable List of Subscribers

When you are focused on building relationships rather than just selling, you may find that your subscribers and subsequent customers not only buy from you but they come back for more! They are loyal because it is natural if you have really impressed and helped them. This is the beginning of building a business that provides excellent service and keeps people satisfied.

make leads into customers

Creating this dynamic not only has obvious benefits in keeping your customers satisfied and loyal, but it also goes a long way in motivating them to recommend your service or products to other people. This is the ‘wheel’ that keeps going around. With e-mail marketing you can remind them and reinforce with them the fact that they would be wise to consider your business both in their own operations as well as to be confident in recommending you.

Although your emails may seem like the ‘first impression’, you don’t get the opportunity unless you are first driving traffic to the site where they can opt-in to receive the emails. So first you need to get traffic and then to have a welcoming website that is easy to navigate so that they will ‘stick’. They will read what information is available there and they will add their name and email address to opt-in so they can learn more!

The type of traffic you are generating is important. Just random traffic has a very low conversion rate either for subscribers or direct sales. However, if you can get ‘targeted’ traffic by using relevant keywords in your content, you are more likely to get a response. You should employ different strategies to get traffic, and it is a good idea to have a ‘splash’ page that not only invites them to opt-in to your newsletter (be on your list), but then the best strategy with that process is to have the form redirect them to your site after they sign up.

So with this you have a ‘one-two’ punch. You capture the lead for your list and they become prospects, or warm leads, AND you have an opportunity to show them a little more about what your business is about. Even though you hear ‘the money is in the list’ over and over and it is very true, the list has to actually buy something for there to be money involved. That is the object – making a sale. It can be a direct sale or one that comes from building trust over time with your email marketing and promotions.

For example if a website visitor want to download a free e-book, report or video then all they need to do is provide their email address. They get something they want and you get their email address added to your list for future reference!

Besides the regular day-to-day messages you might send to your list, it is very effective to also include periodic ‘broadcasts’ to announce ‘specials’ — for example something that has a time-limit where the cost is less or they get more for the regular cost. Giving something away is also very effective.

Don’t Neglect Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a term widely used on the Internet. Past, present and future, search engines are the most widely used tool used by everyone from layman to professionals to navigate the Internet. Search engines are an almost instant oracle to find the sites and information necessary to conduct business or even pleasure. They are an incredible, endless source of information on just about everything and anything.

seo

Everyone can probably agree that usually only the top ten search results on the first page are used. That is why it is so important for a link to be on that first page; of course ‘ranking’ statistics are also very important in the world of competition. There is a higher ratio of probability in your link being clicked on when you rank high – again because of the position in the results. This of course will generate more traffic for your site, and hopefully the more business that is created from that traffic.

Herein lies the rub: You don’t just sit there at the top of the game enjoying your superior vantage point. You must almost constantly ‘fight’ to stay there. One way is to keep your content ‘fresh’. New content will get your site re-indexed so that when they shuffle the pack you will still come out on that coveted first page. If you don’t, some other site who does, will likely take your spot and you will be pushed down lower in the pages.

The closer you can come to using highly keyword focused content, all the better. With search engine optimization you get the benefit of generating a high traffic volume that is also ‘targeted’ to your product or service. Consider percentages because not all clicks will necessarily result in a sale. So if you get a decent number of clicks (traffic) there is more likelihood that you will generate more sales. Slow traffic, lower response rate.

Search engine optimization does require a bit of research and work to be used effectively. The research can be pretty simple thanks to the tools provided by the search engines like Google themselves. You can start with a list of words that are relevant to your business and then find out various statistics about them even including what your competition is doing. The purpose of this would be to find ways of using the same words in a way that is not as competitive. This would ramp up your chances of being ranked for that same word put in a different way or combined with other words.

There are also a number of sites that offer very good information to help you learn how to use search engine optimization the most effectively. One important consideration to remember is that the rules are always changing. So as with any industry you are working in, you need to stay current with what is happening.

The one thing that never changes however is ‘content is king’. As long as you are making a sincere effort to add value by the information that you post on your website or blog and not using any gimmicks to try to fool them, at least you won’t harm your chances of staying on their good side so they will work for you.

Blogging to Promote Your Business

Blogging should not be overlooked as a very productive and free way to communicate with consumers about your product or service. You can take charge of this yourself if you are a one-person home business. That means if you need to save money, you can post a blog yourself with just a little bit of creativity. Actually if you can talk you can write. If you can write then you know how to blog. It is work-intensive as far as it might take you 15 minutes to 30 minutes to produce a document that is interesting.

keep on blogging

If you have some money to work with and you really have an issue with writing, there are a number of things you can do to produce a blog. You can pay a ghostwriter to create short articles (usually one page or about 350-400 words). You should insist on ‘one-of-a-kind’ or ‘unique’ articles that have not been duplicated or scraped from anywhere. If this is not stipulated, then plan on doing your own ‘spinning’ to make them unique.

You can get writers with various levels of expertise that will charge you correspondingly. That is you can go ‘el-cheapo’ at $5 or less and get articles by a writer who does not speak English as their first language. The articles will likely have frequent grammatical errors as well as some spelling errors, but you can take a little time and clean them up if you need to save money.

For $10 or so you can get someone who has a better command of the language and will be more conscientious. The articles will not only need less work but they will be far more interesting in that the writer is able to express their ideas better. You can often get volume discounts either way, for example $10 each or 5 for $40 (one free) etc.

There are also various gimmicks where you can save a little money by ‘spinning’ the articles you pay for (or write yourself) so that they are not exact duplicates and then you can use them multiple times. These tools work ok but are really not as good as when you edit them yourself to make them unique. (Or best yet, write them yourself).

An important thing to remember about blogging is that your articles have valuable information and/or at least are interesting. While it is just fine to ‘review’ a product or service and even to post the links to same, just posting blatant advertising is not interesting and not of value to most people. There are many ways you can ‘monetize’ your blog so that you accomplish promoting your business other than to be obnoxious.

Internet Marketing = Intelligent Advertising

There are lots of forms of advertising on and off the Internet. However there is none that is so genius as that which is #1 permanent and #2 free. This refers to several different online mediums. Starting with old school forums, article directories and blogs and including a little more modern videos and social nets. Any of the above can be used absolutely free and the advertisement/link will continue to be displayed there in perpetuity.

work smart

Now that is smart especially when you compare it directly to other advertising which has parameters like number of times displayed or period of time displayed for X number of dollars. When your minutes or exposures are gone along with your dollars you are at square one with no advertising. Especially if there was little or no response, you are feeling burned; but you don’t give up and you pay again or you find another resource and pay them too.

Not saying you should ever not use any technique that shows any promise if you can afford it. However many people can’t afford much in the way of advertising when they are first starting out. In fact the lack of money they may believe precludes them from even attempting to start a business, or at least from any very serious attempt. This is a shame because especially with regard to online advertising, ‘where there is a will there is a way’.

There are various schools of thought on whether you should try a lot of things or stick to a few tried and true things. Of course you would possibly have to try a few things before you found out which things work the best so maybe both situations can be true. The point is no matter how many things you try or for that matter how much money you have you should employ the permanent and free strategies. It just makes sense either way.

Of course you must take into consideration that the free, permanent things usually are more time consuming and labor intensive than that which you just order and pay for. If you have a choice (money) then that would be a reason you would want to go that way – to save time. Time is actually a finite resource like money – we only have so much. So again it seems logical to have a balance between free and paid, time consuming and automatic.

Just as having multiple streams of income is an ingenious idea that helps you cover all the bases, so is using multiple strategies to promote your business. … and it just makes the most sense to do as many things that are permanent as you possibly can.

Online Training – Open Your Mind and Learn All You Can

There is a saying that goes something like ‘the only people who can’t learn are those that think they already know’. This is really sad because this is just the type of person who actually does not know and will probably never know unless they get over themselves. It’s fine to have an agenda and of course we all need some kind of a plan going into anything new. However it must be fairly flexible since we are in unknown territory.

learn something!

We should humble ourselves and possibly condescend to at least see what the training has to offer. If you encounter a few points you may already have heard or even if you have had some previous experience, there is always something more you can learn. Word-for-word you may have heard it before, but at some point you may see it from a completely different perspective. You may realize that there are different, equally valuable ways to look at the same situation, thus increasing your strategies.

A huge number of people will avail themselves to everything that is offered for free, but who have no intention of taking it seriously. For example they just want anything that is free because it is free. This is also really sad because if they followed the directions they may be able to start something where they could really make some money in the future. Maybe because it is free they don’t put any value on it and they just let it vegetate.

In some cases they may have some information that is decades old and/or may be free. In either case, it may be very ineffectual, or limited; but they stick with that rather than to find out what the better, more successful options might be. Again the sad part is they do it because they want so to feel like they know what to do and are in control, rather than to humble themselves to learn something.

Someday they may wonder why they never made any money and more than a few will blame the program or product before they will look at themselves and realize they wasted what may have been a good opportunity because they couldn’t be bothered. Granted the whole idea to a lot of us is to have a home business so that we don’t have to take orders from anybody else or do things someone else’s way.

That is legitimate. However the point is you need to know how to do something before you do it, and the best way to do that is to take advantage of any training or advice given by an expert who has actually had success in the field.

You need to take the ‘recipe’ or ‘blue print’ and you can then build on that to make it your own design. It takes time – experience and some trial and error to develop a business. However you can lessen the errors and the time it takes to get on the right path if you will just let somebody help you get started.

First-Hand Experience is Best – Or Borrow Some

It can be very difficult especially for newbies to articulate something positive about a program or product, because they have not yet had time to experience it fully and to form an opinion. While it is always best if you have your own experience so that you can honestly give your review or describe the various benefits of the product or program, it need not keep you from being able to communicate positively about whatever you are promoting.

tell it like it is

It is one of those endless loop dilemmas where someone might say you can’t do this because you have no experience. But then how do you get the experience? Well, there is a logical answer, here, really! There are no doubt countless reviews, testimonials and other documentation that you can ethically quote until you actually get your own experience.

This is not ‘fake it until you make it’. You are not faking anything – you can be perfectly honest that you are new but that everything you have read while doing your due diligence and since you have become part of the program speaks volumes about the value of the program/product/service. You can even use direct quotes from the principals although you probably should be very careful about giving credits or acknowledgements – you know quote marks and then the person’s name, title, etc. This will protect you from appearing to tell a ‘fib’ as well as copyright infringement.

Most affiliate programs expect you to use whatever they share with you to promote the program and they will even provide ‘swipe’ files, etc along with graphics and images. However whenever you are not sure, it is not that hard to contact support to ask for example ‘Does Joe care if I use his ‘Get it Yesterday’ document on my web site or in my emails?’ Then of course respect whatever they tell you.

With all that said, it is the best situation if you can give a first-hand account of how something works, the features and performance, etc. There is so much to be said for using the programs and products that you are trying to sell. It says more than you know it works, and/or know how it works and can explain. It says you believe in it so much you use it yourself. This is a lot stronger than selling something that you are really not sure of and just parroting all the sales jargon. While everybody might not know the difference, you will and it will show in how much you can emphasize that which you really believe.,

Has this ever happened to you?

Imagine you’re driving.

You’re in a part of town you’ve never been in before in a part of town you’ve never been in before. You don’t see anything you recognize.

You look at the clock. It’s 7:49pm.

You’re supposed to be at the restaurant at 8:00 for your best-friend’s birthday party. Problem is……you’ve got the cake. Everyone is waiting
on you.  And you’ve got a funny feeling that you’re lost. And worse, your phone died and you have no GPS.

You look around. You REALLY don’t recognize anything. Not another soul on the road.

If you can’t find this place, you’ll have to turn around. Go home. Come back an hour late. Make a joke about how you got lost. But you’d rather be on time.  Sitting there with friends. Laughing and having a great time. You squint your eyes and look through the windshield.

A gas station! If you stop and ask for directions, you’ll make it on time!

 It’s exactly the same way in this business of  earning a full-time living on the Internet.

Without directions, you never get there. You go around and around in circles. You get fed up. You start doubting your own ability. Frustrated.
Or you just run out of time. It’s good that you’re taking action. But, without a map…….you end up with the same frustrating experience.

You need a GPS.

And that’s what the perfect business for you is. It’s your navigation system for making money on the Internet.

[+] Imagine being able to work side-by-side with
a millionaire.

[+] Look over his shoulder and see exactly how
he makes his money online

[+] Discover how to create the results you want

[+] Start earning the income you deserve

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Here’s my favorite benefit:

[+] You can actually earn your first income online TODAY.

Where are you heading now?  Where will you be in 6 months?

Get your roadmap here.

Seasonal Work from Home Projects

It seems charmingly ‘old-fashioned’ to give homemade gifts on the holidays. There is so much more ‘soul’ to it somehow versus buying something. If you are someone who enjoys making things then you may also like the idea that you can earn some extra money making gifts from home for the holidays.

give a gift basket

There are many, many ideas that lend themselves to this possibility. You may want to start planning for next year and be all prepared a few months prior to the holidays. You can make, give as gifts and sell various things if you like to bake or cook. For example you can make cookies, candy, cakes, and/or jars of sauces or jam, and package them up attractively in gift baskets.

If you choose food gifts then you may want to include related items that they will keep after the food has been consumed. For example if you had a cookie gift basket you could pack it up with a festive cup and include a few packets of hot chocolate, coffee or tea to go with the cookies. Or you could display your cookies on an attractive holiday plate that they could keep.

If you like to make other things like candles and/or soap, there are many very cute ideas for gift baskets that can include matching scents. This gift is also appreciated as it is a little bit of a luxury that people may not afford themselves and they would love to receive something special like this. Again you can pack your basket with related items such as candle holders, soap dishes, wash cloths, incense, etc.

There are many more ideas depending on how much you like and are good at arts and crafts. Also even if you don’t have a creative bone in your body, you may be able to put together a basket that is completely comprised of ‘already made’ things – for example a writing kit that could include little tablets or note cards, together with some pens and maybe a small book of poetry.

Whatever it is you decide you would enjoy working with, you need to figure on the costs of materials and of course where you will get them. With some of your personal gifts and possibly all the gifts you make to earn money, you would need to figure out how to ship the gifts and this would include safe and secure packaging so that you are not delivering cookie crumbs by the time the gift arrives.

You want to figure your costs and then some profit and come up with a price list that includes shipping charges. It is very simple to start a blog and advertise your gifts especially if you can make some pictures of your baskets. Then of course you need to promote that site so that you will get customers.

Also very simple to use Paypal.com as your payment processor as it is trusted and you can set up the account free to accept most major credit and debit cards. They even have the ready-made payment button you can put in your ‘widgets’ on your blog sidebar.

How to Choose an Affiliate Program

Be sure to get the information you need, either prior to signing up for an affiliate program or during the ‘free trial’ period. You should not be surprised by things after the fact because you are asleep at the wheel. Find out what the compensation program is. Some may seem to be in another language if they have a complex matrix structure. However you need to figure out what the compensation is or isn’t, because you need to understand so you are not surprised.

pick the right one

Don’t be afraid to contact their support if you do not find documentation in the ‘FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) or other instructions. This is the best place to get your information – and that includes versus asking your ‘sponsor’. Your sponsor may be somebody who joined the program the day before you did. They may not really have a full understanding of the program themselves. It is always best to get critical information ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ – the program itself. You want to have documentation.

Understanding the compensation plan of course would start with how much the program costs to participate in – there may be several levels you can join at and most would allow you to progress at your own speed. Find out if you can make any money at the free level and then look at the difference if you were to upgrade. You may wish to spend a short period at the free level until you get your bearings and learn how to generate traffic. Of course it is always going to be better to upgrade if at all possible, so that you can make the most money.

Compensation plan would also include how much the commissions would be if you made a sale. When will they pay you? Will compensation be immediate or next month for the previous month’s activities? What are the options for being paid? Do they pay by a check in the mail? Are there options to be paid online or by direct deposit to your bank?

Make sure you are aware of any minimum amount you would need to be paid. For example you will set up your account to be paid every time it reaches $25 or $50; or you may wish to be paid each time you earn any amount – in this case be sure you understand if there are fees associated with receiving small payments. If you are in a different country than the program you would be receiving payments from and have a different currency, it is probably a good idea to accumulate small payments and then deposit or exchange them as one larger amount to lessen the bank or currency fees, etc.

One very important thing to understand is if the program has situations where you will need to pass up your first or other commission to your sponsor. For some people this is a problem psychologically and for others with more experience they understand that sponsor can be them very soon and as such this is a nice touch. Think about that for a minute. At first you may be skeptical but if you take the time to learn about the company – the principals, how long they have been in business, etc. then maybe you could consider this from a level of trust and decide if you could live with that.

The Evolution of Blogging

The original acronym ‘Blog’ stood for ‘Web Log’ and ‘personal ‘ or ‘documentary ‘ style blogging would suffice to define that genre as they are primarily catalogues of the life experiences of their author. There are many blogs today however that serve other functions. Although there are quite a few ‘artistic’ and ‘creative’ blogs that focus on collecting poetry and other forms of creative writing, the vast majority of personal blogs are in some sense documentaries.

blogging

What has evolved from a ‘documentary’ style, which usually would just mean an objective ‘reporting’ of current events or in some way an honest ‘review’, seems to be a definite movement towards using the blog platform to voice one’s opinions about the various life events that are no longer just ‘chronicled’. They can be scathing reviews! It seems the public loves drama and the more a writer can emphasize what he is saying whether positive or negative, it seems the more attention he will get – which is the whole idea!

There was a time when for Internet marketing, the blog was formatted or designed solely for the delight of search engine robots – oh and a vague nod to a few human readers. Although SEO (search engine optimization) has always preached ‘content is king’ and you have to assume they want readable and enjoyable for humans, the real focus seemed to be on the robots – the back-links, the keywords, various elements that only a robot could appreciate.

So marketing bloggers were instructed to pick meaningful keywords (relevant to their business and content) and build their articles/ blog posts around those themes. This it was/is said will make it easier for the search engines to index the site and know exactly what is there and which search terms would trigger them displaying your link to someone so that you might generate ‘targeted’ traffic. This still seems quite logical if you look at it that way. Particularly if your blog is apart from your business website you might want to stick with these concepts.

However if you had the insight to build your website on a blog platform like WordPress, then it doesn’t really matter what your blog post is about – people and robots are still going to be directed to your domain when you post ‘fresh content’ and it is re-indexing time. Hence there appears to be a trend going back to the documentary or personal journal style of blogging where people are talking about any number of interests that do not include their business. (remember this is ok if you are on the business’ website). Otherwise unless you are trying to grow a following as a writer, commentator or journalist, you probably want to stay focused on why you are blogging in the first place = TRAFFIC for your business.