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What Your Next Step Should Be

Scott Anthony of the Harvard Business Review did a piece on “3 Ways to Prioritize a Long List of Ideas, which you can read here

What Your Next Step Should Be

It’s all about how to choose what it is that you should do next, which product to run with, which decision to make and so forth. Of course it’s written with large companies in mind, but the essence applies just as well to the Online Marketer. For example…

When choosing which product to create next, don’t always trust what people say they will do.

Rather, trust what they do. When I survey my readers to find out what they want to buy next, I also take into consideration that they may not know their own minds.

For example, if you ask someone what they want to eat tomorrow, they’re likely to say they want something healthy like a salad. But when tomorrow comes, more often than not they will order the pizza or pasta instead. It’s not that they weren’t telling you the truth; it’s just that people tend to think about the future in one way and act in the present in a different way. They’re certain tomorrow is the day they buckle down and do their work, or go on a diet, or begin exercising. Today? Let’s watch TV and eat chocolate cake.

So when you survey your customers asking what they want to buy, realize that what they say isn’t necessarily so.

Limit studying and planning. Prioritize action.

If all you’re doing is studying and planning so that you can make the right decision, then you’re not acting. And without action, there can be no reward. As Anthony states, visualize success and then figure out what you need to do to get there. For example, if you visualize your next success as selling a thousand copies of your new training program, figure out what you need to do to make it happen, and then do it. If you get stuck on the planning, you’ll never get anywhere.

Look for ideas and solutions outside of the box.

Whatever your niche of choice might be, don’t confine your explorations and learning to just your niche. Explore other avenues outside of your realm to see how they solve problems and how that might be applicable to your niche. Becoming myopic to your own area of expertise to the exclusion of all others can mean you’re missing out on stellar ideas to increase your bottom line.

Here’s a simple example: Angie has her own line of make-up products targeted to woman over 50 that she sells exclusively online, and she’s been struggling with lead generation. The other day she received her order of vitamins from a well know health company with millions of customers, and it hit her: What if she asked this company to place a postcard promoting her website in every box that contained one or more products designed exclusively for this target market?

Most online marketers would never even think of this – yet it’s an excellent way to get her website in front of her exact target market. And all it will cost her is the printing, since the health company is taking a percentage of sales as her affiliate rather than a flat fee for inserting the postcards.

Sometimes we find ourselves bogged down while trying to decide what to do next or how to do it – when really all we need are simple systems to keep us moving, and our business growing.

Reduce PayPal Shopping Cart Abandonment with A Simple Banner

If you’re using Paypal to take payments, here’s a neat little trick to increase your sales…

PayPal Shopping

When someone adds your product to the shopping cart, it takes them to the Paypal checkout page. The problem is, some people will back out of the purchase at this point. However, what most marketers don’t seem to know is that Paypal allows you to place a banner at the top of this checkout page. Moreover, what you choose to place in this banner can reduce shopping cart abandonment by allaying your customer’s fear.

For example, recently when I purchased a product I saw a banner at the top of the Paypal checkout page that actually asked me to visit another website to sign up for a different product launch! This is obviously NOT the way to use this banner space.

Instead, do what I saw one enterprising entrepreneur do the other day – create a simple banner with a short TESTIMONIAL in it for the product they are about to purchase.

It can be something as brief as:

I Can’t Believe This is Available for Such a Low Price.

– Customer Name

or

ABC Product Saved Me $xxxx in Just The First 3 Months.

– Customer Name

Be sure to use quotes and the person’s full name – and if applicable, their company name. This provides third party validation that the buyer is in fact making a smart decision by purchasing your offer, and thus reduce your Paypal shopping cart abandonment rate.

Of course, this same tip can be applied to any shopping cart or online checkout experience really. Using social proof to re-inforce your buyers confidence just before checkout will boost your sales.

Now just make sure you are giving your customers experiences WORTH writing you glowing reviews and testimonials for and you’ll be all set!

How to Increase Sales on Your Blog

Typically when we want to monetize a blog we simply add some advertising to it, correct? Maybe some adwords, or perhaps banner ads that lead to sales pages that lead to (hopefully) bucketfuls of commissions.

How to Increase Sales on Your Blog

But as you may have discovered, the problem with advertising products this way is that prospects land on the sales page cold. They don’t know any more than what was written in that tiny banner ad, and so they aren’t even close to being warmed up enough to read or watch a sales pitch.

To improve your conversion rate for products sold from your blog, you can always create a page before the sales page. That is, your banner takes them to another page on your blog that introduces them to the product and its many benefits prior to sending them to the sales page. And while there are some “experts” who will tell you that any added step in the sales process is a no-no, the fact is this will usually (if not always) improve your sales by at least a small margin, if not more.

One step better is to forgo the banner ad and instead write a blog post about the product. Your readers are already reading your blog, and the beauty of talking about a product within a blog post is the same as referring to a product in a news story – it slides in under the prospect’s sales radar.

You can bring up a problem you’ve been having that is likely something you have in common with your readers, and then you let them know you’ve found the solution. Don’t make it read like a sales pitch – simply share the best benefits of this product and then offer the link if they want to know more or perhaps enjoy the benefits for themselves.

This can definitely bring in the sales, but there is a drawback: Your sales will increase for a day or two or possibly longer, but as your blog post drops down on your blog, the sales will taper off. And while you will continue to enjoy a sale here or there as new readers find your old post, it’s not a terrific long term strategy for making ongoing sales.

However, if the product you are promoting is your own product AND it’s a GOOD product, there is a solution that frankly kicks cyber-butt and converts like a banshee, and it’s this: Add the Facebook commenting system to your page.

This allows your product users to make comments about your product that show up on your blog. Once you’ve added Facebook commenting, email your existing customers and ask them to stop by your page and leave a testimonial.

Result? As you accumulate testimonials your prospects see this genuine social proof that your offer does what it says, causing them to get excited about your product before they even know what it is. This can mean a HUGE boost in sales for you – and not just now but well into the future as well.

And the allows you to display these comments in multiple places for maximum impact. Having the ability to display genuine feedback from your customers is perhaps the most powerful tool you can have in enticing, exciting and converting prospects into buyers.

Also, did you notice how I smoothly recommended and referred you to the Facebook commenting system in this article? Pretty cool, right?! 😉 That’s the same strategy you can use in your blog posts to recommend other products and services you recommend (and are affiliated with) in some of your future blog posts. In this way, your recommendations will be taken more seriously, and your sales will grow more consistently. Now if only I could get Facebook to pay me for my sincere recommendation.

Tricks to Getting Retweeted

When your tweets get retweeted, a whole new group of followers is exposed to your tweet, and thereby you. The more your tweets are retweeted, the greater number of followers who will get to see them. Why is this important? Because the added exposure can mean you get new followers as well as more clicks to your website.

Retweet

So are there any tricks to getting retweeted? Absolutely, and I’ve picked out some of the best…

1. Write good stuff. Seriously – write tweets that people enjoy, that are interesting or useful or entertaining or helpful. Recall the kinds of things you’ve retweeted – you don’t forward boring stuff, you retweet only the best tweets, and that’s what your followers do as well.

2. Anything about Twitter is retweetable. Think about it – what is the ONE thing every single person on Twitter has in common? Twitter! So when you find an article with Twitter tips, or the latest editorial rant on why Twitter is bad, or great, or the marketing bonanza of all time – go ahead and tweet about it.

3. Breaking news – whether it’s a tornado moving through your backyard or the latest development in your niche – tweet about breaking news as soon as you hear about it.

4. Tweet “How-to’s.” People love tweets that begin with, “How to…” regardless of whether it’s how to make sauerkraut chocolate cake, get more done in less time or hot wire a car. Another phrase that also gets retweeted a lot is “The art of…”

5. Use links in your tweets. Providing a link adds credibility and gives your followers a place to go for more information. Always add a link if it’s pertinent.

6. Tweet about the weird, strange and bizarre. Glow in the dark goldfish and naked graffiti artists will get retweeted non-stop for DAYS, so go ahead and tweet about the weird stuff, because you are NOT the only person who loves being surprised and shocked.

7. Which brings us to the last one – be surprising, be different, be FUN. More than almost anything else, people love to be entertained – so go ahead and get a little crazy, let the kid in you shine through, and transmit that innate sense of pleasure in living life to your followers.

Bottom line: The more you get retweeted, the better. And what’s the number one trick to getting retweeted? Believe it or not, it’s simply ASKING your followers to retweet you.

How to Run a Twitter Poll

Twitter polls are an excellent way to ask for help, get feedback from your followers and further develop your online relationships, and business prospects.

How to Run a Twitter Poll

And they’re super easy to run, as well. Here’s how:

Announce that you’ll be taking a poll or asking a series of poll questions.

Use a descriptive #hashtag after each of your poll questions to thread them together.

Ask questions that are relevant to your tweeting history. For example, if your Twitter profile is all about online marketing, then stick to that rather than asking what they think of politics or global climate change.

Make it fun. Polls don’t always need to be serious. For example, if your niche is marketing, you might ask how they would market square chicken eggs or what is the worst example of marketing they’ve witnessed in the past week.

Thank your participants, ask for clarification if necessary, and let them know what you’ll be doing with their feedback (Creating a new product? Changing your marketing strategy? Writing a new blog post?, etc.)

If you’re writing a blog post based on the results you receive, consider thanking the participants by name in your post. If there are too many to thank, at least create a Twitter list just for this particular poll and then link to the poll from your blog post.

If you’re finding it difficult to interact with your fellow Twitterites, you’ll definitely want to use a few polls to get things jump started. I’ve seen a poll on whether or not people prefer creamy to chunky peanut butter generate huge interest in just minutes. It’s all about engaging people and valuing their opinion – even on something as silly as smooth or lumpy.

Have fun with it, and go out there and learn some more about your Twitter followers! You may just uncover a hidden need that you can develop a product around, or way to improve your growing online business.

How to Use Twitter for Marketing

Twitter can be a powerful marketing tool once you discover how to optimize it for your business needs…

How to Use Twitter for Marketing

Don’t focus on number; focus on quality. Rather than seeing how many thousands of people you can follow in the hopes they will follow you back, focus on finding the highly targeted members who are a good match for what you’re promoting. Read their profiles and follow people who are interested in your niche; whether it’s gardening or race car driving or Internet marketing.

Think of your Twitter followers as you would a mailing list – a thousand highly target people who are truly receptive to your products are worth far more to your business than a 100,000 randomly selected people. That’s why Twitter isn’t about who has the biggest follower count – it’s about making real connections with real people.

Don’t blast links to the exclusion of great content and making real connections. Certainly you want to promote your brand with your latest blog post or product, but you won’t get the results you seek unless you’re also forging connections, developing networks and growing relationships as well.

If you spend too much of your time pushing your products and boosting your own ego, your followers will run for the hills faster than you can say, “Whoops!” Plus, if you’re not interacting with your followers, your followers are forgetting you altogether.

Don’t slave over content. If you’re already producing content elsewhere on the Internet, then Twitter is a breeze. For example, craft 3 or 4 tweets for each blog post that highlight something interesting you covered in your post, and do the same for articles. New product? Pull out some nuggets of information and share it freely with your followers.

Don’t tell your followers what you had for breakfast unless there was something truly interesting about it. Cornflakes or eggs are NOT tweet worthy, fresh alligator is. Some folks on Twitter feel it’s their duty to report every little thing in their lives. Yawn! If you’re on Twitter to market, then leave this mundane stuff out of your tweets.

Do share the latest news in your niche. This is easy – sign up for Google Alerts using terms relevant to your niche to receive the latest news each day, and then write a few tweets from this content. Presto! That took maybe 5 minutes, and you become the informed person people want to follow.

Do offer your Twitter followers sales and coupons. Since the very nature of Twitter is fast response, you can give followers an incentive to follow you by offering them special deals, such as a 50% discount for the next 20 minutes.

Do provide immediate support. Dell Computers has been combining product discounts with customer support and a request for feedback from Twitter users for sometime now – and their efforts have added millions to their bottom line.

Do elicit customer feedback. Ask questions such as, “What’s missing from our latest product?” What’s your toughest challenge?” “What would you like to know concerning how to ____ ?” And so forth. This is a great way to get information on how to improve your current products and what products you should roll out next. Be sure to acknowledge the responses you receive.

Do run contests. People love contests and you can really capture their interest with this. First, make the contests short – no more than an hour in duration. Second, make them fun. You might ask followers to send their best example of a web page with a funny header, or to guess what you did to earn money in junior high, or to write the best headline for toothpaste for elephants. Encourage your followers to retweet your contest and be sure to award prizes to the winners – free copies of an e-product or Amazon coupons work great.

Do retweet. By reposting useful content to your followers, you can build goodwill, increase your followers and get your own content retweeted as well.

Do run polls. You’ll find new people to follow and you’ll collect dynamite tips and insights from your followers. Plus it’s a great opportunity to engage your network and further build your relationships. Not sure how to run a poll? I’ll cover that in tomorrow’s article.

By using these steps you’ll find that Twitter is a great place to build relationships with your customers, find new customers and even enjoy the process of relationship building also.

The Missing “Secret Ingredient” to Online Marketing Success

I want to tell you what it takes to be successful online. But first, let me tell you a story…

Secret Ingredient

Growing up, our neighbor had a bull who was just about the most stubborn thing you’ve ever encountered. If you wanted it to go out to the pasture, it would steadfastly refuse to go and instead would spend the day in the barn. If you wanted it to come in out of the rain, it would stand out there in the pasture until it was soaked through and through, and still it would not come indoors to dry off. And so it went. No matter what you wanted this bull to do, it always seemed resolutely transfixed on taking the opposite course of action.

In Internet marketing, we often wonder why success comes so hard. Perhaps if we learn just one more technique, it will all fall together for us. Perhaps if we buy one more course, one more ebook or attend one more webinar, it will all make sense and money will rain down from the sky. And a month later, and a year later, where do most marketers find themselves? In the exact same place they were before.

Now you might wonder what a stubborn bull and a struggling Internet marketer have in common, and it’s this: Both of them already hold success within themselves. The bull doesn’t need an ebook on how to come in out of the rain anymore than a struggling marketer needs a 20th or 40th ebook on how to make money online.

What the bull and the Internet Marketer both need to be successful is simply a change of mind, or more specifically adopting what we might call a success mindset.

Rather than cursing the journey out to the green pasture when we’re standing in the barn, or the rain when we don’t have sense enough to come inside, we need to merely change our thinking, and by changing our thinking we can change our actions, and thereby our results.

Instead of cursing the gurus for having lists of fellow marketers ready to promote their products to thousands of people, ask yourself how you can get into a position where you have a long list of fellow marketers who love to promote your products. (Stay tuned to my articles and I’ll show you how to do that.)

Instead of getting frustrated that you can’t seem to monetize Twitter, find out what others are doing that’s working and copy and improve upon their methods.

And so it goes. Playing victim is telling yourself that it’s too late to get into the Internet marketing game, that all the great niches are gone, that you’ll never be able to do what others have already accomplished, and so forth. Playing victim is standing out in the rain and refusing to come inside, or standing inside and refusing to head for the green pastures.

Victims don’t make money, they make misery – whereas a success mindset constantly asks how a negative can be turned into a positive, and how a shortfall can be remade into a windfall.

Every time you find yourself reacting negatively to something, correct yourself by seeing it as a challenge rather than a problem or obstacle. Do this enough and you will program yourself for success – after all, you cannot help but be successful if you are constantly taking positive action – and you can only take positive action when you first think the positive thoughts that lead to that action.

Also, learn to think long term. Success isn’t leaping from one idea to the next, never settling on a course of action. Success is found when you choose your path and then stay on that path until you reach your destination. True, the trip may not unfold as you plan, but so long as you keep your eyes on the prize and continue to move forward, you cannot help but succeed.

And you don’t need to invent new markets – rather, you need only find a market that is already profitable and then find ways to improve on what is being offered to that market. Find out what it is that people want, and not only deliver it to them, but go above and beyond in ways that are so extraordinarily helpful and pleasing, your name becomes synonymous with incredible value in that niche.

Forget magic bullets or new fangled programs that proclaim they will change everything for you in the wink of an eye. Instead, choose your niche, create your squeeze page and/or website and/or blog and focus on building your list with quality subscribers and new customers. Forget the gimmick that places thousands people on your list in a week who give you bogus email addresses or couldn’t care less about your niche – it’s a waste of your time and resources. Better to have 50 people on your list who are truly interested in your niche than 500 people who aren’t. And better to have 2 proven buyers in that niche than 50 freebie seekers.

By focusing on finding a system that puts 5 or 10 great leads on your list each day, in short order you will find the method that works for you, day in and day out. And once you’ve got it, it’s a simple matter to ramp it up so that the 5 or 10 become 50 or 100 or more. But it all starts at the beginning, at finding what works to bring in that first truly interested subscriber, and then the second and so forth. There are no shortcuts. True, there are many who will sell you on the idea that you can make your fortune or build your list overnight, but ask yourself this – who prospers when you purchase their product? Always it is them, while you are left with a little less cash and a little less hope.

Let others search for the holy magic grail of traffic that instantly floods their site with traffic. The thing about floods is while they are fast and deep, they’re also messy and short lived. Instead, gradually grow your business on a rock solid foundation that can withstand any storm. Think of grabbing a few hundred or thousand dollars overnight, only to be left with no more income, versus doubling a penny each day for 30 days. Which would you choose? The doubling penny, of course. Yes, it leaves the cupboards bare for the first days and weeks – but then what an embarrassment of riches you receive as it builds and builds into a solid income that arrives day and night, regardless of the economy, trends, quirks in the market, competition and so forth.

And success is not just a matter of mindset, and not just a matter of choosing a path and sticking to it, finding what works and doing more of it – it’s also about developing your skills as a marketer. What if this week you master how to write and submit articles that send traffic and links to your site? Perhaps next week you master setting up a blog and writing a post each day. And perhaps the week after you learn how to make short videos that inform and drive traffic. If each week you pick one new task to master, in less than 3 months you will know more than 95% of marketers out there. You don’t need to master everything, but you do need to master some things – and those things are again determined by the particular business you are building.

And here’s the kicker – when you’ve chosen your path to success and know what it is that you want to accomplish, you can go back to all those many programs you’ve purchased in the past and extract the jewels of information that do fit in with your business. Because now that you know your destination and you have a good idea of how to get there, you’ve also gained the discernment necessary to find just the right information you need to get you there faster.

How to Add Hundreds of Buyers to Your List for Almost Free

This method costs you nothing but time – yet it can add mightily to your bottom line. As you already know, a buyer is worth far, far more than a simple subscriber, and here’s how to get buyers added to your list for free…

How to Add Hundreds of Buyers to Your List for Almost Free

Step 1: Create a short report that solves a key problem. In other words, one problem, one solution. Simple. Now give it a great title. In fact, spend as much time on the title as you did writing the report, because the title has to grab attention and get people to read it cover to cover.

Step 2: Repeat step 1, only with a different problem and solution in the same niche.

Step 3: Set up a squeeze page to offer Report #2 for free in exchange for your prospect’s email address.

Step 4: At the end (and possibly the beginning) of Report #1, write teaser copy to entice them to go to your squeeze page and grab Report #2. If you did a good job of giving great content in Report #1, this should be easy because they’re going to be eager to read more from you.

Step 5: Go to forums and give away Report #1 with Master Resale Rights. This means they can sell the report or give it away with paid products, but they cannot alter the report in any way. This is crucial because you don’t want your link altered or removed.

Step 6: They add your report as a bonus to their paid products, or sell it outright for a nominal fee such as $7. People read it, love it, and go to your squeeze page to give you their email address so they can get more great stuff from you, like Report #2.

That’s it. It’s a system you set up once and forget about, other than periodically checking to see how many new buyers have been added to your list. The beauty of this system is 4-fold…

– It’s fairly easy.

– You only have to set it up once and then you can forget about it.

– You’re building a list of buyers and buyers ONLY.

– You’re building your list on other people’s traffic.

Brilliant!

Are you waiting for the next step?

So many times we don’t want to tackle anything new until we know step by step what we’re going to do and how we ‘re going to do it.

Step by Step

You might call it the paralysis of analysis – instead of taking action we…

…think about how we’ll do it and
…try to work out all the details and
…do more research and
…think about it some more until
…enough time passes that we
…just blow it off and decide we’re going to do something else.

Hopefully you can see why this step-by-step mentality can be a real motivation killer for you. You’ll never know every step it’s going to take to achieve something because you simply don’t know everything that’s going to happen (and not happen) along the way.

Personally, I think all you need are 2 things to get started on any project: You need to know what your end goal is, and you need the first step to take to begin moving towards that goal. Oh yes, and then you need to TAKE that first step. Once step 1 is out of the way, step 2 will reveal itself and so forth.

With this mindset there is nothing to bog you down and nothing to get in the way of taking action and making progress, even if the progress turns out to be discovering a way that does not work. Remember Edison and the light bulb – he discovered hundreds of ways NOT to make a bulb, clearing the way to inventing it.

Dean Hunt has his own take on the step-by-step mindset of knowing every step you’re going to take before you begin the journey. In fact, he has a brilliant 3 letter word for it – but I won’t steal his thunder, so you’ll want to watch his short video to discover what that word is…


What’s your next step? Take it.

How to Write Million Dollar Sales Copy

You’ve just finished writing the sales copy for your new product. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to test your copy BEFORE you actually send prospects to it?

How to Write Million Dollar Sales Copy

Because think about this – if you send a 1,000 people to your sales letter and NOBODY buys, you’ve just wasted all that traffic. And if you spent money to get that traffic, you’re out that investment.

Even if it was free traffic, you’ve still burned your chance to sell them on your product. Odds are, even if you do rewrite the copy, they’re not going to go back a second time and read it again. (Unless you offer some kind of incentive, in which case you might be able to bribe them into taking a second look.)

If only there were a way to know ahead of time whether your copy is good or not… Wait, there is!

Here’s what to do – turn off the phone, sever your Internet connection and refuse to be distracted for the next hour.

Now then, imagine you are the prospect. You are thinking like the prospect, feeling like the prospect, experiencing the same issues, same problems, same questions as you prospect, etc.

Put yourself in their shoes and reread your letter from start to finish. Do not spend time making corrections or anything else – simply read the letter as though you are a prospect considering buying this product.

Finished?

Now rate how well your copy accomplishes the following, assigning a number 1 – 5 to each element.

1 means “Practically non-existent”
2 is “Room for serious improvement”
3 means “Not horrible, but could be better”
4 is “Strong”
And a 5 indicates “You positively NAILED it.”

Ready? Here we go…

Does the headline instantly grab your attention? _____

Does the lead-in compel you to read further? _____

Are the headline and lead-in completely believable? _____

Is the headline and lead-in combo likely to resonate powerfully with a significant number of your prospects? _____

Does the headline and lead-in combo offer powerful benefits? _____

Does the spokesperson establish his/her qualifications beyond doubt? _____

Do the emotions you experience while reading the first few paragraphs compel you to want to read further? _____

Is the prospect given a reason why he or she must read this, and must read this now? _____

Does the copy read like a conversation between two friends? _____

Is it clear that the spokesperson truly has the best interests of the prospect at heart? _____

Are the product’s benefits fully explored? _____

Are the emotional reasons for purchasing fully developed? _____

Does the letter entertain and inform as well as sell? _____

Is the price fully justified? _____

Is the guarantee prominent and does it restate the benefits? _____

Is there a compelling reason why the prospect should immediately make the purchase? _____

Is there a sense of urgency? _____

Do you feel yourself getting more and more excited as you move through the letter? _____

Is the call to action compelling enough that you would feel silly for not ordering immediately? _____

Is the prospect told exactly what to do next, how to order and how s/he will receive their product? _____

If you were a prospect, would you make the purchase? _____

Scoring:

21- 50: Stop right there. Do NOT use this copy until you make significant changes.

51 – 65: Not good, but at least you’ve made a start. Now go back and make the adjustments your letter needs.

66 – 80: Not bad for a draft, but not good enough to use unless you just don’t have the time to fix it, OR your offer is so compelling ($100 cars, for example) that it doesn’t need a strong letter.

81 – 95: Looking good. A little tweaking here and there can still improve your conversions.

96 – 105: Congratulations! Maybe you should be writing copy for a living!

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