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Archive | December, 2018

50,000 Blog Visitors in 30 Days or Less

Can you really get 50,000 visitors to your blog in 30 days or less… and do it without lists, without JV partners, without name recognition and without advertising?

50,000 Blog Visitors in 30 Days or Less

Jane Smarts was a brand new blogger who knew she would have to do something different to get visitors to his brand new blog.

And to put this in perspective in case you’re not a blogger yet, getting 50,000 visitors in your very first month is akin to winning the lottery – it rarely happens and when it does it can pay off big.

So what did she do? We broke his methods into these steps:

1. Choose a niche you’re passionate about. Jane chose corporate consulting because it’s closest to her heart, and it’s also what her company does.

2. Make some quick posts so it appears as though your blog has been around for awhile. Jane already had 10 or 15 posts from previous work that she could immediately publish. Hopefully you already have some content written, whether it’s articles, an ebook, etc.

Break whatever you have down into blog posts and post them. If you don’t have content already written, it’s up to you whether or not you take this step. By having content already on your blog it appears as though you’ve been doing it for awhile, but posting inferior content that you rushed to write is never helpful if someone should actually want to read it.

3. Do your research. Jane researched what kind of blog posts take off in her niche, and which get the most shares on social media. Her research showed that she needed to write really long posts – between 2200 and 3000 words, and she needed to use mixed media that included bullet points, video, images, sub headlines, etc. Her research also showed that “how to” posts or posts that people can apply to get results were the most popular.

4. Apply what you learn. Once she did her research, Jane knew just what to do and she did it.

5. Think about distribution. You can write your posts according to what your research finds works best, but that still won’t initially get your article in front of people. Even the most shared blog posts in the world have to first be seen before they are shared, and if you have no traffic to begin with, you’ve got to find it.

What Jane did was tailor her first post specifically to the audience of a social news website that she read everyday. By tailoring it to that specific audience, there was an excellent chance they would appreciate it and share it.

6. Write amazing content. Jane spent 3-4 days writing her initial post. That’s right… 3-4 DAYS, not hours. Make your content great.

7. Use what contacts you have. Don’t have any? Get some. Jane started the ball rolling by having a handful of friends give her post a bump so that people would begin checking it out. The post was good, it took off, the rest was history.

8. Capture email addresses and ask for social shares. Be sure to place your opt-in box on every page, both in the right hand column and again at the end of the article. And ask your readers – if they found your post helpful – to share it via social media.

9. Rinse and repeat. Jane found a formula that worked, so she did it again and again, each time focusing and targeting her newest blog post to a very specific distribution channel.

You might not hit the 50,000 mark your first month, but if you follow these steps you could very well hit it within 2 to 3 months, even in a smaller niche. Imagine if you capture just 10% of that traffic – that’s an email list of 5,000 who you can now invite directly to every new blog post you make. Not a bad way to get your blog rolling…

Definitive Autoresponder Frequency Guide

(Or… “How Often Should You Email Your List???”)

Everyone seems to have a slightly different opinion when it comes to how often to email your list. If you email too often – marketers argue – you’ll annoy people into unsubscribing. If you don’t mail often enough, subscribers forget who you are and you lose money from not mailing more often, etc.

Definitive Autoresponder Frequency Guide

Rule #1 – How often you mail is going to depend on a whole host of factors, from which niche you’re in, how you got the subscribers in the first place, whether you write friendly emails people love or nails-on-chalkboard emails and so forth.

Rule #2 – Because every case is different, nothing beats testing for finding out exactly how often you should mail to your list.

Rule #3 – That said, we do know from experience that the following autoresponder schedule works well for most marketers. It’s based upon what it takes to build a long term positive relationship. Feel free to adjust it according to the results of your own testing.

Stage 1, Day 1 – Brand new subscriber. Send out your friendly welcome/thank you email that reiterates how smart they are for subscribing and tells them where to pick up any subscriber bonus you offered them.

Continuing in Stage 1 – Begin building tremendous value. Every email in stage 1 should be all about giving value while asking for little in return. For the next 10 to 15 days you’ll be sending out 1 email every other day, beginning with Day 2. This means they get the welcome email on Day 1, and the first content rich email on Day 2.

When we say “content rich,” this does not necessarily mean it’s a long email. Rather, it gives information that is exceptionally valuable and ideally immediately usable.

As always the content of your emails should be strictly tailored to the subject matter they originally joined for. For example, if they joined your list from your video marketing website to get more info about video marketing, don’t send them information on pay-per-click unless it somehow relates directly to video marketing.

Don’t sell anything during stage 1 – it’s simply too soon.

The ONE exception to the previous statement is if your new list members joined because they purchased your product. In that case you can make offers to your list during this stage. The offers must be directly related to their purchase, and should not be the main focus of your emails. For example, let’s say you sell a video marketing product. You send out an email to those buyers with a great video marketing tip, and then in your P.S. you mention a tool that – while not required – would make that tip work even better. In other words, it’s a very soft sell. More of a casual mention/recommendation than anything else.

Stage 2 – Continue building the relationship by providing great content, but slow down the frequency. Let’s say you’re dating this great guy or gal, seeing each other every other day. Then she or he doesn’t call for a couple of days – what happens? You miss them. Building a relationship through email can work the same way.

This stage can last 12 to 21 days, and you can send emails every 3 days. If your list consists of people who have not purchased from you, tread lightly with the selling. Only use very soft selling technique and continue to provide plenty of great content.

One email in this stage should ask them for feedback. For example, do they want to know more about “x?” How long have they been doing “y?” What’s the biggest problem they face in “z?” Ask them to hit reply and give you a quick answer. After all, real relationships are a two way street. And when they do reply, send a quick thank you back to them. Yes, this will take you a minute here and there – it’s worth it.

Stage 3 – You probably already know what comes next – continue building the relationship by providing great content. The relationship is becoming established and that’s terrific. List members who make it this far are learning they can trust you and hopefully like you.

This stage lasts for about 3 weeks, and you can send an email every 4 to 5 days. And yes, you can do a little more selling here – but again, don’t push. Simply suggest and nudge – no poking or prodding.

Stage 4 – This is the stage you’ve been building towards. Subscribers who are still reading your emails are loyal fans who know you, like you and hopefully trust you. Continue sending emails every 5 to 6 days, and occasionally more often when you really have something to say.

Continue sending great content, and also feel free to send sales messages, too.

Increase Your Opt-ins AND Your Open Rates

Now then, since you’ve read this far, I’ve got a great trick to share with you. Of course you already offer visitors an incentive to opt-in to your list, right? It’s probably an ebook, or it could be a video or recording.

What I’m going to suggest is you create a SECOND incentive for them to opt-in – something just as valuable as the first incentive. But this second incentive will be delivered OVER TIME to them via your autoresponder series.

Here’s what happens when you do this:

First, your opt-ins tend to increase, since you are offering two bonuses of high value.

Second, new subscribers more readily open and read your emails because they opted in to get this special incentive.

Third, if you use a product you already have for this, then you have pre-made content for your autoresponder. Simply break it up into emails.

Fourth – and this is ingenious, if I say so myself – if you are willing to record videos of yourself for this second incentive, your readers will quickly get to feel like they really KNOW you. For example, your second incentive is 10 ways to get traffic via social media. Instead of writing each one out in an email, you can record yourself explaining them in short 5 minute videos. After watching these, your list is far more likely to remember you, your name and what you do. And they’re also far more likely to open your emails in the future, as well.

But even if you don’t record videos for your second incentive, it’s still a very powerful technique for getting your readers in the habit of opening your emails.

One last tip – occasionally attach a short pdf with some valuable content to your emails. This tends to grab attention and increase your open rate.

How Offering Less Can Help You Sell More

Did you know that less is often perceived as being more, and more is often perceived as being less. Thus, it’s possible to offer less, charge more while also increasing your sales.

How Offering Less Can Help You Sell More

Let’s look at an example: You have a great $200 course with incredible reviews that delivers on a very big promise. You also offer a bonus $17 ebook along with the course to boost sales. Ironically, that $17 bonus could actually be costing you sales.

The reason is because of “Presenter’s Paradox,” and it goes something like this: Perceivers’ judgments show a weighted averaging pattern, which results in less favorable evaluations when mildly favorable information is added to highly favorable information. In other words, including mildly favorable information in your presentations actually LOWERS judgments from the evaluators’ perspective.

3 professors conducted several studies to test this theory. In the first test, they either bundled an iPod Touch MP3 player with 8 MB of memory and a cover, or the same iPod Touch MP3 player with 8 MB of memory, a cover and 1 free music download. Participants in the study were then shown one of these packages and asked, “Please estimate how much you would be willing to pay for this.”

Result? The participants were willing to pay more for the smaller package that contained only the iPod (m=$242.19) than for the larger and economically more valuable package that contained the iPod plus the free music download (m=$176.71).

In the next test, subjects were asked how much they would pay to stay at a hotel with a 5 star pool, versus a hotel with a 5 star pool and a 3 star restaurant. Result? Participants seeing the ad featuring both the 5 star pool and the 3 star restaurant were willing to pay significantly less per night (m=$92.45) than those seeing the ad featuring only the 5 star pool (m=$108.80).

In another test, a $750 fine for littering was seen as being more severe than a $750 fine plus two hours of community service.

And in yet another study, a scholarship for $1,750 was seen as being more valuable and making the winner more happy than a scholarship for $1,750 plus $15 for textbooks.

To be clear, in each study participants saw only one option and were asked to rate that option and say how much they would pay for it. They were not given a choice between the 2 different options.

So why exactly did the test subjects assign a higher value to the packages that contained less? The researchers believe that people subconsciously “average” the items in a package. Thus adding something small to something big results in a lower average and a lower perceived value.

So what does this mean in your marketing?

First, present only the truly great things about your product. For example, if you’ve got a piece of software that does 1 mind-blowing thing and 5 ordinary things, only talk about the 1 mind-blowing benefit.

Second, consider not bundling lesser items in with your larger item. If you do, present them as entirely separate bonuses that do not reflect the value of your main offer. And test your offer with and without the bonuses.

Third, if you are giving a presentation, reduce your points to just the exceptional ones and leave out the more mundane information. The audience will remember what you say as being more important and persuasive than if you try to cover every point.

20 Head-Turning Ways to Grow Your Brand

HubSpot has compiled the 10 most remarkable marketing campaigns EVER. And while the article is sure to entertain, it’s also an excellent resource to get ideas for your own marketing campaigns.

20 Head-Turning Ways to Grow Your Brand

For example, Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice asked Facebook users to unfriend 10 people to get a free Whopper. It only lasted 10 days before Facebook shut them down, but in those 10 days Burger King gave away 20,000 Whoppers, stood social media on its head and received a ton of free publicity and word of mouth advertising. The take-away? Use a really, really simple call to action, and don’t be afraid to push the envelope.

Also be sure to read how one company received 7 million website hits by placing ads in the help wanted classifieds.

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34027/The-Top-10-Most-Remarkable-Marketing-Campaigns-EVER-Slideshow.aspx

No time to read about the 10 most remarkable campaigns? Here are the takeaways from each – you might want to print these out and keep them handy:

1. Use a really, really, really simple call-to-action.

2. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope.

3. Find the niche audience that is super passionate about your product or mission, and explore ways to intrigue, inspire, and deeply entertain them.

4. Invest in really good storytelling.

5. Been doing the same thing for 23 years? Surprise the hell out of everyone by not doing it. At least once.

6. Even high-profile, high-budget “do good” programs don’t do much good if they’re not authentic and brand-relevant. Learn from Pepsi’s mistakes.

7. Give your audience opportunities to “star” in your marketing.

8. Create an annual tradition (that gets better every year!).

9. Make it wicked easy to participate, and just as easy to “share.”

10. Got a spokesperson for your brand? Make sure he/she appeals to and entertains both genders, and provide opportunities for your audience to engage with him/her both on and offline.

11. Short, frequent, episodic, and highly share worthy content will be shared more than the usual marketing fodder.

12. Experiment with non-traditional marketing channels.

13. Remember that no brand is too small to make a giant, remarkable splash.

14. Explore new ways to embrace the very thing (technology, competition, etc.) that’s disrupting your business model.

15. Invest in, cultivate, and nurture deep, direct relationships with your fans/loyal customers/promoters. One day soon, that will really come in handy.

16. Focus on the one thing that makes you undeniably different from all your competitors. Double down on that one thing.

17. Forget the cow path. Blaze your own trail.

18. TELL GREAT STORIES! (Sound familiar?)

19. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be remarkable.

20. If the president of the U.S. can master this social media stuff, so can you.

How to Price Your Product to Max Profits

You’ve created a great product and now you’re putting together your sales page. You’ve got the attention grabbing headline, the benefit laden lead-in, lots of bullet points and a few testimonials, too.

How to Price Your Product to Max Profits

Oh-oh… How do you tell them the price? WHEN do you tell them? Should you try to hide it inside the text? Should you place it up top? Should you not discuss price at all until they click the add to cart button and get to the next page?

Well, it depends. It depends on the value vs. price, on how targeted your prospects are, on the price point itself, on how the prospect got to your page, etc.

I’ll give you some helpful tips that will make the process easier for you.

1. Stop being scared to discuss your price. Pricing can be just as important to communicate in your marketing as the features and benefits. Instead of thinking of price as something to hide from your prospect, consider thinking of it as something to cover for the customer’s benefit. Don’t sell, explain by providing them with a simple explanation of your pricing. If you offer more than one price option, then offer materials that help your prospect make the right decision.

2. Know your timing. There are 2 times in the sales process when pricing is very important to the prospect. First, in the beginning as they are determining if they can afford you. The second time is of course right before they make a decision. This is the time they are weighing the cost vs. benefit of buying.

3. If they determine at the beginning that they cannot afford you, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. By weeding out those who are out of your price point range, you can focus exclusively on those who are. Also, if you have a low price point such as $7 or $27, letting the prospect know the price up front immediately puts them at ease and their defenses tend to drop dramatically.

4. When it comes time for them to make a decision, contrast the price with the value. If you can show them that the value far, far outweighs the price, you’ve made the sale. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that simply placing a high price tag on product and then ‘discounting’ it is enough. You’ve got to show the actual value the customer will reap in their life. Show exactly how they will benefit and what they can expect to get out of the deal.

5. Answer their questions. They’ll want to know exactly what they’re getting and how they’re getting it. How many videos? How long are they? How many pages? Is it mailed to them? Do they download it? They also want to know if you stand behind your product. Is there a guarantee? A strong one or a weak one? And they’ll want to know if they can trust you. Who are you? What are your credentials or experience? Answering these questions will alleviate many of their fears.

6. Reassure them. “Congratulations, you made an excellent choice! You are so smart! And you got in at a lower price than we’ll ever offer again, you’re a genius!” Okay, so I’m laying it on a little thick there, but the point is to reaffirm that they are doing the right thing. Even stronger than telling them they’re smart is to SHOW them they are by including lots of testimonials and endorsements.

List companies or people who have purchased from you. Show customer case studies. Use social media comments about your product. Interlace testimonials throughout your entire sales copy and selling process, all the way from the beginning through to the download page.

7. Reaffirm they got a great deal. You might think that once the sale is made, pricing no longer matters. And it’s true that to many customers it doesn’t. But some customers will be telling themselves that they can always change their minds and get a refund. This is why you want to continue reaffirming what a great decision they made by sending them further case studies and testimonials, as well as tips on how to get the most out of your product.

Most important, deliver the goods so your customer experience the benefits of your product for themselves.

8. One more tip, and this is a BIG one: Send out a series of emails that entices them to get into and start using the product itself. For example: “I hope you’re loving Super Profit product. Did you notice on page 42 that I reveal a technique for generating $5 a second using nothing more than cute cat photos?”

You’ll notice this is very much like a teaser you might include in the sales letter, and it has one of two effects. It either entices the customer to use your product and thus to be happy with their purchase. Or if the customer is too busy to open and consume your product, it reminds them that they purchased a goldmine and reaffirms to them that they made the right decision.

How To Read Your Customers’ Minds and Create a Product that’s Guaranteed to Sell

Common advice to new marketers is to find a need and fill it. Better advice is to find a want and fill that, since people more readily spend money on things they want than they do on things they need. After all, no one NEEDS an expensive car. Even the cheapest of automobiles will get them where they want to go – yet people WANT the high end cars and they pay dearly for them.

How To Read Your Customers' Minds and Create a Product that's Guaranteed to Sell

So we know to find needs and wants and to fill them. And we’ve all been told to do surveys or haunt forums to find out what these needs and wants are. It’s very basic advice and if you combine it with some trial and error, it will usually get the job done, at least to a certain degree.

But what if you want a blockbuster smash-it-out-of-the-park product? Something that you can perhaps retire on?

Then you’re going to have to upgrade your methods of product research and product creation. In fact, what you’ll need to do is focus on something called Customer Development, and according to Steve Blank, it goes like this:

1. Understand your customers’ problems and needs

2. Prove that you have a repeatable sales model (for long term sales and income)

3. Create and drive end user demand (also known as marketing)

4. Building – that is, transition from learning what your customers want to executing on what you’ve learned.

It’s that first step – Understanding your customer’s problems and needs – that sets the stage for the other 3 steps and your eventual long term success. And it’s also the step most people get wrong.

You probably already have a vision for a new product. You’ve looked at needs and wants, and you’ve got a solution you want to offer customers. The unseasoned marketer will now create the product and offer it to customers, something you might call the sink or swim method. But since 9 out of 10 products sink using this method, I’m going to suggest you do the following instead:

1. Go talk to the people who you believe are potential users for your product. Your goal is to see if there is a direct match between your product vision and what people want.

2. If you’re finding out there isn’t a match, you make one of two changes. Either you change your product to what these particular customers do want, or you find a different segment of the market that does want what you are planning to offer.

3. Your goal is to understand the problem your product is addressing. Ask people how they handle this problem now and if they perceive it as being an important issue for them. Forget yes and no type questions. Instead, ask open ended questions such as:

“If you could change anything about the way you deal with this problem, what would it be?”

“How do you currently solve this problem?”

“Can you describe the problem in your own words?”

“Have you tried other solutions? What happened?”

“What do you wish you could do to solve this problem?”

“Tell me about the last time you had this problem.”

“How much does this problem cost you?”

NOTE: Don’t ask hypothetical questions because they won’t be relevant or helpful. Don’t ask for features, don’t try to convince or sell and don’t try to solve their problem. For example, don’t ask:

“Do you like this idea?”
“Would you buy this?”
“How much would you pay for this?”

4. Adjust accordingly. You might uncover an even larger, more pressing problem that you can solve for these customers. Don’t be afraid to discard a good idea for a great idea. In other words, don’t chase after crumbs if turning in another direction will provide a feast.

5. Build, Measure and Learn, but not necessarily in that order. Figure out what you need to learn. For example, will people use your XYZ service if it’s free. Then figure out how to measure that. In this case, you can track sign-ups for a beta service you will be introducing. Then you decide what you need to build. And in this case, all you need is a landing page to sign people up, with either a description or a video showing what your service will do.

6. Notice you can do all of this without actually creating your product or service first. Odds are you’re familiar with Dropbox. When Dropbox was first presented to the public, it was simply an idea presented in a video. It wasn’t working, and in fact there wasn’t even a prototype yet. But the interest received from potential customers was massive – enough to tell Drew Houston that he should indeed go ahead and build Dropbox. Good thing he did – he’s a rich man today. To see how he did it, go here: http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/19/dropbox-minimal-viable-product/

7. If you went to that page, you noticed that Dropbox was started as a Minimal Viable Product. That is, the absolute minimum was done on the product itself to assess the market. No doubt you’ve heard that the best way to test a product is to put up a squeeze page or sales page offering the product and see how many people try to sign up for it. Then on the next page you reveal that it isn’t available yet, but you will let them know when it is. This might seem like cheating, and it is. What you’re cheating is failure by assuring yourself that you do indeed have a product idea that will sell before you ever build it.

A Minimal Viable Product isn’t always about creating a minimal product, but it is about learning what you need to know to make your product successful. It might be a working prototype, a mock-up or a video that simulates your future product. An MVP is what you get in front of your customers to find out if they will indeed use it (if it’s free) or buy it.

Bottom line, if you want to know exactly what your customers want, you’ve got to do some digging. You’ve got to first ask them what needs fixing, what’s important to them, and how they would like it solved. Then you present them with the solution – either the actual product or an MVP – and you gauge their reaction and learn all you can in the process.

Who are your best prospects in the early stages of your product development? Those are the customers we call “earlyvangelists.” According to Steve Blank, they will have some or all of these characteristics:

– They have a problem
– They are aware of having this problem
– They have been actively searching for a solution
– They may have already hacked together a solution
– They have or can acquire the funds to buy your solution

Ideally these are the first customers you want to offer your product to. They will take the least amount of selling and will be the first to tell others of your product. Find these people and you have tapped into a goldmine.

Million Dollar Tips from Your Future Self

Imagine having a time machine that would allow you to travel into the future. Once you got there, you met with your future millionaire self to find out what you did between now and then to build such a successful online business.

Million Dollar Tips from Your Future Self

You then traveled back to today and (hopefully) began implementing at least some of the lessons learned from your much wiser and wealthier self. Here’s some of the core lessons you would have surely learned by now:

Get clear on what you want and WHY you want it. Once you get the goal and the reason for the goal clear in your mind, it’s a lot easier to take those steps necessary to attain it.

You are smarter than you think. Stop stalling and get started. Now.

Motivation comes from within. Waiting to work on your business “when you feel like it” means one thing: Failure.

Speaking of getting distracted – STOP IT. Make a plan and work the plan. Find your big picture and only do the things that will get you there.

The magic button that creates money out of thin air? Does not exist. If it did, would they be selling it for $97?

There’s nothing noble about doing things the hard way. Automate and outsource ASAP.

Step back. Are you still going in the right direction? Course correct.

Stop complaining. Just. Stop.

Don’t worry about your competition. The vast majority of your competition is mediocre anyway, and you’re not stopping until you reach great.

Never stop learning. You know enough right now to start, but not enough to sustain your business long term.

Face your fears head on. If you let fear rule your life, you’ll never accomplish anything new and you’ll never experience anything exciting.

Making money is simple. You take certain steps, you get certain results.

Smart successful people have goals. f you don’t write down your goals, you’re just playing at building a business – not actually DOING it.

Never compromise your character or your good name. Remember, anything placed on the Internet might very well STAY on the Internet forever.

Be yourself. You have far more to offer others than you realize.

Now then, student of your future millionaire self, here are your next lessons. Use them wisely.

If you already have 2-3 excellent products on your computer on how to money online, you likely have enough information to make 6 figures a year. No joke. We’re going to figure you don’t care for one of the methods but you’re fully capable of implementing at least one of the other two.

There are literally thousands of people who have already proven this is true – you only need one solid workable system to make real money online. So stop searching for new qet rich quick schemes and get busy. Now.

Be warned: Others might not understand what you’re doing. They might even resent it. They might try to hold you back. They might discourage you. They might be a total energy drain. And they might do everything in their power to stop you. Their motivation? Many and varied, but the bottom line is that your new business is perceived as a threat to them.

If they’re family, explain that you need to do this and you are not changing your mind. If they are friends, consider placing some distance between yourself and them. You can catch up with them later once your business is rocking – at which time you might be surprised to find out you need new friends because your old ones resent your success. Sad but true.

What you do today will predict what you become tomorrow. Are you diligently moving forward? Or are you putting things off? Choose your habits wisely. I wish I could tattoo that on your hand so you would see it every day. Choose. Your. Habits. Wisely.

Stop focusing on the economy or the politicians and just get busy. I know people who spend their days watching economic news and then lament that it’s impossible right now to successfully start a business. And I know others who ignore that same news and make news of their own, starting tremendously successful businesses in the weakest of economies. Remember, whatever you focus on gets bigger.

It’s all about selling. Period. You’re either selling a product, a click, a service, or something else, but you are in fact selling. If you are not selling, you are not making money. Focus 90% of your time on the sales process, and that includes getting traffic, converting that traffic to a list, and selling to that list.

Content rules. Social networks, applications, software, etc., will come and go, but content has always and will always work because people will always demand high quality content, regardless of format.

Don’t start with just one product, start with 3. Launching a single product with no follow up plan is a recipe for a few quick bucks and then nothing. Instead, know what you’re going to upsell or cross-sell before you even get started. Yes, they can be other people’s products. For example, launch your own product and then OTO an affiliate product, then upsell a second affiliate product.

Build your own tribe. Pick your corner of the Internet, whatever that might be (call it a niche if you like) and then build a solid and ever-growing tribe of people who know you and trust you as THE GUY or GAL in that niche. Don’t worry about those that don’t fit your tribe – just focus on those who do and you will always have an income online.

Don’t buy “stuff with your profits.” That new TV and new car will wait another year or two. Right now invest all of your profits back into your business. This is how people retire in just 5 to 15 years, by reinvesting now to scale up their businesses. Work the numbers. If you’re buying traffic for $1 that yields $2, then you are effectively doubling your money over and over again. If you instead invest that money in a new car, that money and it’s future earning potential is forever lost to you.

Use deadlines. This is your business, not a hobby, so treat it like a business. Think strategically about what needs to be done and write it down, complete with deadlines. Then do everything in your power to meet those deadlines, no matter what.

In the beginning, do not take a day off. Focus on your goals daily or they will fall by the wayside. Missing even one day can lead to missing two days, which can lead to missing a week which leads to a month lost. Every day re-read your goals and do at least one thing that takes you closer to reaching your goal, even if it only takes 20 minutes. It’s not about how much time you put in, it’s about how much you get done with the time you have, and how consistently you make progress.

Forgo all distractions. Hobbies, television, video games, vacations, etc., are all things you can put off for at least your first 4 to 8 months. Set a goal of what you’re going to accomplish by a 6 month deadline, and only when you accomplish it can you afford to be distracted. Yes, you’ve got to get serious about your business – enough monkeying around, it’s time to actually DO it.

Find a mentor. Or a coach. If you want to accomplish a whole lot more in a whole lot less time with fewer mistakes along the way, find someone who’s already doing what you want to do and hang onto their coattails for dear life until you can do it on your own. Yes, coaches cost money in the short run, but in the long run it’s one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

Figure it will take 2-5 years to build real wealth. Look back at where you were 5 years ago and imagine if you had started your business then, where you would be today. Now look ahead 5 years and realize it all begins now.

Build a support team. This might simply be a group of 4 to 7 people who get together twice a week on Skype to brainstorm and report progress. Nothing beats having fresh minds looking at your business, or the moral support of being in company with others going through the same process you’re living. And if possible, get a couple of more experienced marketers to join your group and act as mentors.

BONUS: This one is for the long haul: Have an exist strategy. There may come a day when you want to sell your business, either to start a new one or to retire. By planning for this in advance, you might be able to sell your business for more. For example, be sure to actively build individual lists of prospects, buyers and affiliates because not only will these make you money – they’re also tremendous assets when you sell.

And give your business a name and brand of its own. If you name it after yourself, it will be difficult to sell unless you find another person who shares your name. And also do everything to solely own that name. Purchase all of the domain extensions available and any variations, along with getting all applicable copyrights and trademarks.

Something to think about: Research shows that 80% of pentamillionaires (those with a net worth of $5 million or more) are entrepreneurs who sold their businesses.

Imagine you’re standing on a time line at the exact juncture where it branches in two different directions. One direction takes you to that million dollar business, and the other direction has you spending the rest of your life just as it is now, with no changes and no big success.

You choose which path to take. The million-dollar-future-you is waiting to guide you to that destiny – if you choose. Or you can do nothing, and the other destiny will happen pretty much on its own. Your choice.

5 Reasons To Disable Blog Commenting

You can turn your blog comments off or on at will. So the question is, will you accept comments or not?

5 Reasons To Disable Blog Commenting

On a positive note, allowing comments sometimes gives you great feedback on your posts. If you have a highly read blog with lots of comments, it also provides social proof to newcomers that you and your blog are popular. But on the negative side…

1, Allowing comments opens the door to spam. Frankly, the majority of blog comments tend to be a waste of time for your blog readers. Some are outright advertisements, and others simply contribute nothing to the conversation. Of course you can install spam prevention software. But some spam will still get through, meaning you now have to invest time locating and deleting those comments or pay someone else to do it for you.

2. The tumbleweed effect. This is when you allow comments, but then you don’t get any or you only get one from your Aunt Silvia. If you enable comments but get very few, it will appear as though no one is reading your blog. You and I both know that most people who read blogs don’t comment, but most blog readers don’t know that. They’ll assume your blog is unpopular and they’ll be less likely to stay themselves.

3. Watered down SEO. While a small percentage of comments will help you with your SEO, a larger percentage can actually hurt your chances to get your post on the first page of Google.

4. Loss of control. Unless you’re prescreening comments, anybody can post anything. This means your competitor can post lies about you and your products, and those comments could be on there for a day before you see them and delete them.

Then there’s slander. Someone posts libelous falsehoods about another person or company. Sure, there are laws to protect you. But until things get sorted out, do you really want to endure a lawsuit? Unlikely, but it can happen.

5. The reply catch-22. Someone leaves a great comment and you reply. Or someone asks a question and you post an answer. So far so good, right? But now EVERYONE expects a reply. This is a great way to encourage comments – and it’s also a great way to spend your entire day answering replies instead of creating new content.

Now then – for every reason to not enable comments on your blog, there is another reason to do so, most of which you probably already know.

Bottom line: If you already have comments enabled and you like the results, then don’t change. But if you’re just starting your blog, or if you’re tired of having to act like the blog police to weed out the riff-raff, you might do yourself a favor and disable comments.

It could result in the best night’s sleep you’ve had in weeks.

6 Tricks that Turn Strangers into Your Fans

Have you noticed there are some marketers who struggle for years to build a responsive list and only end up with a list of people who won’t open their emails?

6 Tricks that Turn Strangers into Your Fans

Conversely, you’ve also witnessed new marketers busting into the scene as complete nobodies, and in no time at all they’re commanding lists of mega thousands of eager and loyal followers. So how do they do it?

It really all boils down to one thing – how you craft your content. Whether you’re shooting videos or scribbling down your thoughts, there are certain tricks that will make others want to follow your every word and buy all products.

1. Don’t just tell – show them with stories. Even the shortest of stories can be helpful in captivating your audience and sticking you and your info to their brains like glue. For example, depending on where you went to grade school, you might have been told two different ways to spell arithmetic. One of course is a-r-i-t-h-m-e-t-i-c. But the other is “a rat in the house might eat the ice cream.”

Which one do you remember decades later? It’s the rat mnemonic of course, because that one little sentence tells you a story of a rat in the house maybe eating the ice cream. You only have to hear it once to remember it.

More importantly, as Robert McKee says, “Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact.”

Stories captivate, increase your open rates and conversion rates, and even hypnotize your audience. Do you want people read your content and follow your suggestions? Then become a master at storytelling.

2. Use cliffhangers and open loops. You’re watching your favorite TV show when BANG! One of your favorite characters is shot. Will he live? You don’t know, because the show ends and guess what? It was the last episode of the season. Now you have to wait until the start of the next season to see if he lives and to find out who did it. That, my friends, is the classic cliff hanger. There is action and suspense but no closure. It’s unresolved. Unfinished.

And human nature dictates that we very much NEED to have that closure, so we tune in next season to get it. Of course, we never really do get closure because every episode leaves us hanging in some way.

So let’s say you’re writing a series of emails or blog posts, and you end each one with a promise to reveal something in the next. It can’t be just anything – it’s got to be something that preys on your audiences’ minds, making them eager for the next installment. For example, maybe you’re dong a series on traffic generation. You outline a method that works well, then promise to show them how one little change can instantly triple their results. Tune in tomorrow to find out what that is. 🙂

Open loops work much the same way, only the cliffhanger comes at the beginning of the content and the answer comes at the end. These are especially great in sales letters and longer blog posts and videos. You might promise at the very beginning to reveal 3 foods that effortlessly melt pounds – and then say something like, “But before we get into that, did you know that there are really easy, simple techniques you can use to burn extra calories throughout your day?” They are compelled to continue reading (or watching) if they want to discover those 3 foods that melt away pounds.

3. Engage the senses. First, use words that activate the senses, such as dazzling and glowing [visual] crackle and sizzle [auditory] fluffy and slippery [touch] delectable and refreshing [taste] fragrant and spicy [smell].

Second, use video. Video engages far more of the senses than the written word, and as a bonus, it can actually be faster than writing.

4. Be funny. This one tends to scare marketers – “But I’m not funny!” they say. The thing is, most people are genuinely funny when they are being themselves. This is not the place to try your stand-up routine or recite jokes you learned as a kid. Instead, it’s the time to show your not-so-perfect side, to laugh at yourself, and to find the humor in everyday life. If you need help with this, read “Make ‘Em Laugh and Take Their Money: A Few Thoughts on Using Humor as a Speaker or Writer or Sales Professional For Purposes of Persuasion” by Dan Kennedy. Dan might also get the award for longest book title ever.

Okay, so WHY do you want to be funny? You probably already know the answer – people like people who are funny. They relax when they’re in a good mood. They want more of that good feeling, and so they continue to consume your content looking for that feeling. And perhaps most important of all – people buy more and buy more happily when they’re in a good mood.

5. Grow your genuine personality. Whatever your personality is, magnify it and grow it to the point of being bigger than life. People follow bloggers, not blogs. They follow a marketer, not a marketing website. They follow you, or they don’t follow at all. Be hot. Have the personality that appeals to your ideal prospect.

6. Then take it a step further and be DIFFERENT. Look at what everyone else is doing in your niche, and then go in a totally different direction. Be contrary not for the sake of argument, but for the sake of shedding an entirely new perspective on a problem or challenge.

Don’t be normal. Don’t be a cookie cutter. SURPRISE people. Do the unexpected. Make them stop dead in their tracks. Shock them. This isn’t so hard – just look at what’s normal in your niche and then do something else.

In fact, if you were to follow only one piece of advice out of this entire article, it would be to see where the herd is going and then call them into an entirely different direction. You won’t get the entire herd to follow you, but you will captivate their attention. And those who do follow (you’ll be surprised how many do) will follow you to the ends of the earth.

10 Keys To Getting Your Posts Read Using The Magic of Images

Yes, people come for the content, but first you’ve got to attract them with the image. After all, images are the first thing people notice about your page or post.

10 Keys To Getting Your Posts Read Using The Magic of Images

The right image can grab attention and create intrigue, mystery, curiosity and a host of other emotions that wrap their tendrils around your visitor and glue them to your writing. As an added benefit, the better your image is at capturing attention, the less important your headline becomes. A great image with a mediocre headline will almost always lure the visitor into reading your content, while a sub par headline on its own seldom will.

What can you do to maximize the effect images have on your visitor? Here are 10 keys:

1. Use at least one image per post. Every post should have an image of its own above the fold. And if your post is long, consider adding images into the middle as well to break up your post. These will provide welcome breaks to your readers, as well as enticing scanners to stop and read your content.

2. Look for images that work on a gut level. If your post is about how to prevent a house fire, you might be tempted to post an image of a building on fire. But how much more captivating would it be to have an image of someone experiencing loss – even without a single charred remain in the background? Look for images that play on the emotions, rather than ones that simply illustrate your story.

3. Use faces. Studies show that readers pause longer on an image that shows at least one face. If you don’t use faces, then look for something provocative or downright spectacular – something that makes the viewer stop in her tracks and want to know more.

4. Use images in your RSS feed. Just like blog posts, an image can make the difference between your writing being read or ignored. Think of the image combined with the headline as your book cover, and your post as the contents. People do judge books by their covers, and they do the same when looking through their feeds.

5. Take the time to get it right. Grabbing the first interesting image you see is seldom a recipe for stopping Internet traffic. If you need to spend as much time sourcing an image as you do writing the post, then do it. It’s worth the extra effort.

Consider purchasing your images. You can almost always find far better images when you’re willing to pay a little bit to use them, and the selection is far more vast and interesting as well. Keep in mind – a bland as toast image could actually HURT your chance to get your post read. Spend a buck or two and get something that leaps off the page and into your reader’s imagination.

If money is tight, there is a third option, and that’s using creative commons photos. They’re free to use but you MUST give the proper attribution to the photographer. For example, you can start a search for creative commons images here: https://search.creativecommons.org

6. Just do it. Adding images might sound too simple, but the fact is that it will almost certainly increase the time visitors spend on your site.

7. Consider taking and using your own photos. If you’re a shutter bug, by all means get busy. Using your own photos will personalize your website that much more, as well as building a deeper connection with your audience.

8. Build an entire post around pictures. With the advent of social media, you can now get traffic simply for having great images. So why not try a post that’s image dense, such as the most romantic places in your country, or the funniest photos ever, etc.

9. Don’t forget to add alt tags to your images. This can help you to rank higher in the search engines, bringing you more traffic.

10. Have fun. Not only is reading an article that contains images more interesting for the reader – it’s also more fun for the author to put together.

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