Build A Business Not A Hobby

Ok, so it has been a while since my last post and I apologize for those following this Blog.  Just thought I would drop you all a line about my thoughts for this week.

Recently I was contacted by someone to do some marketing work.  I freelance from time to time and initially this looked like a good fit.  However, after a little more banter with the prospective client I realized I was being low-balled.

Now, I know what my time is worth and have more than enough testimonials and individuals to vouch for my work quality and customer service, so I was a little put off by the email I received.  And that brings me to the topic of this post.

Start building a business and not a hobby.

Now, mind you this was not just a few bucks for this job, but enough to have paid for half of my rent for the month.  What the prospective client had done was to go out and research prices, which was fine by me, but then came back and asked me to match the lower offer.

In years past when I was just doing this in my spare time for some extra cash (hobby) I would have taken the lower offer.  However, today I had to take a deep breath and just politely say “no.”

You see the offer was already below my already discounted rates for August, so I was really only going to be doing it to try to pick up a new client.

But, this is no longer a hobby for me but a business.

When you allow clients to dictate your prices you are not being taken seriously as a service provider and business owner.  And what is to say someone else won’t contact you and ask for the same discounted rates because they heard you would give in?

Now, if you are a hobbyist then great take the lower offer.  However, if you are trying to build a business then just take a deep breath and let these go, other clients are out there that are willing to pay what you are worth.

The funny thing is once I let this one go, I got a message a few minutes later from a new client wanting to hire me.

Start building a business and not a hobby, your bank account will thank you for it later.

Posted in Business Building by fundamentalim. No Comments

Irrelevant Content – The Fastest Way To Lose A Visitor

You know what bugs me?  Having to wade through irrelevant content to find what I need on a website.

If you have a website that is optimized and built around the golf niche, then I most likely do not want to read about how I can improve my basketball free throw shooting percentage.

As it stands you only have a short amount of time to capture a visitor’s attention.

Posting content that has nothing to do with the focus of your site will cause many to click away.

If the goal of your site is to sell your products, services or affiliate products in the golf niche, then why on earth would you try to sell a how-to guide about basketball?  Catch my drift?

The same goes for your email list.  I know you are focused on making money, but blasting them with multiple promotions on unrelated niches will lose you subscribers and lose them fast.

Just put yourself in their shoes.  If you promised them weekly golf tips and promoted other things like an acne prevention product or a basket weaving guide, would you want to stay on that list?

I hope you are getting the point I am trying to make here.  While making money is the primary reason that many get into marketing online, you still need to provide your visitors with good and relative content.  Failing to do so will leave you frustrated and sales-less.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments

Creat Content Once – Use Thrice

A lot of people hate creating content.

Unless you are one of those sick individuals that actually enjoy writing, creating and editing videos and making posts in forums, then you are probably like most people.

However, there are ways you can get creative with your content so you can increase visitors to your site, which in turn will get you more subscribers and buyers.

I am a big believer that content should start with the written word when you are producing it for the internet.  That way you will have a basic layout of how you can re-purpose it for future use.  Here are three ways I have personally re-used my own content.

Now, if you have been reading my posts for a while then you know that I love examples, so that is where we will start.  We will use the employment niche since many are looking for jobs right now.

Content use # 1: Articles

Create three short and informative articles on creating a killer resume.  You can have one article discuss three tips on how you should structure your resume, one article discussing tips on what to avoid putting in your resume and another article on what employers look for in a resume.

Upload these articles to article directory or directories (depending on the directory Terms of Use) of your choice under one pen name.

Content use # 2: Videos

Take those three articles and create individual videos on each of them.  For example, create a video using the tips on how to structure your resume.

Next, upload the video to various video sharing sites under the same pen name, this will help to avoid anyone saying you copied or plagiarized the content.  Repeat these steps with the other two articles.

Content use # 3: Short reports

Take those three articles and create a short report out of it.  All you need to do is add a title, table of contents and the three articles.  You will need to do minor editing so they flow, but that will not be too hard.

You can title it something like “How to create a killer resume that gets you interviews and your dream job.”

Next save the whole batch as a PDF document and upload it to various e-book sharing sites.  These sites allow people to download short reports for free.

Be sure to add in your website address as a clickable links throughout the report.  Again, be sure to upload under the same pen name you have been using.

There you have it.  You have just expanded your reach and created tons of new content with minimal effort.  Well, maybe not minimal, but at least the hard part of creating the content is all done.

If you are struggling to create content, then why not re-purpose all of those articles you have written?  You will be shocked at the different ways you can use your old content to your advantage.

These are just a few ways I have done so.  There are tons of other ways you can go about doing this, but this should do as a good start.  If you need some other content creation ideas just drop me a line.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments

Permission Email Marketing – Free Advertising To Targeted Customers

I was doing a consultation with a small business owner a while back and asked him how he was advertising.  He said he would pay upwards of several hundreds of dollars for spots on the radio whenever he had a sale or wanted to do a promotion.

I asked how he was tracking the effectiveness of his campaigns, and he said he thought seeing an increase in business after the promotion was enough tracking and was good enough for him.

He had a very loyal customer base, so I mentioned how he could stay in contact with customers on a regular basis for free.

I mentioned the power of permission based email marketing and how it basically would cut his advertising dollars to nothing, would allow him to track how effective it was and the best part was that he would have the ability to let them know about an upcoming sale at the push of a button.

No more waiting for his ad to air.  No more having to pay for expensive radio spots.  No more wondering what ads brought in what customers.

His response:  “Isn’t that SPAM?  I get that all the time in my email.  I don’t want to do that.”

This seems to be the thought on many business owners’ minds, so I thought I would explain the power of this method in this post, show you how to use it effectively and more importantly show you exactly why it is not SPAM.

The best way for me to outline this is in an example.  Let’s pretend that you own a small retail bookstore.  You are doing specials and promotions at least once a month.  You use the traditional methods of newspaper, television and radio ads with no real way to track them.

You spend thousands of dollars, but don’t know how effective they are.  You just assume they are because you see an increase in sales after you run the ads.

What if I told you that you could save that money and still make more sales?  Interested?  Good.

Enter Permission Based Email Marketing.

This type of email marketing covers the business owners’ behind.  Let me show you how by walking you through the exact process of what happens when someone visits your site and provides you with their email address.

You will need to install an opt-in box at the top of the page with an area for them to submit their name and email address.  Your web designer will be able to do this for you easily.

Now, in order to get their email information from them you need to offer something of value in exchange, such as a discount coupon, let’s say for this example you give them a coupon for 10% off their next purchase – if they enter their information.   You also let them know that they will be on the VIP newsletter list (everyone likes feeling important).

After submitting their email address, they are immediately sent an email requesting that they confirm their request.  The email usually states something like “You are being sent this email because you requested information from XYZ Company.  If you did not, please ignore this email, but If you did please click the confirmation link below to receive your 10% discount coupon.”

They click the confirmation link and are immediately sent their coupon in a follow up thank-you email, but more importantly they are added to your list.  Now, imagine if you add just 3 people to your list a day.  After a year you will have over 1,000 targeted customers that you can advertise to with one email.  And the best part for you – No ad cost.

Now, in order to keep them on your list and opening your emails, you will need to communicate with them on a regular basis and give them good information. In this example, perhaps you could give out tips on finding rare books or letting them know about an upcoming used book fair in the area.

You will also want to avoid being too promotional, as they will see right through this and will probably opt out of your list.  A ratio of 3:1 when it comes to promotional emails is a good standard to follow.  Sending out three emails with good information and then a promo email should keep them happy and opening up your messages.

Failing to provide good information and just blasting them with ads and promos is exactly why people think email marketing is SPAM.

When done right, email marketing is one of the best ways to build a relationship with your customers and clients.  Giving them good information on a regular basis will get them to like you, it will get them to trust you and more importantly get them to buy from you.

You have to give in order to get – the faster you realize this, the faster your business will grow.

Going back to our example, let’s take a look at the power of this list we have been growing.  Let’s just say that the average customer value on each visit to your store is $20.  You send a promotion out advertising a sale for VIP customers.  You tell them that they will receive a discount if they mention the code in the email.

Out of the 1,000 people on your list, let’s say that 800 of them opened the email.  Let’s conservatively say that 10% of the people that read the email printed the coupon code, came in and used it to make a purchase.

So now, at the click of a button with one email you just brought in 80 customers from your list.  At an average spending of $20, you just brought in $1,600.  Not bad for one email.

The best part is you can track it. First you can see how many people opened the email from your email tracking system and also how many people came in to use the code.

Now can you see how powerful this method is and how it is most certainly not SPAM?

Even if a customer screamed SPAM, you are now covered because originally they had to go into their email and click on the confirmation link in order to be on your list.

In this economy many business owners are looking for effective ways to cut advertising costs and increase sales.  Using a method such as permission based email marketing could be exactly what you need to do just that.

The beauty of this method is that it works for both online and offline businesses.  All you need to do is:

1)  Have a way to collect email opt-ins on your site

2) Provide something of value in exchange for an email address (Remember to give in order to get)

3) Communicate regularly with your list

4) Provide good information regularly (Remember the 3:1 promo ratio)

And everything else will fall into place.  If you want to learn more about implementing this strategy into your business, just contact me for more information by clicking here.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments

Thinking like your visitors – Creating content that brings in more sales

When I was first starting out I would build sites that tried to sell something at every corner.  I thought that was the way you were supposed to do it.

I had buttons and links all over the page that said “Buy Now” Click Here” Purchase Now.”  I look back at these sites every now and again and I cringe.  I was so busy thinking about making money I neglected thinking about how I was going to help my visitors out.

And that is where many of us get lost when we start to build a new site.

If you want your visitors to interact with you through your site, to read your content and ultimately to purchase something from you, then you had better start thinking like they do.

What I typically do now when I build a site is to have someone very specific in mind.  For example, when I build something, I think about the type of person that would be visiting, are they male or female?  How old are they?  What kind of information are they looking for?

What are they willing to give their email address over for?  What kind of emotions are running through their head?  Is their problem a pressing one that needs immediate attention or can it wait another day, week or year?

Answering these kinds of questions will help you to build a site that people will want to visit, one that they will want to stay on for a while and in the long run, one that they will bookmark, come back to and purchase from.

For example, if I wanted to get into the dating niche, then the first thing I would do is to start to think about what kind of crowd I would like to appeal to.  For this example, I will target Males who are looking for dating help.  This is purely an example and I have not done the research on this yet, so I have no idea how well this would do.

Now, instead of going wide and broad into this niche, I will drill down and go deeper into it.  Narrowing it down further I would start to target male introverts who have a hard time getting dates, and are too nervous to start talking to women in the real world.

There are a lot of men doing online dating because it is easy, and there is no pressure in having to talk to women in person and take the chance that you will get shot down.  Now that I have my target audience in mind, I need to start producing content and either creating my own products or services, or become an affiliate for one.

There are tons of programs you could become an affiliate for such as e-harmony.  Doing a general search online or at affiliate networks will give you tons of options.  Now that I have some product options to make some money with, I would turn to producing some good content.

Starting off with just a few pages, you could gear each one towards one highly searched keyword and follow suit with the rest.  An example would be creating written content or videos on the following topics – one each for each page:

Page 1: How to create an online profile that gets tons of views

Page 2: How to talk to women on a date

Page 3: How to be an alpha male

Page 4: How to approach women online

Page 5: How to get a date every night of the week through online dating sites

Page 6: Online dating sites reviewed (review some of the top online dating sites listing pros and cons) along with your affiliate link, so you can get paid if they purchase a membership.  You could also list some online dating guides that you are an affiliate for here as well.

Starting to get the idea?  Good.  Now, once you have your content up all that you will need to do is promote your site and add more content on a weekly basis, so users keep coming back for more.

Another thing you can start doing is to build a list and create a weekly newsletter.  This will allow you to promote affiliate products and promotions to your list every few emails or so to bring in even more profits.

Stop thinking about making money for a bit and start thinking about how you can help your visitors and the money will follow.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments

What My Mother Has Taught Me About Internet Marketing

Today is Mother’s Day and I thought I would pay tribute to my Mom.   Although my Mom barely knows how to use the internet, the life lessons she has taught me growing up has helped me to be a better marketer, but more importantly a better person.

There are a lot of things she has taught me over the years, but I thought I would just share 3 of the top ones and how they have translated to my online business.  Here they are in no particular order:

1)  If someone is in need of help then you need to help them.

Behind every sale is a face.  Behind every Click bank commission is someone with a story.  If all you are trying to do is make a sale then you will have a very hard go at it, especially if you are a beginner.  Do your best to help others in your writing, videos and websites and you will eventually reap the benefits.

2)  Building relationships and being a people person will get you far in life.

Everywhere I go with my Mother she knows someone.  This is no lie; anyone that knows her knows this is true.  I cannot count how many times we have gotten in somewhere for free or were comped a meal because she had befriended the cashier or owner years back.  She taught me that being yourself and being friendly to people no matter if it is the busboy at the restaurant or the owner of the place will get you far in this world.  Building long lasting relationships with the people on your list and providing them with killer content will make you passive sales for a very long time.

3)  You reap what you sow

Using techniques to trick people or rip them off just to get their money will come back to haunt you.  In the long run this is just a no-no especially if you plan on being in business for a while.  Doing business online in particular is not the place where you want to screw people over as the internet is just a breeding ground to have your name dragged through the mud.

Just these three things alone have helped me to realize that I have a responsibility as a person and a marketer.  While the ultimate goal online is to make more money, the greater goal is to help others.  I believe Zig Ziglar put it best when he said – The fastest way to get what you want is to help others get what they want.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there and if you have not done so be sure to tell your Mother the same.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments

Get S.M.A.R.T. and Start Setting Goals

How many times have you set out to do something and failed?  We can often attribute this to a lack of commitment and a lack of goal setting.  Setting goals is just simply planning ahead.

A coach of mine used to say “Gentlemen, failing to plan is like planning to fail.” This is so true and it’s something that has stuck with me. If you are not setting up plans and goals for your online business, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

When I set up a campaign or a new venture online I set goals for myself, but not how you may be thinking.  When we think of a goal we often think of something like “I want to make a lot of money this year.”  While that is an admirable goal, you are not really saying much as to how you will achieve that goal.

That is where S.M.A.R.T. goal setting comes into play.  Setting goals the SMART way will ensure that you are able to achieve your goals quickly and on time.  Setting goals in this fashion sets you up to hit measured benchmarks to get you where you need to be.

Let’s dive into this further.  A goal of “I want to make a lot of money this year” sounds fine, but how about “I will be earning $50 a day from affiliate marketing through article marketing in three months time.”  Now that sounds like a goal I can hit and a goal that will set me up for success.

Let’s take a look at each letter individually to see why SMART goals are the way to go.

S is for Specific

Setting a specific goal to reach makes it easier for you to set up the steps needed to get there.  Saying you want to make a lot of money is subjective, so that could mean a lot to a lot of different people.  Now saying something like “I want to earn $50 a day” is something you can work towards.  What sort of thing would you need to do in order to reach that goal?  You could provide services by writing articles at $5 a piece, finding enough clients and writing 10 articles a day to reach that goal.  Now do you see the importance of setting specific goals?

M is for Measurable

So how do you know if you achieved your goal?  Or rather how do you measure your benchmark of success?  Easy, when you are earning $50 on a daily basis through article marketing, either freelancing or affiliate marketing.  How you decide you want to earn that amount is up to you to decide, but for this example we are looking at articles as our way to earn.  So now you have a way to measure and gauge your success.

A is for Actionable

Having a goal is one thing, being able to take the steps necessary to achieve it is another.  Setting up plans that you can put into action is key.  For the example here, article writing is one of the easiest things a new marketer can do as it can easily be done.  With little or no experience you could be writing several articles by the end of the day.

R is for Reasonable or Realistic

One of the worst things you can do is set a goal that is too lofty.  Now I am not saying you should aim low, but if your goal is to be earning $1,000 a day by the end of this week and you plan on doing that through freelance writing at $5 each then you are not being very realistic.  Even if you were able to get that many writing jobs you would be looking at having to write 200 articles a day to reach that daily goal.  Setting a reasonable or realistic goal is extremely important in achieving what you want.

T is for Timed

You need to set a time frame to reach your goals; otherwise there is no reason or push for you to work towards them.  If you say you want to be earning $50 a day then you could take your time and it could take years to get there.  Now, saying you want to earn $50 a day in the next 90 days you would then know that you need to be doing very specific things to hit it.

Planning ahead and setting SMART goals before undertaking any online activities will ensure that you are able to achieve what you are setting out to do.  Failing to plan to do so will surely help you plan for failure.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments

The Power of Focus

When you work from your computer it is very easy to get distracted.  There will be times when you will find yourself taking a break to check your email and the next thing you know you have wasted an hour doing other things.

Not only does this happen when we are going about our day to day activities online, but it also translates over to our internet marketing activities. It is so easy to get caught up reading the sales page of a new method and wanting to jump on it and try it out.

Of course that is until you see what the latest guru has out, which is when you will find yourself jumping ship once again to try out the latest and greatest fad technique promising you push button millions.

If you want to make any substantial amount of income you will need to focus yourself and efforts along one path and one path only.  If you choose to do article marketing through different directories, then stick with that until you have got it down before jumping on to say pay per click marketing or the next big thing.

If you don’t, you will find yourself jumping from project to project and never getting anything done.  You will find yourself starting a project and giving up on it to pursue other things, leaving in your wake half-finished sites and incomplete campaigns.

I speak from experience and can attest to the fact that this does and will happen if you do not remain focused on the tasks at hand.

One of the ways that I have gotten through this was to create a to-do list the night before.  For example a sample to do list for me would go something like this:

1)  Research and Write 10 articles for X keywords.
2)  Submit all articles to EZA
3)  Ping all approved articles from the day before at Pingoat
4)  Social book mark all articles from the day before using onlywire

Creating a task list the night before will make sure that you stay on task the next day.  Having lists like this in place will help keep you motivated and on the path to success.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments

Website Design: Free Vs. Paid

If you plan on doing any type of marketing online you will eventually have to build a website or some type of web property.  Whether you plan on providing services or being an affiliate marketer, you will need to learn how to build a basic web property.

Now keep in mind that there are options to choose from.  Some are paid while others are free.  There are also pros and cons in choosing either which I will discuss here.

The Free Option

There are several free options you can choose from.  You can choose sites like Blogger to build a Blog, Hubpages to build a Hub, Facebook, MySpace, other free website builders and the list goes on and on.

The problem you face here is the fact that it is hosted on someone else’s site.  So let’s take the example of building a Blog on Blogger.  Let’s say that you build up content for several years, build links to that Blog and have thousands of posts.  Eventually your site gains page rank and rockets to the number one spot in Google for a highly competitive phrase.

You are earning income on a daily basis from this blog, so much so that it is your main income earner.  Then all of a sudden, Blogger changes its terms of service, reviews your blog as too promotional and spammy and pulls it down in the blink of an eye.  Your years of hard work – gone, your thousands of posts – gone, but even worse your daily income – gone.  By the way this is a true story that just recently happened to a Blogger.

And this is not an isolated incident.  Such is the case when you decide to build a site hosted on another site.  This is the major drawback of going this route.  However the biggest draw is the fact that it is free and typically easy to use.  Now let’s take a look at the paid option.

The Paid Option

Your other option is to go the paid route, but there are costs involved.  What kind of costs?  Well, here is the typical breakdown you can expect:

Hosting: Roughly $120/Year depending what service you choose.

Domain Name Cost: $9/Each per year again depending on which service you choose.

Web Design Software: Varies.  There are free Open Source Programs out there, but you will need to take the time to learn how to use them.  There are design programs out there as well that have tutorials built in, but again these can run from a $100 to several hundred dollars.  Of course the biggest drawback here is the cost, but by far the biggest advantage is that you control your content.  You can design your site how you choose and can create as many sites as you desire.

At the very least, you can expect to spend $129 or so per year.  That is of course factoring that you use some type of free open source software that you will need to take the time to learn.

As you can see the better option to go here is the paid route, however if you are just starting out there is nothing wrong with using a free alternative.

That is of course until you build up enough seed money, which is when you can and should move over to self hosting your sites.  Don’t take the chance that another site will yank down your site, hard work and income in the blink of an eye.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments

Working Online – Get Your Mind Right First

When I first started out I was under the impression that all I needed to do was build a website and I would make money. Well, unfortunately, I was totally wrong.  Sadly, it is just not that easy.

What I have found as a sticking point for many newbies to internet marketing has been an incorrect mindset.  Many come into this thinking that all they need to do is a little bit of work and the money will come flowing in.

That is just not the case.  If you had the kind of money to throw around to outsource and test markets and niches, then perhaps you could get away with working a few hours a week, however that is just not the case for many starting out.

If you are on a limited budget, then I suggest that you take a long hard look at the road ahead.  Since your funds are limited you will need to put in the hard work up front, at least until you earn enough to put back into your business and outsource some of it and scale what you are doing.  There will be much to learn, you will have successes and failures and you will even question if it is worth it.

If I could go back in time and talk to the old me the first thing I would do is tell him to get his mind right.  To know that it is going to take hard work and testing and to stay positive and look at each experience as a learning one.

One of the things I do today on a regular basis is to read positive personal development books and literature to help move me along on those days when I see little to no sales.

I have found that it is completely true that you attract what you think about most.  Get negative and down about your campaigns and sites and you will attract negative things.  Shift your thinking to a more positive mindset and it will show in the work you do, the content you produce and ultimately in more sales, trust me.

Get your mind right and know that you can do this.  Know that you can make this work.  And when you get that very first sale online then you will know it is indeed worth it.

Posted in Getting Started by fundamentalim. No Comments