Cash in During the Holiday Season with Sales

During the holiday season every store you know is having a sale of some kind. You hear about some of the sales on the news with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales creating the kind of buzz that marketers can only dream about the rest of the year. Even if your store is completely on line, and even if you deal in digital products you too can take part in these sales so that you can cash in during the holiday season.

Make The Sale Amazing

First, decide what type of offer you’re going to create. It should answer your customers’ needs, while also ensuring that you still make a profit. If you sell digital items this is simple. You can literally sell your digital items for 99 cents and still rake in a profit because once you’ve created a digital product and made back your initial investment it’s all profit from there.

Make The Sale Time Sensitive

Next, it’s important that your sale offer is time sensitive. You don’t want to keep any sale going for an entire month. You literally want to have various sales at different levels during the entire holiday season with Cyber Monday and Black Friday to be your main sale dates. At the most you can go for a Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale, but don’t drag it on too long if you want to make the most sales.

Make the Sale Make Sense

You want to sell things during your holiday sale that make sense to your audience. It’s okay if it’s a brand-new item, or an old item, or a package of both, just make sure it fits in with your audience and their needs. Like all products and / or service it should answer a need of your audience. Don’t change that formula for a special holiday sale.

Partner With Others

Holiday sales are a great time to create a short joint venture partnership with others who offer complementary products and services to yours. By creating one big sales page with a lot of awesome sales on a lot of different products and services, and then by jointly marketing them to all combined audiences you’ll make a bigger impact for your holiday sale.

Don’t Forget the CTA (Call to Action)

The most important part of your sale outside of the actual product is your call to action. If you aren’t clear in your call to action you won’t make the sale. The call to action should include the deadline, the price, and what to do to make them click through and make the purchase. By including a clear CTA you will win more sales, every single time.

Finally, give your audience enough time to get excited about the sale. Let them know with teaser blog posts, emails, and newsletter entries that you will be having an amazing sale that they can’t miss out on. Hint, tease, and lead up to the big day and you will be sure to cash in during the holidays with sales.

Membership Site Software: Why Use It?

There are many benefits to running an ongoing membership site, but when it comes to choosing how you’re going to run it, membership site software can make things even easier and even more profitable! Here’s a quick guide as to why you should consider using it.

1) Add Content Easily: A number of membership site models are based on adding or updating content, and membership site software makes this task far easier. Rather than dealing with individual clients, and attempting to supply updated information by e-mail or other methods, you can simply add the new content to your membership site and all paid-up members will receive it. Not only will this save you time, it’s also far more secure than sharing files via email.

2) Easily Manage Payments: Managing the payments side of your membership site is another key benefit. Normally when you have to deal with collecting payments from multiple clients, and at different times throughout the month, it’s hard to know who has paid their monthly fee and who hasn’t. When using one of the many membership site payment options it is easy to manage this automatically.

3) Build A Community Within Your Membership: One very good reason to use membership site software is the option to include a forum within your membership. Quite a few membership sites maintain their monthly membership fees largely due to the participants’ reluctance to leave the forum. This is especially true if you take an active role within the forum yourself. You can, of course, hire someone else to manage the forum: this can be a useful option if you are planning to run multiple membership sites at once.

4) It’s Easy: The main reason why people choose to launch their membership with membership site software is because it’s so easy. All you need is good content and a good idea and you can set it up with little to no technical experience, and just a small amount of cash to pay for the software (sometimes it’s a one-time fee, sometimes it means an ongoing monthly cost).

Let Others Spread Your Message For You!

Here’s something Frank Kern did a while ago that always works like gangbusters (whenever you do it right)…

He set-up a website, drove a bit of traffic to it and made those site visitors send him MORE traffic.

That’s the basis of “viral” internet marketing and here’s one way that I’ve done it in the past, and how another guy turned 100 site visitors into over 21,000 visitors.

Here’s the key to making this work, if you setup something like this using this software (or anyone else’s).

1. Your sign-up incentive should be about an exciting idea.

2. Your referral incentive should be a tool/ product/service that will help them accomplish the exciting idea.

I’ve done this many, many times over the past 12 years and you can too.

PS — There’s a video demo on the page

PPS — Videos make great referral incentives too *hint, hint*

Online Contests Create Buzz for Your Business

One of the most important components of your online marketing arsenal is to have a healthy email list. One of the best ways to accumulate targeted email addresses for your email list is to get lots of traffic. One of the best ways to get lots of traffic is to create buzz. Finally, one of the best ways to create buzz is to have an online contest.

Online contests are a fun and easy way to attract a lot of attention. If you plan carefully, you might even “go viral.” Businesses, large and small are doing it. You’ve likely seen some contests yourself. Maybe you even wondered whether or not you could conduct such a contents for your business. Well, the answer is, yes you can! It’s not hard if you plan for it, and give it the time and attention it deserves.

Get Your Website Ready — If you run a contest and your website is not ready for the new traffic it will be a wasted effort. Ensure that your host can handle the influx of new traffic, and make sure all the technical aspects are taken care of. But, it is also important to ensure that new visitors feel welcomed to your website and know what to do. Make it special for them in terms of a special landing page, and special call to action.

Make the Contest Relevant — Your contest should be relevant to your target audience and mean something to them. The worst contest will leave people not understanding the point of the contest or what brand is being promoted. Make sure your brand is promoted, and that no one is left scratching their head.

Have a Call to Action — You’ll be collecting email addresses during the contest, but ensure that you have a clear call to action. They should know that by entering their email, they’re entering the contest, but that they’re also going to get something from you such as a newsletter, updates, further advertisements, whatever it is you’re going to use that email for, let them know. Then do it.

Promote the Contest — That’s right, the contest will not promote itself, at least not at the beginning. Promote it the same way you do any other product. Blog about it before hand, get the excitement up, talk about it on social media. Then, launch it, blog about it, and promote it on social media. You can even get your affiliates to promote it, and set up a way for those who enter the contest to also promote it easily. The important thing is, you need to make a big deal about it so that it is taken as a big deal.

By having a contest you’ll create a huge buzz that, if you play your cards right, can create a huge windfall for your business in terms of website traffic, and if you have a bricks and mortar store, an influx of new feet in the door ready to spend money with you. Contests do so much more than spread brand awareness, they also spread goodwill, and great feelings about your business, products and services.

6 Picks for Best Mobile Websites

What makes a great mobile website? We all have our own criteria, but basically, many of the same qualities that make good sites on PC’s. They have to be:

– Reliable
– Quick to load
– Easy to browse

This latter requirement, however, differs slightly, when it comes to mobiles. “Easy to browse” means the navigation buttons can’t be too piddly-sized; shouldn’t be out of sight, and the amount of interaction (i.e. clicking and entering data) you have to do should be the absolute minimum.

And if it’s a mobile version of a well-established PC website, as many components as possible should be the same (or a simplified version), making it familiar and friendly to use.

Here are my top 6 picks for enjoyable and easy to use browsers for most mobiles. When so many sites still haven’t caught on to
what’s happening out in the real world, these sites are refreshingly easy to access – and use.

1. Topping the list and easily bagging the gold, m.facebook.com. You can basically use it exactly the way you would on computer.

2. Next, the silver medal goes to m.amazon.com. Amazon has espoused the credo: “Keep It Very, Very Simple”. What this means in
actual fact is that (providing you already have an Amazon account set up) you can purchase goods directly, using your mobile.

3. The bronze medal goes to the competitor everyone loves to hate (secretly), google.com/xhtml – you can personalize it for your
mobile, as well as access weather, movie times, news, and local searches. (A GPS, though, it’s not!)

4. This one’s a personal favorite… Darren Rowse’s Problogger.net has gone mobile (using the WPTouch plug-in, so you don’t even have to lift a finger to view it properlly in your mobile screen.)

5. Don’t want to wait till you get home to log onto Twitter? Don’t want to miss any of the latest links? You can set yourself up for
m.twitter.com either on your PC or on your mobile. (Only drawback – pushing it further down the list – no Direct Messages.)

6. Last but not least, mobile Wikipedia (wapedia.mobi/en) – entertaining and handy if you want to look something up in a spare
moment – but it’s last in my top six because Wikipedia data is not always reliable.

Notice that these are all large, mainstream sites. It’s my hope that more and more unique, individual sites will go mobile in the near future.

And then I hope you’ll write and suggest your own “local heroes”.

Networking Skills: What to do with all Those Business Contacts

You finally made it to a local networking event and met some contacts, now what? Assuming you connected with people that you can help or that help you, now you need a plan of action. Don’t wait until next week or next month to contact them. Make it a point right after your event to write a note to your new acquaintances. Be sure to set a time and date you will call or email them. Schedule it in your calendar and on your phone. You want to contact at least 2 people a day. Be sure to take notes when talking to them on the phone or in person.

After you contact them for the first time, set up an additional appointment. It doesn’t have to be for lunch, it can just be a brief phone call, a text message or even a short email. What you want to do now is find out the answers to the following questions.

What are your personal values? – Knowing this will help you stay true to your business mission and your personal goals. It will also help you identify these qualities in your prospective business associates.

What do you want from this contact? – Keeping your personal values in mind, what are you looking for with regards to working with this contact? If the relationship turns into a contract what will your pay be? How can you work together?

What does your contact want from you? It is important to note that a relationship goes both ways. It gives and it takes so at times you’ll be giving the support and assistance and at other times your contact will. How can your contact best be served through your business knowledge?

What can you offer your contact? What does your business do that will help your contact move forward in his or her business? Will you charge for this or will it be a mentoring relationship?

What can your contact offer you? What qualities does your contact have that your business can use to move forward in the next year or two? Will you pay for their service or can you work out a joint venture partnership where both parties get what they want?

Once you have the answers to all of these questions you’ll want to maintain a spreadsheet for this. You’ll create a section for each contact and periodically check up on them. Update your goals every quarter to make sure you are both still meeting each other’s needs.

Networking is something you should be doing as a regular part of building your business. You never know when someone you know will be the contact that brings about your next big contract or project. Don’t wait until you need to “network”, that is, when your client base is dried up. Maintain these relationships as though they are your friends and you will reap the rewards when the time comes for you to utilize their expertise in a job.

5 Easy Ways To Come Up With Article Ideas

However much experience a writer has, it’s always a challenge to come up with new ideas for articles and blog posts. This means that if you’re under pressure to have a constant stream of new ideas, then you’re far from alone. This article gives you five easy ways to come up with new article ideas. Even if they seem obvious, reflect a bit on how much you actually use them for yourself and you’ll probably realize that you could be making a lot more use out of the method than you previously have been!

Keep A List: Some people are compulsive note takers and list makers. However, most of us don’t often stop to think about how valuable keeping a list can be. You can bring a notepad with you wherever you go or, alternatively, simply use your mobile phone as a notepad for making lists.

The basic idea is to list anything at all that interests you during your day at the very moment you find out about it – whether that’s a new band you should listen to, and interesting conversation you overheard, something you read in the newspaper or a new café that you might like to visit. Don’t wait to note it down later and don’t think it’s not worth making a note of. You can figure out whether it really is useful or not at a later point.

Once you’ve been keeping a list this way for a while, you’ll be able to consult it when you are struggling to come up with ideas. A continually updated list is an absolute goldmine for these situations!

Read A Lot: Don’t limit yourself to writing only. Good writers feed off each other, and reading a lot can help you come up with loads of ideas. Read widely, and you’ll probably find it’s even better. Best of all, read something that challenges your ideas about something and it’ll be sure to generate loads of great article ideas for you.

Stay Alert: Keep your eyes and ears open wide at all times. Pay attention to everything, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Keeping alert to possible ideas whenever and wherever you are can help immeasurably with inspiration. Almost every day will turn up something of interest.

Ask Lots Of Questions: Don’t take things for granted. Get into the habit of asking questions about anything and everything. Why isn’t that abandoned old building being used for something? How did this banana get all the way to the supermarket? How is this computer made? What kinds of bacteria live in the fridge? The more questions you ask, the better. Every question asked is a potential article idea!

Ask Others: If you’re really stumped for ideas, then ask other people what’s on their mind. Better still, just flat out ask them if they’ve got any good suggestions for something you could write about. Most people will be happy to offer up ideas, and you can have a chat while you’re at it!

If you only have room in your head to remember one of these ideas though, make it to keep lists! No matter how many ideas you come up with, if you don’t keep track of those ideas you’ll end up losing them. Keep your ideas written down, and you’ll be able to turn to them whenever you find the need!

Thinking Outside the Box on Offline Information Product Promotion

You’ve been diligent about promoting your information product online, and your passive income has been slowly but surely increasing, as a result. But there are other ways you can bring people to your minisite or sales page. You just have to get in the habit of being aware of them.

Offline Methods

If you’re thinking “expensive ads”, think again. There are several ways reach your target market, offline as well as on.

For example, have you thought about simply including the link you want to drive them to on your business card, under your signature?

It takes seconds to put that link in your signature or resource box on press releases or letters you send to local papers, too.

And don’t neglect your local store and community center bulletin board as a place to plant your flyers – with your product link in the tear off tags, as well as the usual phone number.

The Hidden Market – In Plain Sight

But there’ s one more way to get your name out, and capture an offline lead. Local organizations are always looking for guest speakers. See if there’s a “business startup” program that’s partially government-funded, or one that’s provided by another agency.

Find out the name of the contact person – all you have to do is phone the agency, or drop in and ask. Approach them, and offer to be a guest speaker on the subject of “marketing online” or “internet promotion”. Chances are, surprising as it may sound, they won’t have anyone in their number who can fulfill that function. They’ll most likely jump on your offer – especially if it’s free.

And all you do is hand out your business card at the end of your helpful seminar – with (you guessed it) your information product link below your signature.

Create Your Own Opportunities

That brings us to our last 2 offline promotion methods. Don’t waste the space on the back of that business card – fill it with a small ad for your product in the style of direct response ads, getting right to the point.

And (especially if you live in a small town) be sure to phone your local radio station, and offer to be a guest. Have a one-page promotional bio page ready to fax or email them, if they ask.
When you’re writing the bio page, just remember the purpose is to tell them why you would be an interesting guest for their readers – and cut out anything else (except credentials you’d like to include.)You might think that it would be hard, getting a guest spot on a radio show, but the truth is, it’s more often not. People are always looking for interesting guests to fill up slots in a show, and they’re delighted when one who’s well-prepared walks through the door, for free.

But there’s one final tip about offline promotion that has served me better than any other. I take my motto from the boy scouts: “Always be prepared.” Always have those business cards tucked away in your pocket, wallet or purse. Carry a few extra in the car – and be ready to make your pitch, when asked.

After all, there’s no point going to all that trouble to beef up your business cards – if you forget to have them with you!

How to use social media to monitor buzz

Monitoring your buzz via social media can be a real time sucker. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and it’s a great tool to use for automatically managing your social media and finding out what people are saying about you. There are a lot of ways you can use RSS to your benefit when it comes to social media and creating automation to avoid time wasters.

Here are the step by step instructions to setting up your RSS reader to monitor your social media buzz.

Set up Google Reader Account

Set up Google Alerts

By setting up RSS feeds to monitor the social buzz about you, your niche and business you can then check it all on one page in one glance a couple of times a day. Better you can have your virtual assistant to set it up, and check it once a day and send you a report if something exciting happens, or is otherwise important that needs to be dealt with.

Twitter Search

Assess Your Online Reputation

In order to track and monitor your online reputation it’s important to do an assessment first. Your online reputation is very important to your future success. Without maintaining the reputation you want to project you might unwittingly project something you don’t want to project. To take control of your online reputation check it out for yourself.

What do prospects see when they search for you? What type of information have you unwittingly put out about yourself that could damage your online reputation? Today, we live in a very politically divided society. Depending upon your audience something that seems very small could offend the wrong people causing your business to lose untold amounts of revenue.

For now, just take a look at what others see.

Use Multiple Search Engines

Don’t focus all your searching on just one search engine such as Google Search. Remember that there are others that people use such as Yahoo!, Ask.com and more. Using the keywords you want to rank for, search each search engine to find out what others are finding out about you. In addition, do a search for just your name, or just your company name. This is a good way to find out what people see when they do that, and make no mistake, people do that.

Use Social Media for Searching

Don’t forget that people more and more use social media almost as a search engine. Try searching for keywords, your name, the companies name, the product name and more on each social media network. It’s a great way to monitor the buzz about you and your company. Social media is very important today when it comes to your online reputation. Not only do you want to monitor what others say about you, but you need to be cognizant of what you’re saying and doing on social media.

Set up a Google Alert

A Google Alert lets you use various keywords, company names, personal names, and more to be sent information in your inbox from news, blogs and social media when that term is used. It’s a great way to monitor when something is being said about your company as well as keep up-to-date in your niche. You can be sure to comment on blogs that are about your niche, as well as comment on discussions that your product, service, or business was discussed.

Go A Couple Pages In

Most people who search for your information won’t go past the first couple of pages, but you should go in three or four pages just to be sure about the results. Search for your company name, your name, your product, the brand, your handles and user names as well to find out what’s being said about you or what you’ve said about you. Most of the time the things you find out that aren’t very good will be information you’ve put out yourself without thinking.

It’s important to worry about your online reputation because consumers will do their research before spending money with you. During your searches if you find things that you’d rather not be out in the open, there are things you can do to either remove or bury the results. Remember to disable personalized search results as you are doing your research.