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!

Email Marketing Trends That Never Go Out of Style

Some people have been saying that email marketing is dead. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Email marketing is here to stay and more popular than ever. When someone says “the money’s in the list” they’re not joking. Collecting email addresses from your target audience is an essential part of marketing.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a sole proprietor working from home as an Internet Marketer or you have a bricks and mortar business. Email marketing is a way to raise your revenue and in fact, it’s a way to give yourself a raise anytime you feel like it with smart marketing techniques. Let’s go over some email marketing tends that never go out of style.

User Engagement — When someone signs up for your email list, they’re not a customer yet. They’re a potential customer. It’s imperative that you find a way to engage them. Encourage your email recipients to ask questions of you, answer polls, and interact with you. Use email to point out little known facts about your products and services that might not be apparent at first. Set these messages up on an auto responder so that a new potential customer is learning about various features of your products and / or services over time.

Delivering Relevant Content is an Imperative — Content is never going to go out of style in pretty much all forms. Email content needs to be relevant, focused, and targeted just like the rest of your content, and even more so. You are writing content for a very specific audience when you write content for email marketing messages. Know your audience, and know what type of content they want, then deliver it without fail.

Treat Email Recipients How You’d Like to Be Treated — You know exactly how you want to be treated when you sign up for someone’s email marketing list. You want to be respected, you want to receive the information promised on the days that were promised. Your email recipients are potential customers or actual customers and need to be treated as such. If you have consent to send emails, send them, personalize them, and respect the recipient.

Market Segmentation Never Goes Out of Style — It is essential that you use an email list provider that allows for market segmentation. List segmentation is going to help you get better open rates, better click through rates, and better response rates. When you segment your list, you’ll send specialized messages to each separate list making your email marketing campaigns more relevant to the recipient. Segmenting improves results exponentially.

Mobile Optimization is Essential — Today, many people are reading their email from a mobile device. It’s important that you realize that and optimize your email for mobile readers. Any links you want the recipient to click should take them to a mobile optimized area too. Nothing can be more disappointing to try to click something or buy something from your mobile device and you can’t. Most people will not wait until they get home to their PC’s to complete the transaction. It’ll just be a lost transaction.

These email marketing trends never go out of style because they are imperative marketing actions that need to be taken today. By focusing on user engagement through relevant content sent to the right person at the right time that your market can answer anywhere will enable you to see a large improvement return on investment.

Understand the Buying Cycle of Your Audience

If you want to turn your business website into a lead machine and money magnet then it’s important to learn more about your audience. You can’t do the first thing from product creation, to landing page creation, to social media marketing without studying and understanding exactly who your audience is, what they want, and what they need.

Identify a Need, Problem, or Desire

Today most consumers understand that they have a need, problem or desire that they want filled, solved, or met. Once they identify that they turn straight to the Internet to conduct research about the issue before setting foot into a store or on a website to buy anything. According to research over 70 percent of people will look to websites to help get answers about every single stage of the buying process.

Seek Education Regarding Need, Problem or Desire

As they search for information they educate themselves not only on the need, problem or desire but also on the various solutions available. They watch videos, read blog posts, read articles and definitions. They look for groups, communities and others with whom they can relate. As a webmaster and business owner you need to ensure that you offer the education that your audience needs to help them determine how your solution is the right one.

Ask Other People Their Opinions

As they find solutions they ask their friends and colleagues for recommendation sand opinions about the information they’ve discovered. More education and discussion ensues about the need, problem or desire. Provide testimonials, recommendations, and information that will help lead people who need other people’s opinions to help them make a choice toward your product or service as their answer.

Check Out Recommendations

Once a few promising solutions have been discovered they go out and seek more information about the recommendations by reading articles, blog posts, and information about the creator of the solution. This is the point in which they often join mailing lists. Often if you have someone who is recommending you, in a testimonial on your site, your site visitor will click through or do a search on the person who gave the testimonial. Make sure it’s someone you want to represent you.

Make Purchase

Finally, once they feel trusting enough in the solution and solution provider they will make a purchase. After they make the purchase they are likely to share what they did with their friends and family as well as the new groups they’ve joined regarding their need, problem or desire. This is why ensuring that you offer real solutions and good customer service is imperative.

As you look through the buying cycle of the average customer today, how do you think your audience aligns with this cycle? Can your marketing and sales process match up to the buying cycle of your customers? Do you offer enough rich, quality content that pulls your audience into your marketing and sales funnel? Are the actions you take after they answer your call to action sufficient to continue the process?

Make Big Money Self-Publishing Information Products

Everyone who publishes will not make a lot of money, regardless if they self-publish or choose the traditional publishing route. It’s just a fact of life. About two percent of all books published, regardless of method, become “best sellers”. But, isn’t big money, in the eye of the beholder? How much extra money do you want in your pocket from your information products? $100 dollars a week? $500 dollars a week? More? It’s all possible if you follow the proper steps to creating a successful business self-publishing information products.

Create Your Information Product — The first step, of course, is to create your information product. What problems does your target audience need to solve? Research and brainstorm the topic, create an outline, write it, or have it written by a ghostwriter. It’s always helpful if you can back up your information with quotes from professionals, case studies, and proof that your solution works.

Proof & Edit Your Information Product — After you think you’re done with your information product, let some third parties look at it to proof and edit it. It is still up to you to accept the critique or not, but it’s always a good idea to let others see the product before you launch it. Does it flow well? Is the sentence structure readable? Does the grammar make sense? Are there any common misspellings or misuse of punctuation? You are too close to the product to do this yourself if you wrote it. Let someone else do this part.

Format Your Information Product Well — How your product is formatted depends on how you plan to distribute it. Are you going to sell it via Kindle, PDF, Print or other method, or all of the above? If so you’ll need special formatting for each case. Formatting is essential for reader enjoyment and even lends to understanding of your concept. Don’t hold back on on this area because it is an essential element to create a successful information product.

Create an Awesome Book Cover — If you’re not a designer, please hire one. Your book cover, and your title, are the two most important aspects of your information product to get someone to buy it. Yes, the inside content needs to be awesome too, but the inside can be a work of art never seen by anyone if book cover is not professional and the title doesn’t speak to your target audience. You can find book cover designers on eLance.com, guru.com, and by asking friends who have access to graphic designers.

Don’t Skimp on Marketing — Some people who claim that information products didn’t earn them any money didn’t finish. They didn’t market. Marketing should start before the official launch of each new information product that you publish. Marketing is an ongoing process that will garner you sells anytime you want them, if you keep doing it. Establishing and maintaining relationships with your target audience is an essential component of business success, including publishing. Don’t be fooled into thinking once the book is published you’re done, you’re only just beginning!

If you want to make big money with information products, follow these tips and you’ll find that you will enjoy the kind of success that you always wanted. People are hungry for information and answers to their problems. You have the answers, and the means to get the answers to them right at your fingertips.

Performing and Applying Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That is why it is so important to perform critical research before you formulate your list of keywords. Then you must apply and continually manage those keywords in order for your SEO efforts to really make a difference.

Create an initial list.
Before you actually begin the SEO process, try to first come up with an initial list of keywords that you think you may want to go after. These should include obvious keywords that are most relevant to your business and words and/or phrases that pertain to your industry.

Find out with how well your site is currently ranking.
There are a number of valuable tools available on the Internet that allow you to find out how well your site is ranking. You can find out where your site current falls within searches as well as which keywords are allowing your site to rank. If you are already ranking for particular keywords, start with a focus on improving your rank with those. However, don’t limit yourself. You will probably need to optimize for new, additional keywords in order to truly improve your rankings.

Use a keyword suggestion tool.
While you don’t want to conclude your keyword list with hundreds of words that are unattainable and unrealistic to top, keyword suggestion tools can be extremely helpful in the creation of your list. They are a great way to also discover keywords and phrases you may not have thought of. Google and Wordtracker are the most popular tools, but others are available. However, be aware that not all keyword research and suggestion tools are free.

Finalize and prioritize your keyword list.
Once you finalize your list of keywords, you will want to prioritize that list. Begin by assigning a priority percentage to each keyword, with the most relevant keyword having the highest percentage to the least relevant keyword with the lowest percentage. Think of it this way: What percentage of customers is searching for each particular word? Are 100% of your customers searching for any particular keyword? Probably not. Just use common sense.

Your list of keywords should be ever-changing.
Once you go live with your new SEO efforts, you will want to keep a close eye on how well your new keywords are performing. Which keywords are being searched the most and generating the most traffic? Which keywords are performing as expected? Which keywords are exceeding your expectations? Which keywords are not doing as well as you expected? Pay attention to trends, good and bad, and revise as often as necessary without harming your efforts that are working.

SEO, especially successful SEO, takes time. It takes patience and most importantly, it requires a lot of attention. But ultimately, it will pay off if you not only keep up with it, but truly invest your time and energy into making it the best it can be.

How to put your keywords to work

We all know what keywords are, how to find them and why they are important. But are you sure how to use them? Here are a few ways that you can apply keywords to your site in order to make them work for you and improve your ranking.

Optimize your content. Keywords will only be helpful to you if they appear organically within your site content. What does that mean? It means they must be part of your copy without seeming forced or out of place.

For example: Take the keyword phrase “terrible twos”.

Organic –> “The terrible twos can be extremely difficult to manage.”

Inorganic –> “A difficult toddler who has the terrible twos might be in the terrible twos stage.”

Believe it or not, search engines (particularly Google) are smart enough to recognize content that is inorganically loaded with keywords. Weaving keywords throughout your website content takes time, expertise and strong writing skills. If you are not equipped to do this, consider hiring a professional copywriter who is well versed in SEO and able to write quality keyword-driven content for your site.

Meta Tags. Meta tags are the information that is included in the header of your website on each page. Viewers to your website can not see meta tags, but they can be viewed in HTML. They provide information to browsers as well as search engines which ultimately impacts your rankings. If your meta tags are named correctly, they will help with your SEO efforts.

Meta keyword tags should always: include keywords that you have specifically chosen to optimize; be separated by commas, not spaces; only appear once; and are frequently updated and continually managed.

While keywords can be put to use in many ways, content and meta tags are a great place to start. Conquering these two aspects of keyword SEO is an essential piece to the puzzle and will help to ensure your SEO campaign is a success.

Understanding the Difference Between Back and Front End Sales

When you first start planning your sales funnel and creating your marketing strategy you may be confused by the terms Back-End Sales and Front-End Sales. Understanding these concepts is key to a successful sales funnel and ultimately your online profits.

Front-End Sales. Your Front-End Sale is the first product your prospect purchases. In your sales funnel, this could be at any price point. Your front-end sale could be your lowest priced item, say a book or an introductory report for example. It could also be one of your higher priced items. While most customers may enter your funnel at the very beginning, that’s not always the case. Therefore, it pays to have back end offers designed for each and every price point in your funnel.

Back-end sales. Back-end sales are where the money is truly made. Your back-end products and offers are designed to enhance the product your customer just purchased or is getting ready to purchase. For example, if your customer just purchased a book then your back-end offer might be a corresponding workbook or online course to compliment the book. The key to having a successful back-end sales strategy is to make sure each offer compliments or enhances the value of the product they just purchased.

If, for example, your customer purchased a book and your back-end offer is an unrelated software product then your customer is going to be left scratching their head. Their confidence in you and their trust in you is going to falter. Not a good thing.

However, if your offer compliments what they just purchased or are getting ready to purchase and offers them more value, their trust and confidence in you is going to increase. See how this works?

The key to a successful sales funnel is to create complimentary back-end products and offers. Understand that customers may enter your funnel at different points and be ready to up the ante, offer them more value, and increase your profts.

Are You Ignoring the Official StumbleUpon Blog?

Where is the first place you’ll hear news about StumbleUpon? Why, on it’s official blog, of course. It’s community-driven, contains facts that don’t need to be checked out… and yet many people waste valuable time searching through Google when they want to find out the latest StumbleUpon news. Of course, the drawback with that is… often what they find can be as much as 5 years old!

When you take a closer look, the simple tabs on StumbleUpon’s official blog are a model for our own sites:

– About us
– Recommendation Engine
– Official Blog
– Press
– Jobs
– Legal

We should all make sure things that are specific to our site subject and things that are basic are provided on our web pages within plain sight, the way StumbleUpon’s blog lays them out in its “Recommendation Engine”. It’s so important to provide interesting, valuable and original content, as StumbleUpon’s official blog does.

We should all have a Press Page – but too many of us don’t. And, of course, legal disclaimers are a “must”.

Some of the most recent entries on the official blog include:

– News about StumbleUpon’s capabilities (“StumbleUpon Extension for Chrome Now Officially Available!”)

– News about important community events (“Party with StumbleUpon at SXSW 2010!”)

– News about organizational changes (“A Warm Welcome to Marc Leibowitz – new VP of Business Development and Marketing!”)

– News about contests (“Announcing the StumbleUpon Haiku Contest Winners!”)

– News about StumbleUpon-compatible technology (“Introducing StumbleUpon for the iPad!”)

The information is concise yet gives the detail you need. It’s always up to date – no need to go hunting to find out if the news is six years old or not. Their illustrations and screenshots are helpful. Really, the only thing you can fault them for is “Excessive Use of Exclamation Marks in Headlines”.

When it comes to the ultimate authority source for the latest, the official StumbleUpon blog is a resource and model you shouldn’t ignore. Find it at: http://stumbleupon.com/sublog/

Mobile Website Branding

If you are focused on branding your business, remember that your mobile website can help – or hurt – this process.

What is “branding” exactly? The practice of creating an instantly recognizable site, logo, color scheme or any other visual “cue” that helps viewers identify it instantly with your product or business.

If you’ve set things up properly, the advantages you can expect to reap from branding are:

Your customer knows who you are and what you’re about
What to expect in quality, service and price
Whether or not he is your favored target market (and if he is, he tends to stay loyal!)

You need a strategy, if you decide to focus on branding. You need ideas and methods to keep your sites and products in front of the public eye.

Coca-Cola’s distinctive red-and-white colors are as much a part of its branding as its actual logo. Even when small details change, the overall feel stays the same.

The Coca-Cola polar bears are instantly recognizable as part of that brand. Their graphic representation taps into 2 key elements of strong branding:

– Consistency
– Repetition

Even though you don’t want heavy graphics with a mobile website, small graphic elements that instantly remind people of your brand will work well. Allowing your branding to remain even through your mobile sites ensures:

1. Potential customers think of you, the moment they see those graphic elements on their mobiles

2. Potential customers know instantly what they’re going to get – they develop either a positive or negative emotion when they see your name or logo

3 Repetition of positive feelings brings trust – and a willingness to entertain your offers

4. Trust brings purchases – and develops repeat customers, who remain loyal for as long as you remain consistent

So don’t neglect your branding (if that’s relevant to your business strategy) when you decide to go mobile.

It can help boost your credibility more than you might ever realize, or think!