Creating Lifelong Customers

It’s a well-known realization not all of those from your target market who visit your website will in fact become customers. There is an opportunity here for time, resources and money to be wasted on trying to coax the wrong type of person into the ‘inner sanctum’ of your sales funnel. It’s important to understand your ideal client, before you end up spending a small fortune trying to grab hold of people who won’t do your internet business justice.

Another point to understand how people perfer to buy from those they know, have confidence in, and actually like. These are all aspects you can achieve with each of your customers, even if you never meet them face to face.

Developing this level of trust may take some time; however once it is developed your client will be more open to spending money with you, even on those higher ticket-priced items. They could quickly and easily become a qualified buyer – someone who has already tested the waters so to speak. They have signed up and received your free item, and maybe even purchased your low ticket item. They’re now poised to become a source of reasonable income for your internet business.

In order to keep them coming back, you need to continue to supply them with information relevant to the niche. Gradually working up to higher ticket-priced items, you need to ensure your customers are still receiving quality information. While articles and e-Books are great to start out with, reports and home study courses are good to have in the works from the beginning of your launch. By starting early you know you’ll have these ready for your customers when the time comes for their need.

This is where is becomes important for you to encourage your prospect or customer to revisit, by reminding them you are there. A great strategy for achieving this is to create a mailing list or opt-in list. By offering them some information for free when they sign up, you are not only encouraging them to provide you their information, but also giving them a bite-sized chunk of what type of information they could expect from your communications. This is the beginning of the processes of building that level of trust you require to keep those customers coming back, or waiting with excitement for news from you about new products available to them.

Offering something of value to your site visitors makes it easier for them to agree to pass on their information to you. They know quite well if they give out their contact information, they are going to receive promotional emails or follow-ups from you. It’s paramount to make it worth their while if you want to keep them coming back for more of what you have to offer. Keeping them up-to-date on upcoming features or articles is another great way to keep the suspense and excitement going strong.

Creating lifelong customers does require hard work and dedication. Take great care to plan your content and marketing strategy accordingly. Earn your prospect’s trust and keep it and you will have a lifelong customer.

Generate extra money fast, with services

As an online business owner you know that it takes time to start generating the passive income you’re so looking forwarding to receiving. Sometimes, it takes long enough that instead of dipping into savings to support your fledging business you make a choice: Shut Down or Provide Services. That’s right, you can provide services if you want to generate some fast cash to support your business. If you’re to the point now where the business is built, you’re adding steady content, you’re doing all the marketing functions that you can, and now you simply need cash, adding services may be just the thing you need to get your business over the hump.

Here are some ideas for extra products and services that you can add to your current business.

Content Services

From blogging, to creating eBooks for others, you can create content and get paid for it. Business owners are always looking for ways to get keyword rich content on their websites. From rewriting private label content, to writing original content, to posting that content on websites and blogs for the client, there are services that you can offer that all relate in some way to content.

Think for a moment of the lifecycle of a blog post.

* Write the Blog
* Edit & Format the Blog
* Post the Blog
* Promote the Blog Post
* Share the Blog Post
* Rewrite Post for Newsletter
* Rewrite Post as an Article
* Repeat

This is basically what happens to every blog post you write. If you offer those services to others, you can create an entire income stream based on any one or all of these services. Imagine the cycle of other content items you can create, and offer services around that cycle. If you prefer, only offer the writing portion, or only offer services of the posting portion. It’s up to you what services you offer, and how often you want to offer it.

Graphic Design Services

You don’t have to be terrific at Graphic Design to offer basic services. You can offer most needed services by using a free program called GIMP. Creating basic banners, buttons, eBook and eReport covers isn’t very difficult. The client provides the information, as well as a basic description of what they want, any stock photography they need, and you simply put it all together. You can make $60 per hour, or more, providing this type of graphic design.

Website Security Services

Some people need general monthly maintenance on their WordPress websites. If you have this skill, you can offer this to others. Backing up their site, adding plugins, and other security issues can be handled on a quarterly basis for clients. You can make about 100 dollars per client, per quarter by offering this service. You do need the technical knowledge to do this service, but if you do it for yourself accurately, then you can do it for others.

Keyword Research

A very valuable service to offer is Keyword Research. Many people who want to start online businesses need keyword research. A really awesome aspect of this type of service is that it’s kind of fun because you will learn a lot about keywords as well as other niche ideas. If you save your research, you can adjust it slightly for each client within the same niche, enabling you to get paid more for less work.

If you give it some thought, you can come up with services to add to your online business for the short term to help you infuse cash into your business while you work toward profitability.

How To Launch and Manage a Successful Affiliate Program

Every successful affiliate program is connected to a successful product. Whether you are selling
a widget, a service or both, your business is the very foundation for your success and when that
foundation is strong, the sky truly is the limit. That is why you should take advantage of every
opportunity possible to let the world know about your business and just how great it is.
Launching your own affiliate program is the perfect way to do just that.

With a great business under your belt, you may have already considered the idea of launching
your own affiliate program. Well, the good news is you are already off to a great start. You have
a product that you believe in, that you know sells and that has the potential to be profitable. All
that is missing is more customers. How do you obtain more customers? Through that affiliate
program you have been waiting to launch!

No one knows your business better than you do, but you can quickly and easily employ a team of
affiliate marketers who can reach hundreds, even thousands more potential customers in a way
that is cost-effective, efficient and proven to work. All you have to do is provide the materials
and they bring in the sales. If it sounds easy, that’s because it is.

When launching your own affiliate program, it’s a good idea to start with high-quality software.
You will want to purchase affiliate management software that will allow you to create a one-
stop-shop for both you and your affiliate marketing team. You should be able to create and post
important information like your terms and conditions, your affiliate agreement, and any and all
creative marketing materials that you would like your affiliates to use when advertising your
business. This is how you will control your brand as well. In addition, you will want to purchase
software that offers a commission tracking functionality and other services like auto sign-up and
automated management of all affiliate work. Robust affiliate management software is the best
way to ensure your program will not only be successful, but easy to manage so that you can
focus on growing your business, not babysitting your marketing efforts.

Once you have created your program, you will want to attract affiliates who are familiar with
your line of work, who know and understand your product and who have access to your target
market. Having hundreds of affiliates is only beneficial if they are quality affiliates. In this case,
quality is more important than quantity. However, don’t underestimate the power of numbers.

In fact, a successful affiliate program inherently is a numbers game. The trick is to gain the most
valuable affiliates as possible so that they can reach as many customers as possible and therefore
maximize your profit. If you value your team and manage them well by paying them on time,
rewarding them with high commissions and offering incentives and bonuses on a continual basis,
you will reap the benefits of a successful affiliate program and your business will become an
even greater success.

5 Reasons to Keep Personal & Professional Activities Separate

It’s very important to keep your personal and professional lives separate on your social media accounts. Keeping your personal and professional separate is necessary in order to be able to use social media to its best for your business. If you’ve not done so, it’s time to clean up your social media – create separate accounts, and migrate your friends to your private accounts and your business associates to your business accounts.

Believe it or not, your business associates will understand and appreciate that you want to keep things separate. It might be hard to ask people to migrate to your business accounts off your personal accounts but it’s a very important move to make for the sake of your business. Create the new accounts, then give them the link and the reason a few times, then “un-friend” or “un-follow” them.

Let’s go over the reasons why you should separate your personal and professional activities on your social media accounts:

1. Your Target Market – The rules of marketing say that everything you “say” or “do” should take your target audience into consideration. By separating your personal and professional activities it’ll be easier to do this.
2. Perception is Reality – Something Dr. Phil says often and it’s true, perception really is reality. In business only your customer’s perception matters. Even if you share something totally benign but your business associate takes it wrong, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with business you’ve wasted the tremendous opportunities that social media provides your business.
3. Business Associates aren’t Family – Of course you love your customers, and certain some clients and associates will cross over to the friend column and become true friends and even people you treat like family. But, this is rare. You and your family deserve to keep your personal business to yourselves.
4. Conflict of Interest – Sometimes there can be times where your personal life and some of your business activities conflict. A good example would be if you happen to be a vegan for diet and health reasons, but you are hired to create low-carb recipes that have meat in them. You have no inner struggle with doing this, but you like to post about being a vegan on your personal pages. Clients might not want to hire you because they may think you can’t cross over.
5. It Lives Forever – Even if you delete a post, a comment, or a picture from your social media accounts and try to scrub all social media of anything controversial it can still live out there forever in the form of a screen shot, or in a historic archive via Google.

For these five reasons, and I have no doubt you can’t think of more, you can see how important keeping your private life separate from your business life on social media. To use social media as a marketing channel for your business is an art that requires focus. If you are mixing accounts, it will be difficult to stay focused. Plus, you run the risk of offending — or worse, boring your target audience.

Testing and Tracking Direct Mail Campaigns

Experienced online business owners should know about testing and tracking their ads and their sales copy. This simply means placing one ad or one version of a sales page online and tracking how many clicks and purchases they get in a given amount of time.

If the sales copy isn’t bringing in the desired results, tweaking the headline or body copy can sometimes make a difference. After the change is made, the number of clicks and purchases is recorded again and hopefully showing an improvement.

This same process of testing and tracking should be done for direct mail campaigns, too, and resembles a split test scenario often used in email marketing. In this case, the advertiser is preparing two versions of their direct mail campaign, each with slightly different features.

What Do You Test?

One direct marketing piece might test a brightly colored card stock as opposed to a plain white postcard stock. The message and the graphics would be the same except for the color of the paper.

Another item to test might be a handwritten envelope as opposed to a computer-generated label. Or having a website URL printed on the envelope as opposed to a plain white envelope.

Basically, the advertiser is splitting their mailing list in half and changing just one item from each mailing. If too many features are changed at once, the advertiser won’t know exactly which feature made an impact and all this information will be important for future direct mail campaigns.

How To Track Results

The only way to know if a direct mail campaign is working is to ask the recipients when they call or visit your website and there are two common ways to track this data.

1. Print different tracking codes on each direct mail piece. Each of these codes will correspond with a particular list and a particular segment of the list. For instance, the list of elementary school teachers in New York who received a bright yellow postcard would have a different code from the elementary school teachers in New York who received a plain white postcard.

Likewise, the second mailing to these same list segments would have different codes from the first, and so on. Creating different codes allows the advertiser to ask for the code each time a phone call comes in and they will know immediately which postcard they received. At the end of the week or the month, tally the results and you’ll know for the next campaign if the colored paper was more successful than the plain white paper.
2. Setup multiple phone lines or extensions for each mailing. This is very easy to do with an internet phone service or by simply having an organized receptionist directing calls to employees.

For instance, the yellow postcard recipients would dial or ask for extension 100 and the plain white postcard recipients would ask for extension 150. Both of these calls might go to the same person but now the advertiser knows exactly which mailing the caller is responding to.

Testing and tracking direct mail campaigns isn’t a waste of money; in fact, it’s a very reliable way to improve open rates and sales conversions. Not testing and tracking is like throwing money into the wind and not knowing where it’s going to land.

Grow your business with recurring revenue

The best type of business to start is one with recurring revenue that can build each month. In some circles this is called residual income. The important factor is that starting today to build recurring revenue can have a huge impact on your business success tomorrow. You’re probably familiar with the flashy sales pages that show the work at home person enjoying a life full of big houses, fast cars, and exotic vacations around the world. While all that is nice, we all know that just having a reliable income in which to support your family is the real goal. But, with recurring income you really never know what can happen.

The following are recurring income ideas that almost any business owner can add to their business model.

eCourse Sales

eBook Sales

Online Tutorials

Membership Sites

Affiliate Marketing

If you notice, all of the above require that you create products in addition to whatever other work you are doing. Whether you perform technical support, write content, perform virtual assistant tasks, graphic design or something else entirely, it doesn’t matter, you can create information products that can be turned into streams of recurring income. You are an expert in what you do, there is no reason you can’t teach other people how to do what you do.

It is also possible to outsource the creation of the eBooks, eCourses, Tutorials, and even the entire set up of membership sites and affiliate program if you are not sure whether you can do it or not. Take on some extra work to help you pay someone to do these things for you so that you can create an enduring and growing recurring revenue stream to sustain your business for years to come.

Recurring revenue streams such as these are not “one off” sales like trading hours for dollars is. The work, money and time you invest today will pay off down the road. In fact, creating recurring revenue streams is a sure way to create a snowball effect in your business. Don’t be frightened that you’re an “idea” person instead of a writer, you can hire a writer. Don’t worry that you do administrative tasks but aren’t very technical, anything you need done can be outsourced if you don’t want to or can’t take the time to learn it yourself.

One of the best ways to start is to create an email membership eCourse. You can set up the entire membership without being done with the eCourse. Set it up to be as long as you want it to be, six months, eight months or a yearlong eCourse where you deliver new material to your members each month. All you need is an outline to keep you on track and members who are relying on you to get the information to them.

Once you have completed an entire year long membership eCourse on any topic you can compile that and rework it a little bit to become an eBook that you sell outright either through your own sales page or via Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Noble’s Nook. Once you’ve accomplished these two things, you can “rinse and repeat” and when you have enough eCourses and eBooks you can then start a membership site to house all of it and attract an entirely new audience. As you can see the sky is truly the limit on creating recurring revenue for your business.

Three reasons to add services to your Internet business

One of the top reasons online startups fail is a lack of cash. There is no reason for that to happen in the realm of online businesses. If you are smart enough to build a business, you’re smart enough to keep things afloat until you start earning a real living at the business. Many people do extra things while supporting a start up business such as waitressing, babysitting, house cleaning and other such activities. This is called “bootstrapping it.” There is no reason why you need to get that dirty though, but you can add services to your online business in order to make the cash you need.

Three reasons for adding services to your Internet business are:

1. You need cash — This is the number one reason to offer services to others while you work on your Internet business. You need cash, so you offer a service. If you know how to do graphic design, writing, accounting, tech support, whatever type of service you know how to do, you can offer it as a service. Services are the fastest way to get cash on the Internet, therefore if you want cash fast, find a service that you can offer and you’ll start earning money that you can use for your business.

2. You’ve been asked — If anyone has ever asked you if you offer a service, you have a choice to make. Do the service for the fast cash, or don’t do it. But, if you do it, you’ll just make your business that much more successful in the long run because helping others succeed is wonderful motivation for yourself. Plus, believe it or not, you learn so much working with others that is valuable in your own business as well.

3. You’re an expert — As an online business expert you have a lot to offer. You can offer consulting services to other people who wish to either start a new business online, or expand their current bricks and mortar business to the Internet world. You’re already doing it, so there is no reason why you can’t offer your expertise to others for a fee. You already have an online presence, why not use it to make quick money right now while you wait for the hard work to pay off down the line?

By leveraging your skills to provide services to others, you can create cash now, that you can use for living expenses, or put right back into your business, creating a situation where your Internet business starts succeeding even faster than it did before you had more money to invest in your business. All businesses need money to survive, including an Internet business. The fastest way to earn that money is via a service.

One word of caution — The money can be very good when offering a service, but the work can be draining, and you might suffer from burn out. Therefore, do not be turned from your main business idea by the thrill of seeing money appear in your PayPal account, because trading hours for dollars is limited because time is limited. Keep your focus on the goal. Providing services to support your business can pay off in more than one way.

Three WordPress Plug-ins for Better SEO

One of the easiest ways to get a head start up the search engine results is to use WordPress as the foundation for your website. It’s extremely search engine friendly and there are several plug-ins to help you boost your results and traffic. Here are three WordPress SEO plug-ins to consider.

1. All in One SEO Pack

The All In One SEO Pack, is one of the most popular SEO plug-ins and has more than 30,000 downloads. A comprehensive solution, it covers the basics and lets you set page titles, meta tags, keywords, and descriptions automatically.

Here are just some of the features and functions:

* Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines

* Generates META tags automatically

* Avoids the typical duplicate content found on WordPress blogs

* For beginners, you don’t even have to look at the options, it works out-of-the-box. Just install.

* For advanced users, you can fine-tune everything

* You can override any title and set any META description and any META keywords you want.

2. Google Positioner

Google Positioner,, actually tells you which keywords are getting searched for on your blog. This is a great analytics tool because it’ll help you hone in on the most popular and useful keywords for your readers. Thus enabling you to focus on what they are searching for. This plug-in coupled with Google Analytics empowers you to have all the information you need to make strategic business decisions.

3. SEO Smart Links

Smart Links,, automatically links keywords and phrases in your posts and comments with corresponding posts, pages, categories and tags on your blog. More than 100,000 downloads, this is a highly rated plug-in. Your internal linking structure is one of the key elements search engines look for when analyzing and ranking your website. Manually creating these internal links takes hours of your valuable time. SEO Smart Links does it automatically.

These amazing plug-ins and many more are why many website builders choose WordPress. When trying to get to the top of the search engine results, it’s smart to use every tool available to you.

Get Into The Mind of The Customer

I don’t care who you are or where you have been; at some point in your life you have been offered an upsell. How did this make you feel? Were you interested in the upsell or were you annoyed that they even tried to make you spend more money?

Knowing how you felt as the person being up-sold to can help you greatly if you are the one attempting to upsell something to a customer. You have to really focus on how the customer is feeling and if they are receptive to what it is you have to offer.

There are a few ways to gage this, the first being the demeanor of the customer. These old true for real life selling in a traditional store setting. Are they in a seemingly good mood or do they seem rushed or anxious in any way? Determining the emotional sate of your customer can mean all the difference in a successful up sell or not.

Always put yourself in their shoes, really, think about being in a rush and then some salesperson trying to keep you there offering another product or service. You would more than likely be annoyed, right? This is why you need to step back and observe the customer to see how receptive they may be to your pitch.

Of course, if you are upselling online you don’t have the luxury of seeing how someone emotional sate is and the way to figure this out is to maybe offer a survey on your website to see if the customer has any interest in additional products. This could be placed before the checkout process or even a splash page popping up to offer the unbelievable upsell product or service.

This has to be done is a way that isn’t intrusive as many people may get annoyed that they keep getting interrupted while trying to check out. Make sure your technique is subtle and not invasive.

The key to a successful upsell is knowing how people work. There could be some training involved in helping the salesperson learn these tricks before they try and make the sale for the first time.

What Needs to go Into a JV Contract?

Partnering with a business in a joint venture is exciting. You can see in your mind’s eye the potential growth of your business and the benefits to your customers. Before you do anything, be sure you have a written contract to protect yourself from anything unseen.

Partnerships are notorious for failing. This might be because contracts are drawn up or deals are made with a handshake or maybe it’s just poor communication. Whatever the reason one thing is for sure, you need a contract, even if you plan on partnering with your Aunt Susan.

1. Purpose – Be clear in the purpose of this partnership. How many years will this contract last? What are the goals and expected outcomes of the partnership?

2. Project Lead – Be very clear as to who will lead the project. Yes, you are partners but someone has to take the lead to make sure things are completed on time. You can both have equal say in what goes on but one person needs to have the extra one- percent of the vote. State clearly what will be done if a disagreement does come up.

3. Income Distribution – How will the income be distributed? Be extremely clear with this and make sure all parties know how this will be divided. You also want to mention who owns what percentage of the company.

4. Bank Account – You’ll need to have a joint bank account with equal access to both parties. You might need to register a ‘Doing Business As’ name for your partnership to keep it separate from your individual business.

5. Equipment, Resources, Cost & Value – What resources are shared? What resources does the individual partner own? Is there equipment and resources purchased that are a part of the partnership? What did they cost? What is the value?

6. Performance – This is where you get down to who does what. Will you split the work evenly or will one person take on a little more than the other will? What exactly will you be doing? What are the expected outcomes?

7. Ensured Performance – This states that the work that is promised to your customers must be completed even if one partner bails out on the contract. You are still required to perform the job hired to do.

8. Accounting and Administration – Who will take care of the books? Will you outsource this? To Whom? Be very detailed and exact making sure both partners agree.

9. Quarterly Taxes – When are quarterly taxes due? How will they be paid? Who will pay them? Be sure this is worked out before they are due so that stress and conflict is avoided.

10. Profit and Loss – When all is said and done how will you determine profit and loss? How will this be distributed? If the business partnership ends what will the split be?

11. Specific Work – This section you want to be very descriptive of each person’s job. You want to put details about hours to be worked, duties, and requirements.

12. Approval – How will changes be approved? Will there be a vote? Who has the last decision? If something comes up and needs to changed, how will the changes be implemented?

13. Changes to the Contract – Changes occur all the time and this contract will need to be changed from time to time. How will these happen? Who will make the changes? How will they be approved?

A well-developed contract will save both partners from ending the relationship on a bad note. It will clearly point out each person’s liability and responsibility. It also makes it very clear who will be doing what, when and what the expected outcome should be.