Can the Benefits of Partnerships Outweigh the Risks?

Partnerships are risky business but for those who are brave enough to step up to the plate and hit a home run they can be very rewarding. Joint ventures by definition are risky. On the other hand they can be very rewarding for your business if done successfully. Below are five benefits of a successful partnership.

1. Workload is shared
Everyone knows that working together as a team is far more productive than working alone. You complement each other’s gifts and talents. Let’s say you are a great website designer and graphic artist but have problems creating copy for your sites. You can partner up with someone who is gifted at copywriting and together you can create websites and copy twice as fast than doing it solo.

2. Your credibility is increased
Joining another person in a partnership builds your credibility in the eyes of your readers, customers and clients. Knowing that someone has your back is comforting because your client knows that if anything unexpected should occur, like an illness, your partner can take over and fulfill the job.

If you partner with someone who has been in your niche longer than you, yes this would be your competition, you will gain credibility faster. You have the benefit of your partner’s experience and their referral to their dedicated mailing list of fans and customers.

3. Your reach is increased
You can reach more people when two or more email lists are joined than on your own. Earlier this year a friend took part in a joint giveaway in which she offered a great product in exchange for signing up for her mailing list. She partnered with other business owners who were trying to reach the same audience and they each sent out emails to their lists cross promoting the partners’ products.

Even though she was giving away a $27 product to each email subscriber, she partnered with a number of people in her same field or niche and grew her list considerably. This practice also benefitted all of her partners.

Sure, some may unsubscribe as soon as they receive the gift but some do stay and potentially become regular customers.

4. Shared Profits
Once you develop a strong relationship with one or two partners you can start developing financially rewarding partnerships. You can both promote each other’s products to your mailing list or readers. You might also develop additional products jointly that increase the value of your individual product thus making more money for your partner and yourself.

5. Reach your Business goals quicker
Your business goals are set and you have a goal of earning your first $25,000 dollars within the first year of business. This is a lofty goal but you can do it with the right partnerships. If you connect with someone or a group of business men and women who share your same goal you can work together to meet it quicker. Having your partners work toward your success alongside you will get you to your desired result sooner than working alone.

Whether you are just starting out or been in business for years, partnerships, when done right, with trusted business associates, can prove to be very beneficial. It is a risk but if you are willing to take the risk, jump head long into the unknown, you will reap great benefits and success.

Free Advertising Using 5 Social Media Sites

You’ve been realizing lately that you really need to spread the word about your business, website, event or product. But you don’t have
the largest budget on the planet. If you’re looking for ways to advertise for free, you might want to consider making full use of social

Most social media platforms offer paid advertising – and if you have the budget, it’s always better to cover all the bases. But there are
some free methods and techniques utilizing social media that can really increase your exposure (and even your personal brand).

Here are suggestions that have worked well for many internet marketers and entrepreneurs on these 5 social media sites…

1. It’s not enough just spread the word by blogging: You have to also promote your blog. Do it by using Delicious or Digg. Link to your
blog from your Facebook news feed. Send people to your blog by tweeting on Twitter about your latest post; shorten the URL with –
and then check your stats on the number of clicks.

2. Upload a video to YouTube, and make sure links to your business are placed in the first and last frame of your video (appearing long
enough for people to quickly make a note of the link). Have the same URL in as many places on your YouTube channel page as you
can manage.

Make sure it either (a) is extremely helpful about one tricky subject for the niche you’re targeting or (b) contains all the elements of a viral
video: Memorable, entertaining, personal, unique – if appropriate, perhaps even funny. (A Singing Parrot is far more likely to engage
people’s attention than a dry “talking head” video where you earnestly explain your automobile part numbering system.)

You do have to be careful not to be so irrelevant with your amusing video that you don’t attract your target audience at all. (Perhaps have
your Singing Parrot humorously interrupt your earnest explanation of your automobile part numbering system.)

Get creative. One marketing mom was having a particularly hard time with her 3-year-old twins “ruining” every attempt at making a video. Rather than lose her cool and fight the situation, she edited the clip in Windows Movie Maker to leave in only one interruption – one that was particularly funny. Her mostly female work-at-home-mom audience loved the video, and she reported a 50% increase within 2 weeks in her opt-ins.

There are many other social media sites that offer free features, apps, widgets and opportunities. Check them out to see which ones are the best fit for your business!

Blog About It!

If you want people to find your information products on the web, a good way to generate traffic is through blogging. Sure, you have a sales page for each info product and use essential keywords in the sales copy but sales pages are meant for one thing: for the customer to click the “buy” button and then move on.

Starting a blog and writing pertinent information for your target market on a regular basis will help secure your position as an expert but it will also encourage people to visit your blog multiple times. By writing multiple posts each week, your visitors will come back many times and, better yet, they may even subscribe to your RSS feed or newsletter.

A blog is easy to create and you don’t need to be a web expert to do it. Since you’re trying to reach that “expert” status, keep your blog attached to your current business website. All you need after that is a design and then you’re set to start writing.

What you write is essential if you want your blogging efforts to be successful. Each post has to be interesting and timely and something people want to read. It should be short (300-400 words) for each blog post and easy to read—don’t use big words people don’t understand.

Start by blogging about your info product since that’s what you’re selling. This isn’t another sales pitch but you can focus on smaller topics. For instance, if you have an info product about green living, write about the Top 10 Ways to Get Your Kids to Recycle. Another post can be How to Introduce Green Living into the Classroom. You can write about different topics of interest or highlight certain ideas from the info product to show your expertise without giving another hard sell for your product.

Keep your blogs updated constantly, don’t just blog once and forget about it. Do it daily at first to attract readers. Add promotional posts for your info product at the end of your blogs as well to get people to your site. Feel free to mention the product in another individual post. If people are interested in what you are writing, they’ll find your link and click on it.

Recurring Revenue Stream Ideas For Service Providers

You might think that just because you have a service based business that you can’t cash in on the recurring revenue model for creating some consistent cash in your bank account, but you would be wrong. As a service provider you’re an expert at the services you provide, you can create many products that your current customers, or brand new customers, such as those who wish to make money doing what you do, may desire. Only your imagination limits you in the case of creating recurring revenue streams for service providers.

Graphic Designers — Create a start customer membership package that includes a specific number of graphics for a set monthly fee. For instance, you might normally charge $135 for a large graphic banner, $60 dollars for a 125×125 button, and so on. But, with the monthly package you can offer to give a client a graphical banner and a button, or other choices (it’s up to you) for the price of say one banner each month as long as they are on a retainer basis.

Usually in these models there is no roll over. If the client does not use their points within a specific time period then they don’t get to. Part of what they are paying for, and getting such a super deal on is having the time reserved for that particular month to work on your project. People like being exclusive, and getting special treatment so if you sell it as a special club you will have a certain number of takers especially if the price is attractive.

Web Designers — If you already build WebPages an ideal recurring stream of cash for you is to also offer hosting. You can easily get a reseller’s account via and start your own hosting company setting the prices you desire. If you understand about the technical requirements, and issues involved with a hosting company this can be a worry free stream of recurring revenue for you.

Another idea for a web designer is to offer regular backups and maintenance for a monthly recurring fee. Many clients do not realize that websites require security updates, backing up, and other technical background things. They may believe that once the site is built that you’ll be there forever to fix it when it breaks but we all know that this cannot be promised without a fee of some kind due to the nature of the technology. Therefore, having a monthly recurring maintenance fee will a better understanding of the work that goes in to maintain a website as well as give you a nice recurring fee.

Virtual Assistants — Performing administrative tasks doesn’t seem to lend itself too well to a monthly recurring revenue stream, but you would be surprised. Setting up discounted, expiring hours that are purchased in advance that give clients the right to a certain amount of your time each week or month can give you a recurring source of revenue in a way that charging after the fact can’t. For one thing, the time expires. So it will be important for your client to be prepared with what he or she wants accomplished in any given month.

With this model it is important that you have a really good contract and standard operating procedures that your client signs to demonstrate an understanding of how the contract works. Hours don’t roll over, and ever client can’t expect 24 hour turn around, or to give you 20 hours of work the last day of the month. Setting firm boundaries and giving specific information will help alleviate any problems that might arise with this model.

Setting your niche marketing goals

Every successful business venture starts with a plan. Without one, how will you know where you are going and how you will get there? Take the time to not only become familiar with your niche and target market, but set goals for yourself.

Time Goals
Set a date for when you would like to launch your niche marketing website and business and do everything in your power to meet that deadline. As you move forward, continue to set goals and timelines to follow as a way of keeping yourself on task and on schedule.

Budgetary Goals
Be sure to set a budget and stick to it. If your plan is to invest $100 or even $1000, set up a budget that allows for expenses that stay within your means. Sticking to your budget will be a large deciding factor as to whether or not your business becomes a success.

Profit Goals
Of course, the purpose is to make money, but you must set realistic financial goals in order to meet them. In other words, say your ultimate goal is to make $5,000 a month. Well, that is a great goal. But is it realistic for your particular niche?

Your potential for revenue will directly depend on what you are selling and whom you are selling it to. Some niche markets lend themselves to higher profit because of the value of the product being sold (like limited edition watches), while others require more volume in order to meet high revenue goals. Neither one is better than the other, it just depends on your individual business scenario.

No matter what your goals or how extensive they are, the most important thing to remember is to be realistic with yourself first. If you are, and you know and understand your boundaries and limitations, then the rest will follow and your goals will be that much easier to achieve.

Using Direct Mail To Attract Website Traffic

Direct mail campaigns don’t always have to be about selling something. They can simply be another way to get the word out about your online business, to build awareness and branding recognition and to drive more visitors to the company website.

However, as online business owners already know, competition is fierce when it comes to website traffic. People might find you but they might also click away before they bookmark the page. Think about your own bookmark list; do you ever go back to those pages? Probably not so but you need a simple process for using direct mail to bring traffic to your site and getting them signed up for your email list.

Luckily this is not a complicated process!

Step 1: Create a dynamic direct mail piece. Use color images, colored paper, vibrant font colors, or some other eye-catching element so the recipients don’t throw your piece away.

Step 2: Create a special web page just for those who are receiving this postcard. This is called a landing page which usually offers something for free in exchange for the recipient’s email address. Print the website URL prominently on the postcard so it’s not missed.

This page should include some sales copy to really convince people you have the solution they’re looking for and it should also include your email marketing opt in box, which creates your prospect list.

Step 3: Email your prospect list on a regular basis and develop this relationship. If your prospects know, like and trust you as a real person as opposed to some mystery figure, they will eventually buy from you. Past customers are the easiest people to sell to because they are already aware of your customer service and product quality.

Step 4: Create a different direct mail campaign for this same market segment. Remember, it’s rare for people to respond to the very first mailing. Usually it takes 6-7 times of seeing your offer before they make a move so consider these follow up mailings as reminders.

Step 5: Create a new landing page for each campaign. This might seem like a lot of work but it’s the easiest way to track which postcards your visitors are responding to. The sales copy and the offer don’t have to be different, it would simply be a change to the website URL.

Rather than taking down the first landing page right away, it’s wise to keep it active for a period of time after the campaign has mailed. You never know who has tucked your postcard away and will pull it out 6 months later. For those latecomers, you still want to have an active landing page and offer, otherwise they might think you’re unprofessional or have gone out of business.

Using a direct mail campaign for an online business is just another way to expand your marketing reach, especially if you want to target local customers. The same direct mail strategies used for brick and mortar businesses hold true but instead of selling something, entice your customers to claim their free gift from your website.

How To Make Your Information Products Stay Evergreen

One way to keep your passive information products producing like little money machines… Keep them evergreen – that is, always relevant and timely. But it’s easier said than done, when you’re not quite sure which subjects fall into that category.

The easiest place to start is by focusing on the subjects you already know. Then narrow it down to your favorites – and sit down with a notepad.

Make two vertical columns by drawing a line down the page.

Now make your headings. One should be “Things That Can Change” and the other should be something like “Constants”.

Now think of your subject and jot a point form listing of these facets into the appropriate columns.

This way, when you’re ready to write your information product, you can be sure to focus on the “Constants” column – and cut out as many of the “Change” column (unless a point is crucial, of course.)

`Evergreen’ Doesn’t Mean `Bland’

But there’s one danger to watch out for, when you take this approach – especially if you’re new, and overzealous about doing things “right”: In your zeal to cut out anything that’s limited by time, don’t cut out so much detail that you leave your product bland.

But you’re not caught between a rock and that proverbial hard place: There’s a powerful alternative to putting in time-relevant detail.

Instead, look for the juicy extra `twist’ – the fact about your subject no one knows yet, or talks about. (TIP: Your local library may be a particularly rich offline source.)

What I’ve described here is such a simple technique – but you’d be surprised how well it works, when it’s time to create reports or eBooks that will remain as fresh as the day you wrote them!

Using Testimonials In Direct Mail Campaigns

Think about your own experiences making a large purchase or hiring someone for a job. You asked lots of questions, maybe even interviewed the candidate for the job and probably asked for references or product reviews. Most people want to hear about others’ experiences before parting with their hard-earned money.

Client testimonials offer social proof that your business is professional, reliable and dependable. So instead of making the potential client do all the research, make it easy for them and provide positive testimonials on your website, in your direct mail campaigns and any other printed marketing materials you use.

Here are some standard rules for using testimonials correctly in your marketing materials:

1. Ask for testimonials. Your customers aren’t mind readers so simply ask for a testimonial if your customer has had a good experience. If the customer has had a less than stellar experience, don’t ask for a testimonial at that time. Instead, nurture that relationship so they come back and if the next experience if better, ask for one then.

2. Use a headshot photo. Adding a real photo helps personalize that testimonial for the reader. Avoid using stock photos because they look too professional and might harm your credibility.

3. Stay within your demographic. People want to hear from others they can relate to so use testimonials from others in your target demographic. Pick and choose the testimonials depending on what region or demographic you’re marketing to.

4. Focus on success. Ask your customers to showcase in their testimonial how your product or service made their lives better or easier.

5. Don’t ever make up testimonials. This will tarnish your reputation and credibility if you’re found to fabricate testimonials. There are no rules about how many testimonials you can use so if you just have one, use that one until more people submit them.

6. Get permission to use client names in your marketing materials. Chances are if they agree to give you a testimonial, they understand that you’ll post their name and possibly business name along with it. But some people might want to be anonymous so don’t assume it’s alright to post their name on your direct mailer.

7. Don’t bad mouth your competitors. Encourage your clients to focus on the positive aspects of their experience with you, rather than the less than spectacular service of your competitors. Allow your good reputation and glowing reviews to speak for themselves.

8. Make the process as simple as possible to submit a testimonial. Provide a questionnaire to your customers to help them craft their review and an easy way for them to provide a photo.

9. Reward your customer when they submit a testimonial. People want to know “what’s in it for them” and submitting a testimonial really provides nothing additional for the customer. The value benefits the business. Adding a small coupon or other reward for each testimonial received can be added incentive to getting them submitted.

Testimonials can serve as good word-of-mouth advertising but business owners can’t be afraid to use them. In this internet age social proof is very important and the more positive testimonials you can gather and use wisely, the more your reputation as a leader in your field will grow.

Tips and Strategies for Superior Customer Care

Many internet marketers have questions about customer care in relation to their online business. While wanting to convince just about everyone they encounter to hop on board with them, they could easily be spending precious time, resources and money on people who just don’t really fit in the mix.

When working with niches and sales funnels, it’s important to know not everyone is going to follow you. And frankly, you probably wouldn’t want them to anyhow. If it’s not “their” niche, they aren’t going to get use from it, while your time and resources could be of better use elsewhere.

Understand Buying Behavior – It’s important to understand buying triggers and purchasing behavior. People tend to buy from those they know, have established confidence in, and like. You can achieve all of these things with your customers without ever meeting them face to face. It just takes some time, email messages with a slightly personal tone, followed by trusting actions. Most people can connect with these, and will feel they know you, even if they have never heard your voice or seen more than a picture of you on an internet web page on their computer screen.

Valuable Information – Another thing required to keep your customers happy and coming back to you, often with much excitement, is a consistent supply of valuable information relative to the niche in question. This information can range from e-books to articles and reports to audio sessions. It’s all dependent on your particular niche sales funnel and what your customer base actually needs.

Consistent Communication – Encourage your website visitors and customers to come back often by offering a newsletter or free product for them if they sign up for further information from you. Offering quality resources makes it easier for even the most reluctant person to divulge their contact information to you thus enabling you to connect with them on a regular basis.

Taking care of your prospects and customers is essential to keeping them engaged in your sales funnel. They’ll appreciate the effort you put in to the service you are providing when they see something of good or even great quality offered on a consistent basis. It’s what will keep them loyal to you, as well as have them recommend your site to their friends too.

5 Steps to Launching Your Own Affiliate Program

You have heard that an affiliate program can help grow your business, how beneficial it
can be and why it is a good investment. So you are convinced, but how do you get
started? Launching an affiliate program can take your business to new heights and these
five steps will help you get there.

Step 1: Choose your software.
Before you begin creating your affiliate program, you will need to decide which affiliate
management software is right for you. Take the time to research the different programs
available to you. You will need to take a look at product reviews, user recommendations,
and if possible, reach out to other business owners who have used programs you are
considering in order to get the most accurate feedback. The affiliate management
software you choose will be an extremely important investment as you begin your
program and later, manage it in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Step 2: Create your program.
Once you have selected your affiliate management software, you will need to make some
basic decisions about what it will look like. Begin by writing the terms and conditions of
your affiliate program. Decide whether you will offer a two-tiered or multi-tiered
structure. In addition, you will also need to write your affiliate agreement, which will
outline what is expected of your affiliates and what they can expect from you. While it is
not always necessary, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to review your terms
and conditions and affiliate agreement to ensure you have covered all of your bases.

Step 3: Build your team.
The only way to grow your affiliate program and build a team of affiliate marketers is to
let them know you are out there. The best way to do that is to list your new program on
various affiliate directories online where affiliate marketers can find you. And having
already selected a robust affiliate management software program, you can rest assured
that once they find you and are directed to your site, they can easily sign up and
automatically receive the tools they need to get started.

Step 4: Offer incentives.
Not only are you competing within your niche to make your business succeed, but you
will now have to focus on offering an attractive affiliate marketing program with plenty
of incentives in order to build a team of dedicated, profit-producing affiliate marketers.
With competitive commissions, potential for growth and the occasional opportunity for
bonuses, you can attract affiliate marketers who know how to work hard and produce
results. And while not every member of your team will turn out to be so motivated, you
will want to do all that you can to attract those who are.

Step 5: Equip your team for success.
Make sure that your affiliate marketers have the tools they need to properly market your
business. Provide them with materials such as banner ads, ebooks, articles and sales
letters. In addition, offer to share educational materials with them and make sure they are
on top of the latest industry trends, marketing strategies and affiliate marketing tactics.
When they succeed, you succeed, so you will want to stay on top of their efforts