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!

Target the Right Audience with Your Contests

Online contests can be a fabulous way to boost your email list subscriber numbers. However, it can also be a way to get a lot of useless freebie seekers on your email list too. There is nothing great about having a huge email list full of uninterested people who do not want to open your emails, or answer your calls to action. So, aside from building your email list, you want to build it with targeted, willing, wanting participants who want to buy. To do this, you need to ensure that your contest attracts the right people.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, online, offline, or what genre the business is in. You need to have people you can contact who are interested in your product. In the marketing world, these are called leads. Your email list is full of leads. Leads who can either be interested in what you offer, or not. Getting the people who are interested is part of the challenge of creating an effective email marketing list.

To get the right people to sign up with online contests your contest needs to solve a problem of your target market. Or, in the case of a contest, potentially solve a problem. There may be people who want to try your products or services but don’t think they can afford it, or don’t trust you yet. Having a contest gives many people the opportunity for them to learn more about you and your product. Even if they don’t win, you’ve got their email address which will enable you to educate them more, and when someone wins they’ll become one of your biggest fans and brag about their winnings to everyone.

The above is why I highly suggest that your contest prizes have something to do with your products and services. You don’t have to give away the very best prize, although that is a great idea to at least give away your top and most expensive product in your funnel along with the rest to one lucky winner, you don’t have to, you can start someplace in the middle of your funnel. But, if the product is not good enough, and is just a freebie that many people use to get sign ups, then it won’t work as well. Make it special and you’ll get more participants.

Combining a contest for potential buyers with a separate contest for your affiliates is another good way to boost your email list with contests. The prize for your affiliates can be something like a free iPad, Kindle or other exciting device. Your affiliates will promote for you like mad if they have a chance to win a prize like that. In addition to the prize incentive give your affiliates plenty of marketing collateral such as graphics, prewritten emails, blog posts, and that type of thing. Encourage them to rewrite the mails and blogs to sound more like them and to avoid duplication issues.

By following the suggestion to keeping the prize targeted toward your audience, offering them something that solves their problems (which all your products and services should accomplish) you’ll ensure that the people who sign up for your email list via the contest promotion are truly interested parties.

How Pinterest Adds Value to Various Industries

Almost any industry can benefit from adding Pinterest to their social media marketing mix. It doesn’t matter if you have a business that is local, national or international you can use Pinterest to engage your audience, get more traffic to your website or into your store, and ultimately to boost sales.

Here are some ideas of how to use Pinterest in various niche industries:

Real Estate — Pinterest is a no brainer when it comes to real estate. Any agent already knows that a picture is worth a thousand words. But pictures with links to more information in specific categories is even better. You can create many different categories of boards, such as a board providing links to tips for new homeowners, or a board showing pins with each member of your office, and more. I’m sure you can develop many ideas from here.

Travel — Using Pinterest to promote your travel business, or even your travel blog can do wonders for your business. Imagine the various boards you can create and all the pins that can go on each board. A quick brainstorm might be: Board with the category “Warm places” that you promote during cold weather. Each pin can be a different tropical paradise that links to a special you’re having for that location. Another board might be travel tips for the lone traveler. Only your imagination can stop you now.

Service Based Business — Yes, service based businesses can use Pinterest too. Pinterest is an excellent way to develop leads both local and multinational service businesses — from virtual assistants to bookkeepers. First, create a business account for Pinterest, then create different boards in all the categories you provide services. Create a compelling image with a few words that will compel users to click through to find out more. Link to all the solutions you provide your clients.

Marketers — Obviously, Pinterest is a boon for marketers because managing your clients’ Pinterest accounts can actually be a new avenue of money making via social media. You can offer to set up Pinterest accounts for other business owners, as well as keep them updated with relevant content. What could be better than that? Start with your local area with your ideas and move on from there.

Direct Sales — If you sell a product of any sort, you can market your wares on Pinterest. Do be sure to check the terms of service for your particular company, but essentially you can create a board for each category of product that your company promotes. Also think outside of the box for your boards to fit in with your niche. If you have sell makeup, for instance, you can give makeup tips. One board can be all about eye makeup, another can be about curing particular skin problems. I’m sure you get the idea.

Bloggers — Almost any type of blogger can use Pinterest to increase readership. It works especially well for blogging that involves some sort of visual element like arts, crafts, cooking, fitness, etc… Create boards for each category of your blog, and always include a top notch graphic as well as a “pin it” button on your blog. You can use the button yourself to place it with the appropriate link on the right boards in your Pinterest account.

The Importance of Keeping Your Affiliates Happy

When managing your own affiliate program, keeping your affiliates happy is the key to your success. If your affiliates feel valued and know they will be rewarded for the work they put in, they will continue to work harder and help you grow your business.

This isn’t an industry “secret” or highly sensitive information, just merely an aspect of a successful affiliate program that tends to get overlooked. In fact, motivation and encouragement are the keys to success for almost any business. Employees want to be recognized for their accomplishments. So go employees, so go affiliates. Think about this, if the success of a business is dependent upon the success of its employees then those employees will need to feel valued. If your program is directly dependent upon the success of your affiliates, then why not make sure you are doing everything in your power to motivate and encourage your affiliate marketers as well as reward them for their work?

Everyone wants to feel valued. You will want to nurture your relationship with your affiliate marketers in a way that is mutually beneficial for you both. In other words, if they know they will be rewarded with high commissions for reaching certain goals, they are more likely to work harder toward those goals. And when they achieve higher sales, your business makes more money. It’s a win-win situation all the way around. Not to mention a great way to maximize your profit earning potential.

Be careful not to let your strongest affiliates go unnoticed either. While you are busy encouraging your entire team, it is important to focus your energy on maintaining the affiliates who constantly deliver. They are the ones that know what they are doing as is evidenced by their sales results. These are the affiliate marketers you want to hang on to. You can do so by naming them super-affiliates, offering bonuses for each milestone they reach and including their name and goals met in your affiliate newsletter. This will not only make them feel good, but will encourage your other affiliate marketers to strive for the same recognition and personal best.

And that takes us to the other end of the spectrum. You must also pay special attention to those affiliate marketers who sign up but fail to produce any results. Maybe they forgot about you, or maybe they simply aren’t working hard enough if they are working at all. In that case, you will want to send them a friendly reminder that they are in fact an affiliate of yours and oh, by the way, you are running a special promotion this week for the affiliate who receives the most clicks. Incentives and contests are a great way to motivate the duds and keep the momentum of your program going.

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money for everyone involved, but in order for you to run a successful affiliate marketing program and earn a profit by doing so, your affiliate marketers must be successful themselves. Motivation will play a major role in the success of your affiliate marketers, of your program and ultimately, your business. If you value them, they will work for you.

Separating Personal from Professional on Social Media

Social media is used both professionally and privately. People use it for sharing news about grandchildren, personal milestones, and to market their business. It’s easy to start off with good intentions to keep your personal social media separate from your business social media, and then have it all somehow go awry.

Personal friends follow your business account, and business associates follow your personal accounts. Before you know it you have a hodgepodge of followers on each account, and you get off track with your message on both. Next thing you know, you say something on your personal Facebook page that insults and offends your business acquaintances. Or, your friends get irritated with your constant business promotions.

If you’ve already mixed things up, it’s time to separate your accounts and clean things up. Announce to your friends as well as your business acquaintances that you want to separate personal from professional because you value their time and respect them as individuals. It’s probably okay if your friends want to keep following your business, but unless you’re positive you’re really friends with business associates its best not to mix business with pleasure.

This is especially true if you happen to involve yourself on a personal level with the three things that should not be spoken about in mixed company: Religion, Politics and Money. It may seem fun to engage in friendly debate, but with some people it could severely damage your reputation. It could hurt your business. Let’s be frank, there are people who won’t do business with those who disagree with them on these three topics. It may not be right, but it’s a fact.

To protect your business either do not participate in these debates on social media at all or at least try to keep them very separate. Start with creating separate accounts for each of your social media accounts that you wish to use for both personal and professional reasons. When posting on your business accounts ask yourself whether or not your post aligns with your business goals and your target audience.

Create a social media marketing plan for your business related social media accounts so that you’re not tempted to post about the last time your child went tee-tee. Every post you make on social media in relation to your business should have a focus and a call to action. If you don’t have a reason for making a post then it’s best that you don’t make it.

One thing great about having separate accounts is that you can be freer on your other social media as long as it’s the type of account where you can block people, as well as block search engines. Because, remember that people will Google you. People who want to do business with you or hire you for a project typically search on Twitter and Facebook too. If they can find you, and see things that they don’t like, no matter how good you are in your business they make not choose you.

Self-Publishing the Easy Way

Self-publishing isn’t difficult if you know what needs to be done. Follow these items as if it’s a checklist and you’ll be sure to remember to do everything needed to be done to self-publish your book, information product, or novel.

Research Your Topic(s)– Whether you are going to write one book, or a series of information products, you will need to research each topic to ensure that you know the subject well, know that it relates to your target audience, and know what you can tell your audience. Whether an information product that solves a problem, or a romantic novel that speaks to your audience, it doesn’t matter, do your research. If your novel is based in Seattle Washington, it’s important to know about Seattle.

Create an Outline — Good writers start with a well thought out outline. If you’re not sure how to write one seek out information and books about outline writing. You’ll save yourself a whole host of problems with a well written outline. In fact once you have the outline writing your book will feel like writing series of articles put together in a specific order per the outline. You’ll be able to write small portions of your book at a time, making the entire process less daunting.

Write Your Book — That’s right, you gotta write or have something written. You can hire a ghostwriter in almost any genre, believe it or not. If you have an outline of what you’d like to write about, a ghost writer can work with you as much or as little as you want to produce your manuscript.

Edit Your Book — One of the biggest complaints about self-published books is how lousy the editing is. You should edit your book several times focusing on something different each time such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, word flow, logical order, etc…focus on one thing at a time. Send your manuscript to different editors to focus on one thing at a time. If you can afford to hire a special editor that is versed in your genre then do so. You want people to be happy they bought your book. Providing perfectly edited text that flows well will do that.

Design Book Cover — This is one area where if design is not your forte you need to bite the bullet and hire a professional graphic designer with experience in book cover design. Your book really is sold based on the cover, make it the best cover you can afford. Don’t skimp here. This will make or break you.

Layout Your Book – You’ll need various layouts for different types of publishing such as Kindle, Nook, Apple, and print. Know in advance which you’ll need so that you don’t make it harder on yourself. For instance, Kindle works best if you don’t have a lot of pictures, charts, and graphics, and uses bare bones formatting and fonts and no page numbers. A print book will require more precise formatting, fonts, and sizes as well as page numbers. If you want to, you can hire someone to do this for you. Sometimes hiring an expert helps a lot in terms of time and how it looks.

Ask for Forwards — If there is an author you admire that works within the genre you’ve written, or someone who can reach the audience whom you desire to reach send them a nice letter, with a copy of the book and ask them if they would be so kind as to write the forward. If your book is good, they’ll be flattered. Some might say no, but you won’t know until you ask.

Ask for Blubs — Choose a few authors whom write within your genre and just out and out ask them for a blurb. Be sure to give them an easy way to say no, but include a copy of the book, and sit back and see what happens. Some will say no, but someone will say yes.

Ask for Reviews — Send review copies to people who service your target audience. Send a letter first asking them if they would like to do a review. Tell them about your book, the intended audience, and ask permission to provide them with a review copy.

Write Jacket Copy — Using your blubs, reviews, and other information write your jacket copy or hire someone to do it for you. There are professionals who write copy if that’s not your forte, it may pay off. Remember, no one is going to read your book no matter how good your writing is, if they don’t get past the jacket.

Buy your ISBN — Many self-publishing services offer free ISBNs. This is a good option if you only plan to produce one book in one format. But, if you have more than one book in you, which you probably do, purchasing a set of 10 ISBN numbers is more efficient. You and everyone else in the USA gets their numbers from Bowker. If you’re in Canada you can read about ISBNs here.

Choose a Printer — If you plan to have hard copies of your book, choose a printer. There are many to choose from, such as,, and more. Learn all you can about each option, read the contract carefully, and seek outside advice before you choose. But choose.

Create Marketing Collateral — This can consist of your press kit, jacket copy, book trailer, and more. Any materials that you’re going to need for marketing should be created as you’ve finished enough of the book to prepare it. Keep all this material handy so that you can use it at a moment’s notice.

Market, Market, Market — This process should actually start before you’ve written even one word of your book. Create an informational website, or blog about the topic you plan to write about and collect email addresses. Create social media accounts with the business in mind. If you plan to publish many books within the niche, you won’t need to create a separate account for each book. These accounts will grow before you publish, this will make it easier to create more sales.

Do You Have What It Takes to Start a Membership Site?

Before you jump into creating a membership site in your favorite niche, take a little time to make sure you have what it takes to do the job right. After all, if you’re going to take on a job this size, you want to make sure you can do it successfully!

Do You Know Your Market?

Ideally, if you’re developing a membership site, you’ve chosen a niche you have extensive knowledge or experience you can use as a storehouse of information for your content. If you’ve had a highly successfully business of your own or you have a great deal of education on a particular topic, you’re probably good to go. What do you do, however, if you aren’t an expert in your target market? It doesn’t mean you cannot go forward with your ideas. It does mean you need to ask yourself a few questions and prepare yourself for a little hard work.

Why have you chosen this market? If the only reason you’re moving into a certain niche is for the money, it might not be enough. Keep in mind you will need to continually add fresh, USABLE content to your site in order for your members to continue to pay their monthly fees. If you choose a market you have absolutely no interest in, you’ll have a tough time finding and creating fresh content. Things will go much easier for you if you choose a topic you enjoy and want to continue learning about in the future.

Do You Have the Technical Skills?

There are services you can hire to build your membership site and have all the standard features already set up for you, but you need to pay a fee for them. While a monthly fee may not be a problem once your membership fees start rolling in, it can be tough for some new businesses at the beginning. Some services provide a trial period of one to two months, which can help you get around that detail. However, you may decide to go it on your own to build your membership site. This option can save you some money, but either way you will need a few technical skills.

You will also need some software that makes it possible for you to create your site. Here are a few items to add to your checklist before you start building your site:

HTML or WYSIWYG Software and Skills – If you know HTML, you’re a step ahead of the game, as you can design your pages however you like them. You can find WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors that allow you to bypass the HTML, but you won’t have quite the flexibility.

FTP Program – You need a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program so you can upload your pages to the server and store them there

Graphics – You need to know how to upload both graphics and text to your site.

If you don’t have the software you need, you can find most, if not all, of it free on the Internet. If you don’t have the skills, never fear. You can easily learn the things you need to know or you can hire someone to take care of the technical issues for you. Many times you can get your questions answered in forums or on social media sites like Twitter, so don’t be afraid to ask a few questions.

If you have these basic bases covered, you’re ready to get started creating your site. Keep in mind; you don’t need to be an expert to get started. Many Internet entrepreneurs learn as they go and create highly successful sites. Jump in and get started on your membership site today.

5 Good Ways To Make Money From Your Blog

Despite the doubts that many people have about making money online, there really are a number of good ways to make money from a blog – as long as you choose one that suits your subject. Here are five quick ideas to get you started.

1) Pay Per Click Ads

A number of bloggers searching for good ways to make money start out by including pay per click ads on their website. These are contextual ads that show links and short descriptions of advertisers’ websites, matched up to the content of your own site for greater results. You’ll earn a small amount of money for every click.

2) Sell Advertisements

This can be a fantastic way to make money from your blog, however it does take time to get your blog up to a level that will attract advertisers. You can’t expect to sell ad spots for much money until you build up a good subscriber base and traffic numbers. Once you do, you can sell direct text links, banner ads, mentions within your newsletter and more. Just be sure to choose your advertisers carefully to avoid aggravating your readers. Note – if you don’t yet have the subscriber numbers to sell ad spots, consider signing up to paid or sponsored blogging programs such as PayPerPost.

3) Affiliate Programs

There will be an affiliate program for just about any topic around. For example, if you’re blogging about how to get organized and de-clutter the home, then you may promote links to places where people can buy storage boxes, organization books and so on. You can usually find an affiliate program for any kind of physical product, though you can promote digital products too – such as eBooks, audiobooks, podcasts and more.

4) Promote A Business

More and more companies and individuals are now setting up blogs to promote their own businesses. For example, if you’re a freelance copywriter you may choose to blog about ways in which businesses can improve their ad campaigns. You’ll soon start attracting the kind of readers who may be interested in buying your services, while building your brand as an expert copywriter at the same time!

5) Sell It!

Selling your blog definitely isn’t a way to make ongoing money from your blog, but there are times when this becomes the best option. Perhaps you are really desperate for the cash, or you’ve just lost interest in the subject matter. If that’s the case then selling it could earn you a nice chunk of cash – especially if the blog is already earning money, gets good traffic and has a number of loyal followers.

You may find that you have to experiment with these five good ways to make money from your blog – what works for one may not work for another. It all takes time, but if you steadily work on building traffic and readers, your earnings should follow.

How Much to Charge for Membership to Your Site

Creating a paid membership site is perhaps the best move an online business can make in these tumultuous economic times. Paid membership sites offer a constant flow of income that can grow overnight in some instances.

When setting up a paid membership site you are doing the work once, and then
reap the monetary rewards over and over again for as long as you offer information to your members. The site can be set to be accessed monthly or by a yearly subscription. No matter what, money will be coming in all the time. Passive income possibly at it’s best.

Knowing how much to charge for your paid membership site is something that is as individual as your company is to the whole of the Internet. Only you can decide what the price should be. Since the start up of a site like this is relatively low, it’s safe to assume you can expect to make your initial outlay back rather quickly.
Although you may have ongoing expenses, for the most part, once you repay yourself for the start up costs, the remainder of what you make afterwards is profit.

The potential profits are unlimited once you set your price. Let’s say you want to start out by charging $19.99 a month to let people have access to your membership site. You have 100 people who have signed up. This will give you a guaranteed $1,999.00 a month. Now imagine if you charged more?

You are in control of how much your site makes. You control the cost of the membership as well as the content inside. Speaking of the content, you need to make sure the content is actually worth the money you expect to charge to have access to it. This is a common mistake most newcomers make, they charge way too much for way too little content.

People want to be sure they are getting more than their money’s worth for anything they purchase or subscribe too. If you do not offer content that is informative, updated and current, you have made a crucial mistake and subscribers will catch on fast. A great site will include quality content more than worth the price you charge for it. In turn you lead yourself to people spreading the word and business growing over and over again.

Get a life by outsourcing tasks for your online business

Has your online business endeavor taken over your life? Are you finding it hard to balance the business with your other life? You know the life of a wife, mother, husband, dad, or friend – that life. If you are finding that it is harder and harder to complete the tasks that earn money for your business, and you’re spending more and more time on tasks such as customer service, loading shopping carts, setting up sales pages – tasks that don’t directly earn money for your business such as product creation or idea development.

Good news, you can outsource any task that you either do not want to do, or simply don’t have time to do yourself. You can become the manager of your business and have an entire army writing information products, creating sales pages, setting up your websites, article marketing, social networking and more all based on your ideas and direction. In fact, you can even hire an online business manager to manage your army so that you only need to deal with one person. The possibilities are endless when it comes to outsourcing in your online business. Only your budget and your imagination can stand in your way.

The trick is knowing where to start when you begin outsourcing. If your budget is small, then you will need to start small. Pick the task that you dislike doing the most and outsource that one task. The time you free up, and the relief you’ll feel when someone else is doing the task you can’t stand to do will be more than worth whatever you can afford to pay someone. You’ll free yourself up to be more innovative, and get rid of a huge load of stress in your life by giving up doing tasks you can’t stand doing.

The other trick to outsourcing is knowing how to let go of the process and focus on the results. If you try to micromanage those you outsource to you will lose people really fast. Remember that contractors are not employees; they are business owners, just like you. The difference is they are earning money doing the tasks you dislike doing. You are earning your living doing tasks you enjoy doing or are good at doing. In a perfect world you’ll find people to do all the things you dislike doing so that you can concentrate on the money makers you like doing.

In business, this is called maximizing your efficiencies. You do the things you’re really good at doing, and you’ll get better and better at doing them. Let others do the things they’re really good at doing, and they’ll get better and better at doing them! Your online business, with the right people to outsource to, can become a very well running and well-oiled machine that makes you and your entire team a lot of money.

Many businesses, both bricks and mortar and online businesses use various forms of outsourcing. Businesses outsource to call centers because it is an efficient way to provide customer service. Businesses outsource web design so that they do not need to have a web designer on staff. Businesses outsource to a Virtual Assistant to do administrative work and other tasks so that they do not need someone on staff and only need to pay for the actual time needed to complete tasks. What would you outsource right now?