3 Ways to Make a Backend Sale

Here are five effective backend sales strategies that you can apply to your business and watch the money roll in!

Backend Sales Strategy #1 – The Confirmation Sale

Every time a customer makes and completes a purchase on your site, they should be brought to a confirmation page, which provides them with a confirmation number for their purchase as well as a brief ‘thank you’ from you for their business.

This page is more than a mere illustration of your gratitude. It is a great place to continue the sale. Have you ever bought a product on a site that shows you what others who have purchased a particular product also like?

Well, they didn’t ask their customers what other products they like. They are making a sales pitch! They are most often showing you products that compliment the one you are currently viewing. The same idea should be applied to your confirmation page on your website.

When a customer makes a purchase, place products in your shopping cart that they might also be interested in.

Backend Sales Strategy #2 – The Follow-Up Email

While less immediate than the confirmation sale, a follow-up email can work wonders for your customer relationships and your business. People like to feel appreciated and if you send them a follow-up email thanking them for their purchase, they will respect you for it.

In addition to thanking them, this email can also serve as an effective backend sales tool. For instance, in this email, you can also offer a special discount on their next purchase if they act within a certain amount of time – as a token of your appreciation of course.

Remember, don’t make this message too salesy. It’s about following up strategically but with class.

Backend Sales Strategy #3 – The Triple Threat

Why stop at just one approach? Why not apply a number of backend sales strategies all at once? Hit your customers up (in a respectful and strategic way of course) three different times to ensure your best chances at making a backend sale.

1. While they are shopping, include products similar in topic on the same pages. As a customer clicks to review one product, they should also see products that compliment that particular item. This is not only helpful when grouping and organizing your products on your site, but it is also a great way to make additional sales.

2. Show your customer additional products they may be interested in on their confirmation page (directly following their initial sale). This is what we previously referred to as the Confirmation Sale.

3. Send a follow-up email to once again thank them for their purchase and also make them a special offer.

If you apply these backend sales strategies, you will be sure to gain additional sales and increase your revenue stream while concurrently pleasing your valued customers.

Remember, the more valued and appreciated your customers feel, the more likely they will be to bring you repeat business, and recommendations.

Do You Have a Mailing List for Blog?

The best kept secret to a successful blog is the mailing list. This is a list of people who have subscribed or registered to receive emails from you in the form of a newsletter or promotional emails.

When you set up your business blog, you should have a form on the front page for readers to subscribe to your mailing list. There are many form plug-ins to choose from for different types of blog platforms.

Your list is built one person, one email at a time. Even if you only have one subscriber to your newsletter, begin sending information to them that will benefit them, and that they will most likely respond to. You never want to send email to your readers simply for the sake of sending them something.

The purpose of the email is to keep in touch with your readers so they will continue to return to your site. Therefore, be sure you offer them something of value in your newsletter or promotion. You should also offer your readers something for free for signing up to your newsletter on your blog. Do you have a service you could offer an hour of for free or half an hour? Or how about a product you sell? If you can offer your readers a small token of appreciation, they will return the favor by subscribing to your email list.

There are several email management programs to choose from on the web so finding one that suits your needs won’t be difficult at all. They range from a simple email management program for up to 100 subscribers, to a full blown ecommerce system that supports everything from your email lists to a shopping cart and so on. Of course these come with a monthly fee, so if you’re just starting out with your business blog, you may not need a full ecommerce system yet.

If you already have a business blog established but don’t utilize an email management system, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to reach more people and retain the readers you already have. Don’t wait one minute longer! Boost your business instantly by setting up an email management program now.

Virtual Event Etiquette — 10 Tips to have a successful event

1. Send a reminder — Send every registered participant a reminder about the event at least the day before and an hour or so before the event. By sending a reminder you ensure better attendance to the event. People have very busy lives, get mixed up with time changes, and just simply forget about things even when they paid for it. Reminders are really nice and help clear up misunderstandings about time zones.

2. Send an agenda — In your last reminder sending an agenda or menu of what is going to happen during the event is a very nice added special touch that can create anticipation and excitement for the event. It can also help attendees think of questions and encourage them to invite more people if there are last minute sign ups.

3. Greet participants upon arrival — If you had an in person event you would stand at the door and greet visitors as they came in the meeting room. It is important that you, or someone assigned to do so, greets attendees as they come into the conference room. This will make them feel included and avoid the tendency for people to just click in, and click out if they don’t know what is going on.

4. Explain the technology — Before the virtual event officially begins but most of the attendees have arrived take the time to explain the technology to them. Just a quick couple of minutes explaining how to mute a microphone, raise your hand to speak, and how things should look can go far in making attendees comfortable.

5. Explain how the event will proceed — When the event officially starts take time at the beginning to go over the order of events according to the agenda. This will be a way to prepare yourself, the speakers and attendees about how everything will proceed.

6. Introduce each speaker/presenter — Always have a clear transition to the speakers after the Q & A time. Either have the speaker introduce the next person or, most effective, the host should introduce the next presenter.

7. Keep track of time — Someone should be keeping track of time, it is important to keep the event running smoothly on time so that everyone has plenty of time to do their planned presentations. This is why practicing helps keep the time factor into consideration.

8. Allow for Q & A after each speaker/presenter — Another reason time is important is to ensure that each speaker / presenter has ample time for a Q & A session after their presentation. Most event participants report better experiences (and open their wallets more readily) when they feel heard and have their questions answered.

9. Have a clear closing of the event — Instead of just stopping the event suddenly make sure to have a planned closing that has some sort of call to action, whether that is to sign up for a newsletter, attend the next event, or to remind participants to grab their bonus materials does not matter, just make sure that a clear closing occurs.

10. Follow up — Never ignore the follow up after a virtual event. Sending attendees some bonus materials in email, a recording of the event, and thanking them for coming along with a survey that gives feedback to you so that you can do better with each event is a very important part of the entire experience.

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!

Outsourcing best practices for online business owners

Be clear — When you first start communicating with a potential outsourcer set very clear objectives because if you don’t know what is going on and how to write out exactly what you want done, your contractor will not know what to do either. Make sure that you allow the contractor to ask questions if they are confused about what you want done. Ensure that both parties understand expectations.

Compatibility Issues – There are times where you bring a team member on and your personalities just don’t mesh. It is important to give every new contractor an introductory phase in order to figure out if you can work together. Usually thirty days is enough to determine if you can work together well or not. Alternatively you can give every new contractor a small project to complete on spec, with a clear due date. If they do it correctly and on time, and you get along well then you know you’ve found your outsourcer.

End Product Focused — People to whom you outsource are business owners too and you cannot micromanage the entire process. This is especially true when you are not paying hourly wages but rather are paying by project. If you micro manage the process, you will end up paying much more if you go outside the parameters of the project. Not to mention the fact that most outsourcers will not want to work with you if you are going to take up more time than they bargained for in negotiation, if you want someone at your disposal, hire an employee.

Communicate Clearly — You need to be clear within yourself what you want completed and be able to communicate it effectively in order to hire a great service provider. If you’re a poor communicator do not expect a service provider to read your mind. If you don’t tell them what to do, they’re not going to do anything. Give them clear tasks to accomplish, with clear projects with parameters and you’ll have a smooth experience.

Money issues – The saying “you get what you pay for” is true most of the time, and it is especially true when it comes to hiring service providers. Whether you’re hiring a web designer, a Virtual Assistant, or a content provider be willing to pay them a fair wage for the time they are spending on your projects. Of course, there are times early on in business where you cannot afford a fair wage, therefore you may have to settle for lessor quality or be okay with editing the English of a non-native English speaker who is otherwise a good writer.

Get references – Ask for references from your service provider. If they have testimonials on their website, contact the people who left the testimonial and ask them about the service provider. If you are taking a chance on someone who is new at working remotely, you can still speak to former employees or people who can vouch for them as honest individuals. There is nothing wrong with using someone who is new, but do expect to have to spend a certain amount of time allowing the provider to work through their own issues with learning how to manage a project and a client.

Avoiding Interruptions and Time Suckers

Being a business owner is a wonderful experience that enables the business owner to take control of their destiny. But, business owners often carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, and they have to find ways to balance business ownership, earning a living, and regular life. There are so many issues that can pop up each day that interrupt your otherwise smooth day. You might even participate in some interrupters and time suckers willingly without even realizing it. In spite of the dream of business ownership being met, the days go so fast it’s hard to tell what end is up and you start wondering whether that leisurely life you dreamed of exists.

In order to avoid time suckers it is important to:

Create a Plan — Every business owner needs to have a plan in order to manage their time. It’s one of the biggest secrets of time management that business owners many times avoid. They just go through each day without any idea of how it should end. You need a plan that spells out your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly projects and goals. Write out each project with each task that goes with it and a time line so that you can see the plan in black and white.

Create a Schedule — Once you have a plan it is important to create a solid schedule using a calendar or project management system. This is not to say that it’s not adjustable or breakable, but for the most part, treat it like it’s ironclad. If you worked for someone else, you would go into work with a clear idea of what your day will be like, and what tasks you’ll perform. It is important to do this with your own business too. If you have created your time-line appropriately, you can easily see at a glance what you need to do for the next hour, week, month and year. Don’t forget to schedule in time with friends and family too. If you don’t, you are more likely to suffer from irritating interruptions and time sucking situations.

Avoid Distractions — Whether it’s the radio, the television, your cell phone or other technology, it’s important to avoid distractions when you are working. Your friends and family should not feel free to drop by anytime they want to, for chatting for unlimited periods of time. Remember, playing Farmville on Facebook is not the same as using social media to market your business. Other than making allowances for true emergencies, turn email off, social media off, and have a special emergency number for true life altering emergences.

Stop Multitasking — Yes, I realize that is easier said than done, but multitasking is overrated. It’s not efficient, and it just simply doesn’t work. While someone like a receptionist may need the ability to do a few things at once, the need our society places on the ability to multitask is wrongheaded. Most just done in a multitasking environment simply aren’t up to par. If you’re engaged in any type of creative work, bookkeeping, or other tasks that require your full attention it is important to give it all your focus. It is surprising how much work you can get done when you give the work your undivided attention. Without interruptions what used to take 3 hours might take only an hour, that is the ultimate in time management!

Sound Quality in Video Marketing

Nothing can take the edge off a good marketing video and flip it into the realms of dismal amateur production or “deadly dud” faster than poor sound quality during recording. Yes, it’s true that candid videos do phenomenally well on YouTube, but you should never confuse “candid” with “low quality”.

When you’re actually planning to sell that video you’re making, it becomes even more crucial that the sound quality creates no “glitches” or rough spots to distract viewers from your message. Fortunately, today’s video editing software (and hardware) can go a long way towards helping your video present a polished and professional image.

Recording short segments, and putting them together after the fact in the editing process, also helps cut down on and minimize mistakes such as you stumbling over a word and getting tongue-tied – which happens more than even professionals care to admit. (Just look at all the “bloopers” shows there have been, over the years.)

One of the first components of sound editing you need to know about, however, is “layering”. You speaking on camera is the raw, unedited reality. Adding in that soft soundtrack behind your voice, fading out as you begin to speak, or setting a video entirely to music, is “layering”.

Throwing in sound effects is also “layering”.

In most video editing software, inserting a sound effect (such as a crowd cheering, or a bird tweeting) is as simple as dragging the sound clip and dropping it onto the second (or third) “track” in your software editor. The same applies for inserting music.

Most video editing software allows you to apply special effects to your sound clips, just as you do to your video clips. You can fade in or out, and adjust the volume at the basic level. With more sophisticated video editing software, you can do much more, including removing unnecessary background noises. This is done by using multiple “tracks”.

Your Hardware

Another key element, however, is the hardware you use. If your video making equipment consists of an old digital camera, you’re stuck with a lot of background noise (especially if you’re shooting outdoors) and “tinny” sound quality. If your aim is a “candid” video, these are faults that can be overlooked (in spite of what sound professionals would probably tell you): However, poor sound to the point where your viewers can’t really make out what you’re saying is not acceptable.

Investing in decent audio recording equipment, however, is something you might want to seriously consider – particularly if your video marketing is going to include teleseminars or interviews. You can get decent equipment and software for less than the price of a mobile phone nowadays – and one other advantage of modern sound recording software lies in the way it’s so easy to learn. (You’re likely to have more trouble programming your new TV remote, in the majority of cases!)

When should you invest in decent sound recording equipment and/or software? If you’re planning to specialize in any of these areas:

• Teleseminars
• Interviews
• Re-purposing content
• Updating existing videos with new material
• Archiving your material
• Video narrations or voice-overs

Sound is sometimes an overlooked element of video marketing. Keeping it real is one thing – but not being able to hear what’s being said is simply unacceptable. Decide for yourself whether your present equipment is not up to the job, or perfectly fine – but don’t leave it to chance. Know what you’re doing, and why.

Why Membership?

People often ask me, why is membership marketing so important? To me, it’s simple. It makes so much sense and yet, it is often a missed opportunity by so many internet marketers and online business owners.

The real question, in my opinion, should be… Why not?

At the very foundation of membership marketing is the idea of loyalty. You gain loyalty by building loyalty. In other words, you will attract loyal customers, and ultimately gain revenue, by offering a loyal – or reliable – product.

Membership marketing is merely a natural extension of your business. Or should be at least. It shouldn’t be hard or complicated. It should be easy to build, easy to manage and easy to succeed.

Yes, of course you are already busy managing your business. But think of how great it would be to secure customers for months, if not years at a time. Think of how wonderfully confident you would be if you knew you did not have to worry about where your next sale will come from or how much time and money you have to spend to find your next customer. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Membership marketing is like job security. You secure your customers, therefore you secure revenue and hopefully, if you do it right, you will secure the future success of your business.

Membership marketing is so important because it can and will help your business grow in such a way that allows you to focus on providing quality products and service.

JV Partnerships Boost Contest Results

When planning your online contest consider bringing in partners. This is usually called a Joint Venture Partnership or “JV” for short. You do not need to form an entirely new business, you just work on the project together to completion. You can bring in one or more people to do the contest with you. It is usually better not to choose people who are in direct competition with you, but rather choose people who promote complementary products and services to your target audience.

Each JV partner should contribute a prize to the winner. This will make your contest much more lucrative. You’ll have more prizes and be promoted via more venues including to their market, and vice versa. There is something in it for everyone. There are many ideas of how you can promote your contests such as hosting a webinar, blogging, vlogging, podcasting, guest interviewing, article marketing, social media and more. In fact, you should probably use an all of the above approach.

JV partnerships boost contests results by expanding your reach. You’ll have access to each partner’s market, and possibly established email lists. You can do this in a variety of ways and is up to each individual and how they want to set it up. However, you do it, more hands make for light work. It does help to find other individuals who have different skills from you. If you have someone good at project management, make them the lead. Someone who’s specialty is graphics they should be in charge of graphics and so on.

It is important to:

* Learn Online Contest Laws — Every state and country has different laws and regulations about online contests, it is imperative that you educate yourself and follow the laws to avoid any potential issues.
* Define Your Objectives — Your objective, in this case is to build your list. Ensure that all your actions reflect that goal.
* Create Strategy, Goals and Tactics — Create both short term and long term goals on a time line and the strategy and tactic that will enable you to meet those goals. Be very specific about who will do what, and when.
* Decide on the Contest Type — There are many contests types from photo contests, to brag in a video about my product contests. You decide what type of contest will best serve your target audience.
* Choose Prizes — The best prizes are your actual products and services. This will ensure that your sign ups are actually your target market. If you give away something that doesn’t actually serve your target audience you may obtain more list members, but they won’t be targeted, they’ll be freebie seekers.
* Create the Rules — Ensure that the rules are clear to your contest and ensure that all valid entries follow the rules. Keep good records of these actions.
* Develop the Collateral — Develop all the marketing collateral that you need including graphics, online copy, blogging content, article marketing content, and so forth. If you plan to have a webinar to launch the contest, preplan all aspects of the webinar so that you will be ready.
* Get your Websites Ready — With the larger influx of traffic that you’re garner from an online contest be sure that your technology is ready and works. Don’t forget to evaluate your hosting plan to avoid any crashes.
* Follow a Path to Launch — From these items create a timeline to launch day. Then create actions and tasks for each day after Launch. It’s not over once you launch. That is just the beginning.
* Measure Results — As you launch and go through the contest to completion measure the results against your goals and expectations. This is the only way to know if you’re successful or not or to figure out where you did well and where you can improve.

Once you’ve done one online contest to boost your email list, you’ll want to do more. Once a year is a great plan to consider. Most organizations have membership drives each year, why not you? Getting the fresh email list members will revitalize your business exponentially. Remember, the “money is still in the list”.

Consistency is Important for Business Blogging Success

When you start out posting to your business blog, your readers get accustomed to your style of writing and the content you’re producing. They come to rely on it and if you deviate from it, they may discontinue reading or feel they aren’t at the right blog. Obviously we don’t want this to happen, so below are some important keys to help you stay consistent on your business blog.

Branding your business blog is the key to retaining and building your readership. Branding is simply creating a look that is uniquely yours, including your business logo, your picture or an image that people will automatically associate with you and your business. If you have a blog that is separate from your business website, be sure your brand is consistent throughout both. Even if your brand is simply an avatar of you, having it somewhere on your blog will let readers know they are at a blog that belongs to you.

Being consistent as far as the appearance of your blog goes is also key. Use the same colors, fonts and images on your blog that are on your website. You want your customers and readers to know they are at your blog when they first arrive. If you have a logo for your business, use it on your blog. If you have a custom header, use it throughout your site.

How often you write is also important to your readers. Your readers rely on hearing from you on a regular basis, whether that is every day or once a week. If you start out writing every day then all of a sudden drop off to once a week, they may turn away, thinking you’re not doing business as much or whatever. If you have to change how often you post to your business blog, let your readers know with a simple post. Or better yet, send message to your readers on your email list. Take care of your readers by letting them know you care about them.

Not only is being consistent important for how often you write, but consistency is important regarding what you write about. The purpose of a business blog is to introduce readers to your products and services, inform readers about what you have to offer them, let readers know how your products and services can benefit them and to increase sales. With that in mind, the content of your business blog, your blog posts, should always do just that. Don’t be all over the place talking about subjects that aren’t pertinent to your business. If you start talking about your mom or your spouse or other things that have nothing to do with your business, you will lose readers fast. They come because they want to know about your business, not your personal life, or what’s going on down the street (unless of course it has to do with your business).

Being consistent with your style of writing, the appearance of your blog and what you write about will keep readers consistently returning to your business blog and increasing traffic to your business!