5 Similarities Between Direct Mail Marketing & Email Marketing

As an online business owner, you have no doubt heard this common phrase: “The money is in the list.” Sure, you may have a super awesome product to sell and you might have a steady stream of traffic to your website but your email list is where your prospects and paying customers are found. These are the people who will likely buy from you in the future.

The same is true of a direct mail list. People who respond to your direct mail campaigns are placed on your prospect list. Those who follow through with a purchase are placed on your customer list. Both of these lists should be cared for and nurtured to encourage future sales.

If you already spend time developing relationships with those on your email list, it’s time to spread out and do some offline marketing using direct mail tactics. What better way to bring awareness to your website!

Here are some other ways email marketing and direct mail marketing are similar:

1. Knowing your audience is vitally important. What does your target market want or need? What problem do they have that you can fix for them? How old are they? What types of jobs do they hold? This is all part of marketing research that you should have done prior to starting your website.

Here’s a simple example of NOT knowing your market: if a lawn care company sends direct mail postcards to an apartment complex with 200 tenants, is that a good use of their money? Of course not! Apartment tenants don’t cut their own grass so there’s no need to market to them.

2. Be creative. Creative copywriting will get more of a response than generic wording. People are constantly spammed with email so your subject line needs to jump out at them, compelling them to open the email and read your message.

Likewise, your direct mail headline has to compel the same type of reaction, that your product or service is something they can’t live without.

3. Add a call to action. Don’t be subtle. Tell your reader exactly what you want them to do next. Subscribe to your online newsletter; visit your website; buy your product. Never be afraid to ask for the sale. If you have truly targeted your audience, then your product or service can help your market and they just need a little push from you to complete the sale.

4. Make a valuable and relevant offer. This relates back to knowing your audience. Sending baby coupons to a list whose kids are in high school will likely backfire but sending a florist coupon to men near Valentine’s Day could be a hit.

Also, be careful with your copywriting when stating the value of a coupon. Is it better to save $50 or 10%? Of course, it depends on the cost of the item but don’t leave your customers guessing. Tell your readers exactly how much they will save in dollars and if you beat the competition, you’ll have more visitors to your website.

5. Deliver what you promise. If you say in your email subject line that a money saving coupon is inside, there better be a link to that coupon, as promised. If you send a direct mail piece promising a certain discounted product, you better have enough in stock to satisfy demand. Good customer service goes a long way to getting good word-of-mouth advertising.

Email marketing and direct mail marketing can easily work in tandem when it comes to building brand awareness for your online business. Just remember that it takes a certain number of exposures before people typically buy, so don’t end either campaign too early.

Make It Happen with Membership Marketing

A successful membership marketing program requires an investment from you. An investment of your time, your money and of your business. It is up to you just how “expensive” your membership marketing program and membership site will ultimately cost, given the initial and ongoing investments it can and will require.

As you become an expert membership marketer, you will develop your own methods that work best for you and your customers. Membership marketing is a great way to enhance your business.

Here are some guidelines to follow for a successful membership marketing program:

* Membership marketing is the art of acquisition and retention.

* Membership marketing can and will increase your revenue stream.

* Membership marketing inherently builds loyalty through mutually beneficial customer relationships.

* Keep your prices reasonable and allow room to upsell.

* Apply the multi-level membership model to your program to entice more customers to become members.

* Nothing adds value like offering value.

* Use membership cards to your advantage.

* Visibility is key.

You will also need to keep in mind some common business practices that will not only ensure you maintain your success, but will practically guarantee it.

Communication. Communication is absolutely critical to the success of your business. You must communicate with your customers to let them know you are committed. You also want to serve as a constant reminder that your business is of value to them. They have to be made to feel as though they need you, because ultimately, you need them.

Innovation. Whether its possible or not, you must always be certain to stay abreast of new and exciting products and offerings in your industry. If you aren’t offering the latest and greatest, you will quickly become yesterday’s news. Keep informed about your competition and be sure to not just undersell them, but offer value.

Dedication. No matter what element of your business, be it your product, your service, your list or your membership site, the level of your success will be directly related to the level of your dedication. The more dedicated you are to your business and your customers, the more success you will see.

These themes are not “new” but remain absolutely critical to the success of any business. Why? Because without communication, your customers wouldn’t know who you are or what you have to offer. Without innovation, your business can never move forward. And without dedication, you will not succeed.
All of the important principles you have applied to make your business successful still apply. Your membership marketing site and program should simply serve as an extension of your efforts.

If you apply these basic marketing principles to all that you do, coupled with the knowledge of how to entice your specific target market, and a well-devised membership marketing campaign, and you will achieve success.

Now, get out there and make it happen!

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!

Backend Sales Strategies are Like Riding a Bike Once You Learn, You Never Look Back

Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Remember the many fears you faced? Falling off… Crashing into something… Failing. But, I bet what you remember in even greater detail is the incredible feeling of success that you felt when your parent finally let go. You were free! No more training wheels and no more fear. You were on your way.

Backend sales can be described in a similar way. Oftentimes, internet marketers and online business owners are fearful of the follow-up. They do not want to seem overbearing or pushy. So, rather than capitalize on opportunity, they fall flat on their face with fear. They lose a potential additional sale, and revenue, because of their fear to offend.

But what if you could eliminate that fear rather than become a victim of it? What if you could sell to your customers without actually appearing to do so? And what if they actually liked it?

With backend sales, you have to take off the training wheels. You know your business, you know your product, and you know your customer base. Now its time to put all of that knowledge to use, because once you do, you won’t ever look back.

There are many options to explore when deciding which backend sales strategies you will employ.

For instance, you can populate your shopping cart with items of interest. Or, you can send a follow-up communication to all of your customers each time they make a purchase.

But what’s most important is that you are doing something to take advantage of this opportunity.

Backend sales are quite possibly some of the most lucrative, most reliable sales you will ever make because they are sales you are making to customers who already know you.

These customers are already your bread and butter, so why not expand on that? Sure, new customers are great. In fact, new customers are essential to the growth of your business.

But you will never get anywhere if you don’t take care of the customers you already have. Customers like to feel appreciated, valued and everyone always likes a good deal.

So, if you incentivize your offerings, they are most likely to take the bait.

After you have taken the training wheels off and decide to ride into success, your backend sales strategy will basically run itself.

You see, once its in place, you will have to simply manage the data, not babysit each client. That is why it is so important to invest in a quality e-commerce solution that will provide you with a reliable auto responder and robust database system.

So, take that leap of faith. Trust in the quality of your products. Help your business succeed and focus on selling on the backend. Once you do, you won’t ever look back.

Tools any business can use to manage time

Managing time is more about learning to manage yourself around the time that you have. There are many ways to go about finding ways to self-manage in a way that saves the most time for money making activities, as opposed to time wasting activities. You already know what a money making activity is, and you probably know deep down what a time waster is, but you feel powerless to get it together.

Fortunately, there are tools to help you get a handle on your time, forcing you to focus business activities toward money making (billable) activities. A few ideas are:

Dovico Software — A really good software that helps you manage not just time, but projects is Dovico Software. You can use it on your computer and via your iPhone, which enables you to take it with you on the road. This can be invaluable to the on the go business person.

Google Calendar — Most mobile phones will integrate with Google Calendar, and it can obviously be used on your computer or tablet device. Another really great feature is that you can invite as many people as you want to view the Google Calendar and add to the calendar.

Easy Time Tracking Software — Another really good software product is called Easy Time Tracking. Easy time tracking software has a free version you can try. This software allows you to track time, handle expense reports, and even invoice your clients and has multiple user support.

Freshbooks — This is a web based solution which enables you to track time, expenses, your entire staff, accounting and offers personal branding. With Freshbooks, you can get quite a large free version in which you can use to track your own time if you set up dummy accounts to track time you’re spending on non money making tasks.

Paper Planners — If you don’t want to use software, stick to your paper day planner, but actually use it for what it’s meant to be used for. Before you put something in it, make sure you know it’s a business essential money-making task. It helps to have a special planner for personal time which you keep totally separate from business time, and vice versa. Some name brands for these are WeekDate, Planner Pad Organizer, and the well known, Day Runner brand.

A really awesome time management tool will help you prioritize, schedule, and focus on the goals you’ve set for your business. It’s individual preference that will determine what type of tools you use to organize yourself and manage your time. Your choice will also depend on what kind of business you have, how many employees or contractors you have, and on what goals you’ve chosen to focus.

The important factor is that a plan is implemented that discovers and redirects time wasters, putting the focus back on accomplishing money making tasks in your business. Either software or traditional methods can work, but they will only work well if you actually implement them. While setting your system up can take some time, it will be more than worth it once it’s done.

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.

How Tracking Your Time Avoids The Time Suck

Time suckers cause anxiety for every business owner, but the time suckers that are the biggest problem are the ones you aren’t aware of. Innocent activities that you do out of habit can cause a lot of time suckage. Turning on your email, sending email and social media to your mobile phone, having an “open door” policy for employees, contractors and even kids can all lead to little minutes of time being stolen from you that can add up to several hours a week and in some cases several hours a day.

Therefore the secret to time-management success it not to manage your time but manage what you do with your time. After all, time is static. There is no way to actually increase the amount of time in a day. You’re stuck with what nature gave us. You can do a few things to feel like you have more time, such as delegate, outsource, plan and schedule your time strategically so that you can focus on your core income producing tasks most of the time.

You may have thought that starting your own business would alleviate punching a clock and tracking your time. Maybe you dreamed about suddenly taking the afternoon off and heading to the beach, or perhaps you simply thought having a business wouldn’t be so much like work. Then you found yourself overwhelmed with all this W.O.R.K. to do and you started feeling disillusioned about being a business owner. That’s when it hits, that you have to find the secret to time-management so that you can create not only success in your business, but success in your life.

Some time suckers that you may or may not be aware of and how to deal with them:

Social Media — While social media is a fabulous way to attract attention to your business it can also be a tremendous time sucker. It’s too easy to get side tracked in reading your family & friends updates and playing games for hours. Separate your work social media from your personal social media and schedule the time you will spend on social media. Use personal social media on personal time.

Email — Today we are so impatient that if someone doesn’t answer our email’s almost immediately it gives us anxiety. But, the truth is, it would be best to schedule when you will handle email, and if you can, outsource some of this task so you only see important emails. Deal with email the way you do with snail mail. Handle it once, read it, do what is needed, then file it away or delete it.

Mobile Technology — When you’re working, don’t have every email and social media update go directly to your mobile. Do have a way for people to reach you in true emergencies, which you have defined for them, but when you are working, ignore email, ignore your phone. You don’t have to be continuously connected to be successful. In fact, you shouldn’t be.

Non-income Tasks — Limit non income tasks until after you’ve completed the number of billable hours that you need to meet your financial needs. By focusing most of your time on income producing tasks you’ll find that some of the other things you thought were important, just aren’t.

Family & Friends — A lot of times if you’re a business owner your family and friends seem to not realize how busy you are and think you can just take off time any moment that you want to. It is important to be direct with both family and friends regarding the amount of time you have during business hours. Simply make a statement that if it’s not an emergency that you’ll have to get back with them, and set a time and follow through. Eventually they will learn that your business is important to you and to work around business hours.

Home Life — Millions of working moms and dads have trouble balancing their work and home life but it can be even more difficult when you are a small business owner. As the owner of your business, you do have more ability to be flexible with your time, but be realistic when you set up your working schedule and store hours if you have a bricks and mortar business.

5 Ways to Earn Recurring Revenue

Earning recurring revenue is the best way to keep your business afloat even during down times like vacation and illness. Recurring revenue is money that you will earn week after week or month after month without that much daily upkeep. You can add many levels of recurring income to your business model even as a service provider. Here are some ideas you can start right now to set up a few recurring revenue streams.

Technical Support — Look at the services you provide and choose the ones that must be done on a regular basis. For instance, if you’re a technically inclined Virtual Assistant who works with their clients on keeping their websites updated you can offer a monthly recurring package of updates. You would put the client on auto-pay, or auto-billing which can easily be accomplished with billing software such as Freshbooks.com, and then you would automatically do the updates as needed for their sites on a mutually agreed upon schedule.

Teach Others — Most people are an expert at something. If you are making money working from home as any type of service provider, you can help others do the same. Create an ecourse, and either put it in a members only website or have it delivered by members only email subscription sign up. The good thing about this is the work is done once, and other than occasional updates to the information, this recurring income idea will be on auto-pilot just like the eCourses.

Write an eBook — Don’t just write the eBook, sell it. Today it’s very simple to put a book for sale on Kindle via Amazon.com. Even if you only sell your book for .99 cents you can make quite a nice recurring revenue stream. You can write books about your own business, your own life, or even a fictional novel if you want to. There are writers who could not get published in a traditional manner earning six figures via Amazon Kindle. Why not you. Imagine making recurring revenue years down the road from work you did today.

Create a service club — Many big name sites do it, like Amazon, Costco and others. For a small membership price you are first in line for service, or you get other special items if you choose to use them. The trick here is that the specials do not roll over and the client must act by a certain date each month. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer you could offer 1 banner, 1 button, and 1 other graphic each month for a price you feel is fair. The member is set up on auto pay or recurring billing the first of each month. The members are entitled to use their credits on a first come, first serve basis with a 48 hour notice. If they choose not to use their credits one month, it does not roll over. Believe it or not people will pay for the privilege of being first.

Long Contracts — Another idea for recurring income is to give discounts for longer contracts. Instead of just working week to week or month to month give your new clients (and old) the option to sign a yearlong contract for a discount. Make the terms of the contract explicit that if they leave the contract early they will need to pay the discounted fee difference. For instance, if you give a 50 dollar per month discount due to the client signing a yearlong contract, then they cancel after seven months, to end the contract they will need to pay $350.00 to end the contract early. Ensure that all your payments for these contracts are received before you start any work agreed upon.

Making money with mobile advertising

Due to the advent of the iPhone and other smart phones in combination with mobile Internet access the possibilities for making money are truly endless. Today, you can make money via mobile advertising, and you don’t even have to spend a bunch of money on app development. It can cost a lot less than you think to create a useful app, it can even be free. It really depends on what type of app you want to develop.

You can simply create an app that allows your blog readers to read your blog each time you have a new blog available or you can create a useful or fun specialized app. There are some online app builders which are free that allow you to monetize your app and create a new way for you to interact with your clients. Here are some systems and places that will help you create an app that you can monetize, both free and paid.

AppMakr.com — You can create your app free, and you can add on things such as notifications to alert your users of sales, updates to your blog, ability for sharing and more. There are monetization features and more available with AppMakr.com. You do not need to know any code, and in fact you don’t need to know anything at all. You use the online interface with your URL to create the app based off your feed or a keyword you choose. AppMakr.com has many features that will expand your reach, and add to the socializing and fun of your website, products and services.

Adking.com — They have their own BizApp creator. You can create a mobile website and a web app to use for your own site or to use with your clients. You can do this private label or semi private label. It’s up to you how you do it. As a business today, mobile apps are becoming a necessity due to the huge proliferation of Smartphones, especially the iPhone so you may as well join in the fray and get ahead of the game.

Rrent-acoder.com — You can hire a coder to create any type of app that you want. You simply need the idea about what you want the app to do so that the developer can create it. Make sure that you own all rights to the creation of the app by having a good contract with the programmer. If you can come up with a fun or useful application that is unique you’ll have it made.

Once you create the application depending on which method you use above you’ll need to monetize your creation with mobile advertising through an ad network. The first two, AppMakr.co and Adking.com have their own network that allows you to monetize your app easily. If you use a coder you’ll need to find and sign up with a mobile advertising network. You can use Google Ads, AdMob.com, and many others to monetize your iPhone application. It’s up to you how you choose to make money with mobile advertising.

Add writing services to your online offerings for fast cash

If you have an online business in which you are hoping to earn passive income, it can take awhile. It’s totally doable, but it’s not going to happen overnight. The reason most online businesses fail isn’t due to a bad idea, it’s due to the entrepreneur underestimating how long it will take to make money, and how much it will cost to become profitable. Every business you start costs money to get off the ground, that’s a given, but some businesses take longer in which to make a profit than others.

A really great way to add to your income without adding an expense is to start providing a service that is needed, that you already know how to do, and already have the equipment to accomplish. As an Internet marketer you are likely to already be writing content for yourself, or you’re outsourcing it, and paying someone else to do it. No matter what, everyone who runs a business must have content.

Regardless of how you are populating your websites, blogs, and online real-estate with content, you can add the service and do it for others. Even if you outsource. Why? Because, most writers will cut their rates a bit if you are ordering more. Simply mark up by 1.5 anything you outsource, and manage the writing others do in order to add this service to your offerings. Remember to edit each project yourself to ensure that the quality is good before passing it on to the client. Even though outsourcing is a perfectly legitimate way to offer a service, your reputation depends on giving your clients topnotch content.

Alternatively, if you normally write your own content, start actually writing the content for others. If you can do it for yourself, you can do it for others. Try not to offer content in your own niche. Instead, offer content in another niche that you know you can write intelligently about without much research. In terms of content, time is money. It’s important to charge not only according to page, but according to the amount of research you must do for each topic. If you take 30 minutes to write a well-written, 500 word article, charge accordingly.

You can start writing for others very easily by using a service such as fiverr.com. You already have proof on your various websites that you have writing talent, use those as examples, create a price list, and then start on fiverr.com to get your foot in the door. Get on sites like WAHM.com and offer to take over-flow for other writers. It is instant money in your PayPal account when you take over-flow. Yes, the prices are low when you subcontract, but generally the writing is simple keyword rich content that takes very little time to write.

Once you have that income, you can turn around and spend it on your regular business, thus pushing your business that much faster toward profitability. Avoid temptation to spend it on other things because you must stick to your goals to advance your actual business toward profitability. It is all too easy to get sidetracked into providing services full-time, but this is not your goal. Never consider the money as anything but what it should be, money to finance your business, if you want to make your non-service based online business a success.