Focus on Your Target Market When You Blog

When you have a business blog, it’s important to focus on your target market because they are potential customers for your business. They are your bread and butter. So how do you focus your business blog to your target market?

Begin with the name of your blog. When you set up a business blog for the first time, the blogging platform will require a title for your blog. Carefully consider what this should be. Should it be the name of your business (i.e. Sam’s Hardware Store Blog)? It depends on the type of business you own because you definitely don’t want your blog name to be too cheesy. Neither do you want it to be so long that no one can remember the exact wording, so choose your blog name carefully. If you sell a specific product, say jewelry, you could use something catchy, like Gems from Julie, or whatever your name is.

A great way to come up with an appropriate name for your blog that your target market will easily find when they do a search, is to do a search yourself. Do a keyword search to see how many hits certain words that pertain to your business receive. Then incorporate those words into the title of your blog.

Another way to focus your business blog to your target market is to stick with topics that pertain to your business. When readers come to your blog, they are expecting to find information about what services you offer and product info. Don’t sell them short by posting about stuff that has nothing to do with your business. They will leave and never come back.

In addition, be sure ads placed on your business blog are relevant to your business. You won’t make any money if you have buttons advertising jewelry when you sell tools. Besides your readers will get the sense you are just trying to make money instead of truly helping them which really is the main goal of your business blog.

Manage Your Time — Focus on Income Producing Activities

One of the most productive time-management success secrets for business owners is to learn to focus on income producing activities. As a business owner, everything you do does not produce income. It doesn’t mean that those tasks that do not produce income aren’t important, all business owners have tasks to do that aren’t related to billable hours that are absolutely essential to having a successful business. But, knowing the differences of these various tasks is important to the effective management of time, because it helps create a better schedule when you differentiate your tasks.

Keep your focus — Each time you start a task ask yourself the question: “Is this a money making activity?” If the answer is yes, continue. If the answer is no, it is important to make a choice about whether or not the task is essential or a time waster. If it’s a time waster, stop. Save time wasters for when you really have time to waste. During business hours, you don’t have time to waste if you want to be successful in both business and leisure. Focus fully on any activity to get the most out of it.

Get into the flow — Brain studies have shown that most humans sleep and think in 90 minute cycles. Focus on each task or group of tasks for at least 90 to 120 minutes without interruption. Allowing yourself uninterrupted time, free from social media, email, door knockers, and telephones will enable you to get much more accomplished faster due to the existence of “flow”. According to Wikipedia, “Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus.” The point is, a lot happens during flow — and it happens regardless of the activity you’re engaging in. Whether you’re wasting time on Facebook, creating a work of art, or whether you’re entering data into a spreadsheet flow is your friend when it comes to time management.

Choose your priorities — Aside from the obvious, deciding what it is you want out of “life” there is a smaller picture to look at, which is what you’re going to do today. What are you going to do today that advances your business, brings in money, and gets you closer to being a successful business owner? That’s what you need to know each day as you go to work. If you aren’t centered on what it is you want to accomplish, you can get bogged down with a task list of 30 things and be upset that you only crossed off five of them today. But if you know exactly what you’re working toward and making the money you want to make, you can also feel good about getting the five things done if you didn’t allow yourself to get sucked into time wasting activities. If you’ve scheduled uninterrupted working time, stick to it unless a true emergency arises.

Delegate and Automate — It can be very difficult for a business owner to let go of non money making tasks to others. But, ultimately it is imperative that you find a way to automate, outsource, delegate or otherwise let someone else do tasks that aren’t a priority to earning money, but are nonetheless tasks that need to be accomplished. Whether it’s employing automation technology, hiring a bookkeeper, a receptionist, a Virtual Assistant, or a housekeeper it doesn’t matter. Any help will be a real time saving measure.

4 Ways to Create the Perfect Upsell

Upselling can be a huge profitable marketing effort by your company. The problem is most companies don’t perform the action of upselling whole-heartedly. They rely on skimpy ads to do the work for them hoping that customers will just click on them.

There is much more involved in getting the customer to want to buy an additional product. The following are a few ways you can implement a successful upselling marketing campaign.

1) If your product is one that needs to be shipped to a customer, put a coupon for the upsell product in with the order. Make it a great deal, or a huge discount and your customer will be more likely to follow up and want to place another order.
2) Once you have established a full-fledged customer, make sure you treat them right by sending them a thank email for their purchase and have the option for them to sign up for a newsletter as well. You could even slip in upsell promotions inside the email and newsletters.
3) Target your customers with emails about special promotions. If you sell electronics, send out an email with a special two for one offer or any new deals or discounts related to the product they purchased in the recent past. This takes serious organization to gather this information, but with a good auto-responder and database it can be done, and done effectively to bring in more sales.
4) If you have specials and deals, display them prominently on your website so the customer cannot miss them. It can be on the front page or before the checkout page. The strategy of placing an upsell item before the completion of the checkout has been known to be the most effective form of marketing. Customers are more likely to consider the product and how it will enhance their initial purchase.

Letting your customers know that you have valuable products that they need, will actually work to your advantage. They will see this as you being a helpful and honest business that they will want to do business with again and again.

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.

Membership Site Software: Why Use It?

There are many benefits to running an ongoing membership site, but when it comes to choosing how you’re going to run it, membership site software can make things even easier and even more profitable! Here’s a quick guide as to why you should consider using it.

1) Add Content Easily: A number of membership site models are based on adding or updating content, and membership site software makes this task far easier. Rather than dealing with individual clients, and attempting to supply updated information by e-mail or other methods, you can simply add the new content to your membership site and all paid-up members will receive it. Not only will this save you time, it’s also far more secure than sharing files via email.

2) Easily Manage Payments: Managing the payments side of your membership site is another key benefit. Normally when you have to deal with collecting payments from multiple clients, and at different times throughout the month, it’s hard to know who has paid their monthly fee and who hasn’t. When using one of the many membership site payment options it is easy to manage this automatically.

3) Build A Community Within Your Membership: One very good reason to use membership site software is the option to include a forum within your membership. Quite a few membership sites maintain their monthly membership fees largely due to the participants’ reluctance to leave the forum. This is especially true if you take an active role within the forum yourself. You can, of course, hire someone else to manage the forum: this can be a useful option if you are planning to run multiple membership sites at once.

4) It’s Easy: The main reason why people choose to launch their membership with membership site software is because it’s so easy. All you need is good content and a good idea and you can set it up with little to no technical experience, and just a small amount of cash to pay for the software (sometimes it’s a one-time fee, sometimes it means an ongoing monthly cost).

Social media success is about giving of yourself

You can use social media strategically, automate a lot of it, and get rid of the time wasters but what you can’t or should not do is give up the conversation. The trick is framing your conversation within your niche. Believe it or not, answering questions, and giving away information free on social media networks like LinkedIn on there “answers” area can go a long way toward creating good will, which can lead to clients who want you enough to pay the rates you’re asking, or site visitors who are already primed to buy what you recommend. By giving of yourself it happens almost magically.

Automation is great for ending time wasting tasks of posting new blog posts, new articles, and outside information. It frees up your time so that you can have a real conversation with potential clients in all of your social networks whether it is Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or a forum you enjoy. Spending time having real conversations and answering questions will establish you as an expert, bring traffic to your blog, and provide you with valuable information and connection to your target market.

If you want to make social media truly useful so that it provides a return on investment (ROI) then you have to join in the conversation. If everyone automates everything and only applications and Virtual Assistants are participating in the media then it loses the social aspects and eventually the value will plummet. No one who can make decisions or offer value will be watching if it’s all automated.

The best person to communicate your vision to the world is you. The myth of the four hour work week is that you don’t have to participate at all. It’s true you probably can outsource your entire life, but where is the joy in that? You might save time, but ultimately you lose connection to the people you wanted to connect with in the first place when you started your business. Certainly you had a goal that involved connecting with someone or helping someone. Never forget why you started your business in the first place.

5 Steps to Launching Your Own Affiliate Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cash in During the Holiday Season with Sales

During the holiday season every store you know is having a sale of some kind. You hear about some of the sales on the news with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales creating the kind of buzz that marketers can only dream about the rest of the year. Even if your store is completely on line, and even if you deal in digital products you too can take part in these sales so that you can cash in during the holiday season.

Make The Sale Amazing

First, decide what type of offer you’re going to create. It should answer your customers’ needs, while also ensuring that you still make a profit. If you sell digital items this is simple. You can literally sell your digital items for 99 cents and still rake in a profit because once you’ve created a digital product and made back your initial investment it’s all profit from there.

Make The Sale Time Sensitive

Next, it’s important that your sale offer is time sensitive. You don’t want to keep any sale going for an entire month. You literally want to have various sales at different levels during the entire holiday season with Cyber Monday and Black Friday to be your main sale dates. At the most you can go for a Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale, but don’t drag it on too long if you want to make the most sales.

Make the Sale Make Sense

You want to sell things during your holiday sale that make sense to your audience. It’s okay if it’s a brand-new item, or an old item, or a package of both, just make sure it fits in with your audience and their needs. Like all products and / or service it should answer a need of your audience. Don’t change that formula for a special holiday sale.

Partner With Others

Holiday sales are a great time to create a short joint venture partnership with others who offer complementary products and services to yours. By creating one big sales page with a lot of awesome sales on a lot of different products and services, and then by jointly marketing them to all combined audiences you’ll make a bigger impact for your holiday sale.

Don’t Forget the CTA (Call to Action)

The most important part of your sale outside of the actual product is your call to action. If you aren’t clear in your call to action you won’t make the sale. The call to action should include the deadline, the price, and what to do to make them click through and make the purchase. By including a clear CTA you will win more sales, every single time.

Finally, give your audience enough time to get excited about the sale. Let them know with teaser blog posts, emails, and newsletter entries that you will be having an amazing sale that they can’t miss out on. Hint, tease, and lead up to the big day and you will be sure to cash in during the holidays with sales.

10 Tips for successful niche marketing

Here are 10 tips for niche marketing success

1. Set your goals.
Take the time to not only become familiar with your niche, but set goals for yourself. Decide when you would like to launch your website as well as how much money you are willing to spend. You should also set a goal for how much revenue you would like to make. Reach for the stars, but be realistic.

2. Develop your product.
Now that you know what kind of business you are going to have, you have to determine what you are going to sell! Whether it’s a book, a widget, a consultation or advice, you will have to decide exactly what it is you will be selling before you actually begin selling it!

3. Define keywords.
Search Engine Optimization is the process of helping the search engines (i.e. Google) to not only recognize and find your site, but also list and rank your site content. The purpose of this process is to ensure internet searchers see your website in the (hopefully) first, if not first couple of pages of results when performing a search related to your niche.

4. Perform market tests.
In order to know how your new website will perform, you should test it first. Send your website to family and friends and even a few members of your target market. Be sure to ask for feedback.

5. Don’t just speak to your customers. Listen to them.
Be sure to make any necessary changes to make your customers happy. Maybe they would like to see increased payment options in the shopping cart. Or additional products. Do what you can, within reason, to meet their needs and expectations.

6. Stick to your Budget.
Once you determine what your budget is for investing in your niche marketing campaign, it is ALWAYS a good idea to stick to it. You never want to spend more than you can afford, or project income that is not realistic.

7. Get the word out.
You will have to put your marketing knowledge, SEO and advertising prowess to work as you begin to try to entice customers to not only visit your site, but actually make a purchase.

8. Deliver on your promises.
Be careful not to make any promises you can’t keep. Empty promises may generate a few initial sales, but your target market will quickly recognize a faulty or poor product when they see one and the negative press will spread like wildfire.

9. Continually grow your list.
If your business starts out with a boom… that is great! And even if it starts slow and steady, that’s okay too. However, don’t give up on your efforts to constantly gain new customers just because you start doing well. A successful business requires due diligence in constantly seeking out the sale, from both returning customers and new ones.

10. Be sure to offer value-added products and services.
Value-added products/services are a great way to generate additional business and show your customers that you truly care about their satisfaction with their purchase.