How To Help Your Communities And Attract More Prospects

Group of people

 

“Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.” Paul Ryan

I’ve been networking for my offline business for a number of years. It’s all about making connections, building trust and becoming the go-to person when a prospect needs help in your area of expertise.

Does this principle work online too? Well, it’s usually referred to as getting involved in communities rather than networking, but if you do it right it can build your client base.

There are two types of communities you can get involved in. A community of your peers and a community of your prospects. You have to know what to do in each of them for best results.

Peer Groups

There are two types of peers, those with whom you are in direct competition and those who offer complementary products or services to yours. Both can help you get clients, but it may be easier to approach the complementary group because they are not in direct competition with you and so may be more willing to listen to proposals. I’m not saying that competitors will never enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement, but there are often barriers to overcome.

Business and industry focused groups, mastermind groups, and so on all exist to help you educate yourself further and provide connections. Once you have established trust in the community you can start to get clients through ‘word of mouth’. Peer groups also offer opportunities for joint venture (JV) partnerships which can widen and expand your audience.

Prospect Groups

Prospect or audience groups are the best place for you to spend your time because they are often full of your ideal potential clients. You can locate these groups by looking for relevant Facebook Groups, searching for groups on LinkedIn.com, and searching for and joining message boards and forums devoted to your particular niche.

The way to make these groups work for you is to join the group, freely answer questions for them and let them come to see you as part of the group. If you are on a forum let your signature line speak for itself and do not try to sell your services or products at all. Your prospects will come to you when they see that you offer what they want. Your job is to establish a level of trust through sharing your expertise.

What To Focus On

“Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.” Simon Mainwaring

Be a free and open source of information regarding your niche. This is how people will get to know you and trust you and start seeing you as someone they can use, work with, or refer to others.

Spend more time in communities that are made up of your ideal prospects than with your peers. You should certainly participate in peer communities so that you can become known as a community expert, but you don’t want to spend most of your time in a group of competitors.

When you join either type of group you should realise that when you first join, you are the new person and you are unknown. No one is going to trust you immediately. Take the time to get to know others before mentioning your products or services, and get to know the culture of the group. Let your signature line act like a business card and start the selling process for you. Make helpful participation your goal and you will be more successful in attracting prospects and turning them into clients.

What Makes a Good Marketer a Great Marketer?

“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov

You have a well-defined niche, know your audience, and have sold some products to them. But now you want to take your marketing to the next level. To move from being a good marketer to a great marketer requires effort, commitment, marketing knowledge, and the following qualities.

Being Ethical

Ensure that any product, service, or content that you promote is ethical. This goes far beyond legality. Remember, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s ethical. While most of the time something that is not ethical will also be illegal, the reverse is not true. Ethics for each business person and business entity will vary depending on their values and beliefs. What’s important is that you walk the talk and practice what you preach.

Being Authentic and Real

To be truly authentic you need to know who you are and what you stand for. You’re unique as a person and as a marketer so once you find your voice, don’t change it – just do more of it. Be more authentic more often.

Demonstrating Honesty

Demonstrate your honesty by sticking to what you say you’ll do and delivering what you promise. If you write a review that misrepresents a product, fails to meet your own promised deadlines, or even start a blog post with a headline that is deceiving, word gets around. Social media can spread bad news and views quickly, and it won’t take long for you to be seen as dishonest or untrustworthy. Show how honest you are by not misleading your customers and prospects.

Staying Informed About Your Niche

A great marketer makes sure they stay informed, keeping up-to-date on the news, hot topics, trends, laws and information regarding their industry at all times. The more informed you are, the more you can stay ahead of coming trends and new technologies, creating a situation where you can be a major thought leader within your industry.

Being Empathetic to Your Clients

A great marketer cares about their customers. They have passion about their products and/or services because of what they do for their customer. They strive to understand their audience and to demonstrate the care they have for them in their actions, products and services.

Being a Savvy Business Person

A great marketer is able to look at things from different angles to come up with useful products and services as well as interesting and compelling campaigns. Someone who is savvy knows how to listen to their customers and create a product based on what they learn, as well as turn it on its ear to create something amazing and new.

Always Prepared

A great marketer is always prepared for changes in the industry and knowledgeable about what their customers want and need to solve their problems. On the technical side they are also ready for the traffic from a new campaign or publicity in order to avoid crashes and other technical problems.

Always Pushing for Improvement

Finally, a great marketer is focused on always improving. They check their metrics, study the numbers, and run A/B testing on every new campaign, seeking to always improve and become better.

7 Tips for Creating Great Affiliate Tools That Boost Your Sales

Affiliate Tools PageOne way to boost your sales is to recruit affiliate marketers. There are a number of factors that will influence an affiliate’s decision to promote a product, including level of commissions, their familiarity with the target audience, and the promotional tools available.

Most affiliates are going to be less likely to promote products that don’t offer them resources like banners, well written content, promotional videos, etc. The more good quality, easy to use tools you offer the more likely you’ll be to recruit affiliates.

If you are unsure which resources you should be offering the following tips will help you decide.

1) Consider Your Audience

Who is the audience that will buy your products and/or service? Who do you want your affiliates to market to? Once you know the answers to these two questions you can think about the best ways to contact your prospects. Knowing this will help you create better, more effective tools for your affiliates. For example, if a sizeable portion of your buying audience use Pinterest you’ll want to produce images that can be posted there. If they are more likely to consume the written word then you need to produce that type of content instead.

2) Ask Your Affiliates

Your affiliates are the people most likely to know what works. If you already have a few potential affiliates in mind ask them to help you come up with a list of the types of tools they would need to promote successfully. Do they need great artwork, brandable content, videos, or other tools to promote what you are selling?

3) Have a Budget

Creating affiliate tools can be expensive. You need to determine if your investment will pay off. You should have an idea of the cost of producing the resources you want to provide and how much your affiliates will have to sell to cover the cost of creating them. If your numbers seem reachable you need to set a budget and keep to it. You could even plan to create and release some resources only after you have reached a certain level of sales.

4) Personalise the Tools

The easier it is for your affiliates to personalise your resources, the more likely they will be to use them. If you offer various versions of resources like review blog posts, ad text, etc. the easier it will be for your affiliates to personalise their promotional content and avoid looking like they are one of many affiliates who have just copied something from a swipe file.

5) Make the Tools Easy to Use

Use any means you can to make using your tools easier. Affiliates are busy people too and if you can shorten or simplify a task the more likely it is to be done. For example WordPress Affiliate Builder enables your affiliates to enter their affiliate code once and have that cascade down through all the resources you offer, saving them time and making the whole process easier.

6) Use Experts

If you want to offer good quality resources you are probably going to have to hire experts. If you don’t have the expertise to create certain affiliate tools it will be better to outsource these tasks to those that do. It is much better to use experts in coding, graphic design, etc. than to try to produce something yourself. It will likely take longer and produce inferior results if you try to go it alone. Hiring these people should be built into your budget.

7) Provide Training

When you create a resource, don’t assume your affiliates will understand the best way to use it, especially if you are recruiting newer affiliates. Create training that shows how to use the various tools that you supply. This could be provided in PDF reports that include screenshots, video walkthroughs of processes, or both.

Recruiting affiliates is a great way to help you contact a larger audience, market your products and services, and increase sales. But you can’t do it effectively without providing great tools for your affiliates and the training to ensure that they understand how to use them.

Increase The Chance Of A Sale With A Powerful Guarantee

Guarantee badgeThere are a number of factors that influence the chance of making a sale. Perceived value, price point, bonuses, and more. When a vendor or affiliate is putting together an offer they are likely to put some thought into each of these, but one factor that is probably given least thought, where we follow the herd, is the guarantee.

The principle of offering a guarantee associated with the sale is risk reversal. This means if a product or service doesn’t work as promised, it is not the customer that has something to lose, but the vendor.

The most common guarantee in online marketing is probably the money back guarantee. This makes a sale more likely by promising the buyer that the vendor will return their money if the product or service does not work as advertised.

However there are variations on this promise based on the ‘does not work’ part of the guarantee.

Probably the weakest guarantee used in internet marketing is the 30 day money back guarantee. If the buyer can discover whether the product or service works within this time period the guarantee is appropriate. However if it takes more than a month to produce impressive results the guarantee is unlikely to persuade a prospect to buy and may leave purchasers with the impression the guarantee lacks authenticity.

 

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All our products are covered by our cast-iron money-back guarantee. If for any reason (or no reason at all) you’re not completely satisfied, simply contact our helpdesk within 90 days of your purchase for a full refund.

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This type of guarantee can be improved by increasing the period in which the guarantee can be claimed. The most common alternatives to the 30 day period are 60 or 90 days, or even one year. Another way to improve the guarantee is to increase the circumstances under which the buyer can claim a full refund. This is where the buyer can activate the guarantee “for any reason, or no reason at all”.

A guarantee that is valid over a long period of time and has no conditions related to claiming a refund is one of the best risk reversal strategies. However it could be argued that it places too much risk on the seller’s income.

Statistics show that many people who buy the books and courses online often do not complete the material they have bought. It’s even quite common for people to purchase an information product and then never access it. This means it is possible that a customer can purchase a product, leave it untouched on their hard drive, find it just before the guarantee expires and claim a refund without ever trying the product. This and similar scenarios have led to the use of conditional guarantees.

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Use our course, go through all the material and follow the steps to make more money.If you don’t see immediate and consistent results, contact us within 1 year of your purchase date for a full refund of your money.

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The conditional guarantee promises a full refund in the event of the product or service underperforming, but only if the customer can demonstrate they have used the product as intended and taken the appropriate actions.

This means the validity of the guarantee depends on the customer following through and taking action. However, as mentioned above a percentage of buyers will never take action and therefore will never be in a position to claim a refund. This makes the vendor’s income more secure, so they can consider offering a bolder guarantee.

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Download the ebook today. Read it from cover to cover and see for yourself just how much (and how fast!) your results improve once you start using our methods. Then, if you don’t make at least 10 times what you paid for the ebook within the next year, just email my team and we’ll refund you twice the amount you paid. That’s double your money back!

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Did you spot the conditional part of the guarantee? Offering something like double your money back can appear to be an impressive way to reverse the risk to the prospect and help encourage the sale.

The key to creating a powerful guarantee is to consider your offer from the perspective of a sceptical prospect. What risks will they see to buying? What worries will stop them purchasing?

Unfortunately there are some worries you won’t be able to address with a guarantee. The consequences of a product not delivering as promised can be more serious than loss of the purchase money. Using an advertising method that does not work can waste far more money than the cost of an information product, following poor SEO advice can drop your website from the search engines, yet another money making method that does not work can put a strain on your relationship with your spouse, and online strategies that don’t work can waste time that you’ll never get back.

Many of these worries can’t be addressed by a normal guarantee, but they can be overcome by building trust in your integrity and expertise. A blog with impressive content, a social media presence that shows you to be honest and helpful, impressive but believable testimonials and case studies related to your offer can build a perceived guarantee in the minds of your prospects.

Work on these factors and then take each perceived risk and try to reverse as many as you can so that it is you the seller who stands to lose instead of the customer. However if you want to stay in business don’t stand to lose too much.

How To Refresh Your Email Campaigns For Success

Email SequenceOne of the great things about an autoresponder is that it can be used as a set and forget mechanism. Unfortunately that also means your emailed messages can be left for so long that they can become stale and irrelevant to your list. If you suspect you’re not getting the results you used to from your list or that there is room for improvement here are eight steps you can take to update and improve your email marketing.

1. React To Your Metrics

Study the metrics from your email marketing and see how well it is working. Are there emails that are not opened as often as others in your campaign? Try different headlines. Are there links that are clicked infrequently? Look into the information or offer the link leads to and decide if it’s still relevant to your audience and whether you can offer something better. Are there some subscribers who are engaged and some who are not? See if you can segment your list to encourage better engagement. And so on.

2. Ensure your promotions are still viable

If you’re promoting the same products and services via affiliate links that you were promoting last year, it’s important to check these are still available. The vendor may have changed the offer or discontinued it. Even if it remains unchanged you should review its relevance to your list. Over the past year you may have gained new insights into their needs and pain points. Look for offers that can help your list even more and add them to your campaign or swap them with the ones that are least successful.

3. Improve Your CTAs

Having decided what you will promote to your list you can look at the Calls To Action you are using. Events and developments in your niche over the past year may mean you could try a different approach. What worked a year ago might be old news today. You can also take a look at your metrics again to look at the effect of the CTAs you have in place now. See if there is a type of CTA that works best with your list and try to improve upon them so that you’ll get even better results.

4. Review Technology

Each year software is released that claims to improve list conversion and retention. Take a look at what is new that could make your landing pages easier to setup, change or convert. If you don’t use a video on your landing page this is the time to consider it. You need to stay informed about new technology and methods for building your list so you can decide whether to change or not.

5. Be Responsive

Most emails are now read using mobile devices. If your email marketing isn’t responsively designed, you could be missing out on most of your potential market. Even if your email marketing is based on responsive sites you must check that is also true about the web pages you ask your list to click through to see. Are they on responsive, mobile-friendly sites? If not, they need to be. If the sites are your own the solution is obvious. If your links lead to sites belonging to others it may be worth asking if they have plans to ugrade to responsive sites, especially if your conversions at their site have dropped.

6. Consider Refreshing Designs

Updating your artwork or the layout of your emails can be a good way to encourage your audience to take notice. Changing your graphics, logo, or changing the look and feel of the emails you send out can act as a relaunch and breathe new life into your email marketing campaigns

7. Update Your Segmentation Strategy

Many people don’t start segmenting their list until after their email campaigns have been running for a while. Some never segment. Often the first segmentation put in place is between buyers and non-buyers, but there is more you can do. Again, look to your metrics to see if there is an opportunity to provide more targeted messages. You can segment by product interest, topic interest, how responsive people are to offers, and more. You can get a better return on investment the more you segment your list because it will enable you to deliver the best message to each part of your audience.

8. Make Greater Use Of Social Media

You may already use social media in your marketing campaigns, but do you use it within your emails so your subscribers can help you get more subscribers? You should also be inviting your subscribers to join you on social media. If your audience is reading your emails and interacting with you on social media, you’ve got the best of both worlds and more chance of conversions.

If you’ve set up an email campaign you need to keep it fresh and relevant to your list if you want to get the most from it. Schedule to review your email marketing at least once a year, just like you get your car checked for roadworthiness. In both cases you’ll get better results from a well maintained machine.

Is the next phase of video marketing begining to appear?

Video player with mouse cursorIn the last couple of months two of the largest companies online have rolled out services that could have a massive impact on the future of video marketing.

Facebook Live has raised its profile considerably this month. A couple of weeks ago a Californian man broadcast the birth of his son, though he later revealed he hadn’t realised the video would be seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world. In just the last week a video of a woman laughing hysterically whilst wearing a Chewbacca mask was watched by more than 50 million people the first day it was released.

There is great potential here for marketers.

Live currently lets you broadcast from your smartphone for up to 90 minutes, but it looks like within a matter of weeks you could be able to keep on streaming for as long as you like. The rumoured drawback is that you won’t be able to release a recording. Nevertheless, this seems like a great opportunity for those who do live webinars to promote their business.

It has been estimated that Facebook video is up to four times more shareable than any YouTube content posted on the site. Facebook users can send invitations to friends to join them on live streams and the degree of interaction is also increased, with Facebook Live content generating ten times more comments than standard videos.

The prospect of targeting Facebook Live the same way you can target Facebook advertising means that content could be delivered to precisely the  audience it is aimed at.

Other anticipated upgrades to Facebook Live includes the use of metrics to identify which portions of a live video create the most viewer engagement. This will enable later viewers to skip ahead to the most popular parts of the recording.

Also in the last couple of months Amazon has announced Video Direct, a move seen by many as an attempt to challenge YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook.

However, Amazon seems to have set up their new service so that it is most likely to be used only by professional video creators. This makes it an obvious opportunity for media companies, music promoters and online marketers. Currently the service is only available in the UK, US, Germany, Austria and Japan. Content can be monetised by playing ads before viewers can access the content or the content can be bought or rented advert free. Recorded content can also be made available for free to Amazon Prime members. Just imagine the potential audience.

There is also the option to package a set of videos together and offer them via a subscription. A potential opportunity for any online marketer who already has a video-based course in their product range.

As with Facebook Live this latest development from Amazon also holds great potential for those wishing to target a specific audience. With the amount of data Amazon has regarding what people have bought and what they’re most likely to buy, you can imagine how that can help identify and target an audience for a specific set of products.

Change is the one constant online. The latest developments from Facebook and Amazon could point the way to new opportunities in internet marketing. With millions online watching billions of videos it’s surely an opportunity too good to miss.

Is Your Marketing Supporting your Business?

Two common mistakes made by new internet marketers is to start a blog and then not promote the material they create. If you decide to have a blog, and you know why you have that blog and why you need to market, you’ll be more likely to maintain your blog, promote your content and see your business thrive.

It’s important to have an idea of what your online business should be doing and how you should be making people aware of what you do, otherwise you can lose focus and waste effort. The best way to focus on these aspects of your business is to have plans.

A good business plan should summarise the overall strategy for your business. It should include financial details, market research, details of your products or services, and overviews of your operations and marketing strategies.

Your marketing plan should outline your strategy for social media, content marketing, pay-per-click marketing, or whatever marketing tactics you intend to use.

Producing useful business and marketing plans sounds like hard work. That’s because it is. However, they don’t have to be produced instantly. In fact they should be working, evolving documents that help you guide your business.

Having business and marketing plans that work together gives your business the following advantages:

A Consistent Brand

Your business plan should address your mission. As I’ve said before (your mission statement as a way to focus) this doesn’t have to be a specific mission statement, but it should give you direction and identify why your business exists, for whom, what you deliver, and how you differ from your competition. Knowing this will help you create a consistent brand and communicate it to your audience.

An Appropriate Marketing Budget

Deciding an initial budget for your marketing and predicting cashflow as your business grows will enable you to keep to marketing strategies that support your business, not threaten it. This may mean starting with free social media channels and only spending on advertising once you start making money.

Marketing Goals

You can set marketing goals that are alligned with the overall objectives of your business. These can include reaching a target audience appropriate to the stage your business has reached, explaining the advantages of your products or services, or generating enough prospects to enable you to hit sales targets. Set measurable goals and you can monitor your progress against your business targets.

Flexible Marketing

If you are monitoring your marketing performance you can stop investing in areas that are not working well and divert your budget (whether that is in terms of money, time, or both) to areas that are. One of the advantages of marketing online is that there are a number of strategies and channels that you can test to see what works best. This makes it easier to keep your marketing focused in areas that can grow your business.

If your business doesn’t have the above advantages it’s time to review your business and marketing plans. If you are to make the most of your resources and opportunities they have to work together.

Useful Resources To Get Analytics For Your Emails

You are probably aware of the importance of measuring traffic to your website, but are you also measuring the effectiveness of your emails?

Your email marketing should have a goal. It may be to grow your subscriber base, generate more leads, or to convert your existing leads to customers. If you are not measuring your results you won’t know how to improve your chances of hitting your goal.

The email client you use may have some analytics features. Aweber and Getresponse offer some clear and useful analytics. However if the client you use is not giving the information you need you may want to use an alternative software or service. Here are three alternatives you might consider.

Litmus

This service lets you test and track your emails. You can preview pages for desktop and mobile, test your email to see if it will pass through every major spam filter, run page tests, know how your email looks to customers who turn their images off, and more.

Mailjet

This site uses an adaptable and intuitive interface to help you track email delivery and activity across devices. You will know whether your subscribers opened an email, clicked on a link, unsubscribed, or reported your email as spam. You can send up to 6,000 free emails a month or pay if you send more.

SpiderTrainers

An alternative approach is to outsource your email marketing analytics and data collection. SpiderTrainers will do it for you. They can figure out what data you need to know, and how to collect it, then send you analytics reports.

When you are planning an email campaign you should keep the goal in mind. Decide in advance what information you need to know, how you’ll gather it, and how you will use the results when you have gathered them.

The above is just a small example of the services and software available. If you’ve used any of the above please let me know what you thought of them or suggest any alternatives you may be aware of.

Could Facebook Instant Articles neuter your content marketing?

Using a mobile phoneFacebook Instant Articles (FBIA) is a new mobile format developed by Facebook and made available to everyone last week. It allows your readers on Facebook to access your content instantly without leaving Facebook, using the Facebook mobile app.

It’s quicker and more mobile friendly than linking to a website and Facebook believe if readers can access your content faster they’ll be more likely to consume it rather than leave because of slow load times.

Together with the latest Google algorithm update in May, it could be seen as another indication of how important mobile access to the internet has become, but as I’ll address later, it could also lead to a change in how and where content marketing works.

Is Facebook Instant Articles for You?

Some large publishers are already publishing Facebook Instant Articles, including Buzzfeed, The New York Times, National Geographic, the Guardian, and NBC News. Use the Facebook app for iPhone or Android to take a look at what they are publishing. Get an idea of the type of material they are using with FBIA and whether your content will work in the same format. If your content is best accessed via a desktop monitor then FBIA may not be for you.

What You Need for Facebook Instant Articles

If you decide you could use Facebook Instant Articles there are some things you should have in place first.

  1. A Facebook Page
  2. The Facebook Pages app to preview your instant articles on your smartphone.
  3. If you want to automate the publishing of your content to FBIA you’ll need an RSS feed that displays the full content of your articles.
  4. If you have a self-hosted WordPress site you can use an official plugin or the PageFrog plugin to publish your content directly from WordPress to Facebook Instant Articles.
  5. You’ll need 10 articles to submit to Facebook for approval before publication can begin.

If you don’t have 10 articles resist the temptation to quickly put some together. If you’re going to use Facebook to spread your content you’ll want it to be good quality material.

You can sign up here and there is a step by step guide by Social Media Examiner.

How FBIA could neuter your content marketing

The basic idea of inbound content marketing is that it gets the attention of your prospects, and draws readers to your website or squeeze page. As a massive source of traffic Facebook has played an important role in this process for many online.

However Instant Articles cuts this flow of traffic and keeps it on Facebook. There are no links to websites, sales pages or squeeze pages.

This is a coming trend. Google and Twitter have recently launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and LinkedIn is also working on a version of mobile friendly content that will keep readers on their site.

It seems that the big platforms are going to become dead ends. Our ability to convert readers to customers using content is going to be reduced.

At the moment I think it’s too soon to see what we can do about this. There may be an opportunity within the process that hasn’t yet revealed itself, or perhaps someone will come up with or further develop a platform that will be more content marketing friendly.

As always the internet keeps us on our toes.

Content Ideas For Better Emails

Magnifying glassover lightbulb of idea related wordsIf you’re stuck for ideas when it comes to writing emails here are some content suggestions you may find useful.

Offer solutions

Before entering your niche you should have performed some initial research. You should have identified the problems and challenges faced by people in your niche. If you can provide solutions to problems you know your target audience has they will be more likely to appreciate hearing from you and continue opening your emails.

Tell a story

People love reading stories they can identify with. There’s a whole section of the magazine rack devoted to it. A story might focus on someone in a situation similar to theirs, it could be about how the products or services you offer have helped your customers, or it could be about someone who has already achieved what they aspire to. If you offer an opportunity for some interaction when you have told a compelling story you are likely to get a lot more responses from your audience. If you don’t have any relevant stories of your own, set up a contest for your readers. Let them tell their stories, select the best, award prizes, then share the winning stories with the rest of your audience.

Stimulate engagement

Every email you write should have a clear point and ideally include a call to action. If you don’t ask your audience to do something, whether it is click a link, respond, comment, or buy now, they are unlikely to do it. If you want your readers to do something after consuming your email put it in writing. Even if you don’t have a link for them to click you can ask for their feedback, opinions, or any experiences similar to those mentioned in your email.

Build relationships

People buy from those they know, like and trust. Engaging your audience in social media and on your blog can help build a relationship, and you can also do this via your emails. Don’t write as if you are a faceless, impersonal department in a huge corporation. Be human. Occasionally reveal something about yourself or your business that your readers can identify with. If you also cover some of the above suggestions in a series of emails your audience will feel more connected to you.

Each of your emails should inform, educate, and entertain. Often the best emails are ones that keep to the point. Give your reader too many things to think about or too many different links to click and you’re likely to lose them. Try to incorporate each of the above suggestions into your email sequence and your list is more likely to be an engaged and responsive one.