Is your content focused on growing your business?

There are a number of ways to measure success and growth in business. It may be tracking how well known your brand is, or how many followers you have on various social media accounts. However, for many businesses these statistics are not indicative of success. Earning money is.

One of the most important resources an online business can use to promote growth is content. Blog posts, newsletters, social media updates, videos, podcasts and more can all be used to increase your reputation and your traffic, but you should really be using content to grow the turnover of your business.

Content – The Resource To Leverage

Online, everything revolves around content. Whether you sell products or services your business will need a lot of content to engage, educate, and encourage your prospects to buy from you. If you create information products you need even more content. So, the more you can leverage the content you create and the better you organise it, the more efficiently your business will grow.

Content Formats

There are many different formats of content you can use. It can be text, audio or visual in nature. You can place this content on your own blog, as guest posts and articles on other websites, on social media and in emails and newsletters. Discover which formats your audience prefers and where they are most likely to find it. Then create a combination of different types of content to ensure you reach more of your potential audience.

Create With a Plan in Mind

To leverage your content properly you must have a plan. Don’t create content without deciding on a point of view, voice, and the goals for the content. Ideally each piece should act as part of a path your audience can follow until they reach a destination you can use to increase your income: an opt-in page.

The Email List Is Where Your Business Grows

It’s a cliche, but ‘the money is in the list’, is as true today as it was ten years ago. Okay, some will get pedantic and say it must be a targeted list, or a responsive list, but they’re just trying to appear that bit more clever. The bottom line is you will create more customers from the prospects on your list than from anywhere else. Advertising and social media marketing can produce customers directly, but probably the best way to leverage them is to lead people to your email lists.

Incentives To Join Your List

In the most successful solopreneur businesses the blog posts, social media updates, and sometimes even webinars are designed to recruit people to an email list. Get the right target audience on a list and you can market to them regularly. The key is to have something free or low cost that will persuade your audience to hand over their email addresses while anticipating a valuable and useful reward for doing so.

Joined Up Content

Ideally your content should work together. Start with the product, service or event that you want to promote. Decide what email content your prospects will need to consume to become educated and enthusiastic so they are more likely to purchase from you. Then work backwards again to decide the content you will need to get more email subscribers. The blog posts, articles, etc. that will catch their interest, and the incentive that will persuade them to join your list.

Create a Content Calendar

When you know what content you need to create, it’s important to work out in a calendar when you will create the required content. If you are planning to launch a new product in three months, you have to make sure you can create the promotional and educational material in that time frame. It will be a missed opportunity if you don’t give yourself time to grow and educate your list before launch day.

Create Content For A Purpose

Earlier I said you should really be using content to grow the turnover of your business. With this clear goal you’ll be able to look at how your content works together to recruit prospects and encourage purchases. You’ll be able to identify and fill gaps in your content and thereby create a more efficient way of growing your business.

Can PLR Products Help You Accelerate Your Business Growth?

Private label rights (PLR) products offer a tempting opportunity to gather content that you can use in your business. It is content you can purchase that usually includes the rights to present it as your own work. They are usually in the form of ebooks, images, slideshows, and even video. The quality of PLR material has improved greatly over the last ten years and at first it may seem a great way to almost instantly have your own products to sell and hence grow your business. But it’s not as straightforward as it may seem.

The Right PLR For The Right Need

Even if you are not using PLR you still have to identify a niche you can serve and come up with ideas for content that the niche will be hungry for. Most PLR producers keep to the most popular niches like weight loss, making money online, and dating. Even when you find material you can use you still ahev to fit it into your marketing and present it correctly to your audience. If you want to work in a more obscure niche it’s less likely you will find much PLR material.

You also need any PLR products you find to be of good quality. There was a time when most PLR was poorly written, with awful grammar and terrible formatting. Today these English-as-a-second-or-third-language written products have been replaced by better quality material. However they may not cover content that matches the product ideas you want to sell, or they may be so affordably priced that a great number of publishers in your niche also purchase and use it. You either have to find PLR that has a limited availability or is so expensive that it disuades others from buying. If the PLR is expensive it may be better to pay ghost writers to create your product.

Repackaging

Once you purchase the PLR material it’s important to package it in a new way. Don’t use it exactly as it is supplied. Most people are lazy. The largest group of people who buy the same PLR content as you will probably not even use it. The second largest group will just put it online as quickly as possible with no alterations, hoping to make a quick buck. To make it unique to your business you have to reorganize it, add to it, and personalise it. This will take time, but it does mean you will have a product that is more suited to your business and your audience.

Use as research material

Instead of creating a product directly you can use PLR material as the starting point for your information product. Used as research material it is much better than a blank page and can help get the creative juices flowing.

In conclusion PLR content can speed up the process of product creation, but not as much as some may think. It can be really helpful if you are currently spending all your time creating content and have little opportunity to work on other areas of building your business. It can save you time in research, writing and editing, but it certainly is not a push-button get rich quick method. It can be a starting point, but there is still work to be done if you want to create a good quality, unique product that can hold its own in the market.

Is That Shiny Object Or Webinar Worth Your Attention?

One of the reasons a purchase can turn out to be a shiny object or attending a webinar a waste of time is that the material is designed for a stage in your business’s growth you haven’t reached yet. It’s no use digging into case studies of how big brands use their reputation and social media followers to make sales when you only have a couple of posts on your blog and nothing to sell. If you ever get to their position it’s likely the methods they are using will be outdated by then.

If you’re just starting online you need to focus on the basics. If you have practically no traffic, few Facebook fans and only a handful of subscribers in your autoresponder it’s not exactly the right time to set up some A/B split testing.

So what should be in place before you become more ambitious?

1. A familiarity with your target audience before approaching them

To have followers you have to be clear who your target audience is, where you can find them and what you can offer them that they will want.

2. Have something worth following if you want followers and subscribers

You must have something that is of interest to your audience and make a connection with the audience you plan to grow. Ideally you should provide resources, information and/or services that make them think “I love visiting their site because they speak to me and help me so much!”

3. A growing audience that consumes your content

You can’t have your content shared via social media and have others recommend you if no one is reading your posts, listening to your podcasts, or watching your videos. That means you have to market your content. A common mistake is to spend a lot of effort creating content then spending hardly any time placing it where your audience will find it.

4. Enough traffic before you start worrying about conversion

Making decisions based on things like split testing or audience targeting depends on statistics, and for those to be valid you need large enough numbers. Spotting that 12 people out of 40 act a certain way proves nothing if you are looking to improve conversions. You need a much bigger sample so that the stats are significant and trustworthy. Work on getting more traffic to make the stats worth looking at.

5. Enough subscribers before worrying about click throughs

Having people respond to your emails is also a step by step process. First you need to provide a good, clearly explained lead magnet to persuade your audience to optin, then you have to get them to open your emails. Once that number grows, only then should you start worrying about whether they click on the links within your emails.

An online business is like any other. First you need to get the basics right and then you need to develop over time. It’s a collection of step by step processes. The next time you are about to make a purchase or sign up to a webinar ask yourself if this is the step you should be acting on now, or whether there is an earlier step in your business that you should be focussing on.

Is Your Business Your Baby or Your Pet?

Are you growing your business as if it’s your baby or as if it’s your pet?

A baby will initially be very dependent on it’s parents. You’ll have to do practically everything for it. As time goes on you’ll have it potty trained and teach it how to put it’s clothes on. The child will start walking, feeding itself, learning a load of other skills, and eventually it will grow to a point of complete independence.

A pet on the other hand starts out dependent on the owner and remains so. For instance, if you have a dog you will have to take it for a walk even as it grows. You will always have to take it for a walk, even if can train it to get its own lead. Even if you could train it to walk itself you would not want to let it do so. There are too many things out there it could fall foul of. It could get lost, it could get run over, it could even be abducted. You just wouldn’t trust it to look after itself sufficiently, so the obligation of walking the dog remains.

So are you growing your business like a baby or like a pet?

Grow to Independence

You should be growing your business to a point of independence. Initially you may well start off doing practically everything, but eventually you identify the things you don’t want to do, you don’t need to do, or that you are not suited to do. For example, after a while you might hand the bookkeeping over to someone else. Eventually you will stop answering the phone all the time, stop building websites, and stop creating graphics, unless this is particularly where your talents lie.

To take a baby to independence you need to teach it and encourage progress. To take a business to independence you need to develop systems. Systems explain how things are done in your business and are clear enough to be handed over to other people to follow. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you will have a system to create systems, and again you can hand these to your employees. At this point the business could start growing without you.

An entrepreneur is someone who can build a business from nothing, add systems and people and eventually have a business that will live beyond them. This could mean being able to step back and concentrate on other things, or it could mean literally having the business continue beyond and after you.

Most businesses don’t last longer than their founder’s lifetime, but there are some examples. The Times of London was founded in 1788 and The New York Times in 1851. Both are still going strong. Levi Strauss was founded in 1853 and has also managed to thrive long after its founder has passed on.

The point is you should be building a business so that you can be replaced. As it becomes more independent of you, you can free yourself up to do other things, even if that’s just to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. So, are you growing your business like a baby or are you growing it as if it’s a pet?

4 ways to increase income

Four piles of coinsWhether you are working online or offline, selling products or providing a service, are a one-man band or have business premises brimming with staff, there are four basic ways to grow a business.

In no particular order, these are:

1. Get more customers

Most people online probably think this means getting more people to your offer and assume it involves becoming better at driving traffic. However you don’t have to be the one driving traffic. If you can offer a good commission and recruit affiliates you can leave it to them to drive the traffic. In this case your job is to find the right affiliates. This is important because you need customers of the right type. Ones who will be interested in what you offer and remain interested enough to become loyal customers.

If you intend to increase traffic using a paid for method you should also consider the cost of acquiring these new customers. For example if you spend $300 on ads to attract new customers and gain ten new customers as a result, the cost of acquisition for each one is $30. Now hopefully these new customers will spend more than $30 with you, but if they do not you will have lost money.

However getting more customers does not have to mean getting more traffic to your site. If you can improve your conversion rate of prospects to customers you can increase your number of customers with the same flow of traffic. This usually means split testing your optin and sales pages. This can take time but is well worth it, especially if you are paying for traffic to reach your site.

2. Increase your customers average spend

This can mean increasing prices, having more products to sell or services to offer, and/or diversifying what you provide.

The easiest and quickest of these is to increase prices. However this can also lose you some customers and make acquiring new ones harder. If your products and services are good quality most customers will be willing to pay extra as long as they see value. If you are going to increase your prices it will be necessary to carefully track your income and react to any fall in revenue.

Diversifying and increasing your product or service range takes longer to set up. If you can keep your offers relevant to the wants and needs of your customers you can have a series of upsells, downsells and cross-sells that you can progressively present to your list.

If you can maintain the relevance and quality of your offers it’s often the case that you will not be able to exceed your customer’s demand. They will always be hungry for the next product or service you offer.

3. Increase the frequency of sales

Some product creators are reluctant to continually put offers to their list. They are afraid that they will be seen as being too salesy or pushy.

Some markets will be so thirsty for products that they will not mind being presented with a new offer every couple of days. Other markets will respond best to a more relaxed approach with fewer offers.

Again the solution is to test and track. You could look at how often your competitors push for a sale and use that as a starting point.

4. Increase your efficiency

The above methods focus on getting more money into your business. This approach looks at ways to reduce your expenditure.

Efficiency often means finding ways to get tasks done in less time. This could mean better ways of completing tasks, automation or even outsourcing.

However this approach also needs careful monitoring. You don’t want to be doing things quicker if it reduces the quality of your work. Cutting costs and corners too much can lose you customers and have a negative impact on your reputation.

So, four ways to increase your income. You can address them all at once or work out which is easiest to implement while giving the best return for your efforts and concentrate on that one first.