April 28, 2008
Living the internet lifestyle requires discipline.
We have the joy of being able to live wherever we want and work whenever we want, but with that freedom also comes the need for discipline.
You have to discipline yourself to stay on target.
A lot of times beginners are simply told to action…and that’s great advice. But what action should they take?
If I get up and run around in circles, that’s taking action. In fact, that’s exactly what a majority of beginners do. They discover the Internet and just what it can do for them. They think about the dream. Then they buy an ebook. And they do that for a day. Another ebook comes along and they buy that one. Then another.
Soon they’re running around in circles like a dog chasing their own tail trying to do EVERYTHING they read at once.
That’s an exercise in frustration and a disaster waiting to happen.
At night they dream about PPC, JVs, Social Media, SEO, Affiliates, Products, eBay, Amazon, Dropshipping, and Forums. Oh MY!
Today they try a little bit of Adwords. It doesn’t go well at first (it almost always takes some practice for new user to get it converting well for them).
Then they read on a forum or in a newsletter about social media, so they try that for a while. It generates traffic, but they don’t make any sales.
So they go searching for the next missing piece that will make everything work right for them.
What they’re missing is systematic disciplined action.
Let’s take PPC for example. You can go setup an account easily. You study some good PPC materials to help you get started. Maybe something from Perry Marshall, Glenn Livingston, or Ed Rivis (none of those are affiliate links, just good products).
You work hard to find the right selection of keywords. If you listen to Glenn, which you should, he’ll tell you to start with surveying your market. So you’ll put up a survey page. Because Google is so picky about your landing page, you should put up multiple surveys for your different potential audiences (the visitors from different related keyword phrases can have a wildly different mindset).
You create multiple keyword ad groups so your ads and your landing pages can be as targeted a possible.
Now you set about writing ads. The easiest way to get started is to study all of your competitors ads in that term. Examine each one to find what hook they’re using in their ad if any. How are they standing out from the others, if they are at all. Then pull together the best possible ideas and write multiple ads for your each keyword group. You always want to be testing one ad against another in each group.
Next you’re going to want to install Google Conversion Tracking so you can see which ads and keywords are producing the leads and sales at your website. Some of your keyword phrases won’t be profitable (no matter how well you researched them). Some of your ads might produce clickthroughs, but they don’t convert.
Once you find your results of the survey and switch over to a lead generation page or sales page, you’re going to need to test this landing page. Use split testing or multivariate testing to test your headlines, pricing, graphics, intro, etc.
Wow…that sounds like a lot of work!
It’s not really hard work, but you do have to be systematic and disciplined.
What do most beginners do when they get started with Adwords? They pick some popular keyword phrases. They set up a couple of ads. They run the visitors right to their normal sales page. The results aren’t pretty.
The ones who are successful 3 months down the road are the ones who dug their heels in and experimented at every step in the process (keywords, groups, ads, landing page, followup, etc.). They continually improved their sales system.
And that’s where it comes to the reward. Once they have the system refined, it often only takes minor changes to keep improving it. They can keep profiting from what they setup for years to come. You might say, “But what if Google slaps them?” This is what happens when Google decides your advertising isn’t relevant enough (again all the way through from keywords, groups, ads, landing page, etc.). They’ll simply improve their refinement in each area again.
What if they want to now setup more campaigns? Do you think it takes them nearly as long the second time? Not a chance. They’ve worked hard to establish the skill they can keep using to create profits.
The key is they had the discipline to do what it took each day to make their campaign work.
You might not be focusing on PPC. Maybe it’s blogging and free traffic you’re after. Or perhaps it’s JVs. Or maybe it’s your affiliate program. Or perhaps you use offline advertising such as postcards to drive visitors to your site.
It doesn’t matter which method you’re using. What does matter is the people who just touch the surface are NOT the ones who make a fortune in it. The ones who become the big winners are those who keep digging through each of the layers of a subject.
I could choose any other subject and we could discuss all the layers involved. Let’s take blogging. You can have to do your research to find out what people are already searching for online. Then you produce regular updated content…with a strong push of a large amount of content in the beginning. You need to build relationships with other bloggers. You have to monetize the blog. You have to be disciplined in both the content creation and the partnering with others.
Whatever you’re doing, take time to write down all the elements involved in the process. How can you improve on each item? How can you keep improving on it?
That takes discipline.
Winners have the discipline to keep going while they’re learning. They set themselves up with a schedule and stick to it. Even if something doesn’t go their way or they get discouraged, they keep moving forward.
Do you have the discipline to run your own Internet Lifestyle business?
April 25, 2008
One of the lessons I’ve been sharing lately with you has been the importance of conversion. Having a lot of visitors to your website is nice. Having a lot of buyers at your website is our goal.
Track where your buyers are coming from. If one form of marketing generates a 1,000 visitors and 2 buyers and another generates 200 visitors and 7 buyers, which one is more effective? That’s a very simple question to answer.
It’s the tracking that’s important. At the bare minimum all your sites should have Google Analytics or another traffic tracking tool in place. And take the time to setup GOALS so you can see who reaches your subscribe pages and your customer thank you pages.
Instead of writing about this subject again, I thought I’d try something different to explain this message.
Listen to this rap by Chuck from Pop Labs.
My favorite quote:
“I’d rather get 100 clicks and close 35,
than get a 1000 clicks and I only close 9.”
Special thank you to Brian Terry for sending this over to me.
April 23, 2008
The Internet Lifestyle Retirement System has been selling like crazy since I released it yesterday. At this moment, there are only 68 packages still available of the initial 200 special offer. If you haven’t visited it, make sure to check it out now.
Of course when those 68 are gone, you still have till April 28th before it goes to normal price (although you’ll be spending $100 more without this initial discount).
A few subscribers mentioned they didn’t receive the email yesterday. If this happened to you, I apologize. I’m not sure what might have happened as it was sent out before noon tomorrow. Although it went out a little later than planned it should have been received in the late morning (Eastern Time).
As a blog subscriber I also want to give you a gift. I put together a special report on living the Internet Lifestyle. You can download it by right clicking here and choosing “Save Target As” or “Save Link As” to save it to your hard drive. Click here for the special report…
It explains the 5 keys to running a successful internet lifestyle business in detail…along with sharing a new look at what “retirement” really is.
There will be a brandable version of this report available by next week for affiliates who would like to promote it. Unlike many product launches, the product will not disappear forever. It will be available next week (just without the discounts right now).
By the way, three more orders came in before I finished publishing this post. There are now 65 available at the initial discount.
Update – the first 200 discount is now gone. Note the price goes up again on April 28th at noon.
April 22, 2008
It’s time for you to experience freedom through your own Internet Lifestyle Retirement System.
If you’ve been following the blog lately, you know I’ve been talking about the 5 Keys to a creating a successful Internet business.
All 5 of these are covered in detail, and I’ve even put together an online video to explain how the system works.
Check it out now:
While you’re there, make sure you check out the full Internet Lifestyle Retirement System. Almost everyone I’ve had look at the complete package has immediately told me it’s grossly under priced.
And I’m making it even better…the first 200 who take action on this offer receive an even lower price.
It’s a complete business system-in-a-box where you discover:
- How to Find the Right Target Market For Maximum Profits
- The Easy Way to Create Products They Already Want
- How to Improve the Conversion of Any Website
- The Truth About Generating Buyers to Your Site
- How to Leverage Your Business Through Outsourcing
And I even share with you 95 of my video procedures you can use immediately to grow your business and train your outsourced team.
If you’re wondering why the offer is so low cost, part of the reason is it’s possible you may already have one or two of the component pieces, and this is your chance to grab the full package before it goes to it’s upcoming normal price.
Find out more now:
If you’re looking for quick money without work, this system is not for you. I don’t beat around the bush in it. It takes work to succeed online. All I can do for you is shorten the learning curve and give you the TOOLS to get started quickly.
April 21, 2008
We had a large number of entries for our contest this past week.
And everyone made the decision SO TOUGH…a lot tougher than I expected it to be. This is the first time I ran a contest like this on the blog and I was really surprised at how good the comments were. Next time I’ll know going in just how well everyone is going to do and will likely make the rules a little different so I don’t have such a tough decision to make!
Priority #1: A Reader Who Will Use It
So I looked for people who didn’t just say they would use it, but who were already doing something. So even though it was hard to do, I gave priority to all the entries that included some type of website in the registration part of their comment (when you click on their name). I also read through all the comments to see which ones mentioned using the product…and who I really believed would use the product.
Priority #2: A Reader Who Is Likely to Give a Great Testimonial.
This is a more selfish reason on my part, but as you could expect I’d like to see some great testimonials and success stories come in from this product. This means I looked at the entries with the light of how well they’d likely write a really good testimonial when they were finished.
Additional Priority: I really wanted to find someone who needed it, but that was everyone in my opinion. So I wasn’t able to use this as a strong difference in looking at the entries.
After going through all the entries I was able to cut them down to 10. Then I printed those ten out and took them to my wife to also read through and give me her opinion. After she was done there were still 4 entries left.
So I made the hard decision to pick a winner. I picked Tom:
“Your Internet Lifestyle Retirement product is PERFECT for me. I am 61 years old and would like to retire from my “day job” world of sales that I have been in for the last 30 years and begin a new career.
I need to replace my current income with an income that will allow me to live anywhere.
My wife needs to be in a better climate for health reasons and succeeding with an internet business would be a godsend.
As soon as I receive this product, I intend to study it carefully and implement the processes exactly as you describe. I have researched severeal ideas but suffer from too much information and too little guidance.
I know that will succeed with your product.You are an excellent teacher and I am capable of successfully following a proven winner’s system and guidance. I have also been writing for 30 years and wait with interest to see your modules on writing and publishing!
For me to succeed will be a testimonial for your product that will spark a virtually untapped market of boomers my age ready to retire, but wanting to continue being productive.
I will spread the word about Terry Dean to every person I know and start a viral campaign for your product that enabled me to retire from the old system and begin a new life for myself and my wife. There are so many people my age wanting to do this but not knowing who to trust or how to do it.
This will be a winning proposition for yourself and many, many people just like me.
I have started a blog already that will running within a week. The url is www.grayzies.com.
I will bring a wave of “grayzies” like myself into your fold!
I am also from Columbus, Indiana. So, as a fellow Hoosier, I ask for your consideration. Many people will benefit from my success using your system.”
RUNNER-UP: I also decided to pick a runner up to win the same prize.
I choose Dave Hamilton for the second winner.
I’d like to throw my hat in the ring for your cool product! Briefly, here’s why I’d be the right person to receive it:
1. What Matters to Me
I’m not really swayed by the desire for big $$$- I’ve got a cozy home and an amazing family- with brand new twins (5hamiltons.com). The lifestyle I am seeking is to be in their lives as much as possible.. and let them follow dad’s example in adventure, actions and heart. Step one, I believe, is TO BE THERE. A smart online business would allow me that opportunity.
2. I Can Help Folks
My business niche is helping online marketing Newbies with all the technology they’re going to need.. a chasm I’ve seen too many people grow frustrated and get lost in. I’ve got a weird combination of techno-geek/patient teacher, and it feels great when clients have fewer tech related headaches, and more victories because of what I do. But the cries for step-by-step help are getting louder, and I want to learn to be more effective.
3. I’m Hungry for Training.
I’m a believer in “iron sharpens iron”, and I’ve learned there’s a time to shut up and listen, and a time to take bold action. I’m ready to do these, in that order. Bottom line, your wisdom and experience wouldn’t slip through the cracks, and I’d pass it along in my training.
4. You Da Man
I suppose a bit of this is shameless groveling, but the truth is you’re impressive on a couple levels, and if I’m going to make a living in an industry that has a questionable reputation, I want to follow someone who steers clear from the shady stuff. You’re one of the good guys out there- and the Internet needs more good guys. And, incidentally, more pizza delivery guys.
I will be contacting both of these winners to get their mailing addresses. If either of them doesn’t respond back this week, I will pick another winner to replace them.
For all those who weren’t the product winner, I want to thank you for entering. Everyone did an excellent job and gave me a much tougher decision than I expected.
The Internet Lifestyle Retirement System will be available tomorrow (April 22nd).
I will be sending an email out to the list subscribers first (that box at the top right of this blog where you enter name and email). Then I will post to this blog. You can expect the email in the morning and the post to the blog around noon tomorrow.
There is a special discount price for the first 200 buyers.
There is also a special bonus being supplied to the first 50 and 100 who take action.
So make sure you’re watching for this email and post tomorrow!
April 18, 2008
The contest from my last post is still running. If you want the chance to win a free copy of the full Internet Lifestyle Retirement System, make sure you read that post and enter your comment…
I’ll pick a winner for the contest on Monday morning. Please note that comments are moderated and it may take a while for your comment to show up on the blog.
Let’s boil down a successful internet lifestyle retirement system to it’s five most important steps. If you want to make good money online while living a lifestyle you enjoy, these are the key issues. Just about any online system can make you successful if you have a lot of money to invest and 80 hours to work it every week, but that most definitely is NOT what I want. This is all about having an Internet Lifestyle and the money that goes along with it.
I’m sure you’ve read ebooks about marketing online that leave you more confused than where you started. They list a few dozen different steps or principles. And it seems they just keep you running in circles not knowing what to do with your online business.
Forget about it. When you understand a subject, you can make it simple. Here are the five principles of being successful in your business. Write all 5 out and post them on a post-it note right to your computer monitor. Type them up and post them on your fridge. Quote them till they’re memorized. Tattoo them on your arm.
OK, that last one may have been going a little too far, but you get the point.
If you want an Internet Lifestyle business, KNOW these keys. LIVE these keys.
Key #1: Choose the Right Market Idea
Find out what people are already looking for online. Then sell it to them. Too many beginners ask the wrong question. They say, “I Have this product, how do I sell it?”
Wrong question! A much better question is, “I have this list of potential of customers I can easily reach, what should I sell them?”
It seems everyone is looking for a market where there isn’t any competition. That may have been possible 10 years ago, but it’s not today. No matter what market you enter, you will have competition. In fact, if I don’t see any competition in a market I get really nervous. It means all the competitors most likely couldn’t build a successful business. The best case scenario is when you find a market with a lot of competitors who all do a poor job. Then you know you have an open market.
Since you’re going to have competition, you have to figure out what your unique advantage is. Why should a customer choose you over all the other options available to them?
Check out this previous post on 18 Possibilities to Build Your Unique Selling Position…
Key #2: Prolific Product Development
Don’t build a business on only one product. Develop multiple products and services for your audience. Which one is safer, earning $50,000 a month from one product or earning $5,000 a month from 10 different products?
Go for the base hit instead of the home run on each product. It’s hard to tell which product is going to be the big winner, but if you’ve developed 10 products one or two of them is much more likely to become that big home run winner for you.
But the problem is how do you develop all these products? You have to develop a system to do them quickly. Research your market to find out what they want. Create it quickly. Get it out there and selling. Do it again.
Check Out this post on Prolific Product Development…
Key #3: High Conversion Made Simple
Traffic eventually ends up at whoever has the highest conversion. They can bid the most on the PPCs. They can afford to hire the most effective team for promoting their site. They’re the ones everyone wants to promote as an affiliate.
That’s why a majority of the business books I end up recommending to clients are copywriting books. If there was one skill you could learn that would almost guarantee the success of your internet business, it would be copywriting.
If you can sell, you can create profitable online business. If you can’t sell your way out of a paper bag, it’s going to be tough making ANYTHING you do profitable. You have to sell yourself. You have to sell traffic on visiting your site. You have to sell people on joining your list. You have to sell people the products or services you’re offering.
If you don’t want to have anything to do with selling, you’re in the wrong business.
Click here to read Monday’s post about Traffic and Conversion…
Key #4: The Truth About Traffic
Let’s now do a little correct to that big question on every marketer’s mind. “How do I generate more traffic?”
Wrong questions produce wrong answers. And it’s not just traffic you want at your site. A much better question is, “How do I generate more BUYERS at my website?”
It’s not the traffic that’s important. It’s the quality of the traffic. Let’s say one site gets 100,000 visitors a month and another one only gets 500. Who is more successful? You can’t tell from just that stat. What if we add in that 100,000 visitors a month are coming from a site such as Digg which generates traffic quickly that is often quite unresponsive to any offer? And what if the site generating 500 visitors was a real estate agent who focused only on selling million dollar homes to relocating executives?
So that’s why you must quit focusing on “generating traffic” and start focusing on generating more buyers. So how can we send more buyers to our website?
Check out the 10 Ways to Generate Traffic for Beginners…
Key #5: Create Systems That Do the Work For You
Your next step in leverage is bringing in team members. As a small Internet Lifestyle business you may never want a single employee. It can all be done by outsourcing. Need someone to manage your own customer support ticket system? Outsource it.
Need someone to do modify your website or do your daily marketing activities, bring on a virtual assistant from anywhere in the world. Need someone to track down experts for your interview products? Create a step-by-step system for it and hand it off to your assistant.
Don’t like writing your own emails? Have a team member do it for you. Absolutely everything in the business can be turned into a system. Some projects are more difficult than others to hand off, but all of them are doable. Right now I have over 70 systems documented in my business, including such activities as writing blog posts, creating press releases, submitting to social sites, setting up new autoresponders, mailing out my print newsletter, handling the customer ticket system, and finding JV partners.
Is every one of these used every day? Definitely not. Mailing out my print newsletter is only done once a month for example. Although other mailings are done at times with the same system.
See this video on Creating Business Systems…
April 16, 2008
It’s been quite a while since I ran a contest here. So let’s do it. I’m going to give away a copy of my new course, “Internet Lifestyle Retirement System” to one winner on Monday.
Instead of just running a random contest, let’s make this one work like this.
Post below in the comments why I should choose you to receive this product, and what you will do with it once you receive it.
I will then choose a winner Monday from the comments on this post. No purchase necessary to enter and no favoritism will be showed to customers in any way. Just post a comment below of why you want the product and what you will do with it. I have final say-so of which one I pick. You’re convincing me to pick you as the winner from your comment here alone.
Here’s a video to describe a little more about the product…
April 14, 2008
Almost every new internet business owner I meet asks one of two questions:
1. How do I generate more visitors to my site?
2. How do I add more subscribers to my list?
Those are both great questions, but almost never does any new marketer ask me the most important question until I bring it up. How do I increase my conversions of visitors into buyers and subscribers?
Conversion and traffic go hand in hand. But what good does traffic do you if they don’t buy? I don’t care if you generated 30,000 visitors to your website last week through the social media sites if you didn’t make any sales.
I know very quickly when I’m talking with a more series business owner. They immediately start quoting stats like the opt-in conversion rate, sales conversion rate, income per visitor, and shopping cart abandonment percentage. They KNOW these numbers in their business. Do you?
There is no such thing as “real free traffic.” No matter how you generate your traffic, it’s going to cost you something. It costs you money to run PPC ads. It costs you time (or money for a team member) to produce content for the search engines or social sites. It costs you time and contact packages for JV partners and affiliates.
All traffic will cost you something. Once you have a successful internet lifestyle business you’ll know that time is much more precious than money.
What is your return on that investment?
Look at it this way. Let’s say I’m running PPC ads and I’m bidding 50 cents per clickthrough. Out of every 100 visitors, 3 of them buy my $20 product. That means I’m selling $60 to those 100 visitors, or I’m earning 60 cents per visitor. Unless I have very low margins I may be in trouble paying 50 cents per clickthrough.
How can I change those numbers so it’s safe for me to bid 50 cents or even $1? First of all I have to get those conversion rates up. If I’m selling 5 visitors instead of 3, my visitor value jumps to $1 per visitor. What if I add an upsell or an immediate backend offer (could even be from a related affiliate program), and my average income per visitor goes up to $30? Now I’m earning $1.50 per visitor.
Now I can afford to even increase my bids to a $1 or more. Immediately I jump above all those other sites who are bidding less than me because they have a lower visitor value.
What if I install an email follow-up series both for the non-buyers and the buyers to start selling additional items? My visitor value continues to go up. I could potentially spend $1.50 or more per visitor, because I’ll be making money from products they buy later on.
Can you see why Adwords is getting “so expensive” in some markets? They’ve found ways to increase their visitor value by improving conversion, adding upsells, and increasing the lifetime value of a customer. When there are a large number of bidders with high bids, that means there is money in the market.
You may say, “But I don’t do Adwords.”
So what? Do you think your affiliate partners want to promote a site with a poor conversion? Would you send your visitors to a site earning you 50 cents per click when another one gives you $2?
What if you get your visitors the “free ways?” Do you really want to work 4 times as hard to get the same number of sales because of your low conversion?
Running a lifestyle business means you must have high conversion at your sites to reduce the work you and your team have to do for your sales.
I feel this key is one of the truths that really helped me succeed on the Internet early on when so many other people were failing. My first direct marketing teachers weren’t internet experts. There weren’t any back then. My first teachers were marketing consultants and copywriters like Gary Halbert, John Carlton, and Jay Abraham.
They drilled you over and over again how important your entire sales system was. They told you to study copywriting from the original masters like Claude Hopkins, David Ogilvy, and Robert Collier. Copywriting really is the million dollar skill. If you master it for your business, it’s only a matter of time till you reach the success you’re reaching for.
Here are just a few of the big copywriting tips that changed my life.
1. Collect and Write out Successful Sales Letters
Always be on the lookout for great sales copy. When you find a website that’s been successfully selling online for years, print it out. When you get “junk mail”from the big direct marketers like Agora, save it. I’ve even went out of my way to purchase full collections of sales from some of the copywriters I most admire.
After you create your collection of sales letters, STUDY them. I don’t mean just lightly read them. Program them into your brain. Pull out a million dollar letter that really resonates with you and type it all up yourself. While you’re typing it out, think about what is going through the head of the writer and the prospect at each step in the delivery.
Tomorrow do it again, with the same letter. If your goal is to become a writer, keep this up for the next several months. Every week choose a different letter and work on it for one hour a day.
Don’t neglect this secret I just handed you. It’s simple. It’s not sexy. It’s not the new $2,000 product launch that promises to solve all your problems by pushing two buttons. But it works. And isn’t that what you really want?
2. Find the Big Hook
If you follow what I’m teaching you, you’re going to go into some competitive marketplaces. What’s your advantage? What’s your big hook that’s going to grab your visitors, and really force them to read your copy? How can you create such a curiosity in your prospects that they can’t just exit your website? If they do, they’ll be thinking about your headline for the rest of the day.
Do your research. Investigate the competition. What advantages do they have? What weaknesses do they have? Examine your own product. Write down every benefit you can come up with about it. Examine all the survey results. Did anyone say something that just jumps off the page at you?
Call up a few of your current customers to ask them why they bought or anything that grabbed their attention. Most of my best ads are the result of something one of my one customers told me. For example, if you read the main letter at Internet Lifestyle Retirement System, you’ll see me refer to the bonus DVD’s as plug-and-play. I didn’t first say that. One of my first beta testers refer to them that way as the reason he loved them. Don’t ask me why I didn’t think of it!
Once you have your hook, your big story, the rest of the salesletter, website, or email just falls into place. The real work of a copywriter is being that detective that collects all the evidence or that reporter who sniffs out the big story.
3. Write Like You Talk
Don’t write like a college textbook. It’s snooze button time! You’re not being graded on perfect grammar. This isn’t an excuse to sound like an idiot or run dozens of spelling mistakes, but I sure don’t want anyone correcting all my grammar. A few suggestions are OK as long as you don’t expect me to accept them all.
Write that email like you’re writing it to your best friend or your mother. Write that web page the same way you would talk if you were speaking to your audience live. If uptight writing is so ingrained in your mind from school, then you might have to use the voice recognition software to overcome this hump.
If you can talk, you can write. We just need to get those demons from your 10th grade teacher Mrs. Sourpuss out of your head. Practice daily. And then just do it.
The Big Idea: Test Everything. You might write 5 different headlines and one of them improves sales by 350% over the others. And you can’t know the winner until you test! This used to be a difficult process with split testing everything you did, but it’s easy now with free multivariate testing.
I’ve used several different multivariate testing programs. My favorite is Google Optimizer. If you have an Adwords account, you have access to Optimizer. Notice what I didn’t say. You don’t have to be spending any money in your account. You just have to have one.
If you don’t have an account, go over to Google right now and set one up. You’ll need to pick at least one keyword phrase and write a quickie ad. Then pay them their setup fee (was $5 last time I checked). Once your account is up, you can immediately pause that campaign so it never runs. Now you have a Google account and can use Optimizer.
Where do you start with testing? I’d suggest beginning with the headline, the intro paragraph, the price, a photo with caption, and the primary closing offer.
April 11, 2008
You’re not likely to get rich from one product. If you want to produce a REAL Internet Lifestyle, you need to develop multiple products. When you have a dozen or more products all making money for you automatically every single month, that’s when you have a stable business churning out all the money you need to live the lifestyle you choose.
That’s why you must focus on projects that are quick and easy to develop. Instead of writing an encyclopedia of a 300 page ebook, put together a 40 page ebook report. You may respond, “But I can’t cover everything in that amount of space!”
Good. You’re not supposed to cover everything. Your goal as a product developer is to help your customers get to their desired result (the solution of their problem) in the quickest and most direct route.
Do an outline of the steps it takes to reach the end goal. Then sit down and write. Don’t edit. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t surf the web. Don’t check your email. Block off time to just write. I’ve created many of my ebook products over a weekend where I just blocked off to write during that period. You write for 30 to 60 minutes. Then take a 5 to 10 minute break. Do this writing and break cycle over and over again until finished.
Take a few days out as a break to rest your mind before coming back to edit what you’ve written. The reason so many new writers (and old ones as well) take so long to write is because they allow themselves to be interrupted or they try to edit while writing. Eliminate these distractions and watch your productivity soar.
But writing an information product is only ONE way to create your product quickly. Often it’s not even the best way. Let’s cover 7 quick product creation methods to help you become a prolific product developer.
1. Write It
If you’re going to write, follow the model above. Write the outline. Then block off time to just write like a madman (or woman). Later come back and edit your work. Then for absolute best results, read it out loud or have someone else read it out loud to you.
While video is quickly becoming the most powerful way to share your message online, there still are a number of potential customers who prefer written material. So while you see me focusing more and more on video, you’ll still see some written products coming out.
2. Use Voice Recognition
Are you a slow typist? Or do you have trouble writing in a natural voice without sounding like a college text book? If either of those are the case, you can use voice recognition software to speak your product into a written form. I’ve helped quite a few business owners who couldn’t get into writing create fantastic ebooks through voice recognition (and the best part is you can use it for your rough drafts of emails and sales letters as well).
The program I recommend for this is Dragon Naturally Speaking. Pick up the newest version which I think is number 9 at the time of this writing. You’ll go through a training process for the program to recognize your voice, but you’ll quickly get up to speed with speaking out your product. You could call this type of software the great equalizer.
You’ll do some major editing on what you write this way, but that’s true irregardless of how you get your thoughts out into written form. Write first. Then edit. If that rule from above is one you never seem to follow, that’s another reason to try out this software.
3. Public Domain
Instead of creating your product completely from scratch, use public domain materials or even private label materials as a launch pad. For example, I created an extremely profitable ebook called Scientific Internet Advertising. The foundation of the material was Claude Hopkins, “Scientific Advertising.” That’s one of the classics highly recommended by top marketing experts such as Jay Abraham.
The copyright on the original book had long expired which meant you could give it away, sell it, or do whatever with it. I took all the original text and simply wrote an add-on for each chapter about how to apply what he taught to the Internet. While anyone could give away the original book freely, my modified version is protected by copyright laws.
Go spend a little time at http://www.gutenberg.org looking through all the materials they have available. Not everything there is public domain, so be careful to read any of the licenses included. Another great source for public domain materials are items produced by the US government.
For example, need some photos for your project? Check through all the links the US government provides here:
Not everything is completely royalty free, but the majority of these photos are.
What about private label products? Do a search on private label products and you’ll find thousands of products sold with these rights. You can then take those products, modify them, and produce a new product out of them. The big concern here is that most private label materials are next to worthless. They’re low cost productions with poor writing and even worse information. So be careful when buying anything that comes with private label rights, but they can be a good starting point for your own project.
4. Do an Interview
What if you can’t write and you’re not even an expert on the subject you want to cover? Find an expert and interview them. In the real estate field they talk about using other people’s money. In the information business, you can even use other people’s information by interviewing them.
Find several top experts on your topic and contact them. Create a series of 8 to 12 questions your research has said your market wants to hear. If you’ve never done this before, you’re about to be surprised at just how easy it is to secure interviews with some individuals. Book authors are often the most open by the way as they’re used to doing interviews to promote their books.
How do you record the interview? Just go down to your local Radio Shack or another electronics dealer. Ask for a phone recording set-up. This will give you the basic tool you need to get started. Or you can go fully digital like I have on my recent interviews. I’m now using http://www.skype.com software combined with http://www.powergramo.com to do my phone call and recording. This way it’s all recorded digitally on my computer.
5. Teleseminar or Webinar
If you set-up a teleseminar or webinar, you can get paid BEFORE you create your product. I’ve done both one time calls and a series of calls. The beauty of both models is you get paid…and you create a product to sell. For example, I’ve done single calls for free…and for as low as $19.95. I’ve also done a call where we charged $37 and gave all the money from the call to charity.
I’ve also done longer series combined in with weekly assignments and personal feedback for $397 to $1,997 depending on how many calls were involved and the subject (4 to 12 calls).
You’ll have your full outline ready before you sell the series, but you can create and expand on the material each week before the call (or webinar). In addition, doing a question and answer session at the end of each call will add even more value to your finished product.
Another advantage I’ve found to this method is now I’m actually required to get my product done on time. It’s very easy to let life get in the way when your product needs to be done. That’s not possible when you’ve scheduled and sold a teleseminar. Now you have to have the information done by that date. No more procrastination allowed…
6. Record a Camtasia Video
How did we even run an internet business before Camtasia? If you haven’t tried out this software, do so now. You can download a free trial here:
If what you’re teaching can be demonstrated on the computer, this software is perfect. OR you can also use it to create a video of any Powerpoint presentation. Did you notice how my online videos at http://www.internetlifestylesystem.com were Powerpoint videos? Now you know how I did it.
They even have a complete learning center to show you how to get the most from your Camtasia videos, including such tactics as running a live quiz inside your presentation. Check out their training here:
7. Follow an Expert With a Camcorder
Camtasia allows you to record what you’re doing on screen, but what if you want to teach something that isn’t done on a computer? Buy a camcorder and microphone. I definitely don’t want to cover specific types to buy here, because the way technology is moving my recommendation could be out of date by next week.
Now take your little camcorder, separate mic, and tripod to follow around an expert for the day. Maybe you’re doing a DVD on gardening. Show exactly what they do in each step. Or it could be basketball. Show close-ups of the shot process. If it’s a real estate investor, just follow them around with your camcorder all day.
It could be a “Day in the Life of a _______.” What would people pay to get behind the scenes of a successful real estate investor, day trader, or professional speaker? You’ll end up recording more than you can use, but you can edit all the boring parts out later.
Bonus Method: Notice what I didn’t talk about here? I didn’t even mention that you could outsource the product creation as one of the possibilities. ANY of the methods above could be outsourced by hiring someone else to do it for you. Spend a little time exploring over at http://www.elance.com to see all the different projects being posted.
April 9, 2008
Or are you just winging it?
You’re going to accomplish quite a bit more by applying a little simple planning for your business.
Where do you want to be in 3 years? What about 1 year? What about the next 90 days?
At the end of each day I spend about 5 minutes writing a quick schedule of the next day. This accomplishes two primary goals for me.
First of all, it allows me to end the day. Because I did my plan for the next day I don’t sit there thinking about work for the rest of the day. I’m free from it.
The second thing it does is allow me to stay on target and focused when the next day starts. I’m not wondering where to start. I can get right to business.
My monthly print newsletter goes out tomorrow morning at 9 AM Eastern.
This issue provides you with a 30 day promotional calendar for blogging.
What if you don’t have a blog? So what? Get one. But even if you don’t have a blog, you’re still going to discover promotional techniques you can use to promote your business every single day.
In addition, you’re going to have something even more important. You’ll see an example of a 30 day plan. You’ll have an organized plan in front of you to modify for whatever you are promoting. USE it.
You might decide the plan isn’t perfect for you. That’s OK. But take the model I’m giving you anyway and modify to fit whatever you’re doing. By having this plan in front of you every day, you’ll quit running around “trying” all kinds of ideas…and you’re really get to work at growing your business.
The print issue goes out tomorrow.