Your New Membership Site in 2009

December 29, 2008

As I discussed in my video from last week, now is the time to make changes for next year.

For me, this means focusing even more on continuity income. One of my projects this week is getting more “bonus content” uploaded for my Monthly Mentor Club (which will be done and available to all current members within a couple of days). In addition there will be a price increase for new members at the end of January for this site (current members keep their rates of course).

And as I talked about in the video, you’re going to see me focus more on passive monthly incomes. This includes both affiliate programs that pay monthly in addition to starting membership sites where OTHER people produce the content.

Something we often don’t think about is just because it’s your membership site doesn’t mean you have to be the content producer.

Here are a few content ideas to get others to produce your content for you:

1. Interviews – instead of producing your own content, do an interview every month for your members. MANY membership sites are based on this principle, and it’s a very easy content creation model.

2. Private Label Rights - If you’re like many internet marketers, you’ve purchased PLR content from sources and it’s gathering dust on your hard drive. Instead of just letting it sit there, put it together in an organized fashion for a memberships sequence.

3. Public Domain Materials – You can put together your own unique products out of public domain materials (and you’d be surprised what all is out there). For example, one of my earlier ebooks was Scientific Internet Advertising where I took Claude Hopkins original “Scientific Advertising” book and added in my comments of how it applied to the Internet.

4. Find Experts to Produce Material for You Free – You could request columns and content from experts in your market. Maybe that expert regularly produces videos and this one writes content for their newsletter. Perhaps you get an excerpt for 5 of these different experts each month. Why would they do this for free? More exposure. With each element they would likely have larger courses they sell they could promote at the end of the excerpt they provide for you.

5. Or Pay Experts for Their Content – I’ve had several cases just this past year where people have licensed some of my content for their own site. In a couple of cases, they were paying monthly for some of my print newsletter content. In other cases, they were paying to license other materials. You could come up with a similar approach in your niche.

6. Pay Experts to Write For You – You can hire others to write your content for you. Sometimes it’s shocking just how little people will charge to write entire ebooks for you through sites such as Elance and others. Negotiate to get them writing special reports for each month on the subject (get at least 2 experts in case one flakes out on you).

7. Member Generated Content - For example, there is a site that gives traffic generation tips each month. Where does most of the content come from? It comes from the members making suggestions. You could do this in any market. Then give prizes for the best content submitted (free memberships, cash, prizes, etc.). You could even ask for videos on the subject as the content you’re looking for.

Another mistake we make as product developers is overcomplicating our projects. I do it. My clients do it. Just this morning I responded to two different clients that they needed to simplify their thinking and their projects. Why? Complicated projects take months to get up and running when those easier projects may be up and running within the week (or at most the month). That means you finish one complicated project while someone focusing on easier projects just finished their 3rd or 4th one. Or even worse, maybe you never finish your complicated project…

KEEP IT SIMPLE.

That’s a rule I repeat constantly even to myself. I can’t just talk about others because I do it also. I overcomplicate my own projects slowing myself down. Keep it simple.

Now let me share an example of a simple project…

Recently I bought rights to 2 top of the line membership courses (they’re both incredible material – with one even including a full membership script). They BOTH teach how to create simple membership sites that produce a passive monthly income while having others create your content for you.

Right now you can get a 2-for-1 special. Simply use this link to find out more about starting your own simple membership site

The sales site you’ll see only talks about one of the courses, but you will receive both inside of the membership page.

This is your chance to setup your own automated membership site…

Merry Christmas

December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas to All!

December 23rd is also my anniversary. Julie and I have been married for 15 years now. Yes, we were married the day before Christmas Eve as Julie was one of my presents that year.

And no, I didn’t schedule it that way to get an extra day off at Christmas, but it’s a nice bonus.

Since this will be my only post this week, I wanted to share a video with you.

On here I’m chatting a little about mistakes I’ve made this year, some basics of how I’m refocusing next year, and giving you a few tips along the way about how to run your internet business.

Enjoy!

Search Engine Optimization Made Easy

December 18, 2008

Do you optimize your website for the search engines?

Have you purchased expensive courses or fancy technology that makes it seem like rocket science?

It really isn’t. It’s about giving Google and the other search engines what they want. They want good updated content on a subject. They want you to have quality sites who link to you using the right terms. The logic there is if you have a good site, others will link to you.

I’ve been looking around for a good resource to help you with your search engine optimization. Finally I’ve found one. This is very detailed in its explanations, but it doesn’t try to hide or overcomplicate the truth about how to rank well.

The resource is Fred Black’s SEO Secrets Revealed 2 Hour SEO Interview. I listened to it recently and it is top notch information on this subject.

I asked Fred if we could post a 10 minute sample clip from it here as a taste so you can see what it is all about. He agreed.

Right click here to save a 10 minute mp3 audio sample from the interview…

What I like best about the complete interview available on his site is the simplicity. He doesn’t get into all kinds of complicated technology. He simply lays out the simple methods you need to rank well for your terms. He even lists a complete outline of the information on his page (click here now…).

Here’s a photo of the term “internet business” that I just did a search for. This is the first page of results. You can see Fred’s PQInternet is ahead of me by 2 slots. He is in the #2 position and I’m in the #4 position from my search. It’s interesting but you’ll see this varies from time to time so we might slightly be in different positions when you check (maybe I’ll beat him).

Internet Business Front Page on Google

Internet Business Front Page on Google

That is just one sample ranking from Fred’s sites. He has many others for his various pages.

Note: The links on this post ARE affiliate links to Fred’s Search Engine optimization Secrets audio interview plus SEO Brain Dump ebook.

Rebilling Nightmare

December 17, 2008

I wake up this morning to an emergency going on in the business.

For someone reason 1shoppingcart all of a sudden decided to rebill all of our cancelled members from my subscription sites. OUCH!

Trying to contact them now to get this worked out as soon as possible.

As you can imagine we have a lot of very angry customers which can very easily be understood as they should not have been billed.

For any of my readers who was on one of our sites and you were rebilled, I apologize. This will get worked out. You will be refunded.

As of right now I don’t know what happened today, but we will get this fixed.

Update: Many of my customers (who are cancellations – not current members) seem very understanding as we reply to them in getting this fixed. For those of you who have been understanding with us, a big THANK YOU! You have every right to be angry and I understand. This should not have happened to anyone who has honored me with your business.

11 AM Update: Spoke with 1shoppingcart on the phone. This has happened to quite a number of their customers and they are working on the issue.

2 PM Update: As of right now it appears all recurring billing is being turned off from my sites for the next few days to get this situation fixed. Not a pretty issue.

In addition, everyone who was charged has now had the charge voided manually through my merchant account.

If you’re a current member and your billing date was today…your payment today would have also been voided as I had every single recurring billing charge for today voided out of the system. Your account will still be active. You just won’t have to pay this month (people scheduled for Dec 17th rebills).

Ever feel like doing this?

Create Your Elevator Speech

December 15, 2008

In addition to your authentic story, you also need to create an elevator speech for your business. This term originally came from the early days of the Internet when companies were clamoring for investment capital.

If you wanted to get your message heard, you had 30 seconds or less to get your entire point across. In many cases, you might only get to talk to the right person on a short ride on the elevator. If you couldn’t get people excited about what you had in less than 30 seconds, you were done for.

Having a concise elevator speech is vital for introducing yourself and your business to someone. It is used for networking with others at events. It empowers word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. It would be used if anyone asks you to introduce yourself in front of a crowd. It creates the first impression people have of you (which you should know is very hard to get rid of once it has been created). It answers the common question, “What do you do?”

How do most people answer the question, “What do you do?” They say things like, “I’m a real estate agent.” Or they say, “I sell cars.” Or the ever popular, “I’m a lawyer.” Maybe you should say, “I own a website selling dog toys.” That might have been what you’ve been saying up till this point. If so, you’re missing out.

If you say I’m a real estate agent, your listener will then think back to all the real estate agents they know and label you exactly the same. If you say you sell cars, they’ll think about any bad experience they may have had with car salesman. Now you’ve been labeled and they know to avoid you.

Think about the statements you’ve been making. If you simply tell people you’re a real estate agent, you’re not giving them any benefits. These statements are focused on you, not on your clients.

Everyone you meet is really only thinking about one thing, “What’s in it for me?” So what if you’re a real estate agent. We have enough of those around here. So what if you sell toys for dogs. There is a pet shop down the street. So what if you sell cars. There is someone doing that on almost every street corner.

Every one of us is always thinking about ourselves, our lives, our friends, our family, and our stuff. People you meet are more interested in themselves than they are in you.

Let me give you a little hint to what I’m talking about. People don’t mean what you’ve been thinking when they ask, “What do you do?” What they’re really asking is, “What can you do for me?” From now on that is what you need to hear when anyone asks you what you do.

You need to tell them the benefits of working with you. Your answer shouldn’t be about “you.” It should be about what you do for them or people they may recommend you to. Remember this rule.

Even if they’re not your potential client, they know someone who is. When you first meet someone, do three things: smile, give them your card, and tell them who you are and what you do for people. If you make it exciting and benefit rich, you’ll see your word of mouth advertising expand exponentially.

This elevator speech is connected to your Unique Client focus and is just an expansion on the same principles. I like having my clients create both at the same time since they build on each other. In fact, you’ll often find your focus statement is simply one short piece of your longer elevator speech. It’s the most important element of your pitch.

Here is an example one (one I’ve used for my own coaching business):

“I’m Terry Dean and I help business owners and professionals earn more, work less, and enjoy life! Many business owners are frustrated because they work long hours, have little time off, and earn low income. They’ve lost their passion and excitement for life. I train, consult, and coach them in 10 key strategies proven to increase profits and reduce workload in any business. Would you like to know more?”

Notice I didn’t even say I’m a business coach. Many people don’t even know what a business coach is! And those that do know definitely don’t want one because of experiences they’ve had with poor ones in the past.

Anytime I’ve told people I was a business coach, I got one of two responses. Sometimes people would simply ask, “What is a business coach?” Others would just give you a knowing stare and shrug their shoulders saying, “Uh huh.”

This quick speech shares the benefits in the first sentence. Then it points out the “pain” in the marketplace in the second (the frustration, work, and low income of the business owners). Then it tells them how I solve the problem (through the 10 key strategies).

Finally, there is a “call to action” sentence asking them if they’d like to know more about this. It is short and to the point. Originally it was much longer, but I cut it down till it had the bare essentials.

Here’s the basic outline for what I did:

1. Unique Benefit Sentence
2. Explain the pain (you learned this in your customer research).
3. Tell them how you solve the pain.
4. Call to action – ask them if they want more information or know someone who might.

This elevator speech should become the example for developing one of your own. What is the elevator speech for your coaching program?

– What is the one unique benefit you provide your customers/clients?

– Use one sentence to describe the pain (problem) your customers/clients experience that causes them to need your solution.

– Write a one sentence description of how you solve the problem.

– Now…write your elevator speech using the three answers above. Describe your unique benefit. Explain the pain or problem. Then offer your solution to the problem.

Finally, add a call to action by asking if they would like to know more or if they know anyone who is experiencing this problem (it should take no more than 15 to 30 seconds to say this to people).

Authentic Stories

December 11, 2008

Do you have an authentic selling story?

If you can learn this principle, you’re going to be miles ahead of others who try to sell online. Your customers buy based on emotion and then justify that decision with logic. While you need strong background proof such as statistics and charts to hit the logical elements of your client’s minds, they make their core buying decision on the emotional connection you make with them.

Often the best way to make this emotional connection is through a story. Think about this for a moment. As soon as someone says to you, “Let me tell you a story…” you instantly perk up your ears to hear more. The conversation could be going down a different road, but the moment it becomes a story, people start listening.

The reason I refer to it as an authentic story is we’re not making up a story…we’re using a real story that shares the emotions we want to tap into in our target market.

Let me give you an example. Think about how Star Wars has become a part of culture. It’s just a story, yet it has connected with millions of people. It’s the story of a hero who is seeking to become who they truly are. In fact, think about a large number of the biggest grossing films of all time.

Many of them employ that same type of hero story. Spiderman, Lord of the Rings, Titanic, etc. It’s always someone who is counted out…a real nobody…that becomes a hero. Little Peter Parker who is ignored by everyone becomes Spiderman and saves the day. Rocky even followed the same underdog to hero story in multiple comebacks!

People love the underdog story. Someone starts out with everything against them and makes it big to become the hero. It’s a consistent winning story line. It’s beautiful if you have a story with this theme to tell.

That’s why every time I speak I tell my authentic background story. Before I started online I was more than $50,000 in debt as a college drop out. I worked deadend jobs like delivering newspapers, signing people up for credit cards in front of stores, and delivering pizzas for Little Caesars.

The turning point for me was finding out about the internet, and my wife telling me I could really do this way back in 1996. I went online and within a few months was full-time. Within 6 months started paying back my bills. By the end of two years I was out of debt. As I learned to market online, others started asking me how I did it. And I started teaching them around the country.

This led up to the life changing moment for others potential online entrepreneurs. At some of the conferences I spoke at I did a promotion to my email list. In one of these, in just 3 days I earned $96,250 in a promotion just to my own email list with no advertising expenses in front of a live audience. You can find dozens of online entrepreneurs successful today who remember that as a life changing moment for them.

You can see how this is a “rags to riches” story for me. It’s all true. And if I don’t tell it, it destroys the bond I can create with my audience. So I always tell the story even though I’m personally tired of it!

The question here is what’s your story?

It might not be anything like mine, but everyone has a story. What made you decide to become a coach? What was the turning point? What is the emotional reason behind this decision?

Often there’s a turning point…a time of choice…where you make your clear decision this is what I’m going to do. What was it? Why did it happen? And what does it mean for your clients?

– What specific event caused you to decide to create this product or business?

– Is there a specific instance with a customer or someone you’ve helped that has proven to you that you’ve made the right choice?

– How has your life changed since you’ve started helping people with _____ or how have you changed the lives of one of your customers?

– Have you ever had a painful wake up call that changed your life? If so, how does it relate to your customers?

– If we produced a short “movie” script for your business, what would it be about?

Advanced Adwords For Monthly Members

December 8, 2008

This month I’m doing something a little different.

Last week I interviewed Glenn Livingston for 2 hours and 8 minutes on Adwords strategies. We covered some of his most advanced strategies for Google Adwords profits.

In addition, I asked some of my one-on-one coaching clients what were their most difficult questions about Adwords so I could present them to him as well. He went right through these questions as well…giving technique after technique for improving your results.

If you’re interested in generating significantly more traffic for less money on Adwords, you need to your hands on this audio. If you’re a Monthly Mentor Club member, you can have it sent out to you this week. Click here to join the Club…

Here’s just a taste of what he taught…

– A unique strategy for boosting your quality score while improving your opt-in rates at the same time. Almost NO ONE is doing this! Works like crazy even in the MOST competitive markets.

– Exact steps to improve the quality score on all of your Adwords campaigns. If you’re having any problems with quality score, simply follow these step-by-step tips.

– Why 99% of advertisers are using the WRONG information to make their marketing decisions. Find out why this is and how to “beat the Adwords” system by using the right numbers.

– How to find a domain name that doubles your clickthroughs while boosting conversion on your site by 20% or more. This method is so simple you’ll slap yourself for having not thought of it earlier.

– How to build a targeted opt-in list where you know EXACTLY what to email them and what they want you to buy. Yes, this is a survey based list building method where your audience tells you what to write – and you’ve probably NEVER heard it explained this way before.

– The new long tail of PPC results. Going with 3 to 5 phrase keywords used to be the longtail method of generating a lot of traffic low cost. Not anymore. Find out the NEW longtail method.

– How to quickly build a high traffic content network compaign. Yes, Glenn tells you EXACTLY how he does it personally…and why it works so well (put Google to work for you).

He really surprised me at times in the interview. I asked him for 90 minutes and he gave 128 minutes of his time to give you the best information on PPC available.

In addition, I had the whole interview transcribed (over 50 pages of information). I went through both the audio and transcription to pull out the most important highlights which I wrote about for my 11 page newsletter this month.

So the whole December issue is focused on Adwords information. Never GUESS about how you can quickly drive traffic to any site again.

Join the Monthly Mentor Club now…

You get:

– 11 page Monthly Mentor Club Print issue.
– 2+ hour Audio Interview in mp3 format
– 53 page Transcript of the entire interview

Are you a member? If not, click here now to join the club…

Trade Time for Money

December 4, 2008

If you’ve listened to much information in the marketing field, you’ve constantly heard the phrase “Don’t trade time for money.”

Yet that’s not good advice when you’re first starting out. Of course that may be an end goal you should be thinking about and reaching for, but it isn’t where almost anyone starts out.

Almost everyone trades time for money in some way in the beginning.

For example, copywriters trade time for money. You pay them and they produce copy for you in exchange for an agreed amount. Some are cheap and some are expensive. You usually get what you pay for in this area (although it could be worth your time to pay a low cost copywriter and then improve it yourself).

Most copywriters I know work on other people’s projects, and they’re creating projects of their own. Yet even once their own projects pay off big time, they still take on a few clients. It’s what they enjoy doing.

You’ve seen in the past that I’ve recommended someone who needs to make quick money to become a local Internet consultant. That’s trading time for money as well. There are people in your local area area who don’t know anywhere near what you know about online marketing, and they’re willing to pay for your help.

All sorts of virtual assistants can help you run your internet business. Yet they’re trading their skills and time for money. In several cases I know, these virtual assistants are simply working part-time for others to “pay the bills.” At the same time they’re learning and working on longer term businesses as well with the knowledge they’re gaining.

Even coaches are trading time for dollars. As you know I have one-on-one coaching clients, both email only and phone. If you were to visit my coaching page right now, you’ll see I’m fully booked up and can’t take anymore clients right now. I am building a small list there of people who have read the page and are interested in that coaching program, but it would be at least January if not later before any spots are open.

Why don’t I just take more clients? Simply put. I make more from other projects I work on of my own. I do the coaching (which is trading time for money) because I ENJOY it. Wow, what a reason! In addition, the questions those coaching clients ask me become idea generation for my own products and my writing. It’s part of my customer feedback loop of knowing exactly where customers are at in this market.

I find it funny how professional speakers often stand up and talk about not doing manual labor. They just got on a plane and flew 2,000 miles, stayed in a hotel for the whole weekend, took hours to put together a presentation, and then got up and spoke. They do this for a fee or to make sales in the back of the room. What do you think they just did?

They did manual labor in trading their time for money. Yet they’re on stage telling us NOT to do that. What’s wrong with this picture?

Speaking can be very lucrative, but it is most definitely trading time for money. Of course if they do some good followup on any customers they generate there, they can turn that time into long-term money. But they’re going to find it difficult to “outsource” their onstage speaking business.

The real issue here is that you also want to build other forms of income that DON’T rely on your time.

For example use those copywriting skills you’re practicing to create sales for some of your own products. A virtual assistant can use the same skills they drive traffic to other people’s sites with for themselves a portion of the time. The coach can use the feedback they’re getting as ideas for their own products (removing any private information of course).

Everyone’s goal should be to have a few sources of completely passive income that support your lifestyle. In other words, if you quit today doing EVERYTHING in your business, you still have enough money coming in.

How can you create income streams like that? One way I’ve found to do it is to promote affiliate programs with a continuity membership attached. Get a few thousand each for several of those, and now your basic needs are all taken care of. For example, I get paid every single month from members on http://www.netofficetoolbox.com along with a few other programs.

Are you in a position where you have enough coming in even if you stop selling products, stop writing your blog, etc.? You may or may not be, but that is a worthy goal I’d assign to everyone as part of their plans.

What about the rest of your time? That’s yours to do with as you please. Maybe you want to continue doing virtual assistant work or copywriting or coaching. That’s your decision and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

My suggestion…do both. Be willing to trade time for money as long as you ENJOY it. At the same time, build long-term passive income streams.

3 Ways to Build Your Email List

December 1, 2008

The death of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated.

It is still the biggest driver of sales from all the websites I’m involved with. That’s right. It is pushing more sales for clients online than all the other techniques (including all the hoopla over Web 2.0, blogging, and social media).

With all the messages hitting us every day, sometimes it is good to revisit the basics. We simply forget. How do I know? I PERSONALLY forget at times.

Please understand. I’m not putting down any other methods at all. I’m simply stating the fact that time spent on building your list, your relationship with your list, and offers to your list is still some of the best spent time you have in your business. If you allow yourself to be distracted by the other bells and whistles, it’s going to cut your income.

Again don’t think I’m putting down other forms of promotion. I’m not. They ALL make great tools…especially for building your list. For example right now, one of my top 3 ways to build my list is this blog (and all the promotion that goes into a blog).

But what I have neglected a little lately is the concentrate on my email list including both content and promotional emails designed exclusively for them.

Remember this…
The money still isn’t in the list alone.
The money is in a relationship with your list.

Here’s the funny thing. I’ve been examining how my time is spent. In terms of time spent, emails sent directly to list members is some of the most productive time. Next place is time spent on improving Adwords campaigns (in case you’ve wondered why I’ve talked about Adwords a lot lately). Then time spent on product development and coaching comes in next.

Time I’ve spent in social media is on the lower end of the scale which is why whatever can be outsourced there has been outsourced.

For promoting your list, there are a LOT of strategies you can use. I cover numerous ways to build your list in my Email Mastery course.

Here are 3 of the top ways I’m building my lists right now (yes, that is lists plural not singular list):

1. PPC

I’m loving PPC because it eliminates all argument. You can generate traffic quickly. You can test ads, landing pages, keywords, etc. It boils down to the cold numbers. How much are you paying per subscriber to your lists? How much of that money are you earning back form the immediate promotion after someone signs up for the list?

The best case scenario of course which I have on a couple of campaigns is when the immediate sales right after email sign-up put you back at break even or in a slight profit. In other words, you’re earning money WHILE building a list. Other times it is taking me a couple of months to make the leads profit (through follow-up and sales).

I GUARANTEE I will be prioritizing more time towards PPC next year on the list building front. One of the beauties here for me is there are no trades or deals you’re making. Sometimes with JVs and affiliates there is a quid pro quo expected. If your promote my product for an affiliate commission, you expect me to do the same. Well what if I’m not comfortable promoting your product for whatever reason? Issues occur. PPC doesn’t have that coming up.

2. Affiliates

Affiliates can end up building your lists. On many of my sales pages I run popovers to build the lists or create an opt-in form in the sales page itself. If you’re using an affiliate tracking system like Netofficetoolbox (or others out there), you can automatically track affiliate referrals and pay them commissions. It could be on that product or even another product you sell. They still get paid (although no affiliate tracking system is 100% perfect).

Even though you’re sharing a portion of your profits from all these leads, they are still some of the top leads you can have in your business. They responded to someone else’s endorsement of you so automatically have a higher level relationship when they come in. If I compared the two, these leads are often worth 2 to 4 times what the PPC ones are (although that is an estimate from experience not a straight test result).

3. Blogging

There are a LOT of advantages of blogging…one of which is the number of email leads being produced through the blog. It’s easier to rank on the search engines through blog. Plus you’ll find it easier to generate traffic from other blogs as well with this format.

You will not see me quit blogging at any time, although you will see me moving this blog to another location in 2009. Some of the strategies that work well here with list building are that “What Would Seth Godin Do” plugin which offers my list at the bottom of each post for your first 3 visits. You see a subscribe box on the right side of the blog. In addition I’ve tested the popover which will be tested again to show up a limited number of times to generate more email subscribers.

Which Methods Are You Using To Build Your List?

Which methods are you using to build your lists? As I said, I do have other methods in place, but currently these are the 3 strongest list building methods running for me personally. Other methods that are very effective include Youtube videos, article writing, offline advertising, and list trade mailings (where you mail for someone elses list in exchange for them mailing for yours).

Whatever methods you’re using, keep concentrating on those lists. Keep building them and your relationship with your subscribers. No matter what other “exciting breakthroughs” we see, your relationship with an email is STILL where the money is at.