Blog Content Mindmap

January 29, 2009

Here’s a new video I put together to show you how I constantly come up with content ideas for my blog, emails, articles, and videos.

There are a LOT of ways you can generate regular content for your site. To demonstrate I put together a simple mindmap and explained it on this video.

Enjoy!

Special Club Announcement

January 26, 2009

If you’ve been considering joining the Monthly Mentor Club, time is running out.

As you may have noticed, my one-on-one coaching has been fully booked up for months now…and there is a waiting list. I may open a couple of additional slots early next month, but that’s no guarantee you can get one.

Your best opportunity to get the most useful and complete information I offer each month just as if you were a coaching client is my Monthly Mentor Club.

In January I added a LOAD of new bonuses to the membership including:

– My mp3 audio series “35 Easy Internet Profit Multipliers” (still sold separately for MORE than the cost of the membership)
– Grow Your Customer and Prospect Lists Four to Seven Times Faster (previously sold separately)
– How to Add 1,000 Subscribers Or More to Your List In the Next 7 Days With Adwords (never before available except to Club Members)
– Sell More Without Hype, Gimmicks, or Exagerration (still sold separately)

On February 2nd, my Monthly Mentor Club is increasing to $29.95 a month for new members.
Right now it’s only $19.95 a month…

I had planned the change to occur Feb 1st, but I’m down in Florida this week (it’s too cold in Indiana right now). So the price change happens by lunchtime on February 2nd.

This ONLY affects new members who join after the deadline. All current members and anyone who subscribes before the deadline will keep the current rate.

The February issue is all about the shift currently happening in marketing online. I’m finding many of the “old techniques” aren’t working anymore. This is causing many to talk about the sky falling. It’s not. It’s a new day. And there is a much more profitable business model today than what many are used to in the internet marketing field.

I’m still working on this issue as it’s a doozy. It will be sent to print around the normal time of the month (the 10th). Plus I have a very special bonus for all the Monthly Mentor Club subscribers in February. Nope. I’m not telling you what it is. It’s a surprise only for members worth much more than the cost of their membership.

If you didn’t catch it previously, here are a few comments subscribers have made about my newsletter ON this blog…
Read more

WordPress Themes

January 22, 2009

This week I’m working on an update for my Blogging course. While the information is still solid, the design of WordPress has changed from the old DVDs. In addition, I’m adding new marketing techniques. You can expect to see the new version available in a few weeks.

Here is a quick video clip showing you how to install new themes into your WordPress blog.

Fixed Term or Forever Profits?

January 19, 2009

You’ve decided to set-up a continuity income. You have decided this, haven’t you (or I guess you could keep trying to make a living by selling one product at a time)?

The next big question is what kind of membership should you create?

Should it be a print newsletter/CD/DVD of the month, a traditional membership site, or a fixed term membership?

Each of them have advantages and disadvantages to think about.

Click here for more information on setting up your first passive membership income…

Method #1: Monthly Physical Item.

For example a physical product delivered each month has the advantage of higher perceived value and the feeling people get of having it in their hands. I’ve had many people tell me how much they look forward to getting my print newsletter in the mail. They open it up, read through it completely, then set it on their desk for later reference…or to go through it multiple times.

Another advantage is that this is often actually easier to manage than a membership site. You’re creating something offline and then mailing it out. Both www.Click2mail.com and www.Kunaki.com could be used to automate different items. Just upload your item and your list. They mail for you.

The primary disadvantage is these items INCLUDE YOU. People aren’t paying to have content created by others. They’re buying not only the information but the experience with you. In mine, I recognize it and that’s why I chose the name (Monthly Mentor Club) as it really is the same information I want for my coaching clients – and does become a reference for them.

You have to make sure you LOVE the topic and are constantly researching it. This method’s biggest weakness is YOU have to produce content for it every month. You can’t slack off and miss a few months (unless you’ve produced ahead of time).

Method #2: Traditional Membership Site

The tools for membership sites are easy now. You can use WordPress as a content manager. Then install one of many membership scripts to handle your site’s password protection. Combine in a community feature such as a discussion board and you have everything technology wise you need to manage the site.

The big advantage here is you can use the community element (discussion boards) to make members feel a part of something bigger. It is painful for them to cancel because they lose the relationships they’ve developed through the site. That’s a key principle of retention in any site. People have to feel like they’re missing something or losing out when they cancel.

The disadvantage here is someone has to regularly monitor the site and the discussion board. You need moderators (moderating it all yourself takes too much time especially in the beginning). You also have the disadvantage of needing regular content, although it isn’t required for you to produce the content. You could potentially outsource all content development for this type of site, BUT members DO build relationships with the content producers. So your best case scenario is when you have long-term writers.

Method #3: Fixed Term Memberships

Instead of a “lifetime” membership, you’re simply putting together a site for 3, 6, 9, or 12 months. It’s an “online class” type of atmosphere instead of a forever membership site. The first method followed for this are email lessons delivered through an autoresponder. When someone buys, they’re added to the autoresponder. When they cancel, they’re manually removed from the autoresponder. Each autoresponder message points them to a specific lesson in the series on your site.

A 2nd method for handling this is through membership scripts such as Amember which allow you to schedule content delivery. So if someone has been a member for 1 month they have access to specific info. Someone who has been a member for 3 months has access to more content.

The big advantage of this method are that you only have to produce content (or pay for content) for a limited time class. If you have 12 months, then you may produce a total of 52 lessons (one per week). You’re not committing yourself to produce something in the market forever. So you never feel tied down to one subject or market.

In addition, you’ll often find it EASIER to sell this type of membership. People aren’t making a commitment of $50 a month forever. They’re just committing to a specific class period. In addition, you’ll find it easier to keep them inside the membership longer. For a normal membership site, they cancel…and then they come back at a later period to continue where they left off. With a fixed term site, you set it that if they cancel…they have to START ALL OVER. That’s a strong incentive not to cancel built in.

What Should You Do?

If I was starting over and producing my first continuity program ever, I would go with the fixed term membership.

You may decide you don’t like creating content for the subject continually. In addition, if it doesn’t work out as well as you thought it would, it’s not as big of a commitment that you’ve made for the site.

The biggest objection most people have to doing “only a fixed term site” is they want to continue earning money forever from the site.

What most “gurus” won’t tell you is the average retention of membership sites is only 3 to 4 months. YES, you do have members who stay for years (my print newsletter has many subscribers from the very first month). But those same members who stay for years could have been sold into something else at the end of the fixed term. They paid 12 months for your fixed term site. As you’re coming to the end, sell an “advanced” version or some other type of product. If you don’t want to produce it look around for another quality site to offer to your members as your term is running out.

Less long-term commitment. Easier to sell (since it is a fixed term). Easier to manage. Eventually passive income (once all the content is produced).

That’s why I’m suggesting that type of site first. Then expand into other types of sites if you like later on (or maybe you’ll just start producing dozens of these types of sites for multiple passive income streams).

For more information on membership sites, and making money with them, check this out…

8 Articles You Cant Miss

January 15, 2009

I have a selection of blogs I read regularly in my RSS feeds. Here are some of my favorite recent posts from a few of them. Each and everyone of these articles gives you content to help you earn more, work less, or enjoy life! Sometimes it’s surprising just how valuable information is given away for free online.

27 Secrets of Internet Marketing Success by Bob Bly

Bob Bly is a top copywriter who also has his own side information product business now. Pay careful attention to all 27 of his tips…especially #1, #2, and #3. In #3 alone he gives you an easy tip for a 21% conversion boost.

Ultimate Risk Reversal by Ryan Healy

Very good post on using guarantees to reduce risk for your customers and drive more sales. It’s especially interesting how Hyundai has tapped into current recession fears with their guarantee.

Weird Twitter Secret Spikes Traffic by Ben Settle

Lately I’ve been playing around with Twitter, and it is actually proving itself to be profitable. Not to the level where I’d want it for the time invested, but it is profitable. Ben Settle shows in this post how to get people clicking through your tweets.

Middle Class Millionaires by Robert Phillips

This is an example of a great book review. Robert shares his favorite book from 2008 along with the 4 traits he gathered from the book itself. While he recommends more work than I’d want long-term, often that is required in the very beginning of learning new things.

My 42 Best Profitable Website Ideas for 2009 by Brian Terry

Are you having trouble coming up with website ideas? I don’t have that problem. I have too many, but some people claim they’re held back by ideas. Here Brian Terry gives you 42 possible ideas for your new website.

WordPress Plugins Used on the Michel Fortin Blog

That’s quite a list of plugins Michel! After going through it I see several I need to install on my blog now. In all Michel says he has 79 plugins listed and 69 of them are currently active on his blog.

Why Boring is Better by Lee McIntyre

This is a great video by Lee to keep you on track. Everyone wants to jump on the “new thing” instead of doing what is working…and to keep at it until you know it.

More Advanced Copywriting Techniques Persuading Prospects to Buy

Wow, the title itself is a mouthful. I’m on their Blog RSS feed as Clayton Makepeace and his team of writers put out some top quality free information on copywriting. Very good blog to join if you doing any copywriting.

What Are You Testing Today?

January 12, 2009

What are you testing in your business today?

That’s a good question to ask yourself each day. As I’ve said many times, I haven’t become successful online because of my great brilliance (although I love to think I’m brilliant at times). It is simply because I’m willing to constantly test everything in small steps.

Does every ad I write become instantly successful? Not a chance.

Does every ezine ad I’ve ever place earn a profit? Nope.

Is every product a runaway success? No, every one of them has earned a profit, but they haven’t all earned enough to be worth their development time.

Are all my Google campaigns instantly profitable? I wish!

My approach is simply to be willing to test EVERYTHING in my business. And I’m only willing to invest a little at a time to see the results. If that $100 ad loses, I’ll have another one that wins. I’ll drop the loser and keep following the winner.

As much as I hate to admit it, at times ads I write don’t work. You might find a copywriter who claims they ALWAYS beat the control and everything they write is solid gold, but I’m sure you can figure out what I think about them without mentioning it…

This means I have to test my websites with different headlines, photos, etc. I may test two entirely different approaches.

Here’s a good example. Recently I mentioned how I purchased rights to 2 membership training courses. If you purchased one, I would automatically give you both. They’re both incredible information on getting your own monthly continuity program in place.

Both of them came with sales copy. My solution for figuring out which sales copy should be the base version…I ran a split test where both websites were shown. Anyone who ordered from either automatically gets both products (so 2 sales letters but the same end delivery).

Then I can go back in on the version which works best (actually too close to call at the moment).

On another site right now I’m running a headline split test with 3 different headlines being tested.

My Google campaigns all have multiple ads being tested on them.

This blog has been testing 3waylinks.net for a few months now. A few people have stumbled upon the link on here where it says other resources and asked about why I had some of the links. It’s because I’ve been testing them. My opinion so far: it appears to help, but Linkvana.com is more powerful (also more expensive).

It’s interesting that I’ve had several coaching clients ask me about “that test” without knowing for sure what it was. They of course received the answer. I wonder how many others may have been surfing my site and jumped to conclusions about it. They might have thought I had some big link trade going on personally (since it doesn’t refer to what it is).

That’s one of the mistakes when you copy blindly. You don’t know why someone is doing something on their site. It may just be a test, and you don’t have the end results of the test yet (I haven’t made a final decision on this test yet).

So my question to you is, “What are YOU testing today?

Are you testing your on site Conversion with new headlines, photos, intros, offers, etc.?

Are you testing new Traffic techniques such as Twitter, article resources, PPC, etc.?

Are you testing new Products in your mix such as offering the same product with several different titles, different price points, etc.?

Here are the Testing Tools I’m Personally Using:

1. Google Optimizer A-B:

I love their basic split tester. Almost every new site goes up with at least a split test of the headline. If you’ve never tested anything before, start here. Set up a simple A-B split test of your headline. Run 2 or more headlines with everything else on your site the same. You’ll be shocked at how much of a difference it makes. While I’ve never seen an 1800% difference like I’ve heard other copywriters talk about, I often see 30% to 100% improvements from a new headline on a page. If you’re not at least doing this on every new site, you’re cutting your own throat.

Free after you sign-up for Your Adwords account.

2. Google Optimizer Multivariate

Have enough traffic to do multiple tests? Graduate up to their multivariate tester for your next series. Test headline, photo, intro paragraph, guarantee, and possibly even the price. This one is a little more complicated to setup but still very valuable if you have the traffic. Try it AFTER you’ve experimented with the A-B tester a few times. If you’re only generating 100 visitors a week, I’d go with a straight split test only of the headline.

Free after your sign-up for Your Adwords account.

3. Netofficetoolbox.com

I also run some basic advertising tests and A-B split tests with my shopping cart’s Ad Tracker at times. For example, on the Monthly Mentor Club, right now I have a testing issue. Google Optimizer requires that your thank you page be on the same domain as the page you’re testing. That club is not setup this way at the moment, so I’m using the ad tracker built into my shopping cart to track which headline is pulling the best on the new site.

$29 to $99 a month depending on which package you have.

Proven Email Subject Lines, Templates, and More…

January 8, 2009

The money is in a relationship with your list. You’ve heard me say it. You’ve heard others say it. But how do you ethically turn that email list into profits month-after-month?

That’s the subject I’m dealing with this month in the Monthly Mentor Club.

Here’s just a taste of what I’m covering in the January issue:

– Where to Host Your Lists
– How to Come up With All your Ideas (it’s easier than you think)
– The Right Mix of Content and Sales for Maximum Profits
– 5 Step System for Writing your Emails Quickly (shoot for 15 to 30 minutes at most).
– 5 Methods for Generating Hot Subject Lines to Boost Your Open Rates
– 10 First Sentence Templates to Get Momentum Started in your Emails
– 10 Common Email Mistakes Keeping You From Profits
– How to Produce Guaranteed Winners…No Matter What Market You’re In.

In addition to all the above, I also worked with Lee McIntyre to provide you with his special report, “Price Stretching: When Low Prices Equal High Profits.”

Some people tell you to use low prices. Others recommend high prices for more profit. What’s the truth? Where is the “sweet spot” for earning a great profit while delivering value to all your customers? Lee covers it all in this special 27 page report…free with this month’s Mentor Club.

http://www.MonthlyMentorClub.com

Also please note I’ve realized I’ve been way underpricing this Club…so the first price increase for it is coming February 1st. It goes from $19.95 to $29.95 per month for new members. Anyone is already a current member by then will keep paying the $19.95 rate, but all new buyers or people who resubscribe (after canceling) will pay the new monthly rate.

So this is your opportunity to get in while the price is still only $19.95 per month.

Along with the increased price there will be more features added in the coming year. Shh – I’m keeping those a little secret at the moment.

The January issue is being mailed out tomorrow on January 9th at 10 AM. If you want to receive your issue in the mail, make sure you subscribe before that time.

Quit Working So Hard

January 5, 2009

Have you ever made the mistake of sitting at your desk for hours at a time?

I know I have. In fact, if I stop watching myself it becomes a routine where I’ll sit there from morning all the way through lunch without stopping. You might be saying “So what?” at this point. So what if you work 3 hours straight? Isn’t that a good thing?

I guess it would be a good thing if you worked at maximum efficiency all the way through that period, but that’s not how it works for me. What ends up happening in these long sessions is I start slacking. I’ll go back and check email. I’ll browse websites longer than I should. I end up wasting time.

The worst effect is you’re wear yourself out. Again, I don’t know about you, but I find I can’t focus intensively for that long at once without my mind wondering. I get tired and distracted. Results suffer.

I’ve had times where I’m working quite well, need to look something up on a website, and then spend the next 30 minutes surfing the web. It happened to me on Friday! What a waste of time.

What’s the solution?

The first step is to recognize this problem. I do much better when I’m concentrating on it. Set up short “project” sessions. You need to complete A within the next 30 minutes. Then take a 5 minute break.

It is said that Eugene Schwartz used an egg timer which he set for 33 minutes and 33 seconds. During that period he’d sit down and write. He wasn’t allowed to do anything else in this period. Between each writing period he’d get up for a bit.

That time is a little strange for me so I’ve never worked like that. I find 30 minute and 60 minute blocks make a lot more sense for my project times. I’ve played with them both ways. On 30 minutes, I work 25 minutes and then take a 5 minute break. With 60 minute blocks I went 50 minutes on and then 10 minutes for a break.

With the tests I’ve done in the past it has always seemed the 60 minute blocks work best for me. That’s 50 minutes of concentrated work and 10 minutes of “play time” in between. That way when I do my daily and weekly schedule I can write what I plan to do for each hour (fits my desk calendar well).

For the 10 minute break period, I love to stop for playtime with my puppies. Little Indiana the golden is close to 6 months while my German Shepherd Champion is close to 4 months. Both of them LOVE the short training and play sessions. If I didn’t have dogs, I don’t know what I’d do. Maybe take a boring lonely walk or something instead of walking them around yard.

Whenever I concentrate on doing this, all my projects flow so much better. Whenever I slack, my concentration and projects suffer. Not only that, but I begin dreading work and don’t know why.

Try it. Setup some type of work schedule (either 25 minutes on and 5 minutes off or 50 minutes on and 10 minutes off). Then make an hour by hour schedule for your goals tomorrow making sure to leave at least one period up for things that might come up (or to potentially get ahead on the next day’s projects).

Here’s the rules. You sit down and you work on THAT project during the period. Nothing else is allowed. If it’s writing, then you write. If it’s creating a video, do that video. If it’s email and blog comments, do that. Once your time is up, get up and do something NON-work related. Go for a walk. Have a snack. Stretch. Call your husband/wife while walking around the house. Just get away from your desk. If you have trouble keeping track of the time, use a stopwatch or a computer timer. There are a whole bunch of free timers available on Download.com.

You can even set some type of “prize” for positive reinforcement when you accomplish your daily goals. Perhaps it’s something you buy yourself like a massage or a new shirt. Or perhaps it’s extra video game time. I don’t care what, but find something little that motivates you to reward yourself for a good day’s work.

Let me know how it works out for you. I know whenever I forget about this, my output suffers.

Expertise Equals Income

January 1, 2009

I’ve noticed a difference between those who are extremely successful in their online business and those who just barely make it (maybe they’re full-time online but everything seems to be a struggle).

The majority of those who are extremely successful become an expert at one or more elements of building their online business.

For example, perhaps this person focuses time and attention on their copywriting. They become an absolute master as selling in print. They apply this skill daily to improve their conversions and make profits where others can’t.

Another business owner focuses heavily on the PPC skills. They’re generating massive amounts of traffic at half the cost of all their competitors.

A third person becomes an expert at content development. They’re shooting out a new product every week. And we’re not just talking about crappy products either. They develop good step-by-step systems for people to follow. You just can’t seem to keep up with their prolific content and product development.

Each of these becomes an EXPERT at some element of their internet marketing. I’m sure we could sit around and debate which of these skills is most important, but they ALL can spell a very profitable internet business when you focus on them.

That’s the key here. As I mentioned in my video last week, a mistake I made this year in my own business is trying to do too many different things. I’m cutting down my focus for 2009. Most beginners are much worse. They buy all the products about different subjects and try to become an expert in all of them at once. That’s a tough road to travel.

Instead, focus your talents and skills on becoming an expert in one aspect…and then develop basic skills or outsource the rest.

For example, let’s cover a few skills you could focus in on (choose one)…

1. Copywriting

Online marketing is about selling. With all the discussion of free content and traffic, eventually something has to be sold. Focusing on this skill means studying the masters, copying out great letters by hand, and really testing different approaches to writing to find out what works for you. While you could sell your skills (and most do starting out) you can also use those skills to start building your own business.

2. Creating Content

Prolific content creators have more products to sell, more content on their sites for SEO, and a better chance of coming up with that winning idea. For example you create one product the next year…but she creates 24. Who has a better chance of having a homerun winner. Obviously the person with more products does. In addition, you can use this skill to also generate traffic (for example you could start giving away some of your products freely to other marketers in your field to generate backend traffic from their sales).

3. Research

You’ve seen me recommend Glenn Livingston’s products and services very highly. He is an absolute master at researching markets to determine what they want…which can then be applied across the board to write copy that converts, create unique products that are exactly what people want, and put together follow-up information customers are searching for. Nothing surprises me anymore about what you can do with the right information.

4. PPC

What about those PPC masters? You know the ones I’m talking about…they spent tens of thousands of dollars monthly on Adwords (in addition to MSN, Yahoo, and others) while turning it into a fortune. A lot of marketers online don’t want to do any paid advertising, but that’s just dumb business when every time you spend a $1 you get $2 back. I’d make that trade all day long. There are affiliates who simply use their PPC skills to promote one affiliate program after another bringing in six figure monthly checks. But they didn’t do it by simply “trying” Adwords. They became experts!

5. SEO

Don’t want to spend any advertising money? Well you can then focus on search engine optimization. Get top positions for the right terms and make sales with or without your own products (build a list and sell affiliate products). Work with blogs, incoming links, etc. to become a free traffic generator for your own products and others.

6. Speaking

A lot of people don’t identify speaking skills with the internet, but look at how often we’re now using video. In addition, both teleseminars and webinars are ways to improve your conversion (you’ll often find it much easier to generate sales from that teleseminar instead of directly from the website). Plus, some of the best leads you could ever generate are offline leads that become customers (such as the ones you find from speaking engagements).

7. Management

What about those business owners who become experts at delegation and management of workers? I’m not talking about just outsourcing a couple of items. I’m talking about those who are good at managing people and getting the best results out of them. You can even find outsourcing companies who focus on this. You hire them and they get the projects done for you.

Which skill is the right one for you?

Notice that everyone of these skills is a marketable skill. They could and are being sold right now. There are copywriters, PPC services, seo services, professional voiceovers, etc. This leads us back to where I told you that everyone has to “Trade Time for Money” in one way or another when they’re starting out.

Even if you never sold your skills for an hourly rate, you still have to develop them to a level where you could. And I didn’t even come close to covering all the online skills we could have in this section. Think about it for a while though on those you know who are most successful. They often develop mastery in at least one vital skill and sometimes in a 2nd or 3rd one.

They don’t focus on doing everything at once.

Which skill should you focus on? I don’t know. Part of it depends on your background skill sets and your own natural abilities. For example, I can tell you from working with many clients that those who do best at PPC are often the analytical types. They love numbers and seeing the results from making small little changes. While the more outgoing personal people often do better generating their traffic through joint ventures and providing content to others (such as doing webinars with affiliates).

So I’m not telling you which skill for you to focus on, but I am telling you to focus on some sellable online skill in 2009. Which one will be your ticket to online success?