12 Keys I Learned As An Intern

June 1, 2009

One of my interns recently finished the program and sent me an incredible article of what he had learned during the time he was an intern.

After looking over the 12 keys he said he learned, I asked him if I could publish this for you…and he agreed. I wanted you to have these to print out BECAUSE it isn’t just about being an intern. These 12 keys apply to all of your internet business. They’re 12 lessons everyone needs to learn to be successful online (the only thing I changed in this article was an adjustment to the title – everything else is directly from him).

“12 Keys I Learned As An Intern”

By Shaun O’Reilly
AKA “Shaun van Hart”

Lesson # 1: The Internet is Primarily a Keyword-Driven Medium

Only create content for subjects that people are ALREADY searching for. Find out what people are already looking for by thorough keyword research. My own thoughts are that the keyword tools are like a mind reading device that allow you to really get inside the mind of your prospects to find out what they are looking for so you can give it to them. The main lesson is that if people aren’t already searching using keyword phrases on the subject then DON’T waste your time producing any content for that area.

Lesson # 2: The Incredible Power of Affiliate and JV Relationships

Invest a lot of time in developing strong relationships with active affiliates who can make a lot of sales for your business. Leverage the time, money and effort of affiliates to produce more sales with less time, money and effort on your part.

Before doing the Intern Program, I had negative feelings toward affiliate programs mainly due to my past experiences with the Internet Marketing pimp-a-product approach of many affiliates in this market. They don’t seem to care if the product will really help the most important person of all – the end customer.

I now realize that I can use affiliate programs, affiliates and JV partners in an ethical way on my terms. Not all affiliates are bad!

Lesson # 3: The Importance of Having a Consistent Daily Habit of Promoting Your Internet Business

Rather than having a haphazard approach to marketing your Internet business it’s vital to have a daily discipline and routine of promoting your Internet business every day. In fact, it’s important to have a strategic marketing plan for promoting your business via multiple channels on a regular basis.

I’ve learned that promotion is not a bad word and is a way of letting others know how you can help them. If I don’t promote my Internet business on a daily basis then I’ll not reach and impact as many people as I want to.

Lesson # 4: Go Where the Highest Traffic Is to Leverage Your Time, Money and Effort

Strategically select the highest traffic sites in your niche so that you can get the biggest ROI on any time, money and effort you put into your Internet business. Use Alexa and other tools to determine where the most traffic is and focus your time, money and effort on those sites. This reminds me of the 80/20 Rule and the importance of investing my time, money and effort wisely.

Lesson # 5: There Are No Magic Buttons for Internet Success

Quit looking for magic bullets and allowing the guru cartel to distract you into buying the latest ‘must-have’ product on the Internet. Get real and get into action doing the things that will grow your Internet business and focus on the fundamentals and things that work instead of being distracted by the latest trend and fad.

Lesson # 6: Copy is King on the Internet so Constantly Test to Maximize ROI

The words and images on a web page greatly affect conversions so constantly test and track the most important elements such as headline, first paragraph, photo, caption, call to action, etc. Focus especially on headlines and sub-headlines to maximize the number of people who read your whole message and act on it.

Lesson # 7: Multi-Purpose Your Content Into Different Forms to Get the Most Return from Every Word You Write

Rather than just producing content in one format look for multiple ways to re-purpose the same content many, many times. This will maximize the exposure and returns you get from every piece of content you take the time, money and effort to create.

For example, Blog ? Article ? Video ? Press Release ? Product ? Product Series ? Affiliate Tools

Videos are a quick and easy way to create content and have a high perceived value too.

Lesson # 8: The Internet is Now a Social and Highly Interactive Medium – Get Involved

The Internet has now evolved into a more interactive media with social bookmarking sites and the growth of Web 2.0. Therefore, it’s vital to grow along with the trends and use the new Web 2.0 sites to reach people who they prefer to communicate and interact with them where they are.

Before the Intern Program, I was mildly interested in Web 2.0 and saw it as more of a fad. Now I see that it is vital to follow the trends and use them effectively to grow my Internet business.

Lesson # 9: Think Strategically & Look for Leverage Everywhere

Before taking action in your Internet business make sure that it makes the best use of any time, money and effort you invest. Look for ways that you can get other people or software to do things for you so you can focus your time on marketing and growing your Internet business.

Before this program, I allocated my time poorly, haphazardly and un-strategically. Now I think before I choose the actions I take and which ones I’ll choose to do and which ones I’ll outsource to others. I’m developing some routines and systems to be able to use my time more effectively.

Lesson # 10: A Life-Changing Product Focuses on Small and Significant Action Steps

The Intern Program has been a great demonstration of how to get people to take small but significant action steps to build a successful Internet business and actually DO something with the information instead of just learning it. Why aren’t more information products structured like this?

Lesson # 11: Find a Successful Internet Business and Model Them

Watch what successful Internet business owners do and observe what they actually DO versus what they tell or sell you to do. Follow the changes they make and study their processes to use them as a model in your own Internet business.

Before the Intern Program, I was dipping into different models from various Internet marketers and allowing myself to be pulled in multiple different directions. Now, I’ll save a lot of time, money and effort by focusing on the methods of a small number of Internet marketers that I respect and whose marketing methods I resonate with. This will minimize distractions and give me more time to work on building my own Internet business instead of somebody else’s. Success leaves clues.

Lesson # 12: There’s a HUGE Difference Between Education and Practical Experience

Most information products in the Internet Marketing niche focus on educating you and giving you just more information. However, by actively participating full out in the Intern Program and DOING each and every assignment, I was able to actually experience the theory in action and see the results of my work directly and it became more visceral. So, get involved in the material you learn and look to apply everything useful that you learn so you can really turn the information into real knowledge and results.

Beginners Guide to Tracking Your Stats

July 21, 2008

“I know half of my advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.”
John Wanamaker

Do you feel the same way?

I can tell you from my own experiments that at least half the ads I test don’t work out.

If I wasn’t tracking everything, I wouldn’t know which half either!

Sometimes I feel one of the primary reasons I need to recommend Google Adwords to marketers is because of the tracking it forces you to do. If you run a successful Adwords campaign, you know what I’m talking about.

You test keywords. You test ads. You test landing pages. It’s a constant process of refinement to find out what works best in your market.

If you’re not testing and tracking every detail, you’re losing a fortune.

Becoming an expert at tracking is an essential skill for any long-term Adwords advertiser. It’s a skill that will serve you well in all other forms of advertising as well.

Where should you get started in tracking?

1. Install Google Analytics

This is one of the basics. Sign up for a free Google Analytics account.

They’ll provide you with a code you simply add to the bottom HTML of all your pages on each of your domains. Now they’ll track your incoming traffic for you. In addition, I’ve found very few people use the “Goals” section.

You can set up specific goals on your site. For example, let’s say you have a squeeze page, sales page, order form, and thank you page for buyers. You could set up goal #1 of people subscribing. This goal would be set as your sales page since people go through the squeeze page first. If they subscribe they are taken to your sales page.

Analytics will track the conversion numbers of how many of your overall visitors get to this first goal of arriving at the sales page.

Next you could set a goal of buying the product. The end page someone would visit here is the buyer’s thank you page. If someone on the sales page goes to the order form and orders, they would be taken to the thank you page. Analytics will track the number of visitors who make it to your thank you page to give you a sales percentage.

Having Analytics installed will give you some of the basics. You’ll know how much traffic your site is getting, where those visitors are coming from, and through looking at your goals you’ll see the conversion rates.

If someone asks your conversion rate, you’ll know this number. You can also figure out your income per visitor through these stats. If you’re selling a $100 product and have a 2% conversion of overall visitors to sales, you’re earning $2 per visitor.

2. Google Optimizer

After you have the basics down you might want to expand out to testing different pages on your site. The easiest way to do this is with another free Google tool, Optimizer. You’ll need to sign up for an Adwords account (although you could pause that campaign after you set it up if you’re not ready to run it).

This gives you the ability to use the Optimizer. The very first time you use it you might want to do a simple A/B experiment. This simply means you create at least two different sales pages (changing possibly the headline, a photo, etc.). You can have multiple pages you’re testing at once if you like.

Optimizer will then rotate the pages and track your thank you page code (after they subscribe or buy). You’ll see the conversion rates for each of the pages whenever you view this experiment.

Once you feel more comfortable with tracking you can expand out to a multivariate test. Optimizer allows 5 sets of 5 combos to test at once. This means you can test 5 different headlines, 5 post headlines, 5 photos, 5 intro paragraphs, 5 prices, etc. The software rotates through all the options you provided to show you which ones are giving you the best results.

One thing to keep in mind with these tests is if you’re really running all 5 tests at once it may take quite a while to receive good reliable results unless you have a large amount of traffic (that’s another reason to use the basic A/B tests when you’re first starting out).

3. Tracking Specific Ads

You will also want to track specific ads, because you can have wildly different results from each source of traffic. While you may pull 25% conversion on your squeeze page from PPC traffic, you may be doing 50% or higher from joint ventures.

You have several options here.

If you’re doing Adwords advertising, you can use their conversion tracking code to separate all your sales by keyword phrase and ad.

You could setup another page on your site for a specific ad. In other words, instead of driving them to your normal landing page, you setup a separate landing page you can track specifically for that campaign.

Or you could use an ad tracker such as the one built into Netofficetoolbox.com. When I use this option I set up an “Ad Tracker” and the software gives me a unique URL for just that one ad. Any subscribers or sales made through my shopping cart can be tracked back to that ad.

Another option I haven’t used in a while is to simply sign yourself up as an affiliate in your own program. Then use your affiliate link to track that ad. Any sales that came in to that affiliate account you setup are from that source of advertising.

No matter what option you choose, the key here is to track all your advertising. What works and what doesn’t?

Let’s root out the 50% of your advertising that’s not working for you right now.

What If Its Not Working?

June 19, 2008

There will be times where your projects don’t go the way you want. The project you’ve worked so hard on doesn’t produce instant results and people don’t come rushing to your website to buy what you’re offering. Everyone has something go wrong at times, and the project isn’t as a profitable as you wanted or expected. What can you do in these situations and where do you look to first?

Below are a list of 8 strategies you can use to turn your failing project into a winner. All of this assumes you’re using the strategies such as market research, probes, sales letter websites, email follow-up, PPC ad testing, etc. This is not an extensive list of things to look for in creating a winner project, but it gives you the same starting point I use when I look at client’s projects.

Strategy #1: Improve the Copywriting

For many sites, the single best investment they could ever make is to hire a professional copywriter to either do the copy or at least review and edit the copy. A website which has a conversion rate of only 1% will be beaten by a website with a conversion rate of 3% every time in every type of marketing if they’re selling a similar priced product in the same niche.

People often look here last, but it’s one of the primary keys to creating a successful site. Create a pitch which focuses on people’s emotions and then justify their buying decisions with a logical presentation to support it.

Strategy #2: Do a more extensive probe campaign.

Concept is more important than copy. All your words can be correct, but if they’re not focusing on what your visitors really want to buy, it simply won’t work. If you have an extremely well written site which isn’t pulling, you may need to go back to the drawing board to make sure you’re focusing on the right buttons which cause visitors to buy now.

Put up another probe campaign and ask a different set of questions. Find out directly from your visitors about where you’re missing it. Success is created by finding out what people want and selling it to them. If what you have isn’t selling, you must not have found out what people want!

Strategy #3: Examine your email follow-up messages.

Do you have an email follow-up series in place to keep bringing visitors back to your website? If you don’t, you need to work on that today. If you do have a series, but people still aren’t buying, take another look at your email follow-up messages.

A mistake I see a lot of people make is to have the wrong sales/content mixture. You need to have enough content in your series to keep people interested in reading, but don’t give away so much content that people don’t need your product anymore. The purpose of the content is to give visitors a “teaser” and a taste of the product you sell. It’s simply the appetizer and not the main course.

Strategy #4: Specialize your sales process to tighter niches.

You might find you have good sales copy, a good email series, and you’ve hit the right hot buttons, but your product still isn’t selling. At this point you should take a look at specializing
your sales process. This means taking some of your highest traffic keywords and creating a sales site just for them. Focus your headline exclusively for those visitors.

Make sure the stories they see relate to them. Bring testimonials which would speak to them closer to the beginning of the presentation. The Internet is not a general market. It is composed of tens of thousands of tiny little sub-niches for you to focus and sell to.

Strategy #5: Research the competition to find out what they’re doing.

If your competition has been around a while and consistently outbids you on keywords, what are they doing differently? How can they afford to spend more than you and still make a profit? How is their sales site? What kinds of email follow-ups do they send? Where are their price points? What do they offer on the backend?

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Find out what successful competitors are doing and how you could emulate it in your own business.

Strategy #6: Refine your keywords & bidding process.

You may find some keywords are extremely profitable while others are losing money. Focus on the successful ones and find more similar keyword phrases you can use. For the ones losing money, try using quotes/brackets or changing your bids.

Test different ads constantly. Some of the keywords you expected to work may never work and will eventually need to be eliminated. If 50% of your advertising is working and 50% isn’t, then keep running with what works and eliminate the rest. My own past experience tells me that 50% or more of first ads don’t work. This business is all about testing until you keep only the things which are working.

Strategy #7: Modify Your Offer.

You may need to lower or raise your price. Some products sell just as many copies at $97 as they do at $47. Other items increase sales 10 times by dropping to $19.95. Pricing can sometimes be a difficult issue, but you can find the right price for your offer. You can also test offering payment options such as 3 payments over the next 3 months instead of the whole fee upfront.

You may even consider a “trial offer” where someone pays a token amount such as $1 or simply the shipping expenses and the rest of the product price won’t be charged for 30 days. They get to test out your product and then decide if it’s right for them or not (this approach has doubled or tripled sales in many markets, but it always includes higher return rates).

Strategy #8: Add in a backend offer.

You may try everything and still lose money on the first sale to a customer. It’s still not over! If you lose $10 off every new customer but your average customer buys $100 in backend items over the next year, you’re running a VERY profitable business.

It’s all about having a system in place to continually sell other items to your clients. This is where the real money is made. Create your backend email follow-up series and begin selling other items to your current clients to turn your unprofitable business into a profitable one.

Easy Profit Increase

June 5, 2008

Want to increase your profits by 20% to 50% today?

It’s easy.

Simply add an offer to the thank you page of anything you give away or sell.

When someone subscribes to your list, offer something on the thank you page. You could even set it up as a one time offer or limited time offer.

The easiest method for limited offers is through setting cookies although that method most definitely isn’t perfect as some people delete cookies. See here for a simple free script… You can also find more advanced scripts out there that work off IP addresses and databases.

When they buy any of your products, your thank you page is prime real estate for the next offer.

Every thank you page should have an offer for another related item.

What happens after they buy the next item? It’s another thank you page with an offer.

What if you don’t have any other related products? That’s simple. Find someone who does…and offer their product on your thank you page. If you have a large number of sales coming through on your item you can easily setup a special joint venture with someone else to sell their product on your thank you page. If any of my products would be a good fit and you have a lot of sales coming through, I’m sure we could work something out.

If you’re just getting started in the market or your item isn’t producing a lot of sales, you can easily join an affiliate program. Write a recommendation for the product and post that to your thank you page along with your affiliate link.

You might say, “But I don’t want to be seen as a pushy salesperson!”

You could even do these thank you sales messages very gentle. For example, look at how gentle this one is after someone buys the Internet Lifestyle Retirement System: http://www.internetlifestylesystem.com/thankyou.html

All I do on that page is thank you for your order and then say, “You may also be interested in Blogging Mastery – setting up and profiting from your own blog…”

Talk about being gentle! That’s much more gentle than the majority of my thank you pages, but it is still convincing 18% of customers to buy the next product (being more aggressive on some of my other sites has higher rates).

You might say to me, “Terry, this is all just too simple. I was expecting a deep secret.”

Often it’s the basics we end up forgetting. While writing this post I reprimanded myself for forgetting this on several of my products! And if I’m forgetting to do it at times, it’s pretty likely many of my readers are as well.

From a Sale to An Experience

May 29, 2008

Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that people can’t resist telling others about you.”

Does that quote apply to your business? Does your business do things so well that people can’t resist telling others about you?

What I’ve found is you want to change the basic attitude of selling. You’re not just generating a sale. You’re creating an emotional and memorable experience for your clients.

Let’s look at it from the Disney perspective. When you go to Disney World, you’re not just buying a ticket to a theme park. You’re buying memories. They do everything they can to create the “Disney Experience.”

Not only do they do this at their theme parks, but they also make every effort to combine that same experience into their hotels, restaurants, and stores. The more they can move you into the same emotional state of mind you’re in at the theme park or through their movies, the more they can get you to spend with them. Underpromise and overdeliver (promise something on Thursday and get it done on Wednesday).

Almost every industry is now being turned into a commodity. Customers call around to get “the best deal.” Companies specialize in having the lowest prices. Take a look again at the Disney experience. Do they have the cheapest prices? They’re not even close to being the cheapest.

Do you visit Orlando and call around to see which theme park is the most cost effective? Do you go to the Disney store looking for a bargain? No…you don’t. You pay the prices they ask…and for decades their business has endeavored to provide the same experience to one generation after another.

You have a choice. You can be a commodity or you can become unique…and a business that has raving fans for your service. If you do business exactly like everyone else, you can expect the same results as everyone else. If you take additional steps and create raving fans, then you can expect to excel in your market.

What can you begin doing right now in your business to turn what you do from a commodity into an experience? What can you do that will cause your clients to want to immediately tell someone else about you?

You can’t expect to create raving fans for your business if you simply do what is expected of you. In most industries, you won’t create raving fans from simply providing great customer service. Although most companies don’t really provide great customer service anymore, just having great service isn’t going to be enough.

You have to do something or a series of things that makes people want to talk about you. They had an experience with you they simply didn’t expect.

What will that experience be in your business? Again, take time to think back to people you’ve given your own personal business to. Who has stood out in your mind as someone you wanted to tell others about?

Sometimes it might be something as simple as a handshake or a smile. Other times, it might be a simple gesture they make such as a gift while you’re waiting or a discount when they did something wrong. What can you build into your system to always “Wow” your clients with your service?

An automotive place tells their mechanics to always look for something small they can fix for free on any automobile they check. Then they put a note on the invoice about what was fixed for free. A service business sends out a small free gift the day after they meet with any client. The dentist or doctor has a courtesy call done later on in the day to make sure their patient is OK.

The real estate agent takes the time with every new home owner to show them important elements of the home such as the gas or electric meter. Then they prepare a map with listings for the nearby stores, churches, and schools…along with their phone numbers. A car dealer sends monthly thank you cards to all their clients. The hotel provides some in room gift for free (chocolate on pillow – courtesy call, etc.).

After service, do a follow-up call to find out how things went for their client. Ask simple questions such as, “Is there anyway we could make your experience even better?” The concept behind this call is to have your clients themselves giving you ideas about how to better create the buying experience with your company.

One children’s dentist even redesigned his whole office to appeal to his little customers. This included lowering the room behind the counter to put his staff near eye level for the children, offering gifts to children who get good grades, and providing a picture of the dentist to the children.

What can you do to make doing business with you an experience?

Quick Money From Your Internet Skills

May 15, 2008

Often I don’t talk a lot about making fast or quick money online. A lot of the strategies we cover build up slowly over time. For example, growing a list takes time (building a relationship with that list takes even longer). Establishing a successful blog takes time. Creating strong joint venture relationships take time.

Building an internet business takes time. It’s not done overnight.

Recently a coaching client asked me how he could make some money quickly. What was my response?

I told him to go to some local businesses in his area and offer to help them with their websites and lead generation. Even if you’ve only been studying my blog over the past few months you are light years ahead of the majority of people in your area.

You’re in the top 99% of people in your knowledge of how the internet operates. Those business owners in your area don’t know jack about websites, the Internet, or even what they’re missing out on every day right now.

Who is going to tell them the truth about how to generate leads from the Internet? Do you think the Yellow Pages representative is preaching about the wonderful opportunities the Internet presents (and how they can get more leads for less online than through the Yellow Pages)? No I don’t think so.

What about the website designers? No offense intended for any of my readers who are designers, but the majority of designers are clueless about the purpose of a website. There are some great designers out there who do know the importance of lead generation, but they’re the minority. The ones reading this blog I’m sure would be a part of that minority or they would have left in disgust long ago.

The majority of website designers think it is all about the artistic elements. They’ll charge that local business owner $5,000 to $10,000 and hand them a beautiful looking site that doesn’t get the job done. It doesn’t produce leads who are ready to do business with them.

You’ve been learning about the Internet. You know this is where business really takes place. And you’re learning how to generate traffic, convert visitors into leads and sales, and even how to use more advanced strategies like video. You also know “70% of U.S. households now use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally for products and services…” (Source: The Kelsey Group)

For a long-term Lifestyle business I recommend creating your own products that can make money for you even while you’re sleeping.

But what about that quick cash while you’re building the long-term business?

Get out there in your local area and use the skills you’re developing to help local business owners. Words like autoresponders, HTML, multivariate testing, blogs, etc. are like an alien language to them. You can be the expert in your market.

Not only can you become their expert, but they desperately NEED your help.

Design a lead generation site for them. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

You could even set them up a WordPress (blog) site using a theme such as the Revolution Real Estate one by Brian Gardner. With a little coaching from you, they’ll be able to edit their own website through blogging software.

Put together some content and articles for them to get started (some search engine juice). Get a few incoming links to their site and watch how easy it is get them a good position on the local search engine results.

How much could you charge for something like this? If you’re just starting out, you might go for $1,500 to $2,500. Then you’d raise your price as you get more experience and testimonials from the business owners you’ve helped. It takes a lot of $10 ebooks to equal that fee.

How would you get your first few clients? Print up some business cards. And simply talk to some of the small mom and pop businesses you already regularly go to in your area. Hands out a few of your cards to your friends who may know some business owners (in other words ask for a few referrals from others you know).

Join the local business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and network with the business owners who are soon to be your clients.

If you’re up for it, offer to do a 20 to 30 minute presentation for to groups in your area. They’re always needing speakers. You could put together a simple speech on how any business can generate low cost, high quality leads from the Internet.

It’s a lot easier than you think, because most readers are going to compare themselves to the experts. They’ll say, “Well I don’t know as much as ______.”

So what? If you’ve been paying attention, you know a whole lot more than those in your local area. You could even take a few of those articles you created that get lost in article directories online and submit them as articles to your local newspaper.

Quit worrying about everything you don’t know. I don’t know it all either or else I wouldn’t have to test. Start concentrating on what you do know and use it to profit.

If you want to know more about the importance of Internet marketing for local businesses, check this out…

I call it Next Generation Marketing Magic. It’s a package I put together with Sharon Odom Fling, author of “How to Promote Your Local Business on the Internet.” And not only does it cover how to promote any local business online, it also talks about creating your own local lead generation business.

Goal Setting Worksheets

May 12, 2008

As you know, doing business online isn’t just about the money. It’s about the lifestyle.

But how can you create the Internet Lifestyle you really want if you’ve never sat down to think about what you want?

When you go on vacation, you had better figure out where you want to go before you take off driving, or who knows where you’ll end up.

From coaching entrepreneurs, I can tell you where some of them end up in their business journey. All they know when they start out is they want to make a lot of money, and they do that alright. But in the process they build a business monster that sucks up all their time, destroys their health, and costs them relationships with their family. They got their goal, but lost other more important things in the process.

You need to decide what it is you really want. Some people will say, “I just want to make $20,000 a month…”

Is that all? You don’t care how much time it takes you to do that each month? You don’t care what you have to do to accomplish it?

If you take a long hard look at this goal, I doubt it’s that you really just want to have $20,000 worth of green paper sitting there every month. It’s what you can buy with the money that attracts you.

Money is just a tool to get to the real goal.

Quit looking at the number. Dig a little deeper and find your real goal.

Even if you were to say I want to make a million dollars a year, I doubt it’s the million green pieces of paper motivating you. It’s the lifestyle and the emotional way you’d feel about yourself that you’re after. It’s the recognition you’d feel from others.

So let’s get clear on our goals. What is it you’re really after?

One of the books I’ve really enjoyed recently was Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Work Week.” A primary discussion in his book is about “Lifestyle Design.” On his site, he has a section about figuring out the cost of your ideal lifestyle. In his book and on his site he talks quite a bit about mini-retirements and building a lifestyle you love.

That’s why I always talk about the Internet Lifestyle as well. It’s not just about the money. It’s about the lifestyle.

I’m including a series of worksheets in this posts you can use to create your Internet Lifestyle plan. These were originally developed by Paul Myers and I purchased rights to them some time back. They’re yours as my gift to you.

Download the goal setting worksheets here in PDF form…

Let me help you go through each of the worksheets quickly…

Goals Brainstorming: Describe your perfect lifestyle throughout this series of questions. Don’t think about cost right now. Don’t worry about money when filling out this sheet whatsoever. You can come back and figure out the money later (and the amount will likely change in the future). You’re creating your perfect lifestyle as if ANYTHING and EVERYTHING were possible. What do you really want?

Things to Get Rid Of: These are also called tolerations. What are you tolerating in your life right now that you’d like to get rid of? Many times I’ve found these much more motivating to me than “goals.” What is causing you pain, worry, or additional stress in your life? Why will your life be better without this? These could be as simple as you’re tolerating a chair that’s causing you back pain or they could be vital to your health such as tolerating a 70 hour work week. These are the things you want to eliminate, and when you plan to do so.

Inventory Skills: Make a list of everything you’re good at. Often we only look at our weaknesses and never look at our giftings and strengths. If you have trouble coming up with all your skills, contact a friend, family, or co-worker to help you out with some ideas. It might take you a few days to remember everything you’ve accomplished and all the skills you really have. Don’t cop-out on me on this assignment. You have skills you’ve taken for granted!

Inventory Interests: Write down all the subjects you’re interested in. What do you enjoy learning more about? What grabs your attention whenever you hear about it? Write it all down.

Inventory Activities: List all your normal activities in your business and personal life. Why? We’re going to find activities you enjoy and ones you don’t enjoy. We’re also going to find some potential topics you hadn’t considered to help you grow your Internet Lifestyle Retirement System. If you need to, just start listing your activities for the past week…and then continue on back through the years (you may need a few more pieces of paper).

Inventory Character Traits: Describe your character traits – your strengths and your weaknesses. Are you creative? Are you a good manager? Are you impatient? List them all here as we want to build the right business for you, not anyone else.

I Really Enjoy: Write down the three things you enjoy the most and could do all day long. No matter how long you did them, you’d never get bored. What are they? If we design a business for you that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life (you’ll have fun every day). Don’t worry about how you would turn that into a business at the moment. Just write down your three things.

Step-By-Step: Now let’s take one of your primary goals and make a step-by-step plan to get there. And as I’m always harping on with my clients, start at the end and work backwards. So what is the last step to getting to that goal. Then what happens before that…again and again until you get back to today.

Taking the Step: Now let’s focus on the first step to reaching your goal. You just work backwards from your primary goal. Now we’re starting at step one and we’re figuring out what we need to do to accomplish this step on the way to our goal.

Lifestyle and Discipline

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 is.

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?

5 Keys to Successful Internet Business

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…

Are You A Prolific Product Developer?

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:
http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Graphics.shtml

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:
http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp

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:
http://www.techsmith.com/learn/default.asp

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.

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