Becoming a Market Mind Reader

April 4, 2008

If you want to increase your sales and your ROI in any market, get to know your customer better.

What are your customer’s thinking?

– What are their hopes and dreams?
– What do they lie in bed worrying about at night?
– Who do they love?
– Who do they hate?
– How do they feel about your competitors?
– How do they feel about you and your business?
– What causes them to buy?
– What keeps them from buying?
– What do they most want when they buy?

Do you truly and honestly know your customers? The better you get to know them, the easier it will be to deliver them the value they’re really looking for…and the easier it will be to grow your business.

There is an old statement that says…

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Read that last sentence a few times to understand the full meaning.

Early on in my business I learned just how important copywriting was so I sought out the best teachers I could find on the subject. I studied all the materials I could get my hands on by Ted Nicolas, Gary Halbert, Jay Abraham, John Carlton, Brian Keith Voiles, and many others. And the one theme that continued through every single one of them was: EMPATHY.

I remember quite well going through John Carlton’s course and him telling the story how he had to keep writing a promotional for a weight loss product over and over again. He was writing as an assistant to Gary Halbert…and he kept having it handed back to him because he needed to put some EMPATHY in the letter.

Go over to Wikipedia and you’ll find quite a few definitions for empathy. Scan through them and you’ll see they all point back to a very similar definition.

To empathize means to share, to experience the feelings of another person.”

Do you really empathize with your customers?

If you’ve ever really gotten into the zone in writing a letter to your customers, you can “feel” while you’re writing when they’re going to stumble over something. You can sense where they’re going to have issues in the letter, because you’ve gotten to know them. You know when they’re going to bring up objections so you can deal with them. And it’s that trait that the greatest copywriters have mastered for the markets they write in. They know their customers, how they feel, and what they’re thinking at each point in the sales process.

How do we start reading the minds of our customers?

This is a deep subject, but I’ll give you a few strategies to help you get started on the right path. This only covers the tip of the iceberg, but you can use many of these techniques immediately…

Method #1: Surveys

You’ll notice I did a survey this past week where I asked you as one of my readers what were you thinking. Why did I do this?

I wanted you to tell me what was most important to you. I didn’t want to take for granted what you wanted to read about. I had you tell me.

In addition I wanted to know how YOU saw this blog from your viewpoint. I’m using all the feedback to prepare an upcoming change to the overall blog design and layout. It won’t be based on how I think about what I do. It’s going to be based on my reader’s opinions.

One of the first things I do when I enter a new market is put up a survey about the market. I ask them what they most want to know about the subject along with other questions to determine as much as I can about the audience I’m attracting.

This new market survey serves two purposes. Often the product itself can be developed right out of the questions they ask. In other words, the survey results create the basic outline for my product. Is it nice of them to write my outline for me?

I also can compare different potential markets by how much I’m paying per survey. A very rough estimate is I expect to pay 10 times as much for a sale as I pay to get a survey filled out. So if I’m paying $3.50 to get each survey filled out through Google Adwords, I’m expecting a cost of $35 per sale from that same advertising.

In a couple of cases I found just through doing the survey that the market was going to be more expensive to enter than I was willing to pay. Those projects when on the back burner to focus on the ones which had a much greater chance of immediate success. If you’re like me, it’s not a question of not having enough project ideas. It’s the problem of having too many and not knowing which ones to focus on. Try a survey…

What about when you have a project that isn’t selling like you expected? You of course start testing the page, but what else can you do? You can add a popover on exit survey to ASK your customer why they choose not to respond. A percentage of them will tell you! So instead of guessing your way in the dark, let them light your path by telling you what you need to change to get and hold their interest.

Method #2: Direct Feedback

Have you considered actually talking to your customers?

I know this might sound a little outrageous, but most of them probably won’t bite. You can talk to them and ask them what they like about your product or what they don’t like. You can ask them why they chose to buy from you. You can ask them what their biggest concern in buying from you was. You can even ask them what else they’d like to have available.

Call up a few of your customers on the phone and thank them for their order. Ask them if there is anything else you can do for them. Then ask them a few of the questions above. Then SHUT UP and listen.

I’ve also always found seminars to be an awesome opportunity for this. I often make my way around the room before the event or early on in the event to ask everyone why they’re there. What is it that they came to learn? What caused them to choose this seminar over the other options? What other seminars have they attended and how did they feel about them? How could I best serve their needs as a speaker at the event?

They’re tell you what they came for and why. Everyone you talk to is another step closer to really understanding your market.

Method #3: Examine How Successful Competitors Approach the Market

Who are the most successful people in the market? Find out…and then print out all their websites and sales copy. Examine it. What hot buttons are they hitting on? How are they identifying themselves with the market? What tone do they write in?

I shared Jay Abraham’s system for using Amazon for the same purpose recently. Go through all the top books in your category and write down their titles. Read through all the feedback people leave on these books. And look for the emotional comments both for and against the book. What emotions are driving people in the market?

They’ve already tapped into the dominant emotions of the marketplace for you. Become a marketplace detective and look at all the evidence. Who are the most recognizable names? How did they get there? What are people saying about them? How could you put together all this material and do an even better job?

Method #4: Real Test Results

This is the strongest test of the audience’s reaction. Survey information is valuable, but real test results are even more valuable. You might run a survey and people agree yes they would be willing to pay for X. Then you offer them a product about X and nobody buys it. When the money meets the road, they weren’t willing to whip out their credit card. It’s the same issue with taking a survey of the “price” people are willing to pay. You’re almost always going to have the survey say people are willing to pay less than they really are for the product…when they’re faced with a real solution to their problems staring them in the face.

For example, with the survey I recently did I asked people what kinds of articles they most wanted to read. I’m going to combine this with looking at my traffic stats from previous articles. So I have in hand what people say they want more information on and I also know what they have responded to best in the past. My future articles will be a combination of information from BOTH these sources. The good news is that in this cases the two sources are agreeing.

If you’re not testing in your business, you’re not learning. Make a commitment to test SOMETHING this week. Test a new headline. Test a new type of blog post. Test a video. Do something different that you can track the results of. Some will work. Some won’t work. Either way, you’re learning. There are no failures in testing…only new information.

Thank You And Survey Results

March 31, 2008

First of All, Thank You to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. I really appreciate it.

Today I’m going to share a few of the results as they apply to this blog and the content here.

The first question in the survey was:
“Which Subjects Would You Most Like Blog Posts to Cover (you can check multiple subjects)?”

The majority of participants filled out 3 to 4 responses so the percentages don’t add up to 100%.

The 3 most popular choices were:

Advice on Internet Marketing Steps – 77.1%
Videos Demonstrating Marketing Techniques – 55.7%
Actual Test Results of Promotions – 51.4%

The 2 least popular choices were:

Marketing Strategies for Brick and Mortar Businesses – 18.6%
Links to Other Blogs and My Favorite Posts – 28.6%

An interesting stat is more people wanted to see me running specials on products than link to other blogs. I also find it interesting that marketing strategies for brick and mortar businesses was the least popular choice, but in the open ended question of how I could improve the blog several people recommended more articles on brick and mortar business internet promotion.

The fact that “advice on internet marketing” won is no surprise since that’s what this blog is primarily about. Having the videos come up second confirms what I’ve been seeing in tests results of the videos I’ve previously published producing quite a bit of traffic here.

Test results were also popular although they came in third so we will add some more test results…although I do more sharing of hard numbers from tests results in my paid newsletter than I do on this blog.

The second question was:
“How Often Would You Like to See New Posts”

The Current Frequency of 3 Times Per Week – 62.3%
2 Times Per Week – 30.4%
Every Week Day – 4.3%
Multiple Times Per Day – 2.9%

So my current frequency is the big winner. Yet, 30% of my regular readers would like me to actually post less often!

If I add both every weekday and multiple times per day together, that still only adds up to 7.2% of the responses that would like more frequent posts. Something I found very interesting here was the number of people who responded in one of the open ended questions below about how they quit reading the more frequent blogs. Posting more frequently obviously creates more traffic, but does it produce more loyal subscribers is the big question?

The next question was an open ended one:
Would You Recommend This Blog to Others…What Would You Say About It?

Why did I ask this question? I was looking for the potential additions to my marketing that I could use. How did my readers see me? Now I’m going to be considering how to expand on what they’ve all shared with me to create an even more unique blog.

Here are just a few of the responses from that section…

Should have found this 8 months ago instead of falling into blackhat marketing methods at late hours of the night in my pajamas.”

“Yes, I’d tell them you were my mentor for a long time and one of my favorite marketers.”

“Yes, I definitely would recommend this blog to others. The blog has tons of great information about internet marketing. Personally, the internet marketing coach that I really trust is Terry Dean.”

“Terry has the best information and most honest, straight-forward product line available anywhere. If you want to grow your business, you’re behind the curve unless you are tuned in to Terry.”

“It’s filled to overflowing with priceless gems of proven internet marketing advice, tactics that help you take your online business to the very next level.”

One interesting response was someone who said No they would not because I promoted sleaze bags. The only product promotions I’ve done recently outside my own have been for Mark Hendricks and Jimmy Brown. If anyone sees them as sleaze bags, then they’re definitely not part of my target market. I’ve known Jimmy Brown since he first got started online and he has even listed me as one of his original mentors in several of his products.

I haven’t known Mark for as long, but I’ve met him in person and spoke at his conference. He is real and honest with his customers instead of spitting out all the hype and bull you constantly see in this market. Speaking with all his attendees who have been at his events was a radical change from most internet marketing seminars.

If anyone has been mistreated as a customer by either of these individuals, I would definitely want to know as I plan to continue to promote them.

The final question in the survey was:
“How Could We Improve this Blog to Serve Your Needs Better (is there any subject you’d like us to cover that we haven’t)?”

I received a large number of suggested topics for future posts. Ones that really stood out to me because they kept being repeated or because they’re something I’d like to cover anyway were:

– Email List Building (the most suggested topic in different forms)
– Systematic Steps for Newbies to Get Started and Start Running Their Internet Business
– Goal Setting and Personal Growth Strategies
– More on Market Research
– How Local Businesses Can Leverage the Internet for New Clients
– Copywriting Information Especially About Landing Pages

Am I happy with the results of survey?

Most definitely. Again thank you to everyone who filled out the survey. Your opinions are important to me. I received many possible post ideas, possibilities of how to put a more unique brand to the blog, and confirmation of people’s interest in additional video information.

Subscribers and Sales

March 28, 2008

Many people track the success of their blog by how much traffic they generate.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. My traffic stats are not the most important stats I keep track of. Of course I’m tracking traffic around here, but the two numbers I look at first are subscribers and sales. Is the subscriber list growing? Are sales growing?

And here’s one that people forget when they get to their traffic stats…
Are the visitors from each source buying and subscribing?

Are those visitors responsive?

Here’s a great article that came up in my feed reader yesterday…

How to Get a Bunch of Useless Traffic to Your Site

Patrick Coffey even shares his definition of HITS. Most people refer to HITS as website traffic. He defines HITS as “How Idiots Track Success.”

My results have been very similar to his. Yes, the social media world can produce a lot of visitors…but the conversion rates from them are MUCH lower than the conversion rates of other types of traffic. PPC, newsletters, search engine visitors, other blogs, articles, and even forums produce much more qualified traffic.

Now of course if you’re selling advertising on your blog and you don’t care what kind of response your advertisers receive, I could see why focusing on high traffic would bring in the numbers. The majority of advertisers judge how successful your site is by how much traffic you’re receiving…not whether they’re responsive or not (at least until they start tracking their advertising).

Does this mean I don’t want social media traffic? No of course not. I want their traffic also. By being in these media, you pick up some additional incoming links for the search engines and other bloggers can find you to link to as well.

Please submit my articles when you appreciate them. But what I’m not doing is focusing really heavy attention on these sites. That’s why you see some social media articles around here, but they’re not the primary focus.

Remember to track the two biggies:

– Sales
– Subscribers

Sales are the money I’m putting in the bank today. Subscribers are the money I’m putting in the bank next month.

I suggest you start putting some heavy priorities on these as well. Traffic is important of course, but conversion of that traffic is our goal.

By the way, thank you for everyone who participated in the survey. I’ve now shut down the survey, will examine the results, and will post some results about it next week.

Does Customer Service Matter?

March 21, 2008

Does customer service matter in your business?

It seems this is something we don’t talk that much about. With all the automation in business, has customer service become a dying element?

I can tell you that I remember very well when a company has customer service that “Wows” you.

For example, when I purchased an XPS laptop from Dell, there was a problem…and they did everything in their power to make it right fast. They were obviously using an outside call center for their customer service, but they were empowered to fix the issues. They offered to replace it immediately (sending a new laptop before receiving this one back). They offered extra gifts. They did everything right.

This has stuck in my memory ever since and caused me to buy from Dell even though I hate all the extra software they add onto their computers.

I don’t know if there customer service is always this top notch, but it was in my case…and I remember it very well.

In comparison, I had a poor experience with the Chrysler company. I purchased a Jeep liberty from them about 6 years ago (give or take a year). When I purchased I agreed with the sales person that they would add a CD changer. We wrote it down on the contract and I took possession of the vehicle to bring it back later for the CD changer addition.

The sales manager was a total jerk when I came back and tried to substitute a regular CD player instead. In fact, he became so hostile that he began cursing at me even in front of the other customers there.

I definitely remember this experience with them…and completely ignore everything Chrysler offers. Even though it’s possible he is the only major jerk who works for them, it’s still part of the “buying experience” I remember for them. I think I’d only consider another vehicle from them if every other automobile company quit selling cars.

So from customer experience, customer service definitely seems to matter.

One of the customer service elements that has helped the most in my business is having a customer ticket system. Email support can be unreliable and emails do get lost. Phone support for low cost items isn’t cost efficient (it is effective for higher ticket items though). You can see our ticket system at http://www.mymarketingcoach.com/support and that is the best way to contact us with any problem you may have with a product or service.

Here are a couple of free ticket systems that are very well designed:

Maian Support

osTicket

Note: As a sidenote, you may find it interesting to know that our business line is actually a Skype.com Incoming phone number so we can have it handled from anywhere in the world.

What is your opinion on this issue?

What companies have given you a “WOW” experience with their customer service?
Have you ever received such a negative experience that you wouldn’t do business with them again (it would be best if you don’t list a company name for this one)?

A Simple Business Plan

March 19, 2008

One Page Business PlanMany internet business owners believe they don’t need to write a business plan for their business. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You need to at least put together a simple business plan. I’m not talking about anything fancy where you put together dozens of pages to find investors or get a loan. You just need a simple easy to write plan that keeps you on track and keeps you accountable to your goals. They work.

Here’s a quick step-by-step system to put together a simple plan for your online business.

Step 1: Write Your Business Plan On One Page Only.

If you can’t define your business, your target customers, and your primary goals in one page; you’re simply not focused enough. I’ve used “The One Page Business Plan” book by Jim Horan multiple times with my coaching clients to help them put together their plan and schedule (which I then keep them accountable to). I don’t know if you can really call this a book though as it is more of a series of worksheets to help you put together your plan.

Step 2: Create Your Vision Statement.

Your vision statement should be very specific about what kind of business you’re building. Remember this is your vision of your company. It needs to be created so you can share it with your team members…and communicate it to any partners you work with.

Ask these questions:

What kind of business am I building?
Who is my perfect client (you’re not trying to sell to everybody, are you)?
Where are my customers already buying from?
What is my target income in the next 1 year and next 90 days?
Who is my competition?

Step 3: Define Your Mission.

Describe why you’re building your business. A short description of one sentence works best.

Also go a step further and ask yourself why your customers will buy your products and services? What problems do your products solve? What makes your company unique in the market?

An example of a mission statement could be:
“Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Life!”

Step 4: Write Down Your Goals And Objectives.

A good idea is to write down your goals with numbers so you can make a simple graph later on to see if you’re making progress or not. For example, You could have goals such as:

– Make a net profit of $100,000 this year
– Raise the number of active clients from 67 to 101 within 30 days
– Sell 20 each of my products a month starting in April.

Next year you can compare your results with the previous year with a simple graph and see if you’re progressing or not…

Step 5: Write Down The Strategy For Your Business.

What strategic steps are you going to take to reach your goals?

Are you going to focus on PPC?
Are you going to go after affiliates and joint venture partners?
Maybe free content such as blogs and articles will be your primary marketing technique?

What about new products? How often and how will they each be produced in your business?

There are many strategies for growing your business, but you simply don’t have time to focus on them all. And it’s possible some of the strategies that work for one company aren’t write for what you’re offering. As mentioned recently in the 7 Make Money Online Myths, there are many ways to build an internet business. You CAN’T focus on all of them at once. That’s a recipe for indecision and inaction.

Create your strategies and follow them.

Step 6: Create An Action Plan.

Write down the specific actions you need to take daily, weekly and monthly to achieve your strategies and goals listed above.

Each action plan will relate to a goal or strategy you’ve already written down.

We’re keeping this to one page so you can’t create a mile long to-do list. You will only have room to write the most important actions you have to take to get yourself to success. Focus on the priorities!

These six simple steps should help you to create a simple, but effective plan to steer your business to more success this year. As already mentioned I’d recommend you pick up “The One Page Business Plan” by Jim Horan to put together your simple plan (it even comes with a CD of the worksheets and scorecards to keep you on track). That is simply a link to Amazon’s page for the book, not an affiliate link.

7 Make Money Online Myths

March 14, 2008

Sadly, many people fall into the “make money online now” trap. They buy some product or service that promises great wealth…or they participate in one product launch after another racking up thousands of dollars in debt.

Think I’m kidding? Definitely Not. I’ve had coaching clients who’ve spent as much as $30,000 on internet marketing products before they came to me. Thirty thousand dollars and they hadn’t made a dime online yet!

Most people who’ve wasted this much money don’t ever turn the corner and get a good mentor. Instead, they get frustrated, throw their hands up in the air and give up.

It doesn’t have to be this way… there are many ways to make your Internet business a success. You have to know what to look out for while leaning proven methods.

Today I’m going to cover 7 make money online now myths to help you get started the right way.

Myth #1:You can start making 6 or even 7 figures overnight.

This myth is pushed by some of the more unscrupulous people out there, but it’s a lie. These people are preying on a sense of hope, or desperation.

It is possible to make 6 figure and million dollar incomes online, but it takes time, a good plan and work (oh my I said that evil 4 letter word). It isn’t going to happen overnight.

When it looks like someone achieved overnight success, you’re just not seeing all the preparation and time that went before their success.

Myth #2: This is the only way to make money online.

This is often the pitch when someone is trying to sell you their high ticket product launch. They have the only real system that works. All the other methods of making money online are frauds.

The truth is that there are quite a few ways to make money online.

My favorite method is selling information products.
If you’re just looking for work, you could train and become a virtual assistant.
eBay has worked for hundreds of thousands of people.
Some people build large audiences and just sell advertising.
You can have products dropshipped or even private labeled for you.
You can promote other people’s products as an affiliate.

I could continue on and on with methods to make money online. The problem is if you try to do all of them at once…or if you jump from one to another. I’ve seen people do that too often. They didn’t do it correctly and then they walk away crying, “_______ doesn’t work for me.”

Myth #3: This $19.95 product reveals everything you need to know.

This is a pretty popular pitch. Just pay $7, or $10, or $19.95 and I’ll teach you everything you need to know to succeed online.

Let’s face facts. There isn’t currently one single product at any price that reveals EVERYTHING about an internet business. It would be such a huge encyclopedia and include so many videos that you would have to spend the next couple of years studying it to get any value out of it.

I learn new things every week (that’s what testing does for you). So by the time that EVERYTHING product is finished, it’s already outdated.

To succeed in this business means becoming a continual student, but it doesn’t mean you have to buy everything that comes down the pike. With my coaching clients, I’m constantly telling them NOT to buy specific new products they ask me about UNLESS they’re about a subject they’re currently working on. I always have a stack of books on my shelf that will be read, but I’m also often putting the stops on any new information purchases until I get through the ones I have.

Here’s the rule. Any and all information products must result in at least one new action in my business. That’s what I’m looking for in them….some new profit boosting change or action.

Myth #4: All I have to do is set up a website/blog & traffic will stampede to my site.

Believe it or not, just because someone builds a website does not mean that traffic will magically arrive at this new masterpiece. You need to apply the correct strategies, tactics and methods to get traffic.

“Build It and They will Come” was a great theme for a movie, but it’s not how things work in real life. You’re going to have to set to work doing the marketing. You either going to spend time or money. Both methods can generate traffic, but something is being spent for that traffic.

Products are easy. Marketing day after day is where the work of the business is.

Myth #5: It’s all a scam, nobody’s making money online.

This myth is usually repeated by people who have tried one or several make money online systems and failed. They may have purchased system that was simply too difficult for them apply or that left out some of the essential steps. Or more often, they bought a program and never did anything with the information.

Many across the Internet are proof positive that this myth simply isn’t true. I worked for Little Caesar’s 12 years ago. Don’t get me started on working door-to-door selling satellite dishes or delivering newspapers. Once I discovered the Internet, I haven’t had a job since.

There are hundreds of thousands of others who have turned the Internet into a successful business.

Look at the two variations of this myth.

It’s impossible.
It’s stupid easy (myth #1).

Guess what? The truth is in the middle. It can be done. You can do it. But it’s going to take time to learn effective systems and DO them.

Myth #6: All I need is to create is one homerun product.

You strain. You struggle. You work your butt off trying to create the perfect product that will take the world by storm. You’re betting the farm on one shot. That’s very risky and is also often an excuse for not really getting started. And no product is ever perfect.

And all the time you’re spending in developing this masterpiece, you would have been better off creating a dozen “smaller” projects.

Let’s look at it this way. Let’s say you want to net $10,000 a month…not a bad income goal. This could come from one product. If a competitor comes out with a better version, now you’re screwed. What if that $10,000 came from 10 different products, your income is much more solid. It’s much reliable and unshakable.

Guess which method is actually easier to make $10,000 with. It’s the multiple product method. You put multiple products out there with good marketing. Some might be losers meaning they only earn some money, but aren’t worth putting heavy marketing into. Others do pretty good. And then others are big winners for you where you put the bulk of your marketing.

But ALL of them are making you money…just at different levels.

Myth #7: You have to work a lot of hours to build an internet business.

You have to work, yes. You don’t have to work a lot of hours. It’s quality, not quantity that counts.

3 focused hours on your business is worth a whole lot more than wasting 10 hours every day browsing the web and waiting anxiously by your email box for that next email to come in.

And remember you can also hire out and outsource the work. Anyone who tells you it doesn’t take any work to build an internet business is lying. And anyone who tells you that you have to give up your life to build a business needs to learn more about about focused effort and leverage.

I almost burst out laughing recently when I told someone I mostly work 4 day weeks (as I love 3 day weekends). They told me that’s OK as long as you’re doing 10 and 12 hour days. You’ve got to be kidding! I’m sure I’ve done a 12 hour day sometime when I was engrossed in finishing up a project, but that would never be the norm. That’s too much work and I’d be totally useless the next day.

Test this sometime. Give yourself 3 hours today to work on a product. No email. No web. No reading. Turn off your Internet connection if you have to. You work on your product. Take a couple of short 5 minute breaks in there. You will be surprised on how much you accomplish if you REQUIRE yourself to be working during the period.

If it’s writing, you’re not allowed to stop writing during your working period (only on the breaks). You keep working…not editing…not trying to be perfect…just doing. Watch how much you can accomplish when you’re not trying to waste your brainpower by multitasking.

Mark Hendricks Special

March 12, 2008

You’ve heard me talk about Mark Hendricks before. He’s one of the good guys in internet marketing who has helped thousand of people reach success online for years.

He’s released a special deal on his complete Internet Success System audio series.

This is the series I first raved about back in August. He has his conference attendees go through this material before they attend the conference, and it means his conferences start on a higher level than all the other conferences I’ve attended in this field.

Click here now to find out more…

This twelve part course covers…

– Programming Yourself For Success and Discovering Your Best Market(s)
– What are your market’s problems, fears, doubts, hopes and desires? And what does your market really want to buy?
– Who are your competitors? (know your niche, find your USA, possible JV partners and back-end sales)
– Creating your sales documents (salesletters, AR messages, etc.)
– Creating or finding your product(s) to sell
– Setting up your website infrastructure (webhosting, auto-responders, credit card processing, etc.)
– Building your webpage or website for sales success
– Driving traffic to your site, list-building, and followup
– Testing, Testing, Testing to convert traffic to sales
– Finding and setting up Joint Ventures
– Setting up your own Affiliate program
– Back-end offers to your list to leverage your profits

What’s the special? Well, normally the way you access this information is through joining his Inner Circle or attending one of his conferences.

Right now you can get the 12 part series for $47…no other commitments required.

He has an upsell on the order form for a $97 offer where you also get lifetime access to his monthly Mastermind teleconferences and recorded archives of these calls. I’d highly recommend that as well as I’ve listened through several of the recorded calls. They’re top notch. No doubt about it.

How long will he have it at this price? I don’t know. All I know is he told me he is offering it at this price right now.

Click here now to find out more…

Jack Humphrey of the The Friday Traffic Report says…

Jack Humphrey
Mark is an institution in the internet marketing and online business training world. I’ve known the man for years and he is on my short list of genuinely helpful, bend-over-backwards experts who delights as much as I do in showing people how to make something really big happen for themselves online.

That’s a big distinction between the flavor-of-the-day marketers and the guys like Mark who have a track record of longevity and results in this business. Mark’s ISS training program attracts equally genuine people who want to learn from the best and use proven tactics and training to move up in their “niche food chain” as fast as possible.

There are precious few training programs online for marketers that provide far more value than they cost. Mark’s ISS training is one of those programs. If you want results and solid training that doesn’t fly over your head with “geek speak,” ISS is for you.

David Bullock says…

David BullockMark you have the best kept secret on the internet.

Little did I know that you have been quietly teaching step-by-step basics of business *and* internet marketing. Your seminar and delivery method is very complete, understandable and most importantly not at all overwhelming.

The ISS is pure foundational results backed instruction delivered at an actionable pace.

Click here now to find out more…

Checklists for Your Business

March 7, 2008

Are you creating a business or are you creating another job?

You’ve probably noticed I’ve been going over this theme multiple times this month. A business earns an income without you. A job requires you to work it everyday. Do you continue to earn money online whether you’re working or not?

The March issue of the Monthly Mentor Club is ready to be mailed out Monday morning at 9 AM Eastern.

This month I’m continuing the discussion of a business versus a job in the paid newsletter. This issue is a little different than usual, because I’m focusing on providing you with checklists to help you run your own business. If you’ve read the EMyth by Michael Gerber, you know he talks about creating procedures and then checklists to make sure the work is done correctly.

Some of the checklists I’m including this month’s newsletter are:

– How to Research Your Market
– How to Find New Affiliate Partners
– Participating on Forums
– Writing a Press Release
– Uploading Videos

Use these checklists to improve your own business procedures…and put better systems in place.

Subscribe to the Monthly Mentor Club today…

Here’s what Fred Black recently said about my newsletter (last month’s issue):
Just a quick note to tell you that your newsletter is really great. I currently subscribe to two “internet business” type newsletters and your content is much richer and the type much denser (you don’t double-space or one and a half space your text), nor is there ever any fluff. Each issue I’ve received has had considerable value, and not only to beginners. In fact, the content in your current issue, February 2008, is easily worth a few hundred dollars.”

Subscribe to the Monthly Mentor Club today…

8 Steps to Create Your Internet Business

March 5, 2008

Sometimes we make starting an internet business look so difficult. We uses terms like RSS, blogs, ebooks, DVDs, membership sites, etc. If you listen to every single thing said in the “internet marketing” field you could quickly go insane with everything you’re told to do.

When I started online, we didn’t have any real information about marketing online. Now there’s simply too much information!

It’s easy to fall into paralysis of analysis. You sit there thinking about everything that needs to be done. You buy all the newest products about online business. You attend a few conferences. But you don’t achieve results because you don’t do anything.

Today let’s break it down and make it simple. Here are the eight steps to building an online business.

Step One: Brainstorm Ideas.

What interests you?
What have you accomplished in your past?
What have others told you comes naturally for you?
What have you learned in your career or through your job history that others will pay to know?
What annoys you (if it annoys you it is likely annoying others – find a solution)?

Make a list of every possible idea for creating a business. Don’t judge your ideas yet. Write them all down. Here’s a key principle many people miss. It seems everyone is looking for that big $10,000 or $100,000 a month project. What if instead you concentrate on little $500 to $1,000 a month projects. Put together 10 of these little projects and you have a good online monthly income.

Step Two: Research Keywords in Those Markets.

You can use a paid tool such as Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery. Or you can use a free tool such as SEO Book’s Keyword Suggestion tool.

Look to see just how popular the subjects you brainstormed are. If nobody is looking for the subject, it’s going to be tough to build a business on.

Are people looking for those terms?
How do each of the areas you brainstormed compare to one another?
Are there a large number of potential search terms for you to use?

Step Three: Check the Competition

Two quick places you can check for competition are at Clickbank’s Marketplace and over at Paypal Shops. Don’t be afraid of competition. In fact, I get nervous if there isn’t any competition. It’s highly unlikely I came up with a subject no one has ever thought about before. It’s more likely others have tried and failed at it.

You’re checking to see if others are successfully selling in this market. And you’re also making notes on the competition. Anytime I go into a market I like to find some advantage I have in that marketplace. It may be a better background story. It could be more experience. It could be an easier to follow system. It might be a more specific subject.

Are other people selling successfully in this market?
What can you bring into the market that’s unique in some way?
What’s your advantage?

Step Four: Survey Your Potential Customers

Setup a simple survey using SurveyMonkey or Master Survey. Ask them what their biggest question is about ______ (the subject you’re considering developing a product on).

Sometimes I’ve skipped this step if I really knew the market well. But I’ve always found your job is so much easier if you let your audience tell you what you want.

Think about it this way. Wouldn’t it be easier to create your product if you’ve collected 100 questions your target market wants answers to? You could even hire a ghostwriter to simply research and provide quality answers to those 100 questions. How about writing the sales copy? It’s much easier to write to your target market when they’ve already told you what is most important to them.

You can either run PPC advertising or you can ask on a few forums if people would fill out the survey. As an incentive to get people to fill out the survey, I’ll often offer them the product when it’s finished in ebook or digital form for them to download.

Step Five: Create the Product

I’ve used three product development methods to develop products quickly.

Method #1: Lock yourself away for a couple of days to write the entire product quickly. Fits best if you’re a fast typist or using voice recognition software.
Method #2: Interview several successful authors on that subject. Works best when you’re not really an expert in the market yourself. Use other people’s information.
Method #3: Create a video using Camtasia Studio along with screen captures or a Powerpoint presentation. Highest perceived value, but you have to be comfortable speaking.

No matter which method you choose, having done a survey first is going to make it so much easier to produce the content quickly!

Step Six: Create Your Sales Copy.

I really shouldn’t divide step five and six. They go together. Often you can produce a rough draft or at least an outline of your sales copy BEFORE you produce the product. This will produce better sales copy and will keep you focused on your customer’s desires while developing the product.

It’s often easier to start with a lower cost product for your very first product as the sales copy doesn’t have to be as intense. It’s possible you could even use a short video as a primary element in your selling process (use the AIDA formula on video: attention, interest, desire, and action).

To give you some ideas for creating strong sales copy, review this recent video by Jay Abraham…

The big questions to ask yourself are:

What problems or frustrations does my product solve?
Is there a “hook” or human interest story involving my offer?
Why should someone choose my product over the other available options?
How can I make my offer irresistible?

Step Seven: Set Up Your Website and Secure Ordering

There are a lot of tools out there to help you design your own website. There are even web hosts such as SBI that have website design tools built in. If you want free website design software, check out Nvu. More advanced tools include Frontpage and Dreamweaver.

To setup your ordering system, you can go with Clickbank.com for digital products. Or you can use ordering through a site like Kunaki for CDs and DVDs. You can even package multiple products together using a Paypal/Kunaki script such as the one published by Stephen Lohrenz.

Step Eight: Generate Visitors to Your New Site

Normally I start off in a market by generating visitors through Google Adwords, Yahoo Search, and MSN Adcenter. You can start generating traffic immediately through these to find out if your product is selling or not. If it is converting, then I move over to other strategies…especially focusing on affiliates. One big list owner can spell almost instant success for your new product, but nobody wants to be your guinea pig (so test the offer first).

Then you can expand out to other forms of marketing including articles, ezine advertising, forum participation, blogs, search engine positioning, etc. as your product proves to be profitable.

What’s next? Follow the system again for your next product…

EMyth Should Be Required Reading

February 22, 2008

Have you read the E-Myth yet? If not, why not?

EMythI read a ton of books, and this is one of the ones I read early on. It’s basic foundational material to running your own business, yet I’ve found a large number of people simply haven’t read it yet.

The basic premise is that most entrepreneurs are not entrepreneurs at all. They’re technicians who have a skill who decide they should become business owners. They’ve had an “entrepreneurial seizure.” Because they’re good at the skill, they think they’re be good at running a business.

They concentrate on their skill, but they never learn how to put procedures and systems in place to run their business.

Again…this is basic material. I wouldn’t represent the book as anything advanced. It’s to show you the basics. The problem is most people who think they’re building a business don’t operate with these principles in mind.

Here’s the real definition of a business…
“A business is an income stream that works without you.”

If you’re working 60 hours a week to do all the work in your “business,” you don’t really have a business at all. You have a job. It may or may not be a good one depending on whether you love the job and it pays you appropriately.

Take a look at how McDonalds or any major franchise operates. Every single element of the business is written down. All the procedures and systems are in place. When someone pays the fee to become a franchise owner, they are trained in the all the systems. What are they really buying for the $45,000 + 12.5% royalties (initial franchise fee as reported by The Franchise Mall)?

You’re buying proven systems. The rest of your investment $506,000 to $1,600,000 will be for setting up all the systems in place.

Here’s where many people make the mistake.

They advertise that it’s EASY to get setup and put systems in place. It’s not easy. You put together a system. Then you continuously improve that system. It takes a lot of time and work to create proven systems. That’s why franchises cost so much!

If you think that starting an internet business is expensive, you should spend a little time investigating franchise opportunities. Want to start a cleaning business? Merry Maids will offer you their systems for $19,000-$27,000 + 5% – 7% royalties. Perhaps you’d prefer to train and board dogs? From At-Heel, that will only be $47,500 + 5%. How about a business with College Nannies and Tutors? The franchise fee is only $25,000 + 5% royalties.

Maybe the Internet is more your style. For $49,700 + 10% royalties, WSI will set you up as an Internet consultant with all their systems.

When I decided I wanted to do business coaching, the first thing I did was investigate some of the major business coaching franchises. ActionCoach is one of the most popular. Their initial fee is $30,000-$50,000 with a monthly royalty fee. Another major one I took a look at was Growth Coach. Their initial franchise fee is $28,900 plus a monthly fee.

Please note all the franchises above are previously reported numbers. Any of the prices or opportunities may have changed. I’m not making an endorsement for any of them. Do a search for them and contact them directly to make sure you have accurate information.

Why didn’t I choose either of the coaching franchises? It wasn’t because of price. I don’t think any of the businesses above are too high priced. Real systems are worth that kind of money. The reason I didn’t join the coaching franchises is they were too limited in your “territory” and didn’t cover the internet well enough in my opinion (my specialty).

Don’t think it’s easy to put systems together. If it was easy to have working systems, good franchises would be a dime a dozen.

When someone first starts moving from being a “job owner” to building a business, their work often increases. While they’re doing their normal work, they’ll also putting together systems they can use to hire out or outsource their work. That means additional work in the beginning for the eventual payoff of cutting down their “job hours.”

That’s all well and good, but most job owners say…
“But You Can’t Turn Everything I Do Into a System”

Why can’t you? Let’s take a few things that would seem hard to systematize. How about copywriting? That is part science and part art as most people describe it. Yet we have a lot of training companies that teach you how to be a copywriter. In addition, many top copywriters have proteges and students who they source work out to.

For example, Michel Fortin is an incredible copywriter. He’s written copy for me before. Notice that if you go to his copywriting services now, he has a “crack team of copywriting specialists.”

What else would be really difficult to systematize? How about coaching business owners? That means you’d have to know how to run a business, set up systems, do copywriting, etc. It doesn’t seem that could be a system, does it?

Yet, I showed you a couple of franchises above. John Jantsch certifies Duct Tape Marketing Coaches. The PBCA trains business coaches as well. Michael Gerber who wrote the E-Myth trains his own group of coaches as well.

You may say, “But Terry, you personally coach people one-on-one right now.”

That’s right. I do. But do you think I plan to do that personally forever or that I’m creating systems for it while I go along? Remember how I said it isn’t always easy to create systems. It takes time.

You might be involved in every single element of your business today. Start creating procedures for each element one at a time. It won’t happen overnight. It might not always be easy. But that’s what businesses do. For me, I have to create systems. I’m a horrible long-term employee. Go ask Little Caesars, Sears, or that satellite dish company whose name I forget. If they remember me, they’d probably say I was a poor employee. I get bored and roam off to do something else.

Are you creating yourself a business or just another job?

« Previous PageNext Page »