June 11, 2009
I need your help.
As you know I offer internet business coaching to help you earn more, work less, and enjoy life.
For the past year, my program has been full almost constantly. I get a cancellation now and then, but those slots are immediately taken by the email waiting list I have on the coaching page.
This means I’ve turned down many more clients than I’ve taken on over the past 10 months or so. One of my goals for the second half of this year is to change the coaching so I can help more clients get their businesses running online and improve the profits of their existing ones.
To do this is going to require a change in the format of how I do the coaching. Going forward I’m going to put together “coaching groups” and “coaching eclasses” designed to accomplish a specific goal in your business.
My current style of “open coaching” will only be available to those who already have profitable web businesses. After seeing the results of a couple of dozen clients, I can see how those who have businesses making money online and want to go to the next level make progress so much faster in this coaching model. They often increase profits by 25%, 50%, or even several hundred percent (a couple of clients have jumped by 5 to 10 times profits in just a few months).
Those who are brand new starting out do not see results this quick generally. Instead they need more hand holding and VERY SPECIFIC assignments to keep moving…the kind of assignments which work well in coaching groups (with homework and support on the assignments). I know this is what they need because I’ve done these types of groups very successfully in the past.
As I’m making this change I’m curious to see what is most important to you. What type of products and coaching do you need? What roadblocks are occurring in your business? Where do you need the most help?
The survey is now closed…
Anyone who fills out the survey will receive an audio interview Tim Gary did with me on “7 Keys to Online Profits.” This is one audio where I went indepth into the MINDSET issues that are holding many people back from success online. This covers the core trait you must have to succeed online. In addition, I talk about how to deal with fear and procrastination. We also talk about how to make progress toward your goals every single day.
This mp3 audio is your gift just for taking the time to fill out the survey…and letting me know exactly where you need the most help in your internet business.
The survey is now closed…
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.
May 25, 2009
Here’s a collection of 21 ways you can increase the profits of your online business. I’m not doing a big discussion on each. Basically I just wanted to give you a “checklist” of items you could use to help improve your online profits.
DON’T try all these at once, or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Simply apply one or two at a time. Then refer back to this post for more ways to add profits to your business.
1. Add an Upsell.
Depending on your shopping cart system, you can add an upsell right at the point of purchase OR right after purchase. The best time to make the next sale to a customer is while they still have their credit card out or the Paypal password handy. They’re in a buying mood. Sell more to them.
2. Add a Deluxe Version.
Let’s say you sell a basic information course. You can add a deluxe version of the course which not only includes the information for example, but it also includes the templates to make it happen. If you’re selling the basic version for $200, you might offer the deluxe version for $300.
3. Increase testimonials.
As more testimonials come in for your product or service, add those to your sales pages. These can be text, audio, or video testimonials. As long as the testimonials are focused on the subject and concise, they will almost always improve your sales.
4. Write more follow-up emails.
Add more follow-up emails to your autoresponder sequence. Clients often ask me how many autoresponders should they have. The answer is as many as you can produce. I have a client now who has close to 2 years worth of autoresponder follow-ups in some of his series.
5. Contact your customers off the Internet.
Email is our core follow-up method, but it shouldn’t be the only method we use to contact paying customers. I use a print newsletter to my Monthly Mentor Club subscribers. Another great strategy is to send a postcard mailing to all your paid customers for your newest product launch or a special on one of your high ticket items.
6. Create services exclusively for your hyperresponsives.
Glenn Livingston teaches that 1 out of every 2,000 visitors actually produces 50% of your business profits. Staggering when you think about it. What if you started focusing on these select customers and selling high ticket products and services specifically for them? Maybe only 1 in 2,000 visitors would buy your $10,000 service, but those that do are your hyperresponsive customers creating the majority of your net profits.
7. Add payment options.
The average customer doesn’t think in terms of overall fees as much as they do the “easy monthly payments.” By offering your product in 2, 3, or 12 payments you can greatly reduce the price resistance they feel toward your offer.
8. Hook on a continuity program.
Add a continuity program to your offer. Just don’t keep it a secret. There is a different between forced continuity and hidden continuity. In addition, you can easily make the continuity an upsell portion of the offer.
9. Specialize to a niche.
If you can’t dominate your niche, then specialize until you can. Perry Marshall is one of the best examples of this as he became the Google Adwords guru. While he knows a lot of other subjects, that is the specialization we all know him for. Being a specialist allows you to raise your prices and generate more referrals.
10. Raise your prices.
I’ve done this for more than a decade and I still find pricing to be mysterious at times. I’ve had experiences where I doubled the price of a product and instantly more sales were generated. Other times an increase in prices decreased sales. I will mention this though from all my pricing experiences. When it comes to some type of service, I prefer to be on the higher side (not the most expensive) as the lower priced services make you seem cheap (and you’re limited in how many clients you can handle anyway).
11. Run a teleconference/webinar/live event.
Blogging and Twitter are all the rage, but the relationships built through them are limited. To increase your relationship level with your customers add on live events or teleconferences. Make it a special event where they can deal with your directly and ask you questions.
12. Allow JV Partners to Give Your Product Away Free
Obviously you can’t do this if you’re only planning one product for the market, but you’re not limiting yourself to that, are you? Offer one of your low cost products as a freebie gift to go with JV partner’s offers in your market. They’ll expose you to their audience, generating more customers for you, in exchange for the value you provide to their buyers.
13. Mix in more content/value into the sales process.
Give first and prove your worth. How much value does someone get out of your emails, your blog posts, and your teleconferences even if they don’t buy? If you improve their lives and help them succeed BEFORE they are customers, they feel a debt of gratitude…jumping on the paid offers you make.
14. Create an operations manual.
Create a list of activities you’re required to accomplish in your business to be successful. Create simple systems to follow for each. Now you have the tool to both keep you on track and to train your team members to do the work for you. Of course, don’t try to do everything at once. Slowly create your lists and your systems. Build a growing business that doesn’t rely on you.
15. Survey your audience quarterly.
Survey your audience. This could be a formal online survey or it could be as simple as asking them questions on your blog or over Twitter. Find out what needs and wants they have. The BEST WAY to make money online is find out what people want to buy, and then sell it to them.
16. Add multimedia.
Some people prefer written text. Others prefer audio. Still others like video to show them what to do. Give your audience what they’re looking for. I’ve found a well scripted video often improves conversion on your sales pages…and it definitely adds a more personal feel to your other sites.
17. Do interviews.
One of the best ways to begin a JV relationship is through doing an interview. I’ve also found them to be a great source of new subscribers and sales. If someone has an audience who may be interested in what I offer, I generally say yes to their interviews (as long as we can schedule them conveniently).
18. Test Everything
What should you test first? The biggest changes I’ve seen occur in offers, headlines, photos, intro paragraphs, and guarantee. The headline is the area where I do the most testing because you’re going to see a big change from one headline to another. If you’re not testing headlines, you’re leaving money on the table.
19. Add thank you page sales.
The thank you page is one of the best places to run a “catalog” style of related offerings…other products and services you have related to this item. I find the same is true on product inserts such as the inserts I put in my DVDs. I’ll put together 4 or 5 of my related products (or affiliate products) on these inserts with sales coming in through them.
20. Discipline yourself.
This is hard to do at times. I find I do best when I have a routine writing time. At such and such a time, you sit down and write. When I let myself get out of that schedule it’s so much harder to get the writing done. Pick some of the most important elements of your business and do them religiously every working day. Don’t let yourself get out of the routine.
21. Mastermind Group
It’s lonely if you try to go it alone. Some of the best ideas will come when you’re brainstorming with others in your field (or outside your field). In fact I find some of the best coaching sessions I have are when a client simply wants to bounce ideas back and forth to find the right solution for them (instead of just asking for advice). Get outside help!
May 14, 2009
This year the term “content marketing” is becoming extremely popular, although we small businesses have used it in one form or another for more than a decade.
Free ebooks, article marketing, and content rich teleconferences have been a staple of our marketing strategies since the beginning. But of course there is a lot more to content marketing than just these basic variations.
Here is the definition of content marketing from Wikipedia.
Sonia Simone shares 49 ways you can use content to promote your business…both on and off the Internet. Dozens of great ideas to help you promote your business using content marketing.
Daniel Levis shares a business model designed specifically for those who AREN’T in information businesses. Copy this method to promote any product or service you may be selling. That’s right. Content marketing is not just for publishing businesses.
Want to Attract and Retain Great Customers?
The theme of this post is making your website just like a concierge from a fancy hotel. When visitors come to your site, they’re looking for solutions to their problems. If your website does a good job of answering all their questions, then you have the opportunity to make the sale to them.
Journalists are being laid off from newsrooms around the country. But at the same time, companies are looking for writers who can manage their content marketing campaigns. The future of journalism is in the content marketing departments of corporations.
Is this the end of conventional marketing as we know it? In some cases, I certainly hope so. A pretty lengthy article with quite a few nuggets throughout (pay attention to the 7 reasons they give you why content marketing is better than conventional marketing).
Top Ten Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Fails
I LOVE the first sentence on this post, “It is better to fail after trying something new, than to fail because you’re not even trying. ” That sentence alone is more than enough to recommend it. Plus you get 10 more tips along with it!
The big reason to go here is to find all the resources listed for content marketing. This includes links to blogs on topics such as white papers, copywriting, and content marketing. Plus 10 concepts to apply to your marketing.
December 4, 2008
If you’ve listened to much information in the marketing field, you’ve constantly heard the phrase “Don’t trade time for money.”
Yet that’s not good advice when you’re first starting out. Of course that may be an end goal you should be thinking about and reaching for, but it isn’t where almost anyone starts out.
Almost everyone trades time for money in some way in the beginning.
For example, copywriters trade time for money. You pay them and they produce copy for you in exchange for an agreed amount. Some are cheap and some are expensive. You usually get what you pay for in this area (although it could be worth your time to pay a low cost copywriter and then improve it yourself).
Most copywriters I know work on other people’s projects, and they’re creating projects of their own. Yet even once their own projects pay off big time, they still take on a few clients. It’s what they enjoy doing.
You’ve seen in the past that I’ve recommended someone who needs to make quick money to become a local Internet consultant. That’s trading time for money as well. There are people in your local area area who don’t know anywhere near what you know about online marketing, and they’re willing to pay for your help.
All sorts of virtual assistants can help you run your internet business. Yet they’re trading their skills and time for money. In several cases I know, these virtual assistants are simply working part-time for others to “pay the bills.” At the same time they’re learning and working on longer term businesses as well with the knowledge they’re gaining.
Even coaches are trading time for dollars. As you know I have one-on-one coaching clients, both email only and phone. If you were to visit my coaching page right now, you’ll see I’m fully booked up and can’t take anymore clients right now. I am building a small list there of people who have read the page and are interested in that coaching program, but it would be at least January if not later before any spots are open.
Why don’t I just take more clients? Simply put. I make more from other projects I work on of my own. I do the coaching (which is trading time for money) because I ENJOY it. Wow, what a reason! In addition, the questions those coaching clients ask me become idea generation for my own products and my writing. It’s part of my customer feedback loop of knowing exactly where customers are at in this market.
I find it funny how professional speakers often stand up and talk about not doing manual labor. They just got on a plane and flew 2,000 miles, stayed in a hotel for the whole weekend, took hours to put together a presentation, and then got up and spoke. They do this for a fee or to make sales in the back of the room. What do you think they just did?
They did manual labor in trading their time for money. Yet they’re on stage telling us NOT to do that. What’s wrong with this picture?
Speaking can be very lucrative, but it is most definitely trading time for money. Of course if they do some good followup on any customers they generate there, they can turn that time into long-term money. But they’re going to find it difficult to “outsource” their onstage speaking business.
The real issue here is that you also want to build other forms of income that DON’T rely on your time.
For example use those copywriting skills you’re practicing to create sales for some of your own products. A virtual assistant can use the same skills they drive traffic to other people’s sites with for themselves a portion of the time. The coach can use the feedback they’re getting as ideas for their own products (removing any private information of course).
Everyone’s goal should be to have a few sources of completely passive income that support your lifestyle. In other words, if you quit today doing EVERYTHING in your business, you still have enough money coming in.
How can you create income streams like that? One way I’ve found to do it is to promote affiliate programs with a continuity membership attached. Get a few thousand each for several of those, and now your basic needs are all taken care of. For example, I get paid every single month from members on http://www.netofficetoolbox.com along with a few other programs.
Are you in a position where you have enough coming in even if you stop selling products, stop writing your blog, etc.? You may or may not be, but that is a worthy goal I’d assign to everyone as part of their plans.
What about the rest of your time? That’s yours to do with as you please. Maybe you want to continue doing virtual assistant work or copywriting or coaching. That’s your decision and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
My suggestion…do both. Be willing to trade time for money as long as you ENJOY it. At the same time, build long-term passive income streams.
December 1, 2008
The death of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated.
It is still the biggest driver of sales from all the websites I’m involved with. That’s right. It is pushing more sales for clients online than all the other techniques (including all the hoopla over Web 2.0, blogging, and social media).
With all the messages hitting us every day, sometimes it is good to revisit the basics. We simply forget. How do I know? I PERSONALLY forget at times.
Please understand. I’m not putting down any other methods at all. I’m simply stating the fact that time spent on building your list, your relationship with your list, and offers to your list is still some of the best spent time you have in your business. If you allow yourself to be distracted by the other bells and whistles, it’s going to cut your income.
Again don’t think I’m putting down other forms of promotion. I’m not. They ALL make great tools…especially for building your list. For example right now, one of my top 3 ways to build my list is this blog (and all the promotion that goes into a blog).
But what I have neglected a little lately is the concentrate on my email list including both content and promotional emails designed exclusively for them.
The money still isn’t in the list alone.
The money is in a relationship with your list.
Here’s the funny thing. I’ve been examining how my time is spent. In terms of time spent, emails sent directly to list members is some of the most productive time. Next place is time spent on improving Adwords campaigns (in case you’ve wondered why I’ve talked about Adwords a lot lately). Then time spent on product development and coaching comes in next.
Time I’ve spent in social media is on the lower end of the scale which is why whatever can be outsourced there has been outsourced.
For promoting your list, there are a LOT of strategies you can use. I cover numerous ways to build your list in my Email Mastery course.
Here are 3 of the top ways I’m building my lists right now (yes, that is lists plural not singular list):
I’m loving PPC because it eliminates all argument. You can generate traffic quickly. You can test ads, landing pages, keywords, etc. It boils down to the cold numbers. How much are you paying per subscriber to your lists? How much of that money are you earning back form the immediate promotion after someone signs up for the list?
The best case scenario of course which I have on a couple of campaigns is when the immediate sales right after email sign-up put you back at break even or in a slight profit. In other words, you’re earning money WHILE building a list. Other times it is taking me a couple of months to make the leads profit (through follow-up and sales).
I GUARANTEE I will be prioritizing more time towards PPC next year on the list building front. One of the beauties here for me is there are no trades or deals you’re making. Sometimes with JVs and affiliates there is a quid pro quo expected. If your promote my product for an affiliate commission, you expect me to do the same. Well what if I’m not comfortable promoting your product for whatever reason? Issues occur. PPC doesn’t have that coming up.
Affiliates can end up building your lists. On many of my sales pages I run popovers to build the lists or create an opt-in form in the sales page itself. If you’re using an affiliate tracking system like Netofficetoolbox (or others out there), you can automatically track affiliate referrals and pay them commissions. It could be on that product or even another product you sell. They still get paid (although no affiliate tracking system is 100% perfect).
Even though you’re sharing a portion of your profits from all these leads, they are still some of the top leads you can have in your business. They responded to someone else’s endorsement of you so automatically have a higher level relationship when they come in. If I compared the two, these leads are often worth 2 to 4 times what the PPC ones are (although that is an estimate from experience not a straight test result).
There are a LOT of advantages of blogging…one of which is the number of email leads being produced through the blog. It’s easier to rank on the search engines through blog. Plus you’ll find it easier to generate traffic from other blogs as well with this format.
You will not see me quit blogging at any time, although you will see me moving this blog to another location in 2009. Some of the strategies that work well here with list building are that “What Would Seth Godin Do” plugin which offers my list at the bottom of each post for your first 3 visits. You see a subscribe box on the right side of the blog. In addition I’ve tested the popover which will be tested again to show up a limited number of times to generate more email subscribers.
Which Methods Are You Using To Build Your List?
Which methods are you using to build your lists? As I said, I do have other methods in place, but currently these are the 3 strongest list building methods running for me personally. Other methods that are very effective include Youtube videos, article writing, offline advertising, and list trade mailings (where you mail for someone elses list in exchange for them mailing for yours).
Whatever methods you’re using, keep concentrating on those lists. Keep building them and your relationship with your subscribers. No matter what other “exciting breakthroughs” we see, your relationship with an email is STILL where the money is at.
May 19, 2008
I’m here in Las Vegas today with my friend Fred Gleeck. I came in yesterday and had fun around Vegas. I love some of the hiking areas around here such as the Red Rock Canyon (the photo at the bottom from a previous trip here).
If you don’t know Fred, he has been developing information products for niches for 17+ years. He’s created close to 500 products for himself and his clients. And he’s generated close to $10 million dollars from the sales of these products.
As you might expect, he knows quite a bit about creating and selling information products.
What am I doing at his house?
We’re creating two new information products…2 new products in 2 days.
As you know I highly recommend you become a prolific product developer.
How long did it take you to create your last product?
Beginners often have one non-completed project after another because they take too long to finish their first project. They lose interest. And they go in another direction before the first project is ever done.
If that describes you, break the cycle now. Once you start a project, finish the project. Get it out there and tested. If it produces, expand on it. If it fails, test some other options with it. But let the market tell you instead of quitting half way through! Even the more experienced marketers fall into this trap.
Too often we go for perfection instead of producing a good product we can add to later.
Is that an excuse to put out garbage? NO! I didn’t say put out any old thing to your customers. I know there may be some product experts who tell you to do this, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
Do the best job you can on the product, but don’t wait for perfection. It never comes. There will always be something you can improve. That’s why software always has a 1.0 version, 2.0, 2.5, etc. on down the list. They’re working to improve it based on the feedback they get from their customers.
I’ve never put out a perfect product. I don’t sell any perfect products. They don’t exist. Perfection isn’t possible because all products are made by people, and we’re all flawed. The products are right for some people, but they’re never right for everyone.
How are Fred and I doing 2 products in 2 days?
Today Fred interviews me about 35 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Internet Results. He will be asking me about all the little secrets I share with my coaching clients to help them boost their traffic, conversion, and sales. The intent is to share tips you can use immediately to improve your results online.
Day two I’m interviewing Fred about…you guessed it…how to create a million dollars or more in information marketing profits even when you’re not an expert. Since Fred has done hundreds of interview products like this, he is the perfect expert to reveal his entire system.
He’s sharing how to choose the right experts, what equipment to use for professional interviews, how to come up with the right questions, being comfortable during the interview, how to package it, and how to earn multiple streams of income from every interview.
All in all, he’s sharing how you can use interviewing to:
– Create Products Using Other People’s Information
– Sell Them Using Other People’s Lists
– Build Lifelong Relationships and JVs
For each of these interviews, we put together a simple interview outline. I’m likely to have them transcribed as well to provide customers with both a written and audio option. A bonus or two will likely be added to each. Yet, each of the primary products is being done in 1 day.
You might be expecting me to offer you these products for sale here. Nope. I could offer a pre-order option for them, but that’s not the point of this post.
I’m sharing this information with you because I don’t just want to tell you what to do. Instead, I’m sharing with you what I’m doing. You’re seeing an X-ray of what is going on inside my own business. In addition to these two products, I have a plan for several more upcoming projects that are based off of interviews as well.
Why don’t you challenge yourself to put together a new product within the next 7 days?
If you’re not an expert on the subject, find one to interview. If you are an expert, use Camtasia Studio to record your computer screen or a Powerpoint presentation. Get your first product up and running. It won’t be perfect. It may or may not become a big seller. But it gives you the experience of being a product developer.
And you’re then ahead of 99% of the other internet marketers who are still “just starting out.”
May 1, 2008
You or someone who works with you will have to write.
No matter how much you may dislike the idea of writing, someone will have to write for your company sooner or later. You can either do it yourself, or hire someone else to do it. There are writing specialists you can hire, but you’re better off being able to write at least some of the content yourself.
I’ve covered this system before on this blog, but it’s vital to your online career. That’s why it’s worth a review now. Follow this system for writing. And if I convince you of nothing else, QUIT editing while you write. Write first. Edit later.
The good news is you can follow this system. If someone like me who hated English could learn how to write for the web, then you can do it too. Most people like to talk, but they’re terrified of writing. You may tense up the moment the word writing is used.
I want to change your mindset. Don’t think of it as writing. Think of it as talking on paper. Write just as if you were talking to your best friend. And don’t worry if you make a mistake!
You will make mistakes. That’s why the first copy of anything written is called a rough draft. It’s rough. It has bad grammar. It has spelling mistakes. It doesn’t make perfect sense. You’ll edit it later. The key is to sit down and write it in the first place. That’s the hard part.
You can do it…if you just think of writing as talking. Just let it come up as the words come in your head. It takes practice, and you’ll also find yourself editing a lot at first. But you have to get started somewhere. Here’s my simple seven step writing system…
Step One – Choose a Hot Topic.
If you’ve been doing your homework up till now, you’ve studied a lot of the problems in your client’s lives. Your article can easily be a solution to one of those problems. If you find a lot of clients are asking the same questions when they first come to you, write answers to those questions.
Another good tool is to keep your eyes on the news and what everyone is writing about. What is the big news of the day? What is really getting people talking? Take note and participate in the ongoing discussion with your own article.
Step Two – Silence the Ghosts.
When you first sit down to write you’ll hear your 5th grade teacher Mrs. Sourpuss in your head screaming at you. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, participles, OH MY! You’ll remember the misery of high school book reports…along with the poor grades you had on them.
You’ll hear someone in your past telling you why you’ll never be able to write. You’ll recall the day someone made fun of something you wrote. Tell everyone in your head to shut up and leave you alone. It’s time to write.
Step Three – Create an Enticing Title.
The title of your article is your headline. It has to reach out and grab people’s attention. It has to force them to want more. One of my favorite title formulas is, “7 Ways to Benefit…” This is where you tell your reader you’re giving them steps to accomplish whatever benefit they want.
Here are some examples: “7 Ways to Generate More Traffic Instantly,” “3 Insider Secrets to Saving Money On Taxes,” and “5 Steps to Building Your Own Birdhouse.”
Step Four – Outline it.
It doesn’t have to be a perfect outline. Just research the subject and make a few notes on a spare sheet of paper. Or put them on index cards. The point is to find and record the main information you want to use. Write down 3 steps, or 7 steps, or whatever basic outline you want to use.
When you do your writing, just look back on your notes and make sure to include all the important information.
Step Five – Write like you talk.
Sit down and write as quickly as you can. Don’t think over your words. Don’t go back and edit your mistakes. Just write. The reason most people never write is because they’re so concerned about mistakes they never do anything. Forget about it!
Like Nike says, “Just do it.” Write just like you’re talking to a friend. Spill it out. Don’t wait. Don’t go back and read what you’ve written. Just go…and finish writing on the subject as quick as possible.
Step Six- Take a break.
You’ve earned it. Take a break from your work and do something else. Go to a movie. Spend time with your family. This period could last 1 hour to 3 weeks…whatever you have time for. Work on a different project in between.
You’re letting your mind rest on the subject so you can come back to your work with renewed enthusiasm. Plus, you’ll come up with ideas during this period about what you forgot to say.
Step Seven – Edit it.
Read through it line by line. Edit it for grammar and use your spell check. Add in extra notes where needed. Delete lines where you simply repeat yourself needlessly. Hand it to a friend and have them read it to you out loud. Look for every place they stumble. Fix it until it is a nice flowing river. If it sounds like “writing,” then edit it. Keep working on it until it sounds like conversation. Make it simple, easy to understand, and useful.
This is the one time you get to talk…and go back to make sure you say the right words. This is where you take many of your rambling thoughts on the rough draft and polish them into diamonds.
Brandable eBook Note: I promised I would have my new ebook ready for branding, “Live the Internet Lifestyle…Retire Young and Wealthy.” You can sign up as an affiliate and brand this new ebook along with “10 Key Strategies to Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Life” by clicking here…
April 11, 2008
You’re not likely to get rich from one product. If you want to produce a REAL Internet Lifestyle, you need to develop multiple products. When you have a dozen or more products all making money for you automatically every single month, that’s when you have a stable business churning out all the money you need to live the lifestyle you choose.
That’s why you must focus on projects that are quick and easy to develop. Instead of writing an encyclopedia of a 300 page ebook, put together a 40 page ebook report. You may respond, “But I can’t cover everything in that amount of space!”
Good. You’re not supposed to cover everything. Your goal as a product developer is to help your customers get to their desired result (the solution of their problem) in the quickest and most direct route.
Do an outline of the steps it takes to reach the end goal. Then sit down and write. Don’t edit. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t surf the web. Don’t check your email. Block off time to just write. I’ve created many of my ebook products over a weekend where I just blocked off to write during that period. You write for 30 to 60 minutes. Then take a 5 to 10 minute break. Do this writing and break cycle over and over again until finished.
Take a few days out as a break to rest your mind before coming back to edit what you’ve written. The reason so many new writers (and old ones as well) take so long to write is because they allow themselves to be interrupted or they try to edit while writing. Eliminate these distractions and watch your productivity soar.
But writing an information product is only ONE way to create your product quickly. Often it’s not even the best way. Let’s cover 7 quick product creation methods to help you become a prolific product developer.
1. Write It
If you’re going to write, follow the model above. Write the outline. Then block off time to just write like a madman (or woman). Later come back and edit your work. Then for absolute best results, read it out loud or have someone else read it out loud to you.
While video is quickly becoming the most powerful way to share your message online, there still are a number of potential customers who prefer written material. So while you see me focusing more and more on video, you’ll still see some written products coming out.
2. Use Voice Recognition
Are you a slow typist? Or do you have trouble writing in a natural voice without sounding like a college text book? If either of those are the case, you can use voice recognition software to speak your product into a written form. I’ve helped quite a few business owners who couldn’t get into writing create fantastic ebooks through voice recognition (and the best part is you can use it for your rough drafts of emails and sales letters as well).
The program I recommend for this is Dragon Naturally Speaking. Pick up the newest version which I think is number 9 at the time of this writing. You’ll go through a training process for the program to recognize your voice, but you’ll quickly get up to speed with speaking out your product. You could call this type of software the great equalizer.
You’ll do some major editing on what you write this way, but that’s true irregardless of how you get your thoughts out into written form. Write first. Then edit. If that rule from above is one you never seem to follow, that’s another reason to try out this software.
3. Public Domain
Instead of creating your product completely from scratch, use public domain materials or even private label materials as a launch pad. For example, I created an extremely profitable ebook called Scientific Internet Advertising. The foundation of the material was Claude Hopkins, “Scientific Advertising.” That’s one of the classics highly recommended by top marketing experts such as Jay Abraham.
The copyright on the original book had long expired which meant you could give it away, sell it, or do whatever with it. I took all the original text and simply wrote an add-on for each chapter about how to apply what he taught to the Internet. While anyone could give away the original book freely, my modified version is protected by copyright laws.
Go spend a little time at http://www.gutenberg.org looking through all the materials they have available. Not everything there is public domain, so be careful to read any of the licenses included. Another great source for public domain materials are items produced by the US government.
For example, need some photos for your project? Check through all the links the US government provides here:
Not everything is completely royalty free, but the majority of these photos are.
What about private label products? Do a search on private label products and you’ll find thousands of products sold with these rights. You can then take those products, modify them, and produce a new product out of them. The big concern here is that most private label materials are next to worthless. They’re low cost productions with poor writing and even worse information. So be careful when buying anything that comes with private label rights, but they can be a good starting point for your own project.
4. Do an Interview
What if you can’t write and you’re not even an expert on the subject you want to cover? Find an expert and interview them. In the real estate field they talk about using other people’s money. In the information business, you can even use other people’s information by interviewing them.
Find several top experts on your topic and contact them. Create a series of 8 to 12 questions your research has said your market wants to hear. If you’ve never done this before, you’re about to be surprised at just how easy it is to secure interviews with some individuals. Book authors are often the most open by the way as they’re used to doing interviews to promote their books.
How do you record the interview? Just go down to your local Radio Shack or another electronics dealer. Ask for a phone recording set-up. This will give you the basic tool you need to get started. Or you can go fully digital like I have on my recent interviews. I’m now using http://www.skype.com software combined with http://www.powergramo.com to do my phone call and recording. This way it’s all recorded digitally on my computer.
5. Teleseminar or Webinar
If you set-up a teleseminar or webinar, you can get paid BEFORE you create your product. I’ve done both one time calls and a series of calls. The beauty of both models is you get paid…and you create a product to sell. For example, I’ve done single calls for free…and for as low as $19.95. I’ve also done a call where we charged $37 and gave all the money from the call to charity.
I’ve also done longer series combined in with weekly assignments and personal feedback for $397 to $1,997 depending on how many calls were involved and the subject (4 to 12 calls).
You’ll have your full outline ready before you sell the series, but you can create and expand on the material each week before the call (or webinar). In addition, doing a question and answer session at the end of each call will add even more value to your finished product.
Another advantage I’ve found to this method is now I’m actually required to get my product done on time. It’s very easy to let life get in the way when your product needs to be done. That’s not possible when you’ve scheduled and sold a teleseminar. Now you have to have the information done by that date. No more procrastination allowed…
6. Record a Camtasia Video
How did we even run an internet business before Camtasia? If you haven’t tried out this software, do so now. You can download a free trial here:
If what you’re teaching can be demonstrated on the computer, this software is perfect. OR you can also use it to create a video of any Powerpoint presentation. Did you notice how my online videos at http://www.internetlifestylesystem.com were Powerpoint videos? Now you know how I did it.
They even have a complete learning center to show you how to get the most from your Camtasia videos, including such tactics as running a live quiz inside your presentation. Check out their training here:
7. Follow an Expert With a Camcorder
Camtasia allows you to record what you’re doing on screen, but what if you want to teach something that isn’t done on a computer? Buy a camcorder and microphone. I definitely don’t want to cover specific types to buy here, because the way technology is moving my recommendation could be out of date by next week.
Now take your little camcorder, separate mic, and tripod to follow around an expert for the day. Maybe you’re doing a DVD on gardening. Show exactly what they do in each step. Or it could be basketball. Show close-ups of the shot process. If it’s a real estate investor, just follow them around with your camcorder all day.
It could be a “Day in the Life of a _______.” What would people pay to get behind the scenes of a successful real estate investor, day trader, or professional speaker? You’ll end up recording more than you can use, but you can edit all the boring parts out later.
Bonus Method: Notice what I didn’t talk about here? I didn’t even mention that you could outsource the product creation as one of the possibilities. ANY of the methods above could be outsourced by hiring someone else to do it for you. Spend a little time exploring over at http://www.elance.com to see all the different projects being posted.
April 2, 2008
Steven Lohrenz released a article marketing software program in the past few days.
I own several article marketing software programs and have mentioned them in the past. But my biggest complaint with all the programs I own has been the fact they have to run from my own computer. If I want to email out articles to specific publishers it is running on my system through my ISP.
As you may already know, many ISPs don’t like you sending a large volume of email from your computer.
Steven finally came up with a solution that allows you to send out your articles from your web server. There are two other features I really love about his program.
It allows you to submit unique articles to thousands of publishers. You can load in all the publishers you want to contact. Then load in several variations of your article. It will automatically create unique articles out of your variations to avoid the duplicate content filters on some of the search engines.
In addition, you can automatically schedule when your articles will be sent out. For example, you could login to the system and schedule for one article to be sent out each week for the next month. Set it up today and they will automatically go out on the schedule you created. It’s set and forget.
OK…what’s the price for this software?
Right now other article submission programs that don’t do as much cost $19.95 up to $347, but Steven is doing something special.
For now, the software is free. But who knows how long it will stay that way?
Why is he giving it away free? The first reason he’s doing this is because the basic foundation of what he created came from an open source program which he modified to add in his additional code for creating unique articles. In addition, he sells other software programs and training tools (including an online video series on how to get the most from article submissions) which he knows you’ll be interested in once you see what this does for free.
I should mention also that I found the software to have one major weakness. It can be a little difficult to install. If you’re a non-techie you’re going to want to hire someone else to install it for you. So that adds a cost to using this program.
Here’s where you can pick up this software for free (and check out his other offers):