Saturday, 15 May 2010

5 Must-Have Techniques For Creating Unbelievably Productive Copy

1.  Get Specific
Nothing can spell out BORING quicker than bland claims that really say nothing.  "My clients make more money!"  is a perfect example of poor copy that could use a little life.  What happens when you change it to, "My clients increased their sales by 23.5% in the first 30 days!"  Now that is kicking!  It's specific and exciting.

Be sure that your claims sound believable, no matter how unbelievable they are.  People are skeptical of "too good to be true" claims.  It's better to tone it down, and let them be surprised when it exceeds their expectation. 

2.  Keep It Short and Sweet
Long paragraphs and complex sentences look too much like work to read.  Yeah, readers get bored quickly and easily.  Chop it up, and break it up.  Don't use paragraphs of more than 7 lines or sentences longer that 18 words.  Find ways to shorten it up, and you'll keep the readers attention.

How many long words are in your copy?  Replace them with short common words to create a reader-friendly appeal.  Let your copy speak to them in the language they are used to hearing.  Well, if  your readers don't like to spend a lot of time reading... it pays to choose your words carefully.

3.  Keep it Active
Eliminate dull passive phrases.  They do little, except bore the heck out of your readers.  Dig them out and replace them highly active words that will motivate the reader to get up out of his easy chair and DO something.

The call to action is the most important part of any advertisment.  Call, subscribe, join, order, buy... make them hear the call loud enough that they do something - NOW.

4.  Skip the Humor
In the right place, and at the right time, humor is an effective tool.  Written sales copy just isn't it.  Ads are short, concise and to the point.  Humor tends to get in the way and distract.

Real life stories captivate readers.  They relate to them.  The human interest of these stories draws the reader into the message, whereas humor distracts them for the point.

5.  Us A Powerful P.S.
A P.S. can be a powerful way to emphasize your product, highlight the points of benefit, or dramatize effects of the purchase.  It's the perfect way to summarize your page.

The P.S. is most powerful on Web pages.  Surfers often read the headlines and skim to the P.S. where they look to get an idea of what's on the page, and if it's worth their time to read it.  Put some effort into making your P.S. captivating.

Friday, 14 May 2010

5 Marketing Moves for Business Success

Marketing has traditionally been broken down to a formula known as “the 5P’s” – the five factors that make up an organization’s marketing strategy. If these are done consistently, well, and for a long enough period of time, these 5 factors also become part of their brand.

So far, so good. But the problem is that no one can seem to agree on exactly which 5 P’s are important, so the list typically includes: people, product, place, process, price, promotion, paradigm, perspective, persuasion, passion, positioning, packaging, and performance.

Wow. Sounds complicated, huh? I’m going to try and simplify effective marketing into five moves – five concrete actions – that you can implement immediately. Your challenge: try one or more of these NOW.

Move 1: Move Up

Want to try something different? The next time you’re speaking with a prospect, when the question of price comes up, DOUBLE your normal price and see what happens.

Am I crazy?

Maybe, maybe not. The other side of the coin is that maybe YOU’RE crazy for not charging for VALUE, but instead competing on PRICE. Businesses that compete on price lose. Period.

The easiest thing your competition can do is undercut your price. In fact, the first thing they will copy is your price. It takes no imagination, no creativity, no innovation, no market leadership, and no vision to lower the cost of something. And it hurts all parties involved. Lower prices always mean lower profits. Studies have shown that a 1% drop in price leads to an 8% drop in profit.

What happens when you double your usual price?

Several things. Prospects perceive:

* An increase in the value of your product/service

* An increased level of prestige in owning/using your product/service

* An increased level of trust in you – and all your other offerings (the halo effect)

* An increased level of confidence that your product/service really works

A marketing consultant that I respect once gave me a very valuable piece of advice. She said, “Be expensive or... be free.” Being one of the most expensive providers of a service is remarkable – people talk about their $200,000 Italian sports car or $21,000 platinum-plated cell phone. Nobody talks about their $19,000 GM sedan.

I’ve helped companies double their prices, with great success, and I’ve helped independent consultants double [and in one case triple] their fees. In each of those cases, they got more clients, not fewer. Details on how to do this in Move 3. And perhaps this means you’ll lose a few unprofitable clients along the way. If you don’t lose some unprofitable clients, you won’t have room to serve the more profitable ones when they come along. It’s professional suicide to continue focusing on serving a market sector “that can afford” to pay your old (low) prices. Price doesn’t find clients. VALUE finds clients. And those clients that value your work should – and will –  pay according to that value.

Free is also a powerful price point. And, of course, free is remarkable. Which is another facet to moving up – you move up when you give VALUE first. For free. Got a great idea for a prospect? Great! SEND IT TO THEM. Even better, got a business lead for them? Hand it over! Did you come across an article, a profile, or a piece of research that directly impacts their business? Clip it and mail it to the top person with a brief note. That prospect’s door is now open.

Move 2: Move In

Moving in means moving closer to the customer. Live in their world, think about their problems, and think about their clients and prospects. What’s the first step? Research. Preparation. Homework. Industry, regional, business, and company news is now at every salesperson’s fingertips on the Internet. If you’re not intelligently researching your prospect’s issues, challenges, and pressures, how can you possibly come in with a credible solution?

Don’t like sitting at the computer all day? An even better idea is to hit the street. Visit businesses, talk to your contacts in the fields you serve, get some firsthand information about what’s going on in their world – what are their challenges, perspectives, obstacles, priorities; what are their dreams, their “only-ifs,” and their biggest aspirations?

Is this a lot of work? You bet. Do the majority of salespeople put in this kind of effort? No way. Which is exactly why YOU should. That brings us to Move 3.

Move 3: Move Ahead

Moving ahead means going above and beyond what most salespeople are doing. It means putting in the work – yes, the real, hard work – that makes the difference between being a peddler and being a partner.

Want to move ahead? Start by avoiding doing things your prospects dislike.

Here are the top 10 things salespeople do that buyers dislike according to a Purchasing magazine survey. See if you (or your sales team) might be guilty of any of the following professional no-no’s:

10.Failure to keep promises

9. Lack of creativity

8. Failure to make and keep appointments

7. Lack of awareness of the customer's operation ("What do you guys do here?")

6. Taking the customer for granted

5. Lack of follow-through

4. Lack of product knowledge

3. Overaggressiveness and failure to listen

2. Lack of interest or purpose ("Just checking in")

... and the Number 1 dislike: Lack of preparation.

You can also move ahead by charging more (remember Move 1?) and DEMONSTRATING the VALUE of your product service with hard numbers.

In his insightful book, How to Become a Rainmaker, author Jeffrey Fox calls this process dollarizing. Dollarizing is one of the most powerful sales techniques because once you show (with real numbers that your prospect will provide you with) the return on investment – how THIS much spent will generate THIS much savings, or profits, or sales, or new clients, or hours, etc. – you basically shift the conversation from selling what you’re selling to SELLING MONEY.

In my seminars, I do an exercise called “The Money Machine” that will help you spell this out in hard dollars, very clearly.

The Money Machine goes one step further because you can use it monetize against:

* competing products/services

* the prospect doing nothing

* the prospect doing it themselves

* other things the prospect is already comfortable spending money on

For a free copy of my Money Machine worksheet, email me:

Suddenly, your product/service becomes a real “investment”: meaning, you can show people the math behind “this much IN” for “this much OUT.” There’s nothing much easier than selling money at a discount!

Here’s another way to move ahead: stop the ridiculous game of “closing the sale.” Closing is not a technique; closing is not a trick; closing is not about magic phrases and looks and power games. Closing should be a natural extension of your conversation, and the two most effective questions you should ask your prospect as you near the end of your value-based discussion are:

1. Does what we’ve talked about so far make sense?

2. What would you like me to do next?

Answer to Question 1: If you’ve prepared for the meeting, discussed the prospect’s key issues, and monetized the value of your solution, of course it makes sense!

Answer to Question 2: “Let’s go ahead” or “Let’s do the paperwork.” Or if your prospect answers this with “Get Out” or “Drop Dead,” you have a pretty good idea that the sale is not ready to close. Seriously, carefully listening to the answer to this question will allow you to address any hidden concerns, hesitations, or issues – right then and there before the prospect would otherwise blurt out an abrupt “No!” to any other traditional “ask for the sale” verbiage that so many sales trainers recommend. Remember, you’re not there to sell – you’re there to HELP THE PROSPECT BUY. If you need to tattoo that on your forehead, be my guest.

Move 4: Move Aside

Here’s another thing that most sales and marketing people have a hard time with: you can’t be all things to all people. Move Aside is about finding your niche, and claiming your expertise in a narrow area of specialty. In plain English, this means you want to become the “Go-To Guy” for your specific product or service – the exact opposite of a “jack-of-all-trades and master of none.”

The people you speak with will have a very different reaction to these two mental images of your product/service:

* “I think we can make this fit.”

* “This is exactly what we’ve been looking for.”

Let me give you an example. There’s a real company that lists among its services “Carpet removal, house cleaning, odd jobs, catering.” Now, I don’t know about you, but when I want a caterer, I’m looking for someone who does catering 24/7. I don’t want to have to worry about “Did they wash their hands after the carpet removal job and before serving my guests?” In fact, if I’m looking for a caterer for a wedding, I might even be drawn to “Wedding Bells Catering” much more so than “Sam’s Catering” or “Good Eats Catering.”

Here’s another example. There are lots of graphic design companies that do all sorts of work – websites, logo design, brochures, collateral material, wine labels, book packaging, etc. You name it, they do it. And business is generally OK. (But let’s face it, if they were going like gangbusters, they probably wouldn’t have sought out my help!) Some of them had a hard time differentiating themselves from the competition and others found it challenging to develop a strong client base and referral network. We’ve had some good success developing their current business, but when we delve into the possibilities of “Moving Aside” and carving out a real niche, or developing one thing that is their flagship specialty, most of my clients get cold feet.

One company (not my client – too bad for me!) that has done this with fabulous results is MaxEffect. They made a tough call. They moved aside. They could obviously do a wide variety of things with their graphic design and advertising skills, but they do ONE THING: they work exclusively on yellow pages ads. That’s it. If you want a killer yellow pages ad with bold graphics, custom or stock photography, clean layout, and a strong, compelling message, these are your go-to people. They’ve designed hundreds and hundreds of yellow pages ads and they’ve built a fanatical client base, and they get a steady stream of referrals – not to mention the steady and growing flow of client work.

Check it out for yourself:

Move 5: Move Alone

Right now, you are lost in a sea of gray. Me-too rules the day. Everywhere you look, there is more and more and MORE of the SAME OLD THING sold by the SAME OLD PEOPLE in the SAME OLD WAY. Boring. And deadly.

The problem is that people don’t buy gray. If you and your company and your offerings blend into the background, you might as well close up shop right now. Let me put it another way: all companies go bankrupt. It’s just a matter of time. Want proof? Out of the 100 largest companies of 50 years ago, 17 survive today. And none of those 17 are the market leaders they used to be.

Why? Shift happens. If you’re not separating yourself from the crowd, you’re blending in – and nobody will even notice you, much less seek you out and tell their friends about you.

Here’s an example of a company that really hasn’t been doing a bad job – but they’re also not the standouts they used to be.

On a recent call to American Express, an executive was straightening out a billing problem. At the end of the call, the operator asked her, “Have I exceeded your expectations for this call?” and the exec flatly answered, “No.” She had a billing problem, and the rep fixed it. That’s the expectation.

Now, if the rep had offered the executive a $50 American Express gift check to be used at any of American Express’ online retail partners, THAT would have exceeded expectations, right? That story would be worth repeating to 10-20 people. Can you imagine the executive telling anyone, “Hey, I called AmEx to fix my billing error. Guess what? They did it!” That’s not moving alone.

Here’s a good test to see if your marketing and sales strategies are in the category of “moving alone” – they are if you’re doing something that:

* is “simply not done” in your industry

* customers will make a remark about (remarkable!)

* goes against conventional wisdom (I call this “uncommon sense”)

* others (including your competition) think is “crazy”

* others (including your competition) will actually be AFRAID to copy

Get silly. Get crazy. Get an attitude. Get noticed.

Author Seth Godin perhaps put this most succinctly when he said, “Safe is risky. And risky is safe.”

Let me conclude with a recap of the 5 Marketing Moves:

1. Move Up = Get more valuable

2. Move In = Get closer

3. Move Ahead = Get smarter

4. Move Aside = Get specialized

5. Move Alone = Get noticed

Taken together, these will also help you make the Ultimate Move = Get insanely great.

And remember the immortal words of Jerry Garcia:

“You don’t want to be considered the best of the best.
You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do.”

Thursday, 13 May 2010

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing An Affiliate Program & 5 Tips To Choosing The Right Affiliate Program

When people decide to join an affiliate program to make extra money, or to have a full time job, they often do so with illusions and no idea of how the affiliate program actually works. Read the following top 5 mistakes people make when it comes to choosing an affiliate program and avoid these mistakes at all costs. Then, you will be able to be more effective and make more money for your time, so it is definitely worthwhile to read these warnings and avoid them.

#1 Don’t Compete, Support
Too many affiliate programs compete against their competitors which wastes money and puts affiliates out of business. However, if you are part of an affiliate program the more affiliates the better for getting more information and more money. One of the worst things to do is choose an affiliate program that believes in competing against other affiliates. Instead, choose an affiliate program that agrees with supporting and growing other affiliates to have a larger network and access to more affiliates.

#2 Little Reward
Another mistake people frequently make when choosing affiliate programs is choosing a program that offers little reward for the individual’s hard work. Too many affiliate programs pay too little and as a result affiliates find it difficult to make the money they should be making. Look for an affiliate program that has a good pay rate for your work.

#3 Old Statistics, if Any
You want an affiliate program that offers good, solid, real time statistics, not old statistics or ones that are no longer valid. There are not many affiliate programs out there that provide the kind of statistics an affiliate manager needs, but do your best to find an affiliate program that offers the most.

#4 No Support
Too often affiliates find themselves waiting days for an answer to an e-mail and an important question for their business. You want an affiliate program that guarantees you support round the clock if possible or at least within 24 hours. If not, keep looking for an affiliate program that wants to help you help yourself.

#5 Fresh Ideas, Creative’s
Many affiliate programs provide few ideas or creative’s to their affiliates and so thousands of web pages end up with the same advertising. However, affiliate programs would have a better success rate if many different ads were made available so affiliates could alternate ads and place different ads on different sites, depending on the products sold.

Commit these five mistakes to memory so you know exactly what you are looking for in an affiliate program, as well as what to avoid. You will be much more successful and happier as well if you do not get caught in these traps!
5 Tips To Choosing The Right Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs can be a great way to make money online. You don't have to spend time developing your own product, worry about taking orders, or take care of customer service.

If you already have a high traffic website or run an e-zine you can stand to earn a steady flow of commissions every month without a lot of extra work on your part.

To help you get started promoting affiliate programs, I've provided the following 5 tips to help you choose the affiliate programs that are right for you.

1. Choose affiliate programs that match the content of your site. If your site targets a niche market than choose affiliate programs that offer products to that niche market.

2. Choose affiliate programs that pay a high commission. For example 30%-50% on your direct sales.

3. Join affiliate programs that pay two-tier commissions. This enables you to not only earn commissions on your own sales but also on the sales of people who you introduce to your affiliate

4. Join affiliate programs that offer a line of products so that you can earn commissions when your referrals come back and purchase other services or products.

5. Join affiliate programs that offer their affiliates great marketing support. Many affiliate programs offer their affiliates pre-written ads to use or get ideas from, sales letters, marketing courses, and articles to use in promoting their services.

Remember, the best affiliate programs will see their affiliate program as a partnership with you and combine high commissions with excellent support so that you can start earning money
promoting their products as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

5 Keys to Capturing Prospective Buyers

Spring has sprung.  The birds are singing as they busily build nests and do their mating dances.  Yeah, it won't be long before the flowers bloom, and grass starts growing.  You know what that means...grass needs mowing.  When you parked the riding mower last fall, you knew that it would be a miracle if you could get it through another summer.  You're going to need to replace old "Betsy" sooner or later, and start thinking about the features you want the next mower to have.

Well, you haven't tried starting the old mower, but hey, it's raining cats and dogs outside.  With nothing better to do, you head for the mall and find yourself among a line of shiny lawn mowers with a wide variety of prices and features.  What are the advantages of each one compared to the difference in costs?

Yep, not every customer that walks through your door is ready to make a purchase.  Maybe they're still in the "thinking about it" stage.  Yeah, when you think long enough, you usually talk yourself into doing it.  That's why it's important to treat every customer's question with respect.  You never know when a properly answered question will lead to a sale.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for effectively answering customer questions:

1. A Question is the Sign of a Potential Sale.
Yeah, if a customer is taking the time to look you up and ask questions, you're dealing with a high level of interest.  Don't take it lightly.  A prompt and quick response laced with the added benefits of the product will go a long way toward closing a sale.

2. Make it Easy to Ask A Question.
There's nothing more frustration than having a simple question and having to move heaven and earth to get an answer.  Make it easy for your customers to ask questions. Make your website question friendly and include a phone number with all of your sales material. 

3. Organize - Set up a Frequently Asked Question File
What questions have you emailed answers to sixteen times this week?  Keep a file with those repeat questions.  You'll be able to copy and paste the answers into responses. Hey, your customer will be happy and you can spend time doing something else. Everyone wins!

4. Get Back - Quickly
How many times have you shopped around while waiting for someone to get back to you?  Yeah, it's easier than ever on the web.  Customer attention spans are ever shortening with the vast global competition at their fingertips.  Don't dilly dally - get back to them pronto!

5. Make Every Question a Sales Opportunity
When someone asks you a question, you've got their attention!  They're waiting for an answer that is important to them.  Yeah, it's the perfect opportunity to expand your response to include benefits of the purchase. 

Questioning customers wear a badge that says, "Buyer on Board!"  Read it and pay attention.  Often a little nudge will mean a sale to tally at the day's end.  Think of it like this...learning to effectively answer customer questions is a low-cost and effective way to boost your profits this year!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

5 Great Ways to Reach Your Target Market

There are many ways to reach out and find the people you are trying to attract for your business. Here are just a handful of ways to get you started:

<b>1) Attend organization meetings</b>

Where do people in your target market hang out? Research this, and then plan to attend a meeting or two to mix and mingle. What better way to meet and get to know these individuals while learning more about the market?

<b>2) Offer to speak at a meeting or conference</b>

What do you have to offer that you feel could be of value to those you are trying to reach out to? Present a short talk or slide show on a helpful topic. Be sure you present something of value to the group. What helpful tips or other material would hold ther attention, and entice them to learn more about you and what you do? Just give them a small taste of your skills and knowledge. Chances are, they will want to talk to you after the presentation.

<b>3) Advertise in publications your target market reads</b>

The Internet is a great place to research what publications are out there. You can probably even get your advertisement to appear online as well as in the hard copy of a publication. Advertising can be rather expensive, so be careful with this one!

<b>4) Present a free teleclass</b>

If you are not confident in your public speaking skills, but still feel you have something of value to teach those you are trying to influence, try offering a no-cost teleclass. It is usually fairly inexpensive to rent a bridge line to host your class. You can teach from the comfort of your own home, too. This is also a great way to get a list of names to add to your subscriber list for mailings. If you are comfortable with this option, you can charge a small fee for future teleclasses you hold, which will bring you some passive income.

<b>5) Start a blog</b>

Write daily or weekly posts related to subject matter that will pique the interest of your target market. Spend time researching particular topics that you can write about. Then, add some pizazz...get excited when you post the information to your blog. If you're excited about something, others will be too. And don't forget to use keywords. These are what the search engines will use to find the content in your blog and draw others to it.

Monday, 10 May 2010

5 Free Online Advertising Channels For Your Business

What a wonderful invention it is, this thing we call the Internet!

If you would just take your time to know your way around, you could discover a lot of premium products and services being offered for free.  What's best is that there is a seemingly endless number of these wonderful finds, what with the Internet being a vast network of constantly evolving ideas and all!

Among these magnificent benefits is the chance to be able to promote your business, any business, online, free of charge!  It doesn't matter if your enterprise is a purely online or offline venture, the World Wide Web is home to a great number of marketing opportunities that you could avail of, with no damage to your business' budget whatsoever.

Advertising can be a big problem otherwise.  A lot of companies reserve a big chunk of their budgets to cover marketing expenditures.  Sometimes, these gambles pay off, but there are occasions when they fail miserably, putting to waste some good money that could have been used in other areas of development for the business involved.

But with the many channels available online, marketing has become a less risky course of action.  There so many avenues available online where you could advertise your business for free and attain more exposure for your products or services.  Here are some of them.

1. You could advertise through your own website.  Ordinarily, you should pay a nominal fee for web hosting and your domain name.  A paid web hosting service is more reliable.  Your own domain name would impress upon your visitors an immediate sense of professionalism.  But if you don't want to spend for them, there are a lot of free web space providers on the Internet!

2. You could advertise through other people's websites.  And you could do this in a lot of ways too!  You could create a banner that would summarize your business' offers and have it displayed on existing pages.  Or if you have your won website for your business, you could use the said banner to link to your pages, or you could even settle for simple links.  Additionally, you could have other webmasters rave about your venture and they could talk about it in their own websites.

3. You could create your own affiliate program.  By giving commissions as incentive, you could invite a lot of Internet users to become your affiliates.  Each affiliate would work to help you make a sale.  It's like having a battalion of sales representatives that you'd only have to pay if they manage to refer a willing customer!

4. You could try viral marketing.  Viral marketing is the online equivalent of word o mouth advertising.  By giving away something for free, for as long as that something has a link or a simple reference to your business, you're encouraging the recipient to spread the word about your business to the people he knows.  This would result in the exponential expansion of your business message like wildfire.

5. You could advertise in online communities.  Forums and mailing lists are popular venues that could likewise convey your business message.  Membership to these groups is usually free.  Additionally, you could also create your own mailing list and start capturing leads for future sales by doing some helpful follow-ups.

The Internet is a great place for promoting your business.  There are five million people online at any given time and the world is, quite literally, your market.  It would be best for your business to capitalize on this wonderful opportunity and expand your audience a thousand fold bigger!

And you wouldn't even have to spend a penny while you're at it.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

5 Features Your Web Host Must Have

It is important that your web host has all the greatest features and technologies. However, you may not be aware of what you should look for in a web host. They all say they are the best, most reliable, etc. but how do you decipher who is really telling the truth? How do you find out what is really important when choosing a web host? In this article you will find the 5 things your web host must have. When you are researching a web host and you come across one that does not have these 5 things just click away to find one that does have what you need.

5 Features Your Web Host Must Have –

1.    Greatest Control Panel: The control panel is the place you will be visiting most often, so it should be easy to use, have all the features you need, etc. You can find a great control panel with cPanel, which provides one of the best control panel user experiences among all of the others. CPanel offers more than 42 different icons, 50 of the most used PHP scripts, shopping carts, forums, and even a WordPress blog – one of the best blog hosts out there. cPanel also provides an easy to use layout and navigation so when you do use it you can forget about frustration.

2.    On 24-7: Your web host should be working for you around the clock. This will keep your website up and running 99.9% of the time, and the server should be able to locate and repair any problems as soon as they appear. It is rare that a server could become inactive, but if/when it does happen, you do not want it to happen to your website. That could mean lost sales, lost visitors, and maybe even lost customers for life. No one wants that. The web host should be working all of the time – no exceptions. It should constantly monitor your website at least every few minutes for problems, check your server load and RAM, and be able to let administrators know immediately so they can instantaneously fix the problem. Your web host should also provide a fire wall to keep your website safe from hackers, viruses, and anything else that could effect your website.

3.    An Outstanding Server: If you want to avoid regular problems and too much downtime (all that can be avoided) you need to find a web host with a reliable server. The web host’s server should have multiple hard drives, good RAM, the latest CPUs, the best power supply, quality motherboards, a great cooling system, and a testing system for all new servers.

4.    Linux Servers: No, you do not need windows servers. You should get a web host that uses Linux only. You don’t need to have Linux on your own computer to have a web host that uses Linux. Linux has been shown to be more reliable and able to handle larger loads than other server operating systems. It is even better at virus protection and has a better uptime than others.

5.    Free Features: Your web host should provide you with a variety of free features, or features that you can use for a small fee. These features should include things that you can use for your website such as graphics, blogs, paid pages, sub domains, interesting facts to add to your website, forums, and more.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

5 Easy Ways To Get Your Creative Juices Going

Writing an article doesn't just mean putting down thoughts into words then typing and writing it. You have to capture the interest of your readers and get them to keep on reading. To send your message across you have to get the attention of the reader and have a firm grasp of their interest and pique their curiosity.

The main ingredient in baking up an article is a large dose of creativity. While creativity may come natural to many people, some just gets into a block or something to that effect that can drive someone crazy. Many writers have literally torn their hair out when they get writers block and just can't seem to get their creative juices flowing. 

Putting words into images in the readers mind is an art. A clear and crisp depiction requires a certain flair that only creativity can provide. Similes and metaphors help a lot, but the way an article gets entwined word for word, sentence by sentence then paragraph by paragraph into a whole article develops the essence of the article. 

So just what do you have to do when nothing comes to mind? There is no surefire ways to get the perfect ideas but there are easy ways to get your creative juices flowing. No one can guarantee you of having the perfect mindset but many methods may aid you in achieving that state of mind. Here are five easy ways for that.

1) Keep a diary or a journal with you always. Ideas can be triggered by anything you may hear, see, or smell. Your senses are your radar in finding great ideas. Write all of them into a journal and keep it with you for future reference. You may also write down anything that you have read or heard, someone's ideas could be used to develop your own ideas and this is not stealing. Remember that ideas and creativity can come from anywhere; it's the development of the idea that makes it unique.

2) Relax and take time to sort things out. A jumbled mind cannot create any space for new ideas. Everyone must have a clear mind if one wishes to have their creativity in full speed. Get rid of all obstacles that can be a hindrance to your creativity. If you are bothered by something, you cannot force your mind to stay focused.

Try to relax every time that you can and think about your experiences and interactions with others. Your experiences are what shape your mindset and your opinions which could be reflected on your writings. Try to discover yourself, find out what triggers your emotions. Discover what inspires you and what ticks you off. You can use these emotions to help you in expressing yourself and your ideas, with this you can grow creatively.

3) Create a working place that can inspire your creativeness. Your working place can be quite a hindrance if it doesn't make you feel happy or relaxed. Creativity comes from being in a good state of mind and a messed up workplace that causes distraction won't be conducive in firing up your creative flow.

Surround your working place with objects that makes you happy and relaxed. You may put up pictures, or scents, objects that inspire, or anything that can get your creativeness cranking. A clean and well organized workplace also rids of distractions and unwanted hindrances. With a good working place, you can work in peace and never notice the time pass by.

4) Set the mood. Setting the mood requires you to just go with the moment or to induce your self to feeling what makes your mind works best. Finding out what makes you tick could help you find ways to get your creative juices flowing. Set the pace and tempo for your mood and everything else will follow.

There are many ways to set the mood. Some writers have been known to use alcohol, a little sip of wine to stir up the imagination. Some would like some mood music while others let the lighting of the environment create the mood.

5) Go on a getaway and just do something unlike crazy. Letting yourself go and have fun produces adrenaline that can make your imagination go wild. Take an adventure or a solemn hike. Whatever it is that is unusual from your daily routine can take the rut out of your schedule. In no time at all, your creativeness will make use of that experience and get your imagination to go on overdrive.

Friday, 7 May 2010

4 Ways to Overcome the Wrecking Ball In Your Online Business

There are four ways to overcome the wrecking ball in your online business but seem to elude the faint hearted.   If allowed, it will destroy the very fiber of your being!

I was almost classified in this category.  Do you remember the song, “I just wish that I knew what I know now?”  I don’t remember the artist, but I do remember the catchy tune.   Knowing what I know now sure would have saved me a lot of heartache when I was younger.

When I was about ten I remember having a lemonade stand in the middle of fall. It was cold out then and my friends ribbed me so harshly that I almost gave up on my sales escapade.  After I stayed outside for an hour or so with no sales money in my little cup, I began to believe what my friends were saying was true.

I guess my father saw my disappointment wrote all over my face through the window because he came out to keep me company.  Now I don’t know about anyone else’s dad, but mine was like Superman in my eyes.  Little did I know then pop taught me a few lessons that afternoon about business and life in general.

He sat and talked to me about 4 things I need to know to survive in any type of business.  The 4 concepts are actually very simplistic in nature.  They are belief, passion, patience, and perseverance.  

Dad asked me if I still believe people will come and buy my lemonade.  I answered by saying I didn’t know but if they were coming, I wished they would come soon.  He told me to be patient and they will come.  He said for right now, I need to know if you believe they will come or not.  Of course I said yes, but I still wasn’t sure.

I learned the awesome power of belief that day.  I found out that when I truly believed they would show up and buy, I became very passionate about selling.  I didn’t know the first thing about advertising or marketing like I know today, but I went into the house and began to call some kids in the neighbor.  Little did I know, my mother already called their parents. 

In the mean time I went back outside, only to find dad ready to tell me a story about some old farmer and his mule.  Bet your bottom dollar I wasn’t very interested in his story then, but it kicked in about thirty years later.  It was a perfect illustration about perseverance.

Pop told me this mule fell in an abandoned well.  The farmer attempted its rescue.  Unable, he was determined to bury his friend and dumped a load of dirt down the well.  That mule kicked, stomped, and snorted, until he stood two feet higher.  A few more loads of dirt a lot of kicking, snorting, and stomping down that dirt, the mule walked out on level ground… a survivor! 

I bet by now your asking “What in the world does this story have to do with an online business?”  It has everything to do with overcoming the wrecking ball!

Unlike the mule, often Internet marketers get caught in a well, but they see no way out so they give up!   In actuality, the wrecking ball is a form of self-destruction!  It’s so deadly!  I truly believe this is the reason it is so elusive to the faint hearted.  Not practicing these concepts in our business is like inviting a wrecking ball into our minds that can, and will, demolish everything in its path including our self esteem and confidence.

If you are one of the faint hearted, I urge you to keep your chin about you.  Try believing that people will buy from you!  Once you believe they will come, your passion level will be higher than you can possibly imagine!  

Now get out there and advertise the heck out of your product(s).  Just don’t expect it to happen overnight.  It does take hard work.  Be persistent and have patience prudence, they will come. 

By the way, about that lemonade stand… within a half hour or so people started to come and buy my lemonade.  I made $56.30 that day.  It may not seem like a lot of money to you, but back then, at ten cents a glass and age 10, it seemed like a goldmine to me. 

Article may be freely distributed in its entirety!  Absolutely no selling, editing, or altering of content including the link provided.  You may  add your text box with link under author's text box.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

5 Easy Ways to Create Great Info Products

So you've decided to start publishing an e-newsletter, or you'd like to develop a Special Report as an added-value for your customers, or maybe you've even decided to teach a teleclass or a seminar as a way to bring prospects into your business. 

So now you have to decide what you’re going to write or speak about. So just how do you come up with the content? 

Well, you can start with looking at the knowledge you have that could truly benefit your prospects and customers.  What do you know a lot about, that your customers and prospects don't?  What information could you provide that could help them to improve their business, or make them happier, or show them a different way to do something, or provide them with tips on how to buy or use the product or service you provide? 

The key is finding out what information your prospects and customers need or want most.  Asking them is the easiest way to find out, and it is a great way to generate content for your info products.

If you have made arrangements to speak to a group, ask the person coordinating your talk if there is a way to survey the group as to their most important questions relative to your line of business. 

For example, if you offer Wellness Coaching Services and you are speaking to a group of corporate executives, find out what their burning questions are related to wellness.

In a corporate environment, they should be able to quickly and easily compile this information via an email sent out to all employees who have been invited to your talk. Knowing that your goal is to speak directly to their concerns, they will probably be more likely to attend as well.

When you get the results of your survey, look for common or recurring questions and focus your talk on the answers to these questions. Save any remaining questions as topics for your e-newsletter. You can use this as an incentive to get attendees to register for your e-newsletter by saying at the end of your talk “If I didn’t cover your most pressing question, I invite you to register for my free e-newsletter where I will address all remaining questions.”

Here are five more ways to generate ideas and content:

1. Add a page to your web site where visitors can submit questions.  You could title it "What is your most pressing question about [insert your topic of expertise here]. Make sure the page is visible and accessible from all of your web pages.  Consider promoting this service throughout your web site to drive people to that page to submit a question.

2. Purchase the domain name "" (where "YOURNAME" is your first and last name) and publicize it as a service and great place for consumers to get their most pressing questions, in your subject area, answered.  Registering domains is cheap, and you can always point it to a page in your existing web site if you don't want to pay additional web hosting fees.

3. Include an email address, or web page address, in your e-newsletter or any other form of regular communication, inviting your prospects and clients to submit their questions.  Odds are if one prospect or client has a question, there are many others who also have the same question.

4. If you do presentations or seminars already, hand out a survey at the end to find out what attendees liked best about your presentation (it's always a good idea to get feedback anyway), and to find out if there are other relevant areas they would like to see you speak on, or if they have questions they'd like answered.

5. Keep your eyes open and your customers in mind when you read trade publications, magazines or newspapers. If you come across something you think would be of interest to your prospects and customers, share it.  Is something going on in the news that is relevant to your product or service?  Write about it.

In addition to using this information to drive newsletter or presentation content, you can also use it to develop articles and content for your website, or to write Special Reports, Tips Sheets, or How-To Guides you can sell or use for marketing to your prospects and customers.

(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa, 10stepmarketing

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

4 Ways To Get Your Opt In Subscribers To Trust You Quickly

While the rest of the world have developed many barriers and protections to keep their e-mail accounts spam-free, there are also those that subscribe to mails that promotes their products, services and their site. This is mainly because these subscribes wants to know more about what these sites are offering and can be beneficial for them. They expect to get be kept posted on what they are interested in and what are new in the market or field they have chosen.

Businesses would be so lucky to have these kinds of customers; the basic element needed to get these types of people is trust. When your customers trust you they will reward you with their loyalty. Many internet users have gone to great lengths in protecting their email accounts from spam mail. Some free-mail internet providers and internet service providers offer spam protection while there are also some internet based companies that screen your mails for you.

With an opt-in mail list, the mails you send containing your promotional materials such as newsletters, catalogs and marketing media will go through. Your intended recipient will be able to read and view what you have sent making it a successful transfer of information. To be able to be allowed to do so, you will need permission from your recipient, to get this permission; you need to be able to get their trust. With the great lack of disregard for privacy in the internet, getting the trust of an internet user you don’t personally know is a big achievement.

To build a good opt-in list you need people to trust you, for a faster and quicker build up, you need to get your opt-in subscribers to trust you quickly. The faster you build your opt-in list the faster word about your site and company gets to be spread. The bigger the scope of your opt-in list the more traffic you get spelling more profits. Its easy math if you thin about it. Getting the numbers is not that simple though, or maybe it is?

•Getting the trust of your clientele shouldn’t be so hard especially if you do have a legitimate business. Getting your customers trust should be based upon your expertise. People rely on other people who know what they are talking about. Garner all the knowledge and information about your business. Ell, frankly if you decide to go into a business most probably you have an interest in it. Like how many basketball payers become coaches, you don’t really venture into something you don’t have any interest in.

•Show your clients that you know what you are talking about. Provide them with helpful hints and guidelines that pertain to what you are selling. Talk about how to install a roof if your into hardware products or provide articles on insurance settlements if you’re a settlement lawyer. You don’t have to be a big corporation to make use of an opt-in list. If your customers see you as someone who knows what he is doing and saying, they will trust you quickly.

•Be true to your customers, if you want to hype up your products and services, provide guarantees. The more satisfied customers you get, the bigger probability there is that they will recommend you. Generally, people will trust someone they know, when that someone recommends you then you’re a shoo-in. They will go to your site and check it for themselves and be given a chance to experience what the other shave experienced from you, so make sure to be consistent in the service you provide.

•Another tip in getting a customer to trust you quickly is to provide them an escape hatch. Show them that you are not there to trap them. Keep a clean list that would enable them to unsubscribe anytime they want. Elaborate your web form by providing information on how to unsubscribe from the list. Guarantee them that they can let go of the service when ever they want to. Many are wary that they may be stuck for life and would have to abandon their email accounts when they get pestered with spam.

Remember that when you get the trust of your clients don’t lose that trust. Because if you do anything with their email addresses like sell them or give them out, you will lose many members of your list as ell as potential members. The true quickest way to gain the trust of your subscribers is when you are recommended by someone they trust.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

4 Tried and True Techniques To Create Loyal, Life-Long Customers

Let's be honest... everybody knows that people are in business to make money.  Yeah, customer's know you've got our eyes set on making a profit, but they still want to believe that you are in business for more than just their money.  Do your customers know that you really care about them?  Here are 4 "tried and true" techniques to show them you care.

1.  Be Personal
I recently walked into a well-known store and spoke with a salesperson who really seemed to have it going on.  I felt pretty good about the interaction, until I walked away and heard him reciting the same spiel he had just used with me moments earlier. 

Customers are looking for personal one-on-one recognition.  In this automated world, they are used to feeling like just a number, and crave to have real interaction.  Take the time to discover their lifestyle before you try to sell them a one-size-fits-all product.  Think about the ways the product will benefit THEM.

You'll find that there are pockets of people with similar interests and needs.  Hey, that's the perfect opportunity to customize your sales campaign to the needs of different market niches. 

2.  Look Out For The Customer
Sure, you've sat and listened to boring sales speaches that went on and on about every feature, aspect and guarantee a product had to offer.  Yeah, BORING!  Customers don't give a hoot about the specific details and credentials of you and your product nearly as much as they want to know how it will benefit them. 

Make sure your advertisements on the Web, sales letters, and other promotions point out the advantages to the customer.  Keep the focus on them.  How will the modern features make life easier?  How will your credentials make you better equipped to help them?

3.  Stay in Contact
There are a lot of customers who don't buy on the first visit.  Sure, there are a fair number of impulsive shoppers, but not everyone shells out the bucks the first time the idea pops into their head to make a purchase.  Wise shoppers take a little time to consider it first.

What happens in the meantime?  Well, that depends on you.  Do you follow up regularly with customers?  Give them a little additional information each time, and build a relationship of trust.  Before long, you'll have a loyal customer spreading the word about your business.

Internet marketers need to devise ways of getting email addresses to use for follow-up strategies.  Free newsletters and complimentary reports are perfect for opening the door for future communications.

4.  Be "Question Friendly"
Nothing says, "I really care," like taking the time to thoroughly answer a question - no matter how small.  Think of it this way... a customer who is asking questions is considering the possibility of making a purchase.  Hey, it might not be today or tomorrow, but someday you'll reap the benefits of the time you spend answering their questions.

Is it easy for your customers to ask a question?  Now, I'm not talking about calling an automated answering service that you spend 25 minutes pushing buttons and end up back at the main menu.  Can they ask questions, and get personal answers? 

Always provide a phone number where a person can be reached, or an email address that someone will personally answer.  You can save a lot of time by posting a frequently asked question page, where they can find answers without the effort of making contact. 

Assuring customers of their importance is one of the greatest ways to make loyal, life-long customers.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Title: 4 Strategies For Seasonal Selling - Planning For Retail Cycles Word Count: 393 Summary: Every product has a natural life cycle and a season where it sells best: some early buyers come at the beginning, and then the mass of buyers come. Prices peak and retailers begin running out of stock. Sales slow, and trickle down to a few last-minute shoppers. As an online seller, it’s critical you prepare for the natural retail cycles throughout the year. With some simple strategies, you can make the most of the opportunities presented by the changing seasons: 1.Keep ... Keywords: Product,sourcing,ebay,ecommerce,dropship,ebiz,entrepreneur,blog Article Body: Every product has a natural life cycle and a season where it sells best: some early buyers come at the beginning, and then the mass of buyers come. Prices peak and retailers begin running out of stock. Sales slow, and trickle down to a few last-minute shoppers. As an online seller, it’s critical you prepare for the natural retail cycles throughout the year. With some simple strategies, you can make the most of the opportunities presented by the changing seasons: 1.Keep the Flow Going The way to maintain sales volume is to be ready for the next selling season. Phase in your new seasonal items for early shoppers while your other product line sales are winding down. You can keep the momentum going in your store and your income if you plan accordingly. 2.Make Advance Preparations Don’t wait until the holiday is upon you to get your products lined up and ready to go. You should begin pushing your promotions two to three months ahead of time, according to Lisa Suttora of Says Suttora, “The advantage to having your products ready several months before a holiday season is you capture the early bird buyers…You’d be amazed how many people shop months in advance of a holiday.” Another benefit of early marketing is it provides lead time for the search engines to pick up the pages for your holiday specials. Include the season or holiday name in your titles, because people are searching for those terms. 3.Use What You’ve Got You don’t necessarily have to change your entire product line every season. Evaluate your current product line and see what can be promoted as a seasonal item. Use your imagination—create unique gift baskets and kits. Shoppers are pressed for time and are looking for solutions, so put together product bundles to solve their holiday needs. 4.Adjust Your Website Your web store should reflect the season—feature items that work well for the approaching holiday. Put a seasonal spin on your ads and listings. “Your sales don’t have to drop,” advises Suttora. “Evaluate what you’re selling and how you want to position it—freshen up the look of your site. You’ve got a whole new group of buyers coming in [with each new season], so you want to be ready for them.”

Every product has a natural life cycle and a season where it sells best: some early buyers come at the beginning, and then the mass of buyers come. Prices peak and retailers begin running out of stock. Sales slow, and trickle down to a few last-minute shoppers.

As an online seller, it’s critical you prepare for the natural retail cycles throughout the year. With some simple strategies, you can make the most of the opportunities presented by the changing seasons:

1.Keep the Flow Going
The way to maintain sales volume is to be ready for the next selling season. Phase in your new seasonal items for early shoppers while your other product line sales are winding down. You can keep the momentum going in your store and your income if you plan accordingly.

2.Make Advance Preparations
Don’t wait until the holiday is upon you to get your products lined up and ready to go. You should begin pushing your promotions two to three months ahead of time, according to Lisa Suttora of Says Suttora, “The advantage to having your products ready several months before a holiday season is you capture the early bird buyers…You’d be amazed how many people shop months in advance of a holiday.”

Another benefit of early marketing is it provides lead time for the search engines to pick up the pages for your holiday specials. Include the season or holiday name in your titles, because people are searching for those terms.

3.Use What You’ve Got
You don’t necessarily have to change your entire product line every season. Evaluate your current product line and see what can be promoted as a seasonal item. Use your imagination—create unique gift baskets and kits. Shoppers are pressed for time and are looking for solutions, so put together product bundles to solve their holiday needs.

4.Adjust Your Website
Your web store should reflect the season—feature items that work well for the approaching holiday. Put a seasonal spin on your ads and listings. “Your sales don’t have to drop,” advises Suttora. “Evaluate what you’re selling and how you want to position it—freshen up the look of your site. You’ve got a whole new group of buyers coming in [with each new season], so you want to be ready for them.”

Sunday, 2 May 2010

4 Steps to Unbeatable Advertising

1. Negotiate
Have you noticed that some people seem to always get the best deals?  Yeah, you pay full price and think you did OK until they show up with the same thing, only they  paid several hundred dollars less.  It really get your goat!  How do they do it?  They're not afraid to ask for an extra discount.

Yep,  don't sell yourself short because you didn't ASK the next time your advertising rep makes an appearance!  Even if you're already getting a discount, ask for a bigger one.  You have not...because you ask not.

2. Trim
Bigger is always better...or is it?  When it comes to advertising, don't be surprised if some of your short ads meet with more success than larger more expensive ads. Trimming down on the size and cost of advertising doesn't mean you'll be trimming the results!

3. Exploit the Freebies
What's the difference between advertising and publicity?  ...who's doing the talking. Yeah, when you sell yourself, it's advertising.  When someone else is selling you, it's publicity...and it generates credibility and interest that you don't want to miss out on.

Think about the different ways you can get your business in the spotlight.  Do you have some news… write a press release?  Write some "how to" articles with a short byline at the end and release them to ezines, magazines, newspapers, and other publishers. Why not promote the product of a non-competitor in return for them promoting yours...think of the totally different market they affect! 

Yep, there are a lot of ways out there to get free advertisement that will benefit your business. Of course you won't be able to rely solely on the freebies, but hey, you can get a little extra for nothing!

4. Improve Your Offer
Is your deal too good to pass up?  If not, you need to improve it.  Hey, I'm not talking about cutting prices even've still got to make a profit.  You can make the deal sweeter just by increasing the readers knowledge of the value of the product, or adding bonuses that are perceived as valuable, but cost you little. 

Motivate buyers with expirations.  Yeah, an open ended offer encourages procrastination...which leads ...yep, nowhere.  When the customer knows he has until Saturday to purchase an item he'll pay more for on Sunday, he'll make it a priority to head for your shop. 
Advertising doesn't have to wipe out your bank account to be effective.  When you learn to negotiate, know when smaller ads are as effective as large ads, ask for discounts, and create an irresistible offer, you're on your way to skyrocketing profit margins!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

4 Steps To Explosive Joint Ventures

Everyone needs targeted visitors to their websites and tis could proof, at some times, to be a very tough job to do. You hear that you need to do one thing from this guru and the other guru tells you to do another. It gets confusing at one point.

Now, the one strategy that will never fail you is finding good partners. Basically even internet marketing is about the “partners” you have and find. You need link partners to gain popularity in the search engines and when you want to sell a product, effectively, you need JV partners to get this thing rolling.

Now why should I do a JV?

Well, whenever you have a product and you want to launch it, it may be wise to find websites in your niche that have lists and may be interested in selling your products. And even if they don’t have a list, just ask them if they would like to promote your product on their website.

What is in it for them?

Great question… whenever you set-up a JV, you need to be sure there is something in it FOR THEM. So depending on you focus you could offer them a commission of 50 up-to 100% on a product you sell.

So how do your determine what kind of commission you will give to your affiliates? It really depends on your focus… if you want to build a list of paying customers quickly, you set-up a JV and give as much commission as possible to your JV partners but when it is for a product that you are going to sell as your main product, you could offer them a commission anywhere between the 50 and 65% (you still need to make a living yourself).

In the first case the product doesn’t have to be extremely high priced, it is all about building that list with “paying customers”… your golden list. So something like $9,95 would be just fine and perfect to attract partners and hand you over their lists. Especially if you give-out a commission of 100%.

Now, the next thing you should do is make it as simple as possible for the JV partner. What I mean by that is that you shouldn’t let them do to much work. You should create all the messages for them(so they can send it out to their list), create a couple of banners that they can put up on their websites, text links, etc.

Now, I have shown you the basics of setting up a JV. Marc Goldmann knows a lot more about how-to set-up Joint Ventures, effectively. So if you ware truly interested, I highly recommend you to do a search on him on Google.

I want to stop by giving you step by step directions you can follow when you set-up your Joint Ventures:

#1: Have a product to sell. You need to make sure you have some kind of product your could sell before you can set-up a JV. And this doesn’t have to be your own product, just think outside the box or check out this website for more information about Joint Ventures.

#2: Set-up you website. When you set-up a JV for your own product, you need a website to promote that product. So you will need to buy hosting and a domain name. I personally get my domains at Godaddy and my hosting at Hostgator.

#3: Find JV partners. This is a very time-consuming task but very rewarding in the end. All you should do is look for websites in your niche and ask them if they want to be your JV partner. Try to call them if possible and otherwise send them a email about your affiliate program(how much they can make, other advantages for them).

#4: Set-up and prepare for launch. If you want to learn more about how to set-up a launch, you should take a look at this website. He knows everything about launches and can most surely help you set-up a launch in your own niche. I will just cover some basics.

What you need to do is make sure your follow ups are ready, that you start getting prospects before you launch and keep these prospects updated and interested about your product, Create a sense of urgency like your product is the best they can get in your niche. And it will make sure that your partners will make more money and the next time you launch something, they will be happy to help you out.

I hope this article has been useful and will help you set-up some explosive Joint Ventures in the future. Take action right now and good luck.

Nicholas Kidd has been an internet marketer for over the past 3 years and is now the Affiliate Manager for Affiliate Cash Secrets and he is paying an unheared of 75% commission on every member you refer, every single month for life. For more information and free subscription to his newsletter(value $197 a year), please click here: