Wow Your Readers: Do Your Research

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Do Your ResearchIf you want to wow your readers with your content, all you have to do take some time to do a little extra research. When you’ve got your finger on the pulse of what’s happening out there, your readers see you as the authority in your subject. And when they think of you as an authority, they’re going to do more business with you.

That’s why it’s always worth it to take the extra time. Or, of course, if you don’t have the time as a busy entrepreneur, we can do the research for you - and then you can take that info and run with it.

But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, here are a few ways to do your online research…

Be in the Know: Reputable News Sources and Industry Blogs

Start by creating alerts with Google. Google Alerts allow you to get updates on content for subjects and keywords of your choosing. This can help round out your knowledge and various subjects, find new resources to subscribe to and even help you come up with new topic ideas.

Of course, you should also subscribe to industry news sources and blogs. You can organize the alerts and newsfeeds in your email system by topic and date. A feed reader like Feedly can help you organize the blogs you follow.

Then you can reference the information when you need it. For example, if you’re writing a blog post on press release distribution you can head to your feed reader and search for recent posts on press releases.

Search It

They key to efficiently and thoroughly researching your topic with search engines is to use specific and detailed keywords. It also helps to write your content first and then go back and look for places where you want to add information to support your claims.

For example, if you’re working on a blog post about press release distribution you might want to know which of the top services offer social media release features. You’d search for that information specifically. It is the fastest way to find the information you need.

Add to that, when search for topic information, consider differing viewpoints that you find. If you can present different viewpoints to your audience and illustrate why your viewpoint is superior, you can create some very compelling content.

Locate Credible Statistics

Bookmark a few of the leading research organizations for your industry. For example, MarketingProfs and MarketingCharts.com are both good sources of data and statistics for those in the marketing industry. Infographic sites like Visual.ly are also good sources of statistics.

There are also plenty of government sources for statistics. For example, FedStats.gov can help you locate the stats from various government departments that would serve a variety of niches.

General to Specific

If you have no idea where to begin with your content, sometimes a general search of information can help you build the outline for your content. Once you have the framework for your material or if you already know the key points you want to make, consider writing the piece first. Then research for the key pieces of specific information you need to help strengthen your content and support your points. This helps you maximize your time.

The great thing about taking extra time to research is you’ll likely find fodder for future content as well. Where you might start researching for one blog or email, you’ll probably end up with enough ideas to create multiple pieces of content.

Free Outsourcing Content Guide

Thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, but have concerns? Download your free 21-page step-by-step guide that shows you how to save time and maximize your profits through content creation. There’s no charge, just a quick opt-in required and you can unsubscribe any time. It's a real eye-opener and completely simplifies the content creation process for any online business owner.

Click here to get yours.

Building Relationships With Subscribers

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Businessman with laptop computer.All marketing is about cultivating and building relationships with potential customers and keeping an open relationship with current customers. You’ve heard it said many times, that people like to buy from those they “know, like and trust” and that goes for your email list subscribers too. The more subscribers feel like they really know you, the more they want to be part of your inner circle, the more they will buy the things that you recommend.

There is a powerful reason for this behavior. It’s called trust. You  might feel at first like you are manipulating people’s feelings, using just the right words to make them feel as if they know you, just so that they buy from you. But the truth is, as long as you’re an honest person, only recommend great products and services, and practice over delivering to your customers you cannot go wrong with this technique.

  • Be Authentically You – No matter who your competition is you have one powerful thing that no one has and that’s yourself. No one else can be you. You are the only person who can be you perfectly. Don’t compromise yourself for your business, it will only bite you in the butt later. 
  • Everyone Won’t Love You — While your goal is to make people love you, the truth is, only the right people need to love you. The right people are your targeted audience, and no one else. It’s likely you will disagree with some people in your industry, or even a few potential customers, but that’s okay. 
  • Speak Directly to Your Audience of One  — Every last piece of email, every last bit of marketing material should be made directly for that audience of one. That perfect, ideal client that you had in mind when you started your business. 
  • Impress Your Audience  — If you always under promise and over deliver your audience will always be impressed. They’ll always get more than they thought they would get, which will leave them feeling super impressed and maybe even moved emotionally. Do that one thing extra that differentiates you from the rest. 
  • Engage With Your Audience – An important element in today’s online marketing is that you need to engage with your audience on a whole new level. Your audience is not a number, or a cog in the machine. They are real people who need your attention. Find ways to engage with them, respond to their questions, thank them for their praise, and provide an abundance of relevant, informative, helpful and moving content. 

You don’t have to go overboard and be a complete open book without any privacy, but by letting your audience into your world a bit, they will feel as if they know who you are by your actions and not just your words. Converting email subscribers to customers takes just a little effort, small reveals into your personality, so that they feel connected to you, feel like they know you, and trust you enough to open their wallets.

You can accomplish all of these things by simply injecting a little of your personality and personal news into your email marketing campaigns. Are you at the beach right now and some marketing messages are going out? Why not let your list subscribers know a bit about what you’re doing at the top of your message? Did you recently suffer a loss, or a change of circumstances, let them peak in a bit into your reality. You may be surprised at how much your audience can relate to you and how that ability to relate will translate into more sales. And hey, if you make more friends in the process, it’s a win-win scenario.

How to Develop Successful Email Marketing Habits

A big part of email marketing success, comes from making it a regular habit. The more you work on growing and nurturing your list, the better your results. To ensure you develop those great habits, be sure to join Alice for the 30-Day Email Marketing Challenge. She’ll whip you into shape in no time.

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5 Steps to High Converting Email Promotions

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Get Them to Click That Buy Button

If you’ve ever sent out a promotion and it was a big flop (who hasn’t?), this is probably going to be a very important message for you. If you want to get more people clicking on your links and taking action on your offers, we’ve outlined 5 steps for you.

So let’s go…

1. Write a Captivating Subject Line

Think of your “Subject” line as a headline. The goal is to motivate your subscriber to open and read the email, so it has to be appealing. The most effective subject lines ask a question, state a benefit, or spark curiosity. Shorter subject lines are more effective than longer ones. Keep it around 50 characters or less. (“From” lines are important too. If possible, the “From” line should include both your brand and name. Emails from named people are more likely to be opened than emails from “Info@…”.)

We talked about this in-depth about getting people to open your emails. If you missed that message, we’ve posted everything for you here. Your subject line is the very first step to creating high-converting email promotions for certain.

Now moving along…

2. Identify a Problem and Make a Promise

Your first paragraph has the task of keeping your reader’s attention and motivating them to read more. Assuming you have developed a relationship with your email list, you can begin with a brief and friendly sentence or two. This reminds your readers that you’re a real person and someone that they have grown to like and trust. Transition into discussing a problem that they might be dealing with right now and providing some value in the form of a solution or the promise of a solution. This solution should directly relate to the product or service you’re promoting.

3. The Body – Length Doesn’t Really Matter

The middle section of your email promotion is where you actually provide your reader with the information about your promotion. Focus on what benefits the reader will get by taking the desired action. If you state a feature, also state the benefit. The length of this section doesn’t really matter, it can be a single paragraph, or five paragraphs.

The important takeaway is that you’re providing value to your reader. (Consider testing and tracking various lengths with your audience. You might find that your prospects prefer long copy over short or vice versa.)

For example, a business coach that is promoting a time management system might provide a few time management tips before leading into the promotion. Or, that same time management coach might simply transition from the problem, not enough hours in the day, to the solution, a simple system that helps you automate your most time consuming tasks.

4. Your Offer

Wrap your offer into the end of your message. If the offer is limited in time or quantity, let your readers know that. Urgency motivates action. Explain the offer in detail and remember to highlight how the various features of your offer will benefit your reader. Consider sweetening the deal in some manner. Add a bonus report or a free consultation. If they’re leaning toward a buying decision, this bonus often locks them in and helps them feel more confident about their decision to buy.

5. Your Call to Action

Don’t forget to tell readers exactly what they need to do right now to take advantage of your offer. Include a link that they can click on. It should take them directly to the payment page. This is also a great place to include a PS. Your PS can remind them that the offer is limited or to take action now so they receive the bonus. (Some people have found that an additional “buy” link in the middle of their message works well. It may be something to test with your audience.)

And of course, don’t forget to FOLLOW UP. If you just send one email, you’re missing out on a lot of potential income. People may have missed the first email, didn’t have a chance to check the offer or just need a nudge to take action. So always, always, always follow up.

How to Develop Successful Email Marketing Habits

A big part of email marketing success, comes from making it a regular habit. The more you work on growing and nurturing your list, the better your results. To ensure you develop those great habits, be sure to join Alice for the 30-Day Email Marketing Challenge. She’ll whip you into shape in no time.

10 Eye-Opening Email Marketing Statistics

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marketingstatsThe power of email marketing cannot be denied. Email marketing is a very effective way to spread the word about your products and services in a way that few other methods can match. With email marketing you have a direct line to your leads, potential customers and customers. No matter what other people say, email is not dead. It’s still the most powerful form of marketing you have right at your fingertips. The statistics do not lie.

  • 1) 70% of respondents reported to always opening email from their favorite companies. (Exact Target) 

With email you  have a direct line straight to your customer or leads. This is a very powerful position to be in, knowing that many of your list subscribers will open your message.

2) 1/3rd of consumers base the decision to open email or not on just the subject line. (Salesforce.com) 

This tells you that creating compelling email subject lines is an important aspect of creating content that your subscribers want to see. If your subject line doesn’t pique curiosity, they might not read what’s inside.

3) 2/3rds of Gmail recipients open email on mobile devices. (Litmus) 

Understanding that so many people read email on their mobile devices shows you that your email marketing messages, as well as other online real-estate needs to be responsive.

4) Emails are typically opened between 10 am and 4 pm Mon-Fri. (Harland Clarke) 

What time does your audience open emails? Do you know? Try sending test messages using this information to find out when people are opening your email messages.

5) 7 out of 10 people who opened an email with a coupon redeemed it. (Blue Kangaroo) 

While you don’t want to constantly rely on discounts to get new customers, if a small coupon can turn that many people around, why not give it a try?

6) Email marketing’s return on investment is over 4000%. (Direct Marketing Association) 

Okay. This is a huge number. If you’re not using email marketing to its fullest potential to get the word out about your business, why not? What more do you need to know?

7) 91% of consumers check their email daily. (Exact Target) 

Email is the most powerful way to market your business to your audience. Virtually everyone uses email and almost everyone checks their email daily.

8) Increase your deliverability rate by removing inactive subscribers. (WhoIsHostingThis) 

An inactive subscriber can be described as someone who has not opened an email within a period of time from 8 to 12 months. Give them a last opportunity, then delete them to immediately improve your stats.

9) Subject lines of 6 to 10 words are more likely to be opened. (Retention Science) 

Focus on making your subject lines as clear as possible in 6 to 10 words. Most people open emails based on the subject line alone, don’t waste one word.

10) Personalization results in 41% higher unique click through rate. (Experian Marketing Services) 

It’s interesting to note that most people realize that personalization is automated today, but they still like it anyway because it still works. Personalize all your messages as much as possible for the highest return on your investment.

These stats are important to remember when embarking on an email marketing campaign. It helps you realize that with the right optimization, the right subject lines, and the right targeted audience, email marketing is not only a powerful way to increase your sales but it is a superior way, that cannot be matched by any other marketing method.

How to Develop Successful Email Marketing Habits

A big part of email marketing success, comes from making it a regular habit. The more you work on growing and nurturing your list, the better your results. To ensure you develop those great habits, be sure to join Alice for the 30-Day Email Marketing Challenge. She’ll whip you into shape in no time.

It’s My Birthday: 42 Ways to Maximize
Your Income with What You Already Have

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42nd Birthday Post - You'll be so wise when you're done reading it.Okay, the pressure is on. Each year I get older, I have to give you even more ideas. We’re up to 42 and this time, I’d like to share ideas for maximizing your income. Many of us run our businesses by doing NEW things like creating new websites, releasing new products and so forth…when we really could make it easier to make more money by maximizing what we already have.

So let’s get right to it. Here are 42 ways to maximize your income with what you’ve already got:

  • 1. Use that email again. When you send a broadcast email that is well-received by your audience, be sure to add it to your autoresponder series, so new subscribers will also receive it.
  • 2. Split testing for better results. Split test your sales pages and opt-in pages to ensure you work toward constant improvement in conversion rates. You can use Visual Website Optimizer to make this dead simple.
  • 3. Relaunch instead of launching. Instead of releasing new products all the time, improve your existing ones and relaunch them. Update any out of date information or add some valuable bonuses that make it easier to use the product.
  • 4. Bundle your posts. If you have some very popular blog posts on a specific topic, bundle them up and release them as an opt-in report, so you can grow your list.
  • 5. Get help. If there are tasks on this list of 42 things you know you should be doing, but can’t seem to get enough time to, hire a virtual assistant to get to those details for you. If you’re looking for a VA, try Tishia Saves Time or Virtual Mindworks. I highly recommend both.
  • 6. Seriously, get help. On the other hand, if there are everyday mundane administrative tasks that seem to take up too much of your time…again, hire a VA to take care of those. Then you can focus on the business building tasks you need to be doing more of.
  • 7. Stats provide the clues. Look through your stats and find your most popular pages. Make sure these pages are well monetized by adding an opt-in offer, product recommendations and/or other advertisements.
  • 8. Potentially serve another audience. If you have a lot of content that can serve another audience, think about how you can make this happen. Over time, we gather a ton of content and often that content can be applied to other niches. Now, you may not want to venture into totally new areas because that might divide your attention if you don’t have the right team in place, but you can certainly license your content for others to adapt to their niches.
  • 9. Transcribe it. Many of us have ever-growing libraries of video and audio recordings. If you get those transcribed they can be turned into Kindle books and other documents. You can even repurpose them into workbooks, checklists and even full ebooks. We can help you with this.
  • 10. You already have content for a webinar. Turn content you’ve already written into a webinar script. Require payment or an opt-in to attend the webinar. People love an interactive opportunity to learn about a topic more in-depth.
  • 11. Customers are our best cheerleaders. Can’t seem to grow your affiliate force? Ask your customers to promote your product. They’re the ones who already love it and just about everyone has some type of web presence today that they can spread the word about your offers.
  • 12. One real friend is better than many sort-of friends. Instead of trying to network with everyone online and joining every Facebook Group you can find, find some key people and develop a stronger and mutually beneficial relationship. This is something we cover in the Competitors into Profits course.
  • 13. Invest in tools for your business, but do it wisely. So many people get caught up in “tools” and look for the latest shiny object that can help them for their business. I’m personally more of a “methods” person than a “tools” person, so if there is a tool that can make me apply my method more efficiently, I will get it…but I don’t just pick something up because everyone else seems to say I should.
  • 14. Invest in your education as you need it. Much like #13, it’s important to invest in your business…but it’s easy to get sidetracked. Invest in educational products that will teach you something specific that you need to know to move to the next level, rather than buying up the info product flavor of the month. And when you do invest, be sure to go through the educational program, make a plan to implement the ideas and follow through. Don’t buy anything else until you’ve done that.
  • 15. What’s your customer’s value? Calculate your average lifetime customer value and invest more money into getting new customers. Whether it’s purchasing advertising or giving affiliates more incentive to promote, when you know your average lifetime customer value, you know how much money you can spend.
  • 16. Capitalize on your drop-off rate.  If you have a subscription-based product, find out how much the average member spends before they cancel their subscription. This gives you an opportunity to possibly offer “lifetime memberships” at a slightly higher value or to create some member retention programs to boost that value.
  • 17. Get some more life out of your older products. Bundle up products at a great price and offer them again. This means customers who have already purchased some of the products in the bundle might purchase them again, just to get the remaining products at a great price…any extra goodies you might throw into the package. This is a great tip shared by Nicole Dean recently.
  • 18. Make suggestions. Update your shopping cart to suggest other related products in order to increase your dollar per sale value. Include related offers once they’ve made the purchase as well.
  • 19. Get customers to buy more stuff they’ve already shown an interest in. Email your customers who bought a specific product with an offer for a related product that will help them even further. Send a broadcast email and then add the email into an autoresponder that is automatically sent to new customers that buy this product.
  • 20. Get them on your list. Ensure you are working to bring people who read your blog or follow you on social media to your mailing list. Email is a more commercial form of marketing and you want a way to contact your followers directly with your promotions. You worked hard to grow your blog and social media following, so make the most of it.
  • 21. Getting to know them is a process. Always work toward understanding your target audience better. This will help you position yourself better to help them and sell more of your stuff. Remember, your audience is constantly evolving and so should you.
  • 22. Share your story. Rework your sales pages and other marketing materials with stories and examples. People learn better and are persuaded more when they can relate to a real world example.
  • 23. Help someone else first. Get in touch with someone else in your niche and do something to help them grow their business. When you help someone else, they’re more likely to help you with…without you even needing to ask.
  • 24. Continue to educate your prospects. If you have a product or promote a product that sells well, create more content that will help your readers want that product. Think how-to blog posts, reviews, product comparisons, case studies and more.
  • 25. What do your customer think? Take the time to collect testimonials from your satisfied customers and be sure to share them.  You can share them via email, in blog posts, on social media, on your sales pages and more.
  • 26. A FAQ often does the job. Overcome objections of your potential customers by including a FAQ on your sales page. Most people won’t take the time to ask you a question if they’re unsure of buying, but if FAQ can address their questions, they’re more likely to make the purchase.
  • 27.  Set up conversion goals. Google Analytics makes it easy for you to set up conversion goals. This will help you set up tracking for email subscriptions, clicks, how long someone stays on a page, sales, video views and more.
  • 28. Pay attention and adapt. If you see things changing in your industry, start adapting and see how you can continue to stand apart and soar through the changes. Read this post called Adapt or Die which explores the inability of one movie critic to see the writing on the wall. Don’t get left behind, while others who figure it out move forward.
  • 29. Stay focused. Even with all this talk about maximization, please stay focused. Work on one thing at a time and don’t spread yourself too thin. Maximization is a process and every little thing you do will make a difference and as you make more changes, you’ll see even more growth.
  • 30. Focus on them. Go through your sales pages and other marketing materials and turn the focus from you and more onto your target customer and how you can help them. People respond better when they think you’re speaking directly to them.
  • 31. Survey your customers. In addition to paying attention to their behavior, ask your customers what they think and what they want. This will give you plenty of opportunity to improve things you’ve already got going for you.
  • 32. Capitalize on your most valuable pages. Use download and thank you pages for focused product promotions. When someone has already said YES to one offer, they are more likely to say yes to another related one.
  • 33. Track and tweak. Track links in your autoresponder series and replace poor performing links with different offers. Remember to check your autoresponder regularly too, so that all your links are functioning and up to date.
  • 34. The bounty is waiting in your software. Explore the features of your shopping cart and/or autoresponder. You might be surprised at the cool things you can do that will increase your sales.
  • 35. Maybe you should have a product. If you sell a lot of a particular product as an affiliate, consider creating a similar product for yourself. You’ll get to keep more per sale and you’ll be able to recruit your own affiliates to spread the word further. Plus, it’s much easier to convince our subscribers to buy our own products than the products of someone they don’t necessarily know.
  • 36. Bullets, features and benefits. Go back to your sales pages and other marketing pieces and add more meaningful bullet points. Bullet points are easy to scan and when you provide more features your product and demonstrate the benefits of those features, you have a win-win. Your customer can make a better decision and you can sell more products.
  • 37. Add product pictures. Never underestimate the power of product pictures. If you sell a physical product, show photos of your product in different settings and being used in different ways. If your product offers visible results, show your customer’s before and after photos. If you sell information products, make sure each component of your product has a cover, software box or something else to represent it. Pictures help illustrate the true value of your product in a visual manner, so show them what you’ve got.
  • 38. Try video. If you can demonstrate your product through video, you’ll definitely have a winner. You can also try adding a quick welcome video at the top of your pages and see if it improves your conversions. It will very likely do that.
  • 39. Shape your content around your products. Most of us plan our blog posts, social media updates and other content on a whim. We write about what we feel like writing about or what happens to be popular at that time. However, your content marketing plan will be much stronger if you plan your content based on the products you plan to promote.
  • 40. Build on former products. When you do create products, create the product your existing customers would buy next, instead of trying to get your audience to chase the next shiny object.
  • 41. See who’s sending you traffic and get in touch. Check your stats and see which web pages and social media accounts are sending you traffic. Get in touch to say thank you and open a dialogue that encourages future work together. You can interview them, write a blog post for them and make way for more high level projects and promotions together.
  • 42. Continue to collect data. When your customer or subscriber first comes to you, you probably just collect basic data from them. However, once they are in your database, you can continue to ask them questions that give you even more data that will allow to segment your list and target your marketing even more. For example, you can collect information on birthdays, personal interests and more.

So now the ball’s in your court. What one thing could you start doing today to maximize what you ALREADY have? Take it one day at a time, but keep working to make things better. It’s easier than starting all over or reinventing the wheel each day.

If you want even more, here are my previous birthday posts with tons of tips and ideas:

Free Outsourcing Content Guide

Thinking of hiring a ghostwriter, but have concerns? Download your free 21-page step-by-step guide that shows you how to save time and maximize your profits through content creation. There’s no charge, just a quick opt-in required and you can unsubscribe any time. It's a real eye-opener and completely simplifies the content creation process for any online business owner.

Click here to get yours.

How to Get People to Open Your Emails

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Get Them to Open Your EmailYour email subject line has a very important job, but at the same time, it’s a very simple job.

That job is to get people to open your email. That’s all it has to do. It needs to pique your subscribers interest, so they open up. It doesn’t necessarily have to tell them what your email is all about or create world peace. It just needs to get them to open up.

Here are 10 ways to work your subject lines for better open rates:

1. Use Numbers In The Subject Line. One of the most effective tips for grabbing attention is to use a number in the subject line or headline. For example, “3 Tips to Live a Better Life”, “5 Mistakes You’re probably Making Right Now”, and so on. You can place the number anywhere in the headline. For example, “How to Increase Your Savings by 10%”, or “How to Win Big. 5 Lottery Secrets”.

2. Add Urgency. Now you probably know that using phrases like “Act Now,” and “Limited Time Offer” are a surefire way to trigger the SPAM filters and they tend to get deleted rather than opened. Instead, try softer approaches to urge your readers to open the email. For example, “I’m shutting this one down,” or “3 Days until the biggest sale of the year.”

3. Make a Promise. Demonstrate the value of opening the email right in the subject line. If the email is about saving time, then tell your readers in the subject line. For example, “How to save an hour, or more, a day.” If you’re offering a coupon or promotional offer, say so in the subject line. “I’ve never offers such a deep discount before.”

4. Ask Questions. Questions get people involved. They are intrigued and want to know the answer. For example, “Are you making these gardening mistakes?” or “Don’t you hate it when…” and fill in the blank.

5. Keep it Short. Your readers are only going to be able to see the first couple of words of your subject line. Try to keep it to fewer than 50 characters. One short sentence should capture your message.

6. Get Personal. People don’t like to see their name in the subject line every time, but it’s a great technique to use sparingly when you really want to get their attention. In the revers, you might try including your name or your information in the subject line. For example, “How I Recovered from the Biggest Mistake of My Life.” or “Julie’s Closets Reveals our Best Organization Tips.”

7. Consider Trends and Keywords. What’s hot in your industry right now? Capitalize on it and include the phrases in your subject line (as long as it’s relevant to the email content.) For example, when the 4-Hour Work Week was published coaches, assistants, time management software and anyone who thought they could, attached themselves to that concept and hot phrase.

8. Use Emotions. You know what your readers are feeling and what they want to experience. Use that information to craft subject lines that they can relate to. For example an organizing expert might use the following subject line, “Want to have the closet of a debutante?” Or, “If you get frustrated by _______, open this email.”

9. The “How To”. The “How to” approach isn’t a new trick, however it still works provided that what you’re telling your audience how to do is relevant and interesting. For example, “How to frost a cake,” isn’t particularly compelling. “How to frost a cake that makes Martha Stewart proud” is more interesting.

10. Track the Data. Whatever technique you use to increase open rates, test and track the results. You won’t know what your audience responds to unless you take this extra step. Pay attention to what they like and craft subject lines you know your audience will open. You can also split test different subject lines to learn what your unique subscriber base responds too and build on those test results.

The key thing is to experiment and try different things, so you know what works. Add to that, your subscribers will probably respond to the variation as well. If they see the exact same thing each time, they may become desensitized, so keep working at it and grow those open rates.

Oh and remember when we mentioned Alice’s 30-Day Email Challenge a little while back? When you join here, you get all kinds of swipe files and handy tools, including a subject line swipe file that will come in handy when crafting your emails.

Go ahead and get started with the 30-Day Challenge. We’ll be back next week with some email conversion tips for you, so you can sell more stuff.

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Are Today

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In my post from the other day about Kelly’s Exposure and Profit, I promised to come back with a story that means a whole lot to me.

While I was in Toronto, a great thing happened the day before my presentation and I was so pleased that I was able to share it when I somewhat fearfully got up to the stage on Sunday. I must admit, I was disappointed I wasn’t there to witness what happened directly, but am so pleased for my son and the experience he was able to have.

Here’s what happened…

This MVP doubts himself no longerIn the picture to the right, you can see my oldest son’s baseball team. This is the last game before they went into the semi-finals for their tournament.

My son is 12 and this is his first year playing baseball. He absolutely loves the sport and enjoys being on a team, but he has doubted himself immensely. There are kids on the team who have been playing since they were 5 and younger. Others have more natural ability. There were even some evenings with near tears, but he kept going back because he loved it. Still, the worry he was letting his team down was always in the back of his mind.

When the family was on its way to the game that day, my husband gave my son a little pep talk and told him son not to worry about who was watching him. He should just listen to his coaches and focus on the game.

My husband told me he could see an immediate change in my son. He was completely focused and really into the game. He even caught a pretty amazing pop fly in mid-leap. Later my son told me that he technically did everything “wrong” when he caught the ball, but I reminded him that he now knew he could do it and he could perfect his technique from here.

Well, my son’s performance in the game actually earned him the MVP for the game and if you look closely at the photo, you’ll see him proudly holding up his MVP tshirt. When I got this picture, I was beaming because I knew this must have propelled his confidence through the roof. This is exactly what he needed.

I think there’s something for all of us to learn from here. People often tell me that I don’t understand how hard it is to grow an online business because I’m successful now. We all start somewhere and it doesn’t matter where  you are today because when you compare yourself to others, you hold yourself back. That’s the self-sabotaging truth of it all.

All you need to do is focus…pay attention to your coach, if you have one…and get in the game.

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This is WHY: Exposure and Profits – Toronto – May 2014

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Exposure and Profit Panel Discussion

Well, that was a great weekend. It was so great, I didn’t want it to end and that’s probably the reason I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning yesterday when I had to be at the airport by 6. It was a tough morning, but I got plenty of sleep on the plane and then when I got back home. Now, I’m all refreshed and ready to get back at doing amazing things in my business.

While I don’t attend as many conferences as I used to (I prefer to focus on DOING over hopping from event to event), I still know how important it is to make these important connections, brush up on my knowledge and gather new ideas. So when I used my time, energy and funds to get to Kelly’s Exposure and Profit event…I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Kelly was paying attention to all the little details to ensure that this was an amazing event all around.

I could probably go on and on about everything, but I’m going to keep this at just three key takeaways I got from the weekend.

#1: Accommodate Your Audience to Be Awesome!

I mentioned that Kelly paid lots of attention to little details and that’s no exaggeration. She did have a great event planner, Margaret Binns, but it was those details beyond seating, timing, equipment and food (ohh…the food was amazing) that I’m talking about.

Kelly promised this to be an “introvert-friendly” event and she wasn’t kidding. She encouraged all participants to speak up and share their great message, but she did in the safest environment as possible. For example, she asked participants to share a 90 second introduction about themselves. They were asked to come up to the microphone to do it, but if they weren’t comfortable with that, she would read the introduction for them. But what was so wonderful that even if they didn’t want to read their own, they willingly came up on the stage beside Kelly while she read their introduction.

Slowly, but surely, people were becoming braver because of the safe environment that Kelly created.

The whole event ran like this. There were opportunities to stretch our wings, but if we needed to step back we could…but because it was so safe, most people chose to stretch. Heck, this even includes me. This was my first real conference speaking engagement, but I was pretty darned nervous about it. Kelly asked what I needed to make it easier and they even rearranged the whole stage area, so I could feel as comfortable as possible. First, I wanted a stool. Then, I said I wasn’t sure. Then I asked them to move the podium and they did everything I needed to calm my worried self.

Kelly asked us to leave a note about how we felt about the event and this is what I told her:

Alice Seba LOVES Exposure and Profit

This makes me think about how we can do the same with our audiences. There’s always something that will hold people back from achieving what they want to achieve and how can we, as their guides, make it safe for them to do so?

#2: Stories Are Amazing Marketing Tools

I think many of this know this on some level, but we don’t always take the time to connect the personal with our business. We may share personal stories and anecdotes, but we don’t always take the time to connect those to key learning points for our audiences.

Some of the most powerful stories from the weekend came from Darrel Eves. He shared a lot of stories, but the most powerful of which was one about the fundraiser he created for his brother who needed a kidney replacement where they raised over $250,000. I am pretty sure there were few dry eyes when he was done, but not only because it was a great story, but because it showed the power of YouTube and how we can make an incredible difference in the world with our own marketing skills. He connected his story with the greater message of his business and that’s how to use the power of storytelling.

Make your stories make a difference.

Derral Eves, Speaking at Exposure and Profit

I also told a story about my son that had some meaning for the audience members, but I’m going to save that for in a couple of days. I’ll make a post about it soon.

And before we move onto the next takeaway, we just (totally coincidentally…Mel planned it a while back) released a PLR package about Marketing with Stories. If you think your readers could benefit from it, go check it out.

Now moving along, let’s ask…

#3: What Would Awesome You Do?

Nicole Dean - Be Your Awesome!In another message that was shared through a great story, Nicole Dean encouraged us to be the most awesome version of ourselves possible. She told the true story of a man who had lost a lot of weight, saved his marriage and grew his business exponentially in the short amount of time because he would simply ask himself:

“What would the awesome me do?”

…each time he had to make a decision to do something in the day. Little by little, if you do the things awesome you would do, your life becomes awesome all at the same time.

So, keep this in mind, as you work and do all the other things in your life.

What Would Awesome You Do?

 And speaking of being awesome and connecting with others, our Competitors into Profits students know this. Don’t hide out anymore and try to do this online business thing all by yourself. It’s just so much darned work and it stifles your awesome.

Thank you so much to Kelly and her staff for putting together such a wonderful event. Thank you to the speakers and all the attendees for sharing such great information and for being an inspiration to do even better in the future.

 

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Email Marketing Segmentation Using Your Autoresponder

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Email SegmentationMarket segmentation is an important aspect of email marketing that you cannot afford to skip over. Segmentation is simply the process of identifying specific and meaningful groups of customers that you can target with specific messages, products and / or services in a way that resonates with them.

Why You Need to Segment

Segmenting your email list, no matter how small, is an important step toward boosting customer loyalty, increasing purchasing and it will help spark your creativity in terms of creating new products and services for your customers.

  • Boost Customer Loyalty
  • Increase Purchasing
  • Spark Creativity 

You can introduce some very simple segmentation into your email marketing using your autoresponder’s segmentation features. Most autoresponders offer some sort of segmenting features. If it doesn’t, then you need to switch services because segmentation is an important tool to use that will make all your marketing efforts exponentially more effective.

If you’re still not sure about segmenting, read this post by Alice that shows how a mailing to a segmented list of 98 people beat a larger list of over 5200 subscribers.

How to Segment

First, decide how you want to segment your list members. A great way to start with segmenting is to segment based on behavior. Separating those who have purchased a specific item from those who have not is a good first step.

You can even segment subscribers from the beginning of their subscription by putting different sign up forms on each landing page they use to sign up for your email list. Aweber makes it a simple and straight forward process and these are the segmenting features available. Other autoresponders will likely have similar options.

  • Segmenting with Forms – You can include segmentation criteria right on a sign up form. Male from female, income levels, topics of interest and more. You can do this by adding questions that a subscriber clicks, and you can also do it by putting a different sign up form on different landing pages. 
  • Behavioral Segmenting — You can segment based on who clicks various links in your email messages. You can do it via a link inside a normal message, or you can set up a poll specifically designed to assign people to various lists based on their answers. You can incentivize clicks by offering coupons, free downloads, letting subscribers choose their sales and more. 
  • Surveys & Poll Segmentation — You can send buyers, subscribers, and list members surveys and polls that segment them based on their answers or in the case of some, their lack of answers. This is a great way to segment list members after they’ve signed up. 
  • Give Members Self Segmenting Options — With Aweber you can actually include self-segmenting options in specific messages such as a rating scale so that your readers can rate your messages, products and services, thus adding them to a specific segment of your list. 

Each of these ideas works by providing a special link to your subscribers that takes them to a hidden page on your website once they click it. Then by clicking it they also, due to the code involved, automatically get added to the specific list based on the segmentation criteria. Once it’s set up, inside your autoresponder service, it runs itself and is pretty hands off.

Segmenting customers from prospects is a good starting point into email marketing segmentation. When you do that, you’ll be able to better personalize and target your email marketing messages to make a bigger impact on their future behavior and increase sales exponentially.

How to Develop Successful Email Marketing Habits

A big part of email marketing success, comes from making it a regular habit. The more you work on growing and nurturing your list, the better your results. To ensure you develop those great habits, be sure to join Alice for the 30-Day Email Marketing Challenge. She’ll whip you into shape in no time.

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18 Things to Send Your Mailing List

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What to send your email listIf you’ve ever wondered what to send your email list, wonder no longer. Just keep this list of 18 ideas handy to use over and over again.

1. Weekly Roundups: Let your email list know what’s happening on your blog and in your business. You can even share content from other sites as well.

2. How to Content: Share instructional content with your subscribers and add value. Show them how to do something that easily lends to promoting another product, whether it’s through an affiliate link or one of your own products.

3. Educational Content: Consider sending an educational series that connects weekly messages and tackles a topic more in-depth. Keep the momentum going over a period of time to fully educate your subscribers.

4. Checklists: Help guide people through tasks with checklists they can print and re-use. This is high-value brandable content they’ll refer to over and over again.

5. Worksheets and Quizzes: Allow subscribers to work through problems and challenges by asking tough questions and providing potential solutions. Whenever you can help your subscribers accomplish something, you boost your reputation with them.

6. Product Reviews and Comparisons: Help consumers make the best product choice for their needs. Your subscribers will thank you when you help them make the best buying decision possible. And of course, don’t forget to include your affiliate link.

7. Share Relevant Industry Facts and Statistics: Compelling statistics can be used to motivate action and conversions. They’re great for sales page, but emails and other content as well.

8. Frequently Asked Questions: Share answers to the questions you receive most often. Ask your subscribers to submit questions, so they feel a deeper connection and you can help them with what they really need.

9. Industry News Commentary: Discuss your thoughts and feelings about industry news, changes, events, and controversies. Use your email messages as a tool to spark conversations. Staying educated about what’s happening your industry is a good thing all around.

10. Coupons and Special Promotions: Deliver coupons to your audience or share exclusive or limited time promotions. Share them for your own products or ask a vendor to extend a special offer to your list.

11. Make Announcements: Are you launching a product, hosting or attending an event, or making changes to your business? Use email to keep your prospects and customers aware and engaged. It’s the best way to reach them directly.

12. Contests and Sweepstakes: Launch contests and sweepstakes through yoru email list and get more people involved and excited about your business. People love free stuff and they even love to spread the word about free stuff, so you can grow your traffic.

13. Share Useful Tips on Relevant Topics: Tips are amongst the most popular types of online content. When you keep your emails simple and to the point, your readers are more likely to take action.

14. Videos: If you have a video channel, share links to your video or embed the video in the body of your email message. If you don’t have any video to share, find some great ones your subscribers would be interested in.

15. Webinars and Live Events: If you host live events you can use your email marketing to not only market the event but to also share links to the recordings and/or transcripts. You can also share snippets or quotes from the event to provide value and market the event.

16. Interviews: Interview industry experts and share all or a portion of the in1terview in your email message. This is a great way to deliver useful content and to build relationships with players in your niche.

17. Challenges: Challenge your subscribers to achieve something within your niche and to share their results. For example, an organization expert might challenge subscribers to share their biggest organization problem and how they solved it. Or challenge them to share their messiest closet. It’s a great way to get subscribers involved.

18. Images: There are a number of different ways to approach sharing images in your email marketing. You can share:

• Photos
• Cartoons
• Memes
• Pins from your Pinterest account.
• Infographics

Get your subscribers involved in the image sharing too. Ask them for photos using your product or other images they want to share.

The easiest way to keep delivering great content is to plan your content in advance, but as busy entrepreneurs, we know it doesn’t always work out that way. That’s why this list will provide you with ideas to use in a pinch…or while you’re doing your topic planning.

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