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Your Own Products? Recognize you can specialize.

YourProductI received a lot of positive feedback from the affiliate article.  Promoting other peoples products as an affiliate can be very lucrative, but have you ever thought about creating your own info product?

I personally am a fan of both affiliate marketing and creating my own information products. I guess when it comes to figuring out which one is best, it’s all a matter of what your goals are and what you want to accomplish.

Creating your own information products will without a doubt give you more control over the amount of money you make. When you are the product creator, you run the show. One reason you should have your own products is that your business doesn’t depend on how any one company treats you.  You set your own price and you determine what will be paid out to affiliates.  You also control your reputation.  When you are creating information products yourself there will often be much less competition in a market. Many affiliates scour markets to find products to promote but they don’t want to be bothered with actually creating them. But product owners who are willing to go the extra step and make a product will find that there are fewer product creators out there than affiliates, so you will have an easier time establishing yourself in the market.

So yes, a great way to make money online is to create your own information products. If you are serious about being in internet marketing for the long haul, I definitely think product creation should be a part of your business at some point.

Firstly let’s discuss information products. What are they? An info-product is simply a collection of knowledge, assembled for distribution, and designed to be consumed by its users.

Here is a sample list of some different types of information products that are simply the digital offspring of the more common physical product.

 

Physical

Digital

Books EBooks
Magazines E-zines
Newspapers Online news
Newsletters Email newsletters
Reports Digital reports
White paper Digital white paper
CD’s Digital audio, MP3’s
DVD’s Digital video
Blu-ray HD streaming video
Seminars Webinars, Tele-seminars
Workshops Membership website

Actually, any combination of the above can work.  As you can see there are many different types of information products: e-books, online courses, videos, audio files, and membership sites.

Information products can be quite short (my favorite, I’ll tell you why later), for example there’s no need to write a 200 page eBook if the information you want to convey is just as easily conveyed in five pages or 10 pages. You could create and sell a half-hour video within 24 hours. It all depends on what your market is looking for.

For you, there are lots of benefits. First of all, you can create an information product from scratch free or very cheaply. The only costs would be software or outsourcing certain tasks, but it’s completely possible to make high quality products for nothing at all. Like everything in sales, quality counts, so it is very important at the start to gain extensive knowledge of your product and if possible spend time branding yourself as an expert before trying to sell.

Creating information products can be a very profitable exercise. However, often people spend a lot of time creating a product that nobody wants. They have an idea and then decide that it will be very useful to create that idea and end up creating a product that nobody needs.

You have to be more scientific in your approach to create information products. When I’m creating information products, I like to think of myself as a problem solver, helping others with the knowledge I have in some specific areas.  (Refer to Discovering Your Niche, the process is similar.)  The other thing in our age of specialization and alacrity is keep it to the point and focused.   Identify a problem, researched the solution, and sell information to the people who need it. Look around at the people and situations you encounter on a daily or regular basis. How can you create your own information product that will help others to solve their problems? Again, you do not initially have to be an expert in the field already, as you will become more knowledgeable as you research your topic.

The most effortless type of information product to create can be an audio recording; a screen capture video; or a web cam or flip video (with no editing).  However, the type of product you create is dependent upon simply what your target market prefers to consume.  You must consider what format makes sense for your product and how it fits into your overall business plan.

You have to realize that the amount of effort that you put into an information product does NOT dictate the price that your market will pay for it. There is a lot of money to be made by creating small, 7-15 page reports on PRECISE topics.

As I suggested, most consumers would rather not sift through 100 pages of information to find out how to do something they are interested in, nor would they like to pay for 200 pages of information when they only need chapters 1 and 2.

With more and more products available on the market, consumers are becoming demanding and selective. They want what they want and only what they want.

I believe that perhaps the biggest untapped information gold mine lies in this concept of creating small reports on precise topics.

  • 13 Ways to Find New Affiliates Using Facebook
  • How To Walk Off 10 Pounds in 10 Days
  • 3 Ways To Take Your Next Vacation Free Of Charge
  • The 15-Minute Guide To Training Your Dog
  • Top 5 Ideas For Starting A Christian Community Group

 

Specialized, expert, and specific information.

Beyond satisfying the consumer, the benefits of creating these small reports are overwhelming.

  • You can write a small report in just a few hours.
  • The profit per page ratio is high – 10 pages for $10 is a dollar per page per customer.
  • Small reports are a great deal easier to write than full-length courses.
  • There is a never-ending supply of topics for small reports…just keep your eyes open!
  • A series or set of your small reports can be bundled into premium-priced lessons over time.
  • When “hot topics” emerge (almost daily!) you can quickly crank out a small report to strike while the iron is hot.
  • Watch, and when other marketers are seeing success with their products, you can create a complementary report to offer for sale as a supplement.
  • Many people can’t afford to buy (or refuse to buy) high-priced courses – but virtually anyone can spend $10-$15.

Let’s look at how to create your new info product fast.

1. Set a Deadline

Until you set a deadline for its completion in your new info product is just a dream. Make the deadline a little shorter than you’re comfortable with. For example if you think it will take you three days to write your report set a deadline for two days.

If you make the deadline too long you will tend to procrastinate. Your deadline should be short enough so that it eliminates procrastination, and not so short that you don’t have the time to complete your work.

2. Divide Your Work into Tasks and Create a Plan with Tasks for Each Day

Once you’ve set your deadline, take out your calendar program. Block out the time you’ll spend working on your product every day. Make the time you spend working on the product non-negotiable.  Don’t forget that writing the EBook or report is only part of the process.  Depending upon the length you may divide the writing into tasks.  There is research, format, a sales page, etc.

But what if you’re very short of time?

If you don’t have very much time, outsourcing is a solution to helping you to get your product online and selling fast.

3. Use Outsourcing: Let Others Do What You Can’t Do, or Don’t Want to Do

You can outsource much of the work of creating your info product.

For example, writing the sales page for your information product might be something that you can do easily and are looking forward to, however if copywriting is hard for you, hire a copywriter. The same thing applies to creating the graphics or e-covers for your website sales page for your product — if you don’t enjoy creating graphics, hire somebody to do it for you.

You’ll find that you can outsource almost anything to do with your information product and it will be reasonably inexpensive.  This need not be as scary or expensive as it seems. There are writers who work for very low prices.  Places like Elance, Freelancer.com and Odesk to name a few are also great places to ask people for quotes.

And as for mini site graphics and eBook covers, there are always people on Fiverr.com who are willing to do these tasks for only yep Five Dollars.

The process of developing your product can be in and of itself very rewarding. The other bonus is that you will be establishing yourself as an authority in your niche. A good long- term goal is to become a known expert in your field. By releasing high quality eBooks or digital courses, you brand yourself. This paves the way for future money -making endeavors.

Find a need, solve the problem, and keep it precise.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Habits form futures….

Thanksgiving is an emotional time. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then sometimes discover once a year is way too often!  Well, that is not the case for our family, quite the contrary we often have to share our gratitude remotely from different cities and miss the time together.  When our kids were young we often spent our “prior” turkey indulgence being grateful for all the little things that we had…our health, our family, our home, our bed…you get the idea.  Things were simple and it was a nice break from business and work.  We were truly thankful for what we had.

We live in an age of distraction.  Today, the great contradiction is that on Thursday the very same people who are purportedly thankful for everything that they have… on Friday are up before the sun to drive to the closest mall to treat themselves to the biggest (most certainly busiest) shopping day of the year!

The very same folks who on Thursday we so grateful for everything , now on Friday just a few belches later, need everything and are willing to go without sleep and fight to get it.  Help me understand?  On Thursday I was so thankful for everything, on Friday there is so much I was secretly complaining about in my spirit that I have to have; and I have to have it now while it is on sale!  If only the stores had opened for a while on Thursday (oh, they will), I sure hope they stay open late today.

It gets more fascinating.  On Monday the “powers that be” will calculate the retail sales for Friday and give us a diagnosis of whether “America is sick” or whether “America is well” based upon how much we spent.  Think about it.  If we stay home and are truly, truly thankful and don’t spend a lot in the stores…well, there is a huge problem.  The economy has slowed, something is terribly wrong.    If we spend a lot of money on stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have, the diagnosis is a robust economy and it is growing, things are looking up…. America is happy!

Of course, if we don’t spend enough, then the “powers that be”, those in a helpful position, will say what can we do to help them?  Clearly, they will say “let’s lower interest rates so they can buy the stuff the wish they had …that stuff that they complained about in their heart on Thanksgiving Day that they didn’t go out and buy on Friday.”  But, if we spend alot, well “maybe we’ll raise interest rates; actually charge them a little more for the things that they are buying because evidently they don’t care how much they spend on this stuff.”

So,  the heartbeat of America will be judged based upon how much we spent, because of course if you spent a lot, you must be happy.  Please, take my pulse.  Why? You have got to be dead to think this way.  Happiness does not equal spending or money.  It certainly does not the equivalent of foolishness.  Money certainly allows us to handle our problems more stylishly, but the problems…well, they normally are still there.  How about a change in attitude using gratitude; how about a habit that will give us the presence of focus; it will change our focus from what we don’t have to what we have, and from that foundation we can craft understandings that help create the new level of living.

So, let’s get off the hamster wheel. (I simply hate rats!)  After all, what is Thanksgiving without peace and gratitude? Isn’t that what the holiday is all about?

It is, yet many of us forget that fact. Too often, we don’t remember to be grateful for what we have or receive on Thanksgiving or on any other day. We become so involved in the negative dramas of our lives that we see only the stress-filled job, the uncaring relationship, the stack of bills we can’t pay, the doctor’s prognosis, the misbehaved children, or perhaps the lack of time. If we take another look at our lives, we can always find something for which to be grateful – the sun in the sky, a friend, the weekend, a warm place to sleep, the five dollars in our pocket, the dog who licks our hand in passing. It really doesn’t matter how much we have or how little. We still can be grateful for what we do have.

Thanksgiving offers a wonderful opportunity to remember the things for which we are grateful and to practice having what some have called “an attitude of gratitude.” Some say a prayer of gratitude represents the strongest prayer of all, and I would agree. I was taught to include gratitude in my prayers and thoughts every day – gratitude for what I have as well as for what I will receive. And what better time to start such a practice or to deepen an existing one than on a holiday created solely for giving thanks.

To begin with, try this just for Thanksgiving. First, before the meal even begins, go around the table and give each person a chance to offer gratitude for at least one thing. Begin simply by saying, “Something I’m grateful for is….” and fill in the blank. Let people share as many specific things for which they are grateful as they can think of. They can continue after their first sharing by saying, “And something else I’m grateful for is…” If someone’s turn has passed and they suddenly think of something else they want to add, let them do so between other people’s turns or at the end. This practice will set the whole tone of your meal. And don’t let anyone slide!   Everyone must share at least one thing for which they feel grateful.

The second step involves prayer. Joining hands and offering a blessing on the food and the company at the table, along with thanksgiving of some sort, always sheds a warm, spiritual light on any meal. And it puts God into the picture, reminds us that the Divine might have something to do with our good fortune.

Third, ask people to bring to the table their favorite quotes or stories about being grateful or about Thanksgiving itself. During the meal, take turns sharing these aloud. It’s nice to hear the words of others or to share touching memories about a holiday. It gives depth to the holiday and a positive overall feeling to the celebration. In addition, such stories remind us of other things for which we can be grateful.

Fourth, before everyone gets up from the table – maybe over coffee and pie, focus some attention on the things you expect to receive over the next year. Vocalizing our intentions to manifest things in the future provides a wonderful vehicle for actually having them manifest in our lives. And the best way to allow these wonderful gifts into our experiences lies in affirming that they already are coming to us. In fact, it’s a most powerful exercise to offer gratitude for them as if you were experiencing them right in the moment, right at the Thanksgiving table. For example, you might say, “I am so grateful for the new job,” “I am so grateful for the wonderful health I am now experiencing,” or “I am so enjoying my sleek, trim, body which weighs just 150 pounds.” The more specific you get about these goals and desires, the better. Not only will it make you feel better, because it will affirm that what you need or want is coming your way, but they have a way of actually attracting these things into your life.

With just a little effort, you’ll find you can fill your Thanksgiving experience with a heaping portion of gratitude.

Now, that is just an excellent beginning!  It’s a question of Habit? The quality of our life is largely determined by the quality of the questions we ask.  Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.  Nothing wrong with dreams, plans, and desires.  But start your day, not just Thanksgiving day, with gratitude.   Call it your happy hour; your shower power; your hour of power.

Wake up and take a hour for yourself first thing in the morning. During the hour you can do things like pray, walk and take in the freshness of the morning, listen to the sounds of the birds, feel the air, etc. The goal is to be conscious that you are alive, to stay present in the moment and to really BE ALIVE, to be human. Ask some great questions: What are the ten things I am most grateful or thankful for?    How have I been blessed?

During that time you can say things to yourself out loud, or in your head.  You say things to yourself that you are thankful for; “I’m grateful for the sun coming out each day.” “I’m grateful to have such a fantastic mom/dad/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend, for being ___, for ___, for laughing at my silly jokes, for challenging me when I need to be challenged, etc.” You begin to consciously recollect things, people, and situations in your life. The goal of this is that you become more conscious on a day-to-day level and your gratitude becomes more about the most simplest things; a smile that someone gave to you as they passed by, someone letting you in when the traffic was tight, for being strong enough to say, “no” when you knew you were overextended, for having an undo key on your keyboard, etc. The gratitude begins to build and becomes a part of you.

When you pray, start your prayers with thank you.  You may also have a gratitude journal in which you can record the things that you are thankful for.  When you have developed it as a habit, the power of gratitude will work in your life. You will begin to see that:

The Habit  of Gratitude Helps You Overcome Self-Pity.

Where you may have had a tendency in the past to reel in your misfortune, having a habit of gratitude keeps your attention focused on the worthy and the beautiful.You will find that you no longer feel the need to complain all the time. The power of gratitude has taken that away. In its place, you may find optimism and a positive outlook. You may even rediscover your sense of humor and that proverbial spring in your step. You may stop taking yourself too seriously.

The Habit of Gratitude Helps You Keep Things in Perspective.

Being thankful for your life and the things in it is a habit that can help you keep your head.

While other people choose to be stressed over work, you instead are thankful for your job. While other people complain about the imperfections of their spouses or children, you find yourself being thankful for the love that your spouse and children bring into your life.

The Habit of Gratitude Makes You More Aware of the Source of the Things You are Grateful For.

Even if you are not overly religious, being grateful inevitably makes you realize that the good things in your life come from a source and that source deserves to be acknowledged.

Although gratitude is ultimately a gift that you give to yourself, it enhances your spiritual awareness and your relationship with the ultimate gift-giver.

The Habit of Gratitude Helps You Appreciate the Things that Other People Do For You.

You will find that you see fewer faults in others and you will be less critical of them.

Improving your relationships with the people you care about is a natural effect when you harness the habit of gratitude.

Gratitude is key to a living a life you’ve always hoped and dreamed for. Being thankful and appreciative of the all the things you have in life is extremely important aspect of attracting more happiness, success and abundance towards you.

As you develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, you realize that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Looking at what you have and being grateful for it shifts your energy.  When you are grateful fear disappears and plenty appears.  Remember, people form habits, and habits form futures.  Use this holiday season to develop a habit of gratitude and thankfulness.

Ah, that was an excellent meal!  I feel a very unusual sensation – if it’s not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.

Successful people develop habits of doing things that failures don’t like to do.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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SEO…science and art.

seoRecently, I was asked to give a brief review of SEO to a group of non-tech types.  It is by every measure a science and an art.  The following is an excerpt and you can find more using the link at the bottom.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

Observations

This brief is not intended to be a complete guide, as SEO can be complex.

Generally:

  • Free traffic generally requires more work than paid traffic.
  • Every free web traffic strategy can (and probably should) be outsourced
  • The top organic search results get a LOT more traffic than the paid advertisements.
  • The top 3 organic results get the lion’s share of web traffic. It’s more important than ever to aim for the top 3.

Choosing the right keywords to base your site optimization around is an important first step. General or generic keywords are usually not the best approach, and sometimes it’s better to be a little more specific and focus on niche keywords relating to your product or service.

Keyword Research (and Competition Analysis) is foundational to good SEO.

Objectives of keyword research:

1) Come up with a list of keywords.

Free keyword tools:

Google keyword tool
Traffic Travis

2) How popular is the keyword?

3) How competitive is the keyword?

  • On Page optimization of the top 3 sites for the keyword
  • Google PageRank of those sites
  • Quantity and quality of backlinks to those sites
  • Use Yahoo Site Explorer

On Page Optimization Factors:

Domain Name – Use your primary keyword. Hyphens are optional. Use a top level domain (.com, .org. net). Country domains can be used if you’re optimizing for your country only.

Page URL – Use the page’s targeted keyword as the page file name. Hyphens are optional.

WordPress makes it easy. See training for permalink setup. If you’ve already got WordPress posts with non-SEO friendly URL’s, use a permalink migrator plugin, such as Dean’s Permalink Migration or Permalinks Moved Permanently.

Title Tag – Use the page’s targeted keyword at the beginning of the title. If you’re using WordPress, use the All In One SEO Pack plugin.

Meta Description – NOT generally used for SEO ranking, but still important. Use your keyword one time, keep an honest non-spammy description, and make it compelling to entice clicks.

H1 Tags – Use your targeted keyword within an H1 tag at the top of the page. This can be a headline.

Keyword Usage – Forget about density, frequency, LSI, etc. Just be sure to use your keyword at least once in the content, and use it up to several times in a natural way that makes sense. It may help to make it bold one time.

Images – Use your keyword as the image name, and in the “alt” text. Just make sure your picture accurately fits the name and description.

With good image optimization, you can get a lot of extra traffic from image searches. In general this traffic is known for NOT converting into sales, but is traffic nevertheless, and in some cases can be converted.

Site Structure – Your site should be easy to navigate. Use canonicalization (no duplicate content within your own site). Front-load your content in the coding of your page (ie. you don’t want a big navigation menu to be the first thing the search engine robot sees).

Internal Linking – Use keywords when linking within your own site.

Site Map – Use an XML sitemap. To make your own, see the protocol at sitemaps.org. Or use one of the many site-map generators, or a WordPress plugin such as Google XML Sitemaps by Arne Brachhold.

Privacy Policy and Terms of Service – Some people say this affects SEO, although it is very questionable. But even if it doesn’t affect SEO, you should still have the proper legal docs on your site. And on the topic of compliance, you also need to follow Google’s technical and quality webmaster guidelines.

“No Follow” Link Attribute – For SEO purposes, it’s probably best to use “no follow” on your blog comments. Also, you may wish to use it for affiliate link, and any link to a “bad neighborhood” (but you shouldn’t be linking to bad places).

Fast Page Load Time – Your site should load FAST. Don’t bog it down with many plugins and 3rd party apps. Use clean, minimalist coding.

Original Content – Yes, content is king. Not just for SEO, but for long term success of any website. Good content does not inherently bring web traffic; you still have to be a marketer. Good content is also necessary to decrease your bounce rate (helps with SEO), increase the time visitors spend on your site, and increase repeat traffic.

Fresh Content – Posting more frequently can help you gain authority with the search engines more quickly. And I’m not talking about auto-blogging. It must be good, original content.

Google’s Starter Guide
Seomoz Beginner’s Guide

And this leads us to the toughest part of the Google SEO process — back-links. Back links are websites that link directly to your website. Read more>>>.
Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Video may have killed the radio star…but not an effective sales letter.

video killed the radio starRecently, I was asked how I write an effective Sales Letter and what I thought about video sales letters replacing written sales letters.  It seems to me that video sales letters are already outperforming written sales letters in some markets. And I do think that video will continue to become more and more prevalent. However, I do not think video will replace the written word out-and-out.

In that regard, there are a couple of things to keep in mind, certainly the video script still needs to be written and the process is very similar to writing the sales letter.  Another consideration is that videos can be too linear, they are non-stop.  It just does not give the audience the opportunity to digest or review something that grabs their attention.

In that connection, people are moving faster and faster (i.e. Twitter), and a larger percentage of people will simply refuse to sit through a lengthy sales video.  The written sales letter offers them the ability to at least scan and scroll and refer back at their leisure. So for now and into the near future at least, I think a combination of written word and video will be effective. This could mean both video and written word integrated into the same sales page and we see that often.  Or, it could mean different sales pages to reach different segments of your market (those who prefer video and those who don’t).

The fact is from my experience, every video has a written sales script at the end!

With that in mind, let’s focus on the offer sales letter (not the formal sales letter although the contents are similar). First, you must realize that all products are created to solve a problem. And you should have this problem — and how it affects your prospective customer — firmly in your mind before you start to write.

Once I have that in mind, this is a simply flow for my process.

The pre-headline:

If you wanted to attract the attention of your buddy in a crowded room, what would you do? You’d likely shout their name. And the chances are, they’d be alerted and the two of you would make contact.

In just the exactly same way, you make contact with your ideal prospect — not by calling his name, of course — but by using a pre-headline to say, in essence: “Hey, this is for YOU”.

The headline:

Once you’ve signaled who your sales letter is for, you need to nail your prospect’s attention.

Now there are a lot of mistaken beliefs about headlines. Contrary to popular belief, headlines should not attempt to sell the product. They are merely there to sell the idea of reading the beginning of the letter.

The deck copy:

This appears immediately under the headline and its purpose is to convince the reader to continue reading. It does this by enlarging on the alluring headline and telling the audience why they would read on.

For example: “Read on to discover how I Made Over $300,000 Selling Digital Products That I DIDN’T Create…

Then you come to the most delicate part of the letter, where you need to get the prospect to start reading in earnest.

The Greeting:

I guess it’s the herd instinct, but we humans always warm to someone we feel is like us. You feel more comfortable with them and you are more inclined to trust them. And trust must be created before any sale can take place.

So, you need to immediately show your prospect you are just like them and understand their problem. “Dear fellow investor” or “Dear fellow internet marketer”.

The opening paragraphs:

You then need to build on that common ground, by starting the body of the letter with a statement the prospect will readily agree with.

Such as: “You don’t need me to tell you that if there was ever a time to protect your investments and savings, that time is now”.

Establish Credibility- Who are you and why should they listen?  Restate the problem and let them feel the pain. Then you move on to paint a very dark picture of what might happen if the problem is not remedied.

Then – offer the solution.  Like a ray of sunlight piercing the angry, black clouds you introduce your product as the perfect solution for the prospect’s problem.

Offer them proof, anticipate and answer objections.

And the way to best do this is listing every single benefit you can think of as a bullet point.

Bullet points:

These are one of the key elements of how to write a sales letter, because, if you get this right, you will really urge and motivate your prospect.

Copywriters call bullet points “fascinations”, because they are designed to fascinate the reader and give them an itch that can only be scratched by the sweet release of buying the product.

So, depending on the product, you might get as many as 20 fascinations like this: ” I’ve made MILLIONS of dollars online since then. But remember – I started out from scratch and struggled just like everyone else. I had more failures than successes. ” or, “If you’re new and want a clear and concise step-by-step approach – this is for you.”

When you have the prospect really fired up by your bullet points you can introduce…

The price and guarantee:

I have combined these because I find it is very effective to deal with them together. For example, just as I’m about to discuss the price I will say: “But first, let me make one thing clear — I take all the risk on this”. And then go on to state the guarantee… you also have a 60 days money-back guarantee so you can try it with confidence and with no risk.

That way, when the prospect is weighing up your price in their mind, they are also very aware they can take a chance on buying it, because they can back out of the deal with no penalty.

And when you come to the price, you first demonstrate the awesome value you are giving them by telling them what the more expensive alternative would cost.  Create urgency and/or scarcity.  They need to buy now if there is only a limited supply remaining.

Now is also a good time to toss in some bonuses!

FAST ACTION BONUS….

And These  BONUSES OF…. are more than a $500.00 Value!

So, for instance, if you are selling a training course, explain the cost and inconvenience of traveling to meet the trainer or attend the seminar, plus the astronomical hourly rate they charge for one-to-one consultations. Then point out they can enjoy that very same wisdom, which they can absorb at their own pace — and in the comfort of their own home — by buying the course for a mere fraction of the high cost of a personal consultation.

Ask for the order:

Now the prospect is fired up by your bullet points/fascinations and knows how much they must invest for the solution to their problem and is well aware they can try this out at no risk to themselves, you can turn up the heat to close the sale by spelling out exactly what is at stake for them.

People buy with their emotions, so here is where you need to play on both fundamental emotional triggers: “They move away from the Fear of pain” and “they move toward the Craving for comfort”.

So you lay out the two choices they now have, one by one.

First paint a dark picture of what happens if they do nothing. You’ve already alluded to this in the opening of your letter and now is the time to really drive and press the point.

Then, once your prospect is somberly reminded of their present unwanted situation, you alleviate the pain by painting a rosy picture of how wonderful they will feel, once they own the product.

Tell them about the  “Christmas morning feeling” of sheer joy and excitement they will enjoy, when they examine the product and realize — at last — they have the complete solution to the problem that has dogged them for so long. If it’s relevant, paint a glowing word picture of how their friends and loved ones will look at them with renewed respect for finally solving the problem.

And then end the letter by saying that, because the choice they have to make is so obvious, you are looking forward to welcoming them as a valued customer.

For this type of sales copy always use an order box or button.

Post scripts:

It has been proven that — after the headline — the most read part of a sales letter are the post scripts. So you should have at least two.

The first one should stress that — because of your cast-iron guarantee — the only way they can possibly lose out is by not purchasing the product. “ IMPORTANT: This is NOT just a collection of low quality….You’re getting EVERYTHING you need…And I take all the risk.”

And your second post script should stress the scarcity factor (likely alluded to before) to get them to buy now, rather than go away and “think about it”.

You do this by mentioning scarcity factors, such as Early Bird discounts, an imminent price rise, limited quantities of the product, or a very small number of bonuses throughout the letter and now you really highlight how they will miss out.

Always remember that fear of loss is a far better motivator than the promise of gain.

“P.S. – REMEMBER… this is a ONE TIME liquidation sale and it will be over FOREVER soon. You will not be able to come back and get this package later. So grab it now!”

Finally, some quick tips for formatting and structuring your sales letter:

  • Use sub-headlines. (Important!  Must stop scrollers in their tracks)
  • Use Johnson Boxes (a box commonly found at the top of direct mail letters, containing the key message of the letter).

  •  Leave a lot of white space.
  • Black text on a white background.
  • Use a simple clear font.
  • Do some text stylizing but don’t overdo it. (some bold, a little italic)
  • Keep the background basic.
  • Use Some Graphics. If it’s an Ebook, or product…show the cover.  Or, to make a point.

  •  Finally, always add a signature.

Your Partner in Success,

Your Hand-Written Signature

General comments:

Often I am asked about Long copy versus Short copy.  I would submit to you that the reason marketers use long copy is because it works!  Traditionally, long copy has almost always outperformed short copy, but much like the addition of video and the more rapid transaction ability with social media, I do believe things are changing.   Online sales letters are moving toward personalization and interactivity and frankly, shorter and concise may be better.

I have to admit that most of the letters I receive are either far too long and in a lot cases just plain boring! A lot of them look the same. When you write your sales letter think about the person at the other end reading it. Be original, keep it short and sweet and let some of your character shine through.

A good sales copy with or without a good video is still the best way to promote your product or service.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Let’s Discuss the fuss about Plus

It seems that the thinking crowd is suddenly focusing on the waning fascination with Google Plus.  There is much chatting about slowing growth, and despite all the new features and responsiveness to user feedback, Google Plus just doesn’t seem to be catching on. Perhaps there’s only so much time in a day for social networking, and this newcomer isn’t converting many users. Not so fast!

Larry Page this week said on the record that Google Plus has 40 million users. While that’s a far cry from Facebook’s 800+ Million, it’s still incredibly impressive for a service that is so young. Folks can easily forget Google Plus is only a few months old.

And let’s face it; Google Plus doesn’t have to rout Facebook in order to be a success. Certainly, they’d probably like to tumble Facebook, or at least rival it, but they certainly don’t have to. 40 million is a pretty huge number in terms of users/members for any web-based service.

I can certainly understand the arguments. Google was hugely successful in getting people to go to the site in the first place but some would say not much really seemed to happen once they had got there. I do think you have to be in agreement that a social network isn’t a product; it’s a place. Like a restaurant or a club, a social network needs a critical mass of people to be successful…the more people it draws, the more people it attracts.

I experience this in South Florida often.  It’s a great location just a block from where I live. They open the best bar/restaurant on the planet, finer food, better music, larger drinks than anywhere else. But if people come along to the opening and it has no kick and there is no excitement, no buzzing, then they’ll simply not return. (I’ve seen three of them in the last two years!)  On the other hand the pub around the corner has to turn away customers because it does have that kick and the buzz despite lousy music, food, and the expense. The thing is, as anyone who has launched a new bar or restaurant knows, you really only get once chance at retaining that crowd; a month or two at best to convince people that this is the new place to be.

I am reminded that that new restaurant is simply that, a new place that I have not had any contact with before. However, right now, people are using it because it’s Google. Google owns everything in our lives, including email, calendars, contacts, videos, pictures, books, etc… the list goes on and on. Media outlets have been blowing Google+ out of proportion without a wow feature. Many of the news posts are How To tips, recent news, any type of news they can get our hands on. If it was any other type of social network, no one would care so much. Why do we put so much faith and optimism in Google+? The anticipation of the WOW factor.

Again, Google CEO Larry Page has made it clear that he wants Google Plus to go beyond social networking. From what he expresses, it sounds like they’re intend to transform the Google user experience from a simple search page, to a more immersive, personalized web-browsing experience. This makes sense, and especially if they find ways to integrate Plus with both Chrome and Android.  Remember, the industry was caught off-guard by Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility. This development could provide a slew of great possibilities for Google Plus.  Obviously, Google doesn’t plan to rest on its laurels with the 40 million users, and plans to continue aggressively adding new features and tools.

For instance Google Apps. The Senior VP of Google Plus, Vic Gundotra, said this week that Google Apps will be coming to Google plus “within a few days.” That’s something a lot of users and developers have been clamoring for, so it should come as welcome news.  It should have the added benefit of making Google Plus even more useful for a whole lot of current users and potential members.

Circles, hangouts ( have not used it yet, but that’s a comfort thing), huddles they are all pretty cool.  Unfortunately for Google, these are all easily replicated features.  Already Facebook has begun to mimic Google’s Circles feature, allowing users to place their friends in “Close Friends” or “Family” or “Acquaintances” and this works similarly. It wouldn’t even be hard for Facebook to simply create a new feature in its mobile app that allows instant and unlimited upload of photos and videos, thereby undermining the one remaining definitive feature of Google Plus. (As far as convenience goes, nothing beats unlimited easily uploaded cloud storage, and that’s what Google currently offers.)

Of course the winner is the consumer.  But it would leave users with a choice between two social networks largely indistinguishable from one another.  However, I do like Twitter, hum.   I am negotiating with myself.

I still believe Google will have an advantage over Facebook and Twitter. With a broad group of services like search and Gmail and Chrome and Android, Google offers tools that are basic to the online lives of so many people, and these can be tied to Google Plus.  As Google Plus develops, Google will have the resources to promote its social network, and the branded Pages within it, in ways that Facebook or Twitter cannot.

We have already pointed to the similarities between Plus and Facebook. Of course those similarities have only grown with the addition of branded pages. The addition of Pages may be more of a challenge to Twitter. While a certain group is accustomed to information in 140 character bites, Google Plus provides a richer forum where companies can release news to the public in a more integrated fashion.

For example, sharing pictures and video on Twitter is still a rather inelegant process. Followers usually must click through a shortened link and wait for a new page to load. Distinctively, Google Plus integrates directly with YouTube, the web’s unquestioned video heavyweight, and Picasa, its photo sharing tool.

Moreover, anyone can easily comment on a Goggle Plus Page post, and the page owner can readily respond. With Twitter, that sort of communication becomes a tiresome series of @-messages that clog the feeds of uninterested followers.

So, end result, I’m waiting.  I have decided to give Google the benefit of the doubt. (I know how meaningful that is to them.)  Unlike my new restaurant, with no changes to the menu, I am just sure that Google will launch a host of new entrees for us to play with.  Of course, the traffic may continue to drop a bit until the WOW factor hits, and then the buzz begins again.  I am pulling for you!

In this matter, the only certainty is that nothing is certain.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Does selling solve or solving sell?

In my years as a CEO, Executive Sales Leader and consultant I have had to adjust or eliminate the thinking of scores of sales professionals. Many sales professionals think a sales call should include of a couple of minutes of rapport building followed by a dialogue in which the sales person describes his or her company and product in elaborate and sophisticated detail. This is mindless because the focus is on the sales rep and the rep’s firm while the customer’s needs and interests remain neglected. Dumb, dumb, and more dumb!

This show up and throw up approach is particularly common inside companies that are proud of their products and services and believe that the quality and capabilities of those products and services are what compels their customers to buy. Wrong, wrong, and more wrong!

Over the last couple of years we watch Citibank, a company that’s taken billions of dollars in bailout money spend $400 million to stick its logo on a stadium. This giant branding exercise did not help Citibank sell its products, and it certainly hasn’t help relieve the credit crisis. But that’s the kind of nonsense that happens when marketers (or is that musketeers) convince top management that branding is critically important. (Don’t think branding does not have its place, we’ll discuss that another time.)

The bottom line is that customers today don’t give rat’s rear end for your business, your company or your products. Customers are interested in their own career, their own company, and the ability of their own company to sell to their own customers. Precisely in that order! Your stuff isn’t even on their list.

With this in mind, here are some simple yet vital questions to ask yourself before you make any sales presentation:

  • How does this individual perceive the problem I intend to solve?
  • What is the concise summary of my idea that will appeal to this person?
  • What roles does this person play in the decision-making process?
  • What is my goal for this discussion?
  • What is the basis for my credibility with this person?
  • Will my idea conflict with any of this person’s beliefs?
  • How might my idea conflict with this person’s interests?
  • Can I leave the relationship better than I found it?
  • What kind of public commitment from this person would best build momentum?

Always, always, always consider: a customer doesn’t ultimately buy a product or service because of its inherent virtues; they buy in order to reach some desired outcome or result. For that reason, rather than selling your product or services, you should be selling the results that the customer wants to achieve.

A sales presentation is a process of uncovering a problem, building trust, and offering a solution.

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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Accelerate and Operate as an Affiliate

I was absolutely void of any ideas.  I had some thoughts about what I enjoyed, what I thought people might need, and had done some research on my niche, but developing a product…I came up dry. When starting out your internet business there are many business models you can pursue.  As a beginner, frequently the best and quickest way to start seeing an immediate profit is to start with affiliate marketing.

So what is  Affiliate Marketing? Affiliate marketing in its simplest definition, is about selling other peoples products  and earning a commission for each sale. You basically send a prospect to an  offer and if they buy you get a cut of the price. This means you have to send targeted traffic (get people to see the offer who are actually interested in the offer) to the product that you are promoting. The truth is that Affiliate marketing  can be a viable and profitable venture, which can make you profits when you master  some basic methods.

So How Do You Start Up Your Affiliate Marketing Business?

  • Sign up with an affiliate company

Starting to make money online with affiliate marketing is relatively quick and easy. All that one has to do is to sign up as an affiliate for an online company that offers affiliate programs. Signing up is usually free, although other companies and networks may require you to pay a particular fee. ClickBank is a good company you can start with, because it has thousands of digital affiliate products you  can promote.

  • Selecting  Good Product

After your sign  up is successful, you’re ready to promote an affiliate product. In the case of ClickBank  you head straight to ClickBank marketplace to find a product to promote. You
can browse through their categories to find the niche you have an interest in  and is suitable for you. ClickBank provides you the opportunity to view the  merchant’s sales page and once you select the product, you can proceed to  obtain your affiliate link.

  • Obtaining  Your Affiliate Link:

What is an  affiliate link? This is the link (url) that codes the product you’re promoting.   This is how it works: At ClickBank marketplace, after finding a product, you  click on promote- a page automatically appears that generates your affiliate  link. All you have to do is input your ClickBank ID (nickname) which you used  when signing up with ClickBank. Your affiliate link is what helps to track the  sales made through you so that you can receive your commissions from ClickBank.

  • Promoting  Your Affiliate Link:

Now that you’ve  gotten your affiliate link, it’s time to promote your product! So, in your
messages to your clients or prospects- you have to insert the  “affiliate-link” so that when your visitors click on that link,  they’ll be automatically re-directed to the sales page. If they purchase the  product you’re recommending, you earn your commission- neat!

There are a variety of different  ways to do affiliate marketing. So what should you do to promote your affiliate  programs? Here are five quick methods which have succeeded for many and can  succeed for you!

Create your own marketing affiliate program materials or use the ones  provided.

Many people use the marketing  materials provided by the program they signed up for.  However, thousands of people are using those  same materials, those same ready-made websites and those same advertisements.   People are easily bored and those ads can get old really, really fast. Create  something brand new and all your own!

  • Create your own promotional  website instead of using a stale, pre- packaged website. This is not very  expensive and the returns can be huge!
  • Create your own brochures and  pamphlets. Whether using email or mailing materials to prospects in the  old-fashioned way, be sure your material is fresh and new.
  • Create compelling business  cards. The business cards you hand out to contacts that you network with should  also be fresh, new, and cause the person reading the card to feel compelled to  contact you. A simple byline such as “Information on Becoming an Overnight Success” can be all it takes to make that person call you for more information.
  • Write original articles and  submit for publication to ezines for exposure of your fresh material.

Generate Leads from an Opt-In Email List

Create an opt-in mailing list by  allowing prospects who come to your website to choose to receive a free  newsletter. This gives you the opportunity to include information in the
newsletter about your products.

  • This allows contact with people  who have at least some interest in the product you are promoting on your  website.
  • Generates mailing list for  future products you may promote.

 Network, Network, and then Network

Never miss an opportunity to  network with others who may have an interest in your products, or even be  interested in joining the affiliate program under you.

  • Share your own success story  with others you encounter. Many will be interested in joining you in your  endeavor.
  •  Offer to mentor new prospects to ensure their success.
  • Exchange business cards and  make follow-up calls to encourage them to talk with you further about your  programs.

Use Blogs to Promote Your Programs.

Blogs have become extremely  popular. You can use this forum to your advantage in promoting your affiliate  marketing programs.

  •  Generate top-quality content to  place on the blogs.
  • Be sure that the blogs you  choose are not over saturated by affiliate marketers already. Locate fresh  blogs to use in your promotions.
  • Content should compel the  reader to action. Make them HAVE to check out your program.

Use banner exchanges to your advantage.

Most marketers know that banner  exchanges can help them promote their products, but there are a few tricks to  success.

  •  Make sure your banner is placed  on sites that will attract the same client base that will desire you product.
  • Create attractive and  compelling banner content.
  • Always look for new places for  your banner to appear. Don’t become complacent because you have three or four  sites showing your banner. There are new websites every single day!

So that’s a  quick overview of affiliate marketing. So if you’re ready  for a way to start your online business and  earn additional income streams to support other income streams, then consider  affiliate marketing business. It is really a profitable business investment almost anybody can start immediately. The low start-up cost far outweighs  conventional offline business, and makes it very attractive. And you can get started on a string shoe budget and build toward another business model if you choose.

No great ideas or time to develop a product?  Try affiliate marketing to get you started!

Get a Free Ebook!

 

Precisely.

Jerry Duling is a Marketing and Business Consultant, Professional Speaker, and Social Media advisor. Jerry shows businesses how to use Social Media to build their brand, generate leads and close sales. Jerry also provides individual resources for the Internet Entrepreneur. Connect with

 

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