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What makes Great Copy?

Copywriting is the practice of writing copy for the purpose of selling or marketing a product, business, or idea. “Copy” is the word used for any written or verbal set of words used to sell something.

Great copy is more than just a sales pitch. It might tell a story such as the way the product came about, or it may describe the author’s own experience with the product.  Skilled copywriters will try to find a unique angle that their readers will relate to and weave this into their sales writing.

First-rate copy pushes the heart.

By discovering something that consumers can relate to, copywriters are able to appeal to their readers’ emotions. Research shows that people buy first with their emotions and then look for a rational reason or justification for their purchase later. High-quality copy spells out the benefits of a product to prevent the customer from having to think for themselves. Great copy overcomes the consumer’s objections before they surface.

First-rate copy is informal and conversational.

When you start copywriting you can forget a lot of that grammar you learned in school. To engage your reader they need to feel you are actually talking to them, and so you should write in the same style as you speak.  Here are some thoughts that your English teacher might not have agreed with:

  • Use fragmented sentences if they create impact
  • Use acceptable slang if it is suitable (no inappropriate words)
  • Use hyphens and character separators
  • Use variable fonts and colors
  • Use short punchy words rather than long complex ones
  • Explain your meaning in simple terms rather than using clever word plays or understated clues

On the other hand, don’t get too comfortable or your writing will lose credibility:

  • Don’t overdo punctuation…exclamation marks lose their impact if used too often
  • Check your work for typos, these are unprofessional and reflect poorly
  • Don’t use too many capital letters, this is seen as shouting in cyberspace

The length of good copy needs to be appropriate for the product

There are advantages to both long and short copy. How do you decide? The simple test is to always make sure your text is long enough for the value of the product you are selling. A more expensive product typically will require longer copy.  Just like you, customers will take longer to decide whether to buy. You don’t want your readers to reach the end of the page when they are still undecided about whether to buy.

Advantages of long copy are:

  • Long copy with bolded or emphasized points can allow some of your visitors to skim, while others more interested in specifics can find all the information they want. In this sense, long copy gives visitors more options.
  • Information-based products often benefit from longer copy. This will grant you ample opportunity to show your potential customers the QUALITY of your information.
  • More information makes your customers feel comfortable about their purchase.  Your visitors will have most of their questions answered and will have less anxiety about ordering from you.
  • Giving your customers the facts upfront may reduce your customer service work.
  • Long (and interesting) keyword-rich copy often performs well in natural search engines…there are more opportunities for search engine optimization and including keywords.

Some might say that there is no such thing as long copy only boring copy.

Advantages of short copy are:

  • You get your message across before your customer loses interest
  • Your web pages are neater and more compact
  • You avoid repetition and the appearance of a hyped sales pitch. Of course, it’s certainly possible that carefully designed long-copy pages can avoid this perception as well.)

In the end the quality of your copy is more vital than the length. You can incorporate links in short copywriting to provide more information to customers that want it, or you can emphasize key phrases in long copy for visitors that don’t want to read the whole page.

The Best Copy

If you weren’t in honors English, or you have never written anything longer than a text message, writing sales copy for your new product can be very intimidating. With the number of freelance copywriters advertising their services on the web, it can be tempting to outsource this task, but there are many reasons why you are the best person for the job.

  • It’s Your business and you know your business and your product better than any out-sourced writer.
  • You know the personality of your target audience, and what your clients or potential consumers will want to know about your product.
  • You are sincerely passionate about your product and this will stand out through your writing.
  • Relationships are typically consistent. You will want to build up a relationship with your customers and this is easier if they are familiar with your ‘voice’, instead of the many or different voices of freelance writers.

Certainly you can pay a writer to produce your copy if you are really laboring to do it yourself. This might be expensive, although there are inexpensive alternatives. Notwithstanding, you can use the time you would have used writing to focus on other areas of your business. If you do use a copywriter, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Provide them as much information as possible about your product and market.
  • Request that they test your product if at all possible.
  • If you have written anything before, give them an example of your ‘voice’ to imitate.  If not work with them initially so they can get a feel of what your tone and style might be.
  • Before you post the copy ensure there is nothing in it you wouldn’t say yourself.

Get Started

Start to accumulate landing pages, sales letters and other copy that catches your attention and feels like you. Place the items in a folder or save them electronically. This is called a swipe file and it will come in handy when you write some of your own copy!

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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A Custom Graphics Cheat Sheet for Social Media

I saw this and couldn’t resist! A popular question, a characteristic frustration, and one of the most difficult tasks as you set about personalizing social media profiles and pages is getting the artwork and branding just right. Every site has a distinctive approach.  They propose different sizes and styles that they prefer when placing artwork on your page. The challenge is that they seldom (for some reason) tell us the dimensions that work best and if they do, you have to hunt through their FAQ’s or search (Google, Bing, Yahoo…) each artwork type for…profile size, then cover size, etc.

This Infographic by San Diego web design is an ideal cheat sheet for those who want their pages to look exactly right. It’s above all useful for those who have to post graphics on a regular basis.

The bad news: Keep in mind that most popular social media platforms make a large change in layout presentation every other week (or so it seems). This means all the graphics you worked feverishly  to perfect for your page(s) become obsolete or vanish from the page altogether.

Optimistically…internet marketers, social media marketers, designers, developers, marketing directors and social media consultants alike will find this helpful. Until, of course, these platforms ‘revolutionize’ again.

Click the image to download the PDF version for an easy reference.

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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List Building Part III- How to Produce a Converting Opt-In Page

List Building- Opt-inEarlier, we talked about squeeze pages, what they are, and what minimum requirements you would have to satisfy in order to have a good one. We also discussed some good examples of squeeze pages.

An opt-in page is similar to a squeeze page, but takes a looser form. It might include more copy or a slightly different format. Either way, the purpose is the same: to get as many visitors as possible to subscriber to your list.

So let’s talk about how to make a converting opt-in page. But this time, let’s be more specific—and work through the process using a proven, 8-step method, rather than talking about what makes a good opt-in page.

Action 1: Launch Your WYSIWYG Editor

There are many different editors you can select from when building your opt-in page. If you’ve been following this guide step-by-step, you may have downloaded one to create your website and your first squeeze page.  If you don’t have one yet, you can use something like free like Kompozer, Amaya, or CoffeeCup– if you are a bit more proficient (has split screen…but not truly WYSIWYG.)

Action 2: Create a Table

Create and center a 600-pixel wide table. Some Internet marketers suggest that a table of this size will convert better than other formats. Additionally, wrapping your content and placing it in blocks will improve readability.  You might remember the format from Part II…..

 

Action 3: Fashion a Headline

Create a headline for your opt-in page. Make sure the headline is

a) inside of quotes;

b) 18-24 size font; and

c) red.

This combination has a proven track record for converting visitors into subscribers.  Also, consider using the word ―free in your headline. Make it clear to visitors that you will give them a report, video content, an eBook, or software (depending on what you’re offering) for free.

Action 4: Insert Bullet Points

Bullet points are the easiest and clearest way to explain how your free report will solve the problem you introduced. In this part, you will want to use 4-5 bullet points to highly important benefits—not features—of the free item.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of a benefit (as opposed to a feature), think about the following two ways in which you could describe an Internet marketing eBook:

  • It contains a chapter about using Facebook Ads.
  • After reading it, you will be able to increase your Facebook Ads income by up to 50%.

The first item is a feature of the eBook. The second is a benefit. In your bullet points, you should use only benefits.  Great Copy in Six Steps.

Action 5: Call to Action

Before your reader can think about something else, it is important that you direct her to your opt-in form. So make a clear transition from your bullet points by saying something like ―

All you have to do to get my report for free is add your name and email address to this form. You will immediately be emailed a link to download my report.

 

Action 6: Generate the Code for Your Opt-In Form

If you’ve been following along to this point, you already know how to generate an opt-in form from Aweber.com.

All you need to do now is generate the HTML form and then paste it into your page-creator. Also, remember to say that you will not use the email to spam and you will not sell it to a third party (as mentioned earlier).  No matter your choice in Autoresponders;  Awber, GetResponse, and MailChimp have excellent and easy to follow training sites.

Action 7: Upload Your Form

If you’re using one of the page editors we discussed earlier, this process will be no different than it was for any other pages you created. If not, you may want to use something like FileZilla  or CoffeeCup to upload your opt-in page.

Action 8: Track and Fine-tune Your Results

Use Google Website Optimizer (http://google.com/websiteoptimizer) together with Google Analytics (http://google.com/analytics ) to track your website.

You’ve now made an excellent first attempt at creating an opt-in page. It’s now time to edit your first draft, send some traffic, evaluate your results, and then create another draft.

Maximizing Your Opt-in Pages for Maximum Results

So far, we’ve talked about opt-in pages at length. And there’s a very good reason for that: conversion rates vary significantly among opt-in pages. And if you want to have any success as a list builder, you have to figure out how to make a page that will convert well.

Previously you learned the basics of squeeze pages. You also learned exactly how to construct a squeeze page using a proven template that is likely to convert well. In this chapter, you will learn how to analyze your opt-in pages and make changes as needed.

Let’s begin with your current opt-in page. For starters, it should satisfy all requirements described above. But in addition to that, there are specific page elements you will want to optimize. Let’s go through them element-by-element:

Creating a Strong Headline

A good place to start is the headline. This is the single most important piece of text on your page, as more visitors will read it than anything else on your page. If the headline is good, they’ll get hooked and stick around. If the headline is weak, they’ll quickly leave your site. So what makes a good headline? You might want to review: What Makes great Copy.

Psychological Triggers

One important element you will want to include in your headline is at least one psychological trigger. If you’re not familiar with the term—it’s basically any word or phrase that will compel many people to pay attention or take action.  Psychological triggers are useful because they stick out and because they draw in a reader before they have the chance to lose interest. As mentioned earlier, ―free is a reliable psychological trigger that is frequently used to induce people to try products and join mailing lists.

There are also other psychological triggers. For instance, ―unstoppable, ―scientifically proven, ―tested, ―powerful, ―explosive, and ―immediate are all terms that will stick out when your prospects read your headline.  Review: Words Influence.

So, if your current headline seems flat, consider re-writing it to include some psychological triggers. And once you start sending traffic to your opt-in page, consider rotating the triggers to see how they affect your conversion rate.

Colors

Colors are also an important part of any opt-in page. Depending on the selection of colors you use, you will can: a) subconsciously put pressure on your visitors to take action; b) put your visitors at ease, increasing the probability that they’ll remain on your opt-in page for longer; or c) chase your visitors off accidentally.

For starters, it is generally a good idea to use a red headline, a blue or black sub-headline, and a blue or white background. As far as the opt-in form goes, you have many options for colors, but some evidence suggests that orange converts better than other colors. Good choices also include blue and white.

Layout

The layout of your opt-in form will also be a critical determinant of your conversion rate. In general, you have two basic options for the layout:

Wide Format

Your first option is to create a ―wide format opt-in page. In general, this format will use only a little text in bullet points and will contain all of the relevant information above the fold, so that the visitor does not have the option to scroll down.

If you use this method, it is critical that everything on your opt-in page is visible as soon as the visitor arrives. Otherwise, this will make for a poor, distracting format.

Additionally, if you use this format, the headline should be at the top, the sub-headline should be below, the opt-in form should be just right of the center, and the bullet points should be to the left. Format Above.

Long Format

Don’t confuse this with ―long copy.  Whenever you create an opt-in page, you should always use short copy. Here, ―long simply means that the visitor will have to scroll before he or she can see the opt-in box.

The ―long format also frequently uses more text than the ―short format, but this isn’t necessary. The only necessary part is that it must include a single, long, thin table (600 pixels wide, as mentioned earlier) that contains the headline, the sub-headline, the bullet points, and the opt-in form.  Example.

Regardless of which format you use, you’ll want to make sure that it is text-light and clearly communicates what you’re offering to the visitor in exchange for his email address and name.

Bullets

Many novice copywriters make the mistake of using paragraphs, rather than bullet points. When it comes to Internet marketing, few readers will have the patience to work through a wordy opt-in page. They’ll just leave instead.

Bullet points give you a good way to communicate powerful benefits of your product one-by-one, rather than lumping several into a paragraph.

If you’re not sure whether your current bullet points are appealing enough, you may want to try some of the following ideas:

  • Use bold on every other bullet point. This switch from plain text to bold and to plain text again will catch the reader’s attention and help the bullet points stand apart from each other.
  • Use psychological triggers. Repeat words like free, shocking, proven, and tested. Use them in ways that will entice the reader to continue and to eventually opt-in.
  • Bold words and phrases that are important. This will allow impatient visitors to get the gist of your message by simply scanning the bolded phrases.
  • Reduce the size of bullet points. No reader should ever get bored before she finishes reading a bullet point.
  • Clarify vague bullet points, so that they deliver a more specific and more compelling point.
  • Change the first word or phrase in each bullet point, so that each has a unique start.

Using those six tricks, you should be able to significantly improve your conversion rates.

Benefits vs. Features

As I mentioned earlier, it is critical to highlight benefits, rather than features. Features tell customers exactly what they get, but provide no additional mental picture of how it will help them in specific ways.

To the contrary, a benefit tells a visitor how they will gain or profit from a specific feature in your report or eBook. This is important because it will help the visitor visualize using your product to become more successful. This mental image your ―benefits conjure up will reinforce their decision to relinquish their name and email address.

Call-to-Action

As with any pitch, your opt-in page must end with a powerful call-to-action. If you flounder here, all of the time you spend building a strong headline, selecting the right colors, crafting clever bullet points, inserting psychological triggers, and communicating benefits will be for naught.

When it comes time to opt-in, the visitor won’t feel sufficiently compelled. They might make note of your site and possibly even bookmark it, but they won’t think it’s necessary to opt-in now.

This is why the call-to-action is critical. So after you wrap up your bullet points, insert a call-to-action that:

  • Tells the reader to take action now—not later.
  • Explains how waiting translates into fewer profits, no bonuses, expired time frame, or some other type of worse outcome.
  • Is brief and clear

Critical Elements Summary

If you find that your conversion rate is lackluster, your best bet is to re-read your sales letter with a critical eye. Attempt to figure out where your colors might be less than optimal, whether your headline or sub-headline is weak, and whether your bullets don’t do a good job of pulling in the reader.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to communicate benefits—not features. The goal of your opt-in page should be to burn an image in the mind of the reader, so that she can visualize how your free product will improve her life in tangible ways. If you can do this, you can also covert visitors into subscribers. Download a Free eBook>> Turbo Charge your List Building.

More to come Stay Tuned….

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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Better Facebook Marketing – Measure Activity and Provide Customer Service

MeasuretoknowFacebook marketing is gaining steam as business owners finally come to the realization that Facebook is where their customers are. But you can’t just create a Facebook business profile and hope to find success. People aren’t going to just jump on your page the moment you sign up. You are going to have to optimize your profile, dress up your Facebook business page and you are going to have to interact with your audience like you never have before. Then, you need to use Facebook Insights to measure your success. What’s that? You’re not checking your Facebook analytics? Here are 5 reasons why you should be paying attention to Facebook Insights every chance you get.

Measure Activity

1.    User Activity

Your Facebook marketing success is going to be gauged by how users interact with your business page. Facebook Insights allows you to gaze into the user activity on your page. You can see the total views, the individual tab views, external referrers to your page and the total views of any multimedia you may have posted.

2.    Facebook Marketing Interactions

When you post something on your page, maybe a question for your Facebook marketing audience, a photo or a video, you hope that your fans will Like or comment on that post. This sort of page interaction is what we are going to look at next. With Facebook Insights, you can view your total post views, any post feedback, the number of times your post was shown in individual News Feeds and much more.

3.    User Demographics

When you first begin Facebook marketing, you may notice that you get fans from all over the country and possibly the world. Facebook Insights allows you to see where your fan base originates from. You can view your daily activity by gender and age, the country of origin, cities, and the languages they speak.

4.    Testing The Data

Any expert will tell you that true Facebook marketing starts with Facebook Insights. Facebook Insights won’t activate until you get at least 30 Likes to your page. When you receive your first set of metrics, use that information to tweak your Facebook presence. If some posts are performing better than others, take a look at what you’re doing right and replicate your success.

5.     Learn What Works

The bottom line is that Insights will show you were your Facebook marketing efforts are striking a chord with your audience and where they’re falling flat. Your page can only get better if you begin to use this information to create the ultimate Facebook marketing presence.

Facebook marketing may rely heavily on Insights but there is much more to it. For more expert tips on how to market on the social giant like the best of them, visit Biggest Facebook Marketing Mistakes.

Customer Service

Your customers want to feel satisfied at the end of the day. When they buy from you, search for more information on your website or they want to return something, they want to feel like they always get what they want. They should feel that your company goes above and beyond in every situation, putting them, your valued customer, first and foremost. This isn’t easy to do, of course. You can’t please everyone all the time. But you can use every means available to you to enhance your customer service at every turn. One of the best ways to enhance the service you provide to customers is use Facebook marketing. Here are some tips to keep your Facebook fans loyal and always coming back for more.

1.    Post Often

Regular posts show that your company is active and that you care about your social presence. It also keeps your business in the back of your Fans’ minds, which means they might come to you the next time they need what you’re offering.

2.    Respond Quickly

When you get a comment, answer it as soon as possible. When you keep the conversation going, you seem more social. And being social is what being on Facebook is all about.

3.    Get Them Involved

Ask your fans questions, involve them in the conversation and make them feel like part of the club. If you make your fans feel included when Facebook marketing, they’ll be more likely to buy from you rather than your competitors.

4.    Handling Bad Comments

Respond to bad comments with a clear head. When others see you handling your bad comments with grace and style, they’ll develop and heightened respect for your business.

5.    Study The Competition

If you want to please your customers, find out how your competition is doing the job. Then, fill in any gaps they happen to leave out to create the ultimate Facebook customer service experience.

6.    Study Your Facebook Marketing Audience

The best way to find out how to please your customers is by studying them. Click through some of your fans’ profiles and pay attention to their likes and dislikes. You should soon see patterns that will give you ideas on how to improve your Facebook marketing down the road.

7.    Study Your Facebook Insights

Always make use of the analytics platform that Facebook provides so that you can see what works and what doesn’t. By studying your profile statistics and by changing according to what works best, you will soon generate a loyal Facebook fan base that converts into more new customers and more long-term business.

Facebook marketing is a must in this day and age. If you want to remain competitive and succeed in today’s business world, you need expert Facebook Marketing tips. Visit Our Fan Page to learn 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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List Building Part II- What is a Squeeze Page?

Squeeze by Precise StrategyIn the previous article, you created your first list. You may have even created an email sequence for your subscribers. It’s now time to create a squeeze page to put on your website.

So what’s a squeeze page? In short, it’s just a tool you’ll use to get prospective buyers to give you their email addresses. To be more specific, it’s a specific type of opt-in page.

There are several things that characterize a good squeeze page. Yours should contain these items:

1. It should give visitors no other option than to either a) subscribe to your list; or b) exit the site. This will prevent them from wandering about your site aimlessly—and then leaving eventually.

2. It should be very, very brief. If your squeeze contains more than 2 short paragraphs of text, you should seriously consider reducing it further.

3. It should explicitly and truthfully state what visitors can expect from your list.

4. It should carefully and visibly state that you do not like spam and will never spam your list members or sell their email addresses to a third party.

5. It must clearly communicate that a membership to your list is completely free and will offer great rewards in the form of high quality content and timely announcements of important events.

6. It must include an opt-in form that visitors can see without excessive scrolling. This means that visitors will know that they have the option to opt-in, even without going through all of the text.

7. It should include your signature and possibly a thumbnail photo of you.

8. It must be visually appealing.

And there you have it: eight simple rules to follow whenever you create a squeeze page. However, as you will find out, these items aren’t necessarily a recipe for success. Rather, they’re simply the minimum conditions you must satisfy if you want to have a viable squeeze page that has the potential to capture leads.

Make Your Squeeze Page Convert

Now that you’ve satisfied the basic requirements for success, it is time to hone in you the specifics. To do this, we will simply look at some examples and identify what makes them good.

Example #1: Not surprisingly, one of the top paid results returned for ―Internet marketing‖ is the successful site, PrWeb.com: PrWeb . Simply knowing that this is a top paid result means that the advertiser is paying a lot for the slot; and has also probably spending a lot of time and money to test the format they use.

As you can see from the squeeze page, it sparingly uses text—and when it does, it uses bullet points to convey specific benefits. Additionally, it is attractive and provides an opt-in form in a place that is immediately visible. Combined, all of these items make for a successful squeeze page.

Example #2: Another good example of a high-quality squeeze page can be found here: Budget Landing Page It’s not surprising that this is a good squeeze page, since that is what the company does to generate revenue. Nonetheless, it is a useful example of a good squeeze page.

Again, notice how it has an attractive background, displays the opt-in box in a place that is immediately visible to visitors, and is very text-light. These are all important features to include in your own squeeze page.

Example #3:  When you use text, highlight words that stimulate, you can see in this example Biggest Facebook Marketing Mistakes: a Warning and bullet benefits.  Here is a simple format:

Example #4:  Give them more than one chance to subscribe in this example you can see a center placement at the top and a second call to action centered at the bottom: The Z Factor.

As a final consideration insert audio or video. It should contain all of the critical elements we mentioned. In addition, it also includes playable audio or video—a component that could make your site unique and induce visitors to spend a little more time considering your offer.  Moreover, it can add impact to squeeze page and sometimes increases conversions. Note:  For maximum attention-getting impact, it must be set to auto-play.

Final Note on Squeeze Pages

Squeeze pages are an important part of list building. They are the filter through which all of your subscribers must pass. If your squeeze page is improperly designed, you will weed out far too many prospects, making it hard to build your list and profit.

The most important thing to remember about squeeze pages is the following: keep it short, clear, and direct. The purpose of the page is to get the visitor to subscribe—and nothing else. So don’t confuse him with unrelated offers or links to various products and content pages. Just get him to relinquish his email address. If you can do that, you’ve accomplished your goal.

Enhance Your Squeeze Page – Give Stuff Away for Free

One common element in all successful squeeze pages is that they offer considerable value upfront. They don’t make hollow promises and hope that visitors will fall for it and sign up. Rather, they offer very specific items in exchange for the visitor’s email address.

If you want to have a successful email list, you will do this, too. So what options do you have?

Create a Report and Give it away for Free

One of the most commonly used strategies for getting people to subscribe is simply offering them a free report. Generally, these reports are somewhere between 10 and 20 pages long and provide useful information about some facet of the niche in question.

For instance, let’s say your niche is golf. You might create a guide that tells visitors how to shave 10 strokes off of their game using a specific training regimen. This is something that visitors will find enticing. And once you make it clear that the guide is free and that they can opt out if they’re not satisfied, you’ll have many people who are willing to subscribe.

Take this concept and apply it to your own niche. It doesn’t matter what you sell; creating a guide and giving it away for free is virtually always a great way to build a large list.

To make things easier, you don’t even need to create the guide yourself. If you’re not an expert in your own niche, that’s fine (maybe you’re just good at marketing or administrative tasks). You can always hire someone else to research and write your short guide.

Using a site like Elance.com or Guru.com, you can hire someone to create a professional-quality PDF guide. For low-cost copy try Fiverr.com, or better yet check out Cash5er for a detailed business plan using Fiverr. If you’re not sure what the topic should be, you can even ask them to come up with the topic for you.

In a nutshell, using a free report, you can easily add value to your offer. This will help to reduce people’s resistance to your offer; and once they read and appreciate the quality of your report, it will also make them more likely to listen to your follow-up emails.

Other Things You Can Give Away

While the free report is still one of the most frequently used strategies in list building, you have plenty of other options, too; and some of them have the potential to be more persuasive than a simple report.

Create and Give Away Video Content

One great thing to give away is video content. In comparison to a free report, it has a much higher perceived value. And in recent years, it has become increasingly cheaper to create.

If you’re new to creating video content, I suggest that you check out http://camstudio.org/ to create some test videos. This is a free tool that will allow you to capture your computer screen and some audio.

If you decide to go this route—and to create video content—I would suggest that you do it by creating a series of tutorials in your particular niche. For instance, if you’re in Internet marketing and your list will instruct people on how to use AdWords, you might put together the following video series:

  • Video #1: A Quick Trick that Will Make Your AdWords Campaigns 50% More Profitable
  • Video #2: Increase Your Conversion Rate by Making this Tiny Change in Your Ad Copy
  • Video #3: How to Get Rid of Freebie Seekers and Draw in Profitable Customers by Changing Your Ad Copy

In the videos, you could open up your own AdWords account and demonstrate how the viewer could make all of the changes you suggest.  Again, this video tutorial series would have a very high perceived value—much higher than if you simply wrote a report saying (but not showing) them what to do.

If you decide to go this route and find out that video content works well for your particular target audience, you may eventually want to upgrade to some software that I personally find effective, Camtasia Studio, which you can find here: http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp.

Give Away Free Software

If you think your customers will perceive video content as having a high value, just imagine what they’ll think if you provide them with free software in exchange for joining your list.

In fact, creating software and giving it away for free to your customers is one of the best ways to lower their resistance to your marketing pitches.  And, for this reason, if you’re willing to do it, it holds the potential of generating very high conversion rates.

So how can you go about creating a software program? Fortunately, you don’t need to know any programming languages. You can pay other people to do it for you.

The sites I mentioned earlier—Elance.com and Guru.com—also allow you to post software programming projects; however, this will be more complicated than posting a simple report-writing project.

When posting a software-creation project, there are a number of very important things to keep in mind:

  • Be very clear about things the program must be able to do. If the goal of the program isn’t clear, you can easily end up with a piece of software that doesn’t do anything useful for your visitors—or at least does something other than what you had intended.
  • When you’re not sure what you want, also make that clear. If you don’t have any reason to impose restrictions on a certain part of the program, you will probably want to give your coder the freedom to do things as she sees fit.

So, giving away software can be a highly effective means of converting visitors into subscribers. You might not feel comfortable with the process just yet—but after you complete that first project, you’ll understand why it’s not as hard as it seems; and yet it has unbounded potential.

Other Strategies

Reports, video, audio, and software are not your only options when it comes to subscription incentives. List builders also offer audio content, eBooks, and a variety of other products. All of these present viable opportunities for offering potential subscribers significant value at minimal expense to you.

Summary Give Stuff Away

In short, when you create a squeeze page or opt-in page, it is always a good idea to give stuff away for free. This will reduce visitors’ resistance to opting-in; and it will also make you appear more credible to people who otherwise know very little about you.

There are several important things to keep in mind when giving away free stuff:

1. Make it valuable. Anyone can give away garbage products. But your goal should be to not only provide an enticing offer, but to actually deliver on that offer. By doing this, you will not only get people to opt-in, but you will also get them to trust you and to be willing to spend money in the future.

2. Be creative. Consider creating a report, creating an eBook, creating a video series, or creating a piece of software. The opportunities for providing unique value are boundless. Take advantage of them, rather than providing boring, re-hashed content.

3. Communicate clearly that the content is free and will be available as soon as they subscribe to your list.

To sum up, you have a basic template for inducing visitors to subscribe to your list by offering inexpensive freebies that have very high perceived values.  More on Opt-in pages….

Stay Tuned…

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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5 List Building Activities You Should Consider Outsourcing

Oursource List BuildingSometimes when you want something done right, you shouldn’t do it yourself!  Especially if you are an online marketer!  Your time is already consumed with launching campaigns, generating traffic, writing emails, and every other day to day activity essential to success.  Well it may be time to reclaim some of your free time and let experts handle the tedious and time consuming list building tasks.

Content Creation

Writing articles, blogs, social media updates, web page copy and press releases is extremely time consuming.  And worse, it’s boring!  You don’t have to do this all yourself. In fact you can find quality writers online who can create all your content for you and who are experts in SEO.  Do a simply online search for article writers and you will discover tons of quality sites that specialize in creating content.  Furthermore, some will even submit these articles to directories, social networking sites and even update your web site for you.

Video Marketing

Just like with article writing you can outsource to someone who will create a video and upload it to all the popular video sharing sites.  Be sure to include a link to your opt-in form in the video description and a link in the video itself.

Forums

Some of the best lists building techniques focus on forums. Spend a little time locating the top forums in your niche and then hire someone to represent your business in these forums.  It should be someone who can accurately answer questions and reply to open threads.  Be sure that whoever you choose is proficient in your language of choice.  You can even have them create your profiles, just be sure to supply a link to your lead capture page in your forum signature.

Twitter

One of the increasing popular ways to build a list is to use Twitter.  Twitter allows you to post quick updates to a selection of targeted people.  You can even post links to your blog post, affiliate product, or free gift.  Unfortunately, Twitter can also be very time consuming.  This is why you should consider outsourcing to someone who can update and maintain your profile information as well as create valuable tweets.

Facebook

Trying to keep up with ever-changing social networking sites such as Facebook’s recent conversion to allow iframes can be tricky.  But there is someone out there who is an expert in Facebook.  You can outsource to someone who can provide regular content for your and even design a custom page for your business.

You get the idea…there are more possibilities. Just remember, there is a time and place for everything.  I think it is certainly important to have a good understanding of every social media marketing element, but as your business grows you need to always prioritize your efforts and focus.  Pick something that you grasp fully and is now taking up way too much of your time…careful, it might even be something you enjoy doing.  With a solid understanding you can provide the outsource vendor precise instructions on what you want.

Get your hands on the latest list-building tips the experts use to create profit streams that just don’t quit. To get your hands on these FREE tips, visit Turbo Charge Your List Building.

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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List Building Part I – The Bare Essentials

List BuildingA requested, broad-spectrum, ongoing…but not every single post 🙂 series for our new readers:  You might wonder why it’s a good idea to build a list. After all, it probably seems like a lot of work to find prospects, get them to accept emails from you, and find new things to send out to them on a regular basis.

You might also think it will take a lot of hard work to get people to buy. You know that you can’t just send them low-grade content and expect them to buy simply because you sent them an email.

And if you think these things, you’re right: building a list is very hard. And making sales from lists is also hard. It takes time and it takes attention to detail to do things right. And this is exactly why many marketers never do it.

But that is their mistake. You aren’t going to make that same mistake.  Building a list and marketing to it is one of the most profitable things you can do in Internet-Digital Marketing; and the intent is to show you how to do exactly how to go about it.

So why is building an email list a good idea? There are many reasons, but these five are probably the most important:

  • Building lists allows you to reduce the cost of acquiring new customers. Contrary to what you might think, it is much, much cheaper (on a unique-sale basis) to pre-sell and pitch to one person until she buys than it is to pitch to different people until one of them buys.
  • Building lists allows you to maximize the profit that you generate per customer.
  • Having a list means that you can participate in major launch events.  Next time there’s a big launch, you can benefit by being one of the first affiliates to offer the product.
  • Having a list allows you to test your copy. With a captive audience, you can run controlled experiments to test your copy’s conversion rate before you pay to send the same advertisement out to a larger audience.
  • Having a list allows you to bring more to the table in future joint venture partnerships. Rather than simply offering to do part of the product-creation work, you can now offer to market the completed product to your list.

For the above reasons and many, many others, list building is one of the most profitable things you can do as an Internet marketer. Not only will it help you to monetize your current sites better, but it will also open up new avenues for partnership and marketing.

List building requires attention to detail, careful thought, and, most importantly, action.

So, if you think the early stages of list building are boring and seemingly unproductive, don’t give up (Short cuts…Short sighted). It takes time and effort, but you have to keep at it if you ever want to see progress.

So let’s start with the dry, boring stuff. What are the bare essential tasks that you’ll need to complete before you can start making money with your list?

There are roughly 3 things you’ll need to do before you can get to the ―fun parts of list building.

Purchase a Domain and Get Hosting

Before you can do anything else, you’ll need a working website. In short, this means purchasing a domain, purchasing hosting services, and using a page-builder to create your website.

When it comes to this, the best place to start is probably by determining the theme and URL for your website.

The Theme

Start by thinking about what niche your site will focus on. A good rule of thumb is to keep things narrow. For instance, if you’re thinking about creating a niche site that markets retail products through affiliate links, drill down further and consider focusing only on one type of product, such as fishing gear.

If you grow out of your niche in the future, you can always create another site or expand your current site. But for now, keep things narrow to avoid confusing your visitors.

The URL

Once you’ve settled on a theme, you’ll want to come up with potential URLs for your site, since your first choice may already be taken.

In the past, marketers used to select URLs that were actually the key phrase they were targeting (but with a dash between each word); however, if you plan to create memorable, credible business, you will want to avoid this and opt for a URL that is short and that visitors will remember.

Write Down Your Ideas

Before you move to the next step, write everything down. Take careful notes about the theme you wanted and the specific URLs that you believe will fit well with your business model and niche. Once you’ve done this, you can continue on to the next step.

Comparison Shop for Your Domain and Hosting

Many hosting services will also allow you to purchase your domain when you purchase hosting. In general, this isn’t a bad idea. It will make it easier to manage all information related to your site.

One good place to start on your search is findmyhosting.com. This site lists an exhaustive break-down of 10 popular hosting services, which includes important details, such as:

  • The monthly price
  • The setup fee
  • Whether the domain registration is included at no additional cost
  • Whether you can setup email accounts through the domain
  • The plugins and features that come with the hosting service
  • Whether or not the hosting comes with a website building tool

I personally use HostGator and have been very pleased after some lesser satisfying experiences.  Spend some time comparing hosts and determine which hosting service will work best for your particular needs.  As a general rule of thumb, if you’re new to Internet business, you’ll want to look primarily at three items:

1. The ―Up-time Guarantee, which will give you a rough idea of whether a particular host has problems keeping sites up.

2. The price, as well as the various deals offered for locking in a 6-month or 12-month contract.

3. The site builder and plugins offered. I recommend looking for a site that offers the WordPress Plugin (which is fairly standard) and Fantastico. These two items will greatly simplify the site-creation process.

And there you have it. You’re now ready to purchase a domain and hosting services. Once you’re done with that, we can move on to the next step—creating your site.

Create a Marketable Website

Before you even think about marketing your website, you’ll want to first spend the time to create a site that will sell itself well. It’s not critical that this site be flawless and expensive to build, but if you want it to close sales, then you should put in the time to make sure it is attractive and will convert visitors into subscribers.

A good place to start is by obtaining a WYSIWYG editor. This will allow you to make changes to your site without learning a language like HTML.  Additionally, it will allow you to make your site attractive and able to convert—even if you could never code such a website yourself.

Now, when it comes to getting a WYSIWYG editor, you have a number of options. If you have some background in web-site design and software you might want to consider Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression type software…it is expensive!  If not and you’re still able to pay upfront in order to make your life easier down the line you may want to purchase something like XSitePro.

XSitePro is a favorite among Internet marketers for many reasons. Not only will it allow you to build an attractive site, but it will also allow you to tweak the site in order to optimize it for search engine traffic. If you don’t have the money to purchase XSitePro (or a different WYSIWYG editor), you still have a vast array of free editors you may use for the site. The categories of editors below are just a small sample of what you have available:

1. WordPress Themes. Most hosting services will now allow you to install WordPress on your site by simply clicking a button on your hosting control panel. Once you do this, you can simply login your WordPress administrative panel and use it to create an appropriate theme for your website.

2. Fantastico Plugins. If your hosting service offers Fantastico, you can use this to search for an appropriate WYSIWYG for your site. You will have a large variety of choices in terms of the capabilities of the various programs and the usability of their interfaces.

3. Open Source WYSIWYG editors. If you’re not interested in using WordPress or a Fantastico Plugin, you can select from one of the many open source editors. You can check these out: Openwebware , Kompozer , Netobjects, or one I have used often is Coffee Cup.  There are many others available.

Ultimately, the final decision will be a matter of taste. But at a minimum, you will want to select something that has a usable interface and allows you to easily manipulate your site, so that you can make it appear professional and fit the theme you’ve constructed in your own mind.

As far as the visual component of site building goes, there’s considerable debate over what way is best for sales when it comes to structuring a site; however, most agree that using the color blue on your site will induce visitors to stay longer on average. Most also agree that using red will slightly elevate their blood pressure and induce them to make decisions quickly.

Setup an Autoresponder Account

Whatever else you do with your site, you will also use it to build a list (which is why you’re reading this guide). This means you’ll need an Autoresponder.

An autoresponder is a tool that will allow you to create mailing lists, manage member subscriptions.   Autoresponders are invaluable tools for all list owners; and as a new list builder, you will want to become intimately familiar with how they work.  Let’s start with the basics.

Selecting an Autoresponder Service

When it comes to selecting an autoresponder service, you have several choices. I personally recommend that you select either A Weber  or GetResponse.  However, there are many others available including good ones like Mail Chimp.

If you select AWeber, you can simply follow these steps to create your list:

1. Start by clicking ―do this step under ―Enter a List Name.

2. Fill in the list name, list description, and any other required information.

3. Create the list and then begin editing the confirmation email. When you first create the list, your confirmation email will say something generic. You should change this to say something reflective of your business.

4. If you have a sequence of pre-sales or follow up emails, add each of these to the sequence for your new list, paying careful attention to the amount of days between each email.

Once you’ve finished setting up your autoresponder, you’ll want to use AWeber to generate a form that you can use to capture information from visitors. At a minimum, you’ll want your form to capture email addresses. You may also want it to capture first names, so that you can use a macro to insert names into email subject lines.

I have found, and believe you will as well,  the instructions easy to follow with the major providers.

Summary

So far you’ve created your website theme, selected an appropriate URL, purchased a domain name and hosting, selected a WYSIWYG editor, and picked an autoresponder service. You’ve also created your first list, updated the subscription confirmation email, and created a form for your website.

You’ve made a lot of progress so far, but you’ve still only covered the ―bare essentials—as the title of the blog suggests. This means you’ll need to do a lot more before you can expect to have a profitable list. So what’s next? It’s time to create your squeeze page and we will discuss that in Part II.

Stay Tuned….

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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