Why You Need An Autoresponder

 

If you’ve reached the point of exhaustion trying to keep up with answering the mountain of emails that threatens to bury you alive every single day, you’re ready to learn about autoresponders.

The bad news is that people expect prompt replies to their email inquiries. However, unless you can figure out how to work continual twenty-four hour shifts, or hire enough people to constantly monitor incoming emails (while they’re eating up your revenue), you have a problem. The good news is an autoresponder is an inexpensive – or even free – method of quickly responding to emails. What these programs do is automatically respond to incoming emails as soon as they are received.

Emails are essential to your business for many different reasons. Most importantly, these invisible email voices give you their feedback about your website – for free! However, if you spend all your working hours answering these emails, how are you supposed to run your business? The answer is simple: use autoresponders. Autoresponders are programs that automatically respond to your emails without you so much as having to click on your mouse.

There are a number of good reasons why you need an autoresponder besides just answering your email. For example, autoresponders can be used if you need a way to send information about your services or products, price lists, or if there are repeated questions asked across large numbers of emails. Maybe you want to offer your site visitors a special bonus of some kind, such as advice or relevant articles. All of this can be handled by an autoresponder. Additionally, you can advertise your business and then build stable relationships with your customers by using autoresponders.

Autoresponder programs vary from software that runs with your email program to a specialized script that runs on your web hosting company’s server. This kind of script may use a web page form or simply operate with your email account. This kind of script is programmed to send out a standardized message whenever an email is received. The message is sent to a particular script or email address.

Some autoresponders can do more than simply send out standardized messages. They can send out an unlimited number of follow-up messages sent at predetermined interval of time. For example, you can set your autoresponder to send out a new message every day for as long a period as you desire.

There are numerous companies who offer autoresponders free of charge or at least a free or cheap trial. Your website hosting company often provides autoresponders as a free service. If this is not the case with your web hosting company, there are numerous companies who offer this service for a small fee, or free of charge, providing you attach an advertisement for their company to your emails.

To personalize your autoresponder messages, you can attach a signature. Signatures in this case are much like business cards. You can include your name, company, all your contact numbers and addresses, and a brief message.

It’s a good idea to attach a signature to every email that is sent out. This works as a repeated reminder of your business identity every time a customer sees it. The more they look at your signature, the more likely your company will spring to mind when your particular service or product is needed.

You can create a standardized signature that every employee in your business uses, or you can go wild, and let every staff member create their own personal signature. Of course, like everything in life, there are some rules and guidelines to creating a personal signature.

Keep the length of your signature between four to six lines of text, with no more than 70 characters in a single line. Make sure that your email program does not cut off your text! The content should include your name, your company name, your email address, fax number, and any other contact details, such as 800 numbers. Lastly, always include a short personal message about your company. It should be a subtle sell of your services or your products, and possibly
your company’s reliability and longevity.

Another specialized use of autoresponders is to create courses that you can then offer your site visitors for free. You must choose a topic in which you are an expert and that precisely targets your potential customers.

Once you have carefully chosen your subject, divide it into a number of different sub-topics. Then offer your site visitor a free 10 or 15 day course, each day offering a different sub-topic. The first topic should always be a welcome message to your site visitor and an explanation about what is to follow. Your explanation should be enticing, getting the point across that you are offering free, quality information that your target audience will find of great value.

With every lesson, include the number of the lesson, the topic title, information about your company and its services or products. At the end, include a few blurbs
about the next lesson to entice the subscriber to continue on.

Make sure each topic is packed with essential and valuable information, and leaves the visitor lusting to know more. Otherwise, you may lose them in the very beginning.

Of course, you have to write up your course before you can offer it. Once you have done this, and gone over the material carefully, employing a professional writer or editor if necessary, you must transfer your text to your autoresponder.

There are a number of free autoresponders you can use. Try http:/www.getresponse.com, http://www.aweber.com Or go onto Google and you will find a long list of free autoresponder companies. Then sign-up for your chosen autoresponder. Once you do, you will receive instructions as to how to set it up and transfer your text.

Email is an excellent marketing tool; it is inexpensive and it is fast. Use it to advertise your business by choosing your email address carefully. Your website should contain different email addresses for different contact requests. For example, use info@yourdomain.com for information requests, or sales@yourdomain.com for questions about sales. It’s a good idea to set up one for the owner, such as president@yourdomain.com. This presents your company in a personal, approachable light and insures that direct contact is provided.

Autoresponders are an effective and powerful marketing tool, allowing you to make contact with thousands of potential customers. This is an invaluable asset
considering how many potential customers you usually have contact with before you make an actual sale. Essentially, an autoresponder allows you to automate part of your marketing campaign.

What’s Public Label Rights All About?

As an internet marketer or even just a casual internet user, you may be wondering what Public Label Rights is all about? Commonly known as PLR, it is a method of legally obtaining works created by someone else and making legal use of them.
Public Label Rights is usually, but not always, text document(s) on a given topic. The big ‘selling’ point of these documents is that they can be claimed and labelled by the buyer as their own. Due to the nature of the internet, they are often re-written, at least slightly, so that they are not flagged as identical copies when distributed on the internet. Even so the claimants will not be chased as plagiarists, plagiarism being a major ‘crime’ of the internet – stealing one man’s work and claiming it as your own.
If you searched through many article sites you may find similar looking articles by different authors. Assuming that all things being equal – that they really are different articles and that they are all claimed as legal, then chances are the original article was a PLR document.
Now before you rush off and grab some PLR articles to submit to the major article sites (like this one), be aware they are well aware of the situation and will generally deal with it with a rejection, pointing out to you the error of your ways. So what would you use PLR articles for?
First of all they are often used as filler material for new blog sites. If you have a new photography web site and don’t have the time or expertise to write a dozen or so articles then you find a PLR sales site that has a collection of photographic articles and you buy them, put them up on your site with your name at the bottom and you have instant expert status. Google may penalise you for using duplicate material – as it is bound to be the same articles as somewhere else, but that’s the nature of PLR for you.
If you collect several PLR articles together, you could have an ‘instant expert’ e-book that you can give away or sell. Some PLR documents are already book length and complete with cover graphics meaning that you can give away (as a sign up gift) or sell the document, again with your name on it. Again, eBook sellers (Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords etc.) are well aware of this practice and may well reject books that are too similar in content to existing titles.
PLR is pretty much yours to do with as you please. It is not an excuse to be lazy – after all, it is still better that you check through thoroughly anything that has your name attached. PLR documents are not necessarily spell checked and grammar proof-read, nor is there any guarantee of the accuracy of their contents. They are quite often put together cheaply and quickly for the purpose merely of making money, so you do need to be aware of these limitations. Provided you take these precautions and you are careful as to the uses that you put them, PLR documents can be a useful addition to your authorship armoury.

Product Creation on the Cheap–Part Two

Let’s get out there and create us some products. We have the ideas. We’re sure there’s a market. What we don’t have is a budget. So where do we start?

In the previous article I covered ebook and audio creation. In this article I’ll say something about video production.

Making video products seems to be all the rage. With many hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it seems to be the way to go for putting your message over to those who want to hear it. <rant start> In my personal opinion, I think it’s being over done, especially on sales pages where we’re expected to watch a 2 hour pitch for a $27 product. If you can’t tell me in 5 minutes then you’re hyping it up. <rant end>

There are many different types of video product, almost all of which you’ll have seen somewhere or another.

By far the easiest to produce is the PowerPoint slide show type. Rather than letting PowerPoint (or the free equivalents from Libre Office, Open Office, Kingston Office, etc.) control the flow, export each slide as a jpg image and join them together in video maker type program. Microsoft produces a free one for Windows called Windows Movie Maker and again, there are free equivalents for Linux and Mac. If the slides say everything you need then just put in some background music (make sure it’s royalty free or license agreed). Usually though you will need some voice over to explain a bit more depth. As for audio, make yourself up some guidance notes for reference and just speak freely. Just reading the slides is pointless and makes your video quite dull.

Related to the slideshow video is the screen capture video. Camtasia is the usual weapon of choice here but it costs big bucks. However, Cam Studio is free and does a great job. There are one or two other similar programs but these have limits on time or quality. Make sure you have as much set up beforehand as possible. If you’re doing web pages either have them  ready up as tabs or at least as shortcuts. Nothing shows more lack of preparation than someone saying “I’ll just cut the video here while this page loads” and then apologising for the missing 2 minutes of their life. The more professional you appear, the more you’ll be accepted as a professional marketer.

The next type of video is the talking head type using either a web cam whilst sat at your PC or laptop, using the camera built in to your mobile phone or tablet or a home video camera. The latter methods are best done using a tripod to hold the phone or camera steady. Incidentally, there are autocue type apps available for iPad and Android devices that allow you to put your notes in and have them scroll past at a controllable rate, which may be far more convenient than scrabbling for bits of paper. Whatever cue method you’re using, try to have it set up at eye height beside the camera lens so that it looks like you’re looking straight at the camera.

A popular type of video is one that probably requires external assistance. There are websites now that allow you to feed in a script and control some animations to speak it. I haven’t hunted any down yet, but a search on YouTube will show you what I mean. Some of them can be quite entertaining. Look up ‘Sounds Like A Pyramid Scheme’ to see what I mean. Related to this are the animated doodle type which can work very well. However, at this point we are walking into the ‘spending money’ territory. Something I’m trying to help you avoid.

The final type of video I’m going to mention today is the discussion type, where two or more people discuss a product or one is interviewing the other. You will certainly need a microphone or two as the camera would need to be further away to capture both people. You are definitely getting into professional territory here as you could always use multiple cameras and turn it all into a major production. It will look really great if you do it right, and you’re several steps up from the ‘recorded over Skype’ audio interview.

I can certainly recommend a site called Perfect Video Pro. It’s a WSO so it does cost money (I got in as a reviewer) but it’s been done by a professional director / producer and tells you all you need to know about making your own ‘real people’ videos.

So there you go. Plenty of ways to make products without spending a great deal of money. As always when you don’t spend money, you do put in more of your own time or you trade your time and pay someone else to do the tricky bits.

Once you have a raw product, it can always be restructured and reused. An ebook can be read out loud to become an audio. A video can be transcribed to an ebook, or the visual part stripped off to create an audio. An audio can be layered in with a slideshow to make a video. Although many people will try to teach you a preference, which end you start from and where you go with it is up to you.

Do you have any free tools worth a mention? Does the idea of product creation strike fear into you? Comment below and see where it takes us all. I read the comments and comment back where appropriate. All links are now ‘do-follow’, thanks to a new plugin I’ve just obtained so they’re even more value to you. Spammy links and comments though won’t make it through screening, so don’t bother trying! Join in. It’s all good fun.

Product Creation on the Cheap – Part One

Let’s get out there and create us some products. We have the ideas. We’re sure there’s a market. What we don’t have is a budget. So where do we start?

The first thought is what type of product? This boils down to a choice of 3 basically, although there are sub-divisions in each – ebooks, audio and video. Let’s examine each of these, starting with the easiest:-

Ebooks: It pretty much doesn’t matter what operating system you have or how old your computer is, it will be able to cope with the written word. Anything you can get your writing into an electronic format will do, including iPads and Android tablets. Some word processing software is more sophisticated but so long as you can (at some stage) underline, bold, italic, headline and paragraph neatly you’re off to a head start. There are even some free Office suites for all platforms and most of them have the advantage of being able to take our words to the protected and easily readable stage… the PDF. If your word processor doesn’t have an export to pdf capability, search around the web for a pdf printer or pdf driver. There’s plenty available for free for Windows and Linux. I expect there is for Mac too. Having your document as a PDF makes it harder for other people who might consider editing it and claiming it as their own.

Depending on your niche, your idea and the intention for the ebook, it could be as short as 500 words (a single page) and still have value to a reader, so it’s down to the quality of the content and the writing, not just the volume. Some people can say nothing in 10,000 words, and probably give a lot of refunds too! A cover is not essential, especially on a freebie, although I’ve seen a number of WSOs where the cover is little more than a title page. It does make the production look a bit more professional though. Whether you go down the graphics route and add a cover or get one made up for you, is down to your personal preference. There are free sites that will make up covers for you, as will Amazon, if you make an attempt to publish your work that way too. It doesn’t have to stay published on Amazon once your cover is made up, either! Make up your kindle book (or CreateSpace for a paperback version), download the cover graphics, then take it off of Amazon.

In fact, steal a march on your rivals. Use CreateSpace to make up a paperback version of your book. They work out quite cheap to buy for yourself. Offer a real book to your customers. Not so much in the IM niche, but in certain other niches a ‘real’ book will be snapped up quite readily! CreateSpace is ‘print on demand’ so you don’t need to hold any stock (and you set the price too). Since it’s owned by Amazon, it’s free to use and not every Kindle author knows or considers it as something to be done. Can’t think why not though. It’s free to the author, gives them a real product that can be sold at a premium (print has more kudos than electronic versions) and is another sales channel. Print books can get into libraries and could be seen as valuable give-aways or back of room sales at speeches and shows, if that’s your thing.

Audio is the next product creation. Again this can all be done for free and still produce a quality product. Again, any modern laptop has a built in microphone and recording capability as do tablets and mobile phones. If you can avoid being somewhere too noisy, then the quality will be more than acceptable for most markets. Any editing that needs to be done can be completed with a free software tool call Audacity which is available for Windows, Linux and Mac. There will be free or cheap apps for the different tablets types as well.

To make your audio work, speak freely rather than script it word-for-word. Jot down some outline notes to keep you on track. Speak reasonably slowly and clearly although there’s no need to drag every word and sentence out to a painful to listen to level. Listen to the playback and see if you can understand yourself. If you can’t then no one else will either. Unless you are a professional speaker (and not many of us are), there will be a certain amount of ‘um’, ‘err’ and ‘ah’ which will be forgiven if your content is good.

Rather than try to create a 20 to 30 minute speech all in one go, see if you can break it down into 3 to 5 minute chunks, then use Audacity to join them together, perhaps using some music if you can’t make the join clean. Making short chunks also means if one area is too bad for vocal trips or bad audio, it can easily be re-recorded and replaced.

This is turning out longer than I thought, so I’ll end it here and call it part one. Part two will follow shortly.

How to make $10,000 a month from writing articles – Part Two

I used to think that learning how to create regular wealth to the tune of $10,000 monthly was unheard of. Then I recently listened to a webinar that spells out a formula that actually makes sense…

How to Create Wealth Step Four: Figuring out How to Get the Product sales…

Judging from my own figures, I understand that one in every forty individuals who view my video clip will decide to purchase at that moment. So, to get 40 product sales a month, I would need to find a way for 1600 people monthly (52 people every day) to watch my product sales video clip. And how to I do that? Well, this brings us to step five for creating wealth…

How to Create Wealth Step Five: Figuring out Prospects…

The easy way, of course, is to simply buy leads. However, this is not always very cost effective, especially starting out. Some people pay as much as $5 a lead, depending on their marketing strategy, and this would cost $260 every day to get 52 leads! A figure that would then have to be factored in to my daily profit, meaning I would need more leads to get more sales. Paying for these extra leads means I need to sell more, which means buying more leads. You get the point!

While many people choose paid marketing strategies, I elect to use free marketing – blogging, article marketing and videos to bring in my leads. Assuming you want to go this route as well, let’s determine how to get those 520 people every day to reading your blog posts and articles, and watching your videos. (520 visitors is based on my very own 10% opt in percentage for my content to produce 52 leads.)

How to Create Wealth Step Six: Figuring out Lead Flow…

This is where keyword research comes in. You don’t want to waste your time writing about stuff that nobody wants to read! You can determine the potential visitors to your site by accessing the free External Google Keyword Tool at ‘Google.AdWords.com’ and click on the link keyword research tool.

Figure out the number of people searching for your keyword phrase that you’ll be using throughout your content. For instance, I understand that the keyword phrase ‘how you can create wealth’ gets roughly 590 exact match searches monthly, or 19 searches a day. This knowledge tells me that if I can promote this content to rank on the first page of Google, I can expect about half of those people (10) to watch my video clip or reach my article or post, and 10% of those people (1) to become a prospect.

So in this scenario, this particular piece of content for the keyword phrase how you can create wealth should yield me one lead every day. How do I get 52 leads every day?

Simply put out more content for other keyword phrases. 52 pieces of content each yielding one lead a day will give me 52 leads per day, which generates 40 first line product sales a month which equals an average of $10,000 monthly.

You might think that generating 52 pieces of content all at once is intimidating, and without paid assistance it might be. But if you can generate 5 pieces of content a day, within 2 weeks you’ll have enough. Distribute these articles amongst as many different article sites as you can (putting one daily on your blog), and if you can put a different tracking link for each site, you will know which are the most successful sites for you and you’ll know where to concentrate further efforts. Links back to your offer should be once in the article and once in the resource box at the end of the article.

If 5 articles a day is too much then try 3 or 2 or 1. Progress will be slower than if you generated 5 a day but over a period of 8 weeks you will have everything in place.

You don’t have to stop at 52 articles either. You can increase the number of articles pointing to the same offer, or you can start again with articles pointing to new offer funnel. This second idea is probably better because you then start to have multiple streams of income, so that if one stream dries up you have others to replace it. This is another reason why tracking is important. When your income starts to dip you’ll know which funnel needs either bolstering up or replacing. More on Profitable Writing at http://www.profitablewritingclub.com

Another thing to do is to collect the email addresses of visitors to your offer. Many people will not buy on first sight and there is little chance they will remember you tomorrow, so you will have to remind them, but to do this you need to be able to contact them again.

Using a web form linked to an autoresponder will enable you to send out planned emails at regular intervals to build up a relationship with them. By the 5th email people will feel that they know you and they will begin to trust you enough to buy something from you. However, list building and email marketing is a whole new game. You can explore this game at http://www.buildalistclub.com

Remember it’s your $10,000 a month and you must earn it. Your future is in your hands.

How to make $10,000 a month from writing articles – Part 1

  1. How to make $10,000 a month from writing articles

I used to think that learning how to create regular wealth to the tune of $10,000 monthly was unheard of. Then I recently listened to a webinar that spells out a formula that actually makes sense…

      1. How to Create Wealth: Step One: Getting a Clear Intention…

You need to have a clear intention of how much you want to create. For the purpose of demonstrating this formula, I’m using the figure of $10,000 monthly. You need to spend every day creating internal images by visualizing your self, in the near future, ensuring to concentrate on the sensation that you’ve achieved this amount of earnings and what you’d be doing with it. Will you spend it all, will you save some? Can you imagine yourself, putting some aside and re-investing the rest in growing your business? It must be something real and achievable by you, for when the wealth comes your way.

      1. How to Create Wealth: Second Step: Figure out your End result…

For those who have no clue how what your earnings objective is, it’s impossible for you to reach it. You cannot just think to yourself ‘here’s what I want’ and the hope for the best. You need an agenda – a technique that will take you nearer to your ultimate goal while you improve. And don’t forget, it isn’t always only the end result that makes a difference… it is the journey. The best way to travel is not in the hope of arrival, but in the certainty…

The main reason behind the objective is to make conditions perfect to make individuals complete it. What it really tends to make of you will always be the much better worth than what you’ll get.

– Rick Rohn: United states business owner, writer and inspirational loudspeaker

How to Create Wealth Third Step: Figuring out the amount of Product sales you’ll need…

Go ahead and take monthly figure you would like and separate by 31 to obtain your every day expectancy of making prosperity. Within this instance, $10,000 split by 31 Equals an objective of $322.58 every day (we are able to round this up to $325).

Consider this figure and reverse engineer it to find out how you can create wealth with your products. For instance, within my company, I understand that figures demonstrate that one customer will purchase an item for every 40 individuals who view the product sales video clip, which is a 2.5% customer to viewer ratio.

Now, I should also do some study within my own small business to find my very own upselling figures. Why? Because this will give me concrete figures to move forward with.

While the average person who decides to buy will generate me a $25 commission at the opening product, I also know that one of every three of these people will upgrade to the $100 monthly program, giving me a commission of $125 monthly. One in five of those people will elect to purchase the $500 product, and one in ten will buy the $997 product. Putting these offers in a series like this is known as a marketing funnel.

So to figure out average commissions, let’s function in reverse from a 30-sale point. Thirty product sales Equals ($25 x 30) + ($100 x 10) + ($500 x 6) + ($997 x 3), or $750 + $1000 + $3000 + $2991, or $7741 for 30 product sales, split by 30 Equals $258.03 each. Let’s round that to an average value of $258 commission for each sale.

Judging from this scenario, I would need 38.76 (39 rounded up) product sales a month (or 1.25 product sales every day) to equal a monthly income of $10,000, or an everyday income of $325.

A Short How and Why of Backlinks

Ever since search engines got more sophisticated than ‘just a list of websites’, people have been trying to manipulate the factors that rate and rank their sites – a task made more difficult by the fact that  these factors change on a regular basis.

Search engines want to give us exactly what they think we asked for, modified by their chances of making some money for themselves (cynics eye view). We as website owners want roughly the same thing except that any money flowing should come our way.

So what can we do to improve the situation in our favour?

All that used to be necessary to get a top ranking was to get a few backlinks from other sites to ours. Then it became backlinks from relevant sites (same or similar niche to ours). Now there are over 200 factors to take into account and as an non SEO expert I couldn’t begin to know a quarter of them, (so if any SEO expert catches me out then please feel free to comment and let me know. I’m just basing this article I what I perceive to be popular opinion).

External links and their sources are still important, so more weight is given to a link from a website that talks about similar things to what yours does. That doesn’t mean that off-topic backlinks don’t count, they just count less. Also how important the providing website and web page already are in the search engine’s eyes – The site rank and the page rank.

Blog posting and commenting is still good for backlinks, provided the content it relevant. Short comments are not usually given much credence, but longer comments are. Some webmasters try to qualify any backlinks from their comments as ‘no-follow’ which means search engines should not follow them, but since they do anyway it doesn’t seem to achieve much. Perhaps a little more weight is given to a follow backlink (as opposed to the no-follow backlink) but it seems to make far less difference than it used to.

It’s not just where the links come from but also what words are used to link back and sometimes the words around the link. So you can have links that involve keywords as the link or you can just have: For more information on this keyword – Click Here with the ‘click here’ holding the link code.

It is also good for your own page and site rank if you link to external authority sites, for example linking to Wikipedia for an authority definition of a word or phrase. I guess this shows the search engines that you acknowledge other sources of information, which makes you more trustworthy and reliable.

One other way to improve your own site’s status is with internal linking between pages. WordPress is useful here as it isn’t difficult (and it’s usually advisory) to use part of a margin column to hold ‘recent post’ links.

A final thought here is to remind you that if you thought you were clever and set up lots of websites on one hosting account is that you need to know that all the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses will be the same for each one of your sites and although they might have different domain names, search engines may see them as the same place. Bad news if a bunch of friends all got together for mutual backlinking and found they were all on the same host and server. As above, the backlinks wouldn’t necessarily be invalid, just they wouldn’t carry so much weight.

So here you have the briefest of outlines to how search engines rank your site and pages. As always, feel free to comment. I love reading them and try to reply to all of them too. The website that you type into the registration block becomes a backlink from your name, so there’s a bonus for you there, and on this occasion, if there’s a link in your comment too I’ll let it through if I think it adds value to the conversation here.

To get 500 free backlinks to a site or page of your choice (and these are good backlinks, not spammy ones) just visit http://bit.ly/links4free They’re actually rather good, certainly as good as any you could get on Fiverr and great for boosting individual blog posts up the rankings a bit.

In Search of the Perfection of Creation

Are you creating your own products?

If you’re into any sort of internet marketing, no matter what your niche, you should certainly consider it, if only to create your own unique give away items.

This is the point where many of you will tell me that you don’t think anything you produce would be good enough, that you don’t know enough, that you wouldn’t know where to start or it wouldn’t be perfect. As excuses go, these are pretty poor ones and they all tell me the same thing… That you are afraid of rejection. It’s a very human thing and nothing to be ashamed of, but I’m here to tell you that you can get over it and make something that your market will love and that will help to build the brand of you (See article).

Let’s deal with some of those objections.

Anything you produce wouldn’t be good enough. Are you setting your personal standards too high? I’m sure you’ve read stuff in the past and thought that you could do better. Here’s your chance to prove it. You just write it and let your peers judge it for themselves.

You don’t know enough. If you’ve been doing any sort of marketing for any length of time, you’ll have already discovered loads of things that people who haven’t done marketing don’t know. You don’t have to know vast amounts more than everyone else, a little more is enough. You have that knowledge and they don’t, but they could if you tell them.

You don’t know where to start. You do though. You started somewhere, didn’t you. Tell your own story. Be a real person to your readers. You’re not writing hard science fiction – where the story is reliant on a lot of provable science fact, you’re presenting a ‘how I did it’ guide for others to copy. Jot down a few ideas in a list. Expand each idea into another list of sub-ideas. Write a paragraph or two for each sub idea. You suddenly have a written document that you can use. Read your document into a recorder – you have an audio product. Go back to your ideas list and put them into a presentation program like PowerPoint – there’s another product. Turn your presentation into a movie and overlay your audio – you now have a video. It really is that simple.

It wouldn’t be perfect. People will forgive an awful lot in the way of writing, spelling and grammar if you can make your message full of value. Don’t agonise over details Don’t suffer ‘paralysis by analysis’.

As soon as you make a start you will feel things coming together. The first time you create your list of ideas and make a start on expanding it, it make take you hours. After you’ve done it 4 or 5 times it will get much easier. If you’re making an audio and you stumble or stutter, leave it in. No one will mind in the end. It’s the content that matters.

So get out there and do it. Keep everything too. There’s always a chance you can use it somewhere else, perhaps in another product bundle. The more you do, the easier it will get. The first step might be hard but producing anything is far more valuable than producing nothing.

What’s your approach to content creation? Are you ever paralysed by indecision about whether your ideas are good enough or don’t you think you have any ideas? Comment below or contact me if you need help and inspiration.

Building The Brand of ‘Me’

One of the main reasons for writing blogs – almost any blog really,  is to build the brand of ‘You’, the marketer, the campaigner, the provider of services or goods. Generally, people will only buy from places they know, like and trust and even then they will still need emotional triggers. A blog in general is a part of filling the first criteria, your advertising should provide the second.

For you to know me, I have to introduce myself. On the internet you can easily ‘meet’ hundreds of people daily, but if they don’t step up to you and put themselves in your path, they may just be a fleeting glimpse and forgotten again in seconds. Chances are that if you didn’t already know me, you would have come to this blog from a link I placed somewhere else – a social media site, an external article elsewhere or even somebody else’s blog. You almost certainly wouldn’t have come via a search engine as I write for people, not for SEO purposes and the IM market is so competitive that to rank this site onto the first page of Google I’d be doing nothing else but writing articles, setting up banner deals and paying for back links well beyond the reach of my wallet! So to get you here, I’ve stood in your path and said ‘Hi’.

Now I have to build rapport with you. Now unlike a date, where the idea is to listen (pay attention there guys), I have to start doing all the talking and mostly about me. In person this is something I’m not comfortable with, but in writing, I’m actually pretty OK and am quite happy to tell you about me, my successes and failures. I’ll also offer you your chance to interact with me, through the comments section and in fact I will positively encourage it. Fellow bloggers are the nicest people as they appreciate the same problems of communication and other internet marketers are great people too as they can empathise with what you are trying to achieve with your own efforts.

(See what I did there? I told you that I want to listen to you and that I like you. These are elements that will persuade you to like me. I can’t try to force you to like me as that would be counter-productive, but I can do the things that should make me more likeable).

The other thing is trust. To do this I can tell you interesting things without asking for anything in return, like offering advice that could be helpful to you (see some of my marketing tips on this blog). I can respond to your comments in a positive manner or I can even tell you about somebody else who can do the job better or at least differently (product reviews). If I do something for you without apparent thought for reward you will probably start to trust me.

So you’ll start to think – I know this guy just jumped out at me and said hello, but he seems likeable and he’s offering me info I can use. I’ll bookmark this site so I can come and see what he has to say the next time. I’ll leave a comment telling him that I appreciate his efforts and I like what he’s doing… I know his first name is Steven, but what was his last name again?

And there is where so many people fall down in their self-marketing efforts. We know ourselves well enough but we forget that others may not know us so well. We’ll tell people our first name but not our last.

I know there are several thousand Stevens, Steves and other variations out there, just in the marketing world. There’s probably a few ‘Steven Lucas’ out there as well – although happily all of the ones I have found are non-marketers (Please prove me wrong if you can. I’d love to know). But I want to be the one you remember.

Since I started this blog I have begun to always sign myself using my full name, whether in the briefest of posts or the long replies I sometimes give. Branding yourself is the art of making yourself memorable and in the vastness of the IM world there are very few who can get by on just one name. I certainly encourage you to do the same and use the full name you want to be known by.

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought here. The Know, Like and Trust message isn’t new, nor even is my final tip, but I firmly believe if you want to be known, you have to make yourself memorable and you have to use every idea available to you to make that happen.

Now tell me what you think. Do you agree or do you think I’ve gone off the deep end this time? I love reading all your comments and I will do my best to reply to each one of you.

Lists & Traffic – Some basics to get you started

http://www.stevenlucasmarketing.com/stuff/squeezetemplate.zip

This is going to be highly condensed as these two topics could (and have) filled several books and also you’ve probably gathered I’m not a real expert so I’m gleaning information about what should work, although I do know things that do work as well and I will cover those things here.

List Building

To build a list you MUST have an autoresponder of some sort, whether self hosted, free or paid. There is no other sensible way of keeping a large (or even small) list of email addresses and be able to contact them on a regular basis. At the autoresponder you should have one or more segments to your total list so that you know which niche different subscribers came from. Even at my low subscriber count I have 12 segments (GetResponse call them campaigns), 2 each for 3 membership sites (subscribers & buyers) , 1 is a general purpose catch all that I started with before I learned about segmenting and the other 5 for various products I’ve supported or launched. They all have a series of auto-response emails going out at 1 or 2 day intervals and I can broadcast to any or all campaigns as I wish.

To fill your autoresponder with eager freebie seekers you need a squeeze page. The link at the top of this page will allow you to download a free template which is NOT a WordPress plugin. I put my squeeze pages into a separate folder from the main site like… http://www.stevenlucasmarketing.com/sm-ccc/index.html (You’ll also notice that this link gives away a free product creation ebook and if you sign up and also offers a $97 product from a top name in product creation.) Feel free to use this squeeze page template, changing words and graphics as you require. If you’re not sure how to do this, you’re going to have to look for another article from me, another day.

To marry the two together (autoresponder & squeeze page) you need to go to your autoresponder and create a form. If your adding this form to a basic html page (like I’ve provided) then you can use the JavaScript version of the form. If you want to add your autoresponder form to a WordPress page, you’ll need the html version of the form (WordPress doesn’t ‘do’ JavaScript).

As an aside at this point – consider adding a signup form to your blog somewhere, even at the end of each post. You’ll probably get some quality sign ups from this.

 

Traffic

This is going to be the bit that everybody wants to read, but, it’s not going to be much different to what Alex teaches plus a few bits I’ve picked up.

The first thing is by blog commenting. If you have a product or freebie you want to launch, write a blog article for your own site describing your freebie (not in detail, of course) with links to your squeeze page, then you can quite happily ‘deep link’ to your post in comments on other people’s sites without being accused of spamming. Same on social sites – it’s easy to say, “Come a read my new blog post” with a link to your blog, rather than “come and sign up to this list” or “come and grab this freebie” with direct links to your squeeze.

AdWords and other targeted paid ads can get expensive without experience so are best avoided until you can take proper training. If you’re an expert already then you’ll know it can go horribly wrong as well as being terrifically good.

Safelists will fill your lists with freebie seekers. Safelists are mostly full of people trying to market on the cheap so all you’ll probably get are freebie seekers. You might get something out of them, but don’t expect a great deal of success. The open rate of emails is quite poor as well so make sure any safelist you pick is offering a credit scheme for click throughs. This is where someone who clicks a link in the safelist mail gets a number of credits for sending their own email. You can spend YOUR time clicking through or you can buy sending credits.

Click for click traffic (traffic exchanges). This can either be free or paid. If you have no money and you do have time and patience you can trade your time for clicks, so you view other people’s sites and they will view yours. If you have money you can buy the clicks to save you from clicking your life away.  Again they’ll mostly be freebie seekers and other marketers but you’ll also see bored housewives who think they’re working from home. If your product actually targets this sort of person then you could score big time.

The big solid, reliable traffic source, especially for freebie seekers who will become buyers is solo ads. The best source of these is Safe-Swaps. Safe-Swaps are a broker for many solo ad dealers as well as seekers. Check to see who is the most reliable (customers rate the suppliers) and pick someone you like the look of. Clicks cost between $0.20 and $1 a click. Higher prices normally mean a higher proportion of Tier 1 countries (USA, UK, Canada, Australia) although lower prices may just mean someone who is trying to establish a reputation. Ask questions before buying if you want to and don’t necessarily go with the cheapest because they’re cheap. Also buy in small batches – say 50 to 200. Suppliers always over-deliver the number of clicks you buy, so if you buy 100 clicks you will probably get 120 (20% over delivery). If you bought 1000 at once, from one supplier you might get 1100 (10% over delivery), so the moral of the story here is buy a lot of small bunches of clicks rather than one big one.

One other thing is that most solo ad providers will only send to freebie offering squeeze pages and not directly to affiliate links or paid offers. Check before sending.

Once you have a decent sized list of your own – 500+ subscribers, you’ll be able to offer people a solo to your list either for money or as an ad-swap, where marketers with similar sized lists send an offer to each other’s lists. This works quite well if both lists are in the same or similar niches, so do check first.

There is also click-banking where one of you agrees to send an offer to your list and later on the other sends and offer to theirs. This is good for people with dissimilar sized lists as someone with a 1500 name list can send one offer on behalf of someone who only has a 500 name list. The large list owner can then send 3 different offers (banked over time) to the small list.

When sending solo ads or offering them, remember to allow for the over-delivery. You cannot offer 500 clicks from a list of 500 subscribers. Best to offer only 100 – 150 at most and only offer one sending per day otherwise you’ll have your list unsubscribing so fast you won’t believe it!

Ending

There’s a lot more to this squeeze page and traffic lark and there are people far more expert than I (but I will get there). I hope this has been useful to you. Please comment  below, especially if you feel there’s something left out or something more I could say.