Web Traffic – A House of Cards?

“You might say that. I couldn’t possibly comment” – Francis Urquhart’s response to a reporter in the UK political drama – House of Cards.

Internet marketing can sometimes revolve around that remark. You can say something, repeating what you’ve read on another site, what you heard in a webinar or saw in a document, but some people don’t want to be seen believing that it might be true, especially if it might affect their income. However, there are times when it pays to react early to a story or rumour, especially when it comes to getting traffic to your site(s).

We’re told that Facebook is now changing some its algorithms for which posts will be shown to which people on your friends list. Now whilst most people are complaining that they should be the ones choosing what they see, others were just adapting their behaviours so it fitted in with what Facebook wanted, whether they liked the ideas or not. Who now will be making sure that their posts are seen? Not the complainers, that’s for sure.

The big guns control web traffic, and like it or not that will continue to be the case, and all most of us can do is bend to their will or go with traffic that we can control. That would be our email list. Yes we need to pander to their needs, in fact we had better do a good job of it and getting them so that they will open our emails more often would be a great start, better still, open our emails, read them and react to them would be even better. So how best to do that?

Why not try asking them? A little survey perhaps with a reward at the end of a free ebook or 10 minute training video (something you would have given out anyway) is an ideal start. GetResponse users are off to a flying start there as this Email Management Facility (it seems to undersell them to merely call them an autoresponder company) can build them into your messages, or just construct something at SurveyMonkey.com and send them there. A good survey offers fixed choices for the most part with a free text comments box at the end, but it will give you plenty of information about what your subscribers want to see from you. There are several marketers who base entire products on what their surveys have discovered, so it can work for you too.

You might argue that you can control traffic from solo ads too, but in the end those emails don’t come from you, even if they’re on your behalf. Until those people sign up to your list, you cannot say that you can cater to their needs.

The other old favourites, forum, blog comment and social media traffic all depend on other people driving traffic to the event or them being found, usually accidentally and they still require an extra click to come your way. All very unreliable.

So stick with your email list. Let them know the good things that can happen to them if they stick with you. Look after them carefully, for they are the lifeblood of your business and while they thrive, you will survive.

And for making it this far, why not have a free ebook on email list building? Just Click Here

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.

Selling By Fear or Pursuasion By Pleasure?

When you first learn about creating sales pages you are told that you have to write to appeal to a buyers emotions and that the two strongest emotions are fear and love or avoidance of pain and seeking of pleasure, with the strongest being avoidance of pain. Have you ever stopped to consider the psychological effects your writing might be having on your potential buyer and how that might affect the long term relationship you have with them?

If you continually tell people that they must have your latest product, that they will definitely fail without it and they will spend the rest of their life in abject misery, you may very well make the sale you have been looking for, but chances are, that you will have upset the customer so much that they may never buy from you again. The idea of getting them onto your list is so that you can keep them as buyers, not to frighten the bejesus out of them.

Yes fear – of loss, of failure, is a powerful selling tool, but it should be used in moderation and with your audience in mind.

Better for their long term state of being is to let them know how good they can feel and how much better their life will be if they would just consider making you happy by just trying out this new widget software you just happened to have discovered for their benefit. You could make it sound like you’re doing mutual favours for each other rather than a buyer / seller relationship. There will be less buyer’s remorse and therefore far fewer refunds when you make your customer feel good about their purchase.

As in all things, and not just marketing, there is always a compromise to be struck, but use the fear factor sparingly. If you set a time based deadline that something must be bought by (using fear based motivation) then stick by that deadline so that you keep your credibility. A clock that resets on each visit also resets your reputation a bit lower (bit of fear there to make you see my point of view).

In the long term the pleasant approach will probably help you keep customers for longer and these customers will trust you more than if you had scared them into a quick sale.

Do you have different ideas? Does you list worry about NOT buying from you or are you sweetness and light itself in your dealings?

As always, I’d love to read your comments and I’ll reply to them and keep a debate or discussion going.

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.

The Warrior Forum

For those marketers who haven’t been marketing very long or just get out too much, there’s a place where an awful lot of marketers, wannabes, experts, gurus and others go, especially when they want to learn or share knowledge and opinions. Just about every marketer mentions it now and again, usually along with the strange term WSO (pronounced wizzo).

That place is The Warrior Forum. And WSO stands for Warrior Special Offer. The two are related and here’s a bit of an explanation for you.

The Warrior Forum has been around for years and started as forums do as a place for people of mutual interest to discuss things. It has several sub-sections including ones that discuss every aspect of internet marketing. It’s also a place where you can contact people who will do various things IM – although usually for a fee. Got an idea for a WordPress plugin? Find a programmer on Warrior. Need to know how solo ads work? There’s several hundred experts on Warrior. Even article marketing, social media marketing and so much more.

The best bit about it is though is that it costs nothing to join. It’s like all forums, it has its controversies, idiots and nay-sayers, but these people do not tend to last very long, so as forums go, it’s quite a respectable place.

There is one place though that is off limits to the free and casual reader… The War Room.

It costs to join, currently $97 a year. (I was lucky. I got in when it was $20)

What do you get for the extra money?

The first thing you get is the ability to post WSOs to the general forum population (and visitors). It will cost you more again to post each WSO but a well written sales page (not my forte at the moment) will more than make that money back. Some people even pay to put up WSOs that are free to download – usually (but not always) in exchange for your name and email.

The other great thing about the War Room is that the level of expertise goes up in the discussions and there is a great deal of “This is my next WSO, can I have some opinions?” as well as “This is my old WSO – Free to War Room members” so it is a great place to get more information as well as things for free that you would have been happy to pay for!

So if you’re not a Warrior yet, I strongly suggest that you become at least a free member. See how the forum operates and get a good feel for the site. Then dig out your wallet and join the War Room. That is money that you will definitely not regret paying out in your search for Internet Marketing excellence.

 

What Other Industry Would Accept This Failure Rate?

The average failure rate for a new self-started, offline business is around 50% – which sounds pretty bad.

The failure rate for a franchised business – where there is a system and backup in place, is less than 25%. Better, but not great, one would think.

The failure rate of online marketers is 98%. Only 2 in every 100 will go on to make enough money to live on. Why is that?

Part of this high failure rate is the apparent cheapness of actually starting up. It can be done for nothing – although almost all of these are doomed to failure. No start up costs means there’s nothing to lose and very few people will put the effort in for that very reason. They do not consider their time as a valued resource and so consider that the business is not actually costing them anything.

Then there are the low investors – say $1 to $300. They buy an ebook or two, maybe even a low to mid value course and possibly even follow some of the advice. Maybe they’ll even buy a domain and hosting, blog a time or two and in the end give it up as a bad job, blaming bad luck and no traffic. To many this is a disposable sum of money spent on a hobby. No different to the model train set in the attic or the golf clubs languishing in the garage.

Now we move on to the mid-amount investors – up to $1000. More serious money now for most people and more effort is put in and quite probably these are the people who start seeing some results. Unless they buy the courses and don’t follow them. They think that spending the money should be enough and not actually consider doing some activity themselves to establish a name and brand.

By the time you get to the $1000+ spenders – which is probably more people than you think (how many things have you bought that are just gathering digital dust on your hard drive?), you’d consider that these are the people who start to see real success, but I would say it’s probably the biggest proportion of failures, mostly because these are the people who’ve bought book after book, system after system, skimmed through some of it, and not taken any action! These people will also tell you the loudest that online money making doesn’t work, because they think they’ve tried it.

At every cost level, it will be the action takers who see success. Depending on their level of personal investment – which means taking time to read, listen or watch and understand each course that they buy. Following the instructions and proving to themselves what works and what doesn’t. Putting in their time. Investing in themselves and their future. Some of us are late comers to this way of thinking – myself included. But I’m now looking carefully at some of the stuff that I’ve had for years and much of it is still relevant to the IM market of today. I wouldn’t know that unless I’d looked at and taken the time to read and understand. I’m finally taking action.

If you’re still not succeeding at internet marketing and you’ve be trying for a while, maybe it’s time you asked yourself why you’ve failed. Why you’re one of the 98%.

Maybe it’s time to leave the majority and become one of the 2%. The online successes. Take action. NOW. Find a SYSTEM you are comfortable with. Systems succeed, people fail (think of the success rate of franchises over individual’s businesses). Take action on that system, study it, understand it, ask questions of others using the same system. Just don’t put it off any longer. Not everything will come to he who waits, but someone who reaches out to success will find it within his grasp.

The Money Trigger is part of such a system. Take action and buy into this system. Take more action and use this system. Follow up on this action and continue to work with this system.

Then come and tell me about your success.

WordPress Blog Themes

If you’ve ever set up a WordPress blog site then you’ll know that the default themes (in 2014 at least) are not too bad. Unfortunately many people never get beyond those themes, not even changing the headline picture and certainly never investigating the many thousands of other themes there are out there.

The first thing to consider is the layout. 2 column, 3 column or 4? Widgets or not (what are widgets anyway?) Loads of colours or just a few? Think about the image you are trying to portray. An artist or photographer – someone who works with colours will possibly want a really colourful theme or just a plain one so that nothing is distracting from their work. A business might already have selected company colours and just want their website to reflect those – this is when you’ll need a theme which allows you to select exact hues and shades rather than just red, green or blue variations on a basic idea.

Of course, for the dedicated CSS & PHP programmer, changing any colour might just be a matter of rooting around in the .css files, or it may be a matter of paying someone to do it for you, but many of the premium WordPress themes available allow you to do this from a control panel making it easier for anyone to select background and font colours to something of their own choosing.

Another advantage of a premium theme is that fewer people will be using it. As a rule, marketers, especially at the novice stage, are reluctant to spend too much money on something that they think no one will pay attention to, but people do notice these things and ‘me too’ themes will get spotted and commented upon. It is worth spending a few dollars more to get something that is unique and can be tailored to what you want. If you’re not sure to begin with, see if a premium theme that you like has a free version (limited selections or layouts, sellers banners or links) that you can at least try with your ideas, before you splash out for the full version (which is what I’m doing on this site).

Your blog is your showcase, so make the theme something that people notice – for the right reasons.

PS: A widget is a piece of code that allows extra things to happen, usually in the right side column. So the sign-up, categories, recent posts and my request for you to join in, are all widgets of different types. Some are built into WordPress and some are extras through plug ins or part of the theme. More on plugins in another article.

7 Tips For Broadcast Emails To Your Subscribers

Having an email list is great, but you’ve worked hard to get those subscribers, so isn’t it a good idea to do your best to keep them? Here’s a few tips that might just help them to decide NOT to reach for that unsubscribe link.

1. Not every email has to be selling something. Give those poor people a rest! I Know the thinking is sell until they won’t buy any more, but to me (and many others) there’s nothing worse than a ‘buy this now’ link with no reasoning attached. Which leads straight into…

2. Put a bit of a story as to why this ‘latest and greatest’ offer is the greatest. Gimme a reason to visit the sales page. If it’s a squeeze page, tell me in advance why I should sign up. Many squeeze pages are sparse on information and I’m a tight git when it comes to handing over my email, so I want to to know why you think this will be worth my time. WIIFM!

3. To me, nothing says ‘I am a seller’ (as opposed to being a marketer) than safjhi2e83@gmail.com at the top of the email. If you have a website create an email from your domain. You can get to it from the email client on your desktop computer so you don’t have to log in via your CPanel so you don’t need any special equipment to receive (or send) emails from your own domain.

4. Sign off with your full name. There are millions of ‘Steven’ out there but there are far fewer ‘Steven Lucas’ (I know, I’ve searched) so do what you can to make yourself memorable.

5. Don’t insult your subscriber’s intelligence. You won’t make any friends that way, nor will you keep them. I can decide if something is too advanced for me to use, so you don’t need to tell me to buy it and use it blindly because it’s too complex. Just ‘cos you don’t understand it doesn’t mean that I won’t.

6. Write to your ideal customer who is a friend. Singular. You might me writing to hundreds or even thousands of people with a single broadcast message, but they’re reading it individually. Make your pitch to your best friend not to a potential customer.

7. Put something personal in the opening paragraph. Make yourself human and real. Whatever you put in though, do make it upbeat. Telling the world that you’ve just woken up to dog poo and baby sick is not inspirational selling. Don’t tell people that you’re desperate for sales either, unless you’re somewhere close to the top of a sales leaderboard and can infect your subscribers with your enthusiasm.

Just a few ideas to help you along, to make you look professional as a marketer (and not just a seller), to help you keep your subscribers and to help you make more sales.Email writing tips

The importance of your first email.

Here’s a guest post from Jenelle Livett, an Australian marketer who also runs her own coaching course.

Here Jenelle talks very much about first impressions and how to make them via email. Sit back. Read and enjoy.

The importance of your first email.

It is common knowledge that with any business if you have a list of subscribers then you not only have a way to contact your new and existing customers, but you also have a way to offer them more services which will increase your profits. The fact is that 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers. Also you will make more money out of a customer who has already purchased from you than a cold prospect. The reason for this is because they know like and trust you. So how do you get a cold prospect to know like and trust you? If they are joining you through an optin form which can be located on your blog or even sent out as an advertisement e.g. a solo ad or bulk mailing then they will receive an introduction email. This very first email is the most important email and there should be careful thought put into making you sound like you are a genuine person and somebody who is going to help your subscribers reach their goal. It should also point out that you will be sending them further emails. Always make sure your intent is clear and remember you only get one chance to make a first impression.

So now you have told them who you are and a little bit about your experience. You have included a few sentences about how your main purpose is to help them succeed and also told them that you will be sending them future emails with other promotions and also some useful tips and tips. the other information that you should include is a little story about how you know how they feel and that you have been in that exact same spot as they are now. Reassure them that they also can achieve the success you have achieved and you will help them get there. Also let them know that if they choose not to stay on your list that there is an unsubscribe button in every email but you would be sad to see them leave.

In your next few emails you just want to share some stories and gently push them towards other products that you will be promoting to them. Successful email marketing is all about forming relationships with your subscribers. Always remember they are people. Try and relate things that might be taking place at the moment, like the world cup or an upcoming celebration. Make your emails real. Remember facts tell and stories sell. The internet is a pretty faceless place and there are a lot of scammers around so the days where you could just send out an email and say buy my stuff are long gone. If you have a Facebook profile tell them to connect with you there and introduce them to your blog. If you always try to get your list to take action send you feedback etc. then they will become raving fans and soon they will trust you enough to buy anything you suggest. My other advice is if you are going to sell something to your list make sure it is a quality product that you have used or one that has been highly recommended. There is one fast way to lose credibility is by sending your list to dud offers. Keep it real

Jenelle Livet: Coaching you to Online Success. Join me on my blog http://jenellelivet.com join me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenellelivetcoaching