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Archive | June, 2019

Are You “All In” with Your Online Business?

There’s an expression in the game of poker called, “Going all in.” And it means you’re betting everything you’ve got on your hand. This is the showdown – if you win then you’ve got a nice pile of money. If you lose, you’re out.

All In

In cards you might win, you might lose and generally it doesn’t matter too much in the grand scheme of things. But in your life, ‘going all in’ can be the absolute difference between extreme success and dismal failure.

Mind you, it’s more of a mindset than a money risk, although it can certainly be both. If you’re working a job while you build your IM business, I don’t recommend you quit your job until your Internet Marketing income equals the income you get from your job, give or take.

But your mindset can’t be anything BUT ‘going all in.’ You’ve got to live and breathe your success before you achieve it. You’ve got to know you can do it, or at least have an extremely large suspicion that it’s possible.

You’ve got to commit to your new venture like you’d commit to raising a child. Sorry, but half-hearted simply won’t cut it…

Think of two guys – Sam and Max. Sam dabbles in IM for 10 years, working on his business when he feels like it. Max lives, breathes and eats IM for 10 years. Who’s retiring in 10 years? There’s no question, it’s going to be Max.

It’s time to make a decision – are you all in? Are you going to get your mindset in the right place to start doing what you’ve got to do everyday to make your IM business not just a hobby, but a real actual BUSINESS? It’s your call.

Before I go, let me leave you with this heart-pumping quote:

One day, John and George showed up… and told me we had a gig. I said, “No, I’ve got a steady job here… I can’t expect more.” And I was quite serious… But then I thought, “Sod it.” I bunked over the wall and was never seen again by Massey and Coggins. Pretty shrewd move really, as things turned out. – Sir Paul McCartney

33 Things I Would Have Paid Money to Know Before I Started in Online Marketing

If you’re just starting out in Internet Marketing, beware: There are lessons you’ll need to learn one way or the other. The easier way is find an old marketer like me and pick my brain. The hard way is the method I’ve used many times in my years as a marketer – making the mistake and THEN learning the lesson. But it’s been worth it. Here 33 things I wish I’d known when I started in online marketing.

33 Things I Would Have Paid Money to Know Before I Started in Online Marketing

1. Your most valuable asset is your customer list. Not your prospect list, your customer list – people who have spent at least a dollar with you. Do everything you can to grow this list, because once someone trusts you enough to hand you a dollar, they’ll hand you $50. And once they hand you $50, they’ll hand you $500, but only if you treat them right.

2. Your second most valuable asset is your affiliates and JV partners. I’m talking about the affiliates who promote your products time and again, the ones that stick by you because A) They believe in you B) They believe in your products C) You treat them like the royalty they are. Your affiliates can make you more money in one day than most people earn in a year. Find them, nurture them, be amazing to them and take care of them.

3. Your third most valuable asset is really your most valuable, but until you’ve been in this business for awhile I’m afraid you won’t believe it, so I placed it here at number 3. But think about this – if you don’t treat your customers right and your affiliates right, what happens? You get a bad reputation. And once you have that, you might has well hang it up and go get a job at Walmart. Your reputation is EVERYTHING online. Protect it the way you would protect your own child, because you only get one chance to do it right. This goes for your brand as well.

4. Other valuable assets in no particular order are: Your prospect list, your outsourcers and your products. Focus on moving people off of your prospect list and onto your buyers list, even if it’s only a $1 purchase. Treat your best outsourcers well – you don’t want to have to find and train new ones every 6 weeks. And products, well…

5. Your products speak for you. Make them awesome and be sure they deliver on every promise you make. And do create products – lots of them. The more the merrier, so long as each one is filling a real customer want. It’s much easier to break into the 6 figure realm when you’re creating your own products. My most prosperous years are the ones where I’m creating the most solutions and products.

6. Keep things simple. I see aspiring marketers trying to over-complicate things all the time. Find a want, create the product, sell it to those who want it. Simple. As Steve Jobs said, “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” When you reduce the clutter and noise, you can do less and get more from it.

7. Focus. Pick a niche and focus on that niche. Let nothing distract you, including all the other niches. Make a list of things to do. Do each one. This sounds so simple, yet people try to go in several different directions at once and of course wind up going absolutely nowhere. This is one I got right from the start – I chose the IM niche and never looked back, and I’ve never regretted it.

8. Use systems. With a finely tuned system you can do anything. When they build a car, do they reinvent the engine each time? No. When you start an IM business, you don’t have to reinvent the mechanics of how to run it, either. Get a system and you’ll be free to focus on making money while the system runs your business.

9. Do 15 minutes of concentrated, positive thinking every morning. Do affirmations in the mirror, read something inspiring, look over and read aloud your goals, etc. Whatever it is that lights your fire, do it first thing in the morning and it will fuel you for the rest of the day.

10. Send out ships. Thinking positive is the first step, but it’s not enough. You’ve got to climb those stairs, not just look up at them and hope you somehow get to the top. So each day, send out ships. Make contact with someone in your niche. Build alliances. Email a dozen prospective affiliates. Skype with your best prospects. Whatever it is that brings in the business and makes you money, do it daily.

11. Use deadlines. Work inevitably expands to fill the time allowed, so only allow enough time to get it done. Then cut that time in half. You’ll be astonished at how fast you can work and what you can achieve.

12. Screw perfection. Really. You’ve got to take that attitude or you’ll be working six months on a product trying to get it perfect. When you finally do launch it, the window has passed and the desires of the community have moved on.

13. Build a real business. A blog is not a business, nor is a list. Those are components of a business. Decide what business you’re in and then treat it as seriously as any brick and mortar business.

14. You are the CEO of your business. Act like it. Outsource as much as possible so you don’t get bogged down. You can’t captain a ship while you’re swabbing decks. Focus on the big picture and outsource the details.

15. When you receive payment for a product, that’s when your work begins. Remember, it’s easier to keep a customer than to get one, but if you don’t continually take care of your customers, you’ll lose them.

16. Stand for something. No successful business has ever been all things to all people.

17. Pre-sell your products. This way you know for a fact if there’s a market for it, PLUS you have a huge incentive to get that product out the door FAST. And if there’s no interest in the product, you’ve just saved yourself the work of creating what would have been a loser anyway.

18. Make connections. Every day make one new connection and then maintain that connection forever. Yes, forever. Or until you retire. You can never have too many connections, too many friends in the business, too many customers, too many affiliates and JV partners, etc.

19. Be an idea magnet. What’s an idea? Often it’s a combination of two old things into something new. Look for ideas everywhere and write them down. WRITE THEM DOWN. Writing them ensures you don’t forget them, it frees your mind to think of more ideas, and it trains your mind to be ever watchful for the next big idea.

20. You can’t email your list too often. There’s a belief that if you send out an email everyday to your list, you’ll burn the list. And this is true if all you’re sending is ads. But if you’re also sending tidbits of good information or even just something to brighten their day, they will welcome your messages. In fact, emailing every day ensures you stay in their memory. Email once a week and they’ll forget who you are.

21. Grow your confidence. This will happen naturally as you experience success in your business, but you need to be confident from Day 1 that you can do the business in the first place.

22. Use to-do lists. Write down goals big and small. Write down what needs to be done this month, this week and today. Prioritize your list. Then do it.

23. Get an accountability partner. Tell each other or email each other each morning with your to-do list. Then tell each other in the evening what you accomplished.

24. Join a mastermind group. If you can’t find one, start one.

25. Outsource the bulk of your content and product creation. Then focus 80% or more of your time on marketing and building your business. This boils down to ‘Working ON your business rather than IN your business.’

26. Ask for the sale. That’s right, ASK for the sale. I once went to a car dealer and the guy helping me was brand new. I found the car I wanted, but he couldn’t gather up the courage to ask for the sale. Finally another salesperson came over and asked if I was ready to buy. “Yes!” I said. The young sales person looked astonished, but when he had to split his commission with the sales person who asked for the sale, I could see the new guy had learned his lesson.

27. Always have an upsell. If you’re selling a $7 product, offer a $27 on the backend. If your product is $97, offer a $997 on the backend. If you don’t, you’re robbing your customers who want more and you’re robbing yourself.

28. Continuity rules. Always look for ways to introduce continuity into your business, from the $7 a month membership to the $5,000 a month coaching program.

29. Passive income is the result of hard work, not passively sitting on your butt. How many rich couch potatoes do you know?

30. Hire a business coach. You’ll get a fresh perspective you sorely need, as well as good advice and someone to push you to new levels. For every dollar you spend on quality business coaching, you can expect to make $10 or more in just the first year, as long as you ACT on the good advice.

31. Invest your profits, don’t spend them. Buy real estate, good stocks or anything of lasting value. Don’t squander your money on ridiculous cars and nights out – there could come a day when you’ll deeply regret it.

32. Think of your mother. Would you be embarrassed to show her your marketing methods? If not, you might want to rethink your strategy. Another thing: Would she tell you that despite how busy you are, you should still eat right, exercise and take a little time off each day? Then be smart and do it. Mom does know best.

33. Have fun. If you’re miserable, you’re not doing it right. Yes there are going to be challenges, but half the fun is overcoming those challenges and persevering. If you hate what you’re doing, you’ve already failed. Do something else. I learned this in my previous profession prior to the Internet, but it holds true no matter what your business.

There you have it – 33 things I wish I’d known when I started. Some of these would have been handy five years into my IM career as well. I hope it helps.

One word of advice – when you do learn a lesson, either the hard way or the easy way – make a note of it. It’s best not to repeat the same mistakes any more than you have to.

17 Simple Ways to Increase the Power and Effectiveness of Your Sales Funnel

A coaching student recently emailed with a problem you may have encountered yourself – your sales funnel just isn’t working nearly as well as you’d like it to. Fortunately, there are proven techniques you can use to increase any sales funnel’s pulling power, from the ads you place, to your squeeze page, your blog, your sales letters and on your backend.

Here’s 17 simple ways to increase the effectiveness of your online sales funnel…

17 Simple Ways to Increase the Power of Your Sales Funnel

1. Ask for action. Whether it’s a Facebook ad, solo ad or a banner, a squeeze page, a sales page, even a blog post – ask your reader to take the next steps and do what you want them to do. Keep it simple and make it easy to take that action, too.

2. Always offer free information, such as blog posts, articles, reports, podcasts, videos etc. to establish yourself as an authority who can be trusted, as well as someone they just plain like.

3. Describe your lead generating free report in a way that makes it every bit as enticing as a $100 paid product.

4. Show a picture of your report or product, and don’t skimp on this. Get a good graphics designer to create a cover that looks like it belongs on the best seller list.

5. Spend a lot of time choosing just the right title. Whether it’s a blog post, a free report or a product, give it a name or title that creates curiosity or implies a big benefit. If you can do both, you get major bonus points.

6. Include your address on your squeeze page and your sales page. Make it super easy to find on your blog. A real address (preferably with a real phone number) tells people they can trust you.

7. Use your head shot photo everywhere you can. Unless you look like an ogre (and trust me, you don’t) it’s better to have your face seen throughout your sales funnel. This makes you a real person to the prospect, not just some faceless person trying to take their money. Spend time choosing just the right photo, and even use social media to help you pick the one that makes you look like the likeable, trustworthy person you are.

8. When offering discounts, use a dollar amount, not a percentage. For example, $10 off converts better than 10% off.

9. You know those dashed lines they put around coupons? Thanks to conditioning, those lines also work online for getting attention and making sales. Try using them on your order page.

10. Give the order page “coupon” a headline that affirms positive action – ”Yes, I want to lose 30 pounds in the next 60 days.”

11. Give the customer 2 or 3 choices – perhaps a starter option, a full option and a deluxe option. Price the deluxe at slightly more than the full and you will very likely increase sales dramatically.

12. Try placing a less-heavy dashed line around your banner ads as well to stimulate response.

13. Use a direct headline – one that promises a benefit or stresses the offer of free information while invoking curiosity. Test your headlines. Test test test. Then test some more. If this seems tedious, get your VA to do it.

14. If you don’t have a VA, consider getting one. S/he can be doing the little stuff while you focus on improving your funnel.

15. Giving away a free book or consultation? Or is your price crazy low? Put it in the headline.

16. Offer a bonus unlike any other. For example, everyone offers a free ebook, recording, video, etc. Instead, offer something tangible like a real book. Have it shipped via Amazon. Obviously this bonus will only be offered on higher priced products.

17. Offer a free sample. Yes, this is old school, but it works. Offer a free 30 minute consultation, or a free chapter, or the first 3 videos of your 15 video series. If you deliver what you promise and make them want more, you’ll get sales.

One last thing: If you’re already doing all of the above and your sales are still lower than you like, you’ll want to take a look at the big picture. Is your offer a good one? Is the product something people are willing and even eager to pay for?

All the marketing in the world won’t do much to help a lousy offer. If the problem turns out to be the offer, the question to ask is whether you’re charging too much or is it simply something people don’t want? And then take the appropriate action.

Above all else, don’t give up, because the only people who truly fail are the ones who throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble.

Why Would You Create an Udemy Course?

Just like any information product, creating an online course at Udemy allows you to do the work once and get paid over and over again, sometimes for years. “But ebooks and video products and so forth already do that – why an online course?”

Why Would You Create an Udemy Course?

Would you believe, because it looks cool? When you’re selling your course through your own website, you look just like everybody else pushing an info-product. But when you do it through a teaching platform like Udemy, you automatically get credibility and prestige points.

Plus Udemy will get you customers you never would have found in any other manner. True, they get a cut, but so would affiliates.

Another reason why you might want to create an Udemy style ecourse is this: By having an online course (or 2 or 20) you are automatically an expert in your niche. Imagine trying to sell a brick and mortar business a marketing package when they don’t know who you are. Now imagine selling that same package after you’ve shown them that you are a Udemy Instructor. See the difference?

Sure, you and I know that putting together a Udemy course isn’t rocket science, but to your prospect you are suddenly THE MAN or THE WOMAN who can ride in on that big shiny horse, save the day and fix their problems. Okay, maybe not, but their trust level in you and your expertise just increased by a couple of hundred points, easy.

Here’s yet another reason for creating a Udemy course: You can charge more than you can for a random ebook or video course. Which would you rather do – sell 10 THOUSAND copies of a $10 product, or 508 copies of a $197 product? It takes essentially the same work, yet on the higher priced product you need far fewer sales to reach that six figure number. In fact, just 1.39 sales per day for a year will yield you $100,000.

One last reason to consider creating a Udemy course: Your course makes for a terrific back end product. Let’s say you do sell a $10 product, or you guest blog, or you get interviewed, etc. Where do you send people? Yes, you can send them to a squeeze page to capture their email address, but where do you take them after that? Imagine if, on the ‘thank you for subscribing’ page, you invited them to take a peek at your Udemy course. You could also provide them with an expiring coupon. Even if just a few percent of them buy, you are now making significant money you otherwise would have left on the table.

This can be a self-liquidating method to build your list. Pay for advertising, make money on your Udemy course, and you can continually and almost effortlessly build your list – forever.

If you’re an expert on a topic and you haven’t thought about creating a Udemy course before, you might want to consider it.

Is It Time To Ditch Your Goals?

Everybody knows you’ve got to set goals and stay acutely focused on those goals if you want to achieve anything in life. But what if “everybody” is wrong?

Is It Time To Ditch Your Goals?

Let’s say you’re a coach and your goal is to win the championship. How do you do that? By focusing on all the things your team needs to do to get good enough to win. Daydreaming about winning isn’t going to be enough. You’ve got to practice, practice, practice.

Or you’re a sales person and your goal is to earn $200,000 this year in commissions, twice what you earned last year. How do you do that? By focusing on calling a certain number of good prospects every single day without fail. Otherwise you’ll continue to work like you have in the past, and the goal will likely be just one more thing you didn’t achieve.

Or you’re a writer and your goal is to write a 240 page book in the next 60 days. How do you do that? By sitting down and writing 4 pages per day. If you don’t focus on the process of writing those 4 pages a day, you’ll never achieve the goal.

Or maybe you’re in Internet Marketing. Wait – if you’re reading this you ARE an online marketer. So let’s say your goal is to earn $10,000 a month. How do you do that: By focusing on the goal? Or by focusing on your sales and marketing process? Of course it’s the day to day process that will eventually get you to your goal. Otherwise it’s all just pie in the sky and wishful thinking.

Obviously goals and your day-to-day focus can go hand in hand. But when you focus on the goal you naturally reduce your current happiness. You’re basically deciding that when you reach your goal, then you’ll be happy and successful. But not now. Not yet.

Conversely when you focus on the system that will get you to the goal, you’re focused on what you need to do right now. You can feel happy and successful each day that you focused on your system, whether that’s writing 4 pages for your book or contacting 15 potential affiliates.

You also have a weird thing happen if and when you achieve your goal if you’re not focused on the process – you tend to stop what you’re doing that got you there in the first place. If you focus on writing 4 pages a day, then you’ll have a new 240 page book every 2 months, or 6 per year. But if you focus only on the goal of having the book written, then once you complete it you’ll stop writing.

So how do you make the switch from goal setting to focusing on the systems that will get you the goals? Identify what needs to be done to reach your goal, and then spend your time doing those things. This way your goal will take care of itself and you’ll feel successful everyday, not just the day you reach your goal.

One more thing: They say you’re supposed to make your goal specific, measurable and time-bound. But if all we’re focused on is the goal, we can end up cheating ourselves to achieve it. Consider the salesman who was so desperate to meet his sales goal, he stole a major client from a fellow sales person at his company. Yes, he achieved his goal, but the victory was hollow and his reputation in the office was shot to pieces.

Conversely, sometimes when we simply allow ourselves to focus on the day to day process and systems that take us to our goals, we find we’ve reached an even better goal we hadn’t initially thought of. Consider another salesman who didn’t stress about the big goal, but instead he simply made sure he emailed 50 prospects a day, called 15 prospects and spoke with 10 prospects. This is what he did day in and day out. Yes, he met his goal, but in fact he exceeded it by all expectations and was hired away by another company to become their new sales manager.

Two sales people with the same goal but two different focuses – which would you choose? Personally I find that a big goal can stress me out, sometimes to the point of almost feeling paralyzed. But knowing that I have a system to focus on that makes everything simple and completely manageable lets me relax and get busy. And I usually achieve my goals well ahead of schedule, without the stress and with a continuing sense of accomplishment and happiness.

Try it – just for one month focus on the day to day process instead of the big hairy goal and see if it doesn’t make a difference for you, too.

Using Twitter to Find the Best Headlines

At the risk of stating the obvious, the better your headlines grab eyeballs, the more money you can make. In fact, even a small improvement can add significant money if your sales funnel is set up with a high priced product or two. For example, getting 5% more people to opt into your list or open an email or buy a $7 product could result in another 1/2 to 1 percent buying your more expensive and profitable product. Over the course of a year that could easily add thousands to your bottom line.

Using Twitter to Find the Best Headlines

One way marketers used to test headlines was through Adwords, back in the day when they were super cheap. A marketer would try out 2 or more headlines and see which one pulled the best. Seasoned marketers still test headlines with Google and Facebook ads, but if you’re on a small budget there is a less expensive way.

These days Twitter is the easiest and cheapest method for testing headlines, so long as you have a following. Simply choose what you think are your two best headlines, tweet them both and track the results.

First, the tweeting: To be fair you’d want to tweet both simultaneously, but that’s probably not the best way. Instead, tweet them both in the morning and again in the afternoon, about 20 to 30 minutes apart. So for example in the morning you might tweet headline A at 9:00 and headline B at 9:30. Then do the same in the afternoon but reverse the order.

Track your results with a good click tracking software like Click Magick or your own favorite tracker. When you’ve got a winner, test it against another headline, and so forth.

Now then… why use this method instead of split testing? Frankly, I prefer split testing when it comes to something like a squeeze page or a sales letter, but there are times when this Twitter method comes in especially handy.

Are you sending out an important email or series of emails for a big promotion? Are you getting ready to launch a product and want to have a good idea in advance which headline will work best? Using Twitter to test your subject lines up front can put you ahead of the game and into profit faster.

Don’t be a Quitter – Be a Failure Instead

We’re taught from early on that success is everything. Win the game or ace the test and you get the grown-up’s approval. Then we get older and succeeding becomes even more important. You got into a hot shot college? Congrats! You won the contract? Great! You built a multi-million dollar business? Super!

Don't be a Quitter – Be a Failure Instead

But here’s what nobody tells you – before you can win you’ve almost always got to lose, and lose big, and lose often. You’ve heard the expression, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” right? Well, when you venture you don’t always gain. Many times you lose, and you lose big.

And when that happens, your confidence takes a nose dive. The next time out you hedge your bets, you pull your punches and you don’t try as hard. Why? Because that way if you fail again, you can tell yourself that you didn’t lose as big. It’s funny, but it’s also human nature.

People fail a time or two and then what do they do? Sadly, many quit. They just give up. Failure hurts too much. It’s humiliating and embarrassing and they’d rather play it “safe.” Which actually means they don’t want to play at all, they just want to sit in their cozy cotton lined box and never venture outside into the cruel world again.

Here’s what those people don’t know: The ONLY way to truly, absolutely, permanently fail is to quit. Everything else is simply a step on the way to success.

Did you know…

– The average millionaire goes bankrupt 3.5 times.

– There is a new millionaire created every 58 hours.

– The average millionaire doesn’t realize their dream until age 45 and becomes a millionaire at 54.

– The average millionaire dabbles in 17 different businesses, concepts, schemes and enterprises but doesn’t hit it big until the 18th try.

Entrepreneurship is the quickest way to become a millionaire. 74% of all millionaires in America became millionaires through entrepreneurship.

The average millionaire goes bankrupt and what does s/he do? Dusts themselves off and tries again. And again. And again. Failure is a temporary detour, not a roadblock. I absolutely promise you, if you’re still breathing then you can still succeed and succeed BIG, regardless of how many times you’ve failed in the past.

Remember those Chicken Soup for the Soul guys, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen? Their manuscript got rejected 140 times by 140 different publishers. Most people would have quit after the 10th or 20th rejection, but they just kept sending out that manuscript until the 141st publisher took a chance. Result? Both of them are millionaires many times over.

Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade and he was defeated in every public office role he ran for. Then he became the British Prime Minister at the age of 62 and led his country to victory in WWII.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. – Winston Churchill

R. H. Macy had a long and undistinguished history of failing businesses, including the first Macy’s in NYC. No one would have bet on him, but he went on to create the biggest department store in the world.

Marilyn Monroe’s first contract with Columbia Pictures expired because they decided she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be an actress. But Monroe kept plugging away, and even today’s audiences know and love her decades after her untimely death.

Toyota passed over Soichiro Honda for an engineering job. He could have quit on his dreams. Instead, he went on to make motorcycles and cars and becoming a billionaire in the process.

Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Imagine how that could impact a child, hearing from the ‘experts’ that you’re too stupid to learn. Most kids would stop trying. Not Edison.

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. – Thomas Edison

Vera Wang failed to make the U.S. Olympic figure-skating team. Then she got passed over for the editor-in-chief position at Vogue. Time to realize she was a failure, right? Wrong. At age 40 she began designing wedding gowns and today she’s one of the hottest designers in the business and a self-made billionaire.

You’ve probably heard that Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” But did you know that he had several failed businesses before the premiere of Snow White?

The difference in winning and losing is most often…not quitting. – Walt Disney

Albert Einstein’s teachers labeled him “slow” and “mentally handicapped.” What if Einstein had actually believed the people who made these proclamations? For one thing he never would have won the Nobel prize in physics.

Henry Ford’s first auto company went out of business. He abandoned a second because of a fight and lost a third to declining sales. Yet he went on to become one of the greatest American entrepreneurs ever.

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right. – Henry Ford

J. K. Rowling was unemployed and living on social security while writing her first Harry Potter novel. It was rejected by 12 different publishers and finally picked up with a paltry advance of just 1,500 pounds, but now she became the first person to become a billionaire through writing.

For every failure to success example I’ve given here, there are literally hundreds of thousands of others out there. And the only thing stopping you from becoming the next failure to success story is you. So what are you waiting for?

Hurry up and get your failures out of the way so you can go on to create big success for yourself too. And maybe someday your story will be featured right along with Einstein’s, Ford’s, Disney’s and all the other great people who refused to let a little thing like failure get in their way.

The “Secret” to Word of Mouth Advertising

One of the biggest expenses for some businesses is advertising. Think about the auto repair shop, the kitchen cabinet maker, the plumber, etc. They can spend a small fortune each month running ads that might not even pay off. After all, what’s the reaction of most people to advertising? It’s disbelief. “Sure they say they’re great, but… They all say that!”

The Secret to Word of Mouth Advertising

But what if you could show offline clients how to get all of their business from referrals, thereby saving the money they spend on advertising? What would that be worth to them? Frankly, it should be worth about 2-3 months of their current advertising budget, paid directly to you.

This won’t work for all businesses, so use your best judgement on which businesses to work with using this strategy. While every business will be different, you can quickly learn the basics on how to set up a referral system that brings in as much if not more business than their current advertising.

Let’s use an automotive repair shop for our example. First, what do most people think of when considering auto repair places? The shops are dirty, the mechanics try to take advantage of customers by doing work that doesn’t need to be done, they take too long to make repairs, you have to arrange for transportation while you don’t have your car, their waiting room is depressing, etc.

We want to change all of those things. Cleaning the shop up won’t cost a thing beyond labor and it can make a tremendous difference in how people perceive the shop when they arrive. If the outside of the shop needs a new coat of paint, some flowers planted in the bed out front or a fresh sign, it should be seen to. This alone can bring more business in off the street.

Next, unless the mechanics are really good at explaining what needs to be done to the mechanically illiterate, there should be a liaison between the mechanics and customers. This liaison will show the customer what the problem is, what might have caused it, why it needs to be fixed and what it will cost. A clear, thorough explanation without technical mumbo-jumbo can go a long way to putting the customer at ease and making them feel they’re not being taken advantage of.

If the work is going to take longer than, say, 90 minutes, the auto shop either provides a loaner car or offers to drive the customer to their home or place of work, picking them up when the car is ready. How many auto places do this? Almost none. Imagine the word of mouth this alone can create.

If the customer opts to wait for the car, they’re shown into a waiting room that looks more like a living room than a nasty waiting room. The chairs are plush and comfortable, there’s flat surfaces if they want to work on a laptop or do anything at a desk, and instead of the usual daytime television, there’s a DVD playing of a truly funny and non-offensive comedian. Who doesn’t feel better after laughing? Plus there’s beverages – not just coffee – and maybe even some bagels, fruit or danish.

After the repair is made, the car is washed and cleaned. The bigger the repair, the better the washing and cleaning. This could range from a quick exterior wash to a full wash and wax outside, vacuuming and wipe down inside. An alternative would be to set up an affiliation with a nearby car wash, getting car wash tokens in bulk at a discount. Then for every $x amount of money spent, the customer gets a token. If the amount is $50, then on a $300 repair job the customer would get 6 tokens which could be used for 6 car washes. This is hugely unexpected by the customer and something they’re likely to brag about to others for weeks.

If the customer doesn’t receive car wash tokens, she should be given something. It could be as simple as homemade looking cookies for the road or a cup of good coffee to go. As the customer is paying her bill and receiving her tokens, she gets a very brief questionnaire about her experience. The final question is, “Can we use your comments for marketing purposes?” Thanks to the law of reciprocity and the small gift she received, she’s almost certainly going to say ‘yes.’ These comments can be put on the business’ website, and after several months should number in the hundreds. If they ever do more advertising, all they’ll need is a list of these comments along with their hours and location to create a very effective ad.

The customer gets an actual thank you card in the mail within 2 days of her experience at the shop. On the card is a photo of the shop with all the employees out front, holding a giant blank sign. Only the sign isn’t blank, it only appears that way when the photo is taken. Before sending it out, “THANK YOU customer name!” is hand written onto that blank sign. If they have the technology they can do this in Photoshop, but hand writing it in is fine. In the card is a very warm thank you along with 2-3 magnets containing the business’ details and the suggestion she give one or two to friends.

Finally, 3 to 6 days later the customer gets a follow up phone call, inquiring if the car is still running fine and making sure everything is alright. If there should be any problem, being this proactive will keep the business in good favor with the customer. And if everything is fine, it leaves the customer with a very warm, cared-about feeling that they simply don’t get with the typical auto mechanic.

This has been just one example – how you set up a referral program will vary according to the type of business you’re working with. You probably noticed that nowhere in this sequence did we actually ask the customer for referrals. Typically the best way to get great word-of-mouth advertising isn’t to ask for it – it’s to give the customer such an amazing experience, they just have to brag to others about it.

How to Become an Expert in Your Niche

“I Hereby Dub Thee, Super Duper Expert! Now Go Forth, Change the World & Prosper!” If only it were that easy to become an expert – just get someone to tap a sword on both your shoulders as you kneel and PRESTO! You are now the go-to person for your niche.

Wait – it actually can be almost that easy.

How to Become an Expert in Your Niche

The first thing you need to know about becoming an expert is WHY you want to be one. When you are viewed as the expert, people want to buy your products and services. They also want to promote you. Whether it’s sharing your stuff via social media or interviewing you for the news, you become THE person in your niche that people gravitate to.

The second thing to know is HOW to be seen as an expert, and it works like this: You need to ACT like an expert, THINK like an expert, and SPEAK like an expert. And all three of these will become natural when you believe you are indeed the expert. But what if you don’t believe you’re an expert? Then start acting like you are and your actions will bring about the belief.

Of course, none of this is of any value if you don’t have a clue when it comes to your niche. That’s why constant study and practice in your field is essential. You’ve got to know what you’re talking about, and the best way to do that is to learn from others as well as from your own experience.

So how do you get others to view you as the go-to person, the expert they should do business with? Here are 12 methods:

1. Choose your niche carefully. It’s much easier to be a great big fish in a small pond than a whale in the ocean. For example, if you want to be a business coach, you’ve got a ton of competition. But if you coach massage therapists on how to grow their businesses, you can very quickly become a whale of a fish in that particular pond.

2. Act like you have a list of thousands, even when making your debut blog post. Be a professional from day one by imagining you have thousands of people depending on what you say and do. Sure, the only person reading your blog is your grandma, but keep in mind that’s going to change soon. The debut post you write today will eventually be read by hundreds or thousands of people, so make it good.

3. Use a great incentive to build your list from Day 1. Yes, offering to keep them updated on your blog posts will yield you some subscribers, but offering a coveted bribe will get you far more. And if your incentive isn’t ready yet, just tell them what it is and that by adding their email you’ll send them a copy the moment it’s ready.

4. Write a newsletter. Yes, an actual newsletter. And do it weekly. Put it in PDF form so readers can download it. Anything in PDF has a higher perceived value, probably because PDF’s are often paid for.

5. Interview experts for your newsletter. When you have an expert interview inside your PDF newsletter, it raises your own perceived stature considerably.

6. Hold webinars. This is less effective in the online marketing niche because it’s already done so extensively. But if you are in any other niche, offer to hold webinars and give free teaching. You can make these offers via social media and also to list owners. Your goal is to get in front of and help as many people as possible. Make sure they sign up for the webinar – this allows you to capture their email address. And if you don’t yet have a product of your own to promote, offer individual or group coaching at the end of the webinar. Split proceeds with the list owner (if there is one.)

7. Guest blog. The more high traffic websites you can appear on, the better. Always insert your short bio at the end and offer them your free incentive to click your link.

8. Pay attention to what people ask you – it’s important. The questions you receive are a great indication of what’s on the minds of your prospects. Find ways to answer those questions in a straight forward manner.

9. Skip the big words. You might think being an expert means using a lot of big words and fancy phrases, but what being an expert really means is have the capability to help others further their goals – no fancy lingo needed.

10. Find your voice and your message and stick to them. You don’t need to know everything about everything. What you do need to know is a whole lot about a whole little. Choose your stand on a topic and make your best case – don’t try to make everyone else’s case as well. For example, if your stand is that massage therapists can do 100% of their own marketing and do it completely through the Internet, don’t tell them how to hire a marketing agency or place a newspaper ad – tell them how to do their own online marketing. That’s it.

11. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel. You can if you want to, but you don’t have to. You might think that to be an expert you’ve got to be constantly thinking up new ways of doing things, but that’s not true. 99 times out of 100 it’s best to stick with what works. For that 100th time, make sure you test it yourself before advising anyone else to try it.

12. Recycle your content. A blog post can become an article in your newsletter, which can become the content for your latest video, etc.

Remember: When you think, act and speak like an expert and have the knowledge to back it up, you ARE the expert. It really is that simple.

Do This When YOUR Idea is Already Taken

You’ve got a DYNAMITE idea for a new product and you can’t wait to get started on it – or maybe you already have. Then it happens: You see that someone else has beaten you to the punch and released a very similar product just last week. What should you do??

Do This When YOUR Idea is Already Taken

At this point many people will simply fold. They’ll scrap their product idea and begin a search for a new idea.

Then there’s the successful marketers who wouldn’t bat an eyelash just because someone else released a product like theirs. They would go ahead and finish their product and release it as soon as possible.

Do you know why? Two reasons: First, a successfully selling product on a particular topic means there’s room for another product on the same topic. And the reason there’s room is because of reason number 2: People who are deeply interested in a topic don’t buy just one book or just one course – they buy everything they can get their hands on.

In fact, the person who released their product ahead of yours did you a favor, because you can now see how well their product is selling. You can look for the information holes they forgot to fill and you can be the one to create a better product. You can also see what their price point is and act accordingly. If they’re priced at $17, you might want to shoot for a higher price and provide a much higher value. On the other hand, if they are selling their product at several hundred dollars, you can choose to become the affordable alternative.

So the next time you’ve got a great product idea and someone else beats you to the punch, you might want to thank them, and get excited!

One more thing – don’t be afraid to approach the other product developer and suggest doing a deal together. They might also be open to becoming your affiliate and sharing your offer with their list and customers. Yesterday’s competitors can become tomorrow’s partners.

Remember – competition can be a GREAT thing when you’re marketing online.

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