How Do I Get People To See My Product?

Every business owner dreams of creating a product that their audience cannot do without. They want to create a product that screams “buy me now”. They want their audience to salivate at the mouth to get the product. But first, people must know your product exists in order to even want to buy it. Every business owner has the classic question:

How do I get people to see my product?

Thankfully, there is a process to follow to help your product get seen, and seen by the right people.

Know Your Audience

Before you even create a product, you should have an audience in mind who needs it. You should be able to actually narrow down this audience to between one and three personas that you can write every last bit of copy directly to. It might sound counter-productive to narrow down your audience to an audience of no more than three people, but time after time studies show that marketers who know exactly who their audience is, and therefore who their product is for, have a higher rate of success.

It can be frightening to narrow down your audience to very specific demographics because you want to sell this to “everyone” or “every mom” or “ever business person” or “every virtual assistant” or “every Name Your Niche.” However, the fact is that this is not going to work well.

What works well is picking a very narrow niche within your niche to whom all marketing materials are addressed. By picking three personas, you can test out all three and see which works best. But, make no mistake – the more you can narrow down your niche, the more sales you’ll make.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The more you can narrow down your niche, the more #sales you’ll make http://ow.ly/i/8mmZy ” quote=”The more you can narrow down your niche, the more sales you’ll make “]

Focus on Benefits over Features

Your audience, no matter how well you relate to them, wants to know “What’s in it for me?” They need to understand what benefits your product offers them, and what problems the product solves for them. If you’ve designed your product for a specific audience to solve specific pain points, you’re half way there already. Just ensure that the copy on your sales page, and on any advertisements, addresses benefits over features and spells out the problems it solves.

Even the title of your product should address what your audience will get out of the experience of using your product. If your product helps your audience lose weight and get healthy, your title or subtitle should be clear on that. Don’t be tricky with title names. Use keywords that mean something to the audience.

Deal with Audience Objections

If you know your audience well, you will already be aware of potential objections they may have regarding buying your product. These objections depend entirely on your audience but some might be:

  • The product is too expensive.
  • The product scares me.
  • This is too hard.
  • I have all the time in the world to get this product.
  • I’ve tried everything, and this one won’t work either.

Each audience will have their own objections to a specific product. Know what they are and address them in your sales copy. Give a money back guarantee; show how the product is worth hundreds more than you’re asking for it. Provide a digital tutorial on using the product; offer extra coaching; show how this one is different from the others by having test candidates use the product, and provide case studies.

Whatever you need to do in order to overcome the potential objections to help them click “buy now” should be addressed.

What’s your experience? Let’s discuss them in the comments!


Image credit: The U.S. National Archives

Wireless Untangled

This post is stretching the boundaries of my blog a little. However, when I read this post by my good friend and tech-ninja Cate Eales from Computer Care Kelowna I knew that a lot of my readers are a little confused about the different wireless connections in our lives.

The post first appeared on Cate’s Castanet Column and her own blog

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Wireless Untangled

Wireless Networks are everywhere.  But … what IS WiFi, anyway?  And what is Bluetooth? And why does your Bluetooth speaker work fine with your iPod but your computer won’t see it?  This week I’ll try to untangle wireless technology for you.

What is WiFi and why should I care?

WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to connect devices to the Internet.  Computers, smartphones, game consoles, tablets, eReaders and smart TVs are all examples of devices that use WiFi.

We use a router to create a Local Area Network.  Your wireless devices connect to the router with WiFi. The router uses a modem to connect your devices to the internet.  A single box sometimes contains both a router and a modem.

If you have one desktop computer which you never move, you can simply connect that computer to a modem and be done with it.  But if you also have an iPad, smartphone, wireless printer, Xbox, or Kindle/Kobo, you need a WiFi connection.  Do your visitors bring this stuff with them?  You need WiFi.

How do I get WiFi?

You might already have WiFi.  If you have one of the newer boxes from Shaw or Telus, you probably have WiFi whether you’re using it or not.  Check with your provider.  If you still have just a modem, you can get a combination router/modem from Telus or Shaw, or you can install your own router and create your Local Area Network including WiFi.

Wait, I have a wireless mouse?  Does that mean I have WiFi?

No.  Wireless mice and keyboards don’t use the same frequencies or the same wireless technology as WiFi.  That’s actually a good thing because it means less clutter on the frequencies that you use to connect to the Internet.

If you have a wireless mouse and/or keyboard with a little transceiver in a USB port and you notice a reddish light from the mouse, that mouse is using infrared technology.  You already know this technology from changing the TV channels with a remote.  But wait, there’s more.

You can connect devices to your computer with Bluetooth

Newer computers and most Apple computers use Bluetooth technology to connect mice and keyboards. Confusingly enough, this is yet another wireless technology.  But it’s one that you are already familiar with!  Hands-free car phone speakers and those annoying hands-free headsets that flash blue use Bluetooth.

bluetooth adapter
Bluetooth Adapter (Quarter not included) by Cate Eales

With Bluetooth you can connect mice, keyboards, wireless speakers, phones, headsets, and many other devices to your Bluetooth-equipped computer.  Windows 8.1 has the capability fired up and ready to go.  Most older computers require an inexpensive adapter to make Bluetooth work.   Once you have the adapter plugged into a USB port and the drivers loaded, that same adapter will handle any Bluetooth device you can throw at it.

Is there an easy way to keep all this straight?

Kind of.  Remember that WiFi is for connecting devices to a network and the Internet.  Devices that connect to a computer (or to each other) do it with Bluetooth or infrared wireless technology, not WiFi.

With a wireless mouse that’s pretty easy to understand:  You’re not connecting your mouse to the internet; you’re connecting it to a computer.  But what about a tablet?  You might use Bluetooth to connect it to a keyboard AND WiFi to connect to a network which takes it to the Internet. Same device, different kinds of wireless!

[clickToTweet tweet=”Enjoy your wireless tech, whatever kind of wireless tech it is! [email protected]” quote=”Enjoy your wireless technology, whatever kind of wireless technology it is! “] If you want to learn more, take a look at the links below.

Do you need help with your computer? I’m here to help you and your home or business computer get along!

Cate Eales runs Computer Care Kelowna  a mobile service helping home users and businesses get along with their computers. To arrange an appointment phone her at 250-764-7043. Cate also welcomes your comments and suggestions. Send email to [email protected]

You can read previous columns here: http://rlis.com/column.htm . If you’d like to subscribe to this column by email, please visit this link:  http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=20618 . It’s easy, and free. If you’d prefer the RSS Feed, click here: http://rlis.com/rlis.xml.

Links

WiFi Wikipedia Article

Bluetooth vs WiFi

Bluetooth Adapter

Add a Bluetooth Device to your (Windows 7) computer

Bluetooth Wikipedia Article 

Getting Along With Your Computer Column Archives 

Get Cate’s column by email 

RSS Feed

© Cate Eales 2015 – All Rights Reserved

 

Don’t Get Caught – Canada Anti-Spam Legislation and LinkedIn

This post was first published on May 11 2014 and I updated it today, January 20 2015


 

On July 1, 2014 Canada’s Anti – Spam Legislation (CASL) went into effect and brought clarity about the definition of SPAM to Canadians . The considerable fines give it some teeth while some of the interpretations will probably keep a number of legal professionals busy for a while.

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CASL brought the current laws closer to US standards and define what constitutes SPAM

One of the biggest changes is the inclusion of all electronic messages and not only email. It introduced the term “commercial electronic message’ CEM

CASL applies to a commercial electronic message (CEM) sent by any medium.

They don’t look at the sender, they look at the message, and it is technology neutral,” Ms. Babe of Miller Thomson says. “If you use social media to merely post an item, fine. If you use your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account to send an e-mail to another person, which is commercial in nature, then it is a CEM under CASL.

~ The Globe & Mail

In my words this means that any message that sent with the intent to sell something (including those by nonprofits and charities) fall under the new law.

As of July 1st all Social Media Marketing messages will have to conform to CASL even if they originate outside of Canada

CASL applies to most forms of electronic messaging, including email, SMS text messages, and certain forms of messages sent via social networking. Voice and fax messages are excluded, as they are covered by the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. The law applies broadly to any CEM that is sent from or accessed by a computer system located in Canada.

~NNovation LLP

The second term we have to look at is “consent”

“CASL creates a permission-based regime, meaning that, subject to specific exclusions, consent is required before sending a CEM. Consent can either be express or implied.

In order to obtain express consent the sender must:

  • clearly describe the purpose(s) for requesting consent;
  • provide the name of the person seeking consent, and identify on whose behalf consent is sought, if different;
  • provide contact information for either of those persons (mailing address and either a telephone number, email address of web address); and,
  • indicate that the recipient can unsubscribe.

The CRTC has stated that, in its opinion, a pre-checked box cannot be used to obtain express consent.”

CASL provides that consent may be implied in any of the following four circumstances:

  • the sender and recipient have an existing business relationship (e.g., the recipient has made a purchase within the past two years, or an inquiry within the past two months);
  • the sender and recipient have an existing non-business relationship;
  • the recipient has conspicuously published their electronic address(e.g., on a website), has not expressly stated that they do not wish to receive unsolicited messages, and the message is related to the recipient’s professional capacity; or,
  • the recipient has disclosed their electronic address directly to the sender, has not expressly stated that they do not wish to receive unsolicited messages, and the message is related to the recipient’s business or official capacity.
    ~NNovation LLP

There is a lot of confusion about this right now and we will see how this can and will be enforced.

In my next CASL post I will go deeper into the impact of the law on email messages and your email list.

But for now let’s explore how CASL will effect the way we use LinkedIn and LinkedIn messages in particular.

  1. It is clear to me that LinkedIn messages fall under CASL in the same way as emails do
  2. It is my opinion that regular messages sent between 1st level connections can be seen as at least having “implied consent” because
    1. You have to agree to be connected to someone
    2. There is a clear process of severing a connection to someone
  3. InMail (LinkedIn’s internal messaging system) is a different story
    1. Agreeing to be connected on LinkedIn does not mean permission to send sales letters
    2. Members can opt out of receiving InMail but can not opt out of receiving messages from an individual

I hope that LinkedIn Canada will bring clarity in this matter soon. There is a period of two years where at least messages to your connections could be considered “implied consent” because a person agreed to be connected with you and therefore has a “business or personal relationship” with you.

LinkedIn needs to establish a clear way of obtaining “express consent”!

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation forces us to reevaluate the way we approach potential customers. As business people we have to spend more energy building relationships before we pitch a sale. I have to assume that most small business people don’t intentionally send out SPAM but we all have to re-think the definition of the term. Most of the time we think only about our intention and not how it is received on the other end.

As of July 1, 2014 CASL demands that all commercial electronic messages (CEM) sent to a computer in Canada require consent. This consent can be “implied” but have to be converted to “express consent” within 2 years.

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How will CASL change the way you work?

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Photo credit: licensed at depositphotos.com

Resources:

Keeping Up a Website is Much Like Keeping Up a Car – WordPress Maintenance

When I talked to my friend Mel the other day I realize that having a website is a lot like having a car. In order to run safely and efficiently it needs to be maintained and repaired. At the BlueBird garage we focus on WordPress websites however, in general the points discussed are the same for any website.

When you get a new car it (hopefully) comes with a full tank of gas.

That doesn’t last long – you have to fill up.

When you get a new website the pages are filled with new information ready to be discovered by new visitors and search engine robots.

Just like having to gas up the car you have to create fresh, relevant content on a regular basis. Otherwise your visitors lose interest and visits, search rankings and conversions decline.

Maintenance

In order to run safely and efficiently your car has to be maintained.

It needs to be checked regularly and needs the oil changed

In order to run safely and efficiently your website needs to be checked and maintained on a regular basis.

This maintenance includes:

  1. Making sure the car is locked and the alarm system is on.
    1. Strong security settings
    2. Scanning for hackers 24/7
    3. Reacting to alerts in case of an attack
  2. Regular oil and fluid changes
    1. Update your software to avoid loss of functionality and vulnerability to attacks. (you update your computer programs on a regular basis too). This should be done at least once a week.
    2. Back  up your software on a regular basis (both database and content). By the way – storing backups on the same server is not a good idea. If you lose access to the server everything is lost.
  3. Carwash
    1. SPAM is still a growing problem. Even with a good SPAM filter you can’t just forget about it. The grime accumulates in the database and can lead to your site slowing down considerably. The same goes for all those blog revisions you produce while creating your awesome content. The database should be cleaned up at least once a week.

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Repairs

Fortunately repairing and upgrading a WordPress website is a lot easier and cheaper than most car repairs.

The Internet and user behaviour is changing rapidly, you might want to add some new functionality or delete things you don’t offer anymore. Sometimes things stop working or you would prefer a new paint job. For these kind of cases we have created the BlueBird WordPress Garage. More about that later.

What I love about my favourite car repair shop is that they just take care of everything. I have a sticker on my windshield that reminds me when the next oil change is due and when I take it in I can rely on the scheduled work getting done professionally. They also tell me of any concerns they found or problems that developed. When a repair needs to be done, they call me and give me an estimate for the cost and do the job. I feel safe and taken care of.

Yes, after over 30 years on the road I know how to do all the maintenance things. I know how to change the oil and the filters, I have even changed brake pads. But neither am I good at it nor do I want to do it. I hire the professionals that get the job done quickly and safely.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Let professionals do the tedious #WordPress maintenance” quote=”Let the professionals handle WordPress maintenance”]

Introducing the BlueBird WordPress Garage and Mechanic

BlueBird WordPress Mechanic Logo

The BlueBird WordPress Mechanic is designed to take care of all those maintenance tasks listed above starting at under $1 Canadian per day!
But there is more. You can also email us if you run into a problem and we will help you out.

Before we get started we give your website a thorough check up and suggest improvements (optional). Then we go ahead doing the maintenance and monitoring the safety of your site.

 

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BlueBird WordPress Garage
The BlueBird WordPress Garage is formerly known as “Fix My WordPress” helps you in cases when you want or need to make changes to your website but you don’t want a brand new site (although we do that too)

Often clients come to us because their site doesn’t work as it should or they want to add new features.
We do an investigation, agree on a limited list of repairs and get the job done within a short time and always on budget.

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featured photo: Library of Congress / Flickr

Tell me what you think:

Success With Smart Infographics

You can turn almost any numerical stats into an infographic. An infographic is a useful pictorial image of information and data. The saying “A picture is worth a 1000 words” is very accurate when it comes to a great infographic.

13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics

by Neomam.

If you want your infographics to be shared and valued then it’s important to know what goes into making a truly smart infographic. The elements that go into making a smart infographic are:

  • Data – You have to have timely and accurate numerical data
  • Story – You need a relatable message that you want to share
  • Design – Your theme, colors and fonts need to match the story and data
  • Shareable – When people see it, they will want to share it, and you will make it easy for them to share it

By remembering these factors, you’ll be able to create an infographic that has a visual story that is interesting enough to grasp the interest of viewers. It should be simple to understand, too. The imagery should make the data more relatable and understandable. The key message of the infographic should be something viewers will be able to recall later, long after they’ve shared it with others.

In order to create a smart infographic, first know exactly what your message is. What do you want viewers to take away from looking at your infographic? Next, it’s important that if you’re not a graphic designer, you consider hiring someone who has designed infographics previously. Alternatively, you can try using a few of the online apps available for creating an infographic such as Piktochart.com, or infogr.am.

I use Piktochart – you can see my latest Infographic here: The BlueBird WordPress Plugins

Screenshot Piktochart

You also need to know what the story is behind the message. If you can combine that story via images with the presentation of the data, you’ll create a smart infographic that people understand and relate to. And once they understand it and relate to it, they’ll be more likely to share it with others. Finally, the information within the infographic should be timely. If it’s old news, it’s just not going to gain much traction. This requires you to be on the cutting edge of your industry to create smart infographics.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If your #infographic is ugly, no one is going to link to it, or share it” quote=”If it’s ugly, no one is going to link to it, or share it”]

A smart infographic will generate targeted traffic, create authoritative backlinks, and will generate conversions. It must do this in a beautiful way. If it’s ugly, no one is going to link to it, or share it. Your readers should think “this is awesome” when they see it and understand the story and the message at a glance. Creating a beautiful infographic that has clean images, proper coloring and typography that is easy to read and attractive is an art and a science. What makes it smart is the fact that it’s truthful, accurate, timely, and relatable.

When you create or have created an infographic there is one thing you need to do and do well. Double and triple check the infographic for grammar and typos. It’s very easy to make a mistake when creating an infographic because editors don’t have the ability to pick up on errors as easily as you can in Word. Therefore, it’s imperative that you check spelling many times before sending it out into the world.

Do you create Infographics? Please share one in the comments!


featured image licensed at depositphotos.com

10 Tips for Making an Offer through Email

Email is a powerful marketing tool. It allows you to build a rapport with your audience, keep your offerings in the front of their minds, and present them with special offers to help seal the deal. Here are ten tips that will help you get the best possible results from your email offers.

#1: Make it Worthwhile and Useful

Your reader’s time is valuable, so if you’re going to send him an offer through email, it’s important to make sure it’s worthwhile. And that means more than offering a substantial discount (although that is a good start). It means sending targeted offers that the reader can use. If you send offers that are of no interest to him personally, not only will he not take advantage of them, he might decide to unsubscribe.

#2: Use a Descriptive Subject Line

There are times when a vague or mysterious subject line can work, but it’s important to remember that you’re taking a risk that such an email might be deleted unread. So when you’re making an offer, it’s especially important to let the reader know in the subject line. You don’t necessarily have to lay out all of the details, but you want to let them know that there are savings waiting for them if they take the time to read your message.

#3: Create a Sense of Urgency

Any time you make an offer, you’ll get better results by creating a sense of urgency. Letting subscribers know that the offer is only good for a limited time or to a limited number of customers will give them an incentive to act now.

Remember to stick to any deadlines that you set – while an occasional extension of a popular offer can be a good thing, if you extend every offer you make subscribers will not take you seriously.

#4: Don’t Overwhelm the Reader

Emails containing offers should be fairly short and to the point. If you bury the offer at the end of a thousand-word article, it’s unlikely that your readers will make it that far. It’s also a good idea to avoid cramming multiple offers into a single email. One or two related offers should be the focus of your message. Add more than that, and it can lead to confusion and fatigue. Besides, giving each offer its own email gives you more opportunities to make contact with your subscribers.

#5: Target Your Offers

When you make an offer, it’s tempting to send it to your entire mailing list, but sometimes that’s not a good idea.

A better approach is to create relevant offers for customers who have shown interest in what you’re offering or similar products or services. This way you avoid wasting the reader’s time with offers for things that he can’t or won’t use.

#6: Lure Them in with Anticipation

If you have a big product launch coming up, it’s important to build anticipation and lure your subscribers in beforehand. The same is true for your best email offers. Let your subscribers know that something big is coming up, and they will pay attention. You can start out by simply telling them to be on the lookout for a great offer in the coming weeks. As the time draws near, you can let out more details. This will keep them interested and give them a reason to open every email you send to learn more.

#7: Make it Exclusive

Making exclusive offers is a great way to boost sales. An offer that isn’t available to just anyone has a way of making the recipient feel special and making him want to take advantage of grab it while it’s available. And if you make the offer available to subscribers only, it can also boost new opt-ins. Alternatively, you could make exclusive offers to subscribers who signed up for a specific course or bought a particular product.

#8: Tell a Story

While you don’t want to get too wordy in an offer email, telling a story is a good way to draw the reader in and avoid special offer fatigue.

You could tell how you came to create the product you’re offering or why you decided to put it on sale. You can even tell a funny story from your personal life if you can find a way to connect it to your offer.

 #9: Focus on the Click

You put a lot of work into your sales page. It’s designed to tell the reader what your product can do for him or her and make him want to buy it. That means that there’s no need to try to make the sale in your offer email. Its purpose should be to capture the reader’s interest and make him want to visit your sales page.

That’s where the money is, after all.

 #10: Follow Up

One of the most common mistakes marketers make when making an offer is failing to follow up. While it’s important not to wear an offer out, you’ll want to remind subscribers about the offer before it expires. That way, those who have put off making a purchase for one reason or another will have a chance to take advantage of the deal while it’s still good. And it’s just as important to follow up for those who did buy.

Sending them a simple thank-you email or asking for feedback will let them know that you appreciate their business and make them more likely to become repeat customers.

Email is an excellent medium for making special offers. [clickToTweet tweet=”Used wisely, #email offers can increase your sales and help keep your subscribers happy.” quote=”Used wisely, email offers can increase your sales and help keep your subscribers happy.”]

This post is part of the Email Bootcamp program

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image licensed at Depositphotos.com

50 Interesting Things to Send To Your Mailing List

If you’ve ever struggled with coming up with ideas on what to send your email mailing list, struggle no longer! Here are 50 ideas you can use just about any time…any place.

Keep this list handy to plan your email marketing or grab it whenever you need a quick idea. This list will help you long after the challenge is over.

1. X tips to do something. For example, “15 Tips for Cooking a Better Pot Roast.”

2. Warnings. For example, “Warning: The Most Common Dating Mistakes to Avoid.”

3. Put a discount in the subject line. For example, “$20 Off Between Now and 7:00pm!”

4. Share a new theory. Ask people to give feedback and share their experiences.

5. Tell a story. Did you fail or succeed? What did you learn? Try to make it emotional, which is far more engaging.

6. Breaking news. If you know news is coming, try to be there for it. For example, go to where new products are being announced and write about it immediately.

7. Something simple they can do right away. For example, an easy 10 minute workout they can perform immediately.

8. A video. Give people high quality video content. Use a video metrics tool like Wistia to measure your drop off rates and see what kinds of video content people like.

9. Share a victory. For example, “How I Earned $5,602 This Weekend.”

10. Do a time-limited sale. Give a reason for it. For example, do a 48 hour Christmas sale.

11. Challenge your audience. “I Challenge You to Do 10 Pullups by This Time Next Month.”

12. Give them something they can copy. For example, “My exact formula for getting seats in my seminars.”

13. Address a common question or objection. For example, “How to Compete Against High-Speed Traders – Without Million Dollar Equipment.”

14. Give away a coupon. People love getting discounts.

15. Hint at future products. Building anticipation makes great content, as well as boosts your sales for when you do your launch.

16. Explain a problem. For example, “The 5 Reasons 90% of Dieters Fail.”

17. Rant. Just say what’s on your mind. This often turns out better than you think.

18. Promote your Facebook page or Twitter. Use email to build your social media audience.

19. Give a step by step guide. Walk people through how to do something complicated.

20. Give proof for something. For example, film yourself doing something difficult. This builds your credibility.

21. Interview an expert. Send it out to your list for free.

22. Ask other people to guest write for you. Make sure it’s super high quality before sending it out to your list.

23. Talk about someone you respect. For example, “The Doctor Who Trains Health Coaches Says …”

24. An opportunity to work with you. Give people the opportunity to get coaching or direct contact with you somehow.

25. Do a Q&A mailbag. Answer questions you get in the mail via your newsletter. Use your questions as content.

26. Answer the most frequently asked questions you get. This is a great email to add to an autoresponder sequence.

27. Announce a beta test. For example, say you’re promoting a new membership program. You can launch a “beta” version at a discount for a few weeks before launching the full priced version.

28. Tell someone else’s success story. For example, “How This 242lb Woman Lost 90lbs Last Year”

29. Critique a method you disagree with. For example, “The Atkins Diet: The Pros, The Cons and My Thoughts.”

30. Ask your audience a question. Start a two-way dialogue to really build your connection with your community.

31. Say something controversial. For example, “Did you know broccoli is bad for you?”

32. Give them a free MP3 download. This works a lot better for a lot of people.

33. Put the time constraint in the headline. For example “A Seat for You – Only Till Tomorrow.”

34. Go against something you said a while ago. For example, if you’ve been against eating fruits and came across new research that changed your mind, write a detailed post to your list.

35. Have a question panel. Post the same question to a panel of experts and email out their answers.

36. Poll your audience for their tips. Share the best ones with your list.

37. Teach them something that depends on them having your product. For example, teach people how to monetize an iPhone app, after they use your software to create the app.

38. Do a motivational email. Instead of how-to content, have an email just dedicated to getting people fired up and motivated.

39. Let people pre-order an upcoming product at a discount. Always treat your subscribers a little bit better than the general public.

40. Send an affiliate promotion for a product you genuinely believe in. Make sure you tell your personal story about why you like the product before promoting it.

41. Make something seem easy. For example, “How to Eat Your Favorite Foods and Lose Weight.”

42. Do something outside the ordinary. For example, write about a tangential industry. If you’re in the stock trading industry, write a post about Forex for a change.

43. Give a personal share. Tell a story that’s mostly designed to let your readers get to know you more.

44. Apologize. If you think you’ve been making a mistake in your company, come clean and apologize. For example, if you’ve been over-promoting affiliate products, admit your mistake and tell people how you plan to change going forward.

45. Make a comparison. For example, how your method is like how Michael Jackson trains for basketball.

46. Appeal to someone’s sense of security. Explain how your product can help them live a more secure life.

47. Write an email designed to generate social proof. Talk about your clients’ past results and make it sound like a lot of people have bought.

48. Pick up a copy of Joe Sugarman’s “Triggers” and find an emotional trigger you can use. Write an email designed specifically to hit that trigger.

49. Every once in a while, send a simple sales message. Just a few benefit statements and a link to buy a product.

50. Every once in a while, do a massive sale or re-launch of an old product. This can help you milk a lot more money out of things you’ve done in the past.

[clickToTweet tweet=”These are 50 great tips for emails and blog posts!” quote=”These are 50 great tips for emails and blog posts!”]

Whenever you get stuck, use these ideas over and over again to create fresh content for your subscribers.

 

This post is part of the Email Bootcamp program

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image courtesy of Hubspot

How to Create Impact with Short Blog Posts

Writing short micro-focused blog posts can have a huge impact on your readers. Sometimes it simply doesn’t take many words to get your point across. If you can condense your thoughts into what is fundamental, your blog posts will be easier to read, carry more weight, and probably even get more readers.

The reason you may want to write shorter, more focused blog posts is that they are easier to scan. You’ll also have more room for graphics, bullet points, and even advertisements without cluttering up your blog.

Research and outline

To write shorter blog posts that impact your audience, be sure to do all your research ahead of time. Part of the fun of writing a short blog post is that you can do it in three minutes before you run an errand.

Set a word count

If you set a specific word count for your short blog posts, you’ll be more likely to trim the blog post of unneeded words. It really is an art form to be able to explain something clearly in fewer words.

Repurpose old posts

Take a look at some of your old blog posts that have “5 steps to ____,” or “7 ways to ____” and extract one of the points. Focus only on that point in 250 words or less to make a laser-focused blog post that your audience will love.

Include graphics and white space

Remember to include bullets and images to make your point even more succinct and impactful. If you have pictures and graphics you’ll need fewer words to explain.

Q & A posts

You may have neglected to answer some questions in a post because you thought the topic was too short, but nothing could be further from the truth. If one of your readers or customers asked, the question is likely on the mind of others.

Ditch unnecessary words

Many people tend to write differently than they talk. Most of us when talking don’t add in many descriptive words to our sentences. We say only what needs to be said or we would sound really strange. Try writing how you talk and eliminate unnecessary “flowery” words.

Avoid commas

If you find that you’re including many commas in your writing, try to be more straightforward. Eliminate extraneous thoughts. Only convey one idea per sentence for best results.

Always edit!

Don’t just rush and write a blog post without the most important part: editing. Not only should you edit for mistakes, but also for clarity and focus.

Remember your purpose

If you don’t know the purpose of your blog post, it’s hard to write it with clarity. Know your point, and stick to it.

Internet readers are notoriously easily distracted. They want to scan a blog post and move on. They want to garner the meat in just a few seconds without having to think too deeply. This is because they are usually at work, or trying to squeeze in reading your blog on a break or while cooking dinner. Follow these tips for writing shorter blog posts that make a big impact.

[clickToTweet tweet=”If you don’t know the purpose of your blog post, it’s hard to write it with clarity.” quote=”If you don’t know the purpose of your blog post, it’s hard to write it with clarity.”]

However 🙂

If you ever had the pleasure to listen to Ian Cleary from Razorsocial, who has done extensive research on the length of blog posts, you know that he advocates for longer, detailed posts and he makes some important points. He points out that posts with over 1500 words receive more backlinks.

http://www.razorsocial.com/blog-strategy/

What do you think? Do you prefer shorter posts or longer ones?

Your Website As A Branding Tool

Branding your business helps you develop a relationship with your potential and current customers by helping them understand your business’s personality, products and/or services. By developing a brand that people feel they know and understand, you can start to compete with other businesses in a whole new way. You can compete based on the intrinsic value of your products and services rather than simply the cost of them.

Meek MillYou have many different types of tools that you can use for branding your business. Business cards, brochures, t-shirts, mugs, sample products, the business itself if it’s a bricks and mortar business (how it’s decorated), your pricing structure, customer service style, and even your contract can be a branding tool in your business. While some of these tools aren’t as obvious as others, they are all evoke feelings about your business in the customer.

All of these tools need to have a consistent style to them. By being consistent across all of the tools that you can use to brand your business, you will increase your brand image even more. Your brand has an intrinsic value to your entire business. It helps people understand what you do, how you do it, why you do it and will bring feelings of good will (or bad) to your clients or potential clients.

One of the branding tools that is most useful is your website.

Often times when a business that has been around awhile decides to build a website, the owners get carried away and forget that they already have an established brand. Unless you want to re-brand yourself, essentially starting from scratch as a new business, it is best if you carry forth the brand you’ve already created into your web design.

After all, it takes time to develop a brand. You don’t want to confuse your current customers and catch them off guard by changing your image in their minds. A customer’s belief in your brand can change on a dime if you’re not careful. You could lose customers, and we all know that keeping customers is one of the best marketing methods there is. Getting a new customer is much more expensive.

Your website, if designed well, can evoke the same feelings in new and old customers alike. Using your website to tell your story and expand your reach is an excellent use of the marketing tool, but it’s not a time to switch it all up and change everything. Instead look at the colors, images, and feelings you evoke now with the marketing collateral that you have and pull it in to your web design. Sometimes just using the same logos, the same colors, and the same font can go far in bringing the look and feel of your brand to the web.

Consider allowing your customers to tell their story about your brand. Your website is an excellent place to bring in customer testimonials, whether written or in video. Who is better at explaining your brand to others than people who already know you? By expanding your brand using consistent design practices across all your marketing media, you’ll be able to engage clients and potential clients in a new way – without reinventing the wheel.

Does Your Website Need an Update?

If you first created your website from a template just because you wanted to be “on the web” but you’ve never updated it, and your website has no real traffic, it might be time to explore the idea of updating it. After all, a website is an excellent marketing tool that can bring new business to your door at less cost than other types of advertising and marketing.

Here are six reasons why it might be time to update your website.

1. Your Website Doesn’t Match Your Brand

If your website doesn’t match your other marketing materials in terms of look, feel, design or even color, it’s to redo your website. It’s important that all your marketing collateral goes together and is obviously from the same business. This is how you’ll get known. Your website should be an extension of your brand.

2. Your Website Looks Old-Fashioned

You don’t have to change your logo or colors to create a website that looks more modern. Today it’s all about layout and responsive design. If your website is not viewable easily on a mobile device it’s time to redo it. Create a responsive design that can be viewed on any size monitor for a quick update.

3. Your Website Does Not Have a Blog

If you built your site with a website builder that doesn’t have a content management system (CMS) or the ability to easily have a blog, then you need to update your site. Badly. Using the self-hosted version of WordPress is the best way to create a very easily updated website that has a blog and works great. You need a blog that is updated often, at least three to five times a week, in order to get search engine results and keep your audience interested.

4. Your Website Is Rarely Updated

Do you avoid updating your website because it’s hard to use? If you had a web designer build your website using a complicated platform that you don’t know how to use and you can’t even update anything on it, much less add a blog, it’s time to update your website. Today’s websites are designed so that the owner can easily add simple updates, pages, and images to their site without having to call the web designer.

5. Your Website Has No Lead Generation Tools

If you do not have a form in which to collect visitor information, then you need to update your website. It doesn’t matter if you have a bricks and mortar business or a completely online business, collecting the email addresses (or more information) from your visitors should be a goal. If you don’t have simple forms, useful landing pages, and obvious calls to action on your website, it needs to be updated.

6. Your Website Does Not Have Social Media Links

Whether it’s a “pin it” button or a “like” button, your website needs to have easy social media buttons for your readers to use. If your readers cannot easily share your information, or find you on social media, it’s time to update your website. Today your website visitors want multiple ways to stay in touch, and if you’re not providing it, you’re missing out.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Does your website have the right #SocialMedia buttons?” quote=”Does your website have the right Social Media buttons?”]

If you’ve read this information and think your site needs to be updated, get started now. It’s not hard to build a great website today using self-hosted WordPress. If you don’t want to do it yourself, talk to us!

We build websites that represent your brand, can be easily updated and fit your budget!

Phone BlueBirdHelp is just a call away.

 

My New Year’s Prediction: Sales and Marketing Automation for Small Business

The term “Marketing Automation” is getting more and more popular. I see the rise of marketing automation continue this year and expect it to become one of the biggest trends in the sales and marketing world in 2015.

Automation can be a bad thing when used incorrectly but it can also be very helpful. As small business people and social media managers we can automate menial and repetitive tasks to save time to do more important things like communicate with our clients and prospects.

Some examples for automation are scheduling social media posts to go out at a later time. Or email autoresponders as introduced in my post Using The Constant Contact Autoresponder. But more and more systems on the market go far beyond these capabilities.

My friend Colin Parker from Lonestar Sales Performance is an expert on the biggest tool in the Sales and Marketing Automation world – Infusionsoft. He was kind enough to talk to me about why he, as a sales trainer, recommends this tool and how it can help small business owners be more efficient in reaching our sales goals and in turn find more time to do all the things we want to do for our clients.

[ts_fab authorid=”9″ tabs=”bio,linkedin,facebook,twitter”]

Here is the recording of our conversation:

 There is a real difference between sales and marketing. And what we do is turn the attention you get from marketing into sales. We offer sales training but we also offer sales and marketing automation through a tool called Infusionsoft. ~Colin Parker

Here are some of my questions and Colin’s answers:

“Marketing Automation” has become a buzzword and I do expect it to become even more important in 2015. How do you define marketing automation?

There is marketing automation and there is sales automation and they are different things. But the idea behind automation is to be able to help clients to find information fast.

For example it often takes people 24 hrs to follow up on a lead or an inquiry on a website. What happens is that by then people have moved on to another offer. People do more and more research online and marketing automation is a way of giving people the information they are looking for and it provides follow up and more value.

So it goes beyond the autoresponder that sends out scheduled messages to everybody?

Yes, it goes way beyond that ability. We all have seen autoresponders used and abused. Sales and marketing automation goes beyond that. There is logic built in. For example you might send some information and it might say “you can find some more information” and if they click on that link it would then put them into another campaign.
Ultimately it’s not a matter of “let me send you all my stuff” it’s really a tool that sends them only the information they are interested in.

Don't fire your sales staffSo do we need fewer salespeople then?

Sales and marketing automation augments what the sales team is currently doing. It also allows process to be followed.
Often a sales team does stuff over and over again. But because it’s never automated they are recreating the same email over and over again. We can often take some of those processes and automate them. When the sales rep then triggers the automation sequence it sends the client the information they are looking for.

Example – follow up messages after a meeting or a trade show

The idea is to augment what the salesperson should be doing. For example we teach people to send out a thank you message after a meeting. I am as guilty as anyone that sometimes after a meeting I get too busy and I forget to do it. What marketing automation can do it sent out that thank you note simply after the sales person checks of the box that says that the meeting has taken place.

Is automation impersonal?

I hear that a lot but what I always say is that it’s even more impersonal not sending the thank you note. The fact that I did it a little bit in the future and said “this is what I want to happen” to me is making some effort to making the right thing.

Do you think that sales and marketing automation is only something for larger companies?

A number of years ago I would have agreed with that statement. But it’s not. Now we have tools. The reason why we started offering Infusionsoft is because it is for small business. I first used it myself, and it allows you as a small business to run your business more effectively. The ability to automate certain things and let the system take them over gives the client better service and allows me to scale my business.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Without good processes sales and marketing automation gets stuck” quote=”Without good processes sales and marketing automation gets stuck”]

What advantages does Infusionsoft have over other sales and marketing automation tools?

The big advantage is that Infusionsoft is actually made for the small business. It really is ideal for companies with about 1 – 5 employees and are ready to give their clients more customized services.

  • The good thing about Infusionsoft is that it’s incredibly powerful and can do a lot
  • The bad thing about Infusionsoft is that it’s incredibly powerful and can do a lot

If you don’t have the processes in place sometimes that is how people get stuck. The way we work is that we help business owners build out those processes.

So what you do is help people get started with Infusionsoft?

Yes, what we do is we find out what we can about our clients’ businesses and help them to set up processes. Then we teach them first off how to use the software on a day to day basis. If later on the client wants to learn how to put together campaigns and automation themselves we teach them that. But what we found is that if we teach them both things at once your head explodes and you don’t get anything done. We’d rather have you start using the tool and make some money with it.

Do you have any final words Colin?

One of the things I suggest to clients is “Now” is the time to work on your processes. Because you need to understand what needs to happen next. After that initial meeting, what needs to happen next. What should I provide my clients with? Most small business owners use the sales strategy of “winging it” which is not a great strategy. If you have some process you will always do much better than if you don’t.
I know that we all think that people that can talk and do well in public are the more successful salespeople. My experience is the exact opposite. Mostly people that are more process oriented tend to be more productive because they are not wasting their own or their prospect’s time.

You can sign up for a free demo of the software on Colin’s website

By the way – I this is not a paid product review!