Building Brand By Creating Valuable Content

Get Results: content is king graphic
Get Results: content is king

Why Content is important

You’ve probably heard the term “content is king” countless times, and it’s ever more important in today’s internet-centric business environment.

The aim of content creation should be to allow your business to stand out from competitors, and help prospective customers get to know, like and trust you, so that they will, in time, consider doing business with you.

In other words content should be used to build your brand!

If you try to transact your prospects every time they interact with your brand, you will find you have to compete with all your competitors doing the same thing, and that can get expensive in terms of advertising costs.

Using advertising to first grab attention, then trying to convert prospects via a landing page or over the telephone is a big ask, and prospective customers are very guarded against slick sales messages. They will only consider you if you make the right first impression and are able to build trust quickly.

Consider an alternative solution, which is a longer term strategy but can  prepare the ground by building trust and goodwill with people that are not quite ready to buy just yet, but who might be in the next 30, 60 or 90 days. This is called content creation.

When it comes to creating content you should be looking to give visitors something for nothing, to provide value to them without asking for something in return. You should try to help your prospective customers get to know more about your brand, to get to like how you do business and allow them to build up trust in you.

So, create content that prospects want from the page they arrive at. Make sure your adverts or links from adverts or social media posts are clear, and informative and accurately reflect what you’ve promised them. Don’t promise something that you fail to follow through on, just to get them onto your website. That is the surest way to ruin your reputation and destroy trust.

Once they are on your page you need to understand who the prospective customer is, what is their desire? What solution are they seeking? What possible questions are they asking and wanting answered?

To provide value for them, you need to answer these questions effectively, thoroughly and as uniquely as possible. Don’t just regurgitate the same old information, that everyone else is doing. Instead do it in your own voice.

Some content ideas…
1. To build awareness on social media use ENGAGEMENT POSTS – any format, to get comments or a reaction (clicks) – this pushes up in news feed and can include questions, funny memes, photos with a question
2. To grow authority – Encourage testimonials, case studies, speaking engagements, you in action doing what you’re trying to sell – honoured rather than boastful
3. To get clients – leads (email list sign up or phone) and clients attraction. Questions, graphics, videos, gifs

To provide value;

  • Be relevant – You must have content that interests your prospective customer, otherwise why would they be interested in what you have to say.
  • Be contextual – formatted for each channel specifically. Try to reformat your content to suit where you want to be found. Vertical video works better on Facebook than it does on Youtube.
  • Facilitate access,
  • Be transparent – builds trust,
  • Be authentic – be true to yourself,
  • Inspire interaction – build community,
  • Be current – so that you resonate with your audience today,
  • Aim for connection – It’s better to be narrow and deep than wide and shallow- 100 loyal fans better than 10,000 none engaged followers.

Content should be made up of:

  • Opinion,
  • Expertise,
  • Information,
  • Insight,
  • Access,
  • Passion.
Get Results: content is emotional intellectual graphic
Get Results: content is emotional intellectual

There are only 3 types of content when you boil it down.

Escapism and entertainment

Escapism – being removed from our mundane real life situation for a short time, to forget.

  • humorous,
  • clever,
  • insightful,
  • interesting (aligned with audiences interests),
  • create a knowledge gap and fills it,
  • curiosity,
  • unexpectedness,
  • surprise,
  • inspirational,
  • emotional,
  • highlights a threat,
  • challenge plot, creative plot, connection plot.

Information and utility

Providing information that will help prospects in some way to improve their understanding, increase their knowledge or make life easier or better in some way.

Core information your customers need to know about your products and company before they’ll include you in their consideration set.

  • Product information,
  • Customer FAQ’s,
  • How – to’s,
  • Styling,
  • Customer ratings and review.

Ancillary content – This is the supporting and additional content. Think of ancillary content like the bonus tracks on a DVD.

  • Take prospects behind-the-scenes,
  • Let prospects get personal with your employees,
  • Encourage customers to share photographs using your product.

Re-imagined content – Plan different versions of your content to ensure it’s contextually relevant to each specific platform. Again, this is best planned in advance to maximize resources and include it in your content creation contracts.

Provide Commentary – This is the related content and comments that your employees, customers and fans create in coordination or as a result of your core content.

Commentary works best when your audience creates it out their desire to share with their circle of friends and social connections such as Facebook and Instagram posts.

Internal content curation – This is where you maximize the value of your own previously published content by using it in the creation of new content and the re-promotion of old content, giving it new life. It has one or more of the following attributes.

  • Make content contextually relevance,
  • Extend content into a new format.

Some additional ideas..

  • Target a new audience for old content,
  • Provide access to a location, a person, an institution,
  • Curation of other peoples content,
  • Provide insight,
  • Chart your own progress in some relevant endeavor,
    • Your journey to build your business – moving your business online,
    • Your progress in a new job,
    • Learning a new skill,
    • Put sales techniques into practice,
    • Sell something different every day testing your sales skills.
  • Current niche trends,
    • Current trends/techniques,
    • Software trends if relevant,
    • Explore the topic more freely and in-depth,
    • Cover local issues,
    • Real estate – local amenities, history of area – reasons why it’s good living here,
    • Local relevant events.

Social

Connect people and community, to share ideas and stories.

Coming up with content ideas

Here are the 33 prompts that you can use to write just about ANYTHING… feel free to copy and paste them into notepad so you can use them every day when you sit down to write content.

  • Ask a question,
  • Reference current events,
  • Create your own terms,
  • Reveal news (new/introducing),
  • Tell the reader to do something,
  • Give stats,
  • Make a comparison,
  • Promise useful information,
  • Direct offer,
  • Tell a (quick) story,
  • Make a recommendation,
  • State benefits,
  • Use a testimonial,
  • Arouse curiosity,
  • Promise to reveal a secret,
  • Be ultra-specific,
  • Target section of your audience,
  • Time-based headline,
  • Stress urgency,
  • Scarcity of savings/value,
  • Deliver good news,
  • Challenge the reader,
  • Highlight your guarantee,
  • State the price (as benefit),
  • Set up (seemingly),
  • Contradiction,
  • Address reader objection/concern,
  • “As crazy as it sounds”,
  • Take them to the promised land,
  • Demonstrate ROI,
  • Reason why headline,
  • Stress cost saving and value,
  • List / answer questions,
  • State / deliver on reader’s goals,
  • Highlight cost of mistakes.

Use this website for content ideas http://answerthepublic.com/ enter a keyword and it will suggest content ideas

Types of content

  • List pages,
  • Check lists,
  • Resource lists,
  • Lists of lists,
  • News lists,
  • Demonstration,
  • Series,
  • Infographics,
  • How-to guides,
  • Researched statistics,
  • Timelines,
  • Did you know,
  • Flow charts,
  • Whitepapers,
  • Research,
  • Trends,
  • Topical guides,
  • Beginner overviews,
  • Downloadable guides,
  • Live Blogging,
  • Event coverage,
  • Covering fast changing situations,
  • Live Q&A’s,
  • Round ups,
  • News round-ups,
  • From around the web,
  • Summing up events,
  • Q&A’s,
  • Q&A session,
  • Q&A for interviews,
  • Q&A FAQ,
  • Informal Q&A,
  • Opinion pieces,
  • Controversial posts,
  • High level breakdown,
  • Forecasting trends,
  • Deep dive,
  • New angle,
  • Interviews,
  • Industry leaders,
  • Innovative companies,
  • Topical expert,
  • How to’s,
  • Content curation,
  • Case studies,
  • Charts/graphs,
  • Ebooks,
  • Email Newsletters/Autoresponders,
  • Cartoons/illustrations,
  • Book Summaries,
  • Tool Reviews,
  • Giveaways,
  • FAQ’s,
  • Webinar,
  • Guides,
  • Dictionary,
  • “Day in the life of” post,
  • Interview,
  • Lists,
  • Mind Maps,
  • Meme,
  • Online Game,
  • Helpful Application/tool,
  • Opinion Post,
  • White Papers,
  • Vlog,
  • Videos – screencasts, talking heads, illustrations, graphics, film roll,
  • Podcasts,
  • Templates,
  • Surveys,
  • Slideshares,
  • Resources,
  • Quotes,
  • Polls,
  • Podcasts,
  • Pinboards,
  • Photo Collage,
  • Original Research,
  • Press releases,
  • Photos,
  • Predictions,
  • User Generated Content,
  • Company news,
  • Announcements,
  • Timelines,
  • Meme – Meme Generator and Quick Meme,

Even more..

  • Social equity – introductions, access to contacts (interview, insight) – Leverage status (fame), membership (masons), contacts, relationships.
  • Guides – A guide is a detailed and fairly long piece of content. Think of it as an epic blog post. It goes beyond the length, style, and approach of an ordinary blog post.
  • Book reviews – A book review is a simple discussion of a book plus your take on it. You recommend good ones, critique not-so-good ones, and share the value that you glean from them. Book reviews are great because they help to position you as a thought leader.
  • Opinion post (rant) – This style of post is substantially different from your typical blog post, mostly due to its tone. You may be used to publishing a careful and researched discussion of a topic. The rant or opinion, by contrast, may be stronger and more expressive. The more vociferous your position, the more it’s going to get read and shared.
  • Product reviews – Like the book review, a product review can help establish authority and leadership in your industry. Every industry has its unique array of products, software, and services. When you engage key developers, manufacturers, or service providers, you gain recognition and respect. All you need to do is share your experience with the product and provide your recommendation.
  • How to.. The how-to is one of the most popular types of content, especially in my niche. On my blog, I write a lot of how-to guides. How-to articles have awesome long tail search potential due to these popular long tail query introductions: “How to…” and “How do I…?”
  • Lists – Lists have endless appeal. We’re wired to love them. Chance are you’re going to see or read an article today that involves some sort of a list — “5 Security Breaches You Need to Know about,” “17 Ways to Rank Higher in Google in One Month.” Hey, you’re already reading an article with the title “15 Types.”
  • Link pages – link page is simply a post that provides links to great resources around the web. The great thing about link posts is that they spread link love to other sites, provide your own site with authoritative SEO signals, and assert your thought leadership within your field.
  • Ebook – An ebook is long content packaged in a different format, usually as a PDF. Ebooks are often a downloadable product, available for free in exchange for joining a mailing list. Producing an ebook helps to strengthen your authority within a field, and it makes for a powerful method of sharing your knowledge with others.
  • Case study – A case study explains what your product or service is and how it helped a client. The case study basically says, “here’s what we do, how we do it, and the results we get.”
  • Podcast – Podcasts had their phase of popularity, and they’re still a great form of content. Plus, they’re not hard to create. Many people listen to podcasts during their commute or exercise. You have a chance to spread your message farther and better using this format than a lot of other formats.
  • Interview – Every field has its leaders. When you’re able to interview a leader, you can garner a lot of respect from others in the field, not to mention huge amounts of traffic. Interviews are unique. No one else has this information — only you.
  • Research and original data – Most of us work in data-intensive fields, where numbers and metrics hold a lot of value. Sharing your findings with others is a powerful way to drive traffic, build trust, and establish your authority. When you do the research, which is hard work, people respect that. What’s more, people share it.
  • Contextualising,
  • Communicating,
  • Digesting info and regurgitating/repackaging and presenting it to your audience in a new package,
  • Content curation and Content aggregation, where you filter good quality content for your readers, this adds value for them and saves them having to troll through low quality content,
  • If you don’t have anything to say, DOCUMENT! – easier than having to create new content,
  • If you’re not an expert in your niche you can become a well informed commentator (share stories from niche – curate content made by others and add your own commentary).
  • Inspire,
  • Connect.

Look after your readers

  • Always reply to comments or messages,
  • Say thanks,
  • Use names and tag people,
  • Share things – if you come across something you like share it,
  • Be an investigator – Google Alerts – gives you news about a chosen keyword(s),
  • Check out the results, go to a page and leave a comment as a nice gesture,
  • Make navigation around the site easy,
  • Decrease page load times,
  • Get rid of annoyances on site such as pop-ups and distracting ads,
  • Surprise audience – give something for free,
  • Include transcript with podcasts or video,
  • Use high quality audio and video,
  • Skip the sales pitch – the best sales pitch is no sales pitch at all,
  • Reply with a video,
  • Invite participation – reader challenge, ask for opinion, calls to action – get people involved,
  • Be honest,
  • Be passionate,
  • Get personal – infuse your personality and life to get deeper connection,
  • Provide unique content such as provide case studios, experiments, income reports etc
  • Proof read content before you post it,
  • Remember who you are and who your serving,
  • Always over deliver,
  • Write post which is potential vehicle for income. Good quality, unique, have affiliate links in sidebar so on every post and in text,
  • Create a visual representation of the information you are talking about to help you and your audience remember it,
  • Transformation – what’s the transformation you want your audience to go through. Another way of putting it is what’s the purpose of your article. What’s the goal,
  • Start with in this episode we are going to talk about x. by the end of this you will be able to Y using your Z,
  • Tell them what you’re going to tell them, Tell them, Tell them what you told them,
  • Reverse engineer the transformation. Work backwards. What supporting content do you need to include to achieve the transformation,
  • Write down all possible objections and include a reply to each of these in the supporting content,
  • Tell stories (more memorable) or Include case studies or Research and data. Always include the professors full name and qualifications include accurate data to the penny,
  • Subdivide the article so that it is easier to understand and follow. Subdivisions could be steps, tips,
  • Make the beginning and end memorable,
  • Ending should have a call to action, get audience involved, show how what you have talked about actually works, surprise audience in some way (must be relevant),
  • Beginning should have a video or high impact beginning,
  • Aim for Consistency,
  • Talk like a human being,
  • You shouldn’t be vanilla – take a point of view,
  • Don’t talk at your audience, talk with them. connection, interaction.

So as you can see there is a lot to consider with regards  to your content. The best advice I can give is get stuff out there and see what works best for your audience.

Creating Content For Your Website / Blog

Get Results: how to profit from providing free content
Get Results: how to profit from providing free content

When it comes to creating content for your website or blog, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to write about. This post is here to help you generate some content ideas.

When it comes to creating content you can either…

Be a facilitator, by providing access to and curating other peoples/experts content, and providing additional insight and commentary in order to provide additional value.

You can create your own unique content from scratch, although this takes more time and effort.

Or you can document your journey and provide insight to those following you. This can have the added bonus of ingraining recently learned knowledge for yourself, and giving you an opportunity to better understand what information you’ve just acquired.

There are really only 3 types of content

  • Escapism and entertainment content – fun stuff, games, videos, movies, that are humourous, clever, insightful, inspirational, scary, emotional, intriguing or interesting
  • Information and utility content – calendars, diaries, to do lists etc
  • Social content – around people and community

It’s important to understand that context matters. So make sure your content bares some relevance to your website and business.  For example it doesn’t make any sense talking about the latest gadget releases if you’re trying to promote a gardening business. Keep your content relevant to your target market, help them or entertain them in a way that adds value for them.

Content can be made up of:

  • Opinion
  • Expertise
  • Information
  • Insight
  • Access
  • Passion

Be cautious of the following pitfalls…

  • Focusing on the wrong topic,
  • Using the wrong media,
  • Or both

In order to ensure you don’t fall foul of these pitfalls, you must have some understanding about the type of people you’re wanting to attract and cater for.

Ask yourself…

  • What do your visitors want to know?
  • How can you best provide value for them?
  • What content will help built, trust, credibility and generate some goodwill with your target audience?

Some additional info

Chart your own progress

  • Your journey to build your business – moving your business online
  • Your progress in a new job
  • Learning a new skill – learning SEO, PPC
  • Put sale techniques into practice
  • Sell something different every day testing your sales skills

Cover current niche trends

  • Current photography trends/techniques
  • Software trends
  • Explore the topic more freely and in-depth

Cover local issues

  • Real estate – local amenities, history of area – reasons why it’s good living here
  • Local relevant events

Content formats

Content can come in many formats, here are a few ideas…

List pages

  • Check lists
  • Resource lists
  • Lists of lists
  • News lists
  • Demonstration
  • Series

Infographics

  • How-to guides
  • Researched statistics
  • Timelines
  • Did you know
  • Flow charts

Whitepapers

  • Research
  • Trends
  • Topical guides
  • Beginner overviews
  • Downloadable guides

Live Blogging

  • Event coverage
  • Covering fast changing situations
  • Live Q&A’s

Round-ups

  • News round-ups
  • From around the web
  • Summing up events

Q&A’s

  • Q&A for interviews
  • Q&A FAQ
  • Informal Q&A

Opinion pieces

  • Controversial posts
  • High level breakdown
  • Forecasting trends
  • Deep dive
  • New angle

Interviews

  • Industry leaders
  • Innovative companies
  • Topical expert

Some more content formats (excuse any duplicates to previously mentioned types)

  • How to’s
  • Content curation
  • Case studies
  • Charts/graphs
  • Ebooks
  • Email Newsletters/Autoresponders
  • Cartoons/illustrations
  • Book Summaries
  • Tool Reviews
  • Giveaways
  • FAQ’s
  • Q&A session
  • Webinar
  • Guides
  • Dictionary
  • “Day in the life of” Post
  • Infographics
  • Interview
  • Lists
  • Mind Maps
  • Meme
  • Online Game
  • Helpful Application/Tool
  • Opinion Post
  • White Papers
  • Vlog
  • Videos – screencasts, talking heads, illustrations, graphics, film roll
  • Podcasts
  • Templates
  • Surveys
  • Slideshares
  • Resources
  • Quotes
  • Polls
  • Podcasts
  • Pinboards
  • Photo Collage
  • Original Research
  • Press releases
  • Photos
  • Predictions
  • User Generated Content
  • Company News
  • Announcements
  • Timelines

 

Selling From Your Website

Get Results: internet icons
Get Results: internet icons

Successful selling from your website, requires a plan of action, so that you know what you’re trying to do with each advert, each piece of content, each image, video, graphic. 

Effectively it gives you a strategy, an aim for everything you’re doing, you have direction and structure and purpose. 

Firstly, you’ve got to get people on to your website, from wherever they  currently are, whether that be searching on Google, socialising on Facebook, browsing imagery on Instagram, or consuming content on other websites. 

Get Results: selling on website
Get Results: selling on website

So the question becomes, how do you get people who are minding their own business or searching for something, to want to click through to your website, instead of continuing to do what they’re doing? 

Well, first you have to be in the same location your prospects attention is focused on. If they’re on Google, searching for information, services or products, you’ve got to be there either through Search Engine Optimisation efforts, or Pay Per Click advertising. You need to be on the first page ideally, because most searches don’t extend beyond the first page. 

If they’re on social media, you also need to have a presence there, either in the same groups, or by delivering content that they find interesting, or via paid adverts. 

Secondly, you need to get “noticed”, this means standing out from the crowd in some way, either with eye-catching graphics or attention-grabbing words or copy. 

Once you have them on your site, you must provide what you promised them on your adverts or copy. Don’t mislead them, because they will be annoyed and disappointed and this isn’t good for your brand reputation. Trust takes time to build and seconds to destroy.

Include information that is entertaining, informative, insightful and adds value to the person consuming it. 

Also make sure this content is relevant to what you’re selling. No point providing cute pet videos if your customer is looking for business solutions.

There is no point getting random traffic to your site, you want people who are going to benefit from your services/products, and only them. So keep it relevant to your target market from initial content on social media or in search results through to your website pages. 

Finally you need to have a “call to action”, either getting them to sign up to your newsletter, so you can keep providing value and pitch your service/products, or have a buy now option, where they can purchase directly from you straight away. 

Test different approaches to see what works best for you, but remember people buy based on TRUST, COMPETENCY, CONVENIENCE, RELIABILITY, QUALITY and VALUE FOR MONEY. Selling on the internet is the same as selling face to face, in this respect. 

For more information about online business, click here.

For more about website marketing, click here.

 

Grow Your Business: Getting Subscriber’s On Your Mailing List

Get Results: getting subscribers onto your email list
Get Results: getting subscribers onto your email list

Get Results: opt in model
Get Results: opt in model

Getting visitors to opt-in to your mailing list (via your website) provides a great way of directly communicating with them at a later time, in fact it should be one of your on-line marketing priorities. Imagine if you lost your Facebook page or Twitter account (and it can happen), how would you contact your audience?

Having a list of email subscribers keeps control in your own hands, rather than relying on a third party platform, and gives you a direct path to people that, by subscribing to your list, have qualified themselves as being interested in what you have to say. If they arrive on your site, read a little and leave you have nothing. As the old adage goes “the money is in the (email) list” and this is unlikely to change any time soon.

What you’ve first got to think about is that, from your visitors point of view, why would they want give you their email address? They usually won’t want to be contacted unless you have something interesting or useful to say or offer.

Get Results: opt in model
Get Results: opt in model

If you think you can simply add an opt-in form to your site and people will immediately fall over themselves to sign-up, then you’re sadly, misguided. Try it for yourself and see what happens. There needs to be something else in place to get that all important email address, and incentives are a great start.

Incentivise

So you’ve got to give visitors some incentive, provide some benefit to them in return for their email address. They have to want to get communication from you for some perceived advantage. Generally, people don’t like to be sold to, so you need to get over to them that you’re looking to help them to either solve a problem or achieve a goal rather than sell them something, and communicating the benefit of your offer is vital if you’re to succeed. Answer the question “What benefit is in it for them”.

Get Results: opt in model
Get Results: opt in model

Benefits can be short-lived, and particularly relevant to one piece of content (content upgrade) or could be more long term focused and offer ongoing value. If you capture an email because of a content upgrade you should look to keep them as a long term subscriber by having a strategy in place to provide ongoing value and support, otherwise they will simply opt-out straight away. Check out my in-depth list of opt-in incentive ideas.

Sell the benefits – Use wording within your opt-in form that sells the benefit of this incentive to your visitor. “Increase productivity with my 5 efficiency hacks” or “5 efficiency hacks that will increase productivity”, obviously make it relevant to your particular incentive, answer the question. “Why do my visitors need this incentive?”

Don’t promise something you can’t produce or provide and never ever try to mislead subscriber’s. Be honest, and reliable at all times. Once you break trust it is unlikely, unless you have history with them, that they will ever forgive you, and why should they? Check the section about credibility, capability and trustworthiness (below), for more information.

Offsetting the risk for subscribers

If I am the visitor on a new website I consider the risk reward balance of becoming a subscriber. Asking myself “If I give this person my email address can I opt-out if I change my mind?” So adding some text to your opt-in form saying that subscribers can opt-out easily at any time, and will not be pestered thereafter, will help to reduce this concern.

The main fear for many visitors, that prevents them from subscribing, is being swamped with spam emails that don’t offer any value to them and that become a pain to get rid of. Knowing they can click a button and never see your mail again is a big risk reducer. “One click to unsubscribe at any time – guaranteed!”.

Another concern is email addresses being sold onto third parties without the subscribers permission, and this should never happen, but sadly does. Make sure you state that there is no risk of this happening if they sign up with you. “We will never spam you” or “We will never share your email address with anyone else” or a combination of the two will help.

Adding extra value

When a visitor lands on your page they probably don’t know you, they don’t particularly care about you and your brand, or want to build a relationship with you, what they want is to get some benefit from you and your site. It’s your job to answer their question, “What’s in it for me?” The benefit should be so good they just can’t resist to sign up. The promise of insider information, better quality bonus information, discounts, rebates etc. and they’ll get that exclusively if they sign up.

This content can be hidden on your site, free from being indexed like your other content, on a page rather than that a post so it doesn’t appear in the blogroll. There are a number of WordPress plugins that will help you keep this content off your sitemap or navigation. Contact me for more information about this.

Other considerations for getting email opt-in’s are:

Getting Visitors

Getting people to see your page in the first place is of paramount importance, but the traffic volume alone is no good, you need traffic that is interested in your offer, so targeted traffic is what counts.  Laser focus your marketing messages to speak to people who are interested in your niche and only them. Check this post for more information.

Important Content

Once they arrive on your site, you need them to stay around long enough to see your opt-in box, so having content that will keep them engaged and on your site long enough to get the chance to opt-in is another big part of the jigsaw.

There needs to be some demonstration of value in your content that makes the visitor think, “I like this enough to sign up”. Think about it, if the content on a site you visit is not engaging or of high quality or relevance, are you going to sign up for their email newsletter?

You need to be thinking “I can get some value from this person” to even consider signing up. There’s got to be an interest from the visitor in the subject matter, and then they have got to like your take on that subject matter to want to stay around and hear more from you.

Placement of opt-in

You should consider placement of your opt-in form, do you put it in the sidebar, and if so at the top, middle or bottom? In the post itself, and again where is best? There is no definitive answer to this, the best advice is to test for yourself and see what works best for your audience. Some ideas for placement testing include:

  • Sidebar – top, middle, or bottom separately and altogether,
  • within the post itself – above the fold or bottom of post or both
  • It’s great to include an opt-in form on both the “homepage” and “about us” pages, and again test multiple locations and see what works for you.

Make it stand out

As well as considering the location, it’s important, wherever you place your opt-in form, to make sure it stands out and is noticed. Use the rule of contrast, and make your form the opposite colour to the rest of your website. Visitor’s must be drawn to your opt-in form and the human brain is hard-wired to notice things that don’t match the rest of the environment, that stand out.

Number of fields

Think about how many fields you’re asking  the visitor to fill in – my testing shows the fewer fields the visitor has to complete the more subscribers you will get. On the flip side I have seen research that suggests converting subscribers to paying customers (further down the sales funnel) tends to be better from leads who originally opted-in via forms with more fields, so as always test variations and see what works for you.

Credible, capable and trustworthy

Credibility, although last to be discussed here, is without doubt the most important element you need to sell anything online. If you can prove you know what you’re talking about, you know your niche, your product or service, you’re three quarters of the way to achieving online success.

Credibility builds trust, and gives your audience confidence you can deliver the results they are looking for. Credibility comes in the form of customer testimonials and reviews, case studies, demonstrations, free samples, free trial periods, social media following and interaction, before and after photos, published income statements, in fact anything that shows you can do what you say you can do, and the better you can demonstrate this the easier selling will be. Think of why you shop at Amazon (for instance), is it because of their stunning website design, the colour of their sidebars or footers?

You buy from Amazon, because you trust them, you know they can deliver what they say they will, and when they say they will, you can check out product reviews, you can return it if you’re not happy with it when it arrives. If I didn’t say it before “Credibility is key”.

Summary

There needs to be so much more in place to get subscribers onto your email list than just having an opt-in form on your site. Without subscribers, selling online, while not impossible, is much more difficult for some type of businesses. This varies depending on the type of niche you are involved in of course, my photography studio business sells lots of experience vouchers online without needing to get subscribers (although I still collect the emails of visitors to send promotional offers to), but this seems to be very different for none physical businesses that sell things like digital products and solutions, where getting subscribers is much more important in the sales process.

Below is a list of elements you will need to get visitor’s email addresses.

  • You’ve got to get targeted traffic to your site in the first place,
  • Provide good relevant content to engage your visitors and keep them hanging around, also the more of this content there is and the longer you have been around helps in the perception of credibility
  • Have an opt-in form generator such as Thrive Leads to capture your visitor’s email address and an auto responder such as Mailchimp or Aweber to deliver the relevant incentive promised,
  • An opt-in incentive and the wording used to sell the incentive to your visitors. Also think about an ongoing strategy for offering continuing value that requires staying subscribed to get access to it. (list of ideas here)
  • Risk reducers – using reassurances such as:
    • We will never spam you
    • We will never share your email address
    • You can opt-out with one click at any time, but please give us a try
  •  Positioning of the opt-in box:
    • On the home page
    • Within post above fold and end of post
    • On the “About us” page
    • In the sidebar
    • Don’t overdo it though, sometimes less is best.
  • Number of fields the visitor has to fill in – keep to a minimum.
  • Make sure your opt-in box stands out, use the rule of contrast when deciding what colour to use, which involves looking at the predominate colour of your website and picking the colour opposite on the colour wheel
  • Most importantly – being perceived as credible, capable and trustworthy – trust elements, money back guarantees, free trial periods, income reports, testimonials, review, case studies, list of major brands you have done work for, TV appearances etc. Without credibility, I doubt having all the other elements in place would lead to much success, it is the single most important ingredient of selling online, and off-line for that matter. If  you were to consider what to spend most time on improving, it should be this. As I said earlier, I sell lots of photo experience vouchers online, and the main reason for this undoubtedly being seen as credible, capable and trustworthy.

Once you have all the elements, described in the preceding paragraphs, in place you have a fighting chance. Test all of the variables to see which is more effective with your audience, it’s an on-going process of testing, and re-testing. There is no magic bullet, and what works for one doesn’t guarantee will work for someone else. Don’t assume you know best either, use your hunch as a starting point and test against it.

Just a word of warning regarding testing. Don’t change more than one element at a time and make sure you are getting sufficient volume to make the results meaningful. This will be hard when starting off, because you will obviously not have the volume of visitors, but online success is not achieved overnight, and measuring performance from the start is what will give you an edge over other newcomers, and ensure you have taken a solid first step.

While you’re here, why not check out our marketing guide here.

The Best Affiliate Marketing Business Model

Get Results: affiliate marketing business model
Get Results: affiliate marketing business model

Targeting the right audience

It’s all very well getting lots of traffic onto your website, but if it’s not targeted traffic, then you’re not going to earn much money from all those visitors. If you’re selling dog collars for instance and getting people to your website who are looking for holidays, then all that will happen is those visitors will bounce off your site and go elsewhere. So think laser focused targeting for all your marketing messages. Appeal to prospects that actually want what you have to offer. Find out who they are and where they hang out, and deliver your message to them and only them. To test the depth of knowledge you need to have a about your audience, can you answer these questions?

  • Who is your ideal reader/visitor
  • What do they look like, talk about, care about, hate, fear, desire
  • Who do they hang out with, talk to, argue with, ideolise, want to be
  • Where do they hang out online, in person, want to go, not want to go
  • What products, brands, personas, do they love and hate
  • How do they talk, formally, passionately, analytically
  • What lingo do they use (ie keywords)

Why are they coming to you?

  • Why should they listen to you instead of everyone else
  • What problems are they looking to solve

Where to find your audience

Does your audience frequent Facebook or Twitter. Do they love to spend time on Youtube surfing the “How to…” videos in your niche? Would it be more productive to target them via the major search engines such as Google and Bing? If so then you would need to consider Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and getting your site up the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings. If you want to get yourself in front of your audience fast, then Pay Per Click (PPC) might be the way to go. Think very carefully about your acquisition strategy because getting it wrong can cost time, effort and money. To summarise:

  • Optimise your site to make it search engine friendly,
  • Use PPC – make sure you know what you’re doing with this method,
  • Participate in forums,
  • Get active in Facebook groups,
  • Network on Facebook and Twitter,
  • Guest post on blogs in your niche (good for reputation, traffic and SEO),
  • Attend events and conferences – great off-line method,
  • Link out to other valuable resources/sites.

Getting yourself a home

Don’t rely on making your main internet home Facebook or Twitter, because although these are great platforms to engage with your audience, relying solely on these could wipe your business out overnight should these platforms decide to change the rules, as many software companies have found to their costs. For instance Shortstack started off providing engaging Facebook competitions until Facebook decided to cut them out and do it for themselves and although Shortstack have evolved away from Facebook to some degree, they recently wrote a blog post detailing their acknowledgement of the mistake of over-reliance on a third party to support their business.

I now use WordPress for all my sites, it’s free to use (except for the hosting of course if you’re using a self hosting option), comes with lots of plugins to add functionality to the site, is loved by Google and is ideal for SEO and has tons of free themes to make it look original. Most of the modern themes are also mobile responsive which is a must these days for both ranking and user experience.

Building relationships – Email Marketing

Provide Great Content

Once you get targeted audience to your website, you need to have something interesting, useful, unique and most of all, helpful for them to read, look at and engage with. Look to help them with some problem they have or to achieve something they want to achieve. Great content should:

  • Be honest
  • Be valuable (don’t waste peoples time)
  • Be delivered in multiple formats if possible
  • Be as short as possible but no shorter
  • Be relevant
  • Be fresh
  • Be shareable
  • Solve problems by providing solutions
  • Attract an audience
  • Above all – be results oriented.

To do this you must understand their wants and needs. Use surveys, interact with them via email and find out their pain.

Tips about Content generation

Think about what someone in your niche is going to need to follow in your footsteps. Think about your progression and map this out for your audience if they are trying to replicate you.

Use easy to remember forwarding URLs for certain topics to make them easier for your audience to memorise, these can be purchased as domain names and pointed to any page on your site. Promote this easy to remember URL in your marketing messages.

Use the medium that best suites your site. Look what the competition are using and do it differently and better.

know the product – be a sales agent for it, if you haven’t used it and found it useful don’t try to sell it. Become a resource of information for using that product. Give your audience tips and tricks for getting the best from it. Show the product being used, “un-boxing the product” is a popular type of video content. Ask yourself “Can I trust the product to be good for my audience?”. Become a source of information for that product. “How to….” videos and articles, show you using it for your own purposes, helpful tips and advice, and reviews

know what you want your audience to achieve by using your website what is their goal, then design a road map to help them achieve that goal, show them how using your products will help them get to their goal.

Build deep relationships with your subscribers. The deeper the relationship the shorter the pitch required. Speed up the building of relationships by:

  • Be personable – easier to connect. Use video and podcasts,
  • Tell stories and entertain,
  • Random Acts Of Kindness – reply to comments, give them a special deal, put comments on their blog,
  • Be real,
  • Build trust first:
    • Give lots away for free, add value without charging. If your seen as a giver people more likely to respond positively,
    • Get others to recommend you

If you don’t currently use the product yourself, get in contact with the owner of the product and ask some questions about the product and write a post about the conversation.

Get a special deal just for your audience, or give a rebate (using part of your affiliate earnings) back to the purchaser if they go through your affiliate link.

Other tips

  • Create an epic post about the product. A ONE Stop shop resource,
  • Multiple Youtube videos about different aspect of using the product,
  • Hold a webinar for the product,
  • Publish a webinar replay – Be sure to record your live webinar so that you can embed it on your website as a replay for those who didn’t watch it live, and those who did watch it live but want to get the information again,
  • Use an indirect social push – link to a post or a resource that will engage people beforehand about the product or a video about it, not directly to an affiliate link
  • Keep track of your click through’s – use pretty links or crazy egg,
  • Indirect email list promotion – For me, I like to indirectly promote on my email list – like I do with social media – it’s all about giving people as much high-value content as possible, and on the email, it’s exactly the same. I don’t directly promote anything on my email list – and if there are any links in my emails they all point back to my blog,
  • Indirect promotion on other people’s sites,
  • Be honest and disclose that they are affiliate links,
  • Thank people in advance for going through your affiliate links,
  • Review and compare products of the same type,
  • Focus on how it will help your audience (benefits not features),
  • Believe in your recommendations,
  • If it doesn’t work try another offer,
  • Test, test and test again,
  • Make your own product instead,
  • Be patient. Trust is built over time,
  • Provide a resource page full of all your affiliate products and links,
  • Offer a bonus
    • Extra content (i.e. extra skins for a opt-in box)
    • Discount price, rebates,
    • Tips and tricks document included,
    • How to use document included.

Email Sign ups

Encourage visitors to opt-in to your email list so that you can keep in touch with them and continue to help. You need to have an opt-in box on your website to do this. I have them dotted around my site in the sidebar and footer of most of the posts. I encourage you to do the same. Only ever provide great content and assistance, don’t ever spam them with endless sales pitches. We all hate that, don’t we?

You can use what are known in the trade as opt-in bribes to encourage subscriptions. An opt-in bride is something of value that the visitor has to exchange their email address for. This could include:

  • Cheat sheets
  • Tips and tricks information
  • A white paper
  • A resource list
  • An Ebook

In fact anything that adds value, and is perceived as being valuable and relevant to your visitor. If they don’t want it, they won’t sign up. If they do sign up always make it really easy to unsubscribe from your list as a matter of courtesy.

Note: If you sign up for our newsletter, feel free to respond to any of the emails we send you asking for our “Lead Magnet List” which will give you more ideas for what to use as Lead Magnets.

Have something to sell

Ultimately we are looking to build a business from our online endeavours, so we need something to sell. Something that will help our audience, something that gives more in value than it asks for in payment. Think of saving your audience time, effort, money wherever possible. Look to help them make money or solve some problem or pain they want to remove from their lives.

You can look to sell your own products or be an Affiliate and sell other people’s products. There are literally thousands of such products available to sell from physical products, services to digital products and everything in between.

If you’re starting out in online marketing, it is probably wiser to sharpen your marketing skills before investing a great deal of your resources in developing your own products, and Affiliate Marketing is an ideal option. Products can be found via networks such as Clickbank, Commission Junction, Amazon and JVZoo to name but a few.

summary of where to find products to sell

  • Clickbank,
  • Amazon affiliates / associates but look for high value products,
  • Odigger.com or offervault.com,
  • Commission junction you can be an affiliate or sell your product through them,
  • Think about what you use yourself,
  • Directly approach the company yourself, ask if they do affiliate program,
  • Forums and ask for ideas to the likes of web warrior forum and digital point forum,
  • If you cant find a product make one yourself.

Where to use affiliate links

  • Put affiliate links in an Ebook
  • Put affiliate links within content section and as many natural links as possible, without overdoing it. Not everyone will read the full article
  • Link to an image of product Easy Azon WordPress Plugin – I have never used this myself so I can’t recommend it,
  • Mention discount prices “click on this link to save 20%” if you have such an offer,
  • Measure affiliate links using prettylinks (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pretty-link/ ) or gocodes to put a long affiliate link and creates a short nice link which is easy to remember
  • Create own advertisements, use text widgets to rotate text links,
  • Affiliate links in your images.

Keep the conversion going

Keep providing help to your audience, otherwise they will move on and leave you behind. If you’re only looking to service a narrow band of people at a certain stage in their development and don’t intend to offer support for them later, than that’s fine as long as you know how to keep the flow of new recruits coming to your website. Have a plan and work the plan.

Get Results: affiliate marketing business model
Get Results: affiliate marketing business model

 

Summary

To be truly successful in Affiliate Marketing you need to build an audience that keeps coming back to you for more, I’ve heard it described as building a tribe or engaged community, even raving fans – whatever you want to label it, it’s about engaging on a regular basis and building a relationship with them. In order to achieve this you must provide great, unique, valuable, and actionable content that your audience needs and wants. This should be your major focus. Without an audience you can’t hope to build an affiliate business.

If you’re looking at doing it as a sideline, or full time business you will probably want or need to earn money from it by selling something. I prefer to use a method that adds value and genuinely helps people. I love to talk about Marketing and Business so write about it a lot. I have to make a living but have decided to only sell products that are relevant to my audience, I would be proud to have developed myself, and that are of genuine use. If I don’t like it I won’t try to sell it.

If you’re getting into affiliate marketing then pick a niche you are passionate to write about, otherwise you won’t enjoy it and will likely give up if the going is tough. Don’t do it just to make money, do it to help others. The side effect of adding more and more value is you tend to make more and more money.

For more about online business, click here.

Get Your Small Business Online

Get Results: online success
Get Results: online success

Small business owners….

If you’re business is not currently online, you’re potentially missing out on lots of business, which is going straight to your competitors.

Is business good? Well it could be so much better with an online presence.

My photography business survives without any passing trade, it’s all done online and of course word of mouth.

It’s not enough to just have a social media profile business page. What if it goes away or get’s hacked. What you need is your own website, a based from which to grow from, that’s your own.

Next you need to be found in search results.

You can still use your social media channels, if you have them, but your website and search is a whole new marketing channel.

Staying as you are is of course an option, after all you’re in your comfort zone. But remember if you do what you have always done, you’ll likely get what you’ve always got. Well that’s not entirely true, because more and more business is being conducted online these days.

You’ve got to be where your potential clients are hanging out. This is online, sure, on social media, but also on Google search. People search for things on Google and other search engines. You have got to be there to be found and you won’t be via Facebook or Instagram.

Appearing in search means..

You need a website (hosting)

You  need to find out what you prospective customers are searching for (keyword research)

You need to have your site optimised for search results (SEO)

You need to fill in the gap between going live and being found in search, through advertising via PPC (Google Adwords)

You can convince yourself that you’re okay with the way things are, that you can manage without the need to go online, but really you’re ignoring all the potential business you’re giving up.

Why settle for okay when things could be great with more business coming through the door?

It’s easy to make excuses, after all they make us feel better about dealing with things as they are.

Here at Get Lasting Results, we call them coping excuses, and while they are justifications for dealing with our current behaviours and allow us to feel better about the way the land currently lays, we can all do better and demand more.

Once you deal with the discomfort of making the initial transition online, you’re there. After the initial effort it gets easier, it becomes part of your normal work routine.

In fact we can hold your hand throughout the whole process, and do it for you, from hosting, keyword research, SEO to PPC.

For more information follow this link (sign up), fill in your email and we’ll get the conversation started.

For more free information about online business, click here.

Online Success Considerations

Get Results: online success
Get Results: online success

I’m asked quite a lot about the requirements for achieving online success, so have done a walk-through of the considerations for achieving online success, so check it out below.

I haven’t elaborated on each of the points, rather I am just trying to highlight considerations, there are other posts on this site that deal with details.

This site isn’t specifically designed around providing information about running an online business, but I have a number of articles about the subject, based on my research and own experience, which are linked to at the end of this post.

This post is designed for people who want online success, to get results with their online business, but are getting, frustrated, puzzled (why is it not working?), feel like giving up, have run out of ideas.

Let’s begin…

Goal

Let’s assume your goal is to achieve online success.

What’s needed to get there, and what is your target? Make sure you have an end goal in mind, before you begin. You can, by all means, have a number of interim goals, that get increasingly bigger, but by having an end goal you will ensure you are fully in alignment, and not deviating on your journey.

i.e. Making an online income of 10k month

Something to sell

Must first have something to sell that is in-demand by prospective customers, and either…

  • Monetise via advertising (bring audience to advertisers)
  • Monetise via sponsorships (bring audience to advertisers)
  • Monetise via selling..
    • Own products/services via…
      • Membership site
      • E-commerce site
        • including professional products or services
          • One to one coaching
          • Done for you services
          • Physical products
          • Digital products
    • Other people’s/businesses products

Traffic

Get large enough audience/traffic volume to make a living from sales/advertising revenue – bigger volume needed on tighter profit margins.

  • Produce and use content to pull prospects to sales channel
    • Allow audience to get to know you
    • Build trust, likeability
      • Add value to them
      • Offer extra help and support
      • Allow them to see you in action
  • Advertising online and offline channels
    • Point all advertising back to content and sales pages
  • Pay affiliates to drive sales
    • Influencers with big audience made up of your customer profiles
  • Get backlinks from other reputable websites
    • Guest posting on other websites and linking back to your site
    • Share graphics or unique content with other  websites with attribution link back to your site
  • Optimise website for SEO, using tags, keywords in content text, internal and external links

Problem identification

i.e. Not getting success online

  • A. Not building volume of traffic to lead pages and then sales pages
    • to social media pages
    • content pages
    • sales pages
  • B. Not enough engagement/interest in content and then products, no free sharing to help in cost of building volume either
  • C. No way of monetising or not effectively monetising off back of content

Analysis

A and B. Is the lack of traffic down to…

  • #1- Quality of content not engaging and building volume (being shared for free)?
  • #2- Not effectively marketing well enough?

#1- Producing the Quality Content

  • Is the subject matter in-demand?
    • If so, by whom?
    • Where is the attention of these people?
    • How can I best reach them?
    • What are their pains/passions/desires?
      • What are they having difficulty with?
      • Where and why are they stuck?
      • How can I help them get unstuck?

Generating content ideas

  • Go to forums, online groups, niche thought leaders and see what is being asked, and become part of that community (commenting, asking questions and adding value by giving insight) – Do this for interaction with the community (marketing) and getting content ideas
  • Check out books in the niche (Amazon) and see what is being written about (table of contents)
  • Check out magazines and publications within the niche to see what is being written about
  • Check mainstream media  to see what is being written/talked about

Is the content good enough?

  • Is it attractive?  Images, text, video
  • Is it interesting? – Valuable, useful, well presented – does it benefit the reader?
  • Am I talented/skilled enough to pull it off (writing skills, video capture/editing skills, speaking skills)
  • Is the content easily digestible (clear, interesting and valuable)?
    • Easy to navigate
    • Links to similar content
    • Well structured
    • Broken into easy to digest paragraphs
    • Good grammar
  • Does it cater for different media preferences?
    • Written,
    • Video,
    • Audio,
    • Images,
    • Graphic models
  • Is it presented from a unique perspective? Not the same as competitors

Are you credible enough?

  • Proven track record
    • Income statements
    • Past prestigious customers
    • Case studies
    • Testimonials and reviews
  • Or Documenting my journey – testing “crash test dummy”
    • Case studies
    • What I’ve done up to now and what I’ve learned
    • Testing ideas
  • Or Collating and commentating on well renown others
    • Talking about other’s ideas
    • Testing what other’s suggest

#2- effective marketing of content – look for low acquisition costs (underpriced attention)

  • Are you using social media effectively (where the prospects attention is focused) to drive traffic to content/sales pages?
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
    • Snapchat
    • Linkdin
    • Quora
    • Reddit
    • StumbleUpon
    • Google plus
    • Musica.lly app
  • Understand the psychology of these channels, the acceptable code of conduct and make sure you don’t break these.
  • Are there any other marketing channels available to target specific audience that you’re not making use of?
    • Look at niche specific publications, forums, chat groups, to see if any are being advertised, or discussed.

c. Monetising off back of content

  • Is there a service or product to sell at the bottom of your sales funnel?
  • Is the product service valuable (demanded/needed/wanted)?
    • Sell professional services/products (one to one coaching)
    • Via ecommerce or drop ship
    • Via digital media
  • Are there other methods of monetising available for this niche, that can be lucrative enough?
    • Advertising
    • Sponsorship
    • Affiliates

Not getting results

Online failure points

  • Failure to get site ranked high in SERP’s
  • Not enough traffic to website via
    • SEO
      • Optimise for onsite and offsite SEO
    • PPC or social media ads
      • Get to know and understand marketing channels on social media, particularly Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on Google PPC
    • Backlinking
      • Link wheels
      • Ask for links
      • Make content usable for other bloggers/content creators
    • Content marketing
      • Get content seen on niche specific forums/groups
      • Get content In front of influencers who will freely promote your stuff or you can pay to do so
      • Post on – https://www.quora.com/

Get advert clicks on website

  • Make the offers enticing enough, relevant enough
  • Blend the ads to look like links to other parts of website (posters) so they click on them by accident
  • Have enough ads around content area

Convert visitor’s to subscribers or get customer’s on website

  • Incentivise visitors using content upgrades, free reports, white papers etc
  • Scarcity – make the offer limited (number/timescale)

Get more customers

  • Advertise/add value on channels where prospect attention is focused
  • or where influencers (who can increase your reach) are situated
  • incentivise referrals

For more about online business, click here.

Save Money on PPC: Right Message at the Right Time

Get Results: right message right time
Get Results: right message right time

I thought I’d cover a subject that isn’t discussed openly and honestly much, but which needs careful consideration when working out a marketing strategy particularly with regards to Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing where getting it wrong is going to cost you big time, and that’s the subject of matching visitor intent with your sales funnel. We’re talking here about delivering the right message at the right time.

When I first got started with running an internet business I found it difficult to script a focused message, mainly because I didn’t consider the visitor’s journey. What I mean by journey is the state of mind the visitor is in when they arrive on a website. Are they just browsing,  researching, or looking to make a purchase? I figured if I could understand where the visitor was psychologically at that very moment, I could fashion a message just for them, and encourage them through the sales funnel without them needing to leave my site. I identified a number of stages, which I found very useful in building a marketing strategy around, and I still use it to this day. These stages include

#1 – Goal orientated search – better to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC for this type of search

#2- Category orientated search – better to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC for this type of search

#3- Product orientated search – perfect for PPC campaigns

#4- Brand orientated search – perfect for PPC campaigns

#5- Browsing – better to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC for this type of search

Lets look at each of these stages in more detail:

#1 – Goal orientated search

An example of a goal orientated search would be “losing weight”, or “Getting fit”, or “making money online”

This is the broadest type of search and is designed to get general knowledge about a particular subject. For instance losing weight could be achieved by going on a diet or exercising, so “losing weight” is a more general search type then a “diet” based search would be.

A person that already knows what they would have to do to lose weight wouldn’t need to carry out a goal search in this instance, instead moving to #2 category search. So although each stage is sequential, not everyone needs to go through every stage, it all depends on their existing knowledge about the subject.

However as a marketer, it might be advisable to cater for each and every one of the stages so that you capture all knowledge levels and potential searches, and move them through the learning process. This will help position you to appear as an expert in the subject and allow the visitor to get to know your brand and build some trust in you because you are providing helpful information.

At this point I’d like to talk about “seeker behaviour” (seeker in this instance is the person carrying out the search)” and promiser behaviour”, which refers to you, the marketer.

Seeker behaviour

The seeker/searcher is researching all possible broad options, with little prior knowledge going into this phase and acting on the data gathered to focus on preferred options thereafter. It is the first stage of their research and data gathering and can vary in length depending on complexity of the subject.

Promiser behaviour

Content

In your role as promiser’s (marketer) you should look to show them a path they can follow (at least 4 steps) and take them through the steps to succeed in their goal.

You should show them the end result and make it believable, so make sure it’s not too fantastic and unbelievable. If the visitor doesn’t believe they can achieve it they will likely leave without trying.

Monetising

You can look to offer them a shortcut alternative that will save them time or effort either through an affiliate product or your own solution.

Traffic source

When acquiring traffic for this type of search you should look to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC because this is an early search and is unlikely to yield a paying customer, until they have gathered more information.

#2 – Category orientated search

An example of a category search (if we stay with the “losing weight” example used previously) would be say “diets” or “exercise”. This is a deeper level of research than the “goal search” and uses the findings from that search as its basis.

Seeker behaviour

The seeker performs a broad category search focused on preferred course of action. Has knowledge of other options outside of the category but is more interested in this option i.e. diet preferred to exercise.

Promiser behaviour

Content

Offer the visitor a review article showing them the options and alternatives within category i.e. different types of diet available to the seeker.

Monetise

Have affiliate links to each of the options websites

Traffic source

When acquiring traffic for this type of search you should look to optimise for SEO rather than driving traffic via PPC because this is an early search and is unlikely to yield a paying customer, until they have gathered more information.

#3 – Product orientated search

For example this would be a particular diet such as X plan diet (I made the name up, I think!), or in the case of an exercise, yoga (specific products/actions to carry out the plan)

Seeker behaviour

Very focused search to find more about a single product i.e. X plan diet, and wants reassurance this is best for them

Promiser behaviour

Content

You can provide:

  • In-depth single product review
  • how to product guide
  • demo of products
  • opening the box demo video or inner workings demos

Show them why they should listen to what you have to say. Why you’re qualified (you have used and benefited from it, or you’re experienced in that field)

Give them the other options and alternatives open to them and why your solution is better than them. Include free or cheap alternative etc

Monetise

Have affiliate links within the articles taking them to sales page

Traffic source

Using PPC for this type of search is likely to provide a better return on investment than the previous two, simply because the initial research has been carried out and the visitor is closer to making a buying decision.

#4 – brand orientated search

For example with would be the actual product search

Seeker behaviour

The seeker has done enough research and is ready to buy a particular product of their choosing.

Promiser behaviour

Content and monetise

Use a direct link to products sales page. Make the sales process as easy as possible and remove friction and risk.

Traffic source

PPC is a good source of traffic for this type of search simply because there is likely to be less resistance at this point of the buying cycle, get in while the irons hots. You could have a jump page in between the advert the final sales page, but think about reducing the amount of friction (obsticles) you put in front of the visitor, as this will only act to discourage them.

#5 – Browsers

Seeker behaviour

The browsing stage isn’t really a final stage, it’s more likely a first stage in reality but in my mind I see it as separated from the other four stages which is why I’ve put it at the end. The seeker is not searching for anything, just killing time or being entertained moving aimlessly through the web.

Promiser behaviour

For this type of search you as a marketer need to grab attention, distract the seeker from there aimless time-wasting, and pull them into your sales funnel. The other 4 stages are about supplying a demand, however this stage is about creating one, so you have to align your message accordingly. Assuming you need to start from the basics, conveying a “lose weight live longer” message over a “enjoy the X plan diet” is more likely to capture their interest.

Final thoughts

Hopefully reading this article has helped you appreciate the value of understanding how aligning your message and content with that of the visitors journey and communicating the right message at the right time to add structure to your marketing strategy.  Always look to help the visitor not manipulate them, add value and make the internet a better place for us all.

P.S. Make sure you do your own research before embarking on any paid traffic activities. If you found the content useful and interesting please sign up for our newsletter and get notification of all our latest posts, as well as exclusive content.

Move your business online – How and Why

Get Results: internet icons
Get Results: internet icons

Well I thought I’d do a few articles about setting up websites and online businesses as well as online marketing, as support for my business and marketing guides. Online marketing and online business, isn’t what this website is about specifically, but I do believe it should be covered, as it is becoming increasingly more important to have an online presence, even if your business is predominantly carried out off-line.

Getting Started

So you’re a small business owner looking to move your business online or start a new business from scratch, but not sure where to start. You’ve heard of SEO and PPC, optimisation and opt-in forms but don’t really know what they mean and how to use them to make your business an online success.

You can search Google or Youtube using terms like “make money online” and see what you get, but be warned you will spend hours, weeks, even months wading through the marketing spam and hype to find any nuggets of gold. The information’s out there you just have to know where to find it.

This websites a pretty good place to start as I’ve got a lot of information on the subject, having built up a vast resource over the years, as part of my own research. I am also tapped in to a great network of online experts who provide great insight, as well as keeping abreast of the latest developments, without the BS you usually get. I will digest the best bits and present them for your benefit, as part of my contribution towards marketing and business content for this website. I would also suggest checking out my business and marketing guides for more insight.

Well first off I would suggest you get yourself a website. I use WordPress for my businesses, because it’s free, and easy to use, being a content management system (CMS), which means you don’t need any coding skills to update the content, as you build it up. It’s supported by a large community of designers and coders, so is always improving and evolving, becoming better each year. You can download it here, and all you will need to do is upload it to a server of your choice. I have used a couple of different hosting platforms in the past:

  • Bluehost
  • Lfchosting

but there are a lot of others available, along with reviews.

If you don’t know, or can’t be bothered to learn it yourself, I will be glad to do it for you with my “done for you service”. Email me if you want more information about that. It’s not that difficult to do for yourself though to be honest. It’s a good idea to get yourself a business Facebook page set up, if you haven’t already done so, and again this is free and really easy to do. If you intend to create videos, a business Youtube channel is also a good idea, you can always embed the videos you create, in your webpages.

Word of Warning

Now, if you have yourself a Facebook page or Youtube channel you might not bother about getting yourself a website, instead using Facebook or Youtube as your internet home, but be wary about building your business based on a third party platform, because you are relying on them either not going away or changing the rules and taking your business from under your feet. Having your own website gives you control and makes you look more serious in the eyes of visitors, but they will cost that little bit more, in terms of hosting fees and domain name registration etc.

Primary Strategy

Now there are 2 major considerations at this point

  • Getting visitors to you website – otherwise known as getting TRAFFIC
  • Getting visitors to buy from you – converting visitors

Getting TRAFFIC

Your site is not much good to anyone, if nobody can find it. So getting visitors, or traffic as it’s better known, is key to your success and you have three main options:

SEO – (search engine optimisation) is a number of activities you can undertake to get your site listed on the major search engines like Google and Bing. The idea is to optimise your site so it gets indexed and ranked, hopefully on the first page of these major search engines. If you’re only listed on page 10 of search results, its very unlikely that anyone will search through 10 pages to find your site. So if you’re not on the first page you are going to get limited traffic volumes to your site. It’s free but takes time to get ranked, even with a well optimised site, it can still take a few months, if not more.

PPC – (pay per click advertising ). This is where you pay to have your website advertised on search engines advertising sections. Paying for traffic is faster than the free options, in fact you can have a presence on the first page of Google within 10 minutes of starting a campaign, which means you can be found by searchers almost immediately, but you are paying for this privaledge, so is costlier than free methods obviously. Costs per click can range from 20p to £10 and more depending on your niche or market, but generally speaking a click cost of £10 infers that there is more money to be made in such a niche, after all advertisers wouldn’t be prepared to pay so much if they weren’t making money out of it.

Social Media Channels – Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin, to bring people to your website is the third major option open to you. It does mean learning the best practices for doing so, which is beyond the scope of this article, we will however cover it in more detail in future posts.

Converting visitors

Converting visitors refers to converting them from being just visitors to customers, who are going to buy your product/service. I would recommend you get your site search engine friendly first then work on conversions as soon as possible. Simply because if your site converts visitors well you don’t need as much traffic for it to make money. Here’s an example to illustrate the point

  • If you get 100 visitors and make one sale at £100 that’s a 1% conversion rate
  • However if your site converts at 10% you would only need 10 people to make the same about of money.

Now I’m not saying you will ever get a 10% conversion rate, (in fact if you do please tell me how you did it) I am just using these figures as an easy-to-see illustration of the power of increasing your conversion rates.

Tools needed to get the job done

Now, how do we increase conversions? Well first, you need to have a focused squeeze landing page that is designed to get people to opt-in to your email list. The strategy here is based on the fact that it’s easier to get a person to give you their email address than it is to get them to buy from you, without them having heard of your brand before. It is often referred to as “selling the click”.

Once you have their email address, via your landing page, you need to send them a number of emails, providing useful information related to your product/business offering, such as tips and tricks, insight or a free sample for instance. This is aimed at building your prospects trust in you, without which, you’re unlikely to get them to buy anything.  At the end of the process, you will eventually pitch them an offer, which should be aimed at helping them in some way. Gary Vaynerchuk calls this process “jab jab jab, right hook”, meaning provide value (jab), provide value (jab), provide value (jab), then ask for a sale (right hook).

At the end of the email sequence a second landing page, a sales landing page should be used so that the prospect is encouraged to purchase your product.

There are a number of landing page software providers who offer WordPress plugins, which add functionality to your WordPress website. I have used Thrive Landing page plugin for many campaigns I have run in the past, simply because it does everything I needed to do. With a simple drag and drop interface, you don’t need any coding skills to build effective layouts. It was less than $49 to buy, with no on going subscription charges, and also came with lots of educational videos to help you succeed, so is well worth the investment.

There are a number of email providers available, MailChimp offer a free service for smaller mailing lists and leads onto paid services as your list increases. It’s a great service, from my experience. Also check out Mailpoet, which is a free WordPress plugin, and works well.

I use Paypal to take payments over the internet and this is relatively easy to set up and insert the code within landing pages.

Summary

I’ve tried to outline the steps needed to get your website presence up and running, shying away from going in-depth too much and scaring you into thinking it’s just too hard.

If you want any specific questions answering please put them in the comments below and/or sign up for my newsletter.

I do provide a “Done for you service” which involves setting up an hosting account and getting WordPress installed, I’ll also add the necessary plugins mentioned above. Alternatively, have a go yourself if you’ve got the time and patience to learn.

Good luck with the new venture and hope I can provide lots of great, actionable information for you over the coming months.

How to make money from FREE content

Get results: add value
Get results: add value

Get Results: how to profit from providing free content
Get Results: how to profit from providing free content

  • The yellow writing highlights the traffic sources
  • The pink writing highlights the content
  • The light blue writing highlights the monetisation methods

The model above, highlights the ways of providing useful free content to your audience while also paying the bills. Having run a number of businesses off-line where you can’t afford to give things away, getting used to this online business model took some adjustment.

In a nut shell the idea is you provide information people want to read, listen to or watch, which genuinely helps them to solve some problem they have, or help them achieve something they want or need. You monetise on the back of this content with advertising banners, PPC adverts or affiliate links, so that when someone clicks through or buys the product, you get paid a commission as a reward for bringing in the traffic.

Getting Traffic

The better the content you provide the more people will want to share your content or talk about it on forums etc and the more people will come to your website. Increased traffic should mean you get more clicks on ads and links and enable you to make more money, at least in principle anyway.

Content considerations

The best method seems to be providing content such as “How to…” information and then having links to tools that help your audience get things done faster or with less hassle. Pat Flynn over at smartpassiveincome.com makes thousands of dollars per month by offering advice on how to make money online and then having an affiliate link to Bluehost so visitors can get a website hosted straight away. He then gets a commission from Bluehost for referring clients, get the idea?

PPC and Adwords

The easiest way to make money online is to get Google Adwords set up on your site and let them manage the ad delivery side of things by showing relevant ads to match your on-page content. Although this is the easiest method to set up you will need a lot of clicks to make any decent amount of money using it.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate links can provide a lucrative income if you can find a product that is relevant to your content. Many website owners build their entire site around a product or range of products with the sole purpose of making money off the affiliate links. Generally the visitor has to buy the product(s) after following the links for you to make any money, but with commissions often as high as 75% of the sale price you can quickly rack up some income if you have the right traffic, content and affiliate product alignment. Check out Clickbank for affiliate products you can sell as an affiliate. I have a number of affiliate accounts set up for products I believe will help my audience to get things done faster, with less hassle, or that will help them make more money.

Develop your own products

Probably the best method of making money is to sell your own products, so you make more, in terms of margin. However you do have to spend more time creating the products in the first place. Products could include digital information products such as Ebooks, and Video Educational systems, or you could hide content behind a pay gate as with membership sites and charge monthly subscriptions for access. If you have the know-how you could provide software solutions, or physical products via Ecommerce and drop shipping sites.

Getting traffic and converting

One of the hardest parts of any business is getting customers to buy from you, with websites it’s about getting as much of the “right” kind of traffic to your site and then getting them to either buy your product or click on the ad links or affiliate links. Paid methods of driving traffic to your site include PPC such as Google Adsense, which is the marketer’s side of the Adwords platform. You can even use affiliates to drive traffic to your site, or paid social media advertising. Free methods include SEO, blog networks, links from article sites, and link wheels although algorithmic changes by Google are rendering some of these methods ineffective or even damaging to your sites search engine ranking so do plenty of research before using any of them.

One thing you should be doing on your website is capturing email addresses using an opt-in form such as the one in the sidebar of this website and at the bottom of the post. This will help you to build a relationship with your visitors and further help them in their search for a solution to their problem. You can find out what they need, what problems they are trying to solve and tailor your products to achieve an effective result for them.

I like to go one further with regards to emails, I like to provide exclusive tailored content via emails, in such a manner that best serves subscribers. I can find out specific needs and add maximum value. Websites are great for general information, but people tend to struggle most when applying acquired knowledge to specific circumstances.

Only by solving problems and providing genuine solutions will you be able to build a sustainable, value-added business. There are many people on the internet looking to make a quick buck and game the system, avoid this and make the internet a better place.

If you would like to keep up-to-date when I publish new content please subscribe to my newsletter below or like my Facebook page (in the sidebar) and thanks for taking the time to read my content.

Check out my Business guide and marketing guide for more information.