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.

Making Money From Your Website

Get Results: basic online business model
Get Results: basic online business model

If you are looking to make money online you need to be aware of this very simple equation

The internet equation: Traffic plus Conversions equals Online Success

Get Results: online success
Get Results: online success

There are only 2 ways to make more money from your website :-

#1- Get more traffic onto your site, which involves promoting on other websites, search engines and social media, which can add cost if you need it to be effective and in a timely manner.

#2 – Improve the number of conversions on your website, which doesn’t involve any more cost. It is best practice, to improve your conversion rate before getting more traffic, so that you make the most of any traffic and don’t waste resources increasing leads only to waste them. Think of it like pouring water into a bucket, which has a big hole in it.

The success pyramid, illustrated below, shows the likely success rate of website visitor’s either providing their email address or buying from you. Starting from the bottom of the pyramid, X amount of traffic comes to the site, a small percentage of which will convert (give their email address) with a smaller amount actually progressing onto buying something from you. So out of 1000 visitors, you might get one paying customer at the end of the process. If you can increase your conversions to 2 for every 1000 visitor’s you have doubled your sales from the same amount of traffic. Focus on improving sales with existing traffic volume for best results. Don’t focus initially on getting more traffic to start, as this will increase acquisition costs

Get Results: traffic to sales
Get Results: traffic to sales

The conversion system I’m going to recommend works in the following way:

  • Generate traffic via PPC or SEO (subject of another post)
  • Traffic arrives on focused landing page (known as a squeeze landing page because it’s designed to squeeze the email address from the visitor)
  • Traffic is incentivised to provide their email address
  • Auto-response email sequence is sent to build relationship with prospect by providing more info, adding value and building trust. Prospect is warmed up to allow sales pitch to be more readily accepted and acted upon
  • Sale pitch (via email and taking to a sales landing page) is aimed to help prospect speed things up, save time and money, or make things easier etc.

Let me add just one thing at this point, it is vitally important to add value to your vistor’s/prospect’s lives by providing a product/service that will genuinely help them achieve something, or save something. Don’t get into online marketing just to make money, do it to help visitors in a business-like manner, so that you can sustain your help and provide even more value going forward.

Get Results: online selling strategy
Get Results: online selling strategy

To improve website conversions there are a number of things you need to have in place.

  • A focused squeeze landing page and sales landing page,
  • An email capture form and
  • A system to allow visitors to pay you over the internet such as Paypal.

There are a number of tools available to you, in your quest for online success, some of which cost money and some of which don’t. The system I use for my businesses cost me less than £100 for all of them as one-off lifetime payments, with no monthly recurring subscriptions. I will be happy to provide links to such resources if you subscribe to my email list.

Reduce fear and build trust

Having a squeeze page is one thing, but you still have to make that page effective in capturing visitor’s email addresses. Before a visitor is likely to provide their email address, you will need to prove to them that you are trustworthy. Visitors don’t like to give their email address because they are worried that you will send lots of unsolicited emails, or sell their email addresses onto third parties, who will then go on to spam them with no value offers. So make sure you assure them that this is not the case, to help reduce this fear. Use statements such as:

  • We hate spam just as much as you
  • We will never share your email address with any 3rd parties
  • We will never spam you
  • 100% privacy guaranteed

next to your opt-in form to help reassure the visitor. But make sure you keep your promise.

note – There is some evidence to show that the subconscious mind is unable to differentiate between negatively framed words and positively framed words. For example using the word “spam”, even if you’re using it in the context of “We will never spam you“, causes a negative association and can lead to lower opt-in rates than if you were to use a generally more positive phrase such as “100% privacy guarantee“. The best way to determine if this is true, is to run your own test to see what works for you and your audience.

Get the email address and build a relationship

A squeeze landing page should be constructed around one idea or offering. Give your visitor something in return for their email address. Providing valuable free information is one way to do this, in the form of a white paper, e-book, diagram, a free tool, list of handy resources, a cheat sheet, recipe, or video lesson etc. The strategy behind this approach, of giving them valuable information in exchange for their email address, is so that you can build a relationship with them via email, and over time hopefully convert them to paying customers, once they know and trust your brand. It is much easier to sell to someone who you have already had some dealings with, than if they are a complete stranger.

Having something to sell

If you haven’t got something to sell at the end of it, then you’re not going to make any money and you won’t be able to continue provide a great resource for your visitor’s, unless of course you’re just doing it in your spare time for fun, which means you have limited time to devote to helping your audience.

It’s best to start from the sale and work backwards. For instance if the product you’re selling is a cookery coaching program, you can give lots of cooking tips and tricks away for free and have a buying guide for equipment as your opt-in incentive. Alternatively if your product is a photography course, you can give lots of tips and tricks to improve photography for free and have a photography equipment buyers guide as an opt-in incentive.

The difference between a Sales Landing Page and a Squeeze Landing Page

A sale page is the same as a squeeze page but instead of trying to solicit an email address from the visitor, it allows the visitor to buy your product/service.

Anatomy of a landing page

Both squeeze pages and sales pages should contain the following elements:

Headline

An eye catching relevant headline – This should be linked to the source of the visitor, for instance, if they came from a Pay Per Click (PPC) advert, then the headline on your sales pay should be the same as the text used in the original advert they clicked on. They should know they are on the right page once they arrive on your landing page based on what they saw on the previous page.

The headline should address a need or want. It should promise a clear benefit or offer. The headline must encourage the visitor to read on. If it’s not engaging enough the visitor will leave without taking action. If you have used PPC to get the visitor onto your landing page this is a wasted click and has incurred a cost to you, so make sure you test your headlines to get the best chance of conversion.

Call to Action

Have a clear call to action, with action oriented text, “click here to get…“. The whole purpose of the landing page is to get the visitor to take one action. This is the call to action. The one call to action on a squeeze page should be aimed at getting the visitor to give you their email address, or on a sales page it is to buy now. If you don’t get it from them, the landing/sales page has failed, pure and simple.

With just the headline and call to action in place the full bare bones of the offer should be completely evident. Everything else on the page should just support these two elements.

Support elements

Supporting text to expand on the headline promise and provide more detail and also address any possible objections. You will most likely need more supporting text on a sales page than a squeeze page simply because people will give their email address away more easily than money.

An image relevant to the offering

Bullet points of exactly what you are offering in exchange for their email. The greater the value you are providing the better the chance to get that email address or a purchase.

Trust elements – such as testimonials, case studies, customer logos, press mentions, number of followers, customers, subscribers

Risk reducers – such as money back guarantees, free trials, free samples etc.

Tell them who you are. Tell them exactly what you want to do with their email, what offers you will be sending them, and that they are relevant to the offer you are currently providing etc. You will still need to reinforce this on a sales page, even though they should already know you from the squeeze page and your email sequence.

Email sequence

There are a number of email options you can use, some for free, while others have a monthly fee. You can set up auto-responder emails which will send out pre-written emails at set intervals once someone has opted-in.

This can be set to deliver your valuable information directly to their inbox and of course, your sales message and link to the sales page. Growing an active email subscriber base is a key element to online success, because it gives you access to the people who are likely to want your products and services and who already know you.

The old adage “The money is in the list” could not be more true. The key to keeping subscribers on your list is keep providing them with great useful, relevant information, insight and value. If you want to convert them into paying customers you must have something of value, which they’re willing to pay for and that adds more value to their lives than it costs them.

Summary

Converting visitors into customers is key to online success. The elements on a landing page, while crucially necessary can be varied in their construction. For instance there is no one great headline that will work for all products and services. The only way to know what’s best for your particular niche is to test, test and test again. Testing different, headlines, different calls to action, different landing page copy, and different images is crucial to improving your landing page performance.

You can use products like Google Analytics to measure your landing page performance. It is vital not to overlook such a great feedback opportunity. If you don’t know what your audience is doing or not doing, you are left to guess and hope for the best. Of course ultimately your bank account will tell you whether your efforts are providing a return on investment or not in the end, but knowing where your efforts are failing within your sales funnel, will help focus your attention. Are you getting lots of clicks on your PPC adverts but no one is opting-in to your email sequence? Are you getting lots of opt-ins but no one is converting on the sales page?

This is what it takes to become an online success. Having a strategy, working the strategy, testing the variables, measuring and reading the feedback data, testing again, improving all the while in an ever improving cycle.

I will be adding more information about each of the elements of a landing page in more detail in future posts, such as killer headlines, and call to action best practices, so please subscribe to my email list so that I can keep in touch.

Check out our internet resource page, you’ll find lots of handy, tips, tools and resources.

For more marketing insight, check out our Marketing guide.

Online success: Lead Magnet Ideas That will Grow Your Audience

Get Results: Opt in incentives
Get Results: Opt in incentives

What is a Lead Magnet and why is it important?

Lead Magnets otherwise known as “opt-in bribes” or “opt-in incentives” are the little bonuses you promise your website visitors in exchange for their email address.

Why do you want their email address you may ask, well you want it so that you have a method of contact, a direct way of keeping in touch with them, so that you can let them know when you have something to share.

Imagine what would happen if your website crashed and your audience couldn’t find it, you could simply send them an email to let them know where they can continue to follow you while it’s down and explain what has happened.

If you have a time sensitive offer that needs to be acted on quickly, you could easily send them an email to make them aware of it.

Getting your audience’s email doesn’t mean you should keep pestering them with endless communication. But it’s a way you can keep in touch with them directly, rather than hoping they can still find you or them having to keep checking your site to find new content.

In fact growing an email list is one of the most important things you should be doing in your efforts for on-line success, no matter what type of business you run, whether it is an e-commerce site, an affiliate site, or a site that just provides information, like this one.

You’ll need three things to grow your list, an opt-in form on your site, an auto-responder service (sends automatic emails to subscribers) and a lead magnet (see below for examples)

The list below is a general lead magnet list, but when you create a lead magnet yourself, obviously, you should make it relevant to your business/niche. It’s no good offering a recipe download when you’re in the furniture restoration niche.

Make sure it provides value in some way, and is not available elsewhere on your website without your visitors, first, exchanging their email address.

Lead magnets can come in the form of a PDF document, HTML page, video, audio file, slide presentation, or whatever best suits the content you’re providing. People like to have something they can keep and is easily accessible on their preferred device, whether that be phone or computer, and preferably, without having to go on-line to access it, so make it downloadable, where possible.

Lead magnet ideas

White papers – A white paper is an authoritative guide or report designed so the reader can understand a specific topic or issue. Traditionally they have been used by government bodies and business to business (B2B) marketing.

Re-organised blog posts – Put existing content into a PDF download and call it an e-book – Blog posts aren’t always particularly well organised, they are rarely in the best order to be able to consume information about a specific topic, but rather, in the sequence they were written and posted. So if you write an article about say, lead magnets and then do another post about the subject taken from a different perspective, some months later, the two posts may be separated by other content, which means the audience have to search for the two posts separately. If you’re organised you should link the two posts via page links, but many times this doesn’t happen. You could even put them under their own specific category, but if you talk about a lot of topics, this could become unwieldy. So putting the posts into one document and offering it as a lead magnet could be beneficial to the reader.

Ebooks – are one of the most popular choices as an opt-in bribe. They range from a few pages, up to hundreds of pages in length and are usually in PDF file format. If you’re very knowledgeable about your subject, share it in an ebook

Recipes – we used recipes in an early example of what not to do, but they’re a great idea as long as you”re doing a cooking related blog.

Resource lists – People love resource lists because they provide tools that actually help get things done. I have a resource list here, that you can check out

“How to…” guides/tutorials – Another favourite of many blogs. Teach people to do something that’s important in achieving their goal or solving a problem. These can be in text form as a PDF file or in video/audio format. If you’re going the way of video, host them on platforms such as Youtube or Wistia, you can always embed them within your blog posts, on your own website. Make sure that you don’t list them publicly though, otherwise, people won’t need to exchange their email address, to access them, they’ll simply go to your Youtube channel to view them.

Tips and tricks – if you have any nifty short cuts or other time saving tips and advice, when doing something specific, or using a particular piece of software, then share these with your audience via an opt-in.

Case studies – If you can access case studies that prove a point or show some achievement, relating to your niche, share them.

Quiz or Competition – Allow people to enter a competition or quiz in exchange for that all important email address. People love to spend time doing quizzes and winning prizes.

Offer a link to a Questions and Answers or a Frequently Asked questions document where you spell out important information that you know your audience are desperate to know the answers to.

Provide a “5/10/20” day training series in return for an email. A multiple video training series gives your audience an ideal opportunity to get to know you a little better We’re conditioned to deal with people face to face, and while this is not always possible, video allows viewers to see the person behind the brand. Make sure you give them some great information to-boot, and you’ve got a very compelling persuader.

Here are some other opt-in incentive ideas:

  • Tools, calculators, worksheets, templates, checklists
  • Ask for contribution/comment
  • Dates in the industry
  • Customer/company success stories
  • Something humorous (ie a story, anecdote)
  • Interesting statistics
  • Run a survey
  • Debunk the myth of…
  • Interview your client/supplier/yourself/industry leader/influencer
  • Tell a story
  • Reviews
  • What’s new/hot in your niche
  • Your opinion on (your industry, economic trends, best practice)
  • Discount
  • Software
  • Consultation
  • Free trial
  • Physical gift
  • Notification for future announcement
  • Newsletter/webinar registration
  • Notification of latest blog posts

The “Take Away”

The more perceived value your audience sees in your lead magnet, the more likely they are to opt-in. The best advice I can give you is, test different options and see what work for your particular niche. Use best practices as a starting point, and build on these, but you won’t know what’s best for you and your audience until you try and compare results.

There is some evidence that offering different lead magnets on individual articles, relating to the content of that article, can significantly increase opt-in rates, and this seems logical when you think about it.

If you have a site wide opt-in for say, “Facebook lead generation tips” and this appears at the bottom of an article about “Creating Content”, they reader is unlikely to find your lead magnet offer interesting, because it’s not relevant to their interest at that time, and as a result, they will most likely leave after reading the article without opting in. However if it was relevant to the content, they would surely find it more compelling to opt-in.

The added benefit of this approach is you are segmenting your audience into their specific interests based on which offer they opted in to. They may find multiple lead magnets also more engaging and encourage them to hang around on your site longer.

I recently read an article by Jeff Bullas that talked about “Content Upgrades” being an effective lead generator. Basically a Content Upgrade is something that is related to your article that adds extra value. So it could be a PDF version of the article that the audience can download and store on their device, or a checklist version of the article containing the main take-away points from the article. It could even be a video or audio version of the article containing extra value in the form of extra information or deeper insights into the material.

Summary

Getting email addresses from prospective customers should be one of the main objectives for your website, and lead magnets are one of the most effective tools available to you in achieving that objectives. It’s considered much easier to get new visitors to part with their email address, than it is to part with their money, so selling the click, is a sensible marketing strategy for new visitors, who don’t yet know you.

Use your email communication to build trust, liking and credibility in the eyes of the receiver, all which are needed before people will part with their hard earned money, and buy from you.

For more marketing information, check out our marketing guide.

Using keyword Research within your Online Marketing Strategy

Get results; keyword research
Get results; keyword research

What is Keyword Research

Keyword research can be used in a couple of different contexts, the first would be by a business owner or niche website owner, looking to improve visibility on the internet, so that they appear higher up in search results of popular search engines such as Google and Bing.

If you are such as business owner, this would involve finding out what your target market is typing into the major search engines to find the products, services or information that you provide.

Once you have these keywords you can use them to optimise your website so that you show up in those very same search results. When I say “optimise your website” I’m talking about writing articles that are centred around those keywords, as well as adding the keywords to your page title, and description tags.

The second context in which you can use keyword research is when you’re looking to start a website from scratch and want to monetise it with adverts such as Google Adwords (where you are paid if someone clicks on an advert on your website). This can be compared to ‘panning for gold’ where you sieve out all the dirt and soil (poor quality keywords) until you are left with little gold nuggets (money keywords).

The golden rules for gold nugget keywords are:

#1 Relevance – keywords relating to niche to attract ‘targeted traffic

#2 Traffic – high traffic volume is best to ensure there is sufficient potential custom.

#3 Competition – low competition is best but not too low as this might be evidence of there not being much of a market.

#4 Commerciality – is the measure of high value keywords.

Keyword research can be done in Google Adwords for free, by simply signing up for an account, alternatively there are a number of software solutions available that will do more in-depth analysis of potential keywords such as Market Samurai which I have also used myself in the past.

#1 Relevance

Relevance is important if you’re a business owner and have particular products to sell or already have a website in a particular niche. It is about finding keywords that will attract ‘targeted traffic’ This is traffic that is going to be interested in your offering, and who are likely to buy from you or click on the ads on your site.

If you’re using Pay Per Click (PPC) such as Google Adwords, where you’re paying to drive traffic to your site then Keyword research is vital to make sure you’re not spending money on unnecessary clicks. For example If your selling ‘dog collars’ then you will want to remove keywords such as ‘training’ for instance, because these searchers are not looking to buy dog collars at this time. You can set such keywords as negative keywords in Google Adwords so that when someone types in this negative keyword your advert will not show, and you won’t be charged for an inappropriate click.

You will definitely want to include the word ‘dog’ as a keyword rather than something like “pet”, otherwise you might find “cat” searches are included in the results. Using long tail keywords can help qualify searches. for instance ‘buy dog collars’ is likely to qualify potential purchasers rather more than ‘dog collars’ would.

tip – Go to amazon.com and type in your keyword, look at books section (relating to your niche), and look at the table of contents, and check some of key terms and add the interesting ones, and do further searches of these ‘semantic’ keywords. This tactic can be used for writing articles and also to find what subjects would be popular to include on your website.

If you fall under the second context of keyword researcher (described above) than relevance doesn’t matter as much because you don’t have a particular product offering. Whatever you make the website about, Google Adwords will match the advert content to your content. In this circumstance you want to make sure you are targeting niches and keywords that have a higher value, see #4 commerciality below for more information about this.

#2 Traffic

It is important to know the difference between “total searches” which are cited in most of the keyword research platforms and the volume of traffic you are likely to actually get on your website should you rank on the first page of the Google SERP results. Below is a table showing the typical breakdown for traffic that is likely in each of the 10 listings on the first page of Google

  • 95-98% of traffic come from 1st page of Google
  • Even if you are #1 you won’t get all the traffic
Google position % clicks Traffic per 1000 Incremental Improvement in clicks %
1 42% 420 254%
2 12% 120 40%
3 8% 80 39%
4 6% 60 24%
5 5% 50 20%
6 4% 40
7 3% 30

#3 Competition

There are two important measures when looking at the competition for a particular keyword phrase the first is the amount of competition. Ideally look for a lower amount of Google searches ideally less than 30,000 search results for any particular keyword phrase, you can check this by going to www.Google.com and typing in your keyword to see the amount of searches found.

Secondly consider the strength of competition. It’s best to avoid competing with professional websites, that have been around a long time, and that are highly optimised for the particular keyword phrase you are targeting. Also avoid competitor websites that have lots of webpages and a lot of backlinks pointing to them. If the first page on Google or Bing is mainly made up of these kinds of sites you are unlikely to be able to outrank them, so it is better to avoid these competitive keywords phrases altogether. Of course you have little option if you have a particular product offering and these keywords are the ones used by your target market, in this circumstance, where you are unlikely to get a first page listing you may consider PPC (pay per click) advertising to get a first page presence.

#4 Commerciality

The commerciality of a keyword is how much a particular keyword is worth. Google Adwords is a bidding system for keywords and is based on supply and demand. The more demand for a particular keyword the higher the cost per click (CPC) for that keyword. This is a good indicator of how much money is being made on a particular keyword. If an advertiser is paying $10 per click for a keyword it is likely that they are making more than that from their website sales, otherwise they wouldn’t be willing to pay that to Google to drive traffic to their site.

So when your conducting any keyword research keep in mind these golden rules and your more likely to find those golden nuggets.

Check out market Samurai’s explanations below of each of the golden rules. Useful information even if you aren’t considering using their software.

Relevance

Traffic

Competition

Commericality

Promotion

Track your Ranking

Market Samurai is a great tool which saves you valuable time and helps give you a greater insight into your keyword selection. Check out Market Samurai.

Alternative you can use a free service provided by Google called Google Keyword Planner. You need to sign up for an account to access this online tool, but it’s a great resource. However it’s not as good as Market Samarai in terms of depth and insight. In fact MS uses your Google Keyword planner account to access much of the data needed but is much better at organising it for analysis.

…. hope you found this article useful.

While you’re here, check out my marketing guide.