A Mistake to Avoid With Opt In’s

I encountered a nasty situation recently with an offline business who was spending a ton of money on Google Adwords to drive traffic to her site.

Despite getting record level of clicks on her Google ads, she was getting virtually no phone calls and her business was suffering as a result. She blamed the person who was doing her adwords for screwing things up, but it turned out that was not the problem.

Now what actually was happening was she in an effort to grow her business decided to hook up with a sweepstakes vendor and put a banner on her site offering people a chance to win free services for signing up.

This was very prominent and not surprisingly,  people did as the site directed and signed up for the free services.  Once they did, they were taken to a page where they were encouraged to send emails to there friends to get them to sign up for the drawing as well. If they did or didn’t they were taken to a page where they could sign up for 22 other contests or freebies.

The net result was that this contest diverted people away from the task at hand, which was to convince them to call to get a quote on her business services.

I have long been an advocate of getting people to set up list building opt ins, but in this case we see a tragic example of it actually being counter productive and doing real damage to the business in the short term.

Now there may have been ways to mitigate the damage, had they had an immediate follow-up sequence of emails to recapture the attention of the people who signed up for the contest, but they did not.

If you are paying money to drive people to a site, your focus should be on getting them to take action that pays. Not getting them to sign up on a list. This is particularly true when you are paying in excess of $10 a click on many of the keywords.

If on the other hand you are driving free traffic to a site, getting those names may well be the best way to capitalize in the long run, particularly if you have set up a site to offer free information that leads to a longer sales funnel.

[tags]internet marketing mistakes, When not to list build, list building errors[/tags]

List Building PLR Pack Released

Doug Champigny just released a quality package of 5 different eBooks you can acquire and use for your own personal education and to sell or giveaway as part of your list building activities.

=> List Building PLR Superpack

This particular set is ideal for anyone in the information marketing niche.

The titles include:
* Article Power
* List Explosion
* Traffic Triggers
* Video Marketing Secrets
* Profitable E-Mail Copywriting

In addition to the five eBooks, you will also get 5 sales pages and 5 squeeze pages. This will permit you to get these set up and producing results for you in no time.

Not only that, but in addition to being able to give away individual pdf’s of these eBooks, you also get rights to resell the package or just individual products.

Now for such a complete package you might expect to have to pay some big bucks, but as you will see when you click on the link below these are priced so that anyone can get started online.

=> List Building PLR Superpack

Grab this set and use them as your freebie offer to get people to sign up to your list. Use them as products for Giveaway events. Use them for ad swaps, use them as freebies to your existing list.

Tear them apart and use them as fodder for your blog. Imagine running a series with one eBook a week featured and broken down into parts.

You have content to use, and you can offer the full report to anyone who opts in for it.

=> List Building PLR Superpack

[tags]Doug Champigny, plr, list building, giveaways, Blog content, PLR Superpack, resell rights, list building plr[/tags]

Frugal Mom’s shoping for and with coupons.

In another sign of the times, it appears that more and more people are searching the internet to find coupons before making pruchases. This has lead to an increase in the number of blogs catering to “Frugal Mom’s.” This has been noted lately by the Wall Street Journal, Minyanville, and even the Financial Times of London.

Coupons are certainly one way to attract customers, and they definitely have their place as part of an overall marketing strategy.  But coupons can be expensive,  when the cost of distributing the coupon is added to the coupon cost itself.

And while a coupon may bring in a few new customers, most are probably redeemed by existing customers who may well appreciate the coupon, but probably indirectly thank their local newspaper for the freebie and not the merchant.

To the extent store sponsored coupons are involved, it makes far more sense for these to be distributed to exisiting customers as part of a loyalty campaign designed to get customers to return to the store on otherwise slow days, and or to increase the total size of purchase by the customer.

Rather than spending money on distribution, these coupons should be distributed via email to a list of customers built over time.

But not every email promotion need be a coupon. Instead, features on particular products can entice buyers to try new items, or return for old favorites and can be used to attract traffic almost as well as a coupon.

Do You Need More Than One Web Site?

Within the internet marketing world, people have ten’s and hundreds of web sites. Each with a different URL and each targeted to a specific niche or purpose. That permits each web site to be addressed to a particular audience. And since the site is targeted, so too are the keywords, which means these sites tend to rank higher than if they were attempting to be all things to all people.

Off line businesses and those firms operating online in niche arenas should consider whether or not they too would benefit from multiple web sites.

I will once again use my friends in the Home Staging Industry as an example of a situation where two web sites may make a lot more sense that one.

If you go to most home stagers web sites you will see that they are primarily directed to the home owner. But if you were to survey home stagers as I have done, you will see that most of them market not to home owners but to Realtors, who they hope will refer home sellers to them.

This means the Home Staging company has two different marketing objectives. One is to convince realtors that they can help sell a home faster and for more money, and the second is to convince the home owner that they can help sell a home for more money and faster.   While it appears to be the same objective, it’s not.

For the home stager, the sale to the individual home owner is critically important, but represents just one sale.  The sale to the Realtor, might not in itself win any direct business, but represents a series of prospective future business.

Home stagers offer two primary benefits to their customers,  faster sales and higher price.  While both are important to home sellers and to Realtors, the relative ranking between the two vary.  A home owner is more likely to be impressed with the prospects of a higher price, as any such higher price will help pay for the services they are being asked to cover.  For a Realtor, the higher price may mean a marginal improvement to their commission.  More important to them, is the speed with which a home sells, so they can go on to the next.

Now while both share same objectives their motivations differ.  To be most efective, the sales pitch to either market should lead off with their primary motivation. That in turn calls for two web pages, and two marketing pitches.

This is going to be true for any business that markets to distributors as well as final customers. And probably many more circumstances as well.

How about your business. Do you have multiple audiences you are marketing to?

If so, you really should be thinking in terms of multiple rifle shots rather than a blunderbust shotgun spread.

Most businesses try to accomplish this with multiple pages on one web sie.  And this may be an adequate compromise in some cases, but it is always a compromise, and an opportunity for a competitor to step in and out compete you.

One objection has been the need to buy multiple domain names and hosting accounts. And while this is a pound wise penny foolish objection, the fact is that with the right hosting service there is no need to pay any more to host a second, third, fourth, or even twentieth web site.

It would take me a while to sit down and even count the total number of web sites I have. And they are all on one account. And that account costs me less than $25 a month. I use HostGator

They offer me the opportunity to have an unlimited number of web sites on one account and enough bandwith to cover my needs and that of most small business people. These can be readily stepped up should my increased use of video require a future adjustment.

I mention the hosting problem, as just one barrier to having multiple sites.  A second site, probably means reworking the first and then adding the second. This will take some site design work and of course that entails a one time expense.  But the final result is a more clearly targeted marketing campaign, and better marketing results.

I would have two “ethical bribes,” one each on each of the two new web sites to build a separte email list of prospective home owners and Realtors.  Using my home staging example, I might offer a report on how to de-clutter your home on the web site directed to homeowners, and a different report on how to discuss home staging with your clients on the Realtor Oriented Web Site.

The prepackaged follow-up messages would be distinctly targeted as well.

It’s important to clarify your marketing objectives, and then to develop approriate marketing tools such as web sites and autoresponder porgrams to meet those objectives over time. If you need three web sites, you should have three.

What do you need?

Most Business Web Pages StinK! Free Download Now

I just completed my newest report, called “Most Business Web Pages StinK!” subtitled, Web Sites are like Trade Shows.  Readers of this blog will soon realize this is a recompilation of five previous blog posts on the Trade Show theme. The current version is number 1.2, I am working on 1.3 which will be revisions after my wife gets done proof reading it, and a resources section at the end.

I intend to use this as an eye opener for hopefully thousands of small business people. In these tough economic times it only makes sense to better utilize all of our existing resources such as our web sites.

And since upgrading them is not difficult or expensive, it makes even more sense.

Let me know if you need my help.

Web Pages: It’s what happens afterwards that counts

This is the fifth of five posts comparing web pages to a trade show. In the first we compared the multiple reasons people have for being at a trade show and how people browsing the web have varying interests as well.

We then discussed exhibitor’s booths and drew comparisons to web page design, booth location with keywords and exhibitors signage and the importance of the the web real estate that is “above the fold.”

We then talked about attractors, how they bring people passing by to the booth and how their goal was to transform prospects into leads. I suggested and maintain that this is precisely the purpose of both a trade show and a web page.

And yesterday, I discussed the people at a trade show and how this was one area where a trade show had a distinct advantage over a web site. It’s much easier for people to be interactive. To ask and answer questions. I went on to talk about an empty trade show booth with just brochures left behind. I think you would agree with me that having people interact with prospects is far more effective than a stack of brochures, however nice they may be.

Unfortunately, most business’s web pages are just that, electronic brochures. This is a shame as its not difficult at all to begin the process to change that. The key component is an opt in box that can either be tied into the web page design, ideally “above the fold” and promoted with an valuable attractor. Of note, its possible to add a “light box” style Opt In form, that doesn’t require you to make any changes to your existing web site.

For many businesses the best type of attractor is a free down loadable report providing useful “How to,” or “What to look for” information. Think about the types of questions the people at your trade show booth would be most likely asked and answer them in a short and concise format.

The goal of both a trade show and your web site is to transform the web browser from being just another face in the crowd into a “lead.” A lead is someone the trade show people call or mail to after they empty the sweepstakes box of all those names that didn’t win the “free siding” or what ever they used to capture people’s names and contact info.

The advantage for the web site is that it’s easy to capture your leads name and email address, if you offer the viewer something they want. What I call an ethical bribe. And once you do, you can design a series of follow up emails to provide them additional useful information they need to make a wise buying decision.

There are two types of emails a business owner might send these new leads. This first set is a structured series of email that are pre-written and are “dripped” on the recipient at appropriate intervals. These are “evergreen” messages that once written and installed in an auto responder can be left to do their thing over time. Once set up they run on auto pilot.

These can be simple or sophisticated. An initial email for instance could ask the recipient if they want specific info an several different topics. If they pick one or more they can opt into as many different specialized series of followup messages as may be desired. This is useful for firms with multiple product lines.

Designing and creating this initial series of follow-up emails is the biggest investment in the entire process. A top notch auto responder service such as AWEBER can cost under $20 a month and will reliably capture the lead from your web page or even permit people to sign up even if you do not have a web page. Once the initial series of emails is created, will work day in and day out for you for peanuts.

A second type of follow-up message is the broadcast message. These can be used to advertise special sales, or send out holiday greetings or any other message you want. The combination of preloaded evergreen messages and occasional broadcasts can fulfill many purposes and can serve to not only win new business, but effectively stay in touch with existing customers as well.

This ongoing aspect of maintaining periodic contact with current and past customers is one of the best uses of an auto responder, and one that will generate significant new sales for any business that takes the time to creatively apply it to their specific circumstances.

Follow up is the name of the game in new sales and in developing repeat business. As I said in the title, it’s what happens after a person has been to your web site that counts, when you get around to counting your bottom line.

Check out the page above that discusses my services. I can help you apply these concepts to your business and help it grow, even in these challenging times.

Keyword tool that goes the extra mile without costing arm and leg.

One of my secret weapons is a paid keyword tool that works wonders for me.


What makes it so valuable is that it is a shorthand way to access the power of WordTracker, without having to pay the high cost.  Jonas has been running a special offer for an annual subscription, it may still be in effect.  I highly recommend it, I skipped it and have been paying about $20 a month for several years now. It’s been well worth it. If the special is gone, he has been talking about pulling it, don’t fret too much.  If key words are valuable to you, you really do need find the words that are about your topic without having the word or two you are searching on in them.

For example I did a keyword search for the term teeth whitening and got back among the results cosmetic dentistry.  Try that with the free key word tools.

The Omega and the Alpha

Normally, the phrase is alpha and omega, but as we approach the end of a year, I prefer to reflect on the end and then the beginning.

This has been a momentous year, for the nation, world and for me.  For me it has been a transitional year, from one where my focus was on my collectibles business, and the journey I have taken to migrate out of into a new internet venture.

The beginning of the year was taken up with the Marty Estate, by far the nicest accumulation of philatelic material I have had the privilege of handling in my almost 30 years as a part to full time dealer.  Toward mid year, I focused on the home staging industry.  I designed and conducted a significant survey of home staging professionals from around the US and Canada.

It was, if I may say so myself, a well done survey that focused on the individual needs of home stagers as small business people. I created a significant report that clearly set out the circumstances and obstacles faced by home stagers. My hope was that I would be able to follow up and create some products to assist them as a group.  I did conduct one teleseminar on the need for opt in forms on their web pages, which was well received by the handful of people who caught it.  I was less successful in selling my report on the survey results.

During the year, I discovered Bob the Teacher. I took about a half dozen of his online courses, and credit him with my breaking through on many of the critical skills essential to internet marketing.  The break through course for me was his teleseminar course, but not so much for the teleseminar part, but rather a piece of it that gave me a glimpse of how to use my Cpanel.  I eventually took his Cpanel course which did a lot to demystify much of the barriers that had gotten in my way previously.

By accident, I chanced into a relationship with Doug Champigny which has turned into a godsend. Doug is leading a group of marketers who are helping each other out, for free. Now we do promote Doug’s products as well as those of others in the group, which is certainly not a difficult thing to do, as they are generally low price and high quality.

As the year progressed, I have learned more about blogging, article writing, traffic exchanges, and more importantly realized that my home stagers were not alone in their individual plight.  I shared it, and so to do thousands of other small business people.

We may as very small business owners know one or two things quite well, and many others pretty well, but for the most part we all have arenas where we don’t know diddly squat.  What’s often a problem is that that’s where we either spend too much time, or not enough time.

If we spend too much time trying to figure things out ourselves, we are taking time away from what we are good at.  If we spend too little time, it’s because we have decided to live without. Neither is optimum.

For my home stagers, it was clear that for many of them, the area they left out was marketing.  Almost none of them had any form of lead capture.  I suspect this is true of many people in other businesses as well.  This fact was so obvious to me, I focused my first teleseminar on it.  And so it seems, this earlier work I did with home stagers will become my focus for the future.

The vast majority of offline businesses do their web pages wrong.  They have web pages created by their children or even by first rate web designers, but as good as many are creatively, they fall flat on a critical understanding of what the potential value of a web page is for a business.

And that is my plan for the coming year.  I have decided to all but abandon my philatelic pursuits.  Instead I will focus on assisting small businesses move from their static web sites into a more aggressive format that will reduce their existing advertising costs while building their customer base.

This blog, MicroBusinessSpecialist will become my flag ship for the coming adventure. I know I can help hundreds of businesses do better.  I can do it cost effectively for them, and yet make a good fee for myself.  This is my Alpha for the coming year.

I will succeed, because I have to.   But additionally, I have a solid set of knowledge I can offer that will make a difference for my prospective customers.  I learned a long time ago, that you make money by helping other people make money.  I guess I was too into my hobby to not recognize that I wasn’t actually doing that there.

My plan is to focus on offline businesses, in my own area, although much of what I have to say and do can be done for businesses wherever they are located.  So I will maintain an active web presence.

And while I will focus on this key function of helping businesses develop more aggressive web sites, I will continue to develop my own skills as an information marketer.  Through this process, I will learn to keep up to date on new techniques.  Afterall, the “how to make money on the internet” arena is probably the second most competitive arena on the internet after porn.  This is where the cutting edge tools are most aggressively taught and experimented.  By building my skills here, I will be all the better equiped to assist those for whom learning internet “how to” is boring, or confounding.

This is my Omega and Alpha. A transitional year is ended. A building year is ahead. If I can be of any assistance to you. Let me know. It’s going to be a blockbuster of a year.

Discover Product Creation

“If you want it done right, do it yourself.” That’s a piece of bad advice I had drummed into me as a kid. But I won’t go into why it’s bad advice today.

Instead I want to share with you an excellent program called Discover Product Creation that will help you do it yourself, if you are interested in creating your own Free Report to post on your blog or to build traffic via an upcoming Give Away Event.

I recommend you go there immediately and buy and then take the course. But if you wish, you can read my whys below.

The course is taught by one of my favorites, Bob Jenkins or Bob the Teacher as he likes to call himself. Bob was a high school teacher and is very good at breaking down the process of creating a report from start to finish. If you take his course and do the homework, (yes he assigns homework,) you will end up with your own first report that you can sell or give away in just three weeks.

Some of you will dash ahead and do it quicker, others will need more time if your lives and the holidays interfere. But if you commit to the process, you will succeed. Bob breaks it down into three segments, and provides nice bite sized video modules in each segment that permit you to proceed at your own pace.

When you are finished with the course, you will not only have a new fresh report of your own, but you will have mastered some basic skills with at least two free software programs that will pay you dividends for the rest of your life.

I had the opportunity to participate in the original course, and can personally attest to its completeness and value. Actually, the first class is still in session. But I have gotten enough from the first two of three segments to give it my unequivocal endorsement. I have learned not only how Free Mind works, but have come to see it as a super valuable, easy to use tool to capture my “loose thoughts” and ultimately make sense and order out of them. It’s a far better approach than the traditional outline format from high school. And much better than trying to organize my scattered thoughts on paper.

And then in the second segment, I learned how to use the free Open Office software. This is a major money saver since you can easily create PDF files without having to pay for Adobe. But while I have used open office before, by the time the second segment was over I learned in detail how to format my reports so they look truly professional.

Now much of this stuff, I already knew, or kind of knew, and other aspects were revelations to me. Some of it I used to know, but had forgotten. Unless you are already a professional editor or accomplished report producer, you should give serious thought to grabbing this course soon than later.

Even though the original session are yet to be completed, Bob has the course on the market now. He is only asking $99 for it, and I’m telling you it is a bargain. I have no doubt the price will go up significantly in the not too distant future. Particularly after the class is over and he starts putting the glowing testimonials into his sales page. He will have more than he will need.

I’m a fan of Bob’s. I’ve taken several other courses from him, and for my money, this is his best effort yet.

You will learn how to Create, Format And Deliver Your Own Free Reports To Your Customers On The Internet With Step-By-Step Video Training” Your Progress Is 100% Assured! The course is split up into 3 sections for every skill and experience level…

* Part 1: Planning And Creating The Content For Your Report
* Part 2: Formatting Your Report As An Ebook (PDF)
* Part 3: Delivering Your Report Online

You will learn all the Steps From Start To Finish

Create, Format, And Deliver Your Report With Simple, Step-By-Step Instructions Delivered
Through Video You Can Watch Online Or Download.

It is meaty, comprehensive and extremely valuable. Get it this weekend, and apply what he teaches. Do your weekly homework, and you will have a marketable report on any topic you desire in three weeks. Just in time to kick off the New Year in grand style.

If you want to do it yourself, there is no better advice I can give than to pick up a copy of DiscoverProductCreation today.

GiveAways: It’s Thanksgiving Time!

The Thanksgiving Give-away is now officially open. I am happy to report that I have already had 22 people download one or the other of my two offerings. Give always are great win win opportunities and no matter where you are on the internet marketing skill line.

If you are new and just starting out its a great place to pick up some useful material. But word to the wise, be selective in what you grab. Feel free to get as much as you like, but try to approach it systematically. If you RSS the feed to this blog, you will soon learn that there is always another giveaway down the line.

Speaking of which you can add the Merry Christmas Giveaway to your list of upcoming events.

Mother’s Milk: Nourish Your Bottom Line with Generosity

List building is the mother’s milk of internet marketing. The easiest way to build a list is to offer something of value for free. And the best way to do that is to make that offer where a lot of people are going to have a chance to see it. Even better is when you find a place were people are already actively downloading other peoples free products at the same time.

Those familiar with fishing will recognize this last idea as chumming. While chumming is not legal in most places, it is effective and more important it’s perfectly legal in internet marketing. I’ve used it to multiply my list and you can too.

A good place to start is with a holiday giveaway. I’ve joined one for Thanksgiving and another for Christmas I recommend you do too.