Archive for Online Business

I found this great post on ProBlogger…the author suggests picking one or two strategies that you think could work for you..if you do, tell us which one(s) appeal to you and why..and any results you get!

ready, set, blog!

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2011/02/05/10-little-known-ways-to-get-traffic-to-your-blog/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+ProbloggerHelpingBloggersEarnMoney+%28ProBlogger:+Helping+Bloggers+Earn+Money%29

Feb
21

How to Make Money Online

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If you ask how to make money online, you’re generally going to hear one of two things. You’re going to hear people telling you that you can’t make money online. That all the good topics and business models are taken up. However, that’s untrue.

You’re also going to hear people who will promise you that you can make millions online. While that is true for many, it’s not common. What is true about making money online is that anything is possible, and it’s quite likely that you can make a very comfortable living doing something that you love. So here’s the lowdown on how to make money online.

What Makes Money Online?

There are a few basic business models that generally achieve a good deal of success online. They include:

  • Information marketing – Information is sold online, generally about a specialty topic.
  • Membership marketing – Profit is made by selling memberships and selling advertising space.
  • Service provider – Profit is made by providing a service. For example, virtual assistants provide administrative services online.
  • Retailer or ecommerce – Profit is made by selling a product online.
  • Affiliate marketing – Profit is made by promoting the products or services of others and earning a commission.

There are a few things these five business models have in common. They all operate online – that’s a given because we’re talking about online business. They also all need people to visit their website in order to survive. How do they get people to their website?

Content

Content is the unifying theme behind successful websites. People go online to be entertained, to be informed, to connect and communicate. The single unifying thread for all of these interactions is content.

Content can be read, watched, listened to and shared. It can be an article, a blog post, a report, a book, an online course, a video or an audio. Without content a website doesn’t stand a chance. Information is the reason for the internet. If a website doesn’t provide information, it has no value to online users.

The Basics

Okay, so you choose your business model. You choose a business topic or specialty; this is often called a niche. A niche is a specialty topic. For example, you could decide you want to start a membership site. Great – about what? Recipes, because you love to cook and share recipes. Fantastic! Now it’s time to create the content for your website. You need to give people a reason to visit your website and become a member. The next step is to continue to provide value. What are you going to offer your members to motivate them to stay members?

What information are you going to provide as an information marketer that will motivate people to buy your books? What information can you provide clients to motivate them to hire you as a service provider?

Online, regardless of the model you choose, people want to know one thing: “What is in this for me? How will this benefit me?” Choose your topic and model wisely. Create fantastic content and provide value. That’s the core of any successful online business.

Categories : Online Business
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Testimonials are an exceptional selling tool. They tell potential buyers that you’re trustworthy. They tell potential buyers that your product or service fulfills its promise. Testimonials tell potential customers that you have credibility. And they tell potential customers what they want to hear – that you really can solve their problems.

Testimonials are an effective buying trigger because they offer information about your product or service that you just can’t offer yourself. It’s like a personal recommendation, and it’s worth the effort to get quality testimonials and to use them.

How Do You Get More Testimonials?

You may get testimonials at unexpected times.   If a client is thanking you after you’ve worked with him or her, listen and write down what they say.   Maybe they will say something in an email or in a thank you card.     These are spontaneous testimonials, the best and most natural sounding ones.

What if they don’t automatically provide one?   TSimple: you ask!  Most people are afraid to ask for testimonials. They feel it’s pushy or they fear being rejected.   You can actually make it easier for people by giving them some guidelines on what to say, and you’ll almost certainaly discover that  most customers are happy to give testimonials.   Mostly they are busy with their own lives and concerns and may not thinking about offering a testimonial..until you ask.  

  Think about when you have a good or bad experience with a company. If you have a bad experience, you want to shout it from the rooftops. You write reviews; you tell your friends and associates. Maybe you even write a complaint to the company.

When you have a good experience, you say thank you. Generally, we don’t talk as much about the good news as we do about the bad news. However, if someone asks us, we’ll go on for hours about our positive experiences.

So in order to get more testimonials you have to ask. You’ll of course ask all of your happy customers. However, consider also asking experts in your industry to provide a testimonial. Send them a free product or offer a service, then collect the testimonial. It’ll have more power because it’s coming from someone people like and respect. Can you imagine what a ringing endorsement it would be if Martha Stewart wrote a testimonial for your home organization business?

Help People Provide Testimonials

While your customers may appreciate you, and want to spread the word, they often need guidance about what to say in a testimonial. Many people just don’t know what to say.   YOu can prompt them by reminding them of results they’ve gotten from working with you, or come up with a list of questions that they can answer, that will guide them in what to say.  You can then post the testimonial and consider it valid.

Position Your Testimonials Well

There are some key places to position your testimonials. One such location is on your sales page. The testimonials will serve to support a prospect’s buying decision. You can also use them in your newsletter and in email communications. Consider also creating a separate page on your website with testimonials. Place the strongest and most compelling testimonials prominently where they’re sure to be read. To your success!

Categories : Online Business
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As a  service provider or coach, you are most likely  looking to grow your business quickly.     Even with all the internet and technology–still, word of mouth from a trusted source is a great way to get new clients.     Think of your dentist, hairdresser, mechanic and other service providers.   How did you find them?    

You can simply ask your satisfied clients and customers to make referrals.   I have always said “My business grows by referral so if you are happy with what you received working with me, I’d  appreciate your referrals.  ”   Here are some  techniques for getting referrals and making them be more powerful in bringing in clients.  

Informal Referrals–How to Ask for them more successfully.  

First of all, many of us are afraid to come out and ask for a  referral.   You might even  be prohibited by doing so if you are a licensed professional in certain fields.   But for most of us, it’s just a fear of rejection or of  ‘tooting your  own horn’).    Here’s a way to make it easier and more comfortable.     

If you ask your client (in the middle or ending of your usual conversation)  it can feel abrupt, forced or pushy.    Doing  this gives off the energy of  a “cold call” (pushy salesmen calling).  

Rather than start them cold,  engage your happy client or customer in a conversation, asking them to say in their own words, what benefits or other value they received from working with you.   When they are emotionally connected to those positive results, and in touch with what they’ve gotten, then you can ask them “Would you be willing to share your results with others in your life   and tell them about working with me?”     It will feel much more natural and spontaneous.

Secondly, if your work is complex, original or not so easy to explain, you can actually coach preople on how to speak about your work, or write out a few suggested guidelines.   Make it easy for people to refer to you.   So for instance a referral like “Go see Ms. X–she’s great!” sometimes works, but when the referral is specific (Ms. X helped me get my office organized for the first time in years) it will be much more effective.   Remember also that when you ask someone to make a referral, let them know  also how you wish  people to contact you: phone, email, visit your site.   

A formal referral program is a reward-based program. Anyone who refers a new customer to you would receive a reward. The reward could be a discount on your services or it could be a freebie. For example, if you’re a writer you might offer anyone who refers new clients to you a free ten-page report or $25 off their next order. A formal referral program requires that people sign up for the program. You might send a monthly newsletter to members to remind or motivate them to refer new clients.

Regardless of the system you choose, referrals work quite well to get more clients fast because they’re coming from a trusted source. If you ask someone where to go to eat and they tell you the name of a restaurant they like, you’re more likely to go there than to an unfamiliar place because it’s been recommended to you. You trust the information.

Affiliates

The second way to get more clients fast is to start an affiliate program. Affiliates are people who agree to promote your services in exchange for a commission. It requires a bit more work than a referral program; however, it can be extremely effective. Affiliates market your business for you and they drive traffic to your website. For every new client, they earn a paycheck. It’s a good system. To help them succeed you may provide them with marketing content, advertisements and other information to use on their website.

Partnerships

The third and final way to get more clients fast is to forge a partnership with other complimentary businesses. For example, if you’re a writer you might partner with a website designer. Their clients will need content for their website and your clients may need a website redesign. It’s a win-win situation.

To get more clients fast, take advantage of your current assets. What partnerships can you forge, and what clients can you ask for referrals and recommendations?

Categories : Online Business
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Feb
12

Success from the Inside Out

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In my last post, I ended with this statement:

“The most solid foundation for your success comes from—can you guess?—you.  ”  

I confess, I’m an “inside out” girl.   I believe your success starts from the inside out.   You can be so much more effective when you  know and understand yourself and how you operate..a missing ingredient for many people.     When you know who you are, you can easily filter in what works, and filter out what doesn’t, based on your personality, learning style, and time constraints.  

Knowing yourself   gives you decision making criteria so you can sort through the marketing pressure and hype.   You can tell whether a particular  business model, marketing technique or  info product is   something that you  can actually use and benefit from.

In these times of  information overload, and the vast  array of marketing options and ways to design our businesses, it’s even more important than ever to understand  who you are,   and how you operate, what your values are, and  who your target audience is.      

Why? Because the Bright Shiny Objects are getting brighter, shinier, and more plentiful by the day.   As the number of information products, trainings and channels to market ourselves mutliply, so does the need to discriminate, to know who you are and to have an internal navigating system.   That’s  ever more  critical to staying focused, on track and making some money.  

Making money?   Oh yeah..that!      

Clearly there is much to  learn,  and clearly there are plenty of people willing to teach us. But even good business advice comes in different flavors, and we have to find what works for us. The problem is that every “guru” has a different recipe for us, and it’s so easy to run from pillar to post, following the latest advice.

Ultimately then, you need to find your own internal home base.   A place from which to sort through and choose a business model and marketing strategies that make sense for YOU and YOUR business.   From home base, you are grounded in yourself, and know  your priorities, values and who you are.   

That gives you the  power  to navigate through your own “gremlins” or vulnerable areas, like perfectionism or feeling “Not Enough”.   You can  find that   sweet spot where you are not yet perfect (and don’t have to be) but know that you are indeed “ready enough” to take action.

Are you ready?   Then come back to visit here often…and in the meantime, watch out for those Bright Shiny Objects!

To your success and sanity,

Ellen

Feb
11

SoloPreneur: Know thyself first!

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Are you rushing breathlessly ahead with your business plans and marketing without  a clear vision, strategy and plans of action?   Are you putting the How before the Why?

Here’s my response to an  excellent  post by Richard Goutal on his  blog,  Fitting the Pieces, which is about collaboration and internet marketing.     We met at  the Online Revenue Workshop together in Las Vegas, with Jeannette Cates and Connie Ragen Green, and I am very impressed with his knowledge and generosity.  

To succeed in any business–especially as a solopreneur,  we need to have clear answers on this:  who am I, what strengths   and talents would I enjoy offering in a way that meets my customer’s needs?   Who  am I trying to serve, and what is the best way to reach that audience?

Following the clarion call to “Take Action Now!” many seem to rush   ahead or get caught up will-nilly with the latest Bright Shiny Objects.   It seems especially true with  internet marketers. With all the hype, the constant email barrage about the latest technology we MUST (or are intimidated into believing we need) in order to succeed..and all the things we feel we must know about before we can start a business, it’s way too easy to put the How before the Why.     That’s the   double edged sword of online  businesses where there’s a relatively low cost to get started and a plethora of   models to choose from.  

Can you imagine trying to create an offline business without a clear idea of what you were selling or who you were selling it to?   No one who had any serious desire to succeed would even consider that.

I’m not taking a stand against  taking action.   We all get it that  without action,  the best made plans of women and men will languish in our idea journals, or on our hard drive.    For those of us that may be more introverted, analytical or slower to act…getting lost in inquiry and introspection or even planning and generating business ideas, can be a trap,   where we can get bogged down for years.     Trust me on that one.

Discrimination is key–taking the right action, the strategic action, the action that makes the most sense NOW and will get us where we want to go faster and easier..that’s the challenge.   How much to plan, how much research to do, before we jump in? When is someone ready, or ready enough, to get their business into motion?

Perfectionism and the need to have it all figured out in advance can be a huge obstacle.   Here’s a very different philosophy, which I heard Michael Port express when he was building his Book Yourself Solid platform: “Ready, fire, aim”. That certainly has worked for him.

But I don’t think it does for most people.    

The most solid foundation for your success comes from—can you guess?—you.      

Yup.     It’s that simple.   More on this next post!

To your success and sanity,

Ellen