August 28, 2008
Next Monday is a holiday in the US called “Labor Day”. In honor of the holiday, I’m going to take a few days off and won’t be working on the business until late next week. However, before I take a break I had to let you know about three cool resources I learned about this week. So, in no particular order, here are the three resources you should go check out:
1. Yanik Silver’s Underground Online Seminar Best of The Best
Yanik has taken the best footage from all of the previous underground seminars and combined them into a “best of the best” package. This looks like a great deal for those who missed the first 4 seminars. Click here to check it out for yourself.
3. Rich Schefren’s announcement
For those who haven’t seen this yet, Rich Schefren is coming out with another report. I can hardly wait to read it. Check out the video announcement he made for it by clicking here.
Have a great weekend!
PS. There is a lot coming after my break… (summer Olympics blogging update, the final two posts of getting started series and some other cool things.)
November 27, 2007
Yanik Silver has just released the DVDs for the Underground Online Seminar 3. As you might know, Yanik is one of my favorite Internet marketers and I love his products.
This seminar looks like it had some great information and great speakers (including Darren Rowse of Problogger). Topics covered include little known secrets about:
- Myspace Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- PPC Advertising
- Making Money with Adsense
- Niche Marketing
- and much more
Also, the sales letter is quite unique and fun. I love the whole secret agent thing. Click here to go check it out.
September 25, 2007
I thought I would just quickly mention that Yanik Silver has just released a new product called:
As you probably know, I love Yanik’s products. This product is basically the same “brain dump” he gave to people at a $15,000 per person conference. Since, I haven’t seen the product I can’t really say whether it is good or bad, but either way it looks like a pretty complete training package for people wanting to get into the information marketing business. I would definitely buy it over other similarly priced products.
You can check it out by clicking here.
September 11, 2007
I am going to talk about one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site for FREE…
A few years ago, when we started our Winter Olympics Blog (http://2006turinolympics.com/) one of the first things we did was tell just about everyone we knew about it. We also told them to tell their friends about it. That brought us instant traffic to our new blog. We also had a relative send the site out to a Sports list they are on. That brought instant TARGETED traffic to the site. Before getting any traffic from the Search Engines we were already getting a regular stream of traffic. Because many of the people we told about our blog were interested in the Olympics, they continued to come back as visitors.
So what if you don’t have that many people to tell about your website? How do you get free word of mouth traffic?
When you start your online business you should have determined who your target audience is. Once you have identified your target audience, you need to get involved with that community. Here is a step by step example of how to do that.
For this example, let’s say that you have a website/blog that is about coin collecting.
1. Search for forums about coin collecting, and other related topics (collecting antiques, investing, etc.) .
2. Look through the posts on those forums and decide which ones have the most people looking for the type of information you provide on your website.
3. Join as many of those forums as you can.
4. Start participating in those forums and provide valuable feedback on the forum. Don’t just blatantly advertise your site. Become a friend to people on the forums.
Repeat these steps with email lists from places like Yahoo Groups and Topica. Also, look for related blogs and give useful comments on those blogs (especially if you have your own blog). If you know other people who are part of a related community, let them know about your site and ask them to spread the word to their community.
This will spread the news about your site via word of mouth. It will give you FREE INSTANT traffic. Word of mouth traffic is a great way to launch a site or to drive new targeted traffic to your site.
Do any of you remember getting an email about the Interview with God?
Several years back I received the email about this site from more than one person. Everyone was forwarding this on (I even forwarded it to people). It was a very inspiring slide show (now a flash movie).
Well, a few years ago Yanik Silver invited the owner of the Interview with God to speak at the Underground Online Seminar. The owner revealed that he did not pay one penny on advertising. All of his traffic has been 100% FREE. And guess how much money he is making?
He makes about 3 million dollars a year from that site! All that money from one great idea and word of mouth traffic.
Word of mouth traffic can be great for your online business. Especially, when it spreads virally. Viral traffic is traffic where people like your site so much that they lead other people to your site without you having to paying any advertising costs. Word of mouth traffic that spreads virally is one of the best ways to get traffic to your site. That is what happened with the Interview with God, and it is also what can happen to your site.
August 22, 2007
A while back, Jeff Hunsaker asked me what steps I was taking to creating an online product. Since I am currently working on creating two products I merged the steps from each of them to create a generic set of steps that I am taking to create e-products. I am not including all the details, because that would give away the nature of the products.
Here are the 39 steps to create a new product:
- Conduct Market Research
This is one of the most important steps in the process.
YOU MUST KNOW YOUR MARKET!
That is a little easier when you are part of your target market (like with my project). That said, there are many resources for doing market research. During my market research stage, I used some techniques that I learned from the Reese Report, and some that I learned from elsewhere. I am not going to go into detail on the market research that I have conducted, but I will go ahead and tell you about a simple tool I used for quick demographics research. It’s called “Microsoft adCenter Labs Demographics Prediction Tool” and it’s pretty cool. When you type in a search term the tool displays demographic data about the people who search for that term. For instance, if you type in “make money online”, you find out that 52 percent of the people searching for “make money online” are male. 26.8 percent are between the ages of 18-24 and a majority are under the age of 34. It’s not a bad way to get a quick look at your target market’s demographics. However, you will want to do a more in depth look at your market than just using the Microsoft demographic tool.
- Write The Business Plan
I talked about my business plan a little while ago. In short, I filled out the business plan from the SCORE template gallery. It is an extremely useful step, one that shouldn’t be skipped.
- Write A List Of The Tasks That You Need To Accomplish
This list of 40 steps is an example of the list of tasks that I created for myself. Some of the steps listed here are broken into smaller steps in my actual list.
- Assign Estimated Times To Complete Each Task
You need to estimate how long each task in your task list is going to take and write that number down. When estimating how long each task is going to take, you need to allow some time for unexpected circumstances. I estimate on the conservative side, because I find that I often underestimate how long tasks will actually take.
- Assign Tasks From The List To Yourself Or Others
If you are doing all the work yourself, then you will be assigning everything to yourself. If you are relying on other people to do some of the work, then you need to assign their names to the tasks they will be doing. This will help you with the next step.
- Create A Time Line
It is very important to create a time line for finishing your project. Creating a deadline helps motivate you to take action. I recommend creating a Gantt chart using Microsoft Project, Microsoft Excel or with a free Gantt chart creator like ganttproject.org. A Gantt chart is a chart that tracks a project’s progress over a period of time. For those of you who are intimidated by the thought of creating a Gantt chart, or you just don’t want to, I have also developed a “lazy” method of creating a timeline. What you do is add up all the days from your estimates. Go to a calendar, and figure out when you will be done. A Gantt chart is better, because you can factor in other things like dependencies (tasks that are dependent on other tasks being completed). However, having some sort of timeline is better than nothing.
- Select A Domain Name
This can be a fun process. I wrote a good article about choosing a domain name for blogs and it applies to regular websites as well.
- Come Up With A Name For The Product
This goes hand in hand with previous step. You should choose a good name for your product. Names are very important.
- Set Up A Mailing List
I wrote about setting up an email list two weeks ago.
- Promote The Mailing List
There are many ways to promote your mailing list. In my case, I am currently only using this blog to promote my list by displaying it prominently in the upper right hand corner of the navigation. I will have to write more about promoting email lists in a future post.
- Choose Affiliate Management Software
If you are going to have an affiliate program (and in most cases you should), you will need to determine what affiliate software to use. There is a plethora of choices, and I am not going to cover them in this article. I will cover this sometime in the future.
- Determine All The Tools And Technologies You need To Create The Product
This can be a time consuming process. You need to figure this out early on, in order to come up with an accurate budget for your product.
If you are starting a new corporation for your product, then it goes without saying that you will need to incorporate. Just like with the product name, it is a good idea to choose a meaningful and memorable name for your company.
- Conduct Pricing Research
There are many methods of finding the right price for your product. I recommend reading the free ebook – “Make Your Price Sell!” to learn the basics of choosing the right price for your product.
- Choose Payment Processor/ Merchant Account
If you are going to take payments over the Internet, you will need to determine how you are going to handle that. In most cases, you will need to have a merchant account. There are many things to consider when choosing a merchant account, and I recommend you do some research before choosing your merchant account.
- Choose A Web Host And Purchase Web Hosting
Choosing a web host can be one of the most difficult decisions you make in the process and it can be an easy decision. If you are like me and you want to find the “perfect” web host, then you will spend years and years researching web hosts until you discover…
“All web hosts suck!” 🙂
Once you discover that all web hosts suck it will be much easier to choose one by flipping a coin, playing darts, whatever method you deem acceptable 🙂
Ok, all web hosts don’t suck! In fact I like mine, but you can certainly find some fascinating stories by searching for your favorite host along with the word “sucks”. In other words, don’t spend all your time searching for the perfect host, because there isn’t such a thing. Find a host that suits your needs, and preferably one that comes highly recommended by someone you trust.
- Come Up With Unique Product Launch Plan
I strongly considered buying Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula for this launch (and I still might). However, after watching quite a few product launches and after talking with a few established Internet marketers there is a good chance that I am going to make do without the Product Launch Formula for this launch. I am putting together a product launch plan and my wife and I brainstorming ideas to make our launch out of the ordinary. If I was launching a product in a niche other than the Internet marketing arena, The Product Launch Formula would be a more appealing purchase.
- Create Marketing Plan
Along with the product launch, Jill and I are coming up with a marketing plan to encourage people to buy the product. That said, I only want people who REALLY need and will REALLY use this product to purchase it. I don’t want people to buy it just because it’s the latest and greatest thing. I don’t want people to buy it because they think it will answer all their problems. I know this is likely to mean I will have less customers, but I would rather be able to sleep at night than sell the product to someone who is not going to use it and/or doesn’t need it.
- Purchase The Tools And Technologies I Need From Previous Step
This is both one of the least fun steps (parting with money) and the most fun steps (getting cool new tools) of the product creation process.
- Create The Product
This step needs to be broken down into many other steps. For instance, if you are creating an ebook, you will need to research the book, create an outline, write the book, create an ebook cover, etc.
- Decide On Delivery Mechanism(s)
How will your customers get the product? Is it a download, does it ship on CD, is it an audio file, video, membership site, email course, etc.? You may want to offer a product in multiple formats to maximize your earning potential. For instance, if you are selling an ebook, you might want to let users also buy it in audio format or have a hard copy mailed to them. You can charge more for the various options.
- Consult Attorney On Legal Aspects Of The Business
It is always good to consult an attorney to help prevent potential legal problems.
- Build A Swipe File For The Sales Letter Based On Similar Successful Products
One of the first steps people use to create a sales letter is to find similar products that are selling well and “swipe” their sales letters. In other words, you leverage succesful sales letters as a guide for creating your sales letter. Don’t use these sales letters verbatim, because that can get you into legal problems for copyright violations. However, take a close look at the things in your competitor’s sales letter that convince you to buy their product. Use those same techniques in your sales letter.
- Create Sales Letter Based On Your Product’s Swipe File And Based On Copywriting Products That You Own
I am currently working on creating the sales letter for the new product I will be selling from this blog.
I own a product from Yanik Silver called Instant Sales Letters. When creating a sales letter, I like to go into the Instant Sales Letter members area and use one of the letters as a guide for writing my first rough draft of a sales letter. It helps me to focus on creating a sales letter with all the right components. I also will sometimes review some of the copywriting principles I have learned from other products I own (like Instant Web Profits System, etc.)
- Create Camtasia Video For Sales Letter
While not necessary, video does increase your conversion rate. You can create a sales pitch with the video, and/or show success stories, and/or show a behind the scenes look at the product. If it is in your budget, you should definitely create a video to help sell your product.
- Create Camtasia Videos For Help System (optional)
I marked this as optional, because most products don’t need video to help their users understand how to use it. However, videos that help users understand how to use the product can help, especially with more complicated products and higher end products. They can also be a major selling point and increase the percieved value of the product.
- Create Affiliate Training Material, Sample Ads, Sample Emails, Banner Ads, etc.
You should create as much promotional material as possible to sell your new product. Affiliates will love all the options and they are more likely to promote your product if they have less work to do. You can also offer your affiliates training. Studies have shown that giving your affiliates training will improve their conversion rate.
- Create Incentives For Early Customers
It’s important to come up with incentives for people to buy the product when they first learn about it. You should always offer an incentive for ordering immediately.
- Create Website That Will Sell The Product
This is fairly self explanatory. You have to create the site that is going to sell your new product. This can be broken down into many steps, including a few steps I mention in this list.
- Test The Product To Make Sure It Works
Testing is important, not only with your marketing, but also with any product you create. Make sure you have created a product that your customers will value. In fact, you need to over deliver on your promise. Make sure your product is BETTER than you say it is.
You need to have good legal terms of service, privacy policies, membership agreements, financial disclosures, etc. You need to make it clear how people are allowed to use your product and/or website.
- Create Customer Service Plan
Create a customer service plan to keep your customers happy. Don’t neglect your customers, they ARE your business. This might include decisions like whether or not to offer phone support, whether to have a customer support ticket system , whether to outsource your customer service, whether to have a customer support forum, etc..
- Create A Company News Blog And/Or An Affiliate Blog (optional)
While blogs aren’t a necessity, having a customer/product news blog and a blog for your affiliates will help you grow your business faster.
- Set Up Affiliate Contest For The Product Launch (optional)
Most product launches I have seen have run contests for their affiliates. If you can afford it, come up with a good contest for your affiliates.
- Recruit Affiliates
If you have an affiliate program, you need to spend a good amount of time finding people to join your affiliate program. Having a powerful group of affiliates promoting your product will make a HUGE difference in the amount of money you make.
- Get Testimonials
Testimonials offer the social proof you need to convince people to buy your product. You can never have enough testimonials. For those of you who don’t know about social proof, social proof is a psychological trigger that occurs when people see other people behaving in a certain way and, therefore, assume that behavior is the appropriate behavior to take. For instance, say you go into a new town and are trying to find a place to eat. You find two local restaraunts. At one of the restaraunts the parking lot looks pretty full, the other restaraunt only has two cars in the parking lot. Which restaraunt do you assume has better food?
The restaraunt with more people.
That is social proof in action. Testimonials offer social proof that your product is good.
- Submit Articles Promoting The Site To Article Directory (optional)
Writing articles that other people can reprint on their website, or in their eZine is one of the most effective ways of getting free traffic to your website. Writing articles allows you to get free traffic from websites that reprint your article, you get a link to your website which in turns helps your Search Engine rankings, and allows you to develop a reputation as being an expert in your field.
- Write Press Release (optional)
Press releases are an excellent way to get your online business free publicity, and free traffic. Publicity Insider has a good article on the details of writing a good press release.
- Hire Accountant
Last but not least, you need to hire an accountant to take care of the millions and millions of dollars you are going to make after your product is releaseed to the public 😉
Be sure to set deadlines on each step and don’t waste a lot of time on any one step. If you spend a month trying to find a web host, you just aren’t spending your time productively.
The steps above are fairly generic, so you can use them as a starting point for the products you create.
If you would like me to write a more detailed post about any of these steps, please let me know.
November 16, 2006
Man, I wish I had the vacation time to go see it. I guess I will have to wait for the CDs…
November 16, 2006
Yanik Silver just opened the doors for the Underground Online Seminar 3.
I love the way Yanik promotes his products and events. If you aren’t signed up for his newsletter, I recommend going over to Yanik’s Underground Online Seminar page and signing up for his Top Secret newsletter. It’s a lot of fun to see his promotions. In the case of the Underground Online Seminar 3, I just love the way he uses humor to sell it.
One thing about the seminar, is that it appears you have to sign up for his newsletter before you can learn the details about it. Unfortunately, I think that means I can’t tell you anything about it.
October 30, 2006
If you don’t subscribe to one of Yanik Silver’s newsletters (like the Underground Online Seminar) then you should go sign up now. Watching the way Yanik sell’s stuff in his newsletter is a great lesson in marketing.
Anyway, this morning in his newsletter he let everyone know that he is selling his car on ebay! After reading the ad for Yanik’s car I immediately wanted to bid on it. Sure, I don’t NEED a new car, but his ad made me WANT it.
Yanik is a great copywriter and you can learn a lot by reading the copy on his ebay ad. Click here to go check out the ad for his car.
My reaction to the ad just goes to show how important it is to market to people’s wants rather than their needs. Although, marketing to both a need and a want is what you would ideally like to do.
October 18, 2006
Just read this article the other day about marketing agencies for big companies starting to market using social networking sites like MySpace. It’s a pretty interesting read.
The other day I created my myspace page. I don’t know that I am going to do much with it, but it’s there.
I have noticed a lot of marketers like Yanik Silver (Underground Online Seminar), Jeff Walker (Product Launch Formula), Joel Comm (Instant Adsense Templates), and many others create myspace pages. I think as much as anything they are experimenting with the marketing aspect of social networking.
I can see how social networking sites can help you to build up a network of friends that could help you promote your products and services. So at some point I will probably experiment with them more.
PS. I just found out that even characters in tv shows have myspace pages.
October 11, 2006
If you haven’t seen Joel Comm’s sales letter for Instant Adsense Templates go check it out quick before he takes it down. It’s pretty amazing.
There were two things I noticed that were a bit odd:
1. I don’t recall ever reading the number that he is limiting this too.
Did I miss something? Last time Joel limited the release to 2000 people. This time the sales letter mentions that there is a limit, but I don’t recall ever seeing what the limit is. Either I am missing something or Joel is doing a great job of creating a feeling of scarcity without there being a “set in stone” limit on the number being released.
2. When Joel starts throwing numbers out about the price the sales letter gets a little confusing.
At first when I saw that he was selling them for $1997 I thought that the price was a bit on the high side, considering what he sold his last templates for. I could see how one might get confused at that point and bail out before realizing the REAL price he is selling them at.
That said I almost instantly bought them. You know what makes this offer so hard to resist?
There are two things:
1. The sheer volume of stuff he is giving away makes this offer so hard to resist.
By the time you finish reading the sales letter you think to yourself, “Did he say I am getting a kitchen sink out of this?”
2. The way the sales page answers every question I could ask.
I think Joel answers just about every question I had about his product. He must have recieved great feedback on his first product and used that to answer any objections people might have.
Those are the two things that stood out (to me) in his sales letter. It is a great example of a sales letter that works.
I can’t recall another package that seemed to give away so much value for such a cheap price. That said, I haven’t bought it yet, because it doesn’t fit my current business plans/goals. Which is why I wanted to say:
BE SURE ANY PRODUCT YOU BUY FITS YOUR GOALS/PLANS BEFORE YOU BUY IT.
Lastly, if you want to learn the basics of creating a sales letter that sells, I suggest you take a look at this article by Yanik Silver that breaks down an example sales letter and explains how it works. It includes examples of the two things that Joel is doing that made his sales letter so good (answering objections, giving away bonuses).
October 5, 2006
One of my favorite Internet Marketing “gurus” Yanik Silver, has just released the Underground Online Seminar 2 on DVD.
It’s one of only a couple Internet Marketing seminars that I would really, really like to go to sometime. The people who are giving out advice in the seminar run all kinds of Internet businesses (not just a bunch of people selling Internet Marketing products). Which is one of the things that appeals to me most about the underground online seminars.
Unfortunately, Yanik is limiting the release to 500 DVDs for the next 5 days. Anyway, I think you have to click here and sign up for his newsletter to find out more about the DVDs.
July 7, 2006
Didn’t do a whole lot of work on any of the businesses this week, but there were a few changes for me this week.
The website for the business my wife and brother-in-law were creating is on hold, beause my brother-in-law is in negotiations to by the entire sealer business from the person we were going to be drop shipping from. So that business is on hold for us. This frees up some time for me over the next couple of weeks (which is a good thing).
We had a problem with the homeschooling wiki yesterday. Our web host changed something that made it so that we couldn’t edit pages. They fixed the problem quickly. I have been very happy with them for web hosting, because they always respond quickly to our questions.
It was interesting to see how Joel Comm launched his Instant Adsense Templates. He sold out of them in about 24 hours. I learned a few things about launching a new product from watching what he did. I don’t particularly like the limited supply (scaricity) hook he used, but it makes sense from both a customer point of view and a marketing point of view. From a customer point of view, you don’t want to have the web saturated with your template and similar content. From a marketing point of view, it helps you make sales if your customers have an incentive to buy now. Yanik Silver taught me that you will lose a lot of sales if your customers don’t have a reason to buy your product immediately. This is why so many businesses have limited offers, time sensitive offers, various sales, etc. It gives you a reason to buy now.
Anyway, next week I will probably spend most of the week working on promoting our homeschool wiki. Have a nice weekend…