“He’s Called Bob!”
10 Easy Ways To Research Your Market And Better Understand Your Buyers!
Knowing Your Market
How well do you know YOUR market? Even though there are plenty of sources and resources you can go to online for information in this respect, it’s a fact of life that many products are released with little to no prior research at all. It’s no big surprise then that without proper audience profiling, some of them fail to make many sales. The creator is left wondering what went wrong when they “knew” they had a sure fire winning idea behind their product.
Does this sound familiar? It’s easy to assume you know what your target market wants. However, unless you do your research first, you’ll never know for sure. That gut feeling you had could be letting you down big time.
So let’s ditch the gut feelings and assumptions and discover how you can find out everything you need to know about your market. This is the good news – your market is ready to tell you what it needs and wants. In fact the information is already out there. You just have to know where to look and how to find it.
With all that information available at your fingertips, it’s like mining gold!
So without further delay, let’s get started.
Using Data Mines To Infiltrate Your Market
You’ll notice we mentioned ten easy ways to research your market and do audience profiling in the title of this report. We’re going to get started now by covering five essential sources of information in this section.
1: Alexa | http://www.Alexa.com
Known as the ‘web information company’, it would be a real shame not to take advantage of the huge amount of data they have to share with you. On the home page you’ll see a box where you can type in any keyword or specific website address you want to look for.
Let’s say you’re thinking of writing an eBook on low fat cooking. Simply type ‘low fat cooking’ into the search box and hit the search button.
The results will reveal the popularity of your search term (i.e. how many people are looking for it), the amount of competition for it in terms of ads, as well as the specific URL results. In other words you’ll find out whether your idea really will be the sure fire success you thought it would be or whether you should move onward, or go back to the drawing board.
One of the great things about Alexa is that underneath each URL result you’ll see a series of keywords. You can click on any one of these to reach another page full of information for that search term.
This includes search popularity, the competition you’d likely have for it and the competing sites that get the lion’s share of the traffic.
Depending on what you see here, you can consider whether your idea is a bust or whether to pursue it further. Alexa alone can be a huge time saver – not to mention an idea generator.
2: Compete | http://www.Compete.com
The Compete.com website provides detailed analytics for any website you are interested in researching. Maybe you want to see just how well your competition is doing – you can find out here. You can sign in for a free account and see a month-by-month graph of unique visitors for the websites you want to look into in more depth.
Compete.com also provides a competitive rank feature that shows you how the top competitors for your chosen site are ranking in relation to it. You can see too whether the website is up or down on traffic for the month and year respectively.
You’d need to sign up to get a more accurate and detailed picture of the information they have available, but if all you need is basic figures on the other competitors in a particular area, you’ll probably find this gives you everything you need. When you use Compete.com in conjunction with the other sources given in this report, you’ll be well ahead of your competition.
3: Google Trends | http://www.Google.com/trends
Are you interested in keeping up with the latest trends, hot topics and current events? Google Trends makes it incredibly easy to research your market and get to know WHO your buyers really are and what they are most interested in.
Google Trends is a search engine with a difference. If you want to know more about your buyers you can find out what they’re looking for by using this source of info from Google.
For example, I looked up the general term gardening to see what popped up. The map shows me which areas of the world are most interested in looking for information about gardening, which in this case are the US, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
You can limit your search term(s) by using the options at the side of the screen. It defaults to a web search but interestingly you can try a product search too. This could be useful if you’re thinking of launching your own product on this topic (or any other topic that you are interested in).
You can also limit your search to a specific country or pick a specific category to look in. This all helps refine your information from a general search to a more specific one.
But the bit I love the most, is the related terms section. Here, the word gardening gave me related terms including organic gardening, container gardening, square foot gardening and landscape gardening. Any one of these could be mined for further information.
Click on ‘rising’ and you’ll also see the most popular gardening related searches right now, indicating any new and improving areas worth looking into.
In short, a couple hours on Google Trends could give you plenty of ideas to meet the needs of your audience.
4: Google Adwords Keyword Tool
This free keyword tool is gold when it comes to finding out what your target audience is really interested in. All you need is the basic audience you’re after and you can mine it for as much information as you need.
Let’s take a look at an example so you can understand how powerful this is. If we perform a very basic search using the word ‘cooking’ we can see how useful it is to generate more potential ideas.
Simply change the match types on the left to indicate an exact search instead of a broad search, and sort your results by Global Monthly Searches. You can then look down the list and see what people are searching for in this area.
Among the results are cooking games, chicken recipes, slow cooker recipes and crock-pot recipes. You may not have thought of any of these possibilities without the use of the Google Adwords keyword tool, and yet here you are with a list of topics to consider for your next product.
You can also see how many times people are searching for these keywords each month, which is useful when it comes to gauging whether or not there is an audience worth aiming for in your area of the marketplace. It’s an inspiring tool and since it’s free, it should be part of every marketer’s armory.
5: ClickBank | http://www.ClickBank.com
Did you ever think of Clickbank.com as a source of market information? Nor do a lot of other people, and yet it’s a superb source of information worth looking into.
It’s easy to start using too. You don’t need to be a member to delve into the marketplace here – the link for it is at the top of the site. You’ll see a list of categories on the next page, so you can select the one you’re interested in and go from there. The results given for each category are automatically sorted by popularity, so you can see which ones are selling best in each area.
Of course, you wouldn’t copy any of these products – that’s not what this kind of research is all about. No, the idea here is to see what is selling and what other people are making a good deal of commission on. It also tells you what these items are selling for, which in itself is worth knowing if you’re unsure about setting prices for any of your own products.
Perhaps more tellingly you can also sort by low to high for popularity, so you can see the products that aren’t selling. There could be many reasons for this but it gives you another source of information that could prevent you from making some costly mistakes.
It’s a marketplace fairly packed with data and it’d be a shame not to benefit from it, wouldn’t it?
Mining Feedback Gold:
How To Create Winning Products For Your Market
One easy and very powerful way to do audience profiling and find out more about your potential customers is to find out what their opinions are. Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? And yet all the information is right there online for you to access.
Once you have a product area in mind, you can delve into feedback given on similar products in that area. Let’s focus on a few sites where you can do this.
6: Amazon | http://www.Amazon.com
This is perhaps the best site of all to use. Amazon feedback is easy to access and easy to understand, since it uses a five star rating system. You can read all the reviews for a particular item, or choose to focus on all the five star reviews (or those attributed to any other star rating if you wish).
The great thing is lots of people will happily give in depth reviews of all kinds of things. This is akin to having your own test audience to ask questions of. Perhaps more importantly they’ll tell you what the product doesn’t do and doesn’t achieve. They’ll even go so far as to point out what they’d really like – and this is pure gold when it comes to product creation.
The trick is to look at several products in the area you are interested in, and think about what they tell you. Looking at one review won’t give you the information you need – although it will help – but looking at plenty of reviews will give you a picture of whether you have an idea this audience will love.
Don’t shirk on your research in this situation – there is gold dust liberally sprinkled all over Amazon.com, so make sure you devote the time to finding it and making good use of it. It’s a great tool but you can bet few of your competitors will be using it.
7: Twitter | http://www.Twitter.com
If you’re familiar with Twitter, you’ve probably never thought of researching your market on there before. But since there are millions of users on there, you can be sure part of your target market is on there as well. All you have to do is connect with them.
The easiest way to do this is to look up search terms related to your market. So for example if you’re thinking of publishing that Kindle book on low fat cooking, try looking up terms related to it.
You might have to try a few different keywords to get a good set of results. Try the hashtag as well, so for example you can look up #lowfatcooking and see if anyone else has used the same hashtag. Sometimes you’ll come up empty but other times you could hit on a hashtag that really helps you.
Twitter also trumps Amazon in that it’s easy to get into a conversation with people. Instead of simply looking for tweets written by other people, think about writing a few of your own too. What do you need to ask to get the answers you want? By getting into a few conversations, you can gather more information than you would have had otherwise.
So you can see Twitter is a two way street. It can help you fill in any gaps you may have in your knowledge about your target market. Monitor your account regularly and look for any hashtags you’ve identified. It’ll help build the picture you want to have.
8: Facebook | http://www.Facebook.com
Where would we be without Facebook? The good thing about this social media site is that many big brands are on here updating their own pages. People follow them and interact with the brand – and each other – giving up useful information as they do so.
Of course, it’s not just big brands that have lots of information to provide. You can do a search much as you did on Twitter to find the most relevant pages to work from.
Perhaps the most powerful thing about Facebook is that different users get into conversations with each other, debating all kinds of things about your area of interest. When you find and observe these conversations, you can learn a lot from them. You may even find your audience is discussing things you hadn’t thought about, expressing problems and issues you may be able to solve with your next product.
In fact if you want to use Facebook as a source of new product ideas and areas to explore, you could do a lot worse.
Try it now – spend just a half hour exploring the site and finding people and businesses that are related to your area of interest. You might be surprised how much useful information you can get after a half hour.
9: Other Social Media Platforms
It’s not just Twitter and Facebook you can explore when it comes to harnessing the power of social media. There are plenty of other sites out there you can look into as well; some more pertinent than others depending on the market you’re interested in.
Pinterest, at http://www.Pinterest.com might suit you if you’re into practical solutions, while Google+ has made great strides in recent months and is as good a place as any to find out what people think of a certain topic.
There are dozens of other lesser known social media and networking sites around too, so don’t be nervous of looking for ones few people will have heard of.
Some of them appeal to a particular demographic, and if you happen to be marketing to that same demographic you might actually get more info from an obscure site than you would from Facebook. It’s not just the number of members that matters – it’s the focus of the site too.
10: Target Appropriate Forums
Just as there are many social media sites in the world, so there are plenty of forums too. In fact, this could be one of your most powerful sources of information when exploring a new market to make money from. Forums exist for all kinds of people and subjects.
If you are thinking of making a product for dog lovers, you can bet there are plenty of forums out there focusing on this very group of people. Similarly, if you want to write a book on saving and making money, well, you can be sure of finding groups of people wanting to do just that in specific forums as well.
A quick Google search using the words ‘forum’ coupled with your particular area of interest will turn up some fruitful results. It’s up to you whether you want to sign in and become a member of these forums or whether you want to lurk from the sidelines, or not. However, it’s often best to become a member – they’re free after all and you can initiate conversations that can get you the information you want.
Just be sure you add value to the forum if you do join. It’s not good to tell people you’re creating a product or using them for research purposes. Becoming a regular member of the community will actually get you better results in the end than acting as if your from the outside doing research on it.
One final word here – don’t be tempted to join too many forums. It can get difficult keeping up with them all. Find one or two of the top forums with the highest memberships and most active user bases and stick to those.
If you are really intent on making the most of your market research, make sure you use all the above methods to get the best free research you can. If you do this prior to launching any product – particularly if you’re aiming at a brand new market – you can be assured of getting much better results.
Before you started reading this report you were probably a little skeptical about whether you could get free information from the Internet in this way. Market research has to cost money, right?
Well no, it doesn’t, although it will cost you a little time.
All the information you will ever need to help you research your market and create the products that your target audience really wants and needs is out there – all you have to do is tap into it. As we’ve seen, there are a number of ways to do that.
We put the data mines section first for a reason. This is where you should always start if you’re literally on step one – finding out which market you want to target and which audience you need to be aiming at. Once you’re armed with that information you can go on to step two, which involves finding out more about that specific market or audience. As you can see, it doesn’t pay to rush things.
As time goes on and you try this method a couple times, you’ll come to realize it is an important step in your product creation strategy. Why pay for expensive market research services when there is just no need to?
Try it with your next project and see what a difference it will make in both your creativity and in the actual quality of your products. When you know your market, you know exactly how to dominate it!
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Forum marketing the smart way.
Pretty much everyone on the internet has visited at least one forum, and most have visited many of them. Although Facebook has replaced forums for some users, a lot of people still prefer the standard forum format.
Reddit is one of the world’s biggest online forums. For years, they have been receiving millions of unique visitors per month, and they have consistently been in the world’s top 100 websites. They are just one example of how much traffic and money there is to be had from forums.
The trouble is, if you’re not careful, you can do something that can cause irreparable harm to your forum. Running a forum successfully is not the easiest thing. In fact, even Reddit has learned this the hard way. A combination of politicking, ham fisted moderation, and server problems, has recently caused Reddit to drop from over 15,000,000 unique visitors per month to around 6-8,000,000. It was a sudden, massive drop, and it could have been prevented.
In this guide, you’re going to learn how to do forum marketing the smart way. We will discuss how to run a successful forum, from choosing a platform and setting it up, to populating the site with posts, to getting traffic, and preventing the loss of that traffic.
So let’s begin!
The first thing you must do is decide which forum software you’d like to use, and there are a lot of options to choose from.
One website has a wizard that will help you choose which software to run by answering a few questions:
The site also has comparisons and information about most of the popular forum platforms, so you can choose the one that is right for you.
Some of the most popular forum platforms include:
If you use one of the popular cPanel hosting companies, they will often have an installer program that will make it easy to install your forum software with just a few clicks. Ask your hosting company if they have something like Softaculous.
You could also hire someone to install the software for you if you don’t feel like you can handle it yourself. Search Fiverr or another freelance website for “script installation” to locate someone who can do this for you. Just keep in mind that if your host offers something like Softaculous, you can easily do it yourself.
You may also want to hire someone to create a logo and theme for your forum if you can’t find one that is right for you. Most forum packages have some free themes available, but a custom theme will go a long way toward making your forum stand out. People prefer visiting sites that have good layouts and are easy on the eyes, so that is one way you can attract more users.
Once your forum is up and running, you need posts.
No, not traffic. Posts. Sound odd that you need posts before you even get traffic?
Just imagine going to a forum with no posts. Would you want to be the first one to start a conversation, not knowing if anyone will ever even see the post, much less respond?
Most people wouldn’t want to do that. They prefer to jump into threads that are already active rather than start a new thread, especially if they see very little activity on a particular forum.
The biggest attraction to get people to sign up to a new forum is activity, so you need a few users posting on a regular basis in order to get others to join the forum and participate.
The best way to accomplish this is to hire people to post for you. You could do that on a place like Fiverr, or you could use a service that specializes in forum posts, such as PostLoop.com.
PostLoop.com is a broker that has a large number of people ready and willing to posts on your forum for pay, and it really doesn’t cost much. Most of the users are students, disabled individuals, stay-at-home parents, etc. They really don’t need to earn a great deal of money, so you can get posts very inexpensively, and usually very quickly.
The site even screens applicants to be sure they can post intelligent discussions and use proper spelling and grammar. They don’t have to be perfect, but they have to be at least as good as the average forum user, so don’t worry about getting a bunch of incoherent posts from people who barely speak English or just paste a bunch of translated nonsense.
You want your forum to look busy, so it’s a good idea to have at least 10-15 individuals posting, and to have at least 10-15 different topics in each area of your forum, as well as several posts in each thread. You want the forum to look as busy as possible.
You, as an owner, should also be active. Make sure users see you posting often, because they want to know you care about the forum before they invest their time into it.
Once you have a good number of posts and your forum looks active, you can start looking for real users for the forum.
Okay, your site is running, and you have a good number of initial posts to get the discussion rolling. What next?
It’s time to find some people to come post on your forum, and that can be easier said than done. Not only do you have to find people who are interested in the subject of your forum, but you also have to find a way to convince them to start posting!
One of the easiest ways to start doing this is to raid other similar forums. Look for people who post often and seem pretty knowledgeable on the subject, and people who rarely, if ever, have conflicts with other members. The last thing you want is a bunch of rude personalities chasing off other potential members!
NOTE: Before you do the following, be sure to check the forum rules to be certain you won’t get banned for it!
Send those people a private message and let them know you have started a forum, and that you are extremely impressed with their posts and you would be very pleased to have them post on your forum in addition to their current forum.
You might also set up a gamification system in which top posters are given prizes each month or are entered to win a nice prize. This is a great way to encourage users to stay active!
Another way to get traffic is to create a blog in your niche and link to your forum from as many spots as possible, potentially mentioning your monthly prize(s) in order to get more people to click.
Ads are a near sure-fire way to attract new posters. Facebook ads are particularly effective if done correctly, and you can even mention your prizes in your ad to attract attention. Ads are easy to target in most niches, so you can locate the people who are most likely to be interested in your forum.
Moderation is a critical element of running a forum, and it can be very time-consuming if you choose to do it all yourself. You don’t necessarily have to read every single post on the forum every day, but you need to be ready to act quickly if you receive any complaints about a particular post or user.
What type of complaints are you likely to see?
- Arguments, name calling, and other personal attacks
- Pornography or other offensive or illegal content
- Hate speech or threats of violence
- Plagiarism (yes, it can happen on forums)
In order to keep your visitors happy and returning, it’s important to take care of any of these issues quickly. Allowing tempers to flare further will only end up in the potential of additional members becoming involved and taking sides, and even more users possibly leaving the forum.
You should institute a clear policy for repeat offenders. You might, for example, give three warnings before a ban, unless the user commits such a bad offense they must be banned immediately. Always consider the severity of the issues before deciding whether or not to ban a user. Every member is important unless they are causing nothing but problems.
If you find you cannot keep up with moderation on your own, you have two choices. You can hire one or more people to moderate the forum, or you can ask for volunteers from your member base.
Before inviting someone to be a moderator, there are a few things you should consider:
- Are their posts always helpful?
- Are their posts always fair and kind?
- Do they get along with other members easily?
- Have they been posting long enough to be trusted?
You want your moderators to be fair and impartial at all times, and you want to be sure you can trust them not to make decisions that could hurt the forum, or worse, to damage it on purpose. For this reason, you might want to avoid volunteer moderators until your forum has been active long enough to have members who have enough history on the forum to be trusted.
Forum members can be very quick to abandon a forum if there are a lot of problems, so it’s vital that you keep a close eye on potential issues so you can cut them off before they chase away your key members.
Moderation is one of the essential keys to avoiding problems, but there are a few other issues to be on the lookout for.
First, make sure you keep your forum software updated. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit different software, and they could find a way to hack your site. If you keep your software updated with the latest patches, you’ll be less likely to suffer such a breach.
Also, be sure you use a good hosting company. If your server goes down a lot, users will grow frustrated and abandon the site. This is one reason the traffic at Reddit has declined, because the servers have had issues and people have grown tired of the downtime.
It’s important to listen to your members and give them what they want whenever you can. If you make changes to the forum that upset a lot of users, be sure to apologize, politely explain your position, and then reverse your decision if you can. If you aren’t able to, you should explain why, and let them know you’d have preferred not to make the change, but it was absolutely necessary. Communication is essential if you want to keep members happy!
Once the forum is running and has a decent number of active users, you can consider monetization methods. I wouldn’t even worry about making money with the forum at first, because ads and other monetization methods may slow the forum’s growth. Instead, keep the forum mostly ad-free until its growth has begun to slow.
There are many different methods you can use to make money with your forum. Some monetization methods may work well with one forum and be disastrous on another, so it’s important to test various methods.
The most common form of forum monetization is advertisements such as Google AdSense or other ad network placement. The majority of forums use this as their main (or sometimes only) monetization, but this is not usually the most profitable form. Eventually, visitors will become “banner blind”, and will begin to ignore the ads. (And most people are already banner blind to some extent.)
You could also sell advertising to individual buyers. You can do this on a flat-rate basis, charging a flat monthly fee for each ad spot, or you can charge by the impression, click, or even sale.
You could also market affiliate products to your users. This could be especially lucrative in niche markets where there are a lot of passionate users. For example, golfers are extremely avid, and are likely to buy a lot of products over the years, such as balls, gloves, clubs, bags, tees, and how-to products.
Amazon is a great place to start. While it may seem like they don’t pay much, purchases can really add up. Plus, even if you only sell a $6 fishing lure through your affiliate link, you’ll also earn a commission on anything they purchase for the next 24 hours. That means if they decide to purchase a $500 fishing raft, you’ll get commission on that item, too! Their cookies used to last much longer, but 24 hours still gives you time to cash in on multiple purchases.
Amazon has a massive number of products you can promote in just about any niche you can think of, so they’re a very good place to start.
ClickBank and JVZoo also hold a wide variety of products, and because they are all digital products, the profit margins (and thus commissions) are typically high. If you can find a product that would appeal to your members, you can potentially make a lot of money with information products.
Another good option for some forums is charging a small fee for membership. This could be a monthly fee or a yearly one, and it could be for the entire forum, or just a section of it. You could also make membership optional, giving members that pay some kind of special benefit.
The Warrior Forum (http://www.WarriorForum.com) has a number of ways they make money. They charge for a membership, which is required if you want to access certain areas of the forum and if you want to post ads on the site. They also charge for posting an ad in their Special Offers section.
Dirty Discourse (http://www.DirtyDiscourse.com) has a forum that charges a small monthly or yearly fee for access. Members must pay if they want to use the forum. Because their market is relatively small, they don’t have a lot of good competition, and members feel they need to access the forum’s information in order to be successful in self-publishing, they are successful with this model.
Keep in mind that not every forum is well suited for a membership model. If there are a lot of active forums in your niche, you may find that people will just go elsewhere if you decide to charge for access.
You must find a way to get your members to see the value of paying for membership without upsetting them, and without making them flee to another forum.
If there are plenty of forums in your niche that offer what your members are looking for, you might want to keep most of your forum free for public access and have a separate paid area for in-depth discussions, or perhaps have a membership level that is voluntary, but offers some kind of benefit, such as a forum rank, or the ability to post advertisements.
Finally, there’s the option to sell the forum once it has a decent number of active members. Sites with large user bases have the potential to sell for thousands of dollars on a site like Flippa.com.
Running a forum is no easy task. Although the initial setup is relatively simple, it’s the daily maintenance in the form of seeking new traffic, managing ads, and moderating the forum that takes time.
Despite the effort required, running a forum has the potential to be extremely lucrative. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort into forum marketing, you could end up with a forum that makes you a significant income each month, and that could potentially sell for thousands of dollars down the road.
In fact, WarriorForum.com was acquired by Freelancer for a whopping $3.2 million in 2014, so you can see that active forums can sell for a lot of money!
Once you have some trusted moderators to handle most issues, you really won’t have to invest a lot of time in forum marketing, or your forum anymore and it will practically run itself. All you have to do is update the software regularly to ensure the forum stays secure, and be sure to keep in touch with moderators to be sure they’re doing their jobs correctly.
Good luck with your new forum! I wish you much success!
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Snapchat marketing. Here are the basics.
Snapchat is a social network that allows users to send “Snaps”—pictures and videos—to their followers. It’s a bit like Instagram in some ways, but in other ways it’s definitely not. We’ll talk more about how the app works later, but the closest thing I can think of to describe it to you is sort of like a cross between Instagram and Periscope.
Think Snapchat can’t help your business? Think again. Take a look at some of these statistics:
- Over 150,000,000 people use the app daily
- Over 10 billion videos are watched on Snapchat daily
- 41% of 18-34-year-olds in the U.S. use the app daily
- Over half of new signups are over age 25
Not only does Snapchat get a massive amount of traffic each day, it’s also incredibly effective. Their ad platform did a study that tested things such as eye tracking, emotional responses, and surveys, and the results were impressive.
It found that Snapchat ads:
- Got twice the visual attention of Facebook ads
- Got 1.5 times more visual attention than Instagram ads
- Were 1.3 times more effective than YouTube
Let’s take a look at what makes it successful.
What The Heck Is Snapchat?
Okay, I get it. Snapchat is one of those social networks that a lot of people don’t “get”. But remember, Twitter was once also misunderstood by a lot of people, and now it seems most people have a Twitter account.
A lot of people think it’s only for younger audiences, but a pretty big chunk of Snapchat’s user base is actually 30 . It’s definitely not just for teens and tweens, nor is it just a sexting platform like so many people seem to think.
As I mentioned before, the best way I can think of to describe Snapchat is a bit like a cross between Instagram and Periscope. (Periscope, if you haven’t tried it, is a live broadcasting app where your content disappears after a short period of time.)
Snapchat users post “Snaps”—photos or videos—to their followers. Users only have 10 seconds to view those snaps before they disappear forever, but they can take a screenshot during that time. There are tools that can automatically save all the Snaps you post so you can post them on other networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. So don’t think that just because Snaps appear for only 10 seconds that they’re not worth posting!
Better than Snaps are Stories. Stories appear for 24 hours, and they are much more effective than simple Snaps.
Think of a Snap as being a bit like a television commercial in the days before DVR and rewinding live TV. You watched the commercial, and once it’s gone, it’s gone (at least until the next time it aired). If you wanted to write down a phone number or address, you had to be quick. But those commercials still accomplished a lot!
Snapchat isn’t some “perfect” marketing method by any means, but then again, none of the social media sites are “perfect” for marketing. Each one has their own set of flaws that makes them tricky to use. You just have to learn how to make the most of each one.
Fortunately, Snapchat is ridiculously easy to use. If you’ve struggled to get the hang of sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, don’t worry! Snapchat is crazy simple.
It’s also a lot more effective for marketing than you probably think, especially if you want to appeal to the coveted under-30 age group, which makes the bulk of the Snapchat user base. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of users over the age of 30, too!
They also have an ad platform, but they are reportedly asking for $750,000 per day to advertise on their platform. Fortunately, marketing on Snapchat for free can be just as effective, and that’s what we’re going to focus on in this guide!
So let us begin.
The first thing you need to do is download the Snapchat app. It’s available for both iOS and Android, so if you have a fairly recent smartphone, you’re probably good to go. The app is free, and it’s available on the iTunes app store and Google Play.
Once you have the app, you’ll need to create an account. It’s important to choose a good username, because this is how people will identify you on the site, and you can’t change it. For this reason, be sure you type the username you want correctly.
Most people either choose some form of their name as their username, or they use the name of their website or company. You’ll want to choose whatever you want to brand with your Snapchat marketing—whether that is you personally, or your company or website.
Many people use the same username on Snapchat as they do on Twitter to keep things consistent. It’s easier for people to remember to message you @yourname on both Twitter and Snapchat if they follow you on both platforms.
You’ll also probably want to get an email address specifically for Snapchat, such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Once you’ve signed up, you need to find some people to follow. You can tap the ghost logo at the top of the screen to bring up the user menu, and then click “Add Friends”.
On this page, you can add people in different ways:
- Add by Username – This lets you look people up by their Snapchat username, but you either need to know their username to add them, or search for it and hope they used an easy-to-find username. For example, to find Taco Bell on Snapchat, you just enter “tacobell” without quotes and tap the button to add them once they show up in the search results. See why it’s important to choose an easy-to-remember username?
- Add from Address Book – This will search through your contacts and let you add any of them who are on Snapchat.
- Add by Snapcode – Snapcodes are those little yellow squares that fuction like QR codes. You can take a picture of one or download one and then choose it from your camera app to add that person on Snapchat. Apps like GhostCodes help you find people to add by interest, and you can download their code to your phone and upload it in the Snapchat app to follow them.
- Add Nearby – This will use your current location to find other Snapchat users and add them. But be aware that other people will see your username locally, so if you’re worried about privacy, don’t use this feature.
Once you’ve added some people, you’ll want to make sure your settings are ready for marketing.
To find your settings, tap the ghost icon to open your username page. Then tap the cog at the top right. This will open your settings.
The first setting to look for is “Contact Me”. This is set to “My Friends” by default, but you might want to set it to “Everyone” to allow more people to contact you about your products or services.
Next, under “View My Story”, you’ll want to set that to “Everyone”. This way, if your friends share your stories, other people will be able to see them, getting you more views.
Finally, in “See Me in Quick Add”, you might want to be certain this is on. This way, you will appear to the friends of your friends, thus potentially garnering more followers with no effort.
Don’t forget to add a picture to your Snapchat code! To do this, just tap the ghost icon, then tap the yellow QR code thing. This will let you take a picture (it will be animated!) to show up inside the ghost on your code. Most companies use their logo here, but you can also use a moving picture of yourself. Be prepared, because it will take a couple of seconds of video to create the animation. If you want to show your logo, hold your phone still while the image is taken.
The previous image is an example of what a Snapchat code looks like once it’s been customized. GrubHub has simply used their logo.
Don’t forget to announce your Snapchat on your blog, website, and other social media accounts. You can either post your Snapchat username so people can manually add you, or post your Snapchat code so people can download the image and scan it within the app.
Snapchat Marketing Plan
Creating a marketing plan for Snapchat is actually extremely important, because it’s just so different from other social platforms. When you send a user a Snap, it’s generally a lot more personal than media on other platforms, because you must send Snaps directly to users. This gives it a much more personal feel, which increases engagement and response.
Let’s take a look at some of the types of content that have seen success on Snapchat:
- Behind-the-scenes footage
- Real-time news and updates
- Contests (especially flash contests)
- Short instructional content (mini-tutorials)
- Product previews
These are a few examples of the types of things you can share on Snapchat, but just about any type of content can work as long as it fits within the short format.
But remember, content must be memorable to be useful on Snapchat. Because content disappears so quickly, it’s vital to post only content that will really capture attention and interest.
When you create a marketing plan for Snapchat, it’s a good idea to observe some other successful brands on Snapchat, such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Sour Patch Kids, and Gatorade. These brands have had some truly inspired campaigns that really got their companies a lot of attention, increasing their profiles considerably.
Make sure you have clear goals in mind when you create your campaign. Snapchat’s strength isn’t direct selling, so it’s best to use the platform to increase your profile on other outlets, or just your brand in general.
For example, you could hold contests to increase your follower count on various platforms. Or you could just post silly behind-the-scenes pictures and videos as a way to connect with potential customers and increase brand awareness.
Goals will help you choose the best types of promotions to add to your Snapchat marketing plan.
There are two types of content you can send on Snapchat—Snaps and Stories. Snaps are single pictures or videos that can be up to 10 seconds long. Stories are basically collections of pictures and videos, and they can be viewed multiple times over a 24-hour period.
Snaps come in two varieties—pictures and videos. To take a Snap, you either tap the circle in the center of the screen at the bottom to take a picture, or hold down the circle to take a video. Remember, videos can only be a maximum of 10 seconds.
Once you take your picture or video, you have the opportunity to delete it if you don’t like it. Just tap the “X” at the top left of the screen and you can then try again.
To change the length of time someone can view the content before it disappears, tap the clock icon at the bottom left. This will let you choose any length of time up to 10 seconds for your Snap to be viewable. Remember, people can take screenshots during this time!
If you want to write on your Snap, tap the center of your screen. Then you can type a caption for your picture. You can move the text around on the screen by holding it with your finger and moving it around.
You can also draw on your Snap (yes, even videos) by tapping the pencil icon, or add stickers by tapping the square sticker icon (that has a peeling corner). This is a great way to get more attention to your photos or videos!
If you like the Snap, you can also download it for use on other social media sites by clicking the download button, which looks like an arrow pointing downward into a box. This will save the Snap to your camera so you can use it elsewhere.
When you’re ready to send your Snap, tap the white arrow on the blue circle. Then you can choose a recipient (or multiple recipients) for your Snap.
The other form of media you can use is called Stories. Stories are collections of media that appear in your account for any of your friends to view for 24 hours from the time you create them. They can be watched by anyone who follows you an unlimited number of times during that 24-hour period.
Stories are great, because they allow you to send multiple related pictures and videos all at once instead of spamming your followers with a bunch of individual messages. These Stories can be much more powerful than individual Snaps, but they must be a cohesive unit to be effective.
So what makes a good Story, and when should you use a Story instead of a Snap?
Well, Snaps are great for quick, one-off images, such as a picture of a new menu item at a restaurant, a new clothing item you just bought, or a picture of your current location.
Stories are meant for things such as live events (like concerts, for example) where you’d like to add multiple photos or videos, or for things like instructional content where you could take photos or short videos of the various steps involved, such as for a craft project or recipe.
HubSpot has a great article on stories here if you want more information on using stories:
As you’ve learned in this guide, Snapchat has a massive user base of millions of users who are active on a regular basis. Over 150 million people use the site daily! With this kind of built-in user base, it’s hard to keep ignoring it as a valid marketing channel.
Not only is there a massive user base, but the platform is also remarkably effective as a marketing tool. Snap Ads are reported to be extremely effective and profitable. Engagement is much higher than other platforms, and although direct selling isn’t one of its strong suits, raising brand awareness most certainly is!
Considering it only takes a few minutes to post content on Snapchat, and it’s free, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be giving it a shot. What have you got to lose?
Remember, content should be short, and grab attention quickly. Snapchat is all about short and sweet, kind of like Twitter. If you don’t capture attention immediately, your ads will be ineffective.
All you have to do to get started is download the app. It’s free! So go download it and get started!
Best of luck!
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Speed Writing Skills
No matter what type of business you’re in online, you probably have to do at least some writing. Whether you’re a blogger, a website builder, an indie book publisher, a freelance writer, or even an online shop owner, chances are you need to write content of some sort.
We all know that time is money, and when you’re writing for your business, the faster you write, the more money you can potentially make. But can you really develop writing skills? Can you really change the speed at which you write? Yes!
You’ve probably heard of speed-reading, but did you know you can actually learn to write much faster, too? Some people can write up to 10,000 words per day, or even more, without spending every second of their time doing it. Would you like to learn how?
That’s exactly what you’re going to learn about in this guide. You’re going to learn how to write any type of content faster, no matter what it is you’re writing!
You’re going to learn about things such as the importance of outlining, how to do research, how to improve your typing speed, and much more. All of these techniques will help you develop your writing skills. You will learn how to write more quickly, and without all of the stress and frustration that can so often go along with the writing process.
The first step to writing quickly is to gather as much of your research as possible before you start writing. Even if you’re writing fiction, you may need some research before you begin. For example, historical novels must be as accurate as possible, so research is critical. Reviewers are likely to tear you to shreds if you make mistakes in your research! And with nonfiction, research is just as important.
Research may consist of:
- Internet searches
- Books, magazines, newspapers, etc.
- Notes you create for character profiles, etc.
- Physical objects you may need to describe
In fact, research could be nearly anything as long as they pertain in some way to what you’re writing. Just be sure you keep your research organized, as it can be distracting and unproductive to have to keep looking for the information you need while trying to write.
You may still need to do some research during your project, but pulling together most of what you need before you start will help eliminate a lot of distractions that can take you away from actual writing.
Try to anticipate the information you’ll need before you start, and hopefully you’ll only have a minimal amount of research to do midstream.
Once you have all your research gathered, you can start outlining your work. Even if you’re just writing a short email for your mailing list or a simple blog post, an outline will help you remember all of the key points you wish to make.
An outline doesn’t have to be extremely detailed. Some people work better with simpler outlines, while some prefer more complex versions. Find what works for you. Start with a simple outline first, and if you find yourself constantly facing writer’s block, you may want to move on to a move complex outline.
Your outline will probably be much more detailed for in-depth work like books or long-form articles, because more information is needed.
You don’t even have to put it in a standard outline form. The traditional outline has tiered bullet point or numbered lists, but that isn’t necessary unless you happen to prefer that type. Instead, it can simply be a list of points you wish to make in the order you believe makes the most sense.
You can always edit your outline later, but it’s important to write down all of the most important elements of your work before you begin so you aren’t as likely to experience writer’s block. Writer’s block is one of the number one speed killers, and an outline can significantly reduce it.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people never even try to work on improving their typing speed, and that’s a real shame. In fact, you could potentially double your writing speed just by increasing the speed at which you accurately type.
There are a lot of programs you can use to assess your typing speed and improve it. Any program will work fine as long as it also takes accuracy into account, because you need to learn to type with both speed and accuracy, as typos can really slow you down.
It’s actually recommended that you write without editing and go back and do your editing later. Editing midstream can actually cause writer’s block in some people, but if you are a persistent midstream editor, learning to type with both speed and accuracy can reduce the number of times typos distract you.
Even if you think your typing speed is up to snuff, it can probably still be improved. Even if you have a brain that works quickly and the ideas flow rapidly, it won’t do you any good if your fingers can’t keep up to get those words down on the page! Keep practicing your typing and measure and track your results. The more you improve your typing speed and accuracy, the better your writing skills will be, and the faster you’ll write!
Another great way to improve your writing speed is to use a dictation like Dragon Naturally Speaking to turn your spoken words into text on the page.
You can check the program out here:
Dragon Naturally Speaking (and other similar programs) will allow you to speak your words into a microphone and it will dictate the speech onto your screen.
So what makes dictation so great?
Well, most people speak faster than they type, so it is more natural for many users to speak what they want to write instead of having to type if. Some people double their words per hour, or even more, once getting the software trained to properly understand their voice.
Keep in mind that text written with dictation software will often need heavy editing to fix any mistakes the software makes and improve the punctuation and grammar, but editing is generally easier than the initial writing.
A few people find they do better when typing because they feel self-conscious speaking aloud even if they are alone. You might be one of those people, and if you are, don’t worry about it. You can either keep trying—training yourself to work well with dictation software—or just keep typing.
Remember, though, you’ll never be able to type as quickly as you speak, so learning to use dictation software is the best way to dramatically increase your writing speed.
Distractions are a huge problem for any writer, and they can come from many different sources. Children, pets, family, friends, Facebook, Netflix, video games, television… the list of potential distractions just goes on and on, and they can be extremely detrimental to the writing process.
The key is to train yourself to eliminate these distractions so you can truly concentrate on your writing without letting anything take your attention away from your writing.
One important key to remember is that you don’t have to write constantly all day long. Instead, you can break your writing up into smaller segments during the day. You can write at the times that have the fewest distractions, thus naturally improving your writing speed.
If you live with other people, or even animals, those around you can definitely hinder your progress. You’ll even have to deal with phone calls, random visits, and other such distractions.
The first thing you should do is make sure you have a quiet place you can go hide when you want to write. This may not always be possible if you live somewhere without any privacy, such as a one-room apartment with multiple people, but if at all possible, find that private place to write, even if it’s a closet or bathroom!
It’s also important to sit down with the people around you and let them know how important it is that you aren’t disturbed while you’re writing. Bring up the fact that they wouldn’t interrupt you at a traditional job to ask where their jacket is or point out something on television, and that they can’t do it to you while you’re working at home, either.
There are a number of different programs you can use for distraction free writing. Some can be programmed to take over your computer so you can’t do anything but write with it for a certain period of time. Of course, it will still take discipline to avoid being distracted by your phone, the television, the refrigerator, etc. But these programs will help with that by giving you set time limits for writing.
If you’re in a groove, you can always keep writing after the timer expires!
One program that can help you with distraction-free writing is Blank Page. They have a simple system that is easy to use and really works.
Check out Blank Page here:
What should you do when you experience the dreaded writer’s block? Well, the solution differs based on your personality. Some people prefer to just step away from the work for a while, while others find it useful to do some free writing as a way to recapture their mojo.
If you find yourself forgetting where you were when you step away from your work for a while, and it takes you a while to get back into the groove, then taking a break is probably not right for you. Instead, you might want to do what is known as free writing.
Free writing basically means you write about anything you feel like writing, not necessarily on the same subject you’re currently working on, though it could be, without worry about spelling, grammar, or even making sense. You just write whatever comes to mind, and you keep writing without stopping for a defined period of time, such as five, ten, or up to thirty minutes.
Free writing can help you break through a writer’s block by freeing your mind from whatever is blocking it. This could mean writing in a separate document on the same subject you’re trying to complete, or it could be some entirely different subject—whatever works for you.
Here’s a quick example of a short free writing session just to let you see how completely nonsensical and useless it may appear to be:
I have writer’s block so I’ve decided to write about a flower. I’m writing whatever words come to me as I picture a red tulip swaying in the breeze. I’m not going to stop writing about this flower until I decided I want to, and even if I feel blocked I will keep typing words on the page until my session has lapsed. The flower is swaying as a bee dips from the sky and crawls between its petals. As it disappears, I wonder… (END)
The point is not to write something useable, but to kickstart your brain and get the ideas flowing again. So you truly can write about anything as long as you keep those words flowing!
Sometimes you can clear writer’s block simply by switching to another topic for a while before going back to the original one. This could mean writing a different fiction story, choosing a different subject to write about, or even just researching your next project for a while.
Often, writer’s block happens because of burnout. If your mind burns out on a particular subject, sometimes taking a step away to write something else will help clear the block so that when you return to your original work.
This may not work for those who tend to quickly forget what they were working on before, but for a lot of people it really can help.
Writing is never a simple task. It takes a lot of preparation, thought, and time. Fortunately, you can significantly reduce the time (and potential frustration) by following the tips we’ve covered in this guide.
Remember these important points:
- Gather your research before you begin writing.
- Create an outline to help you stay on track.
- Work on increasing your typing speed and accuracy.
- Use dictation software to write quicker.
- Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
If you use these techniques and consistently practice, you will be able to write faster and faster until you reach a point where you’re more productive than you ever thought possible.
Whether you’re writing articles, blog posts, emails, short stories, books, or even poetry, these tactics can significantly increase your production and reduce a lot of the frustration that goes along with writing.
I hope you’ve learned a lot, and I hope this guide will help you write faster than ever!
Best of luck!
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Internet marketing is something a lot of people are interested in getting started in, but their eyes glaze over once they hear terms like FTP, domain names, hosting, script installation… all those terms that all internet marketers have to learn eventually, but seem so daunting to a beginner.
In this guide, you’re going to learn about some of the most important things you’ll need to know as a startup newbie being introduced to internet marketing.
We’re going to cover topics such as domain names, hosting, graphics, images, FTP and much more. We’ll cover most of the basics that you need to get started in internet marketing.
Everyone’s a pup at the startup.
Are you ready to run with the big dogs?
Then let’s get started!
Domain Name Registration and Management
The first thing you’ll likely need to know is how to get a domain name. Your domain name is your website’s street address, basically. It tells web browsers how to find your website.
A domain name looks like this >> your-domain.com
It’s web address would look like this >> http://www.your-domain.com
While you could get away with using a web address such as:
The fact is there are some problems with this.
First of all, it doesn’t look as professional as using your own domain. If you’re hosting on a free platform like WordPress or Blogger, you may find people aren’t as likely to trust you, especially if you’re selling something.
Another potential problem is that free hosts have a variety of different rules you must follow. Some of them don’t allow you to use advertisements on your site. Others don’t allow you to use plugins. These rules and limitations can be extremely restrictive and hamper your marketing efforts greatly.
Finally, if you don’t have your own domain on your own hosting, you will be extremely limited with what you can accomplish with your website itself. Running WordPress on your own domain will allow you to use custom themes and plugins on your site, for example. While hosting on the WordPress servers limits you quite severely.
There are many different places to buy a domain, but not all are created equal. Some have higher fees than others, while some use tricky or deceptive means to entice buyers to use their services.
The most commonly used registrar by internet marketers is:
NameCheap has very fair prices, and they are known for being honest and having excellent customer service. Additionally, you can Google “NameCheap coupon and you will get a discount code that will take a fair amount of the purchase price of a new domain name.
NameCheap offers a service called WhoisGuard that comes free with a brand new domain. What is WhoisGuard? Well, it protects your private information from potentially prying eyes, spammers and stalkers. This service is absolutely invaluable when it comes to privacy.
There are a couple of minor potential drawbacks to using it.
Some people may not trust you if you use it, so it may slightly lessen sales. But the odds of someone checking your WHOIS information before they buy from you are relatively slim.
Additionally, some people say Google may penalize your site if you are using WhoisGuard, but there is no real evidence of this. It is purely anecdotal. This is nothing to worry about for most people, and unless you are in an extremely competitive niche SEO wise, it’s not worth considering.
If you don’t want to risk disgruntled customers or crazy stalkers showing up at your front door, this is a great way to protect yourself.
Choosing a Domain
First of all, don’t be suckered into buying anything but a domain that ends with the .com extension. It’s been proven that domains that end in other extensions have a tougher time ranking well in the search engines. Not only that, but if you want people to be able to remember your domain if they want to come back and have forgotten to bookmark it, you really need to have the .com version. It is what people instinctively visit.
Ideally, you want to choose one of two types of domains:
- Short, unique and brandable
- Keyword rich
A short, unique and brandable domain would be something that is one or two words, easy to spell and remember, unique enough to stand out in people’s minds so they remember it, and clever enough to be highly brandable.
Here are some examples:
This type of domain is best for online stores, social media sites, and other types of sites that focus on products or services more than content.
Keyword rich domains generally contain one major keyword phrase that you’d want to rank well for in the search engines. These don’t work as well for SEO as they used to, but are still beneficial to some degree.
Examples would be:
I have no idea if any of those are currently being used, but they are examples of the types of domains you might want to get if you were trying to rank for those phrases.
If you buy a domain name, you must have somewhere to host it. If your domain is your street address, your hosting is basically the building in which your company resides at that address.
There are many reputable hosting companies to choose from, but perhaps the most popular among internet marketers is HostGator.
HostGator has a very affordable plan called Baby Croc that costs about $10 per month and gives you all the space and bandwidth the average person can use. If you happen to use more than your server can handle, you may need to get a dedicated server, but if that becomes the case, you should hopefully be making more than enough money to afford it.
HostGator also has the Fantastico system, which will allow you to install scripts such as WordPress with just a few mouse clicks and with ZERO knowledge of technical stuff like databases.
The minimum specs you will need from your hosting company will depend on what you want to accomplish with it and how much traffic you think you’ll be getting, but most companies are fairly flexible. You can move up or down in plan size pretty much anytime if you find you need more options or if you’re paying too much for stuff you don’t need.
At the very least you will probably want:
- FTP access
- Unlimited domains
- Unlimited or reasonable storage
- Unlimited or reasonable bandwidth
- Fantastico (for script installation)
There are other features that come in handy, such as regular automatic backups to protect your websites in case of crash or hacking, but nothing is really critical. Most hosting companies these days will offer such features, anyway.
One thing you may need to become acquainted with is cPanel. Your hosting company will probably provide some basic tutorials to help you learn to use it. But if you want to add new domains to your account, setup redirects, install software, etc., you will need to learn to use it.
FTP, also known as File Transfer Protocol, is a method of transferring files to and from your hosting server. This is used for uploading images, HTML files, etc.
You will need to use a FTP program if you need to transfer files, and unless you’re using WordPress (installed with Fantastic) exclusively, you will likely need to upload files at some point.
There are some great free FTP programs available for most OS platforms. Very few people would need the features that come with paid FTP programs, anyway.
Here are a few to check out:
>> http://filezilla-project.org (Windows and Mac)
>> http://www.coffeecup.com/free-ftp/ (Windows)
>> https://www.smartftp.com (Windows)
>> http://www.coreftp.com (Windows)
Check the instructions that come with the individual programs to learn how to use them. Most are quite simple.
Royalty Free Images
Ah, images. Almost everyone uses them on their website at some point, but most people don’t understand how copyright works. If you make a mistake in this area, you could face fines of up to six figures and even jail time! (Yes, it really is that serious!)
There are many sites that sell royalty-free images. (Note: Royalty-free does NOT mean free! It means you do not have to pay a royalty to the photographer each time the image is printed or viewed. You do still have to pay a one-time fee to use the image.)
You must purchase a license for each and every photo you use, unless of course you have taken it yourself. The fee for an image can range from $1 (or less with special deals) to $25 per image or more, so it pays to shop around.
Here are some popular stock photo sites:
Almost everyone needs some type of graphics on their site. This could be logos, banners, e-Book covers… the list goes on. But graphics are one of the major driving forces of the internet, and as a startup newbie, if you can’t create them yourself, you could be paying quite a bit of money to have others do it for you.
The best program for doing graphics, hands down, is Adobe Photoshop. You can purchase it for several hundred bucks, OR you can pay a monthly fee to access the Creative Cloud version. You can get Photoshop alone for about $10 per month, or if you pay more you can get Adobe’s other apps, too.
If you’d prefer to pay nothing, you can get a free program called GIMP that will do many of the same things as Photoshop, and it’s free. The cost, however, is that there are not even remotely the same number of tutorials and add-ons available for GIMP, making Photoshop a more efficient choice even for beginners.
Let’s say you’ve tried to create your own graphics or write your own content and you just can’t manage to do it well enough. Where do you turn?
Outsourcing, of course!
There are many websites you can use to find inexpensive designers, programmers, writers, editors, and more. You may have to pay as little as a few bucks for most services, as such services, while in demand, are also highly competitive among freelancers. There are simply far more people trying to work as freelancers than there are available jobs. It’s truly a buyer’s market!
Here are a few places to find good freelancers:
When you hire someone, never pay 100% of the money upfront unless you know and trust the person completely. (Even if you do, never pay a large amount upfront. What if they ended up, heaven forbid, in the hospital or something? You’d be out a lot of money.)
At most, pay 50% upfront for the work. This distributes the risk evenly between you and the worker. They are taking the risk that you might not pay the other 50% when they finish, and you are taking the risk of paying half upfront and them potentially not delivering.
Be sure you both know each other’s expectations before money exchanges hands and before work begins. This will minimize hassles over things that should have been answered before hand.
Some questions to ask:
- What is the estimated delivery date for the finished project?
- Do you have samples and references?
- How many revisions can I expect for the price?
- How much are additional revisions.
- Do you have any other special terms?
If you’re going to sell anything online, you need a way to let people pay you for it. Some people use a general credit card processor, but those usually require a credit check, sometimes an upfront deposit, and other hassles that take a while to get through.
Enter places like PayPal. PayPal makes it easy for virtually anyone to take payments online, even by credit card, and a massive number of shopping carts and other eCommerce scripts are automatically integrated with it. This makes it the billing company of choice for most internet marketers.
They got a bit of a bad reputation over freezing funds several years ago, but this has been happening less and less in recent years. So if you’ve been wary of them in the past, you might want to reconsider them.
Their fees are some of the lowest around, and their ease of use is second to none.
As long as you deliver to your customers what you say you will, you shouldn’t have any problems with PayPal. If you do, they will work with you to find an amicable solution for all parties involved.
WordPress isn’t just a blogging platform, anymore. Using various themes, you can turn WordPress into a full-fledged website that rivals the appearance and functionality of just about any website you can think of.
There are two main ways to use WordPress:
- Hosting on the WordPress web servers
- Hosting the script on your own hosting
Keep in mind that WordPress does not allow commercial usage if you host on their servers, and you are also seriously limited on the number of themes and plugins you can use if you host on their servers, too.
The only choice for a marketer is to host it on your own.
When you host it yourself, you can control everything from the theme to the plugins to the advertising and marketing. You’re free to do basically whatever you want with the software on your own server.
WordPress is daunting for most startup newbies, but it’s really a very simple system to learn. Once you get the hang of the basics, you’ll discover that it’s a lot easier to use than you thought. In fact, it’s much easier to build a website with WordPress than it is to build one with HTML.
The WordPress website has some excellent tutorials to help get you started:
If you need excellent themes, there are many available free through the WordPress system, or you can buy one from such places as:
Everyone must start somewhere, and it takes the average newbie months to discover all the pieces of the puzzle that we’ve just presented in this guide. Now you can consider yourself way ahead of the game, because you’ve learned the basics in just a short time.
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Earn by teaching online.
Online courses have absolutely exploded in popularity in recent years, and savvy developers are cashing in big time. Some developers have made millions with simple online courses, and this trend is only likely to grow as time passes.
With the cost of going to college spiraling out of control, and more people turning to alternative methods of gaining an education, there’s never been a better time to be a provider of online learning and training.
In fact, according to Forbes, the online learning market has exceeded 100 billion dollars! That’s a lot of money circulating in the industry, and you can grab your own slice of it even if you think you have nothing of value to contribute. Trust me, you don’t have to have any special knowledge to create online courses!
In this guide, you’re going to learn how you can earn by teaching online through your own online course(s), and how you can create a great, profitable course even if you don’t have any special knowledge.
So let’s get started!
Choosing a Topic
The first thing you need to do is figure out what you’d like to create a course about. If you have some kind of special skill or knowledge, that would be the most obvious choice, but if you don’t, there’s nothing to worry about. You can simply choose a topic, research it carefully, and create your course from there.
If you’d like to get an idea of the types of courses that are popular, you can go to Udemy (http://www.udemy.com) and start browsing. If you drill down into specific categories, you can see the bestsellers for each one. This will give you an idea of some of the topics that are popular so you can create something similar.
Here are a few ideas of the types of courses you might create:
- Art and graphics design
- Beauty and fashion
- Website design
- Video production
- Business and finance
- Diet and fitness
- Household management
- Job and career development
- Word processing
- App creation
There will be a lot of competition in most of these areas, so it’s important to do something to differentiate yourself. You can set yourself apart from the competition by offering a different viewpoint, or some special angle on the topic that most people aren’t doing. For example, instead of showing Excel for account purposes, you might show how to use it to keep track of data such as Blu-Ray movies you own, or collectible items. Or you could specialize in vegan cooking videos rather than just standard cooking.
It’s also a good idea to choose a topic you’re at least interested in, because I will be a lot more fun to create your course if you enjoy researching and developing it!
Naming Your Course
Once you choose your general topic, it’s important to think of a good name for your course. This should be an interesting name, but should also contain the major keywords one might use when searching for a course like yours.
For example, if you want to teach a course on the basics of vegan cooking, you could name it something like:
- An Introduction to Vegan Cooking
If you wanted to create a course on current SEO, you might name it:
- SEO Basics for 2017 and Beyond
The most popular course format these days is video, and that is what I suggest you use. The main reason for this is that the biggest online course websites, where you can sell your courses, all use the video format. You can often create supplementary materials such as PDFs to go along with your video content, but video should be the main format for your course.
If you feel self-conscious appearing on camera, you don’t have to show yourself or even use your voice! Even if you hate your voice or have a thick accent, you can still create your videos in a number of different ways.
Here are some different types of videos you can create:
- Top down instructional videos like Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos
- Screen recordings
- Videos with a paid voiceover actor
- Videos with a digital voice added
- Videos with subtitles only
- Videos with music
You don’t have to create videos that feature a live actor or even voice to be successful, although it can help. Using these types of video formats will let you accomplish the same thing if you don’t want to appear on camera.
If you want to get a good idea of the types of videos that are popular, you can always watch samples of some of the more popular courses. You’ll notice that most of them do feature live individuals, but this isn’t always true. Sometimes they feature voice only, and sometimes they don’t include voices at all. Videos with all of the text on the screen can be just as effective, and they have the added bonus of being accessible to those who are hearing impaired.
In the next section, you’ll learn about a few tools that will make it easier for you to create your video courses, so let’s move on.
Many people get really anxious when they think of creating videos, because they think it’s too technical or that they need some special knowledge to do it, but it’s actually a lot easier than you might think! In fact, if you can navigate the internet and send email, you can probably learn to create videos.
There are many different ways to create videos. The method you’ll use will depend on the type of course you want to create and the method you’re most comfortable using.
Let’s take a look at a few different video creation methods, and which types of courses each method is best for. If you’d like to learn more about each method, and the details of how to make videos, there are plenty of online courses and YouTube videos you can use to learn! (In fact, watching them may give you ideas for making your own courses!)
Your typical course looks a bit like a classroom or news show, or uses standard video to demonstrate things. You’ll see the course presenter (usually the creator, but sometimes a paid actor or partner) in front of the camera, and they present the material as though they were teaching a class in a school.
Example uses of this type of video include:
- Cooking demonstrations
- Craft how-to’s
- Language lessons
This type of video may be the easiest to create overall, because you simply need to record it. Many people use a quality phone camera, such as an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy camera to record their videos, but sound and video quality may not be as good as it would be if more professional equipment were used. However, it certainly can be done this way.
Many people do not post-process their videos, simply uploading the videos directly from their phone or camera, but it’s more professional if you add things like subtitles or enhancements.
If you want to process your videos, you can use tools such as iMovie (Mac), Adobe Premier Pro (PC or Mac), or Final Cut Pro (Mac).
If you’re doing courses that are more technical, such as design, programming, or other computer-based skills, you might want to use a screen recorder.
Screen recording software will allow you to record whatever you see on your computer screen—either the entire screen, or just a chosen section of it. You can demonstrate techniques while speaking, or just add text instructions to your video later. (Most people will probably prefer voice, but if you aren’t comfortable using your own voice, you can either just use text on the screen, use a voice actor, or add a digital voice.)
Some popular screen recording programs include:
Screen recording videos are most appropriate for lessons that specifically focus on lessons that involve using computers or mobile devices.
If you’re doing courses that don’t require live video or screen recording, you can use slides. If you’ve ever taken college classes, or worked in a business-oriented environment, you are probably familiar with PowerPoint presentations. You can turn such presentations into videos and use them for your courses.
You can use a voiceover for these types of videos, or just put all of the information in text format in the slides themselves. If you don’t use voice, you could optionally include music, but keep in mind that not everyone has the same taste in music.
There are several good options for creating slide presentations:
Number of Lessons/Modules
Ideally, to earn by teaching online, your course should contain no more than 12 modules, especially if it is on some technical subject that people may have some fear of. If your course is too long, people may feel daunted and say, “I can’t do this!”
There are exceptions to this, of course. For example, some courses may require more modules, because there’s no way for people to learn enough about the subject in just 12 lessons. Creating an app, for example, would probably require a lot more information than you could fit in 12 lessons.
Always keep your target audience in mind, and try to create just enough modules to deliver the necessary information without being long-winded or making your users fearful that they won’t be able to grasp the information.
Once you have a course created, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you get the most sales possible.
When it comes to setting a price for your course, price high.
I know this seems counterproductive. After all, wouldn’t you want to get the highest possible number of students?
Well, yes and no.
You see, pricing high accomplishes several major things:
- It gives the perception of quality. A $5 course will make people think it was just slapped together, whereas a $100 course will make people believe a lot of effort was put into its creation.
- It motivates buyers to actually complete the course and take action, because they’ve made a significant investment.
- It allows you to offer heavy discounts to capture those who can’t or won’t purchase at your higher price point. (Udemy is one place that offers heavy discounts to users on a regular basis.) Plus, when you discount, it will look like a lot better deal than if you discounted a cheaper course.
- It makes you a lot more money, because you have to attract a lot fewer buyers. You’re putting forth the same amount of effort to create and promote your course whether you charge a low price or a high price, so why not get paid the most you can?
Now, this strategy only works if you are offering truly valuable information and your course is very high quality. If you create a simple course that offers information readily available all over the place, you might want to charge very little or even make your course free in order to promote something else you offer.
In fact, that’s a strategy for promotion, in itself. You can make one simple course free, and then use it to promote your paid course which goes much further in depth into the subject.
Quality is the biggest way you can stand out with your course. Make sure you check out any competitors who have similar courses and see what they’re doing right, and what they’re doing wrong, so you can make sure your course is competitive.
You should also try to think of a different angle than the competition. For example, if you see a lot of people with vegan cooking videos, but not many feature desserts, you could create your specifically based on desserts in order to differentiate.
If you post your course on a site that allows coupons, you can create a coupon and then post it to all of the coupon websites that allow submissions. This will help you get a large amount of initial students and reviews, which will help you boost your income.
Here’s instructions for creating a coupon on Udemy:
Once you have a coupon code generated, you can submit it to many of the free coupon websites in order to gain a lot of initial users and (hopefully) a lot of positive reviews.
Creating an online course is a lot easier than you probably think, and it’s a great way to make passive income. Even if you think you don’t have a lot of skills you can teach people about, you can still research a topic and create a course.
It’s actually quite easy to create a video course. You can probably learn how to create basic videos in a weekend, and a few days later, you could have your course online and making money.
You can even use free software to create your course!
If you’ve been looking for a way to make mostly passive income, creating courses is a great way to do it, allowing you to earn by teaching online.
Sure, you’ll still need to promote your courses and respond to help requests and such, but this will take up very little of your time, and you have the potential to make a lot of money doing so.
The online education market is worth billions, and it’s time for you to grab your share! So get out there and make it happen!
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Selling to people and getting them to say Yes!
Let us take a look at the are of selling to people, and the 3 Key Reasons Why People Buy And How To Ensure That They Say YES To Your Products!
The 3 Main Reasons People Buy
Are you selling hundreds, maybe even thousands of products every month (digital or otherwise) or are you still struggling to boost your sales volume so that you’re able to at least break even every month?
If you are finding it difficult (if not impossible) to increase sales despite the fact that you are offering high quality, in-demand products then it’s time to unlock the 3 key reasons why people buy. (And these 3 reasons apply across the board – in any market, industry or niche imaginable!)
The reasons why someone buys from their favorite clothing store are the exact same as the reasons people would buy from you as opposed to your competition (or the other way around).
This holds true regardless of whether you sell website designs, artwork or even mail order.
Once you know and understand exactly what the 3 key reasons are, you can tap into the persuasive power that will instantly skyrocket your sales while putting you in a powerful position of expanding your business and ensuring steady growth over a long-term basis. You will be able to master the art of selling to people.
If you hadn’t already guessed, this report is all about the power of psychology. But rather than give you a lengthy (and boring) overview of how to use questionable “mind control” tactics to unfairly influence buyers – I’m going to show you how to use legitimate, honest and proven buyer triggers that deliver a powerful message to your buyer base – ensuring that your sales go up and your refund rate goes down.
And we’re not only going to uncover those all important three reasons that people buy, we’re also going to figure out how we can get into the minds of potential buyers, so they come to you instead of your competitors.
Are you ready to turn the tables around and put YOUR brand in front of a hungry audience of buyers?
How To Increase Sales With Buyer Triggers
Reason #1: “…to make money”
We all want to make more money, right? And so it should be no surprise that “making money” is one of the main reasons why people buy products. Just take a look around the marketplace today and you’ll see just how many products are designed to help people increase their income – and improve their financial situations.
More money means different things to different people: For some it might mean no more worrying about how to pay the bills. Other people may need to make money to fund projects, get businesses and projects off the ground, while for many others, making more money is simply about security and in their ability to provide a better life for their family and future generations.
If your product can help someone make more money, thus improving their financial situation, then you’ll be tapping into one of the key reasons why people purchase products and increase your effectiveness in selling to people.
Reason #2: “…to save money”
Saving money is just as important to buyers as making money is, and if you browse through both digital and physical product marketplaces you’ll find plenty of information on how people can reduce their overall costs and save more money.
From saving money on household bills to saving money at the pump, if your product can help people to save money you’ll be taking advantage of yet another key buying trigger.
Reason #3: “…to alleviate pain and suffering”
This is a very powerful reason for people to buy because this group of buyers are absolutely desperate for a quick and easy solution to their problems and they are willing to pay or do just about anything to find one.
You may have heard the term “desperate buyers”, and there is an entire market dedicated to this avid group of buyers.
If you cater to a market that consists of buyers looking for prompt answers, fast solutions to personal problems, or relief from emotional or physical pain, showing them how your product will directly alleviate their suffering is a very powerful trigger that will result in increased sales.
Understanding What Your Buyers Really Want
You now understand the 3 key reasons why people buy, so your next step is to uncover what people buy, so that you can create a best selling product in your industry or niche market.
To do this, you need to get into the minds of your potential buyers so you can understand what they’re most interested in and willing to pay money for. It’s like trying to find the need of a particular market. It’ll help you create the best product you possibly can while ensuring that your time is spent wisely creating products that have already proven to sell rather than testing out unknown markets.
Your first step is to conduct market research. The more you know about your audience the better your results will be, both in being able to understand your buyers and your ability to reach out to them.
For example, if you were a photographer who was interested in creating an information product focusing on teaching beginner photography-based techniques, you would want to conduct market research to first determine demand, and second to identify a unique angle or focus that you could use to set your product apart in the market.
This research would also give you access to valuable information about your market as a whole including:
Leaders (authorities in your market)
Research can make all the difference between spending a lot of time on a product only to get few sales in return, and identifying whether there really is an audience out there for the information you want to publish.
Using Alexa For Market Research
You’ve likely heard of Alexa, but have you ever considered it as a tool used to quickly (and thoroughly) analyze your market so you can better understand what people are looking for?
Here’s how to do it:
When you reach the main page of Alexa.com, click on the site info tab.
On this page, you are able to search 5 websites at once in order to compare traffic stats (including volume and history).
For our example, we’ll use the website www.AustralianOpen.com
Alexa gives us a summary of stats for the site and unsurprisingly it reveals the traffic for the site exploded into action at the start of the year, just before the tournament began.
With this information, you can see how trends are an important part of your site research. When you have a potential product in mind for a specific audience, you can explore different sites that already cater to that audience and evaluate overall traffic, interest as well competing websites already in your market.
Over on the right hand side of the page you can see the main high impact search terms that will bring people to the websites you are researching.
You’ll also be able to delve into search analytics including search terms that are rising and falling. This in particular is useful because it pinpoints potential trends. It can tell you what people need.
You can even find out more about the audience that visits this particular site. This is one of the most important features of all, because you can see how each age group compares to the general population.
For example, do more men between the ages of 25-34 visit this site than older men between the ages of 55-64? Do more female visitors go to the site overall than men?
As you can see, there is a wealth of information available on Alexa.com that can help you plan products that people are more likely to say yes to. It’s a great tool to use during the early stages of development because the more you know about your intended target audience, the easier it will be to identify a product they will be in need of.
For example, the audience demographics on this site reveal whether the majority of visitors to the Australian Open site have children or not. Could this be useful in your product creation ideas and marketing strategies?
In many ways, Quantcast is even more in depth than Alexa.com. You can plug in the name of a site you want to analyze, and see just how many visits it receives per day, week, or month, depending on your needs.
The demographics available on this site tell you a lot about your target audience. Let’s say you want to find out more about the people who use Amazon.com. Scroll down the results page and you’ll find all sorts of valuable demographic information about the audience.
Do more college students use the site than grad school members? How about the earnings of those who visit the site? You’ll get all kinds of answers from Quantcast!
Incidentally it’s worth identifying any peak trends that hit your market at certain times of the year. For example gardening will always be more popular during the main growing seasons. November is when things really take off for anyone selling festive products for the Christmas season. These two are obvious, but you’ll find plenty of other ideas as well. Do any of them apply to your audience?
CrazyEgg – getting more information from YOUR visitors
If you have a website and you’re thinking about creating a product
that is specific to your audience, CrazyEgg is a valuable resource both in terms of analyzing a market and in downloading “Heat Maps”, a complete and detailed snapshot of your website, so you can improve your marketing campaigns and make changes that will increase conversions.
A Heat Map provides you with the opportunity to take a look at your website in a whole new way. You’ll see a darkened view of a particular page – and your Heat Map will show you which links are the most popular on that page.
So if someone clicks on a link only occasionally, it would show as a bluish color. However if one link is very popular, producing a high number of click-throughs, it will appear in red. In other words the warmer the color, the hotter that area of your site really is.
This is a paid service but you do get a thirty-day period free to try it out. And the basic service is very affordable so it might be worth a look if you are serious about finding out what your visitors want and need.
Getting Into The Minds Of Your Buyers
If you want to increase your sales, you have to get into the minds of your buyers, and understand how and why they think the way they do. The more information you can gather and analyze – through using sites like Alexa to track the competition and Heat Maps to track the information on your own website – the easier it will be to create products that are guaranteed to sell.
If you’ve been creating products based on what you think your audience wants, you’ve been going about it in the wrong way. It’s all about finding a need your audience already has, and figuring out how to fill that need.
That’s why you should never begin creating products until you know your audience. You can get to know them in various ways – by exploring the market, finding out what they like and dislike about similar products in your market, evaluating the competition, researching demand and finally, discovering a unique angle that you can take, in order to ensure that your products stand-out in the market!
Of course there comes a time when you have to think about launching a product and seeing where it takes you. For this you’ll need a dedicated website and a sales page that is designed to bring in as many buyers as possible.
This is where a service like CrazyEgg’s heatmap comes in extremely handy. Let’s imagine you write your sales page and put it up there for people to find. Once you start getting traffic to it you can use the likes of Google Analytics to see which phrases are bringing people to the site and how long they are staying there before they leave – or go through to buy your product, as the case may be.
But the Heat Map will show you how your links are performing, what pages are more popular than others as well as what areas of your website could use improvement in order to boost conversion rates.
Heat Maps won’t only show you which links, graphics and pages are receiving more exposure, clicks or visits, but it can also help you determine how colors, headlines, sub headlines and other sales page elements are affecting sales.
For example, let’s say you’ve used two different colors for two different buy now buttons. One color may be outperforming the other one, but unless you know which one is doing this you won’t be able to capitalize on it and change the color of the other buttons as well. A Heat Map will highlight which button is outperforming the other, making it easy for you to change!
You shouldn’t underestimate the power of testing and tracking when it comes to launching any new product. It can be the difference between a successful product and an absolute loss.
A/B Split Testing
It’s worth mentioning the process of A/B testing here. You may also have heard this referred to as split testing. We made a brief mention of this above when we talked about having two different colored buy now buttons.
The idea is you change just one element on two landing pages, whether it is a headline, bullet point, color scheme, layout or perhaps even just button or link placement.
For example you might have a newsletter you want to send out to your 2,000 strong email list. So you send 1,000 people the standard newsletter with one subject line, while the other 1,000 people get exactly the same newsletter with a different subject line.
Apart from the subject lines everything else is exactly the same.
By running an A/B split test campaign you can see which subject line drew the most attention, which one garnered a higher number of open-rates and which one ultimately out-performed the other.
The same test can be conducted to evaluate two different headlines, sub-headlines, greetings and even website designs.
Test your ideas. Test your audience. Find out what makes them tick – and then test whether they react more strongly to one element in your sales funnel than another.
The great thing is, some of this knowledge you’ll learn as you go along can be applied to more than one product launch. As you get to know your target audience, you’ll start to understand them better. You’ll instinctively know whether one product is likely to out-sell another. You’ll have far more hits than misses, and you’ll ultimately, sell more than you ever have before.
When selling to people, nothing is more important than understanding your buyers, what they want most, what they are interested in and what they will buy (and buy again).
When you know your target audience, you know how to create and deliver products that will outsell and outperform the competition. In fact, the more you know your buyer, the greater position you are in to become a leading authority in your niche and someone that people recognize as a primary source of quality products that they can feel comfortable buying.
Knowing your market is also important when building your brand. Nothing will speak to your audience more clearly than when you truly understand what is most important to them. Your products will have a solid angle, a distinct voice, and will stand out in your market, no matter how crowded.
You’ll become a primary player in your industry – a force to be reckoned with, and an authority figure.
Get to your audience and you’ll build a strong, polished brand that will stand the test of time.
It’s a real win-win situation – you get what you’re looking for, the customers get what they’re looking for, and both parties are likely to want to maintain an ongoing business relationship for many years to come.
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Top Twitter marketing mistakes.
Twitter is one of the most high traffic websites in the world, and it can be extremely profitable for marketing purposes. It’s also very simple to use. You just sign up, complete your profile, and post messages. It’s basically as simple as sending email, right?
Sure, a five-year-old can learn to use Twitter in a few minutes, but not everyone can learn to use it correctly; and thus, those looking to use it for business are prone to commit Twitter marketing mistakes!
The fact is the vast majority of people are using it all wrong. They’re making these huge mistakes than can turn out to be giant disasters in the long run, and can not only hurt your marketing efforts, they could actually hurt your reputation, too!
In this guide, you’re going to learn about some of the top Twitter marketing mistakes, and how you can avoid them. In fact, just avoiding these simple things can improve your marketing significantly and rapidly.
So let’s begin.
Tweeting Nothing But Marketing
Perhaps the single most common mistake people make is Tweeting nothing but marketing messages over and over. After a while, people are probably going to tune you out. This is one of the top Twitter marketing mistakes. Unless your followers are extremely rabid for your products and have specifically signed up to hear about your new releases or special offers, they’re probably going to tire of you quickly if you inundate them with marketing constantly.
Would you like to see your own feed clogged by dozens, perhaps hundreds, of marketing messages by the same person? Would you be ok if you kept missing important messages because someone else kept posting so much marketing that other stuff got lost?
Well, neither would most people!
Instead of posting continual marketing, break up the monotony by posting interesting, entertaining, or helpful posts, especially if they are related to your industry.
But don’t make the mistake of posting totally irrelevant or controversial posts! This will likely only backfire.
Posting Long Messages
Many people think that because they can post a maximum of 140 characters, that they should get the most out of every post by getting as close to the character limit as possible, but people actually like and respond to shorter posts much better.
Studies have repeatedly shown that posts under 100 characters actually get a much higher rate of engagement than longer posts. This is also one of those top Twitter marketing mistakes.
Not only that, but when you keep your posts under 100 characters, it leaves room for your followers to share posts and use the @mention or retweet functions.
Your posts should be short and to the point, with one or two relevant hashtags. Anything more than this and people aren’t as likely to read your tweet or engage with it. And, of course, with any type of social media, engagement is key.
If your followers aren’t retweeting your posts or otherwise engaging, you’ll never get the type of viral reach you’re hoping for.
Twitter isn’t just a place to share cute stuff, it’s also an important platform for customer service. Surprisingly, a lot of customers are now using Twitter to contact companies instead of email, because they feel it’s more likely a company will respond to a public request. Additionally, it’s often easier to contact someone on Twitter than it is to pick up the phone or search for an email or contact form.
You should check your account to see who “mentions” you a few times each day to make sure you aren’t missing important messages. It could look very bad on you and your company if you ignore messages.
Additionally, responding directly to customers will help build loyalty. Not only will those customers be more likely to purchase from you in the future, but they will also be more likely to recommend you to others.
I’m sure you’ve heard how important word-of-mouth marketing is. It’s a little principle called “social proof”, and it can be incredibly powerful. People are much more likely to purchase something if they’ve heard about it from a trusted friend or family member, so it’s extremely beneficial to be sure all of your customers are as loyal as possible.
Make sure you check out who mentions you on Twitter, and then make sure that respond, respond, and respond! This will help you avoid this top Twitter marketing mistake.
Have you ever seen someone you have followed on Twitter tweeting and re-tweeting the same message over and over, all day long? It can get pretty annoying, especially if you end up missing important messages because of it.
This is one of the top Twitter mistakes that is typically made by people who are relatively new to Twitter and don’t really understand the platform yet. It’s not the worst thing you can do, but people will definitely start to tune you out after a while.
Most people who do this, think it will help them get seen, because their post will be more likely to end up near the top of someone’s feed, but that’s really not true. All it will end up doing is upsetting your followers and making you look bad.
If you really must keep tweeting about the same thing, at least vary your messages. Change the wording, or perhaps add something new. This will help the redundant seem a bit less so.
For example, you could change up tweets like this:
- Love the new Sparkle Shine Dress? Post a pic of you in it and get entered to win a $50 gift certificate? bit.ly
- Let’s see a picture of you in the new Sparkle Shine Dress! You could win $50! Bit.ly
- We’re giving away a $50 gift certificate and it only takes a pic to enter! Bit.ly
- How’d you like $50 to spend on new shoes? Send us a pic at bit.ly
These variations help distinguish your tweets from each other, and will help you gain more engagement because someone who doesn’t respond to one particular wording might respond to another.
Get creative, try new things, and you may discover that not only are people paying more attention, but they’re also taking more action!
There is a growing movement for auto-tweeting, but this can end up with disastrous results. One company found this out first hand when they had a larger number of auto-tweets scheduled about an upcoming concert and the roof of the stage collapsed, causing fatalities. The company was still tweeting about buying tickets for the concert, which was already cancelled. They looked tasteless and borderline criminal. It was a disaster!
Sure, this level of nightmare isn’t likely to happen to you, but you never know. What if you scheduled tweets about “a tsunami of deals” and a disastrous tidal wave hit a town and killed thousands right before your tweet went out? It would look like a callus joke in horribly bad taste and make your company look terrible.
If you’re going to auto-tweet, be sure you keep abreast of current events and make sure no tactless tweets accidentally go out at the wrong time.
Also, you might not want to tweet about individual products on an automated basis. Imagine tweeting about a product that had been sold out for weeks with the text “Now In Stock!”
You’d have a lot of upset customers on your hands!
If you manage multiple Twitter accounts, you may occasionally forget which account you’re logged into. This can have disastrous consequences if you’re somehow hiding your identity.
If you want to see just how disastrous this kind of thing can be, you only need to look to a huge mistake made by one of the social media managers for the American Red Cross, who thought she was logged into her personal Twitter account, but to her horror discovered she was still logged into the official American Red Cross page.
Fortunately, the Red Cross handled the situation like a boss. They quickly deleted the post and used a bit of levity to avoid any real damage to their organization.
“We’ve deleted the rogue tweet but rest assured the Red Cross is sober and we’ve confiscated the keys.”
As a happy consequence, donations ended up temporarily spiking, but you can see that this could have been an embarrassing situation for all involved. This kind of thing could get people fired or cost a company major business!
If you’re going to manage two or more accounts, get into the habit of checking the name on your account every single time you post so you can be certain you aren’t accidentally using the wrong account.
Tweeting Too Much
Tweeting too often is the kiss of death for any Twitter account, unless you have an extremely rabid following that hangs on your every word. Over-tweeting is one of the quickest ways to get people to un-follow you.
This is true whether you’re tweeting about what you had for lunch, the latest breaking news, or even posts about contests and giveaways. People just don’t want to see sooooooo much content from one single person or company.
Try to limit your tweets to a maximum of 8-10 per day, and do that only rarely. Four per day is plenty most of the time. This will help you reach people in different time zones around the world without being annoying.
If you’d like to know when the most effective times are to tweet, keep an eye on your metrics as far as engagements such a retweets and when people mention you. Tweet at the times you regularly get the most engagements, to reach the bulk of your audience.
Also, if you notice your account losing followers, you might be tweeting too much! Slow down and see if your rate of loss drops.
Have you ever seen a tweet where over half the message was nothing but one hashtag after the other?
These tweets look something like this:
Ready for #summer? Get a hot #swimsuit, #tankini, #bikini, #sarong or a great pair of #sandals or #sunglasses! Bit.ly
This is annoying, looks terrible, and isn’t likely to accomplish much. You’re much better off separating this into focused posts by concentrating on each item in a separate post. You can spread this out over a day or two to keep from inundating your followers.
Ready for #thebeach? Get your next super sexy #bikini at our huge Summer Sale Event! Bit.ly
We’re having a huge Summer Sale Event on swimsuits! Get your next #tankini at up to 60% off! Bit.ly
Need new #sandals for #summer? Check out our Summer Sale event! Bit.ly
The last thing anyone wants to see is a total stranger begging to be followed. Begging is not only rude, it’s downright distasteful. It makes you look desperate, and definitely doesn’t inspire confidence in your product or service.
Think about it. If you’re so desperate that you’re begging strangers to follow you, what does that say about you or your company? Does that sound like you’re a confident business owner who has a stellar reputation and a first-class product?
To the average person, begging smacks of desperation. And people are usually desperate because they aren’t making any sales. And what is the biggest reason people don’t make sales? Because their product stinks!
I’m not saying your product stinks, but that is what people are likely to think if you beg for followers.
Instead of begging, you can send a polite message requesting a person follow you and give them a reason to do so. This might be exclusive promotions, giveaways, contests, coupons, etc. Or you could mention that you’d happily retweet their messages when they follow you.
Too Much Retweeting
Retweeting is a great tool, because you can use it to show off praise from customers or to call out a company or individual you’re happy with. But overused it can be a recipe for disaster.
Not only could it harm your reputation if your randomly retweet the wrong person who later ends up to have a bad reputation or scams people, but if it is overdone your followers will start to tune you out as they would if you overused any type of posting method.
Ideally, you want to ensure that each retweet reflects well upon you and your brand. Check the background of each person you intend to retweet, and use them sparingly. Save them for occasions when a tweet really stands out as worthy of a retweet.
Unless you’re a brand that thrives on controversy, it’s never a good idea to post anything that might be controversial unless you’re really willing to lose a large chunk of your user base if they respond negatively to whatever you post.
Sure, some brands can get away with being controversial. For example, many Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby customers have praised these two companies for standing up for their shared religious beliefs. It was a huge risk, but now many of their customer base, have become more loyal because of the decisions these companies have made. However, these companies have also discovered that a very large chunk of their future and potential market has decided to boycott them, and that their stance on certain issues will make it difficult for them to ever broaden their market reach.
In PR, some people have said that no attention is bad attention, but in many cases this simply isn’t true. Controversy can be the kiss of death for a business, and it can be a PR nightmare.
Be very careful about what you post. Think before you post and be sure you aren’t stirring up even the slightest hint of controversy. You definitely don’t want to offend your core customer base, and it’s easier than you think, to do so.
Twitter is a remarkable platform for marketing when it is used correctly, but most people tend to make at least a few of these common mistakes. This can lead to the platform being less effective than it could be, or even potentially causing more harm than good.
In order to make the most of Twitter, it’s important to observe these warnings and avoid these top Twitter marketing mistakes, at all costs.
To recap, the biggest mistakes are:
Disaster #1 – Tweeting Nothing But Marketing
Disaster #2 – Posting Long Messages
Disaster #3 – Ignoring Mentions
Disaster #4 – Being Redundant
Disaster #5 – Automation
Disaster #6 – Mistaken Identity
Disaster #7 – Tweeting Too Much
Disaster #8 – Hashtag Insanity
Disaster #9 – Follower Begging
Disaster #10 – Useless Tweeting
Disaster #11 – Controversy
If you can avoid these common mistakes and use Twitter the way it was intended, you’ll soon discover that it’s an effective marketing platform that is actually as effective as it is easy to use.
Good luck with your Twitter campaigns!
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Make the most of your Facebook Live videos by taking note of these twenty-one proven strategies and ideas.
- Practice Privately
Yes, the purpose of Facebook Live videos is to, well, go live … but if you are timid about it, do a few practice sessions that no one will see.
Simply set your “Who Should See This?” privacy setting to “Me Only”. (You can do this from your desktop and it will apply the setting to your mobile app as well.)
Just remember to re-set your privacy setting, once you’ve finished your practice session!
- Create a Pre-Recording Routine
If you know you are going to do a Facebook Live broadcast, set up and follow steps in a pre-production routine so that your broadcasts are as distraction-free and professional as possible while still feeling one-hundred-percent spontaneous.
- Have a glass of water at hand
- Shut doors and windows
- Turn off ambient noise sources such as fans
- Put the dog out
- Have the children babysat or entertained
- Unplug the phone and turn off your mobile
- Check your mic and light sources
- Set any prompts you need in place
It can feel hard to be ‘natural’ at first. A great pro tip is to deliberately smile (and keep smiling) for a few seconds before you start to broadcast. Smiling relaxes your face muscles and pre-conditions you to a positive frame of mind.
- Create a Re-purposing Routine
Don’t just re-purpose your Facebook Live posts randomly: Create a routine that virtually automates the process:
- Save your video to Dropbox or other project management software like Basecamp
- Have your freelancers or VA re-process the recordings by stripping out audio, transcribing them, turning them into blog posts or podcast episodes and giving them titles and descriptions
- Check Your Signal
Always make sure you are in the best spot with the strongest broadcast signal—especially when planning to broadcast outdoors.
- Mine Your Facebook Live Videos
Get into the habit of re-watching your Facebook Live recordings for nuggets you can turn into image quotes or Tweets.
- Make ‘Bloopers’ Videos
Liberate yourself from fear of making mistakes while live and compile your funniest or most embarrassing moments into a ‘Blooper’ reel. Upload to YouTube!
- Stop the ‘Shakes’
One of the most detrimental practices is holding your smartphone yourself while attempting to film. Get a desktop mount or stabilizing stick for your smartphone and record as hands-free as possible.
This eliminates errors such as dropping the phone, accidentally brushing the speaker with your hand and creating noise distortion and uneven acoustics.
- Select the Best Thumbnail
No, you don’t have to be stuck with that shot of you with your eyes half-closed and your mouth half-open in your recording thumbnail. Change it by clicking on the time/date stamp, selecting “Option” and then selecting “Edit Your Video”.
You can also edit your description here too.
- Use a Visual Topic Prompt
Tired of breaking off to quickly let people know what your Live video is about whenever they drop in, late? Have a bulletin board, chalkboard or white board behind you—or even a tent card sign on your desk—with “Today’s Topic:________”. (Fill in the blank, of course!)
You’ll retain more drop-ins, and get a more instant, enthusiastic response.
- Watch Out for Reverse Imaging
Be aware that having text appear in your Facebook Live broadcast works best if you’re broadcasting from a desktop: When you broadcast using a smartphone (especially some Android models) your audience may see mirror-imaging of your text.
(Try turning your phone around and using the rear camera, to solve this issue.)
- Consider Using Facebook Reactions
People can select the six basic reaction emoticons during Live broadcasts, so encourage them to do so and they will appear, live, during your broadcast. Those used to Periscope applause icons will really enjoy this feature.
- Turn it into an Event
To get more viewers to a Facebook Live video, turn it into a Facebook Event and invite people.
- Use Facebook Live for Your Regular Weekly Q&A Session
Setting a regular, recurring time for a regular, recurring feature can be a real trust-and-community building strategy. It this gets people not only into the habit of turning up to gain access—in real-time—to your ear, but also gets them looking forward to it … as well as ‘saving’ their questions specifically for YOU.
- Keep the Discussion Going Afterwards
Remember that most of your fans may only catch your Facebook Live post after it’s recorded and in your Group or Page feed. Unless you invite them specifically to leave comments after the broadcast, they will regard your Live feed as ‘dead’—so thank people for attending and encourage everyone to leave more feedback.
- Turn on Airplane Mode
If you’re actively using your mobile for broadcasting, turn it to Airplane Mode, in order to stop calls from interrupting the Facebook Live session.
- Check Your Upload Speed
If you are streaming via a desktop service such as OBS Studio, make sure you have adequate upload speed. You can do this easily online, no matter who your internet provider is, by visiting Fast.com.
10 Mbps is considered acceptable. Any lower than that, and you might want to speak to your Internet Service Provider.
- Make it Participatory
Boost your engagement by talking to or asking questions of specific Live viewers (you’ll be able to see who’s viewing while you’re broadcasting). Encourage your audience to comment as you’re talking.
- Ask Them to Subscribe While You Are Broadcasting Live
Use calls to action within your actual live videos as well as for the recordings. Remind them to tap their smartphones and subscribe.
- Be Careful of Copyrights
Many people play background music (‘underscoring’) when presenting Facebook Live videos. If that’s you, make sure you use only music you have the right to play. Facebook does detect unauthorized use of copyrighted music and will ban you from Facebook Live.
Use a service that provides professional-quality, royalty-free, original music such as the variety of mood music you’ll find at Mike Stewart’s TwoBuckThemes.
- Check Your Facebook Insights
Get in the habit of checking your Facebook Insights to see how your Live broadcasts perform. Particularly check your “Video Views” tab and “Peak Live Viewers”. (The latter will report on people who stayed to watch your Live broadcast ten seconds or more.)
These twenty-one tips will help you make the most of your Facebook Live experience. Put them to use—and enjoy the benefits.
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Live video is quickly becoming one of the most powerful methods of reaching people.
Think about some of the major product releases you (or people you know) have been excited about in recent years. Maybe it was the newest iPhone or Macbook. Maybe it was a really cool I.M. product that was hyped up.
Chances are, live video had a part in all the product’s hype.
Apple does live streaming events on a regular basis. Why? Because they work! They make product announcements cool and fun, and people feel like they’re learning something before anyone else, because not everyone is able to watch the live event.
People can make comments and ask questions. Sometimes you’ll even learn more than your listeners!
In fact, many people are using live video in place of webinars, which is actually beneficial for many reasons, such as:
- Webinars usually limit the number of viewers to a relatively small number, while many live video platforms don’t have limits or have much larger viewer limits.
- Many live video methods can promote your live stream for you, even to people who don’t follow you, something webinar platforms can’t do.
- Most live video platforms are free, while webinar platforms usually charge you a one-time or monthly fee.
- People are often more comfortable using Facebook or YouTube, whereas they may not want to download software or learn how to use a new website in order to attend a webinar.
There are many benefits to using live video over webinars!
In this guide, you’re going to learn some of the best ways to use live video to promote your own products and generate the kind of interest companies like Apple do!
Why Use Live Video?
In the introduction, we talked about how live video can be huge in generating buzz for a product launch, but that’s not the only use for it. There are several other ways live video can be beneficial to your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use live video to bolster your business.
Obviously, live video is great for generating buzz. Apple reportedly had more than 20 million people tune in to watch their keynote address in the summer of 2014. 20 million! That’s absolutely astonishing, and you can imagine how much buzz it generated.
But you don’t have to be as big as Apple to make use of live video for generating buzz for product. Even if you don’t have a big list yourself, you can always promote your live event through partnerships and other methods. We’ll talk more about how to promote your live event in a later chapter.
Conducting Surveys & Research
Another great way to use live video is to conduct research. There’s no better way to get feedback than to ask people during a live broadcast, because people are more open to asking questions and giving their opinions during live broadcasts. This is probably because they see others doing so, which gives them the confidence to speak up themselves.
If you’ve tried doing surveys and didn’t get much in the way of results, this can be a great way to encourage people to give feedback.
Teaching is another great way to use live video, because you can show people how to do something live, and then answer questions right away instead of fielding questions for days or weeks afterwards like you might if you just posted a video online.
That way, if you haven’t been clear enough about a particular step in the process, or you inadvertently left something out, people can let you know right away and you make changes.
Keeping interest is another great use for live video. If you have a list or a fan base on social media or some other platform, live events and streams can keep people interested in what you’re doing, what you have to offer, and who you are.
In this day and age, when thousands (even millions) of people are competing for the same eyeballs in certain genres, it pays to keep your audience interested. You want to keep all eyes focused on you as much as possible. People only have so much time to watch content online. Live streams are one way to ensure more people watch yours instead of someone else’s.
You can use live video to replace any kind of webinar you might think of, and you won’t be charged a fee for the privilege. Webinars can be quite costly, and they have viewership limits, but using a platform like YouTube or Facebook is free and they usually have no limits on viewers or have much larger limits than webinars.
Additionally, most people are already comfortable using Facebook or YouTube, but may be reluctant to download special software or learn how to use a new platform just to attend your webinar.
Live video makes a great replacement for webinars, and once you start doing live events, you may never hold another traditional webinar!
Live Video Platforms
There are many different platforms you can use to go live online. We’re going to concentrate on a handful of the most popular ones, because those have the most viewership and are generally the easiest to use.
It really doesn’t matter which platform you use unless you already have a good sized following on one of them. In that case, it’s probably best to stick to the one that has the largest following.
Facebook is probably the most popular platform for live video streaming. This is due in part to its immense popularity as a social media platform, but also because many people already have a substantial following on the site.
Facebook’s live streaming is also incredibly easy to use. It’s literally as easy as pushing a button and entering a little information.
To live stream on your personal page, just proceed as though you are going to create a post, and press “Live Video”. You’ll have to give Facebook access to your device’s phone and camera, if you haven’t already. Next, you’ll have to enter some information for your stream, including privacy settings and a description. Finally, set up your camera view so it’s facing exactly what you want to record and click “Go Live”.
To stream from a fan page, you can do the same as with a personal page, or you can use the Facebook Pages Manager app. To use the app, just load your page in the app and then:
- Create a new post.
- Press “Go Live”.
- Enter a description for your live session.
- Press “Go Live” again.
It’s that simple. And once your live stream is done, it will be saved so those who missed it live can watch it later!
You can broadcast for up to 90 minutes at a time, but a lot of people may get bored before that time. Keeping broadcasts under 30-45 minutes is best unless you have a special event that requires longer time.
YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for going live, because a lot of people already have followers on the site, and because it’s already got a massive built-in user base that could watch the video after the live broadcast has ended.
Creating live videos can help you gain more followers on YouTube, as well, because people who come to your live event from other sources, such as partners or paid promotions, will likely subscribe to your channel if they like your content. YouTube actively promotes live streams that are currently happening, so this can really help you boost your subscriber base.
Keep in mind that if you want to stream on mobile, your channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers, but streaming mobile is a great way to add content when you’re on the go and you want to show people what you’re up to.
To stream live on YouTube, there are a few steps you need to take first to make sure your device is ready to stream live.
Go to this URL: >> https://www.youtube.com/live_dashboard
This page has a list of steps you need to take before you can stream live on Facebook, including:
- Installing any necessary encoding software
- Add stream info
- Adding optional features
Streaming on YouTube has the added benefit of adding more content to your channel, because those streams are saved as regular videos after they are aired live.
Additionally, you’ll get 55% of any ad revenue earned by your live stream as long as you’re properly set up to monetize your channel!
Periscope is an app that is owned by Twitter, and it makes it very easy to stream live. You may wonder why you’d want to use an app like Periscope to stream when you can use sites like Facebook and YouTube that are more universally recognized and have more users.
Well, Periscope is connected to your Twitter account, and anytime you go live, your Twitter followers will receive a notification. So if you have a larger following on Twitter than other sites, you might want to use Periscope instead of the other sites.
Periscope seems to have a more newsy vibe than other sites or apps, so it’s probably best to use it for broadcasts that include events and news-like broadcasts.
Instagram now has live broadcasting, but there’s one major caveat. There’s no backup. Once you finish streaming, your broadcast is gone forever, much like Snapchat.
However, if you have a large following on Instagram, using the live feature can be quite beneficial, as not that many people use the function so it can really help you stand out from the crowd.
Tips For Great Live Shows
Creating great live shows isn’t as difficult as you probably think. You can even watch some live events from people in your niche—if you can find any—to get some motivation and ideas. Don’t copy, obviously, but you can definitely gain some inspiration from others.
Let’s take a look at some tips that can help you create a better live experience for your viewers.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Mistakes
Many people are afraid to do live shows, because they’re afraid they’ll make a mistake and people will laugh at them or get upset. But don’t let this hold you back. In fact, the occasional mistake, if handled correctly, can actually make you appear more human and make people like you even more.
If you watch some of the more popular YouTube content creators, you’ll see this. They’ll make silly mistakes or screw something up, and people laugh at them (in a good-hearted way) in the comments. They find it endearing when their favorite creators make mistakes.
So please don’t be afraid of going live because you might mess up in some way. Unless you offend people, mistakes will only likely endear people to you more, especially if you laugh about it and don’t make a big deal about it.
Have A Script Prepared
Live events should always have a script, or at least a rough outline. The reason for this is that there’s too much potential for having long periods of dead air while you think of what to cover next if you don’t have a script or outline.
Don’t Follow The Script Exactly
Never, ever read your script word-for-word. While it’s a really good idea to
Know your Topic
When you write an article, report, or other content, or create a video, you don’t have to know a topic inside and out. You can just put in what you do know, or do research before you start, or even as you go.
But if you’re doing a live session, you really need to know the topic you’re covering very well. You won’t be able to look stuff up easily if someone asks you a question during a live broadcast.
Promoting Your Live Event
A live video is no good unless there are people watching it—aside, of course, from the fact that you can save the video and keep it online for others to watch later.
Promoting live events is actually pretty easy, even if you don’t have a big following. This is especially true if you’ll be broadcasting something extremely interesting or exciting, or if you’re offering some sort of major incentive for attendance.
Let’s take a look at a few methods you can use to promote your live events.
The best way to promote a live event, by far, is through the use of strategic partnerships. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, from simply asking people to promote your event, to paying them to do so, to developing deeper partnerships such as interviewing other people in your niche and having them promote the interview to their own followers.
The most obvious way to promote your live events is through social media. If you don’t have a large following of your own, you can seek out groups to promote your event to or even use paid ads.
Since you may actually be holding your live stream on a social media platform like FaceBook, your event may be promoted for you, but this will only get you a limited amount of traffic. Promoting the event everywhere you can is smart.
Holding a giveaway during the live event is a great way to make sure people show up, and more people are likely to promote the event for you if you have an interesting giveaway, too. Some people may even promote you for free just because of the giveaway.
With all the noise online these days, it’s really hard to stand out from the crowd. There are thousands, even millions of people competing for attention from the same people in every niche, and you need to do something that will set you apart from the crowd.
Live video is one of the best ways to accomplish this, because most people are too uncomfortable with live video. They’re afraid they will do something wrong and look foolish, but what they don’t realize is that is exactly what can make them seem more “real” to their audience.
So don’t worry about making mistakes. Everyone does. Just relax and have fun. That’s what will make your live stream interesting and make people want to watch.
I hope you’ve learned a lot in this guide, so I hope you will apply what you’ve learned for great success.
Here are links to the resources found in this guide:
YouTube Live Dashboard:
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