All posts by Kevin Arrow

7 Key Elements For A Homepage Of A Website

7 Key Elements For A Homepage Of A Website

Your home page is important. Quite often it’s the page that most visitors come to first. It’s the page you will generate the most links to, unless you write an epic post. It may also be the page that the search engines pay the most attention to when people are searching for you by name. With these facts in mind it makes sense to make sure your home page is as well designed as it possibly can be.

There are seven key elements for a successful home page. They each are important independently, but they work together to provide a unique and impact experience for your visitor. Before you take a look at these key elements, however, it’s important to answer a question first.

What is the goal of your successful home page?

Your home page needs to have a goal – an objective. What do you want visitors to do? What action do you want them to take? There are many possibilities. You may want direct your reader to:

  • Dig deeper and explore your website
  • Click through to a services or product page
  • Opt-in to stay in touch
  • Discover more about who you are and what you do
  • Find resources that will make their life easier

Once you know what you want visitors to do, then you can make sure your home page supports this goal.

Now you’ll use the seven key home page elements. These include:

Images

The images you choose on your home page are important. You want them to support the overall website and business goals but they shouldn’t detract from the main purpose of the website. Images, in the form of graphics and photos, can quickly overwhelm a home page and become a distraction if you don’t manage them carefully.

An example of how the image is part of the successful home page is shown over here at Content Nitro

If you choose to use images (and they really can enhance a home page) make sure they support your goals. Make sure they adequately represent your brand.

This will probably mean booking a photo shoot, and buying some specific stock images and customising them to fit your brand.

The most common image you use might be your own photo, as you can see from the example, you can look Sarah right in the eye and see that she’s a real human being. This helps connect the reader to you. It helps brand your business and start building a rapport. You can also have photos and imagery around what you do, how you do it and your services.

The images should tell your story visually and back up the words on the home page. On Sarah’s homepage you see a speedometer, this is part of the Content Nitro branding and straight away shows p[rogress, speed and moving forward.

Everything from words to images should be in alignment with each other. If they’re not, your reader can tell. They can’t quite put their finger on something being wrong, they just know that it is.

Strapline

Your strapline is often the very first thing a visitor will see. If it doesn’t grab their attention, then it’s not doing its job. However, in addition to grabbing their attention, it also must support your home page’s purpose.

The strapline here at The Business Success Dojo is clear . concise and tells you exactly how we will help you.

 

Take time to craft your home page headline. This is also an important element to test and track. Create two home pages with two different headlines and then test them. Yes, that’s right, test your home page’s impact. Determine which headline is better at helping you accomplish your goal for this page.

Emotions

Emotions are what your visitors use to validate their buying decisions. They’re incredibly important if you’re trying to motivate any action.

You can tap into your visitors’ emotions with images and words. If it’s the first time visitor, you need to show you understand their needs and tap into their emotions so that they trust you enough to start moving through the site.

Navigation

Make sure that your visitor not only knows what they’re supposed to do on your home page, but also that they can quickly work out how to do it.

Over on Honeys hypnotherapy site  she makes it really clear on how you can book a free consultation with her. You can also see how she has segmented out her 3 areas of support, Anxiety, Deprtession and teens, each with thier own button taking you to that sopecific area for more information.

This isn’t always a navigation bar, the successful rise of home pages as landing pages proves this isn’t always needed. You just have to make it clear for your visitor to take the next click.

On the 1230 TWC homepage you can see all the successful home page elements in action.

  • A gorgeous visual of networking over lunch
  • A strong strapline
  • Emotional connection
  • And a slimmed down navigation so that the most popular pages are accessible from the home page

If you want your visitors to move deeper into your website, then make sure your buttons and call to action support this. If they can’t find the way to the page they want, they’re going to leave.

Proof

You might notice that many of the elements of a successful home page are also sales copy elements. This is because you are trying to motivate an action. Your home page has a purpose. Proof can be demonstrated by:

  • Awards
  • Testimonials
  • Endorsements
  • Trust Factors
  • Facts and statistics

The proof you use, again, depends upon your goal. On Elizabeths site you can see just how credible she is with all of her certifications being proudly presented on her homepage. This instantly tells any visitor she knows exactly what she’s doing and they are safe with her as a qualified professional

You want to encourage an opt-in, then you might use facts and statistics along with a banner ad highlighting any awards your site has won. This gives your website credibility.

Call to action

A compelling call to action is required for every successful home page.

Calls to action guide your visitors towards the action you’d like them to do next. There’s no clutter, just simple and effective sign-posting and calls to action.

Remember to test your calls to action too. We’ve found “Subscribe” works better than “Sign up” in the optin calls to action. Whatever works the best for your audience is the one that you stick with.

Opt-in form

Finally, if your goal is to motivate an opt-in, then you must have an opt-in form on your home page. In fact, everything on that page needs to support the goal of the visitor becoming a subscriber? Why? Because 70% of website visitors leave never to return again – even if they like your site.

Another of our clients Shelley from Tomorrows VA gives her homepage visitors an option to opt in to her email list by offering them something they may be interested in for subscribing, on her site as a whole she has different opt ins based on where they are on the site and what they may be interested in however on the homepage as at that point there is no way of telling what they are looking for there is a general opt in.

The  homepage of a website is perhaps the most important page on your website.

Make sure the elements on your page support your goals and your success. Test and track various elements until you get the best results, and remember, nothing, not even the home page, is set in stone and it can be tweaked and tested until it’s supporting your website goals.

Is it time your home page had a makeover?

Kevin Arrow

17 ways to boost your website’s credibility

17 ways to boost your website’s credibility

Do you remember your first website design? I wish I had a screenshot of mine. It was set up in GeoCities and it was an unholy mess in bright yellow and orange, with a hint of red, if my memory serves me correctly. Websites looked a whole lot different way back then

Fast forward a few years to 2006 and I had designed a really lovely Flash website in orange and silver, with sliding star trek doors that opened and closed when you changed pages. They even made swishing sounds as they opened and closed. I had lots of traffic, or what I thought was a lot of traffic and all the visitors loved playing with those sliding doors.

Of course no one ever called us of course, we didn’t have our phone number on the site and when we finally got around to adding it we put it at the bottom of the page because we didn’t want people to think they had to ring us right away

In fact, we didn’t have very much on our early websites that boosted credibility at all!

Alot has changed since the early 2000’s and I have learnt alot to.

With it becoming easier and easier to build websites and the cost of these can sometimes be very low it’s really important that you atrt to think about some of the things that will make YOUR business website stand out more and be much more likely that visitors will be interested in what you are offering.

What can you do to boost your website’s credibility to your visitors through your website design?

1. You don’t need to spend a million, but a professional logo and website are a big credibility booster.
2. Always include an “About Us” page on your website. People want to know who they are doing business with.
3. Share any relevant education, awards experience you’ve received that are relevant to your work. You worked hard, so shout it out.
4. Include a Privacy Policy on your website. Give your website users and subscribers the confidence to share their information with you.
5. Use a secure server for your shopping cart. This will avoid any alerts from popping up on a customer’s antivirus program.
6. Include your full mailing address on your website and avoid a P.O. box. Services like Mailboxes Etc. can provide you with a street address. This helps with location marketing and enabling local customers to find you better.
7. Include a phone number on your website, preferably at the top of the page unless you prefer to be contacted in other ways.
8. Respond to public inquiries. It’s shocking how many website owners don’t bother to answer their email.
9. Respond to customer inquiries even faster. These people are your bread and butter, so treat them like gold.
10. Join relevant organizations and display your participation. For example, Better Business Bureau in the US or  FSB in the UK.Other organization logos on your website can boost your credibility.
11. Consider date stamping all your content. While leaving the date off evergreen content makes sense, when people plan to reference your content, they want to be able to see how current up to date it is.
12. If you update your content frequently, have a stamp that indicates the last date your content was updated. Doing so helps identify you as a current source of information.
13. Keep your copyright statement up to date with the current date. There’s nothing worse than seeing “Copyright 2004” in 2019!
14. Use your real photo on your website and in your business social media profiles. Hiding behind cute avatars does not boost your credibility.
15. Reduce spam complaints and use a confirmed opt-in (a.k.a “double opt-in”) process for your mailing lists.
16. If you reference other content to create your own content, always state your sources. It’s common sense and courtesy.
17. Readily collect and publish testimonials on your website. Detailed testimonials with real names and photos or videos are best with links to their websites if they are business owners.

Of course this is a quick list of just 17 ways to boost your website’s credibility, what would you add?

Kevin Arrow

 

 

How To Get your Business Moving When Your Are Stuck

Have you ever had a day where you couldn’t get started? You thought that things were holding you back?  I have had days like this, no matter what I tried to start, writing a blog post, creating my next webinar training even creating my next course, it just wasn’t happening. It’s a rare business owner who—at some point—doesn’t feel stuck and thinks that their business is lacking something.

Perhaps you’re in the early stages of burnout. Perhaps you aren’t reaching your goals and can’t seem to get past the income ledge you’ve found yourself on.

All of this is perfectly normal in business. But staying stuck or on your ledge isn’t.

Successful small business owners figure out how to overcome the hurdles, wade through the overwhelm and continue to grow their business.

The first step is to determine what exactly is holding you back and what you’re lacking in your business:

Lack of Clarity

When you don’t really know what it is you want from your business, you’re experiencing a lack of clarity. Maybe you aren’t clear on who you’re meant to serve, or can’t quite envision your sales funnel. Or maybe you can’t even picture your signature training course in its entirety, or the thought of selling it leaves you in a haze of confusion.

These are all symptoms of a lack of clarity, and they can stop a business dead in its tracks.

Here’s what to do if you lack clarity in your business

  • Breathe, and remember to keep breathing.
  • Grab a journal or notepad and empty your mind into it. Write everything down. Use coloured pens. Use highlighters. Dump your brain into the pages and then make a cup of tea (with a side of hobnobs if possible)
  • Don’t look at your journal for 24 hours. Make a note of what keeps surfacing in your mind
  • Look at your journal and look for the patterns and the things that rise to the top.

This technique can help you get clear on what your next step is and why it’s important to you.

Lack of Focus? Start Here:

If you’re clear on your goals but you’re having trouble moving forward consistently, then a lack of focus might be your trouble. You head to your office each morning with purpose, but by lunchtime, it’s clear you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do.

You’re not a bad person, or even a shoddy entrepreneur. You’re just having trouble focusing on the next step that needs to happen to make your dreams come true.

Finding focus is easier than you think

Try this: With your end goal in mind, brainstorm the next physical action you need to take to achieve it. So if your goal is to build a 4-week course, then your next step might be to poll your mailing list about what they need/want from you.

Tried the next step and you still lack focus? Get your smartphone out.

Brain.FM is one of my go-to apps and you can listen to a “focus” piece of music that will help you. I love music and understand deeply how music can help you move between states and change how you feel – it really works well. The next time you listen to music be present:

  • Listen to the lyrics.
  • Listen to the beats.
  • Listen to the emotions.
  • Notice how you feel – feel good? happier? note the song down and listen to it again when you need a lift.
  • Create a playlist of your “emotions” and remember to include a focus playlist.

If you find this doesn’t work for you, I highly recommend hypnotherapy. I use Hypnosis Downloads

A fantastic resource to help you regain your focus amongst the many other things they help you with

I often skip Brain.fm and jump straight to the hypno – for me, this brings faster results.

Lack of Excitement

Bored? Lost interest in that business you once loved? This is, unfortunately, pretty common among entrepreneurs. That’s why we see so many of them jumping from business to business, never spending enough time in any one business to see it through to success.

Staying excited about your business starts with having a dream and a vision that keeps you going even when you’re faced with the day-to-day drudgery that every small business owner encounters. Not everything is fun when you’re running a business, and I know I won’t be popular for saying it out loud. It’s how you get through the dull and boring days that make a difference.

I take a minute and think of my girls, Sarah my wife and Bones our German Shepherd and remember my business provides the environment for me to be able to spend the time with them all, when I want,  doing what we all enjoy.  Your reasons for doing and being an entrepreneur will keep you motivated.

Planning for Future Success

Want to know how to easily fix all these issues (and more) on a permanent basis?  It’s a simple technique that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have been using for decades: vision boards. These fun and colourful tools are often just what you need to clarify your dreams, work out your next steps, and stay excited about your business.

We hang ours on the office wall, and we can see at a glance our hopes, dreams, and vision for our business. I won’t deny it; there’s a lot of sparkle on my vision board.

Vision boards can be as simple as a few images clipped from a magazine and pinned to a corkboard, or as complex as a framed poster with handwritten quotes and 3 tubes of glitter. The choice is yours. It’s completely personal, fun, and best of all, it works.

Give these things a try next time you’re feeling stuck in your business. And if you’re not stuck, share your tips in the comments for becoming unstuck and envisioning your success.

How big Is Your Email List?

How To Make Big Profits From A Small Email List [Downloadable]

In the real world, there’s nothing more offensive that someone looking you up and down and demanding to know how much you earn. There’s an online equivalent of this real-life rudeness and that’s demanding to know how big your email list is.

The reason you’re asked these questions is the person that’s asking is assessing your worth, qualifying whether you are worth speaking to or not.

And I hate it.

I have a real, intense dislike of the people that “qualify” you with these questions as there’s an assumption that if you meet their criteria that they can help you, and that you need them to help. There’s very little consideration for you and what you’d like, in their assessment, and that’s possibly the main reason I despise the people who do this.

When I used to network heavily I would often come straight before or after a job (i owned a courier company). I would be wearing steel toe cap boots, shirt and trousers pulling up in an unmarked white van.  Often I was overlooked as anyone of ‘worth’ I had multiple times been told I wasn’t a serious business because I didn’t wear a suit. Those same people would then stand up in the network meeting and asked to be connected to people exactly like my clients. Bigger companies, companies with lots of employees, you get the gist… they never got the referral

They made assumptions rather than asking, The same view is and should be taken  when people out of the blue message me and ask me how big my list is.

They’re trying to work out if I’d be a good JV partner, and let me reassure you despite my list size, I’m not a good JV partne for them.

If you want to JV with us you need to know a few things.

  • Your content and promotions have to fit into our editorial calendar, if they don’t then I’m not partnering with you.
  • Your product has to be of interest to my audience, and if it’s not possible to sell the product in the EU (due to Vat Moss etc) then I’m not promoting.
  • Affiliate percentages have to be fair. If I have the audience and you don’t, then you’ll be needing to be offering me 50% upwards to get my attention. Offering me 5% of a $1000 program isn’t respectful of the costs involved in nurturing my email lists and the amount of effort I’ll need to put in to make a sale.
  • You want to “test” a product on my audience? Nope, only I get to do that, and believe me, my subscribers are the most tolerant group of people you’ll ever meet and they have a connection with us, and put up with unique ways. They are not lab rats and the size of my list doesn’t mean you get to go all experimental ninja on them

How big is your list?

It’s none of my business :),  and it’s none of your business how big my lists are. Really it’s not.

  • It’s none of your business because my list is part of my business.
  • An email list is one of your business assets, and the size of your list does not matter if they’re not being opened and acted upon. And it truly is none of my business how you carry out your business. Really it’s not.
  • If you choose not to grow an email list I might think you’re silly and with Aweber and Get Response so reasonably priced, I might wonder why you’re not investing in one of their services, but it really is none of my business, no matter how curious I am.
  • And then there’s the often ignored fact that your list may come from email addresses you’ve harvested from LinkedIn, your address book and any number of other places and your subscribers haven’t opted in at all.

Size is irrelevant when it comes to email lists, because there are so many different variables to take into account. Let’s face facts, if numbers are all you are interested in (and not nurturing the relationship) knowing precisely how many subscribers I have won’t help you at all.

If I did do a JV with you all you’ll discover is how bad your targetting is!

How often do you email your list?

I may get upset if we work together and you don’t email your subscribers. But only when we work together. Prior to this, it’s none of my business.

What’s important is that your emails get opened, they get read and they get acted on, and if they don’t then you clean your list and adapt your subject lines and content until they do work. Size is irrelevant, but if you don’t email your subscribers you won’t know this.

You have never, ever needed a big list to make decent money.

What you need is decent relationships, and the right people getting the right information.

Relationship building is hard. I won’t pretend it’s easy, and even we can struggle at times. It means showing up regularly in your readers inbox, it’s sharing useful things with them and it’s building connections with them and starting conversations, even when you may not feel like talking!

You just need a little planning!

And here’s the deal… In the box below is an email planner PDF. It’s yours, it’s my gift to you.

If you share the post via the box you can get the email marketing planner and do more with your email marketing. It won’t stop you being asked how big is your list, but it will enable you to reply confidently it’s none of your business, and my list is healthy and profitable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Clean Your Email List

 

A lot of people think business blogging is a free hobby. Or, as I’ve seen it promoted – a free marketing tool.

As you know, business blogging isn’t free. If you want to make your best impression you will need to self-host rather than have a site that has yourname.cheapskate.com on it, so that means you’ll need hosting,  possibly a framework and probably a premium theme such as Thrive

Then, of course, you’ll need a decent pop-up that isn’t going to drive people bonkers  and an account with Active Campaign to manage your list efficiently. Not a lot of change out of £500 if you are lucky.

In today’s post I want to talk about a blogger or marketers biggest ongoing expense – the email list.

Many bloggers and online marketers have lists with hundreds of subscribers, often thousands. They’ve heard that the money is in the list but if these subscribers are not clicking on the links nor participating in the discussions, why are you still clinging on to them?

An email management service starts at $12 a month from Get Response, or $9 with Active Campaign and this fee increases with your amount of subscribers – the more you have, the more you need to invest. This means you need to keep your email lists clean and tidy with people who want to be there, that open, read and engage with your emails.

Automations Are Your Biggest Friend.

The best way to do this is to simply set up an automation in your email system that identifies inactive subscribers, you then try to re engae with them and after a few tries if nothing happens you remove them from your system, all done on autopilot. You can set up time spans to do this so, for example, any subscriber that hasn’t opened any email for 6 months then enter them into your ‘re-engage’ sequence.

If you are a nice blogger / online marketer, you might like to warn your subscribers that you’re going to delete them if they do not take action. With services like Active Campaign you can program in re-engagement campaigns really easily and then set and forget so you know ALL of you subscribers have been active within the last xxx months.

Having a big list is useless if the subscribers are not reading your content

If your subscribers are just deleting as soon as they hit your inbox and generally ignoring you, you have a content issue or they have a time issue. If the issue is time you need to consider how many times you’re going to say hello and be ignored, before you realise this is their choice.

Your choice is not to continue paying for them to be on your email list.

Tough? You have to be, because you want your marketing to work for you – you want to build an awesome relationship with your readers.

Email list cleaning – how to do it

By running your ‘re engage automation you will be targetting your  subscribers in a way that you have not previously.  You might try sending them some emails telling them that they’ve been inactive for a while, and you intend to remove them.

These subscribers many need a push instead of a pull to act, and of course you can try a new approach on these inactive subscribers compared to your active subscribers.

It could be a terrific market test on more aggressive ad copy, different placement of links, and brand new or fresh approaches.

Of course, the minute they start to open, click and interact they get removed from the ‘re engage ‘ automation and are sent back into the regular list schedule that they came from.

If they decide to take no action or unsubscribe then you have moved them on from being dormant or inactive.

Either way you will take an inactive subscriber forward on their path with oyu either as a re engaged subscriber or an unsubscriber.

Another reason to clean your lists is that you’re being forced to look at your metrics and performance.

I know it is boring, but honestly, you need to do this so that you know what is going on with your subscribers. For instance, if you have an inordinate amount of inactive subscribers, meaning, if most of your subscribers are very inactive consider that your current advertising copy, and email copy, might not be meeting their expectations when they signed up for your list. Look back to where they signed up, read your first email to them, what did you promise. Have you delivered?

If you haven’t, quickly correct this issue and start delivering value right now. It wouldn’t hurt to eat a bit of humble pie and send your readers a free gift or a truly great offer, explain that you’ve re-evaluated your marketing strategy and it should improve. You might be surprised at how this small change will help with your conversion rates and encourage engagement.

The entire point of email marketing is to get some kind of return on investment (ROI) and if your list is not paying for itself, modify it until it does. If they have not unsubscribed, and you’re not going directly to the spam folder, you still have a chance to convert them.

Another type of subscriber to remove…

The subscriber that engages, but is never happy. Some subscribers only subscribe to a few lists. Yeah, they are rare but they are out there. So if you email them every day they get hacked off, and they email you back to moan. Other subscribers love the value that you send but the monthly offers you source or create to make their life easier isn’t appreciated.

They moan right at you rather than unsubscribe. Delete them. Harsh? As I mention right at the start – blogging is not free. It costs you time, energy and money to blog and then start a relationship with your readers. If it is not working, do something about it, start a dialogue with the subscriber, call them… but if it’s not making them happy, delete them.

It is important to remember that even if your copy is perfect, and you’ve done it all right, some people will simply just stop opening your email for no reason whatsoever. There are reasons for this, sometimes it is that your email is disappearing into the spam black hole, and sometimes it’s just that they weren’t interested to start with. Perhaps they were a freebie seeker and really did only join to get the opt in gift that you were offering. This happens, if you try to re-engage them and it does not work, then it is time to delete them off your list.

If you haven’t started your email list yet then why not start today. learn exactly how to start your email list from scratch with our help

14 Lead Magnet Ideas (That Will Attract The Right People to Your Email List)

You’ve got your website online and the next step is to actively market your business. You’re smart enough to know that giving away something of value can help you build your email list quickly. But what do you giveaway to show your audience that you undersdtand their needs and that you’re exactly the right person to help them?

14 Lead Magnet Ideas (That Will Attract The Right People to Your Email List)

1 – Make a simple PDF cheatsheet. OpenOffice, Word and most other popular spreadsheet software programs have a “save as PDF” option. This makes turning any text-based resource into a lead magnet quickly and easily. As an entrepreneur your time is precious, and your subscribers time is precious too – don’t underestimate the power of a cheatsheet.

2 – Use Snagit, Screenr or Screencast-O-Matic to record mini video trainings. Videos enjoy a much higher perceived value than text-based opt-in gifts. It allows you to build rapport and trust with your audience too.

3 – Record an MP3 file. The growth of podcasts means more and more people are listening to content rather than reading or viewing it. Audio content is perfect content for people on the go, and if your ideal customer is always on the go an MP3 will be most appreciated.

4 – Create a buyer’s guide, walking someone through every step of a particular buying or shopping process. When you aid someone’s decision-making process they’ll be appreciative of the time you’ve saved them.

5 – Give out a valuable coupon which substantially discounts the price of one of your products. Not only is your lead magnet useful, it converts them from browser to buyer much quicker!

6 – Create a short 7-day problem-solving mini-course to be delivered by email. This can be via email only, via video or even pdfs. Whatever your audience will love is what you should do.

7 – Free previews work great as list builders, and pre-sell your e-book or product. Give away a free chapter or module of your e-book or how-to course and you entice your new list member to purchase the entire product.

8 – Repurpose a blog post into a handy resource, add a checklist and a worksheet and you have an attractive teachable.

9 – Build a mobile app or piece of software that solves a big problem in your marketplace and then use it to list build. In the past we’ve done this with WordPress plugins and it works very well.

10 – Checklists are simple to create, and your readers will absolutely love them. They know you know your stuff when you’ve got a checklist for a particular process.

11 – Perform a video review of a product or service. Show yourself actually benefiting from or using the product. Include your affiliate link, and your new list member might just become your newest customer as well.

12 – Give away a free consultation. You are perceived as a caring expert when you give away your valuable time to help someone else. Some entrepreneurs use these to sell, but it may be too soon in the relationship for certains types of product for this to work effectively.

13 – Interview an expert or guru in your field. Expert interviews make excellent lead magnets as well as enhancing your reputation.

14 – Access to a webinar or summit usually leads to high conversions as far as email sign-ups are concerned. as well as building your list, webinars are also excellent for selling products and services.

Bonus -15 – Create a FREE challenge, we have been build a list via our 5 day customer mindset challenge and our Content nitro challenge which is adding subscribers every day to our email list.

This should give you some great ideas to start thinking about what you have available within your content to create a fantastic email list building optin for attracting the right people to your list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Types OF Blog Posts That Help You Promote Your Services

7 Types OF Blog Posts That Help You Promote Your Services

If you sell services via your website or blog, there are 7 types of promotional blog posts that work well. Now, let’s be upfront about this… Writing these posts and then publishing them back to back isn’t a good idea, you need to be careful with promotional posts. Your editorial calendar should include blog posts for traffic and blog posts for a deeper personal connection as well as details about your special offers. Your reader shouldn’t feel overwhelmed with your sales message.

1. Comparison Posts

This kind of post compares the features and benefits of your product or services to similar solutions available on the market. Be honest and objective when producing such content or you risk chasing away some of your followers. Contrary to popular belief, customers are not sheep and they won’t buy without question or often, consultation. If you don’t tell them the truth in comparisons, they will find it out elsewhere and you will have lost the sale.

For the best results, include a few instances when your product is not the best solution. I’m often asked how this works, well think of your worst possible customer, the one that sucks the life and energy from you. How would she use the product/service? Then send her to the competition. Life is too short to work with people who don’t like or respect you.

2. Project Showcase Posts

Use your blog to showcase some of your business projects. Show the process, share the results and mention some of the issues you faced while you were working on it. This post from Rosanne Berry is a great example as she showcases her shop’s makeover.

These are usually very visual posts containing a lot of photos, and / or a video. These kind of posts can be really aspirational, and if the images are good and the headline catchy, then it will pull in a lot of social shares and increase your visibility.

3. Income Report Posts

If you are an online marketer there’s no faster way to build trust and credibility with your audience and using the income report post. When you show your readers a breakdown of the income you are generating, they start to see all the aspects of marketing their business online. Make sure to add a little bit of humor and self-irony to juice up the post, and remember to include your expenses in your report or people will really think you can earn 10k a month pure profit 😉

Take a look at Alexandria’s income report here as a good example.

4. Product Tips Posts

Product tips posts are a great way to promote services and products to your readers. Consider writing articles that help your customers take full advantage of what you are selling. The product tips post also help affiliate marketers promote their recommended products quickly and easily.

5. Best-of Posts

Best-of posts pull together the most liked and commented blog posts you have written over a period of time. They are a good way to drive traffic towards “old but gold” posts that newcomers to your blog could be unaware of. If you also add in a section for your comparison posts and your product tips’ post you’re onto a winner.

6. The Case Study

This is possibly my favourite way to sell a product or service online. A detailed case study shows your customer as the hero, and how you have supported them on their quest. When you outline the problem, the solution and the journey on the way, you’ll generate new leads and prospects for your business. When a reader can view a case study and picture them self in the same position, you have a powerful lead generator. These can be difficult to create for a small business blogger, so they’re often outsourced to copywriters.

7. The Testimonial

Sometimes product creators don’t share enough of what works well and how customers feel about that product. I’ll admit that my testimonial posts are few and far between, and that’s a shame as they tend to be the piece of content potential clients ask for. Don’t make this mistake. In the blogging challenge we encourage the participants to add a testimonial to a blog post and then publish it.

Here’s two of my recent testimonials:

What I really like about working with Kevin is his deep understanding of not just marketing a business, but how to actually run a business successfully. This knowledge has helped me to make considered decisions about what I need to do in order to prevent myself from wasting a lot of time and money. I especially value Kevin’s honest approach to giving advice, which has always been spot on even if it is not always what I would like to hear. If you are looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear about marketing and business, then go elsewhere. If you want to know exactly what you need to do to be successful then speak to Kevin. His knowledge and experience is vast

Susan Marot – Succeed At Selling

Kevin is highly skilled at helping businesses generate leads and sales through digital marketing. He has been instrumental in helping me form a strategy for my business. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed going through the 30 day blogging challenge which Kevin and Sarah run together which has helped me build traffic to my website

CJ Sohal – Business Owner

There it is, 7 blog posts that help you promote your products and services.

 

 

 

 

PS if you like this post you might like to join us on the 30-day blogging challenge. It will help you get more from your blog posts 🙂

The 5 stages of a new business blog

The 5 stages of a new business blog

Most business blogs go through a fairly predictable patter of growth from white belt blog to black belt blog. To make it to the point where your blog is making significant income, you’ll go through all of these stages. Each and every stage has its own challenges and rewards and of course, lessons to be learned. Just like on the mat in your dojo

Here are the five stages every profitable businessblogger needs to go through to reach success, assuming your definition of success of course, is more sales, leads and reach. .

1. Stepping On The Mat As a White Belt: No traffic, what’s a ranking?

You’re selecting your WordPress themes, have less than ten posts and are still experimenting. You’re still finding your voice and various options when it comes to starting a blog. You’re not quite sure on your branding and you could change themes several times a month. You are a big consumer of knowledge at this stage and perhaps somewhat reluctant to spend on advice – how do you know the good from the bad?

A lot of people underestimate how long this stage can last. Unfortunately, you can be stuck in the zero to low traffic rut for as many as twenty posts, sometimes more.

In order to succeed, you’ve just got to persevere. Persistence Pays Off. Keep on blogging, keep writing and do not give up because you think your only reader is your mum. The language of being online is confusing and sounds like gobbledy-gook and what the heck is a ranking?!

I promise being a white belt blogger won’t last forever even if it feels like it, this stage flies by although it may not seem like it at the time.

2. Yellow Belt : A trickle of traffic but no ranking…

At this stage you’ll start to get a trickle of readers coming to your blog from a variety of  sources.

  • You have a link to your blog in your signature in forums.
  • You’re commenting on blogs that interest you.
  • You’re posting links on Twitter and Facebook
  • And a link in your email signature

People may be finding your site through totally random Google searches that you’re not really optimising for. That can be frustrating – how do you reach your ideal reader? You start looking at SEO and SEO plugins.

At this stage, you start to have an audience, though a very, very small one. Look after them, they can be with you a whole lifetime.

3. Blue Belt : Some traffic, 1-5 pages ranked in Google and a little trust

Though you’re not the go-to person in the industry, you’re beginning to get a small following of people who listen to you and trust your advice.

You have a couple of pages that are ranked in the search engines. All that bookmarking paid off! 😉

This isn’t as great as you had hoped it would be. At this stage you’ll probably have at least fifty posts, but it still feels great to see some of your pages getting decent rankings and getting google traffic for the things you really want to be found for. If you post once a week it can take a year to reach this stage.

At this stage you start to see the power of your blog and worry about what happens if Google sandboxes you, you might want to think about subscribing to Activecampaign and setting up a newsletter if you haven’t already. If you’re still using a free theme or design, you now want to pay for a custom design and move onto Thrive Themes. You may already have a custom theme and now is the time you start exploring and unleashing all of it’s potential.

You are more choosy in the content that you consume. You start looking for like-minded individuals and forming friendships. You have to adopt the courage of a martial artist and ask for links from other bloggers and comments. Suddenly comments matter. Many bloggers stay in this stage, it’s comfortable and there’s not a lot of pressure.

4. Black Belt: Moderate earnings and a good reputation

At this stage you’re making just enough money from your blog to support yourself.  You no longer panic and break out into a sweat when it comes to guest blogging. You are thinking of becoming a full-time blogger and you get 1 or 2 direct advertising deals. You’re getting backlinks without having to beg for them and a higher percentage of your pages are getting ranked for the stuff you want to be found for.

When you review and recommend a product, people take it seriously. People with products come to you and offer you Joint Venture deals.  Sales start to come easier because people are starting to trust your reputation. You start thinking more and more about developing your own products. Something beyond that ebook.

The dangers of this stage is you may lack patience and you may feel one day you are the coolest kid in town and the next day you don’t have a friend in the world. Despite outward appearances, this can be a lonely stage for a blogger – who is a friend and who is a foe? In this stage friendships that are formed last a bloggers entire career. Typically you have been blogging 3-5 years.

5. Black Belt 2nd Dan : Strong earnings, known brand in the industry or niche

At this point your blog is one of the top 3-5 in your chosen industry. If someone mentioned your name at a conference, more often than not people would recognise the name and you are asked to keynote at the major industry conferences. Life for this blogger is good, it can take up to 5 years to reach this stage part time and about 18 months full time. Of course everyone thinks you are an overnight success…

Sadly most blogs never reach this stage and that’s okay if you are happy at the other stages. If your blog reaches maturity there are many perks

  • high levels of traffic,
  • often direct traffic,
  • you also get paid more for that traffic.
  • Your CPMs from direct advertisers are many times higher than AdSense or the CPMs of other advertising sites.
  • You understand the language without thinking,  CPM didn’t phase you…
  • You’ll also be selling your own products at a very decent conversion rate.
  • You can sense your own mortality and safeguard your reputation, you are more careful in your deals and sometimes you hanker for the thrill of the chase that came with conception and infancy.

These are the five stages in the lifecycle of a successful blogger. The key to moving from one stage to the next is to

  • Continually provide great content (sometimes easier said than done),
  • To keep learning.
  • To reach out and enjoy each step that you take.
  • To  form close friendships and to aspire but not emulate the 2nd Dan Black Belt

All business blogs start the same way, just like walking on the mat in the dojo for the first time, it’s new and exciting, the key to success it turning up, building every time you go onto your site and moving forward whilst building and learning.

If you are still at the white belt stage and need some extra support then do take a look at the longest-running and most successful business blogging challenge here

 

 

 

 

 

 

26 Ways to Get More Opt-Ins And Sales on Your Blog

Once you’ve picked your niche and got your blog set up, you’ll want to start adding content in order to boost your opt-ins and sales. Stop wasting your time guessing and try these ways to boost your opt-in or sales. Some of them are ways to add a stream of income such as paid reviews and others are ways to get more traffic which can translate into more buys and more conversions.

  1. Share Reviews – Make a page for your website that tells people that you will create product reviews for them. You can charge directly for the blog post, and get free product. When you do it that way you must reveal to your audience that it’s a paid review. You can also do reviews for affiliate products that you’ve purchased or even product you want people to buy from Amazon.
  2. Hold Contests – A contest is a great way to create more exposure and traffic for your blog. You can even get sponsorships for the contest via a vendor. If you’re already a good affiliate for anyone just ask them.
  3. Offer Freebies – You can do all sorts of things with freebies. You can have a freebie of the week, offer different types of freebies from courses to eBooks, and so forth. You can even have a different freebie for each category on your blog such as Tech Tuesdays. If it’s a regular thing not only will people come back but they’ll tell their friends.
  4. Limited-time Offers – Scarcity can often push someone over the edge when they were already considering buying your offers. You can do this in many ways, you can have daily deals, weekly specials, and even deals that go up in price the more people buy it so that those who get in early get a cheaper price. If you do it on a regular basis people will keep coming back due to the expectation of amazing deals from you.
  5. Behind-the-Scenes Videos – As a blogger, you live a romantic life for many of your readers. They often want to be you. They want to know more about you and how you do what you do. Show them with a “day in the life” video of your life as a blogger.
  6. Product Demonstrations – If you can offer demos of any product or service that you offer to your audience they’re going to love it and sales will most certainly go up. A demo can be made quickly by doing a quick video. (Hint: That video can be repurposed into a social media post, an advertisement and more)
  7. Interview People – Interview an expert, interview your customers, and anyone who fits in with your niche that will offer valuable content to your audience. People love reading other people’s stories but remember, just because you’re blogging doesn’t mean it can’t be a video. Include a text transcript too.
  8. Answer Customer Questions – When you get a customer question in email, as a social media question, or in person (it really doesn’t matter) answer the question on the blog. You can get permission to use their name and link to their website or you can write it with the questioner being anonymous.
  9. Future-Use Coupons – This is a great way to encourage customers to buy more. Offer them a coupon that offers them extra dollars off their next purchase for every dollar they spend right now. If you’ve ever shopped at Belk’s or Kohls and some other department stores they do that very successfully and you can too on your blog. Offer samples
  10. Bulk Order Rewards – Depending on what you sell on your blog if you have a lot of products you can offer them a bulk order reward. This means if they buy more than a certain number of products they get a discount. This can work with services too. For example, you often see this with writers as well as virtual assistants who offer discounts on more articles purchased or more hours bought.
  11. Cross-Promotions – You may have heard of this referred to as cross-sells. This is a way, sometimes at checkout, where you can recommend other products. Think about how Amazon does this. They always have a portion of the checkout page visible to the buyer that says something like, “Customers who purchased this also purchased that.”
  12. Charity Donations – You can tie in purchases from customers to a charity by stating on your blog that 10 percent of every purchase (or 10 percent of total profits) goes to your charity of choice. Hint: Find out which charities your audience likes so that it makes it worth it for them.
  13. Insider Club Deals / Memberships – Did you know that you can gate some of your content only for members? You can also start a membership for your information products so that people pay a monthly fee and get access to all the info products you produce each month.
  14. Offer a Gift with Purchase – This is always popular. There is a store in the USA called Clair’s that sells accessories such as gloves, purses, makeup, bracelets, jewelry and so forth. When you go to checkout they always say something like, “Buy one more of those and you pick one of these free items.” This is very doable when selling products on your blog. Even if it’s an affiliate product you can ask them to send you their receipt via a form to qualify for their gift.
  15. Drawings – Another way to get more traffic is to have a drawing to win something. Everyone gets an entry for their purchase, but probably by law you must let everyone enter, that’s okay because you’ll be collecting their email addresses in order that they can enter to win. That’s a win-win for you.
  16. Free Consultation – If you also offer services, a great way to help your audience and get more leads is to offer a free consultation. Usually, this involves about a 30-minute call. It’s suggested you use a good intake form for anyone signing up for the free consultation so that you can get them on your list, and prescreen them prior to the call to make the best use of your time. A good software for this is Acuity Scheduling.
  17. Add-Ons – Another way to convert is to offer add-ons if they act. In some cases, people have their affiliate programs set up so that you can easily add your offer (Amember can do this) so that even as an affiliate you can offer something else to them if they act now.
  18. Ask Your Audiences Opinion – When you’re getting ready to launch a new product you can ask them what the number one question is that they have about the new product. You can also ask them about what new features they’d like to see in the new product. What exactly would make them sign up or buy this new product?
  19. Ask for Feedback/Testimonials – Once someone has purchased make it part of your process, which you can add to your buyer autoresponder, to ask them for feedback so you can make the product better as well as ask for a testimonial.
  20. Respond to Comments with Knowledge – When someone comments on your blog (or anywhere else for that matter) always respond with info, resources, and knowledgeable advice that is designed to get them to make that purchase.
  21. Pull Feedback from Other Sources – For example, social media, Yelp reviews, and other earned media into your blog. This is a great source of additional content that you can share everywhere.
  22. Publish Quality Posts – Ensure that the content you’re sharing offers value to the audience. For a post to be high-quality it needs to give information from the point of view of the audience. It should encourage engagement, inform them, and motivate them.
  23. Popups / Overlays – These are a great way to get more attention. Your audience can always delete the popup or overlay but studies show that they really work to get your offers to the reader.
  24. Offer Multiple Sign up Opportunities – Not only should you offer different offers, but they should be on different pages, at the end of posts, on your sidebar, in the footer, and anywhere that can potentially attract someone to sign up. You don’t want these to be distracting, but you do want them to be in multiple places with multiple offers.
  25. Share Examples – Anytime you’re describing something to your reader it always helps if you can share real-life Even if you don’t have any of your own yet, you can curate and share other people’s examples. (Hint: Always link back to the original blog and don’t cut and paste their content.)
  26. Share Feedback to Answer Questions — For example, if someone said they love the product but is struggling with something about it, post that feedback (without their name) and then answer their question or offer clarification in case others have the same trouble

Create a Content Calendar and Schedule

The best way to ensure that you are publishing enough content across all platforms including your blog that will bring traffic and sales is to create a content planning schedule and a content calendar. Your content calendar will be based on the products you want to promote focusing on the problems they solve for your audience. Then you can throw in trending topics to give your content a more current feel and show you’re up to date and paying attention to what’s happening.

For example, if you have identified an app that you know your audience will find value in start with educating your audience about the problem before you provide the solution. By the time you’re done talking about the problem when you introduce the solution, they’ll be ready to purchase.

Always Include a Call to Action

Every post that you publish should have a reason for being, as mentioned before. When you are brainstorming the types of posts you want to include on your blog think about your goals. A goal, to be effective, needs to be able to be converted to a call to action.

Sell Stuff

Don’t be afraid to sell something on every single post that you publish within the text, in an advertisement in between paragraphs, through sidebar links, pop-ups or slides, and via content upgrades to help convert people to your email list. If your audience can easily consume the free content you’re providing, giving them more ways to buy will improve sales. Don’t be fearful of doing this. Yes, some people may get mad and go away. But they aren’t your target audience anyway.

Create Clear CTAs

When developing your CTAs, it’s important to use clear language that provokes enthusiasm, provides a reason (solves pain points) for your audience to act, limits the time they can act, and shows proof that the solution works for other people just like them.  Additionally, the CTA button when one is used should be very prominent and use words that demand action rather than “buy now” say something like: “Yes! I want my Freedom Now!”

  • Optimize Your SEO — There are two types of SEO. On page SEO and off page SEO. Both types of SEO are important.
  • On-Page SEO – On page, SEO should mean that you use keyworded titles, headers, subheadings, smart internal linking, and content that speaks directly to your audience. It’s anything that you do from graphic design, the layout of your website and blog, and the words you use on the page that encompasses on-page SEO.
  • Off-Page SEO — Off-page, SEO means that anything you do to get traffic back to your website using platforms that aren’t your website, such as social media platforms, should also be optimized. Promote every single last post you publish using other platforms such as social media like Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook creating those all-important links back to your content from other platforms.

Using these direct and indirect ways to boost sales and opt-ins will be effective if you add the new content on a regular basis, promote every piece of content you publish, and become very responsive to comments and questions.

Content ideas are literally everywhere if you are looking for them, and with care an attention will boost your sales.

Kevin Arrow

Of course, you can market your business to everybody

Of course, you can market your business to everybody

My perfect customer is someone with a pulse!! Anyone with a pulse. Well, actually, I don’t even check for a pulse.

My headline was me being partially sarcastic. Shall we talk about problems? Oh go on then I hear you say.

The biggest problem in business

The biggest problem I see in business — and I mean everywhere, not just online businesses — is that so many business owners want to sell what they’ve got to everybody. I say so tell me who is your ideal customer? They respond…everybody.

Really? Everybody? Everybody??

Like that dead person waiting to be embalmed at the funeral home is your ideal client? What? No? What about that homeless guy? No? Okay, what about those students over there? No? Those kids playing in the park, what about them? Men over the age of 73?

But I thought you said everybody?

These businesses want to sell as many of what they have as possible, so they don’t niche down and sell to a targeted audience, they go broad instead.  Now, I like you, you’re reading this post and you’re smart, (what’s not to like about that) and unlike these crazy businesses who don’t see the value in narrowing the scope of their marketing efforts, you do. They see a targeted audience as reducing their potential sales, you see it as a way to grow them.

Narrowing down your niche works

You must have been to one of those networking meetings of small business owners, recruiters, multi-level marketers, and salespeople, where each person gets 30 seconds to tell the group who they are and what they sell, in an effort to generate referrals?

Nine out of 10 will say something like, “I sell these widgets, and they’re really great widgets. Everyone needs to use my widgets, so I sell them to anybody and everybody.” I really should use a non-widget example but widget works… everyone knows what a widget is, right?

You might as well be honest and come right out and say “My perfect customer is someone with a pulse. Anyone in the room with a pulse?”.

But every now and then, there’s a person with a specific message. He says something like, “I sell widgets to garages. A good referral for me is the mechanic who fixes your car.” And guess what? He gets referrals. The rest don’t.

The same is true in the online world as well as business networking.  The more specific you can be with your marketing message, the more success you will have. So speak to your target customer as directly as possible in each piece of marketing material you put out. Speak directly to them in their language, not jargon or pseudo-corporation-speak that you never understood even when you worked in a corporate position. The words and language they use make a real connection.

Let’s explore a scenario. Let’s say  I might be a prospective buyer of your widgets. I might really need your widgets, but I just don’t know about them. All you have to do is get my attention, and maybe I’ll buy from you.

So how do you get my attention?

You get me by tweaking your marketing message.

I’m a unique individual, with my own specific circumstances and my own specific problems. I don’t think of myself as one of “anybody and everybody.” I’m special. Stop sniggering, I am. When I’m busy not being special I do think of myself as a member of a group. In fact, I’m a member of many groups.

I’m a business owner.  I’m a dad, brother, nephew husband, and a son, as well as an employee and a business owner. You get the idea. This isn’t just ME I’m talking about, I’m talking about who YOUR buyer is likely to be.

Maybe I like to watch Marvel films or eat doughnuts, so “film” and “doughnut lovers” are groups I identify with. If I have bad eyesight or tennis elbow, that puts me in one of those groups, people with a particular ailment. So if you say your widgets work for dads who own their own business, who watch Marvel films poorly due to dodgy eyesight, guess what? You’ve got my attention!

You’ve described me, my pain, and now I feel connected. The fact you have a box of dougnuts in your hand is no way irrelevant, I know you totally get me. Not only do you totally get me, you know my inner pains and you can cure them with your widgets. You say your widgets come with doughnuts? That sounds right up my street! I’m totally listening, tell me more as I wipe away my drool.

The way to build a following — a tribe, as Seth Godin puts it — is by targeting a specific group of people; a niche of people with a common problem that your product solves.

You’ll never build a following by trying to sell to “everybody,” because the truth is there’s nothing out there that appeals to everybody. Take food. We all have to eat. Do we all like the same foods? Some of you worry about the doughnuts, others can imagine the jam and the sugar… You know what I mean when I say there’s nothing that appeals to everybody, so why try and appeal to them?

The fact is, the more precisely you describe me, the more I’m going to like you and trust you.

People buy from people they know, like and trust, they buy from people who totally get them and they don’t just buy once, they buy over and over and over.

Remember it’s not difficult to find your ideal client but you do need to put a little bit of leg work in. If you need help with this then feel free to let me help you some more by clicking here

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