Finding Your Niche

Back To Basics Part 2: Finding Your Niche

The introduction to this series can be found here

A “niche” can be any specific category you aim to market. For example, model cars is one, so is fishing, holidays to tenerife, brain training, the bridges of London, and of course – Internet Marketing.

You can go ahead and start to build a web presence around anything you wish… but you should really take a moment to think about a few key points.

1. Experience and Interest

If the subject you are going to tackle is of no interest to you, why bother starting? You will soon stall due to a lack of interest on your part. It also helps if you have some experience in that subject but that is not necessarily a requirement.

If, for example, you are a plasterer, or a policeman, a traffic warden, or an accountant – you have experience in those and related subjects. If your hobby is fishing, or stamp collecting, or you’re an avid historian, or a big fan of 1960s art decor – then those are other niches you can tackle.

It helps if you have experience or an interest in any niche you decide to tackle, but I repeat – not a necessity. If you happen to discover a hot topic you can learn as you go.

2. Other Peoples Interest

This point is more important. If no-one else is interested in your chosen niche then there is no money to be made. It’s that simple. If you spend a long time researching and developing a site that is TOO niche you’re heading for a dead end. Sometimes you can go more general, and cover your interest as a sub-niche, but otherwise just don’t bother.

For example: If you have a burning desire to create a site about an obscure 1900’s silent-era movie star but most people have forgotten him, why not create a more general site about the silent movie era instead, covering that star on a sub page.

3. Competition

If the niche you chose has a wide interest, but there are hundreds of sites targetting the same niche, you will have a lot more work to do. It’s still possible to succeed by bettering these other sites, or offering something they don’t, but in general it’s worth thinking about first. Some niches are big enough to allow a LOT of competition (think Internet Marketing!).

The ideal niche has a big interest but a low competition. These are hard to come by, so sometimes it’s better to compromise and head for a side niche of some kind. You’re unlikely to make a dent in the Credit Card market – but you could possibly make a go of it in the “how to manage multiple credit cards” or “winning with credit card awards” niches.

4. Profitability

Finally, since you’re in this for the money, you need to think about how profitable the niche you chose could be.

Some niches are obvious. Taking Credit Card’s as an example again, it’s easy to see that affiliate programs and maybe ebooks would be profitable. As for that silent movie era site, then DVD sales, posters, books, etc could work. All these sites could support advertising too.

If you target Golf – another big market – then you know that the average golfer is affluent, likes to spend on their sport, and avidly seek to better their handicap.

It’s worth thinking about these various points before you go ahead with your new niche.

But what if you can’t think of an idea at all?

First, there’s the popular news stories of the day. Sometimes you can quickly get a time sensitive site up to catch a buzz, but the site by it’s very nature would be short lived. For example, here in the UK there’s an election – but by the time it’s over any site covering it is long gone. The same for the recent volcano that stopped flights over much of Europe’s airspace. Hot news at the time, but gone right after.

You can also get ideas by looking at the problems people have. Find a problem, provide an answer, and you’re on to a winner. Perennial human problems include how we look, how we feel, our worries about our families, and debt, and so on. More specific problems include those wannabe gardeners who can’t get anything to grow, that fisherman who can’t get a bite, and (again) that golfer who just can’t improve his score.

Provide an answer to a popular problem and you’re set.

Other good sources of niche ideas can be found in the world around you. If you put your marketer’s hat on you’ll seen tons of ideas in your everyday life. Say you cycle to work, and are sick of avoiding cars. Or you spot a billboard advertising some holiday destination, and you start daydreaming about being there. Or you are talking to a neighbour who’s grumbling about the state of his lawn.

Advertising, in all it’s forms, focuses on various niches by it’s very nature. And magazine articles, or even problem pages, cover very specific interests.

There are millions of niche ideas out there. Just keep an open mind and you’ll find one soon.

Note: I’ve specifically avoided Internet Marketing niches in this article because I didn’t want to dilute the message. But this is a good example of a general niche that quickly becomes ultra focused. People have trouble getting traffic, hence the Search Engine niches, sites about Article Marketing, etc. You might want to create more content, so there’s sites about articles, and creating products, and graphics. Or you may want a bigger subscriber list, so – you guessed it – there’s a proliferation of List Building sites…

The Specifics

The quickest way to research a potential niche is to use Google. Google’s Keyword Tool gives you approximate search counts for various terms.

Simply enter some keywords specific to your niche into the tool and you’ll see a list of keywords and their counts.

You can also use Google to find competition. Simply search for a keyword and see how many results are there. This can be deceiving, but it’s a good indication nonetheless.

Finally, Google’s Search Suggestions that pop up whenever you type a search at Google show some of the terms people have been looking for.

Example:

We are going to look into Disneyland as a potential niche. No particular reason, except I just – in passing – noticed an article about it. As I type it in, I notice search terms such as “Disneyland Paris” and “Disneyland Florida” come up. Also “Disneyland Paris Tickets” and “Disneyland Paris Packages”. I’m in the UK, so obviously these suggestions are location based.

At Google’s Keyword Tool I get these interesting results (chosen from the myriad provided):

Disneyland 9,140,000
Disneyland discount 90,500
Disneyland Package 49,500
Disneyland Information 5,400
About Disneyland 6,600
Disneyland Video 22,200
Disneyland Videos 9,900
Disneyland Jobs 18,100
Disneyland Discounts 22,200

And so on.

These give you some ideas on what people are looking for. Key amongst them are people want packages and holidays, discounts and information.

I also put in one or two other interesting results. People are looking for Disneyland Jobs, for example. And some search results double up – so About Disneyland and Disneyland Information are the same thing, as are the results for “Video” and “Videos”.

These immediately give me ideas for sites. How about a site showing the jobs available, how to get in, etc? I don’t know much about that – but I could research it, and even interview or work with someone who’s been employed there. I could also throw up a site packed with videos of Disneyland culled from Youtube and others.

In Google’s Keyword Tool you can also click on the magnifying glass icon to get a more detailed view of the results that make up that result in Google Insights. So “Disney Discounts” at 22,200 searches shows some interesting keyword terms such as Disneyland Coupons. Again, an instant idea for a site (where to get these coupons, maybe even provide them from an affiliated travel agent, etc). Insights also shows you “rising search terms”, or what’s hot at the moment.

Google’s Keyword Tool is a wealth of information. Use it well.

Now for the competition. As you can expect there will be a lot of competition for this niche. Clicking a result in the Keyword Tool will throw you right into the search results, but clicking a result in Insights will drill deeper through to even more specific terms.

Disneyland Coupons, for example, has 449,000 results. Many of these are sub pages in general travel sites or Disney sites, but there are some specific ones. There is quite a lot of competition here but I don’t see a *specific* Disney Coupons site. These other results can also, incidentally, give you ideas on how to approach your own site – or even information for your own research.

After this exhaustive look at Disneyland I hope you see how you can select a niche and quickly research it. Next time we will look at ideas for how to approach a site, and monetize it.

Master Resell Rights To 60+ Membership Sites!

This is an incredible offer you may have seen recently.

We have the full Master Resell Rights to 66+ complete niche membership sites, that you can resell yourself without having to host or maintain anything!

shows clear numbers that these methods are on the rise. These sites range from Internet Marketing related sites, through to various niches such as:

  • No Spam Club
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  • Save Gas Club
  • Golfers Club
  • and much more…

For the complete list, see here

Each club has a joining fee ranging from $7 and up, and some are recurring membership. Of course, being a licence holder, you will get all these monies paid to your PayPal account. Full details in the table.

This is a incredible opportunity. There are clubs to suit many niches.

You are only limited by your imagination. As a full Master Resell Rights licence holder, you could, for example:

  • Sell access to one or two of these clubs, bundled together.
  • Offer membership to any of these as a bonus to an existing site or product.
  • Sell membership to any site you fancy, as an upgrade or one time offer.

These are fully populated membership sites that you can offer without having to do any hosting, maintenance, support, or troubleshooting. The sites are already there – you only have to decide how to sell, package, or offer them!

I’m sure as an Internet Marketer you could think of even more ways you could profit from 60+ Membership Sites.

60+ Members Sites with Master Resell Rights

How you offer these is up to you.

  1. You can simply use this incredible offer to have access to all the Membership Sites for your own use.
  2. You could use the special paypal links to send your visitors to these sites, and reap the profits.
  3. You can upload the sales and thankyou pages to your own sites, and send your customers to special membership areas.
  4. You can charge whatever you want, recurring or not.
  5. You can even build your own affiliate programs!

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White Hat Copycat … Freebies and Bonuses Revealed

Tim Bekker’s “White Hat Copycat” is taking the net by storm.

Like anything else, the basic premise isn’t brand new, but the system is. The idea is you can copycat top sites, in top niches, and drive traffic and sales to your OWN websites, affiliate links, and/or products.

It’s something I’ve come across before, mainly in keyword research. Unless you’ve found a brand new niche – and hit a goldmine – you can bet someone has been there before you. Why not take inspiration (or if you like “steal”) from the existing sites to build your own? If someone else has researched the keywords, designed the webpages, and is making sales why go through the effort and bother of doing it yourself?

This is a highly lucrative form of marketing.

The main site is via the banner below.White Hat Copycat

This system includes a lot of help. You’ll get Pre-Made Copycat Site Templates (so no work for you…), The Niche Blueprint (each proven to be worth over $100 a day, and various blueprints that flesh out the system.

These are The Copycat Site Blueprint, The Whitehat Copycat Blueprin, The Traffic Bueprint, The Download Platform Blueprint, and The Product Blueprint.

This is all well and good – but can this system make you money?

It’s billed itself as a lazy mans way to profit. I have a problem with this, since it implies little work. Like anything, you HAVE to put the work in – but copycatting has been around for a long time. I know it works. And “Whitehat” – as opposed to “Blackhat” – implies totally legal methods. Of course it is, since you are not actually stealing any content… only the R&D and ideas :-)

The salespitch for White Hat Copycat is a masterclass in design. But don’t let that put you off. Give it a try – it comes with a rock-steady guarantee (since it’s run by Clickbank Sales), so if you don’t like it you can easily get your money back.

The best part of this offer is twofold:

  1. It’s affordable. (Actually, currently on sale the last time I checked)
  2. It’s proven. The system works – plus this particular incarnation comes with fully researched niches and templates!

Special Bonuses:

White Hat Copycat has a download form on site for you to receive some extra special bonuses. I shouldn’t really tell you about it here – but you can get Tim’s earlier version… “The Stupid Simple System”… for $1 !!

Plus: You can get a copy of Tim’s Google Resurrection for free simply by clicking the exit button the salespage. It’s an exitsplash powered popup which can be irritating in the wrong hands but for a freebie like that – go grab it!

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Click the Exit button to grab this!

White Hat Copycat – one of the most useful, affordable, and freebie loaded IM launches in recent years…

Psychology Of Color In Marketing And Design

Colour CircleThis is a guest post from Andrew Harrison, a professional design and marketing consultant. Here he discusses the importance of color in your site design – and shows you how it can alter how people perceive your site and act upon it. This is a subject not often debated in Internet Marketing, so please take the opportunity to read this important information.

If you want to learn more, Andrew offers a free course at the end. Andrew also runs a full membership site with videos, information, software and more to help you make the most of your site design. Please see the “members card” at the end of this post for more information – this is a truly original site that you will want to see.

How to use color to improve your websites performance

What colors did you choose for your site? Blue? Green? Maybe blue with orange? Why did you choose them? Maybe because they look pretty, or maybe because you saw someone else using the same colors. Not choosing the correct colors for your site and or products is a drastic mistake. Every single product in this world has unique colors. Here is an example. Have you ever noticed in the grocery store that the colors they choose for packaging encourage you to buy?

Colors set a mood, and when you use the secret color combinations of big business, your sales will increase. Just choosing some colors that someone else chose will not help you make more sales.

Did you know that some shades of blue actually chase prospects away? You see, not all color shades have the same impact on your site visitors. Choosing colors is a science, not just throw mud at the wall and let’s hope it sticks.

What you need to do is very carefully choose the message that your colors send. I don’t mean from all that free stuff floating around. I can assure you that after 15 years of helping people choose their colors, that all the free stuff will do more damage than good.

You need up-to-date information, examples and a proven formula that works. Please read on, I have included my McDonald’s example. All of the big companies know the power of colors in marketing. In fact, these same companies spend a small fortune to just get it right. You won’t need to spend what they did though.

Okay, here we go.

Yellow = Sun, Life, Energy, Friendly, Innovative etc. . .
Red = Is a color that stimulates the adrenaline glands in the brain. they chose red for this specific purpose. There are other reasons they chose the red, BUT the major one is the chemicals it creates in the brain.

Now ask yourself this, WHO does Mcdonald’s market to? Apes? Dogs? Adults? Children? They have built their empire on directing ads at kids. In fact, those little toys they hand out have done well for them. Enough about that though.

What colors do children respond to? PRIMARY COLORS. So there we have the red. PLUS, adults respond to red as well. (The adult is the action taker) Who has the money to pay for little Johnny’s lunch? So of course, they need to focus on mom or dad in the process. RED is a call to action, AND it also stimulates the appetite.

Now the yellow. Why yellow? Yellow represents MANY things, it all depends on the message being sent, the product and the actual yellow itself. In this case, the message is FRIENDLY. At least one of them anyway. Are they friendly in Mcdonalds? Yes, they are. See my point?

Now let’s move onto the clown. He just screams out so many messages.

Red hair. Red stripes and red shoes. Knowing that red can represent energy, exciting and courageous, well you see what I am getting at. The color red was chosen for the clown very carefully. Now what does Ronald do? I want to really make my point here. HE HAS LOTS of energy. He is also very excited, AND he portrays joy. (Yellow can also represent joy) Do you see what I am getting at?

Now why would he wear yellow? In this case it is because he is friendly, and whose friend is he? The children’s. . .

Yellow can also mean caution, and red can be related to sex or war. It does not matter. It is the message that you want to send and how it relates to your product. This is an example of a company that chose their colors very carefully so that they could send a message, and it has worked out well for them. Colors are processed on a subliminal level.

Hope you enjoyed that. Just please keep in mind that the colors you choose for your site send a message. You can increase your sales by sending out the correct color message.

Let me ask you a question, the pretty flower gets the bee, right? Use the wrong colors on your site, or just go and borrow someone else’s colors because you like them and the results will show. Now, I know a lot of people are making sales with poor color schemes. The point is, if your color scheme is well thought out and chosen correctly, YOU WILL MAKE MORE SALES. I have seen this over and over. The prospect will hang around longer if the colors are attractive and send the correct color message.

Don’t forget. The color is the message. Again, for anyone who does not believe in all this, look at the packaging in the stores, look at the colors BIG companies use. Screw your colors up, or use the wrong ones in the wrong place. . . and.. well you get the point.

Andrew Harrison has been a professional color and marketing consultant for 15 years.

Secrets Of Big Advertising

You can visit http://www.internetmarketinginsimpleterms.com/ to get YOUR free 4 day color and graphics course. This course will teach you how to increase your sales with colors and graphics. Remember, websites are like books, judged by their cover.

More WordPress Plugins and CSS

Since the last time I tried a selection of WordPress Plugins, which you can read here, things have changed.

I’ve removed a few, sometimes because I’ve found something better, or because the plugin didn’t work as well as I liked. I’ve also started to use quite a few more which I’ll tell you about here.

These are not the kinds of plugins you’ll see in most “WordPress Plugin” articles. My blog was working happily, these are not essential, but they each add a little flair or a little safety to your blog.

Add Post Footer

I’ve noticed many blogs using their post-footer real estate a lot more, so I’ve added an info box and some clickbank ads at the end of my posts. Using a plugin or widget rather than editing the themes directly means you don’t lose your changes if you change themes. Unfortunately, I’ve altered my theme quite a lot but the plugin is still very useful.

For the info box I simply sourced an “information” graphic and put that, and some links to various areas of my site, into a CSS based box. Yes – I’ve been delving into CSS a little too, but more on that later.

For the Clickbank Ads I used a simple tool that’s on the Clickbank site itself to generate a simple script.

There’s also a few other plugins that do the same job, such as HeFo (HEader FOoter) that also lets you change other areas, and also a feed footer tool that let’s you add footers to your RSS – great for getting your info out if your blog content is scraped/stolen!

Sexy Bookmarks

I used this because, simply, it looks pretty… There are countless social bookmarking plugins for WordPress, and I use a few here, but this is a nice addition that has attractive icons. I still use the venerable Add This and Tell A Friend plugins which a similar job, but Sexy Bookmarks are a little more immediate than a pop-up button menu.

WP Greet

I find WP Greet a rather amazing plugin! In some ways it is a little similar to “What Would Seth Godin Do?” which a lot of bloggers use, but it’s more flexible.

Like WWSGD this plugin will welcome someone who hasn’t been to your blog before, with a little message that slides in above your post. This allows them to subscribe to your RSS feed, or whatever.

However, where it goes further is that it detects where your new reader has come from. If they come from Digg, for example, the message will say “Welcome Digger!” and emplore them to Digg your post. Or “Welcome Stumbler!” and ask them to give a thumbs up. There’s a lot of such social networks built into this plugin, and each comes with a nifty icon along with the message.

For people who arrive via search engines there’s another feature. Along with the “Welcome Googler!” message there will also be the search term used, and a list of related posts.

SEO Booster Lite

An ingenious idea. This finds if your visitor has arrived to your site from a page 2 listing at Google, and then creates a new link which is displayed via a widget with that search term in it – linking to the original post.

An example might explain it better. Say, a user searches for “How To Cook Fish” and you have a post that lists for that term, but only on page 2, then this plugin will create a new “How To Cook Fish” link in your blog sidebar (via that widget).

The end effect is it gives a little boost to the ranking you have for that term, and may even get you to page 1.

And it’s also fun to see the search terms people find you with – the page 2 ones at least – appear on your blog. They might not always be what you expect!

Twitter Tools

This plugin gives you numerous ways to work with Twitter. The most useful are the fact you can display your tweets as a widget (usually in your sidebar), and auto tweet for every post you make.

You can also automatically make a post, or a daily or weekly digest post, of your tweets, and tweet directly from the widget/sidebar.

Very useful for you crazy twitterers out there but here I mainly using it to display a few tweets and to autotweet the posts. I’m not a big twitter user but this does have a small effect on traffic. If you were a major user you would get much more benefit from this.

WP-Note

The best way to describe this is to send you to the plugin screenshot page via that link above. Basically, this plugin lets you spice up your posts by including notes.

These notes stand out from the post by being bordered and highlighted, but they also have a small image included. Notes can be Note, Tip, Warning, Info, or Important – displaying a, for example, warning triangle on the “warning” style.

It looks cool, and can be useful, but so far I’ve only used it one post.

WP Database Optimizer

This plugin is slightly different. It won’t alter the way your blog looks one bit, and it won’t help you get more traffic. But it can, in some circumstances, help it run faster and more securely.

This will simply optimize your WordPress database. It has more or less the same effect as firing up PhpMyAdmin and optimizing the SQL but since most users won’t be doing that, or even know what it means, this plugin is good way to keep things running quickly and smoothly.

This does a little more, such as remove revisions (those posts that you’ve edited a thousand times that leave behind old versions) and remove spam, but essentialy it does what is says on the box.

Google Sitemap Generator

A simple, but useful, plugin for WordPress. This makes a sitemap for your blog that is updated with every new post you create. Because this blog is on top of a legacy site I hesitated to use this, incase something happened to the rankings of old non-blog pages, but everything seems ok so far.

You can also add pages outside the blog to the sitemap manually – which I have and it can be time consuming. But once it’s done it’s really set and forget.

Go to Google’s Webmaster Tools, add your sitemap, and you’re done. It’s also worth adding their tracking code to your Blog – best put in the main footer, or via a “blog footer” or Analytics plugin, and use Google Analytics to see useful data on your traffic such as the landing pages, referral pages, searches, and much more.

CSS Editing

I don’t know a lot about CSS, so this isn’t worth a seperate post. For editing your blog a working knowledge is quite useful. So far, I’ve managed to add another sidebar to my theme along the top that spans the other two sidebars, as well as tweak a few boxes, change the header, add an RSS button, etc.

Fortunately WordPress makes it easy to change things, since you can edit all the files in the admin area. Just keep backups! And remember, if you alter a theme in this way you’ll lose all changes if you switch themes. Best use plugins / widgets where possible.

The best examples are the blog theme itself. See how one thing works, and you can copy it. Anytime you’re stuck, search the web. Most CSS is simple styling tags , but there’s a lot of them. Tags such as “border-size: 20px” are self explanatory. Just be careful WHERE you put your CSS because it can really mess things up. The wordpress files are usually named “Header” “Footer” “Stylesheet” “Home or Index” etc so you can see where your changes can go. If something goes wrong, just go back.

For those who want to add extra sidebars themselves it IS quite simple, but you might spend a little time figuring things out with your theme. I found here, here and here pretty useful places to look for information.

As for graphics and images and boxes and tables – spacing can be tricky, so I just use trial and error. But hopefully your theme is commented, or you can “read” the other tables and areas, and work around them.

Happy Editing!

The Truth About Turnkey Web Sites

Turnkey Sites are everywhere. If you’re looking for an Internet Business, or if you want to add another income stream to your portfolio it’s easy to see why a turnkey site could be attractive.

The appeal is obvious. You’ll immediately own a ready-built site that is all geared up to accept payments, with little or no work from yourself.

But it’s never that easy… If you place a upload a website and make it “live” it is very unlikely to do anything at all – it will just sit there, most probably gathering virtual dust.

Turnkey sites come in many shapes and formats. They could be wordpress blogs, scripted sites that give you a service such as an auction, dating site, game site, or similar, or you could simply get a template – a basic outline where you are expected to fit in the relevant information for whatever market you hope to target. It could be a ready-built site that you simply upload to your web space or could even be a complete pre-built site, with it’s own domain, where you literally need do nothing to make it work.

You can buy turnkey sites from one of the main retailers of such services, or find them on eBay and other internet marketplaces. The price will also vary – anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred. But before you buy there’s one important fact you should take into consideration…

IS IT UNIQUE?

Unfortunately, many turnkey sites are not. Simply searching Google for some of the information that is preloaded into it will probably throw up quite a few similar sites, even exact clones. Unless you have paid especially for the site to be built for you, but that takes you out of the turnkey market and into something a little more expansive than this post.

You can fix it, by editing the site you have. If you’ve bought a turnkey site that is prebuilt into it’s own domain you might not have the technical knowledge to do this. But if you have a template or a site you upload to your own space you probably do. Simply altering the text a little may be enough to distinguish it from it’s rival, but adding your own content is even better. The best kinds of turnkey sites have back-offices built in where you can edit or add information.

Once you have a unique website, uploaded, and ready to run the second part of the formula comes into play. You need traffic. This where many a purchaser has fallen down. It won’t make sales, earn advertising revenue, or even attract readers if you don’t promote it.

You’ll need to get it listed, and ranked, in the search engines as well as pursue other avenues of traffic such as forums, articles, pay-per-click, social bookmarking, and the like. Take a look at our traffic page for some more ideas.

So, before you buy that turnkey site make sure you have the knowledge, aptitude, and stamina to make it work. You need to be persistent with your promotions, and able to fix any problems that arise (or pay someone else too). Making money online is never as simple as “just” having a site – after all, if it were – wouldn’t the people selling these sites just run them for themselves … :-)

——————-

If you do want to dip your toes into the turnkey market you can try this special offer from the Wacky Wednesday team. It’s a complete package of adsense-enabled turnkey sites, with some wordpress templates, and much more for around $5. You will need to upload them to your own webspace, and promote them, but apart from that everything else is there.

These are optimised niche turnkey sites for a variety of subjects that include article based content and adsense ads to earn you revenue. Alter them a little, add some more content, and even consider adding affiliate links for more direct revenue (I recommend searching Commission Junction, ClickBank, or even Amazon) and you’re good to go!

Turnkey, Blog Templates, and Niche-Sites Package.

WordPress is an ideal way to run your own sites with a minimum of effort. There are many plugins available to show ads, accept payments, or even run a store – all from the wonderful back-office that’s built into every wordpress installation.

10 Ways To Earn Back-End Profits

As I’m sure a lot of people realise by now, almost every industry has ways to elicit extra money from customers. It be as simple as “Do You Want Fries With That?” or “Would You Like To Supersize That?” or be far, far more complicated.

The lifetime value of a customer goes beyond the initial contact.

It’s become so commonplace that people know what is happening, but the deals are so good they’ll go along with it – anyway. The initial sale may even be at a loss, or more dramatically for free, if the potential for back end sales is high enough.

How does it translate to Internet Marketing, in general?

1. Upsells

These are simple extra offers that are proffered directly after the main sell. Usually they are complimentary products to the main main offer, provided at a discount.

Sometimes these are promoted as being “one time” only, with the emphasis that you’ll never get that extra bonus again unless you purchase the main product again.

Sometimes you’ll even get a cycle of upsell offers, but this can quickly prove distracting and give a negative impression to your customer.

2. Upgrades

This is similar to an upsell in that it’s an extra sale on top of the main, but it’s usually tied to the main product. It may be as simple as extra additions to your main package, perhaps bonus templates, books, audios, videos, DVDs, or whatever. It could also be extra rights, such as Master Resale Rights or Private Label Rights to the first product.

If it’s a membership it could be an upgrade to a higher level (e.g. Gold), or if it’s a service it could be an upgrade to 2 years support instead of 1. If it’s a virtual product, the upgrade could be to a physical copy. There are a lot of opportunities with this kind of upsell.

3. Recurring Income

Back End profits don’t just mean extra sales after the main, it could be a recurring income provided month by month.

This works well for subscription based sales, perhaps for a premium newsletter or content site, or more commonly a membership site.

It’s common practice to to combine the subscription model with a loss-leader front-end. For example, the first month for free or for $1. Just be up front about the recurring part, so you don’t break any laws and you are not inundated with angry customers.

4. E-mail List

One way to ensure you can make your money per customer beyond your initial sale is to capture their e-mail address. This gives you a way to keep in contact.

The easiest way to do this is to ensure the customer has to register the main product, either at the first entry onto the site, or by registering the product after it is purchased.

With an e-mail list of customers you can provide further offers in the months or years ahead. The customer has already proven to be a buyer, so this kind of list is very valuable. Just don’t overdo it!

5. Preferential Discounts

While it’s bad form to charge existing customers for minor upgrades to your main offer, it’s acceptable to do so for major revisions, such as new versions.

And if they’re already a purchaser, a discount is way to entice them to buy – it’s fairer, and it’s easy money for you.

6. Support

One way to increase after-sale profits is to provide a premium support service. While you shouldn’t charge for basic support, extra services such as installation, personal help, coaching, or one-on-one consultations can certainly carry a premium.

7. “Subtle” Promotion

Another idea to promote your brand, site and/or products to your existing customers is to subtly include them with the main product. If you create your own products, you already do this with links, (C)’s and ads included within the product. You can also do it if your product comes in PLR form, allowing you to edit it, or if it is re-brandable. You can even include a a text or html file in the package – let’s call it “readme.txt” or “bonuses.html” – to entice your customer back.

This can also be considered viral marketing, since if your customer resells or gives away the main product themselves – providing you’ve allowed the neccessary rights – all this information will travel with it.

8. Make a Sticky Site

Another way to get your customer back, and therefore allow for further sales, is to include sticky aspects to your site. This can be as simple as a forum, or a members area, or a blog. By stating further bonuses, articles, or help will be forthcoming or is already available your customer has a reason to return. This works well along with a mailing list.

If you have confidence in your products you could also allow product reviews, ratings, and advice to be posted, and even credit your customers with points per purchase / post / vote to be redeemed.

9. Appeal to Greed

If you know you can make a substantial amount from your customers even after the initial sale, you can afford to pay them, or others, to promote your products for you. This is essentially affiliate marketing, but with the twist that you could even afford to pay affiliates more than the actual initial sale would make – such as for a free product. You have to crunch the numbers to do this, and know your conversion rates in advance.

10. Try another Medium

Finally, one way to catch your existing customers attention is to move to another medium. If you are selling virtual products, perhaps information products downloaded from your site, consider contacting existing customers periodically via mail or even telephone. If you sell physical products, keep in contact with e-mail or a special website / blog.

Keep your customers happy, give them what they want, and ensure you offer value in some way (special pricing, extra support, bonuses) and you’ll soon discover that marketing goes beyond that initial sale.

Buying Incentives

So… you have a site, and you have a product on that site – and perhaps you’re even making sales. Now you want to increase those sales.

There’s a lot of obfuscation and plain BS in Internet Marketing, but only one thing counts, and that is profit. Simply put, your sales price minus your overheads. Or: Profit = Sales * (Price – Costs). You could go further,  such as as Sales = Visitors * Conversion Rate, but that just complicates things…

All you need to know is profit can be altered by a number of variables. You can increase the price of your product, you can increase the number of sales, or you can cut your overheads.

Here, I’m discussing increasing sales. And again, a number of variables come into play. You can increase the raw number of people who visit your site, which involves promotion (discussed elsewhere) or you can increase your “conversion rate”, which involves getting more of the people who do visit to buy your product.

When it comes down to it, marketing is simple, juggling figures, and I’ve talked about it before. But in this post I’m specifically going to talk about increasing your sales by increasing your conversion rate by using incentives.

Incentives are little tricks and tactics that can help urge a visitor to buy your product. You’ll have seen many in action yourself, and perhaps become jaded to them, but if you do come across a sales page using them make sure to make a note so you can copy it for yourself. Look to what works in the real world – after all, if others are doing it, perhaps you should to.

1. Reduced Stock

This simply means you only have x number of copies to sell. You can do this honestly, by using a script that counts down as each sale is made, or alter the salespage manually, or dishonestly by changing the figure every now and then.

And sell-outs are not neccessarily the end. You’ll often see marketers re-offering products due to new additions, refunds, or special events.

2. Increasing Price

By stating the current price is time-limited you can give prospective buyers a little push to urge them to buy, now. Again, automated scripts can do this – especially as “dime sales” – or you can simply increase the price at a set date. Again, it’s not set in stone.

3. Time Limits

By putting a product on sale for a specific time only, you can incentivize people to buy since it simply won’t be available after a certain date.

4. One Offs

Similar to the Time Limit, you can say this product will only be on sale now, and never again.

5. Extra Bonuses

Bonuses can can also influence someone to buy, but ensure they are relevant to your main product. Sometimes bonuses go way over the top, to the extent where they are worth more than the main product, but a well thought out bonus needn’t be too extravagant. You could even include this incentive as a time limited offer or only for x amount of sales.

6. Build The Buzz

By creating a buzz *before* the sale, you can attempt to generate an initial rush to your site. Usually this is accomplished via affiliates who are instructed to market over a certain period, during a pre-launch effort, releasing teasers and hints of what is to come.

7. Enforced Delays

Combined with the buzz, a deliberate delay can also help build anticipation for your offer. It’s debatable whether this works well, but it does give those who miss your original “deadline” a chance to jump in.

8. Early Adoption

For your new whizz-bang technique you’re promoting why not keep pushing the idea that “early adopters” will benefit most? This may help those sitting on the fence to come aboard so they don’t lose out later.

9. Page Elements

Various page features have been used over the years to get people to buy, but overuse can also turn them away. These include floating boxes (an evolution of the humble pop-in), on-page incentives such as discount codes or bonus codes, on-page ads such as corner or ribbon ads, or even a signup box with the promise of a discount. Don’t disregard the e-mail address, a followup message or two can help that initial ditherer take the plunge.

10. Exit Blocks

Again, these can annoy the visitor but catching someone as they leave your page without buying can garner a few more sales. Originally it was simply a popup box with a “Wait!” type message, but now you often see fake live message boxes offering further discounts. Or even a continuous cycle of cut-down packages and consequently lower prices.

As you can see many of these techniques can be combined on your sales page, and many have the problem of turning away potential sales rather than attracting them. It’s down to the individual to test these various methods to see what works. As they become commonplace, their effectiveness is reduced, but especially outside the usual IM markets they can work well.

Happy selling!

The Top 3 IM Forums

Forums are great places to get news, help and support on almost any subject – and Internet Marketing is no exception. The fact that it’s so easy to start a forum means there are a lot of spam-ridden and low-post forums around, but the three choosen here have stood the test of time.

If you’ve been marketing on the net for a while you’ll no doubt already been familiar with these, but if not they may be an eye opener for you. If you want information on breaking news, want to make deals or contact fellow marketers, or grab a bargain, these are the places to hang out.

1. The Warrior Forum

As the masthead of this site states the forum has been around since 1997. Originally, it was a private forum as part of the Warriors “club” but now it’s open to all.

You’ll find many top names here and a lot going on, and it seems more professional than many other forums. The Warrior Forum is where the players discuss strategies and big deals are struck. Anyone can join, so go along and say “Hi!”.

There are a number of sections in the Forum but perhaps it’s unique selling point is the Warrior Special Offer. Many have quietly made substantial sales here, while others can take advantage of exclusive and unique offers. You can ask for help and advice, post articles, download free ebooks, or simply join in the discussions and offer help to others. All in all a great place to visit.

If you want a taster here’s some extremely useful and comprehensive threads for newbies and here’s the best posts over the last few years.

2. The Anthony Blake Forum

This is the second main Forum that’s been going for a long time. For a number of years this and the Warrior forum ran neck and neck for the most popular place to be in IM circles.

In recent years it’s changed from a more open threaded style of forum to one similar to the Warrior forum, but the information there is still easily accessible and the place seems more friendly than the former. There are a number of ads for Anthony Blakes products, but they don’t obscure the discussions.

Interesting places to look there include the Rants, Name and Shame and Marketplace sections.

3. Digital Point

Like the wild west of the marketing world. This is a rag tag bunch of results driven marketers, who’ll take any chance to get ahead of the competition. It’s a fascinating place to do anything from find true bargains, black hat techniques, or even freelance workers who’ll do anything for a buck.

It’s extremely popular but can be a bit strong for the sensitive soul :-) Personally, I love to browse here once in a while and see what the cutting edge currently is…

Worthy Of Note:

The How To Forums

This is Michael Green’s long running forum, and another popular source of help and ideas. Unlike the other forums listed above this is just a long list of threads, but you’ll find some fascinating discussions inside.

You can find more forums on the old page here. It’s an ugly, unformatted page but the info is still there.

How To Win With Affiliate Programs

So, what is the best strategy to win with an affiliate program?

Most people starting out on the Internet will probably try affiliate programs first, as they are a great way to make money without having a product of your own. And there are affiliate programs for many, many different businesses.

Some pay only a small amount, so you must have a large volume of sales to make real money – this is true for sites such as Amazon. Some will pay big just for getting a “lead”, i.e. getting someone to submit an application or fill out a form, that is true for many loan and credit card companies. But the vast majority will pay a percentage of the sale, anywhere from 5% to 100%.

In real-world retailing, where you are perhaps selling anything from gym equipment to car parts, you can expect low commissions. On contract-based or financial items, such as mobile phones and credit cards, you can expect a lot more. It’s how, for example, mobile phone resellers can afford to throw in a free laptop… their commissions are THAT high!

But the big problem with these resell affiliate deals is that you are fighting with thousands of other affiliates, all selling the same product. It’s hard to differentiate yourself, and it will cost a lot in pay-per-click ads if you take that route.

In the digital realm, of re-selling ebooks, websites, video files and the rest you can make a lot more, and a lot easier. Most of these companies will pay you via PayPal or Clickbank, some even right up to 100% since their main profits come from their back-end offers. They are basically enticing you to promote their products, sometimes giving you the whole sale, in exchange for a new customer.

But after all this, who is really winning?

Answer: The Affiliate Providers!

So to get back to our first question, how to win with affiliate programs: run your own :)

Think about it. You need sales, and you need traffic. You might want a big e-mail list, or database of customers, or just people to visit your site. Instead of getting out there and promoting and chasing customers yourself, why not run an affiliate program and get other people to bring the customers to you.

And it’s easy to do these days. There are simple scripts you can use with PayPal, or even third party sites such as PayDotCom.Com – but by far the quickest, and perhaps the most professional company, are ClickBank.

ClickBank have been around almost as long as the Internet Marketing “boom” itself. You can offer up to 75% commissions through ClickBank, and your product / site will also appear in their marketplace. Affiliates can find you there, and through a simple link promote your product for you. ClickBank will pay the affiliate, and you, every two weeks.

You can sell almost anything, but ClickBank is geared for digital products in the main. That can be anything from e-books, to videos, to site memberships, to product bundles. The process is simple and elegant, you simply specify the landing page, so ClickBank will accept the payment and send the visitor to your page.

So the next time you need traffic, signups, and sales consider running an affiliate program. Instead of putting 100% of your effort into finding customers, put it into finding affiliates. Before long, you could have a digital army of professional marketers promoting your product for you – and giving you the chance to make money but more importantly finding customers. After all, a customer is worth far more than the initial sale.

———–

For a great overview to running your own Affiliate Program, try the brand new Affiliate System Explosion from Rodger Hyatt.

In this series of videos you can literally watch over Rodgers shoulder as he shows you how to set up your affiliate account, find those important “Super Affiliates”, and provide them with the tools they need to promote YOUR product.

Rodgers videos show you how to master the technical side as well as the marketing side of your own affiliate program. And he’s even thrown in four very useful bonuses, such as “My Internet Marketing Newsletter” and “Deadly Webmaster Mistakes” – extra treats since this package is already priced at a very low point.

So for an in depth but easily understandable guide to running your OWN Affiliate Program and recruiting an army of affiliates to sell YOUR product, try Rodger Hyatt’s “Affiliate System Explosion”. Available for direct download, right now.

Affiliate System Explosion

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