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Ten Proven Ways to Turn Targeted Prospects into Loyal Subscribers

www.BusinessEmpires.com

You’ve created a blog or a niche website with quality content that you know your prospects want.  You’ve included a compelling sales page, call to action, and an order button.

Now what?  How do you convince your prospects to become subscribers and customers of your niche business?

There are many creative and unique ways to do it, but often the tried and true proven techniques that other successful online business owners have used for years are the place you should at least start.

1. Specialize and Focus Like a Laser

It seems almost counter-intuitive – you’d think that if your site would appeal to as many people as possible, you’d get more subscribers.  But usually it doesn’t work that way.  Instead, you’ll get more followers once you focus your site’s topic and all your marketing materials like a laser on one niche only.

Example:  Let’s say your site teaches people how to build a website.  You should focus on one niche, such as “web design for affiliate marketers” or “web design for private practice doctors.”

Think about it . . .

Let’s say an affiliate marketer wants to learn how to build a site.  Is he going to go to “Joe Blow’s Web Design” generic business site . . .  or to the “Web Design for Affiliate Marketers” site?  That’s right, he’s going to choose the site that’s geared specifically to his own particular and unique situation.

2. Give a Free or Low-Cost Sample

You can get more paying customers or site members if you first give people a free or very low-cost trial membership (such as $1 for one week).

Doing so gives people a chance to get a look at the inside of your site to see if it’s right for them.  Since you collected their credit card info before they joined the site, you can automatically start their paid subscription once the trial is over (of course, begin by being fully transparent about how your trial offer works, when their card will be charged, what type of access they will have, etc).

3. Share the Benefits

As mentioned previously, you’ll need a sales letter to help turn prospects into members.  While you’re sharing all the benefits of your membership content in general, don’t forget about the benefits of the membership site itself.  For example:

  • Small price.  A monthly fee (such as $10 or $20 or even $50 per month) sounds small compared to a one-time fee such as $497.  As such, you can typically get more members by focusing on this small recurring fee.  You may even break it down further by reminding your prospects of the daily cost (e.g., “just $1.00 a day – about the price of a candy bar…”).
  • Not overwhelming. If you have a training site and you’re tackling a big topic, let prospects know that they won’t get overwhelmed since you’re offering a step-by-step, piece-by-piece course or vault of valuable “how to” steps in weekly installments.
  • Cancel anytime.  Most successful membership site owners allow paying members to cancel at will.  But there is an exception:  some sites have fixed terms and prices.  In other words, the subscriber knows exactly how long his membership term will last and exactly what it will cost.

4. Let People “Peek” Inside the Site

Whether you offer free trials or not, you can get more members simply by letting prospects “peek” inside the site.  There are multiple ways to do this, including (but not necessarily limited to):

  • Providing partial content, such as the first paragraph or two of an article with a link or a description or report with a link.  When people click on the link, they’re encouraged to become a member.
  • Screenshots of the inside of the site, which shows the materials available, a listing of relevant content, the community forum, etc.
  • Video of the inside of the members-only area of the site.  Just use screen recording software like Camtasia and record yourself “touring” the site.  It’s a very compelling way to introduce what you offer.
  • Let others talk about their experience inside your private site and all the benefits they have gained by being a member.

5. Create an Enticing Squeeze Page

You can’t just put up the words “free newsletter,” post your subscription form and expect a rush of new subscribers.  That’s the lazy marketer’s way of doing business.

Instead, you need to create a squeeze page, which is sort of a sales letter for your newsletter or membership site.  This page should include the usual parts of a sales letter such as the headline, the bulleted benefit list and a strong call to action.  Having a squeeze page allows the owner to grab the email and name of the prospect in exchange for something valuable.  Additional emails can be sent to further the marketing message if the prospect decides not to join immediately.

Here are two additional tips:

  • Answer the “what’s in it for me” question (WIIFM).  From the second your reader lands on your squeeze page, he’s going to wonder, “what’s in it for me?”  “Why should I spend money on this offer?”  “Is it going to help me with my particular (problem, desire, issue)?  Your headline should answer that question by promising a big and obvious benefit.  Every line of your copy should continue answering that question until your prospect is convinced he needs to join your site or subscriber list.
  • Make it reader-oriented.  Your letter should use the word “you” as much as possible (otherwise the reader will lose interest).  If you have statements that include the word “I,” see if you can rewrite them using the word “you.”

Example:  “I’ll show you how I obedience train dogs.”

Rewritten:  “You’ll discover how to obedience train your dog.”

6. Offer a Freebie in the Form of a “Lead Magnet”

Yes, your newsletter or blog is most likely free.  But you need to offer a little extra bonus to entice subscribers to join right now.  This extra bonus might be something like:

  • Free access to a membership site.
  • Free ebook, white paper, digital guide, or special report.
  • Free access to a tele-seminar.
  • Free audio recordings.
  • Free video.
  • Free software.
  • A free multi-part e-course delivered by autoresponder. (This is one of the best freebies, because it trains your subscribers to watch for, open, and read your emails!).
  • Other free tools, tips, helps or niche resources.

7. Provide Social Proof

Your prospects may not believe or trust you if they don’t know you well.  If they don’t believe you, they’ll guard their email addresses and click the back button.  That’s why you should include proof such as endorsements, testimonials, screenshots, video, pictures and other evidence that your claims are true.

Examples:

  • You might provide “before” and “after” pictures for a bodybuilding site.
  • You might provide video proof of your Clickbank account to show that you know what you’re talking about in terms of affiliate marketing.
  • You might add testimonials from your customers showing how you gave them expert training in your membership site and how it improved their lives.

8. Arouse Curiosity

One of the best ways to boost your conversion rate is by arousing your prospect’s curiosity about your newsletter, blog, and/or your freebie offer.  You can do this in your headline as well as in your list of benefits.

Examples:

  • “Discover a sales letter trick that doubles your conversion rate overnight – see page 18 to learn this surprisingly simple trick!”
  • “You’ll find out what five words you can say to a marketer that will virtually guarantee he’ll agree to your joint venture!”

9. List Your Policies (Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Earnings Disclaimer, etc)

You should include a link to your privacy policy on your newsletter subscription page.  Most people won’t read it; but, it can boost your conversion rate for those individuals who are concerned about how you’ll use their contact details.  Simply mentioning that you actually have policies in place is all it will take to satisfy most new prospects.  Be sure to let subscribers know you won’t trade, sell or otherwise share their information.  You want to reduce the risk a prospect feels when volunteering his private information.

10. Make Individual Contact or Follow-up

Most marketers won’t do this . . . but if you can . . . (especially if your list is small and in the early stages), it will endear your subscribers to you because most of them will never have another business owner personally follow-up with them without being asked to do so.  Personal contact is not “business as usual” on the Internet!  Don’t be afraid to show your customers that you’re a concerned and caring individual.

Well, there you have it – 10 proven ways to turn targeted prospects into loyal subscribers that successful marketers use every day to encourage people to join their email list.  Naturally, just knowing these tips won’t grow your list.  So start applying these principles and suggestions today, because the sooner you do, the sooner you can reap the rewards!

To your online business success,

Steve Browne

www.BusinessEmpires.com

www.BusinessEmpires.com

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Biz Opps - Make Money

Freelance Writing as a Career Online

Like every other freelance skill I can think of, profitable writing for the Internet is largely market driven. The consumers of the product ultimately determine what, how much, and the price they will pay for their purchase.

Since the Internet provides access to global markets, and global freelancers, some have complained that they can’t compete against authors in far away places willing to sell their time and work for pennies on the dollar (U.S.).  How does an author in the U.S., for instance, make a living writing articles when the going rate online seems to be so depressed?

If no one looking for articles, for example, would pay $5/500 words the price of articles would climb. But there are freelancers that will work “for cheap” and consumers that will pay dirt cheap prices for that work thinking it’s a real bargain … so that market segment exists.

In my opinion, here’s the key for freelance writers:  don’t try to compete in that bottom dollar market.

Open your mind to the possibilities of using your writing skills in other ways.  Too many writers (many of them newbies) assume that article writing is the only outlet for their work.  But it’s not – not by a long shot!

Here are some other ideas for you writers:

1- Use your writing skill to produce your own reports, ebooks, lead magnets, sales letters, whitepapers, how-to guides, freemiums, etc.

Focus your list building on business owners and entrepreneurs, especially targeting a niche or two where you have some current knowledge and experience.  Offer the complete finished product (ideally including graphics) and include branding with the business owner’s private logo, contact info, web site link, etc.  Sell the finished products “ready to go” so the owner can use it right out of the gate with possibly only very minor changes needed.  Charge custom prices for your custom work.

2- Your skill could be used in selling “hot sheets.”

I’m specifically thinking about the entertainment industry, gaming industry, dating industry, etc, but hot sheets can be appropriate for many markets.  Subscribe to several hot niche magazines (like People Mag, for one) then focus on “putting your own take” on what you read.  Don’t copy or rehash.  Be a commentator and produce a weekly or monthly “hot industry news” kind of writing in your chosen niche.  Build your list of people that can’t wait to hear from you.  If you had 1,000 faithful subscribers that devoured everything you published on a weekly or bi-weekly basis at $2 a pop, you would be happy, right? What if you had 10,000 addicts?  Or half a dozen specific niches you covered?

3- Write your own serials, novelettes, novels, plays, short stories, magazine articles.

If you’re good, this road could lead to some major income.  I think the key would be to find the genre that appeals to you and for which you could find avid readers.  Think about selling “serials” where readers get caught up in wanting to know what happens next with your characters.  The same type of content can be written in the non-fiction space as well.  The key here is to niche down deeply into the vertical market and specialize.  Become the “go to” author for that specialization where avid fans dwell, build your subscriber list, and then feed the hungry audience over and over again with paid content (maybe) giving a nice discount for “valued paying customers” on your list.

4- Do technical writing if you can learn that skill.

There is a great and on-going need for manuals, instructions, how-to booklets, product guides, etc in technical fields.  Those who already “speak the language” should focus on areas of their own expertise.  Even those without experience could sell their writing in less technical subjects after researching the various appropriate topics online.

5- Write to create your own products.

Every “how to” niche is ripe for product creation where you explain something that needs doing to those who want advice, hand holding, or reassurance that they’re doing something correctly.  The sky’s the limit on this one.  There are e-books, e-courses, tutorials, reports, PLR content, and lots of other sellable products in every niche from which you can derive a nice income.

6- Instructions to business owners.

I almost hesitate to mention this one simply because it is so powerful if you grasp the idea.  The market is online solo and small business owners.  The idea is to write short yet authoritative instructions about various tasks that business owners have to do but don’t know how to do, don’t want to do, don’t have time to do, or at least would like to learn how to do better, faster, and cheaper.  Think business execution steps of instruction.  Let’s face it … more and more everyday people are coming online with ideas to make money. Many fail, of course, but there is a constant need to have a mentor or guide that can help these entrepreneurs to understand and execute specific online business tasks that have to be done. Many of these people know nothing about running a business online.  You could be the one that authors the steps to daily online business execution for them.

There are so many things you could write about: getting customers, nurturing customers, promoting services, building or maintaining a web site, doing business taxes, dealing with angry customers, keeping employees happy, outsourcing billing, setting up merchant accounts, email marketing and list building, SEO for their web site and on and on and on.  But here’s where you can make your writing very valuable.

For each set of instructions you write, make it specific to one type of business (their business) and one market (whatever their niche might be); for example, “How to promote your dental service online.”  Be very specific.  Then with just a little bit of “tweaking” you can change your report to “How to promote your bookkeeping service online,” or “How to promote your Investing service online.”  By being specific you will attract a much larger and hungrier crowd of prospects in your chosen niche because the prospects see you are writing for their exact business.  And by leveraging the concept of re-purposing your content, you can create great content once and then simply modify it a little for the niche audience and have a ready-to-go new product targeted for a totally different niche.

7- Blogging, of course!

This is a very powerful and popular way to express yourself through your writing and many people have learned to do it in a way that provides an income for their effort.  To be a profitable blogger you must be disciplined and willing to create valuable niche content on a very consistent basis.  You must be a good writer and be willing to share your personality and expertise in your posts.  In addition, you must figure out how to monetize your blog.  There are many, many ways and methods to choose from in order to generate income with blogging and you will have to decide what is best for you and your audience and then master that technique.  There are lots of monetization examples online.

OK, this has been a long discussion but I wanted to help you to start thinking about writing as something other than just producing articles.

The field really is wide open and you can make a substantial income if you get creative, differentiate your writing, be specific in your business model, and provide outstanding service consistently as well as high quality, engaging and compelling writing!

A simple word of caution: great writing (that people will buy) is produced by authors that have writing talent.  Many don’t.  Certainly, anyone can improve their writing skills over time.  But if you can’t communicate at all, can’t form a proper sentence, or don’t like to write, please choose a different way to make money online.  I’m serious here.  The Internet is a virtual dumping ground for poor and worthless content. Don’t add to it!

To your online business success!

Steve Browne

www.BusinessEmpires.com

www.BusinessEmpires.com

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Advertising

How Ethical Are Your Marketing Tactics?

www.BusinessEmpires.com

All small business owners will be faced with the decision to use less than truthful advertising and promotional strategies in their sales letters, email communications, ads, and other promotional material.

How do I know? It seems to be the way business marketing has evolved on the Internet.

Deceptive practices include all those little white lies, half truths, and marketing tactics that many feel are perfectly legal, excusable, and appropriate in this day and for this medium.

Some, I know, would question why we are even discussing this topic as they feel anything is game as long as you don’t cross the line of outright lying in your presentations.

I don’t see it that way.

I believe that Internet marketers have a responsibility to their prospects and customers that includes being upfront, honest, and ethical in everything they publish, say, and do.

I understand that I am opening myself up to a lot of potential criticism from the IM (Internet Marketing) community by suggesting what I am about to suggest.

But I do it as an IMer who wants to help and “take care” of my own customers. I want to practice what I preach about putting the customer first.

Haven’t we all been repeatedly giving lip service, at least, to “It’s not about you (the IMer), it’s about the customer and what he/she wants.”

Okay, here’s my rant:
1. Why does every big launch IM product cost $1997?
2. How can a product with a “real value” of $38,650 be sold for $97?
3. How come all the “short window” launches are reopened or extended because the guru’s server crashed (again) from all the massive unexpected traffic? Didn’t he learn how to take precautions the first time that happened?
4. Why do I need to know that I’m not going to pay $10,000, or even half that much, no not even $2,000, or $1,000, not $700, not $397, not even $197, not even a ridiculous $97, but if I order in the next ten minutes I only have to pay $27?  It’s a game that seems to work or it wouldn’t be copied so often – but is it really truthful – to even suggest that the product could easily be sold for $10,000?  I doubt it.
5. Why do IMers get to send me multiple emails on the same day promoting their offers simply because their email service messed up again and they’re not sure if the list I’m on ever received the first email?  It’s a tactic to flood the prospect’s inbox with multiple sales messages … maybe one will stick?
6. How could there only be 7 copies left of any digital product?  Anyone should be able to see right through this one.
7. How can an IMer send me promotions for nearly every offer that comes along and still claim that he only wants to tell me about “the good stuff that he uses and that is relevant to the reason I subscribed to his list?”
8. If a product owner is willing to pay affiliates 50% or more for a buyer from the affiliates list, why should I (the consumer) not feel like I’m paying more for the product than it’s actually worth to the owner?  Yes, I understand that the product creator is paying for someone else to market and sell his product … but if that cost is really built into the product, then why can’t I pay the owner something less than I have to pay to purchase through an affiliate?
9. How many IMers actually read or immerse themselves in a product prior to promoting all kinds of wonderful things about it? Let’s be honest now . . . 30% ? . . . 20% ? . . . 10% ? . . . 2% ? . . . Why is that?
10. Why does an income screen shot of a merchant or Clickbank account really matter:
a) when they are easily doctored or faked altogether?
b) when the small print income disclaimer at the bottom of the page says that the income described in the sales letter is not typical and that YOU may not experience any income at all?
c) when it’s the product owner’s account rather than that of a product user – someone like you or me that’s purchasing the product?
11. Why should I care about being on the first page of Google? (I only want to be ranked for relevant search terms that will bring me traffic that will convert to sales)  If organic search results are your complete marketing system, then “yes” being found ranking well on Google for your keywords is important.
12. Why are guarantees only for the cost of the product? If you guarantee a six figure income, why isn’t that the amount you should pay me?
13. Why do you say “this is the most important email you will ever read” over and over again?
14. I recently copied and pasted a guru’s one page sales letter into WORD and it ended up being 37 pages long . . . how could that be?
15. When I close a screen it means I want to go somewhere else. Why do I have to be interrupted by another pitch, then another, then another, then another when I’ve already decided I don’t want your product?
16. When you claimed your product generated $350,000 last month alone, shouldn’t you also disclose that you and your staff burned through $345,000 in operating and marketing costs to get there?
17. Is there anything wrong with seeing a picture of you and a hired model sitting in a rented Lamborghini in front of a friend’s mansion?
18. If I initiate contact with local businesses about purchasing a web site I designed, contracting for my SEO services, buying a domain name I’ve already registered, or simply listing your business in my directory, how is that not considered unsolicited commercial email (UCE), or as we have come to affectionately call it . . . SPAM?
19. Why didn’t you tell me that your PLR or MRR product would be selling for $1 on eBay shortly after it was released to the public?
20. Why do I have to give your company my name and email address for every single new video or offer that you release? Can’t you keep track of what I’ve already given you?  Don’t you segment your email lists?

I could go on and on some more, but I will stop there.

Yes, I understand some of the reasons, techniques and motivations of selling and marketing that lead IMers to employ these tactics and many, many others. And no, I don’t claim to be an expert in any of them.

What I am wondering, however, is whether using these strategies are really in the best interest of our beloved prospects and customers?

Or do we simply believe we need to use them because that’s what we see other IMers doing so we figure that’s what we must do as well to be successful?

Most of these strategies, when you get right down to it, contain elements of deception . . . or dare I say it . . . lying!

You might say to yourself, no I’m not really lying since I’m not intentionally trying to harm or hurt my prospects.  I just use these tactics to help my conversions because that’s what I see all the experts doing and supposedly that’s what works.

Please understand that I’m not singling out any person or accusing the entire IM community of underhanded and dishonest marketing methods.  Some marketers don’t do any of these things.

My purpose in discussing whether or not we are doing a disservice to our prospects with these strategies is rooted in my desire to be up front and honest with my own customers and to not insult their intelligence with obvious tricks, games, and techniques that could lead them to the conclusion that I care more about my own sales than I do about what’s really best for them … my valued customers.

In the early days of the Internet, consumers may have been oblivious to such tactics.

But to me at least, it seems apparent that today’s Internet consumers are becoming more and more aware of, and tired of (no . . . actually fed up with) these and other deceptive marketing approaches.

Am I being too harsh about marketing practices? Maybe.  Is this really not as much of a concern as I’m making it out to be? Could be.  In your mind, are these practices really not deceptive at all?

Do we in the IM community need to, at a minimum, stretch the truth in our marketing in order to be successful at promoting and selling our products? You will have to decide that for yourself!

To your online business success,

Steve Browne

www.BusinessEmpires.com

www.BusinessEmpires.com

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Biz Opps - Make Money

Should I Quit My Job?

One of my subscribers and I were conversing (at her request) about online business and she seemed to be very frustrated about her ability to chart a course for her future involvement in full time Internet business.

Her question was simple and one I’ve heard many times:  “I don’t know if I should ease into my business part-time or quit my current job and jump in with both feet.  What do you think?”

This can be one of the most perplexing and difficult decisions you have to make as you decide to create a profitable business.

Most people are anxious to get going down their own chosen path … but are also realistic about the uncertain future because they don’t want to negatively impact their families with a poor decision that leaves them with no income source.

So, if you are in this same position, here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you to come up with the right decision for YOU.

Obviously, there is no “one best way” to enter self-employment. The choice you make on how to do it will most likely depend upon your current state of affairs: your employment situation, your tolerance for risk, your family size and makeup, and your ability to take care of your financial obligations with or without a continued regular paycheck from your current job.

There is some wisdom in not rushing things at the outset. Quitting your full time job and putting your loved ones at risk can be a very scary proposition. If you lose your medical and life insurance coverage, will you be able to afford these new out-of-pocket costs? How long will you be able to last if your daily and monthly living expenses come from your savings account?

Who will make the house payment, the car payment, and buy groceries until your new business begins paying off? Will your spouse have to go back to work to help support the family? Or will your current “other” income be enough for you to live on until the business gets going?

What if you get into the daily operation of your business and find that you really aren’t happy with what you’re doing? Or that you can’t generate the amount of revenue you need in order to justify staying in business? If your new business was forced to close its doors, would you try to find another job in your field or search out another new business idea?

On the positive side, full time business means you will have more time to spend on your operation, it should reach profitability sooner, and you will grow your clientele faster. Also, you will be available during the day to talk to customers and supplies. Sometimes too, part-time owner operated businesses are not taken seriously by lenders and distributors.

The cons of beginning a business as a part-time project include not having sufficient time to really work the business as it should be done, the drudgery of coming home from a hard day’s work only to be forced to put in more sleepless hours on top of it, unnecessarily lengthening the time until the business becomes profitable, and not being able to deal with important communications during the day time business hours. Stress and burnout also often become major issues, since family and leisure time are often sacrificed on behalf of the new part-time business needs.

You will have to make the decision on how best to get started by reviewing your own circumstances, the projected time it will take before income will flow from the business, and how much savings or reserve you have at your disposal to keep you and your family solvent.

Before you decide, here’s a tip: involve your spouse and family members in your decision from the outset. They need to understand the commitment both you and they will have to make, and the resulting sacrifices that may result. They will be in a better position to be supportive and understanding of your time constraints if they buy into the decision.

Just one other important question: if you begin on a part-time basis, how do you know when it’s the right time to quit your job and go full time?

I’m glad you asked!  Here’s my feeling. Wait until the pace of your new business causes you to lose sleep many nights in a row. If you have enough demand that you can’t fill all the orders without losing a lot of sleep, you will probably be at a point where your business will support you as it continues to grow.

Ideally, you should be making as much (or more) in your new business as you did in your prior job.  When you can cover your old salary (or hourly wages) for six months in a row, you should be fine to move to full time Internet business.  By placing a six-month of making “X” income as a criteria, you will pretty much be assured that your income is steady enough to task away the risk of quitting your old job.

One of the reasons why I am so high on the solo Internet business path is that the costs to entry are very low (hence the risk is low), the demand and time to fill it can grow together, and you will be able to dictate the point at which you transition from part-time to full.  The idea being that you don’t have to put your spouse and family in a high risk situation so that you can begin a new business career for yourself.

To your online business success,

Steve Browne

www.BusinessEmpires.com

www.BusinessEmpires.com

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