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Make Your Web Site Sticky!

Why sticky?  Of course, it suggests that your web site is difficult to leave because it has so much to offer.  You get “stuck on it” or glued to the site and can’t pull yourself away.

There are many, many ways to develop a sticky site … here are just a few.  At the end of this post I’ll give you a link to some additional thoughts by expert Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.

See if any of these ideas make sense for you web site:

1. Remarkable content. Not just good quality content, but the very best available in your niche. If you can’t provide it, go out and get it. Make it so good that your members (subscribers) would consider content from anyone else as inferior.

2. Simple, clean, intuitive site navigation. Surprisingly maybe, but the user experience has a lot to do with customer satisfaction at a web site.  So make it simple and easy for your visitors to find their way around.  They should be able to navigate anywhere in two clicks.

3. Make the site interactive. You want to engage your members and invoke a response from them. A forum is one tool that allows interaction. Polls, games, apps, chat room, and other such things could work magic in keeping members on your site longer. I would suggest that if you implement any of these, you make them relevant to what your site is all about – not just randomly thrown in.

4. Make your members feel comfortable. Some sites provide a “guided tour” approach so that members understand all the cool stuff you offer and how to easily access it. Usually, “surprises” are not good!

5. Be personal and encourage your members to do the same. You are building a community and in most successful communities people that engage with one another are happy. Encourage members to tell their story, share fun things, spotlight their own experiences in the niche, and help others in areas where they have expertise, etc.

6. Give personal recognition.  A member of the month or week or day could be spotlighted. Recognize achievement and accomplishment – longest subscribing members, most active members, founding members, new members, oldest, youngest, etc. People like to be stroked! Show your appreciation for them.

7. Give unannounced “goodies” in the niche.  It could be anything and everything – content, videos, graphics, ebooks, reports, hints, helps, you name it. Everybody likes to be unexpectedly and pleasantly rewarded for membership.

8. Keep the appearance of activity.  No one likes a stale site. Keep blogs, content, news, . . . everything . . . updated and fresh as much as possible.  Encourage your members to pass along news, events, and great content in the niche.

9. Keep all your content in a vault that is easily searched and accessed. Members will return to your site just to “find” tips, articles, ideas, etc that they remember they saw on your site but didn’t download at the time.

10. Listen to your members and incorporate things into your membership site that they request. Features, sections, media, whatever they ask for. Sure, not everything is possible (especially for the money) but if your members feel you are listening to them and trying to satisfy their needs and requests, they will stay with you longer.

11. Develop trust. People buy from folks they know, like and trust. Likewise, they will stay with you longer if they trust you. Give them reasons to trust you. Show them that they can trust you. Put testimonials on your site from members that trust you.

12. Case studies. Are there some common wants or problems that your members are having? Start a case study and ask your members to help solve a common problem. Then give a blow by blow account of how to solve the problem based on the combined ideas and suggestions of both you and your members. Post all these case studies in one area. Let you members post their own case studies that others can benefit from reviewing (of course with your own review so that member submitted content is screened).

13. Give links to other great content. You will never have a corner on great content. Stay abreast in your niche and refer your members to articles, reports, books, videos, etc that are excellent in the niche. Some hesitate to do this for fear of sending members off-site to their competitors. But I think the advantage of you being seen as an authority and expert, even outside of your site, will pay great dividends.

14. Follow your reader’s actions on your own site. Track what they view, where they browse, etc. to learn what appeals to them, and maybe what doesn’t. Then fix or get rid of the “dusty” places and beef up the heavily trafficked areas.

15. Interact by setting up social media links. Make it easy to incorporate Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Instagram, Pinterest and other sites so that you can recommend things, offer specials, link to social media pages, etc. By making communication between your site and the social sites easy, it will encourage members to interact.

Here are some additional ways to make your site sticky:

Darren Rowse at

21 Ways to Make Your Blog or Website Sticky

To your online business success,

Steve Browne

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Backend Products

Customers vs. Clients – Do You Know the Difference?

I’d like to talk about a way to conduct your solo business online that will bring you all the profits and business that you can handle.

What I’m speaking about has as much to do with your mindset as it does about your strategy or business system of operating.

If you will adopt an “MO” (a method of operating) that includes what I’m going to describe here, your business will automatically be differentiated from your marketplace competitors.

You will have a unique and wholly creative business that your clients will love and clamor for.

What I’m talking about has nothing to do with your chosen business niche, per se.

This model can be implemented in any niche market, with any product or any service.

In addition, anyone can adopt this business mindset as it is totally age, gender, culture, education, and experience independent.

Have you guessed yet what I’m talking about? Yes, the title of this post should have given the secret away.

First, let’s go to my huge Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary and look up the definition of a customer.

Here it is:
cus-tom-er, n. 1. a person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron. 2. a person one has to deal with; a tough customer; a cool customer.

It’s pretty easy to gain customers for your goods and services.

All you have to do is sell something – that’s it!

Once a person buys from you, they are automatically your customer.

Nothing else is needed.

No relationship exists, other than they have given money in exchange for a good they wanted.

Anyone can do this! Most businesses would prefer to have as many customers as they can generate.

It’s a simple and easy business principle.

Really nothing further is expected of customers.

Yes, your customer can buy from you over again if he decides to, but there are no further expectations or contracts to continue your relationship at this point.

Every one of your customers is free to keep purchasing from you or look elsewhere if he/she desires.

There are no strings attached.

Now, let’s focus on clients.

What is a client?

Here is Webster’s definition:
cli-ent, n. 1. a person or group that uses the professional advice or services of a lawyer, accountant, advertising agency, architect, etc. 2. a person who is receiving the benefits, services, etc., of a social welfare agency, a government bureau, etc. 3. anyone under the patronage of another; a dependent. 4. a person seeking the protection, guidance or influence of another more prosperous or powerful.

I hope the distinction between customers and clients is becoming abundantly clear.

If you take on clients, there is the expectation (understood by both parties or not) that you are going to develop a relationship with them that will be in their best interest. You are committing to protect, guide and influence them in whatever subject you are teaching.

So what does this distinction mean for the business owner?

Here is my take on it:

I want people who come to my business to see themselves as clients rather than customers.

I want my clients to know that I will do my best to give them advice, counsel, products and services that will be in their best interest – not necessarily mine.

I welcome my clients to open a dialogue with me – to enter into a personal relationship which includes open and frank discussions about the subject of my business.

I welcome their suggestions, ideas, experiences, and especially feedback in the niche.

I will give them my personality, wisdom, and experience as it applies to the subject so they can understand my passion and qualification for being their teacher, coach, and mentor.

I will never purposefully lead them astray and I will always give them the guidance that I feel will best help them become successful in the niche.

Can you understand how the customer/business owner model of small business is so different from the client/mentor (coach) model?

Now I’m not going to get caught up in semantics. You can call clients “customers” if you want.

Some will call them “friends of my business.” Clients could be called “students” or “pupils.”

The important point is, the folks that come to your business for help can be treated like faceless customers who buy and are never seen again . . . OR . . . you can use your effort and influence to treat them as clients – people who are there for tutoring, guidance, and coaching by one who has great influence, power, or experience in the niche.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have or what you sell – you can develop the mindset that everyone who walks through your business door will be treated as a valued client.

One more thing . . . if you decide to take on clients, there is an expectation that you can deliver something to them that the general public doesn’t have – specialized knowledge and skill in the niche.

Yes, you can learn this quickly, you can find it in other people that you work with, or you can organize and present the accumulated knowledge of other experts on the subject.

But somehow, you have to be able to give credible guidance and advice to people that rely upon you for direction.

As the owner of a business, you have the choice to go after one time customers or loyal clients.

Certainly, the client/mentor model demands much more from the business owner – that’s why very, very few owners ever accept this role and business model.

But think about the significant advantages of this type of business:

– Wouldn’t this kind of “TLC” really set your business apart from every other competitor in your niche? Truthfully, how many businesses can you think of that are personally concerned with the customer/client?

– Wouldn’t you be able to charge much more for your products and time if you give this type of personalized assistance? By all means.

– Wouldn’t your clients be much more likely to buy your products without a lot of hard selling on your part? Of course they would.

– Wouldn’t it take far fewer clients in order to keep your business humming? Yes, most definitely!

The decision is yours, and yours alone. I would seriously encourage you to step outside the norm and consider this unique and fulfilling business strategy.

To your online business success,

Steve Browne

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Backend Products

PLR Sales and Uses – Pros and Cons

Like many of my fellow Internet marketers, there was a time when I was very enamored with the thought of owning and operating a large PLR vending business.  It seemed like a great way to make money.

Other people did the work of creating products (mostly ebooks, audios, and videos) and all I had to do was gather them up, feature them on a large “catalog” type e-commerce site, and sell them to a hungry crowd of business owners looking for content.

Or so I thought …

I purchased my share of digital resale rights products, licensed to sell products, and private label rights products; and to this day, most sit on my hard drive collecting pixel dust because I never did get around to using them.  In addition, a large percentage of these products that I purchased proved to fall way short of the desired level of content quality that I wanted.

There are some notable exceptions, mind you, but that is a discussion for another day.

Still, I love the PLR model of selling digital information.  Think about how perfect it is . . .

  • You don’t have to create products
  • You don’t have to make graphics (typically)
  • You don’t have to write a lengthy sales letter (sometimes)
  • You don’t have to identify a hungry market (usually)
  • Everything is basically done for you … all that’s left is for you to do the selling of the product
  • It’s easy to come up with many related products if you want to “bundle” several together
  • You can set your own price point and you can claim incredible “total value”

I didn’t really think much about the negatives of this PLR business model … but I learned over time that there are several big ones which are substantial drawbacks to using PLR.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though.  Let me explain …

In case you don’t know, “PLR” stands for Private Label Rights.  It is a phrase that has come to be quite popular among Internet marketers.

The idea is simple.  Someone else (not you) creates a digital product, for example, an ebook.  The product could also be a video, an audio recording, a set of images, or just about anything else that is delivered digitally online.

The creator then sells that product for whatever he chooses, not once, but over and over again to PLR buyers.  The purchaser gets a “license” to turn that product into his/her own (private label) product(s) and sell or use it however he chooses.

The buyer of the product is sold a “non-exclusive right” to basically do whatever he wants with the product.  He can sell it “as is”, modify it, split it up into parts, add his own name as the author, change the title, add his own affiliate links, pretty much do whatever he wants with the original product.  Usually the creator will spell out the license rights in a separate document that is sent to the buyer along with the “source” copy the product itself.

Resale or resell rights (people use these terms interchangeably) is a similar concept except that you can’t usually change or modify the product – you agree to sell it “as is.”  Everything remains in the “label” of the product creator.  Thus PLR is a more flexible solution – you can make it your own private label (some call it “white label”) and differentiate the product from everyone else’s version.

It is a novel idea and one that appeals to a lot of folks simply because it gives them something to sell without having to go through the effort and time of creating the product themselves.

Product creators do well (usually) with a top quality product.  Imagine creating an ebook over the course of a week’s time, then selling the license to use it (PLR) to 250 buyers.

If the product sells for $19, that gives the creator a nice payday of $4,750 (less expenses of course).

Some smart marketers have learned that they don’t even need to do the labor of writing the ebook themselves since it can be outsourced to a ghost writer for a few hundred dollars.

So, why didn’t I follow through with implementing this business model?

I learned (over time) that there are some major disadvantages to PLR products:

  • Once sold, you can’t control the distribution or sales price of the product – which means it typically gets devalued almost immediately.  Why? Because everyone selling the same product tries to undercut all the other sellers in order to make a sale.  What you sold for $19, you will now see selling online for $17, or $15, $11.95, $9.97, $5.97, $2 or even being given away without cost.  The point is, you have no control of the future value of your creation.  Often a PLR seller will state in the product license something to the effect that “In order to maintain the value of your purchase, please do not sell this product for less than $14.95.”  That’s what the creator hopes … but in reality … he can not police or force the issue once the product has been sent to a purchaser.
  • Almost no one modifies the product.  Most PLR sellers are only interested in adding the product to their ebook line-up as quickly as possible.  Very few, in my experience, like to rework PLR ebooks or other products (even though that’s really what they are meant for and it’s the best way to make money with them.)
  • Digital products have a typically short shelf life.  That is something I learned quickly online.  New products are surfacing all the time and PLR creations don’t seem to have a very long life in most niches.  That means you must get them “live” and selling fast as they will be flooding the market very soon.  There are some exceptions of course when the PLR creator purposefully designs the product to be “evergreen” (timeless) and it has not been sold extensively.  Some PLR creators will only release a limited number of copies of a product in order to keep the value high.  Others sell PLR with a high price tag which can also have the effect of limiting the number of copies of the product in the marketplace.  If you join the mailing list of someone specializing in creating PLR products you will probably notice that the creator releases one product after another after another in order to keep the cash flowing in.
  • Everyone is competing selling the same thing.  Remember, very few sellers will modify a PLR work – not even to change the title and add a new e-cover.  Since there are so many competing sellers, the price drops and drops and drops.  Soon you will see folks giving the PLR product away freely (or as a bonus for another product.)
  • Finally (and this is the biggest disadvantage I have seen with PLR creations), the majority of the PLR products I have seen are poorly  researched, hastily written, and without unique and cutting edge information!  Sure, there are some great products coming out every once in a while, but for the most part, the industry is full of re-hashed, copied, or already available material.  I have seen PLR products that are nothing more than a compilation of other PLR products – PLR from PLR!  Is that what you want from a PLR product?

It’s typical that a buyer will not get to read the copy of the product until after making a purchase … so you can’t determine before hand what is good and what is useless dribble.  Sometimes a seller will reveal the table of contents or a single chapter as an example of the work.  What I have learned to do is to keep track of the PLR creators that produce top quality work – usually they will produce that same quality again and again.

It is a lucrative business to create products, devise a motivating sales pitch, maybe add a bonus report or two, and a copy of the license, then sell the PLR rights very quickly without further commitment for follow-up, customer service, etc.  Some PLR creators have a number of affiliates on board who are waiting to promote whatever the creator releases.  Then it’s on to the next PLR product.

But this lucrative business has led to a lot of outsourcing of authorship to people who don’t even have command of the English language and certainly aren’t experts in the niche they are writing about.  It usually shows in their writing.

Let me ask you … who is going to review the content in these PLR books – both in terms of the grammar and language, but also for sound and usable advice in the niche?  Who is going to assure that only quality niche content is published?  No one.  Compounding the problem is the fact that even though a PLR creator advertises the product as “top quality” it is a very subjective thing – judging the quality of a written work with regard for both grammar and content – and in my experience (I was an English minor in college) many folks really don’t have a good sense of what is quality writing and content and what is not!

I believe that most PLR buyers and Internet marketers that take action with their purchase immediately try to market their PLR products without even reading the content first before they offer it to others for sale.  Remember, speed to the marketplace is often an important selling advantage.

So, junk content flies under the radar while sellers and their affiliates push this garbage on to their customers without a clue about how good or bad the content may be.

Here are my “take-aways” if you want to get into the PLR game:

  1. Only buy top quality PLR products if you possibly can.  It comes with experience and knowing who the best PLR creators are at any given time and in specific markets.
  2. Look for “evergreen” products – those whose information will stay current for a long time to come.
  3. It’s best if the number of licenses available is controlled and small.  If you’re 1 of 25 – 50 others that can sell a product, that would be great.  Since many buyers won’t do anything serious with their product, you may actually be competing against only 10 or fewer other sellers.
  4. Don’t delay in getting your product to market – being the first to offer it is sometimes a real advantage.
  5. By all means, modify the product, especially the title, chapter headings, introduction and summary, and cover graphic so that it looks unique and no one will be competing with your branding of it.  It’s a good idea to modify the chapter order (if it doesn’t hurt the “flow” of the book), the transitions from section to section, and add at least some original content.  Add your own graphics and formatting style if you can.
  6. Think of a way to target your product to a specific crowd, a subset of the overall market.  If, for instance, you have a product about how to get traffic to a web site, put a twist on the product and make it specific to a subset of the larger universe … like how to get traffic to a real estate agent’s site.  You will lose all or most of your competition that way, those in the target audience will feel that the product was designed specifically for “me,” and you will then be able to easily “repurpose” the material for other specific market audiences as well.
  7. Combine a number of similar or related PLR products into a bundle or into a larger composite product.  All the original products will lose their identity and you will come away with a more comprehensive and valuable “bang for the buck” single offering.

I will tell you that there are a few marketers that make a very good living selling PLR products.  But there is a much greater pool of sellers that can’t figure out why their PLR site doesn’t do a good business.  Often, the best PLR sellers have a subscriber list of PLR buyers just waiting for the next product release.

If you stick to the suggestions I have given you, and try to avoid the disadvantages we spoke of, you may be able to make a nice living with PLR – either as a creator, a PLR marketer, or both.  Some product creators make good money selling their own creation for awhile then they release it later to the marketers and business owners as a licensed PLR “white label” product that can be sold by a niche business.

If the idea of PLR or content licensing appeals to you in your business, be sure to keep in mind that you are in control and it is up to you to understand and maintain the quality and type of content that your business releases!  Junk products will brand your business in a very negative light!

To your online business success!

Steve Browne





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Marketing Design Mistakes to Avoid

Many of us design our own marketing materials, ads, e-covers, articles, sales pages, etc . . . because we can’t justify the expense of using a custom graphic designer.  It’s not that we really want to be DIY (do-it-yourself) designers – we just don’t have a choice given our marketing budgets.

I’m an Internet marketer, business owner, web designer, product creator, writer – sort of a solo IM “jack of all trades” like many of you.  But I have spent a fair amount of time studying graphic design because I want to.  I like the subject matter.  I like to think I have a fairly good graphic sense and an eye for proper design.

Maybe that’s why I cringe, gasp, and choke at so many of the DIY designs that I see online marketers using to sell their products and establish their brands.  Just as bad are designs that have no graphic direction or visual appeal at all.

Good graphic design makes a difference in the “sale-ability” of your products and services.  Most people, while not designers themselves, have a sense for “nice looking” presentations of ads and products.  Often, DIY design is notable because it stands out as amateurish, confusing, hard to look at, and just plain butt ugly!

I’d like to suggest twelve (12) very common design mistakes that I see marketers making regularly that are easily avoided or fixed and that will make any presentation, ad, web site, sales letter, logo, or ebook a much more pleasing, visually enticing and a more professional product representing your business and brand!  Products that are professional looking reduce the risk of a bad purchase in the mind of the prospect.

Not in any particular order . . .

1. Don’t explicitly copy others – especially those in your same niche. “Joe’s selling stuff in my niche and he’s doing well so I think I’ll copy what he’s doing.”  No, no, no, don’t do it.  You should be building your own brand and positioning your products and marketing in your own unique way.  You can’t differentiate yourself from others if you copy them.  Study the competition, yes, then do things differently.  Your goal is to stand out but not stick out. Make sense?

2. Don’t use low quality raster graphics and low resolution images or photography.  We’ve all seen web sites and ebook covers with pixelated graphics that resulted from small images being enlarged beyond 100%.  Instead, use vector graphics where possible, especially in branding materials like logos that need to look good at both very small and very large resolution.

3. Speaking of logos, don’t display yours so large that it becomes the focal point of anything – web page, squeeze page, report or book title page, sales page, you name it.  It may sound counter-intuitive, but the smaller your logo is, the more established your brand will appear. People care about what you’re selling – not so much about who sells it.  You need vector graphics to make a small little logo look great.

4. I see it all the time – marketers using their logo in body copy and even headlines. Don’t make that mistake – it’s so telling that this is a DIY job.  Professional designers don’t do it.  If you need to refer to your company or brand in your copy, write out the name of your business in text.

5. Don’t try to be cool by adding every font possible into your marketing materials.  I was looking at a report cover this morning and it displayed six different fonts.  What’s the point?  Good graphic designers don’t do that!  Limit the number of fonts used in any design piece to three – and actually two is probably better in most cases.  If you want some variety or distinction in your type, use “italic” or “bold” or different font sizes (of the same typeface) or even different weights (narrow, medium, heavy, etc) of the same font.

6. Don’t try to reduce or conserve the number of pages with design.  White space is important – it’s pleasing to the eye – it’s your friend.  If you don’t want a bloated ebook, cut down on your text to just what is necessary and dump the fluff.  Narrow margins, tiny font sizes, and cramped line spacing all contribute to poor design.  If anything, err on the side of too much white space.  “Open and comfortable” beats out “confined and cramped” every day of the week!

7. Have a design purpose with the colors you choose.  Here’s a good read for all you design DIYers. Color: Messages and Meanings by Leatrice Eiseman.  Colors can create moods, emotions and certain feelings in the consumer.  Colors can follow trends.  Your brand is impacted for good or not by the colors you choose to use.  Colors can be rich, sentimental, earthy, zesty, restful, assertive, mysterious, complex, intimate, provocative, invigorating, exotic, etc. . .  Even though you may think you are not affected by color – design experts know better.

8. Don’t bore the consumer with long paragraph after paragraph of straight text.  I’ve witnessed some sales letters that, if they were copied and pasted into a word processor, would be longer than the product they were trying to sell!  Break up your text with spaces, blank lines, bullet points, numbered lists, graphic images, etc.  Unless it’s a gripping story, long text is tiring and it becomes monotonous very quickly.

9. Watch out for redundancy.  Saying the same word, phrase, cliche, technical term, company name, even product name over and over and over again is to be avoided.  Aren’t there enough words in the English language that you can use a few different ones in your presentation?

10. Stop using animated GIFs, spinning wheels, flashing gizmos, and whirligigs on your web site.  As cool as you thought those distractions were in the 1990s, they aren’t seen as being anything but a nuisance today.  DIYers sometimes have a hard time letting bad design habits go.

11. Most consumers don’t care about product details; they want to see the benefits that a product, service, or training will give them.  Yes, this is a common principle that marketers should know and live by; however, I see this advice being trampled all the time.  Design your copy, your headline (sometimes), your bullet points, and your call to action around the benefits to the buyer.  WIIFM (“what’s in it for me”) is what they’re after!

12. Most DIY designers don’t establish consistent brands.  They either don’t have a brand at all (a tagline is not a brand) or they are “all over the place” in how they portray their brand from product to product and promotion to promotion. Design consistency will help you to establish your brand.  Tastefully using consistent colors, typefaces, formats, a tag line, logo and other elements in your marketing will help to establish and solidify your brand.  People in the niche will recognize your consistency and will be able to spot your brand’s marketing materials quickly and easily.  Customers buy from people they know and trust.

There are a lot more abuses to marketing design than what I’ve mentioned.  Evaluate your own marketing designs using these simple design principles as a starting point. Incorporating just these twelve ideas will go a long way toward helping your brand stand out and not stick out!

To your online business success,

Steve Browne

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