Archive for April, 2013

Strategy vs. Tactics: How to Give Yourself an Instant Pay Raise By Getting to the Root of Your Marketing Problems WITHOUT Resorting to Cheap Gimmicks!

April 26, 201327 Comments

I thought I was so clever. Back when I was a teenager, I had what I thought was a great idea... write an e-book teaching how to program PHP scripts for web pages, load a bunch of tools onto a "three inch CD" for 20 bucks and sell a million copies.

Have you seen those 3-inch CD's? Basically, when you load a CD disc onto the CD tray, there's a smaller "indent" where a smaller sized CD fits. Here's where I thought had hit the jackpot: a three inch CD would fit into a standard sized envelope and would mail with just one stamp.

There's only a few gaping flaws with that line of thinking and that's...

  • People weren't going to buy my product "just" because it's on a CD
  • That time I "might" have spent burning CD's and mailing them would be better spent: improving the product, the copy, the advertising, even making more products
  • Delivering a "real" product, digitally, with an instant download, would take up zero time, with zero cost, and customers would get the product instantly after buying

My mentor at the time (Teresa King) told me to test the product online first. If it sold well and people were actually ASKING for a physical version, and were willing to pay more to justify the cost, then it would be a hit...

What's the moral of the story? Mailing a product on a disc isn't a business model, and it's probably the LAST thing you should think about... only after a product is already selling, and even then, that's one of those little "gimmicks" you add to get a 1% or 2% boost to your profits. It's a TACTIC, not a STRATEGY.

Be very very careful about relying on too many tactics to make money. You'll market yourself into a corner and wonder where it all went wrong, and here's why...

Superstitious Marketing!

Has anyone given you "weird" marketing advice like this?

  • Always price your products ending in "7"... like 27, 49, 97!
  • Always put the text "Add to Cart" on your order buttons
  • Always have an orange order button and nothing else
  • Only email your list once per week
  • Run a "dime sale"
  • Don't ever launch a product unless you have testimonials

Here's what happened: someone had a successful sales letter and a winning product, so they decided to run some split tests... send half their traffic to the $17 price, half to the $19.95 price. Half of their traffic to the blue order button, half to the orange order button.

These gurus have given you a list of "best practices" to put onto your website so that you don't have to start from scratch. Have this white background. Use that red headline. Place your testimonials in little blue boxes.

What's the problem? Poor misguided newbies (and not-so-newbies) see this list of best practices and think... if I make sure my video autoplays on this web page, if I have a 30-day guarantee... then I can put any old piece of crap on the market, and it will sell!

Can I told you what I did years ago to dramatically boost my product sales?

  • I limited the number of digital copies of my product I was selling... and it worked ONCE!
  • I warned about (and then increased) the price of my product... and it worked ONCE!
  • I increased the price with every sale... and it worked ONCE!
  • I added a countdown timer... and it worked ONCE!

These tactics boosted sales, but they weren't the ONLY reason I made sales. It enhanced something that was already selling (mostly by making it novel and newsworthy) . If you put out a bad product that doesn't work, or no one wants it, or no one needs it, then these gimmicks won't help you. And even if they do, they only work once or twice before your audience gets used to it and you have to think of a new gimmick.

Could your webinar convert better? Is your sales letter not selling? Here's an idea... learn selling. THE FUNDAMENTALS.

Why Your Sales Letter Isn't Selling

I can look at most sales letters and in seconds, notice at least 10 BASIC things that hurt sales. Fix them and you'll notice an improvement, keep those things in mind for your next launch and it'll pay off again and again...

  • Is your headline interesting enough to pull me in and get me to keep reading your web page?
  • Do you identify the serious problem that brought me to your web page, align with my values and then transition into the solution, your product?
  • Do you CLEARLY introduce your product and only ask for the sale once you've explained what it is? (once you're "earned the right to sell to me")
  • Can you find large chunks of text that you need to break up into smaller paragraphs, add bullet points, headlines, and graphics to make it easier to read?
  • Is your copy "story heavy" (too much story before introducing the offer) or "offer heavy"? (explaining the offer without building its importance up first)
  • Do you have multiple links and buttons on the page that your visitors can click – that drops them down into your order form area?
  • Do you have an offer stack where you list all the components of your course in one single place, building up the total value and then revealing the low price?
  • Do you clearly explain what price people will pay? (don't make them click through to find out, just freaking tell them)

Do you see what I mean? Very basic things that will help you much more than running an automated webinar, adding a countdown timer, ending your price in $9.99. You'll actually make improvements to your web page that make sense.

If you want to add your picture to that sales letter or not, up to you. If you want to add a logo, I would, and it's increased conversions, but it's up to you. Giant red headline with quotes around it? Be my guest.

An autoplay audio button has always given me a tiny conversion boost. A graphical representation like a 3D cover or 3D box would be awesome... but a polished turd is still a turd!

It's not just sales letters. I once attended a webinar where the presenter was inexperienced, nervous, afraid to sell at the end, messed everything up by offering a Q&A session at the end, and lasting for 3 hours when 1 hour would have done the job.

You could tell by his energy level on the call, and by his email follow-up sequence afterwards, that the webinar didn't sell. Instead of figuring out WHY it didn't sell (strategy), he resorted to the gimmicks (tactics) and spent a week editing the recording to remove all the "umm's", discounted the price, made every mistake and still wondered why it didn't sell.

Real Live Case Studies to Back It Up

I can think back to story after story where... we were selling a 4-module course on WordPress that wasn't selling, I recorded a 12-minute video in the middle of the night showing one single plugin that was part of the course, and woke up to over $16,000 in PayPal the next morning... because I discovered what the marketplace was demanding, and adjusted my marketing so that it made it clear that I was the one to give it to them...

Years ago, Lance and I launched a course on membership sites that we thought wouldn't sell. We were hoping for ten to twenty thousand dollars in sales over a 2 week period. The marketplace wanted a "drip content" plugin at the time, that was our positioning, and BOOM! Over $35,000 in sales in the first 5 hours...

And another time, we launched our outsourcing course explaining how at the time, I'd had over 1.3 million words (something like 150 hours) of audio turned into articles, reports, products, and books. The problem? No one cares about YOUR 1.3 million words, and no one is ASKING to have 1.3 million words transcribed. Instead, we switched it to a short PowerPoint video demonstrating how if anyone had just 3 minutes, they could create an article, chapter, or blog post. Finally, something people needed, wanted, were asking for, willing to pay money for, that was powerful, easy, and fast, that we could provide.

Would we have turned any of those launches around by adding a "FAQ section" or a countdown timer? Without actually fixing the REAL problem? I doubt it.

Just something to think about.

016: Use Video with Camtasia, FreeMind, PowerPoint, and YouTube to Make Money Online

April 12, 201329 Comments

Go ahead right now and check out the reason why I was able to quit my job, create a full time income and shortcut months into minutes by clicking the record button, showing a few things on my screen, clicking the "Save" button and turning it into money.

"How to Use Video to Make Money Online" FREE Report

Subscribe on iTunes - RSS Podcast Feed
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Topics covered...

  • How to create a video sales letter (plus the 3 things most video sales letters leave out)
  • Technical details (the software and hardware I use for everything from small tutorials to full blown products)
  • How to even turn scary things like "presenting webinars" into a total breeze and repeat the formula over and over again
  • How to personally connect with your best customers, clients, prospects, mentors, joint venture partners, and more!

Listen right now and leave a quick comment letting me know what you thought of this week's show. Comments will be closed after 50 comments, the transcript will be posted after 10 comments (although it may take a few days for the transcriber to deliver it for me).

Fixed-Term Payment-Plan Membership Sites: Why No One Wants Your $9.95/Month Interview Site (and How to Make “Retirement Money” from One Site)

April 5, 201343 Comments

It really chaps my hide. When I see someone taking forever to write a long book, instead of writing an "e-book" that doesn't help anyone and only makes you $10 per sale... instead of trading your time for money with a 1-on-1 coaching program... my answer is to create a membership site. But what chaps my hide is that the number one reason people hesitate or avoid membership sites altogether is because they think a membership site means MONTHLY CONTENT!

"Writing" or "recording" consistent monthly content, or creating a "constant stream of products" is probably the worst way to make money. You might as well be writing articles for $5 per hour, coaching on the phone all day for $10 per hour or setting up hundreds of Made-For-AdSense sites that only generate $1 per year in income.

The Problem Is: There's No Room to Grow
(But I Have the Solution For You)

When you create monthly content, you're constantly struggling and working just to MAINTAIN the same level of income. That's no good. You stop and the money stops. Wouldn't it be better for the money to keep flowing in, and you only put in extra time when you want to INCREASE that level of income?

Everyone brand new to making money online tells me their goal is $10,000 a month. $10K monthly is more money than they know what to do with. It would pay off a mortgage, debt, travel, family, and make for a very comfortable full time income anywhere in the world.

The logical conclusion is... if I want $10,000 every month, I "only" need to get 1,000 people to pay me $9.95 per month. Simple, right?

This is backwards thinking. Your only idea so far is a number (the price). Then you think... I'll choose a niche like dog training, I'll create about a year's worth of videos, articles, tips, audios, resources and drip it out. And THEN... I'll schedule thought leaders in my niche (other dog trainers) and record another interview every month. That way I won't have to do any work creating the content month after month.

  • People will join and never cancel... right?
  • I can hide and they'll automatically pay month after month... right?
  • Anyone has 10 dollars every month to spare, so I can add whatever I want in the site... right?

Unless your site delivers a service that peoples' businesses absolutely depend on (like web hosting, webinar service, an email autoresponder, payment processor) then your interview site is a LUXURY site, and it's the first thing they'll cancel!

By the way, you don't want to provide a mass-market monthly service (like an autoresponder) for several reasons. First, it's very competitive and hard to compare/differentiate/beat multi-million dollar companies like Amazon.com, Aweber, GetResponse, InfusionSoft, and more. Second, there are just too many expenses involved and it's tough to make a profit. Third, you become a commodity! If your web host is down for 1 hour in a month, people quit. If you charge $9/month and someone else charges $8/month, and it's easy for people to switch, they quit!

A monthly service won't cut it, an interview or "tips" site won't cut it, so what will? A fixed term membership site that solves peoples' problems! More on that in a minute.

Here's why "monthly forever" (continuity) sites also don't make sense from a marketing and copywriting perspective: what about Month Five?

Tell me about your monthly dog training interview site. You have two choices. Either you can leave the details out and say... just pay me monthly for this site, it's just 30 cents a day. Or, you tell me about your upcoming training... which is great for the first month...

But what happens when you'll be able to stop your dog from pooping on the carpet by the end of the fifth month. Really? I have to wait 150 days, 20 weeks, for that?

You're either trying to solve a non-urgent problem (something where I can wait two months), or you are solving an urgent problem but you're taking too long to get to it.

You can make money from a never-ending monthly interview site, but the reason people buy (and stay) is because they're buying based either your personality (they buy everything you release anyway) or they buy for LUXURY of getting new ideas and distractions. These are only the top 1% of your subscribers, so most of them aren't buying (no matter what you do), and you're giving your best stuff away for 10 bucks!

This is the solution:

Step #1: Choose the End Result

Know your marketplace well enough to uncover how to make ALL THEIR DREAMS come true within a VERY FOCUSED SUB-TOPIC within 21 days.

The key here is to deliver TANGIBLE results but also deliver something people want. For example, in 21 days from now, you can have an affiliate program completely setup including tools, traffic, and automatic marketing.

Step #2: Outline the Course

Break that 20 day plan into four milestones, one every 7 days, including TODAY! Each milestone is about 1-2 hours of training. Not five minutes, not all day, just 1-2 hours. That means I can show you...

  • Milestone 1 (how to get the affiliate program online) the day you get it, on day 1
  • Milestone 2 (connect the affiliate program to a membership site) comes on day 7
  • Milestone 3 (setup on multiple affiliate marketplaces) on day 14
  • Milestone 4 (re-launch your affiliate program) on day 21

I show you how to create a podcast (internet radio show). Module 1, setup and submit to iTunes. Module 2, create longer podcasts with music and graphics. Module 3, market the podcast on social media and special directories. Module 4, how to make money with that podcast.

These are almost always screen capture videos (show your screen and speak out your voice) where you ACTUALLY SHOW yourself going through the steps. Setting all these things up, not just discussing or lecturing.

Every module along the way gets you one step closer to that end goal of having an affiliate program with all the bells and whistles, a podcast that makes money, a sales letter that converts. Every module or milestone comes with a built-in DELIVERABLE. Go through this module and you'll have this result.

They are clearly separated BUT they're all important and they're not just meandering from one topic to another. Each one builds on the previous.

Step #3: Transform it into a Magic Offer

Package it all together into a magical, sexy, unbeatable, irresistible, juicy offer. Everyone else tries to compete by:

  • Loading in 50+ videos (I think you mean OVERLOAD 50+ videos)
  • Reducing the price down to $9.95 (how many copies will you have to sell)
  • Promising bonus after bonus (now the offer is just confusing)
  • Adding numbers and numbers, X number of minutes and pages (too much work as a buyer)

Sure, you can get your videos transcribed, add screenshots and package them into reports, organize that membership site with tables and pages. I guess you could add a FAQ or Q&A session or two, which makes me think your core training isn't helpful enough.

BUT what if that podcasting course included (in addition to the 4 how-to screen capture videos in a membership site with transcribed and screenshotted reports)...

  • An easy to follow checklist to reference again and again anytime you want to publish a new podcast episode
  • A built-in community (usually just comments within the site) to ask questions
  • A built-in traffic exchange where you can submit your podcast and get a jumpstart on your number of listeners and sales

Basically, everything you need to make it almost IMPOSSIBLE to be without a podcast of your own this week or this month... without piling on bonus after bonus (which just confuses your offer). And, if copycats come along and create their own knockoff course... just ABSORB THE CHANGES!

Either that "other guy's" bonus doesn't matter, or it's something you can duplicate in your own way and make better.

Step #4: Assemble Your Sales Letter

Create one single web page (with nothing to click on other than your a buy button )so people actually know what they're buying. But when I tell you to "write a sales letter", you get scared...

Sales letters have gone through several cycles. First, people wrote big long direct response style letters where you couldn't really tell if you were buying a book, video course, software, membership site... or even what was in it. Or even what the price was!

Then people moved on to video sales letters. Same idea, just as long and boring – if not even WORSE because you had to sit through 90 minutes of PowerPoint slides.

And finally, WordPress-based graphics heavy multi-column sales letters... basically 5-10 bullet points listing a few sections, and that's it! A site that looks pretty but doesn't convert well because it's so generic.

Do you see the common problem with sales letters? Whether they're long, short, video, or WordPress-based... the problem is CONFUSION!

That's why the most important thing in your sales letter (second only to the buy button) is what I call a "1-sheet." List every all four modules of your course, plus the exact bonuses, checklists, and software. WARNING: you might actually have assign INTERESTING names to your modules and checklists to pay people to pay attention.

For bonus points, make it a stack table... meaning, assign a dollar value next to each module (what it's worth), total up all the value, and then drop it down to the actual price.

A sales letter only needs to do four things but it NEEDS to do these four things, and in this order:

  1. Attention: Identify their problem and WHY they ended up on your site
  2. Interest: Agitate the problem and explain WHAT they've tried that didn't work
  3. Desire: Clearly and dramatically introduce your solution including each HOW-TO step of it
  4. Action: Tell them to buy right now instead of later, get them excited about the WHAT-IF they buy

That's as simple as I can make it. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Why, What, How-To, What-If. If your sales letter is story-heavy, offer-heavy, price-heavy or guarantee-heavy... it needs re-adjusting. If you are missing pieces or they are in the wrong order, tweak it.

If you wanted to be really lazy, title your headline as, "Who Else Wants to (blank), (blank) and (blank)" and list each bullet point as: "How to (blank)," "How to (blank)" and, "How to (blank)."

(To really crush it, model the sales letter into about 20 PowerPoint slides and present it on a live 1-hour webinar telling people to buy at the end.)

Step #5: Create the Content of Your Fixed-Term Membership Site as Live Webinar Sessions

Schedule each module as a 90-minute live training session.

Create a FEW PowerPoint slides just to announce and then later recap your how-to training. Explain EVERY click and actually do it. Present with GoToWebinar and record with Camtasia. After just four 90-minute sessions spread out over three weeks (day 1, day, 7, day 14, day 21) you're done.

Setup WordPress and place the videos inside a Wishlist Member site and then sell the recordings – but call it "training" and not "replays" or "recordings."

"But What About My $10,000 per Month Recurring Income?"

I don't know what your personal situation is, but I'm convinced that most people want a $9.95/month membership site because they want a site that's an easy sell (who wouldn't want it?) BUT they also want to stop building a list once they hit 1,000 subscribers.

You heard right. The $9.95/month wanna-be's want a $9.95 per month site, with 100% a retention rate (exising members staying in) and a 100% conversion rate (new members joining) and 1,000 email subscribers. (In reality you would need 100,000 targeted subscribers.)

I don't want 5,000 subscribers because what if I make a typo in my email, and lots of people see? Or if 1% report my emails as spam, that's 500 spam complaints. My autoresponder will cost me $30/month instead of $10/month, I'm not sure if I can afford that even at $10,000 per month profit.

Not you, of course!

Here's the reality. Not only do I believe it's tougher to sell $9.95 per month forever than $99 one time, you'll get massive cancellations month after month.

You might have heard people like Jimmy D. Brown claim that the "average membership site retains members for three months" and I've seen many, many, many people worry about retaining members (even they don't have a membership site) along with what price to charge (even if they don't have a membership site).

Look...

  • Make your membership site a how-to course (instead of tips and interviews) and you'll increase retention
  • Make your membership site single-payment or fixed-term (with an end date) and you'll keep the average person in for longer than they'd stay in a "monthly forever" site
  • Add assignments (challenges) to your membership site so people can clearly measure their results and you'll increase retention
  • Add a tool or software inside your membership site that they'll lose if they cancel and you'll increase retention

Honestly, as soon as I shifted my thinking from: dripping, dishing out content in little bitty pieces, adding filler content, worrying about "how much content per week" is enough... and into: getting people from point A to point B, I created sites faster and made more money with them.

I have plenty of membership sites where the content is all delivered upfront, and people continue to make payments for months to come. Our "Make a Product" system allows anyone to dictate out articles and a book. It's $197 when paid upfront or $39.95 spaced 31 days apart for five total payments.

No Drip Content with Zero Percent Financing

If they stop payments they lose access to our tools that make article and book dictation possible.

We make more sales because of the payment plan. About half of people take the payment plan. Way more than half of the people completed all five payments. It's as simple as can be!

We do this with Newbie Crusher which is $97 (or two payments of $49.95 spaced 31 days apart), Speed Copy ($497 or five payments of $99.95 spaced 31 days apart). Note: Speed Copy drips out a little bit (one module every 30 days with bonus reports and videos in-between) but the content finishes before the payments do and people don't cancel... because they COME BACK AND RE-USE the tools and the training even after they've completed the course.

If you're THAT worried that people will join and then cancel, JUST TRY THE PAYMENT PLAN OPTION! You can always remove that button later, and if people cancel partway through, they lose access. It doesn't cost you any extra money or take any extra time and it'll make you more money.

I can't estimate your own numbers, but you can expect HALF of your buyers to pay full price, HALF of them to take the payment plan. HALF of those will complete all payments, and the other HALF of payment plan buyers about HALFWAY through. It's spooky how dead-on the numbers are for me.

Now all you have left is to...

  • Step #1: Choose the End Result
  • Step #2: Outline the Course
  • Step #3: Transform it into a Magic Offer
  • Step #4: Assemble Your Sales Letter
  • Step #5: Create the Content of Your Fixed-Term Membership Site as Live Webinar Sessions

So go ahead right now and stop worrying about pricing, retention, or content -- launch your membership site that solves peoples' problems.

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