1. Create A Mailing List - This is absolute - without a doubt - the most vital and necessary tool for your business! It is so EXTREMELY important to have a mailing list that entire websites, e-books, and courses have been written on the subject.
This is your ULTIMATE tool for your success. You've probably heard the phrase... "The Money Is In The List". Trust me... No words are truer! You need to have a mailing list and keep in touch with your website visitors to bring in new business.
And here's where many fail: You CANNOT simply put a small text link or graphic on your site that reads "sign up for our mailing list". That won't cut it.
NOT EVEN CLOSE! Who cares?
REMEMBER - You need to be a SUPER Salesperson online!
Be creative and find ways, whatever it takes, to get customers to sign up to your list. Once a customer is on your mailing list, they're a prospect (and hopefully a new customer) for life! Repeat sales will be the lifeblood for your business.
Offer a freebie... ANYTHING... Your first born child (just kidding)... something of value - something to persuade your visitors to sign up to your list.
It's that important! Here are a few ideas:
- Offer a discount coupon or special promo to those who sign up...
- Offer a free email course; I.E. Crafting, Decorating Ideas, How to build a coffee table under $50, etc...
- Promote a contest or drawing that every new subscriber will be entered into...
- Offer a special "Members Only" section for all subscribers...
And promote your mailing list EVERYWHERE possible! In your email, on your website, your auctions...EVERYWHERE! Find clever and unique ways to get your list information out there! Use your own creativity and come up with some "never before seen" ways to attract new subscribers! Browse the net and see what other retailers are doing. Hell, this is so important that many websites actually set up an entire domain name just for their opt-in list!
Then, once you're ready to setup your new mailing list, we highly recommend AWeber Services. They are TOP NOTCH, provide a smorgasbord of resources, and they are EXTREMELY affordable. Plus, they offer a RISK FREE 30 Day Test Drive! If you don't have a mailing list... start one today!
2. Write Your Own Newsletter - Again, this is the ultimate tool for keeping in touch with your website visitors and offering them something of value - FREE. Your topic choices are endless.
For example, if you own an online gift store, the topics you can consider could be:
- Creative Gift Ideas For Children And Adults - All Under $10
- Creative And Unique Gift Wrapping Ideas On A Budget
- Holiday Or Seasonal - A mailing on each of the holidays offering clever ideas on cooking and decorating
- Children's Themes - Mom's love to learn more about creative ways to amuse their kids
Comprende? Your opportunities to keep in touch are once again "endless". And please don't get scared and run away from the idea because you think you can't write! Anybody can write an interesting article...just keep it geared toward something you're passionate about and you'll surely excel!
A great web resource to learn more about how to write effectively online is a website called SiteSell. In addition, you could download a variety of free ebooks from their website that goes into this subject in more detail. I HIGHLY recommend visiting SiteSell if you aren't familiar with their website. Then, put your newsletter to the test! You'll be astonished by the results!
3. Build Your Own Website - "If you build it they will come!" However, in order to get visitors, your website should NOT be geared toward direct sales, but more importantly toward simply attracting visitors and (YEP.... you guessed it) ... getting them to sign up to your list! It's that IMPORTANT!
If you don't have your own website… get one. You're missing out on a wealth of opportunity. And remember… you can sell products later.... after you've established a relationship with your customers and built trust! And I guarantee you will sell products "later" if you build your list! Your site doesn't have to be fancy and to be perfectly honest, there are many websites out there that provide a great service for folks who aren't too familiar with web design. I've listed my favorites below.
Understand that creating your own website not only allows you MUCH more opportunity to create sales, but it will also get you much more involved (and excited) about your online business. The search engines look for content when listing sites... and that's very important for traffic. You'll have the ability to create some genuine content that’ll be picked up by those search engines, which in turn, will lead to a flood of traffic. Once you start writing articles for your newsletter (and you will start a newsletter...right?), simply load them onto your website to add instant content that your visitors will enjoy reading and look forward to... and the search engines will gobble it up like an anteater on steroids.
As mentioned previously, you want to earn your customers trust and actually build relationships. That's the goal of your website! Once you accomplish this, the sales will follow. That is extremely important! Don't try to immediately sell a visitor that lands on your website, but instead offer them something of value.... FREE... I.E. a newsletter subscription or a free report to download outlining some great ways to solve a problem or put some excitement in their life.
SiteSell University - If you aren't familiar...CHECK IT OUT! If you are...Congratulations!
SiteSell University will offer you a goldmine of information about "pre-selling" your customers and, in my opinion ( and I don't endorse too many businesses this strongly), they have the best web hosting service on the planet for new startups, complete with mailing list features, newsletter integration, promotional tools… and much more.
4. Create An Affiliate Program - Referrals can generate a wealth of income for you, but you have to play your cards right. There are affiliate programs everywhere. Try to make your affiliate program unique (REMEMBER - be a SUPER Salesperson).
Here’s the key -- Instead of providing links directly to your products and services to make sales (and for your affiliates to make referral money), you want to provide links to your newsletter subscription or a free download. The point is... Get the traffic to your site and then follow up with your customers in emails and newsletters. Your affiliates will still receive a commission after you make a sale down the road..... And you’ll make a sale - 1000 sales - down the road simply by following up with your opt-in subscribers on a regular basis!
If your affiliates are referring people to your site for a free gift or an incredible promotional offer instead of referring someone surfing the net to your site to BUY SOMETHING, don't you think that MANY MORE online folks would click through to your site from a link offering something for FREE. Absolutely... And that should be your goal... to get the TRAFFIC... To build your list of happy targeted subscribers!
Which of the two links below would you be more apt to click on if you were browsing?
"Buy anything and everything from Disney Phones to Nostalgic Audio all at Unbeatable Prices!" We Accept MC/Visa/AMEX/Discover. Thousands of products to choose from! Rock Bottom Prices! Huge Savings Everyday! FREE Shipping on many items in stock. Click Here To Visit Our Site!
"Looking For Unique And Affordable Gift Ideas? Download Our FREE Guide To "Choosing The Perfect Gift For That Special Occasion - Even If You're On A Shoestring Budget" You'll SAVE Hundreds... Even Thousands... And Your
"Special Someone" Will Be Tickled Pink!" You'll Refer To It Over And Over Again!
Get it? Again, the subject of affiliate programs, in general, could consume an entire book, but I hope you understand the basic points I'm trying to share with you. You can set up a "Kick Butt" affiliate program at Mal's E-Commerce as well and it's TOTALLY FREE! Now, you have no excuse NOT to get setup and start recruiting an army of affiliates to sell for you. So... What are you waiting for?
NOTE: If a more professional affiliate program is something you'd like to look into, we highly recommend AssocTrac4. This software was developed in-house by the Internet Marketing Center. This is the same software that Derek Gehl, President of the Internet Marketing Center, used to bring in over $7 Millions Dollars in profits last year alone. It's very easy to setup and has a huge list of benefits.
If you plan to sell information products (highly recommended and profitable) you’ll want to look into Clickbank. They not only have a terrific affiliate program, you’ll also find many products you can easily promote on your website that will earn you (on average) a 50% commission.
5. Limit Your Sources - There are many companies out there that claim to have 100,000, 200,000, 1,000,000 product available for you to sell. Be careful! It's hard enough focusing on your marketing and advertising budget when you have 10 products available.... never mind 10,000.
You've heard the saying... "Too BIG too quick!" Well, that's a real concern when you're a small business online. Stay focused! You could become an expert in your field a lot easier with a laser-tight product line and focus...GUARANTEED!
You want to find your niche' (product specific) market and capitalize on it. It's easy to get excited about having everything under the sun to sell - from toasters to toilet paper - but the truth of the matter is.... Finding quality products and capitalizing on their small market is MUCH MORE PROFITABLE than having everything under the sun in your inventory AND then trying to decide what to sell to every shopper online. You'll quickly go "insane". AAAHHHH!
You could always find a drop shipping source that you can feel confident in and one you feel dedicates themselves to drop shipping specifically. A great resource for finding dropship suppliers that will ship products directly to your customers – AFTER YOU”VE ALREADY SOLD THE ITEM – is The Drop Ship
Source Directory. You could find a lot of quality products to sell and learn more about drop shipping in general on their website.
FYI: There are many companies out there who offer drop shipping services (it seems everybody's jumping on the bandwagon lately), unfortunately in most instances, it's not their primary focus.... and that's a problem! They offer their drop shipping services as an afterthought, figuring they could make a few bucks on their dropship sales too, but their primary focus is always going to be BULK wholesale. If you start dealing with any of these sources, you may soon find that the tools and support you ultimately need as a drop ship distributor of their products is insufficient - or worst yet - not available at all.
For instance, access to their inventory counts, a digital downloadable catalog with quality images and descriptions, database spreadsheets, online package tracking, etc. If you decide to pursue drop shipping products from your website or auctions, stick with those companies only found in The Drop Ship Source Directory. You can’t go wrong.
6. Develop A USP - What is a USP? If you don't know the answer to this question, your business is in serious trouble! Again, an entire book can be written on this subject (many have been). Your "USP" is your "Unique Selling Perspective". In other words...Why is your business Unique? What does your business possess that separates it from the rest of your competition?
Why should a customer buy from you instead of your competition?
What do you offer your customers that your competition doesn't?
There's a great article written by one of the best copywriters in the world that clearly puts the power of your USP into perspective. His name?.... Dan Kennedy.
Dan has written sales material for some of the largest fortune 500 companies in the world. Why is Dan so successful? He knows how to develop a client's USP to pinpoint accuracy and capitalize on its amazing power. If you’re going to be successful online, you need to learn more about how to develop a strong USP. This one aspect of your business could determine your success or failure.
Here's a good example....
Amazingly enough, a once failing pizza shop used the power of a strong USP to turn their struggling business into an empire. They decided to become unique and capitalize on one specific aspect of their business that no one else had yet capitalized on. Once they did, their profits soared!
Who is this pizza shop? Domino's Pizza.
How did they turn their business around? With a simple, clever, slogan combined with a strong USP....
Delivered Hot And Fresh In 30 Minutes Or Less... OR IT'S FREE!
The young owner of Domino's Pizza didn't capitalize on fresh ingredients, the ripest tomatoes, 5 different kinds of cheese, or special offers.... Everyone else was already doing that! This "college student" realized where the need was and hammered home his simple message! What did folks want from a pizza place? They wanted their pizza FAST! This simple slogan and USP alone turned a once failing business into a MEGA MILLION DOLLAR FRANCHISE!
If you really want to discover how to develop a USP for your business, you must read Dr. Ken Evoy's ebook, Make Your Site Sell, widely recognized as the "Bible For Selling Online". Dr. Evoy is a master at his craft and over-delivers on every one of his e-books. He's propelled his business into one of the most visited sites online. Get His Book Today! You'll thank me tomorrow!
7. Don't Sell Products... Sell Content - This may sound a bit strange... After all, you're in business to make money, right? Absolutely! You want the sale...Right? Of course! But just as I touched on this same issue previously, the best way to sell a customer is by first gaining their trust and reassuring them that by making a purchase from you, it will be a decision they won't regret.
The only way to really do this effectively is by pre-selling. Yes, you want your website visitors to ultimately click the "Buy Now" button on your website, but you only want them to do so AFTER they've come to know your business and respect you as a business professional. Why not put some articles or valuable content on your website that will interest readers in your niche' market. For example:
-- Offer free downloads for visitors to read at their leisure.
-- Get them to sign up for your newsletter so you can stay in touch.
-- Place a web poll on your site to get visitors involved - make sure the questions relate to your site's theme
-- Put a feedback form on your website for readers to offer their suggestions
-- Put a testimonials page up to show your visitors how many previous buyers enjoyed their shopping experience
-- Offer a "Buying Tips" or "Helpful Hints" page to give your visitors something of value for free
-- Offer a weekly promotion to get visitors returning to your site on a regular basis
This is only a small list of suggestions you could incorporate into the selling process. When folks are returning to your site on a regular basis, your chances for a sale are 1000 times greater than when a first-time visitor hits your site.
Below are two great resources to find some webmaster tools that will add "Sticky" to your site, and most are SIMPLE to setup:
Free Sticky - Web polls and interactive forms to get visitors involved on your website
Bravenet - The largest webmaster resource online. If you need something for your site, they'll have it!
8. Sell On Every Page Of Your Site - Your website maybe 20 pages, or it may be 200 pages, but what so many folks don't understand is that every page on their website should be a "SUPER" salesperson!
For instance, let's assume you have a newsletter subscription box that allows your readers to sign up for your newsletter. Now I know (after reading some of the tips throughout this report so far) that your subscription box is going to be a SUPER salesperson in itself! You'll have a free offer for signing up, perhaps a "Special Report" that readers won't want to miss out on so they'll subscribe, or even a special sales promo for those on your list. I think you understand my point. Your subscription box is going to SELL!
But here's the problem I see on so many sites.... The subscription box is set up very nicely and sells effectively, getting dozens of new subscribers each day, but unfortunately once the new prospect subscribes..... VIOLA! A simple little "Thank You For Subscribing" page shows up to confirm their subscription.
That's very nice and all, but the greater lesson here is that this is another page on your site to SELL! Why not put another offer on your "Thank You" page as well! This is PRIME advertising space. The offer doesn't have to be obvious or annoying. Actually, the offer should be something extremely subtle. You don't want to keep bombarding your visitors with POP UP ADS or flashing neon sales promotions... one sales pitch after another. By doing that, you'd lose credibility and trust!
But by being a smart SALESPERSON, you do want to effectively sell at every
turn and take advantage of every opportunity...right? Here's an example of a well designed "Thank You" page for a newsletter subscription...
"Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter "Family First - Money Second!"
You'll now begin to receive a new issue each month - directly to your email.
You'll be amazed at how much you'll look forward to receiving each issue!
You'll discover ways to "Bring More Love And Laughter Into Your Home"! Plus, you'll receive some money saving tips on entertaining ideas, dining, gift giving, and much more! I know you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy sharing my ideas with everyone!"
Now that's not an annoying ad.... Is it? Do you think it will generate some additional back end sales for your business? Absolutely! Is it hard to do... NOT AT ALL! Plus... set it up once and you're done! Again, this is just one example of the power you can harness on EVERY SINGLE PAGE of your site, and how you can capitalize on each and every page. And again, that's just one example. What about the emails that are sent automatically when a customer makes a purchase from you? Can you add some subtle sales pitch to those? Absolutely!
Use your own creativity and implement some of your own ideas and you’ll begin to see your sales increase tremendously! Take This Challenge.... Analyze your website, check out each and every page, look for areas on your site where you could implement some of these ideas and I guarantee you'll be shocked at just how many pages aren't being utilized like they should be. And remember... DON'T HARD SELL... SOFT SELL!
Tip: This is also a great way to place some affiliate links on your site as well, but don't use the standard "Out Of The Box" banners and text links that your affiliates provide. Write some reviews about the products you’re endorsing or create your own unique selling ad! BE A SUPER SALESMAN! The promotions you create on your own will be much more effective than the standard text and banner links available directly from your affiliates.
9. Automate - Automation is the key to any successful business online. The term automation simply means "don't do anything repetitive that can be done on "auto-pilot". And believe me when I tell you, you can automate many aspects of your business very easily. The key to automation is having the right software program to do the task. Unfortunately, most programs out on the market that actually does this effectively are quite expensive. I personally recommend setting up an account with AWeber Communications. For $19.95 a month you need this system working for you to be successful!
Plus... they do have their 30 DAY RISK-FREE TRIAL! Don't immediately go to their website and set up an account. WAIT! Get all your ducks in a row first. Once you feel you’re ready to open the floodgate, that’s the time to get set up. This way you'll have your 30-day RISK-FREE period to test drive their system. And I promise you, once you set up your account and put the wheels in motion, it will be the first bill you pay each and every month! It's that powerful!
Now, onto the automation process....
There are so many aspects of your business that need to be automated. For instance, your subscription "Sign Up" form. This can be set up to automatically send a "Thank You for Subscribing" email to your new prospects without you ever lifting a finger.
Hmm.... what a great place to also place a subtle BACK DOOR AD... AHHH! Now you're thinking like the SALESPERSON you need to be! What about your newsletter subscription? This can be automated as well! Their system will automatically add and remove subscribers, and follow up with them at predetermined intervals you set to stay in touch.
And here's a clever idea... How about customer service? You can setup a variety of email addresses in their system and the system will automatically email an immediate response if an inquiry is sent to that email address. So how can you use this to your advantage? Why not setup various email address for the following:
-- FREE Reports
-- Product Lists
-- An OFFLINE SALE CATALOG - WOW! Now there's a concept! You can have a special sales catalog that is only available through email! Now, you have a prospects email address and you can follow up with them through the AWeber System AUTOMATICALLY without ever lifting a finger. Their system will even mail the attachment for you.
-- Complaint Desk - We all know that we can't please 100% of our customers, 100% of the time. Customers like to know there's a way to contact the owner directly and voice their complaint. You could set up an email address for yourself personally, and draft a prewritten email letting an unsatisfied customer know that you are personally looking into their problem. They, in turn, receive an immediate response to their complaint, and you have some time to then look into the issue and follow up with them either via email or phone. I guarantee you this unsatisfied customer will be a lot MORE satisfied with that kind of TOP NOTCH Service!
10. Market Yourself And Your Products - I won't go into the whole "Marketing" subject here... Naturally, we all know how incredibly extensive the subject could be. But I do want to point out a few things that you need to recognize when marketing yourself and your business online. Marketing doesn't have to cost a fortune! Advertising, however, can become quite costly... and there is a difference! When marketing your business there
are a few things that should be brought to the forefront.
You need to recognize the fact that traffic is your ultimate goal! More importantly, you need to (eventually) be able to sell that traffic once they land on your website. That's where you need to be a SUPER Salesperson!
But how you acquire the traffic is just as important. We all know about Google Adwords and Overture, but to be honest, in my opinion, they are all a bit overrated and can become quite costly for a small business. Don't misunderstand, there certainly are effective ways to use the "Pay-Per-Click" search engines, but that's not something I'd like to discuss in this report… (Perhaps we'll save that subject for another report in itself).
Your best efforts should focus on providing quality content and useful information related to your niche' market. Once you do this, the search engines and other websites will pick up on this content and start indexing your web pages rapidly -- referring folks to your website for FREE. Now that's a bargain! More importantly... GET YOUR MAILING LIST Setup! That's when you'll really make the sales!
You should immediately begin writing creative, interesting articles relating to your niche’. Once you’ve written an article, you can submit it to hundreds of article directories and gain valuable links back to your website free. A great
place to learn more about writing and submitting articles is Article Marketer. Everything we've talked about up to this point has dealt with effective marketing so take each topic and utilize what you've learned. Put a few of the ideas to the test. If you implement some the strategies I've outlined here, you'll be a much better SALESPERSON in the long run... and that's what it's all about...
Becoming a SUPER SALESPERSON!