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The Fundamentals of a Sales Funnel

For an online business owner, a sales funnel is probably the most important marketing tool you have. And yet many entrepreneurs – both new and established – have no clear understanding of what a funnel is or how it works.

 

As you can imagine, failing to fully understand this critical part of your business means fewer sales, lower profits, and ultimately, an unstable business.

 

Sales funnel is the way you move the client from a lead to a paid client and then to an even higher paid or VIP client.  At the very least your funnel should exist of the following pages

 

Sales Page or Lead Capture Page

The first page might be called an opt-in or squeeze page It serves one purpose—to get the reader to take action. Whether that’s to buy a product or offer up their email address in exchange for a free gift, this is the gateway into your funnel. It is therefore very important that this page consists of the following.

  • Ensure that both the pain points and benefits are clear
  • Remember to include a clear call to action. Tell the visitor exactly what you want them to do. “Buy Now” or “Get This”
  • Let this action be the only thing they can do on this page, eliminate all other  distractions refrain from adding other links or menu bars.

Confirmation Page

The second page is in some cases not compulsory, but depending on your legislation and the Autoresponder provider you use, you might have to let the client confirm their email address.

It will normally be a simple page referring them to check their eMail.

 

For a sales funnel, this confirmation page might actually be your checkout page. It’s where they enter their payment details.

 

If you’re setting up a free funnel, this page has great power—and you don’t want to waste it!

Here is where you can offer an upset, remind people to follow you on social media, and give them a peak at your other products and services.

 

Remember, though, that they will only see this page once, so don’t put anything here that they will need to refer back to. That’s what the thank you page is for.

 

Thank You Page

The final page in the Lead capture funnel is the Thank you page. This is the page where they actually collect their download or the message that they will receive the course in the email or Post.

Like the confirmation page, this is valuable real estate, so you want to be sure you use it wisely. In addition to the downloadable item your customer just purchased (or opted in for) you also want to showcase your other offers—especially those at a slightly higher price point. Here’s why: the person looking at this page is a hot prospect. He or she is in a buying mood. You want to be sure to take advantage of that by putting your most relevant offers on this page. To encourage buying, consider including:

A limited time offer—scarcity sells, so if you can legitimately limit sales to a few hours/days or number of units, then this is the place to do so.

You can create a simple sales funnel to start off with and grow and automate it as your business expands and your product offerings increase. You can add upsells and downsells at anytime, but for now, this simple setup is really all you need.

Affiliate Marketing Without the Sleaze Chapter 2
You will find the first “Chapter” of the Affiliate Marketing without the Sleaze over HERE

We are continuing on from there in discussing ways or principles that will keep affiliate marketing the profitable and authentic strategy it could be.

  1. Choose your product carefully.

If you are promoting a single product, remember that it is better to specialize in one product that either brings a huge return by way of commission or brings in masses of sales.

If you are promoting across a platform such as Amazon, where there are masses of organic visitors pre-qualifying themselves every day, it won’t matter so much if the commission or other rewards is comparatively low just because of the numbers—but if you are promoting a high-ticket course, for example, you will have a small, specialized conversion rate, so it’s important to make sure the commission on each sale will be well worth-while.

  1. Be your own case study.

If you can prove what a measurable, positive difference a system, course, product or eBook has made in your own life, you will double your chances of getting a conversion.
If you are just starting out, you have a perfect opportunity to plan the documentation of your journey, step by step.
Use videos and tracking data screenshots, in addition to photographs. Note that people respond especially well to videos, since they perceive these as less easy to fake—particularly if you are showing something happening in real-time—mistakes and all!
Remember that people identify with mistakes and failures, so providing you also show the way to overcome or avoid these, you can create tremendous credibility by keeping it real.

  1. Be clear about which specific niche you operate within.

Resist the urge to promote products all over the map. Only promote products that are highly relevant to your list. This is the only way to keep building trust with your followers.

  1. Make it easy for others to praise you.

Unfortunately it is all too easy to fake results in images and screenshots—and your audience knows this all too well. That’s where your reputation comes in. Combine your proof with praise from others: Both formally (in testimonials or comments) and informally (i.e. people talking positively about you on social media, after using a product you recommended—or getting direct, no-strings-attached help.
Don’t just hope they’ll praise you, however:

  • Ask leading questions and ask your readers to answer these in your comments
  • Give specific, irresistible calls to action
  • Provide a feedback form (and be sure to tell people to leave feedback!)
  1. Approach people whose products you want to represent and suggest a JV partnership.

If you already have a decent list and even a modest (but active and blossoming) web presence, it may be time to approach the person or company whose product you want to represent.
Before you do, however, think of this from your potential JV partner’s viewpoint: What is in it for her? Why will partnering up with you be an advantage when she already has many affiliates—none of whom need “special treatment”?
Give your potential JV partner the special treatment: Create a highly valuable incentive for her list. Make it easy for her to work with you. Provide resources, links and tracking. Show her how teaming up with you can potentially increase her conversions. (That goes back to creating a “win-win” situation.)

  1. Be prepared to turn down offers.

As your affiliate marketing efforts become known and appreciated by your audience, the inevitable will happen. Companies will notice that people do what you say and buy what you recommend.
You may be asked to recommend products in exchange for pay. There is nothing wrong with this—as long as you follow two key “rules”:

    • Let your readers know you are receiving compensation to review the product—not necessarily within each article, but in your general disclaimer page or notice, as “Heidi” does in her Food Doodles blog.

 

    • Be ruthlessly honest. Never, ever let a generous fee (or free product) make you feel pressured into giving a kinder review than you would if you’d had to purchase it for yourself.

It is your reputation on the line. You will only maintain your celebrity affiliate status if people absolutely know they can depend on you to tell the truth about products, whether you are asked to review them or not.
Make sure the person or company asking you understands that your review will be unbiased and honest.
(Incidentally, this is also when you will know you’re reaching “celebrity affiliate” status.)

Why You Should Join a Giveaway Event

JV Giveaway Events
One of the best ways to build your list quickly is to have access to someone else’s list. Off course to make it worthwhile this list must consist of people more or less interested in what you have to offer. That’s why a JV Giveaway event is such a wonderful opportunity to build your list. Service providers serving the same niche or industry come together and offer their gifts on one platform.
A Giveaway event is like a giant shop window for all participant’s Freebies, gifts or opt-in offers. The host will create one page that displays all the different gifts with images and details and the visitor is free to select what they are interested in.

How exactly does it work?
Each one of the participants agree to send a minimum amount of traffic to the giveaway page. They will receive an affiliate link that they will go and promote to their individual list. They also use Social Media to get people engaged in visiting the page. Therefor Visitors from all of the participant’s lists will land on the giveaway page. You can therefore see the huge possibility for each of the contributors to get noticed by visitors. They will click on the download button and get taken to the individual squeeze pages.

Hosting a giveaway event
Being the host to an event like this could mean a huge increase in the amount of subscribers on your list. You could have an opt-in box or gateway to the Main giveaway page and therefor collect details from all visitors to the site. Alternatively the host’s gift would normally be shown at the top increasing the probability of someone opting in. Off course running the event would be a lot of hard work as you need to create the site and keep track of participant’s unique visitors. This is however simplified by using a plugin for your Word Press Website that has most of the functionality already build in.

Participating in a giveaway event
As said before you get the opportunity of having a lot of eyes on your offer. So you need to make sure that it is something enticing. You also need to commit to sending the traffic to the page. No one likes a free loader and in most event participants who does not send a minimum in the first few hours would be eliminated. If you do not have a huge list already, traffic can easily be generated by using social media. Even running Facebook ads could make a significant difference. Everyone loves free offers so you should not have a problem getting the clicks as long as you have enticing posts and images.

What else do you need?
Besides your free offer ready to be downloaded, you need to make sure that you have a squeeze page or landing page that makes the visitor feel that they came to the right place. Normally just using a graphic or headline similar to that of the Giveaway page should do the trick. You will upload the link to your opt-in page together with an image of the gift, a title and description. Some giveaways also require a headshot of the contributor but this is in most cases optional.

What makes for a high quality event?
The most important thing is that all contributors need to work together to promote the event. Even people with small lists can send a decent amount of traffic to the site as long as they market in some way. Having prizes for leaders could help with motivation and also your offers will rank in order on the page so the more traffic you will send the higher your change of getting notice. Saying that, giveaway events works far better with fewer participants. It does not help to overwhelm the visitor. It is also best to keep the event running only a limited amount of time. This adds the scarcity factor to the event and also helps with focused marketing of the campaign.

I think participating in giveaway events is one of the best and probably easiest things you can do to increase your subscribers. Hosting an event like this is even more beneficial as long as you are willing to do the work. You will find people in Facebook Groups hosting events so make sure you join one in you niche. If you are interested in participating in an event like this with small business owner and start-ups as the target audience, contact me! Also if you are interested in hosting your own event don’t hesitate to contact me. BTW the plugin I use is the JV Giveaway Plugin.

Affiliate Marketing without the Sleaze – Chapter 1

Affiliated Marketing can be a tricky business. On the one hand it is a great way to earn passive income, but unfortunately due to low value product being offered in some cases and some people using pushy sales techniques it has gotten a bad rap. Use these ideas to make affiliated marketing feel natural again.

Only if you are comfortable with your affiliate marketing model and practices will this happen; otherwise, if you, yourself, feel that your affiliate marketing is forced, two things will happen:

• Your readers will find it “forced” too
• You’ll start to avoid putting in the time

Finding a model that is comfortable for you will keep you addicted to helping your followers and subscribers.

1. Use giveaways and valuable information to establish a relationship.

Before people take your recommendations seriously, they need to feel you are honest—that you’re the “real deal”. If you focus on helping visitors and readers first and recommending products as a natural result of this, you will soon start to build the credibility you need before your recommendations can be taken seriously.

Keeping this in mind, make sure that all gifts you offer are your best ones: No rehashed old resell rights material or stale PLR disguised as token reports.

The relationship (and the trust) has to come before any big sales pushes

2. Be straightforward.

Just because you are taking a relationship-based approach to affiliate marketing, don’t feel you have to pussy-foot around the issue of what you’re recommending. Once you’ve identified your visitor’s problem and given her hope there is a solution—provide it, up front and without apologies or explanations.

This is absolutely crucial, no matter what style of affiliate marketing you choose to embrace.

3. Boost your reviews and bonuses.

If you are running a review site—or even just including the occasional review on your blog or website—consider using a “double whammy” strategy to increase your targeted reach. In other words, don’t just promote the product: Promote your review!

This doesn’t just mean sharing your blog post link on Twitter or announcing it on your Facebook Page. Get creative—try strategies such as video reviews, actively showing people what you are talking about in real-time as you demonstrate the pros and cons of a product.

Or give a micro-video-review that actually just hits what the product’s main purpose and benefit is, inviting readers to click on your link to learn more.

And if you are adding a great bonus gift to an affiliate product, promote your bonus gift too!

4. Review more than one product in the same post.

Even if you are not running a “comparison” review site in chart form, consider reviewing more than one product, brand or version.

People love comparisons… but be as objective as possible and include affiliate links for both products, as Laptop magazine does in the example below.

Comparisons give you a chance to earn more money. And remember that what may be a detriment in your eyes could be the very feature someone else is looking for.

5. Don’t just tell people about a product—show them how to use it.

Making a video that shows visitors how to solve their problem by using a recommended product should be a “must” for all affiliate marketers. Not only does it appeal to those who learn visually or in a tactile, kinesthetic manner, it also provides real “proof” that (a) you’ve tried and used the product yourself and (b) it works!

(You’ll also overcome fear barriers by making it look easy.)

A warning, however: Don’t just buy the product, and hurriedly “wing” your “how to use” video. Sure, you may actually do a creditable job (since it’s to be hoped the product doesn’t take rocket science to use) but that is not affiliate marketing with integrity.

Take the time to get to know your product, inside out. Use it in your everyday life. That way, you’ll discover hidden tips and tricks—and these “insider” tactics are what will really convince your viewers that you are worth listening to (and your recommended product is worth buying!)

These are only a few ideas to help bring the glam back into affiliate marketing. Be sure to lookout for chapter 2 for more ideas.

How Article Marketing Works

Article marketing involves the writing of short internet based articles for the purpose of submitting them to online article directories which will publish the articles as content for their own websites and offer the articles as content for other websites. One of the keys to article marketing is creating an author bio which includes at least one link to your website, and is generally placed at the end of your article. This link is one of the most critical components of the article marketing strategy, as that link will drive the bulk of the traffic that is central to just about any article marketing purpose.

When you submit your articles to an online article directory, they will first approve or disapprove the article based on its quality and relevance to the theme of their website. In most cases, if the articles are written with decent language and grammar, are written about a topic that is included in their directory (and there are many that are general-purpose), and contain reputable content of just about any kind that is legal, the article directories will generally publish the articles. When they do not, many of the article directories will send you an email indicating why they have rejected your article, and by studying the rejections, you can determine what changes you need to make to get your articles to the point that they are generally accepted and published.

Once your article is approved and published, it will be available online the world over for search engines to see and index, for humans to access and read, and for other webmasters to use as content for their own websites.

Many of the article directories also use RSS feeds that allow other webmasters to automatically update their own websites with the content from the article directories (including your own articles).

The net result of this article writing and submission process is that, depending on which and to how many article directories you submit your articles, not only does your article move through the internet at an astounding pace, but the link which you have included in the bio section of your article also propagates throughout the internet.

Membership Sites – Your Back End Systems.

While the lure of $5 or $10 or $20 per month from 1,000 or more subscribers might be what motivates you to create a membership in the first place, that should not be your end goal. After all, you’ll need to work to keep those subscribers happy. You’ll have to create new content every month, and even if you outsource that (and you should) you still have to manage it.

So what’s a business owner who’s chasing the passive income dream to do? Build a better back end!

Automate Your Email Contact

Probably the most important piece of a profitable back end is email. It allows you to stay in contact with potential buyers, recommend products and services, and even get feedback from your audience.

And here’s the most powerful tool in your email arsenal: the autoresponder.

By setting up a series of emails ahead of time, you can easily be making offers while you sleep, take a vacation, or work on your next big launch. Autoresponders – once they’re set up – are almost completely hands off. All you have to do is revisit them once a year or so to make sure they’re still applicable to your audience.

Monetize Your Download Pages

Here’s another important piece to the passive income puzzle: download pages. Ordinary marketers and small business owners, once they receive an order, send their new customer a link to download the files. But if you’re sending the files directly, you’re very likely missing an opportunity to make more sales.

Think about it. The customer who has just bought from you is primed and ready to buy again. It’s up to you to make the offer, and the download page is the perfect spot. You can include sections such as “Customers who bought [this] also bought…”, affiliate offers for complementary products, and of course, upsells to higher-priced offers.

Look Out For Your Members

New (and sometimes even established) business owners are often reluctant to make offers of related products and services. They might feel that emails and other offers are a bother to readers, or that “other marketers in my niche already promoted that,” or that “everyone has seen this product already.”

You could not be further from the truth!

Consider this. Your readers consider you a trusted resource. They depend on you to filter the available flood of information, and to present just what’s relevant and valuable. It’s your job (responsibility, even) to share what you find with your readers. They’re expecting it.

So as a business owner, look out for your readers. Let them know what you find, or someone else will become their “go-to” resource.

Setting up a recurring membership is just the beginning of your passive income funnel. When you build up and properly monetize the back end, you’ll enjoy a steady stream of income that grows over time.

Creating a Squeeze Page

What is a Squeeze Page?
 
A squeeze page is a web page that has as its only function the opting in of subscribers. The idea with a squeeze page is that there is only one action asked of your visitors – that of opting in to your email list.

In a strong squeeze page, there should be no other actions asked of your visitors. There should be no links to other pages in your web site, there should be no advertising, and there should be no alternatives other than opting in to your list.

A squeeze page normally will offer some type of a free gift in exchange for opting in. This free gift should have relevance to the niche in which you are attempting to create an email list.

 
Why Do You Need a Squeeze Page?
 
The basic idea with a squeeze page is that it allows you to leverage your traffic. Instead of getting one page view to one sales page from each new visitor to your web site, a squeeze page allows you to gain repeated exposure to that visitor. Once the visitor opts in to your opt in email list, they are no longer a one-time visitor, but a subscriber.
 
As a subscriber, if you develop a relationship with them, and earn the right to expect them to open your emails and click through to web pages, you will earn many more page views to your sales pages than you would have from the one time visitor.
 
Why Is It So Important That There Are No Other Outbound Links
on the Squeeze Page?

 
The reason it is so important that there are no other outbound links or other action options on your squeeze page is that each additional action or outbound option will decrease significantly the opt in rate to your email list.
 
This is critical. For example, a good squeeze page can get between a 30% and a 60% opt in conversion rate (percentage of visitors who choose to
become subscribers), depending on the traffic source (the more targeted the traffic, the higher the opt in rate, all other things equal). However, a squeeze page with one other outbound link (this no longer officially qualifies as a squeeze page if it has additional links) will immediately drop its conversion rate to about ½ of the original – so now the opt in rate is around 15% to 30%. Add one more option, and the opt in rate drops to 10% to 20%. This includes PPC. For each PPC link, you lose conversion rate and opt ins drastically.

Five Steps To Build A Targeted Email List

The following is an excerpt from the free eBook From No-Tech to High-Tech Entrepreneur. To get your full  copy go here or add your details in the right hand side!

 

If you’re just starting an e-commerce business, you want to make sure to maximize each visitor and lead your website generates. Through email marketing, you can do this for less than most other marketing channels with just some time, creativity, consistency and discipline. All those targeted emails you don’t want, and even some of the ones you do want, are coming from companies that have placed you on their email lists. A strong email list coupled with a creative email marketing strategy can be one of the best ways to generate more revenue for your existing customers while attracting new business from leads and prospects interested in your products and services.

You can do all this in five easy steps.

 

STEP 1 - Identify your target audience of potential buyers. Know who your likely buyers will be by analyzing information about the people who have bought similar products and services to what you offer. Gather all the demographic information available on that group. If the market needs are met by what you are selling, you know these are people to pursue as likely buyers. Your ultimate priority is to increase the amount of value your business provides to a specific audience. This will create a loyal fan base that consistently buys from you.

 

STEP 2 - Create a reason for targeted buyers to join your email list. Try offering a gift, freebie, or other incentive your targeted audience would get by signing up for your list. The more valuable the giveaway is, the more likely the consumer will be to sign up. Prizes could range from ebooks to webinars to gift cards. Be sure to set up prizes in a way that not only adds incentive to the consumer, but also shows off other items for sale.

 

STEP 3 - Create a lead capture page. Lead capture pages are usually called a landing page, squeeze page, opt in page, opt in boxes or pop up page. The purpose of these pages is to ask for the consumer’s email address in exchange for the free sign up gift. A compelling, attractive landing page is key to gaining sign ups – it is the customer’s first impression of you. When you create the opt-in box, make sure it’s easily visible and asks for as little information from the customer as possible. Sharing a privacy policy, disclaimer and satisfaction guarantee will establish trust and result in more customers signing up for your email list.

 

STEP 4 - Invest in a good email management program. You can create auto responders with programs such as Mailchimp and Aweber. Make sure your landing page is linked to your CMS (Client management System) or Email System with an automated “thank you for signing up” email already set up. a email plan set up with your follow up emails automatically set up.

 

STEP 5 – Drive traffic to your landing page. You can drive web traffic to your landing page by using pinterest, twitter, linkedin, google+ and facebook. Place online ads where appropriate. When emailing potential customers, make sure you put details about your freebie and a link to where they can sign up in your email signature. You can also make a short video about your freebie and upload it to YouTube.

 

Maintaining an email list is easier and less expensive than if you tried to reach the same target audience via regular mail. A marketing email can be created in hours and reach millions of people in minutes. You can design a marketing plan in response to something your competition released and get it out to your customers faster than with standard mail. On the down side, it is common for people to receive several marketing emails a day from various companies they may or may not have given their contact information to. Because of this, they might delete your email as unimportant before they even take the time to read it. If you use a bulk emailing program, your marketing email could get caught in the recipient’s spam folder. Remember the client is always right. You are looking to gain their business. It is therefore important to have a proper List Building System with landing page or as part of your website.

Boost Your Sales through Your Website

Your business surely have a certain market or niche you are focusing on. But the more people in that market, the bigger your business is, right? Have you tried a bigger range of potential clients around you? Have you tried thinking out of the box?

 

Let’s say that traditional businesses either a small or already established one is only focusing on the market they have around their location. Their potential clients are only the people who goes in and out of their place and who walks and drives by in front of their business location. They might be depending on word of mouth from the customers they had. Different kind of advertisements are readily available, but it would surely cost a lot. If you’re one of these entrepreneurs, you need to do something to succeed! Aim for a bigger range of potential customers. Would it cost you a lot?

 

Absolutely NO!

 

Thanks to the emerging technology we have today. You can take advantage of the most effective advertising that could reach the widest range. Creating a website is all you need to do.

 

Having a website, a good website, will surely give you certain advantages like:

*  People will find you easily. People you know or someone you haven’t met yet could most likely reach and find you on the web.

*  Your business’ credibility is established. A business who already have an active website is more likely to be trusted. Compared to other businesses who haven’t had their website yet, your business became more formal and leaves an impression of doing business seriously.

*  Complete information of your business is readily available. A lot of people would try to search first before entering into a transaction with any businesses. You don’t need to answer you phone time to time just to answer each and every inquiries your customers have.

*  Your business virtually never close. Through an email you will provide in your website, your potential clients could inquire and leave inquiries any time of the day because it is reachable 24 hrs in a day, each day of the year.

 

These are just a few advantages you could enjoy from creating a website for your business. You don’t need to pay a large amount of money creating one, in fact utilizing something like WordPress you can quick and easily be up on the Web. Don’t let this kind of opportunity be disregarded. Aim for a bigger range of potential customers. Boost your sales through the web.

Qualities of a great Website

As we have confirmed many times before, if you have a business you should have a website. Your website speaks volumes about your business.

It is important to understand the most important qualities to effectively compete and win over your competitors. It’s not enough to just create a website for the namesake. Every detail, fact and figure you put down on your site should be verified and authentic to entice visitors and encourage them to start a business deal with you.

We all have varied opinions in terms of establishing the qualities of a good website. As much as such differences exist, there are some basic standards that the experts commonly agree upon.

Qualities of a Great Website:

Informative, Fresh Content

The more interesting your website, the more visitors you will get. If Google decide you are delivering valuable content, you will be placed higher in the search rankings. For that reason, be sure the content you upload is original, of high quality and informative.

Visually easy to read

The key focus of a website is to share information so it is not ideal to make the background of your writing dark and actual writing light. Your visitors want to read the information they’re looking for, so better keep your text black on a white background for the easiest readability.

Navigation System

Make sure that users visiting the website will be able to easily locate the content they’re looking for. Confirm that the navigation makes sense. It’s best not to have a huge selection on the main page. Also make main categories and then drill down to deeper pages (if you need to).

Comfort Viewing

The website should be in such a way where the website works well and looks flawless in all screen resolutions. Pixilated images, irregular sized images and horizontal scroll could frustrate a user. Make sure that your design is responsive.

Clear Purpose

Let the people recognize what your website is all about when they hit the main page, Is the purpose clear? Do not make them search for the information or they might end up going somewhere else.

 Download compatibility

Excessive use video, audio or flash slows down a website and this discourages the user from visiting your website again. Consider the perfect balance in the design.

Browser Compatibility

After the development is done, investigate what it will look like on different browsers. Not all browsers support all designs. So make sure, you test your website in browsers to see if everything works flawlessly.

Contact Details and Forms

Make things easy and satisfying for the visitors. People will most likely check out your website again or get connected. So make sure your contact details are comprehensive and easily understandable. Have a contact form where visitors can post queries or feedback.

Get a customized website for your business at the most affordable price while gaining maximum returns!

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