Working online as an internet marketer is never easy, and there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done that you need to. So use this as a resource that you can constantly refer back to.
Your business is a work in progress; there are always ways to improve the way you do things. Pick a tip, implement it and see how it helps. Once you’ve mastered it, move onto the next one.
Now let’s get to it, here are 100 tips that can improve your business in some way…
We’ll start with the obvious since it’s the advice you’re most likely to have already heard online: “the money’s in the list!” People keep saying the same old thing because it’s true.
You might be thinking you should focus on getting search engine traffic, or hits from social media, but the bottom line is that, although this works, you can never fully control whether Google chooses to place your site at the top of the search results, or whether Facebook chooses to show your updates to all your fans.
An email list is something you have a lot more control over. If your site disappeared from the search engines overnight, you could still make a living from your email list. Plus, email marketing is a more direct way to get in touch with people than social media or search engine marketing – people are far more likely to hear what you have to say (even though you do still need to work hard to earn their trust).
“If you’re not building an email list, you’re an idiot.” – Derek Halpern (Social Triggers)
Remember, the best time to start your email list was yesterday. Failing that, start today!
Building a successful business, whether online or offline, is all about building relationships with others. Building relationships with your customers means that they will keep coming back to buy more from you. And building relationships with other business owners means that they could just help you grow your customer base.
If you want to improve those relationships, start making an effort to contact some of your customers and business contacts personally. Some ideas include:
- Sending your top affiliates a birthday card.
- Emailing a top customer thanking them and asking if they have any product requests.
- Emailing a blogger who you admire and giving them your positive feedback.
Yes, this is time consuming, but you can set a doable goal e.g. 2 emails per week. You’ll really notice the results!
You spend so much time sat at your desk every week, but have you ever put much thought into how your desk layout makes you feel?
- Messy desks encourage creativity.
- Tidy desks encourage conformity.
- Decorating your desk with personal items can improve productivity.
- The same goes for decorating desks with plants.
All online business owners have times when they just stop moving forward. You might find yourself procrastinating more and in need of something to give you and your business and kick start. A challenge can do just that!
A challenge means setting a goal for a short period of time e.g. 21 days or 1 month. During that time you’ll do something above and beyond what you normally do – like posting on your blog every single day, interacting with 20 people on social media, or writing 2,000 words.
Not only will the challenge push you to achieve more, but it’s also a great time to test how much of an impact these activities have on your business.
If you have a blog, make the challenge public! Invite people to join and you’ll be building your brand and community in the process!
Although not directly related to online business, your health is extremely important. Unfortunately internet marketers often sit down for large portions of the day. There are a huge number of risks of sitting down too much, as reported by Just Stand.org, including:
- A higher risk of dying sooner from any cause.
- An increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Negative effects on the metabolic system.
- Difficult to reverse even if you exercise regularly.
This is why you should consider buying a standing desk. That way, even though you need to be at your desk for large periods of time, you can help combat the effects of sitting down all day.
You should also incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine. Even if you think you’re “too busy”, remember that getting away from your computer to exercise will actually help you to be more productive when you get back.
You can only improve your business if you have a clear idea of where you want it to go. This usually means setting goals. Sure, you can achieve success without goals, but that’s kind of like stumbling upon some buried treasure without a map. You’ll have much more chance of finding that treasure if you know where you’re going!
You should set both short-term and long-term goals, and make sure that every goal you choose is “SMART”. That means it’s specific, it’s measurable, it’s actually attainable, realistic and it has a time limit.
Networking can bring your business to new levels that just wouldn’t be possible by doing it all alone.
Your contacts can introduce you to powerful people, share your content, help you come up with new ideas or even become friends!
There are a number of ways to network more in your business:
- Attend live events,
- Make personal contact with some of your customers,
- Email bloggers you admire just to say hello,
- Have conversations on social media,
- Arrange to meet your online colleagues in real life,
- Chat with others in marketing forums,
- Comment on other people’s blogs,
- Respond to comments made on your blog.
Make a goal to spend just 10 minutes a day doing activities like this and you’ll improve your business network.
Improving your business isn’t just about improving your profits. It’s also about creating the ideal business for you. This is why you should take steps towards avoiding all the tasks you help.
Everyone has to do things they don’t always enjoy in their business, but the more your business grows, the more opportunity you’ll get to eliminate them completely.
There are two ways to go about this:
- You can outsource those tasks to someone else (start small if your budget is limited and keep increasing the amount you outsource as you go).
- You can eliminate those tasks from your business. This second option isn’t always feasible, for example with day-to-day admin tasks, but if you’re not enjoying something it could be a sign that your business needs to move in a new direction.
Having your own products is one of the best ways to increase your earnings as an online marketer. It’s one thing promoting other people’s products as an affiliate; it’s another thing having products yourself.
When you have your own products, people see you as more of an expert. They start listening more to what you have to say, and they’re more likely to buy when you promote other people’s products.
You can also set these products up to sell 24/7 on your website, so it’s possible to make money while you sleep.
If you’re not convinced, read more of the benefits of creating your own products at Pro Blogger.
Things are always changing in the world of online marketing, and there are always new strategies to try. Unfortunately, however, we are all limited on time and it’ll never be possible to try out every single marketing strategy there is!
That’s why it’s important to prioritize. This will help reduce overwhelm and help you get on with the things that really need to be done.
How do you prioritize? Start by thinking about what brings you in the most money. This might mean focusing on your email marketing efforts. Then, if you want to try a new marketing strategy (such as social media), schedule this in so that you don’t spend more time on it than necessary.
11) Know Your USP
The great thing about the internet is that there is opportunity for anyone to get out there and create a name for themselves. The bad thing is that, because so many people are doing it, it can be hard to get noticed!
This is why you need to know your USP. This stands for Unique Selling Proposition – the feature that makes you different from your competition.
It could be that you’re the cheapest (although this isn’t usually the best way to go!), or that you promise to make things as simple as possible for your customer.
Some real life examples include KFC’s unique blend of herbs and spices, or Apple’s beautifully made products. People are willing to pay for more expensive products because they have that something special compared to their rivals.
How do you figure out your USP? You’ll need to sit down and do a lot of brainstorming. Think about you and your clients – and how you can combine what you have to offer with what they need. There’s your USP – and it might change in future.
You’ll reach a point in your business when you simply can’t continue to do everything yourself. And, if you try, your business won’t grow. That is the time to start outsourcing.
If you don’t have a big budget, you don’t have to outsource too much straight away. But just remember that every dollar you spend on outsourcing is an investment in the future of your business.
If you’ve been struggling with a new project, or are finding it super hard to focus on your work, then just take some time off.
There’s nothing wrong with taking an entire day off from time to time.
Stop beating yourself up about not working all the time! Even business owners deserve time off, and you may just find you come back refreshed and full of new ideas after some time spent doing other things!
Interviewing other people in your field, and giving your readers and customers access to those interviews, can benefit your business in a number of ways:
- You’ll build relationships with the people you interview,
- Your customers will love you for providing so much value for free,
- You can get these interviews transcribed and turn them into reports,
- It’s an easy way to get unique content for your business,
- You’ll also learn from the other person’s experience.
You don’t need to do voice or video interviews, you can also send out text questions and get the guest to respond in text form.
See this Income Diary post for tips on creating the best interview.
Working for yourself online means that it’s up to you to keep on top of your finances and report them to the taxman. However, it’s important to look at your finances on a regular basis – don’t just leave it all up to a week before tax time!
Knowing your finances doesn’t just help you prepare for the tax bill (which is important in itself); it also helps you keep track of your business. You’ll see which products are selling best, where you’re overspending, how much money you have free for outsourcing and so on.
One simple way to improve your profits could be to raise your prices. You might be worried that higher prices will turn customers off, but this isn’t always the case.
Your price point can have an unexpected psychological impact on customers, and sometimes you might find that higher prices can lead to more sales. Of course, it’s important to test this out for yourself.
If you are selling time for money (e.g. by providing a service) then raising your prices makes even more sense. For example, if you go from charging $10 per article to $20 per article, you’ll only need to do half the work for the same amount of money!
If you sell your own products (and you really should!) then make sure you’re collecting your buyers’ email addresses. Building an email list full of prospects is great, but building a buyers mailing list is even better.
By collecting their email addresses, you can market to them again in future. And remember, it’s far easier to sell more to your existing customers than it is to find new customers!
The good news is that most online shopping cart systems have functions that allow you to collect email addresses automatically. These work with the most popular email marketing services like Aweber and GetResponse. You can also set this up to work with PayPal payments (click here to read more from the Aweber blog).
If not, you can add buyers manually, but make sure you use a double opt in process that requires buyers to confirm that they wish to be added. Although you can legally contact your customers by email once they’ve bought from you, it’s best to avoid annoying them by adding them to email lists they don’t want to join!
Creating a consistent brand across all of your social media accounts helps to make sure you’re instantly recognizable to your customers.
If your Twitter username is @bobsonlinestore and your Facebook page is called “Bob’s Bargains”, then customers might not realize that both pages are for the same business! This is why it’s important to create consistent social media usernames and profile images.
Once you’ve taken the time to do this, people will be more likely to engage with you on the platform of their choice. And when they see your name and face popping up all over the place, they will start to trust you more, be more likely to open up your emails, and more likely to buy from you.
Not sure how you can go about branding your social media profiles correctly? This post from Social Media Today should help.
Trying to make your business appeal to absolutely everyone really isn’t doing you any favors! Instead, choosing a smaller target market means that you can really get to know them and understand what they want from your products.
“Businesses with too large a target market (i.e. every household in America) struggle to get any customers at all, and here’s why: not understanding who your customer really is keeps you from being able to better serve that customer.” Susan Payton (Small Business Trends)
So, if you haven’t already, take some time now to work out your ideal customer. Where do they live? How old are they? What do they do with their time? Knowing the answers to these questions can greatly increase the response you get to your products.
Just because you run your own business online doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any good at copywriting. Unfortunately, however, copy sells, and it is important to try and perfect certain techniques to improve your conversions.
One simple trick is to start telling customers about the benefits of your products, rather than simply listing the features.
For example, if you’re selling a new kind of microwave, here’s how the features and benefits differ…
- Feature: Uses 20% less power than previous models.
- Benefit: Saves $10 on the average monthly power bill.
- Feature: Quicker at cooking than previous models.
- Benefit: Spend 25% less time in the kitchen!
- Feature: Voice activated controls.
- Benefit: Easier to use than ever before, even when you’re busy doing something else.
So next time you’re trying to sell something, think about ways you can turn it around and think about the benefits instead of the features. Read more on the Unbounce blog.
Although words have always been important in online marketing, visuals are playing a bigger and bigger role. If you want to grow your business, you should definitely start incorporating visual elements into your content.
It’s already clear how important visuals are on social media: images on Instagram get more than 1 billion likes every single day, Pinterest saw a 1000% increase in visitors in the space of a year, and more and more of us are using smartphones and tablets, where visuals really stand out.
Some more stats on visual marketing (from Sprout Social):
- Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than words.
- 70% of search results are videos.
- Photos are “liked” twice as much as text updates.
- Videos are shared 12 times more than text and links.
So make visuals a key part of your online content strategy, starting today!
Although it’s important to spend money to get your business off the ground and growing, be careful not to overspend.
Many newbies make the mistake of spending a lot of money on marketing training, always thinking that the next thing they buy will be the one that takes their business to the next level. This kind of thinking will only hold you back.
Make sure you keep on top of your bookkeeping so you know exactly what position you’re in each month. If you’ve got extra money at the end of the month, then you can afford to spend it on a new program or marketing training.
Many marketers leave money on the table by failing to cross-sell to their customers. How many times have you been asked, “do you want fries with that?” only to go on and buy more than you had originally intended? That’s smart marketing at work!
The way you apply this will very much depend on your line of business, but here are a few examples:
- If you’re a writer, you could offer to write a tweet to complement each article for an extra fee.
- If you have a shopping cart, make sure you display a “customers who bought this also bought…” section.
- If you sell digital downloads, make sure to cross-sell related items on the download page to encourage your customer to buy more.
You can choose to do everything alone, but you will succeed at a much quicker rate if you speak with likeminded individuals. This is why joining a mastermind group is such a good idea.
You will be in the company of other people in a similar area of business who can offer new ideas, critiques, accountability and friendship. You will probably also form powerful relationships for future joint ventures.
Mastermind groups are different from open forums. They are usually charged for due to the private nature of the information being shared. However, it’s usually more than worth the fee for the progress you’ll see in your business if you take the time to really join in.
You’ve probably heard it many times before: it’s far easier (and cheaper) to sell to existing customers than it is to find new ones. If you want to improve your business, focusing on existing customers can pay off big time.
Here are some ways you can sell more to your existing customers:
- Make sure you are growing your buyers email list so that you are able to contact them again in future.
- Take time to build relationships – give your customers free information and help them out when they have questions.
- When you release new products, offer existing customers an additional bonus that the general public doesn’t get.
- Occasionally, create sales only for your existing customers. It’ll help make them feel special!
- Listen to their needs and create new products based around what they need.
- Create an entire product funnel, starting with low cost items, getting more and more expensive.
- Take advantage of cross-sells and up-sells.
Here’s a quick thought that could help give you the kick you need to achieve more in business… ask yourself whether you’re creating more than you consume.
If the answer is no, and you find yourself spending more time reading about things than actually creating things then it’s time change. Creating more than you consume means you’ll constantly be educating your customers and creating new products for them to enjoy.
In short creating more = profiting more!
If procrastination is getting in the way of growing your business then it’s time to start tracking your time. Install an app like RescueTime and go on about your day as you normally would.
After a week or so, take a look at the results of the tracking. You can see, at a glance, whether you spent too much time watching online videos or social networking. This can help you identify your weaknesses and let you work on improving things.
When you run an online business, you really can carve your own unique niche and customer base. And, instead of having direct competitors, you have a chance to network and benefit from the competition.
There are so many benefits to seeing your competitors as friends:
- When we promote our competitors, they will promote us too – broadening our reach.
- They can help us improve our own business.
- They give us someone to talk to about our struggles.
- They can increase our profits!
The way you start your day can often have a big impact on how the rest of the day goes. Start working on perfecting your daily routine.
For example, if you know you can’t resist checking your emails and social media in the mornings, set a timer for 15 minutes to ensure you don’t get carried away on a conversation.
If you have a problem know what to start with each day, then start taking 5 minutes at the end of the day to plan the next one.
It’ll take some time to make these routines a habit, but they can all add up to make you a lot more productive throughout the day.
If you’ve gone into business as a way to get freedom, then keep that goal in mind.
If you’re working every evening, not spending enough time with family, letting go of hobbies that matter to you… are you really free?
Although sometimes you do need to sacrifice your personal life to improve your business, remember that it works the other way around, too. Sometimes it’s important to sacrifice some of your working time to enjoy some of that freedom you’ve worked so hard to create.
Productivity is a tricky thing to master, especially when you work for yourself. If you constantly find that you end the day with items still on your to-do list, then it’s time to prioritize those tasks.
One tip is to choose a “most important task” for every day. You can have other items on your to-do list, but you can only get to those once your most important task is completed. This ensures you’re doing something worthwhile every single day.
Different holidays can be a great opportunity to run special promotions and sales in your business.
Some of the more well-known holidays, like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, are “shopping” holidays, so it definitely makes sense to take advantage by offering discounts, bundles and free shipping deals. Even if the products you sell aren’t directly related to the holiday, people are more likely to buy when they’re already in the shopping mindset.
You can also use special days like “National Chocolate Day” as a fun excuse to do something special in your business. Again, it might not be directly related, but if you want to run a sale anyway it always helps to have a reason or a story behind it.
Stuck for ideas? Check out these holiday marketing ideas on the Vertical Response blog.
Stories are always used in marketing to sell you more products, and they work very well. This is especially true in industries like weight loss where the stories show individuals having success with the product (see “Why Stories Sell” by Neuromarketing).
However, stories are also a great way to build your brand, even if you’re not directly selling anything. This could mean telling personal anecdotes through social media, or using something that happened in your life as part of a blog post.
Practice telling more stories in your content and you’ll build trust and deeper relationships as a result.
“Stories provide insight into who you are, although not all the stories have to be about you. Even when you tell stories about other people or even fictional stories, how you tell them reveal a lot about you.” – Alice Seba (Contentrix)
It might sound extremely simple, but making good use of a calendar in your business can have a big impact.
Scheduling in advance – whether that means product launches or emails – means that you’ll always have something concrete to work towards. It also gives you more time to get things done, and it helps you stay organized when it comes to outsourcing.
You can also add important holiday dates to your calendar to help you plan your marketing around these events. These are the kind of things you might miss if you were winging things and waiting until the actual day to plan things.
You can use a calendar app or a real life calendar, whatever works for you! And yes, the plans might change, but planning in advance will ensure you never go too long without doing something to grow your business.
As an online business owner you probably get so much email that responding to it becomes a task in itself. Unfortunately, responding to emails is a necessary evil, especially when it comes to answering customer problems and questions.
One way to improve your business is to start responding to emails quickly, so that they never build up into an unmanageable mess. Choose a couple of set times a day for email (e.g. once in the morning and once in the afternoon) and respond to emails as soon as you email them.
This rule can apply to almost all emails, unless they need further thought or research. In which case, archive all the ones you’ve responded too and add the rest to your to-do list for the day.
Responding to emails quickly helps you get more done, and it shows customers that you care about their emails.
You’ve probably heard a lot of top marketers recommending you give things away for free. This can be hard to take in, especially if you’re not earning much money yet.
However, giving things away for free has the power to earn you a lot more money in the long run. People like Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income have built huge levels of trust this way, and it has paid off big time (listen to his podcast episode “SPI 013: Is Giving Away Free Information Bad? Here Are Some Answers” for more information.)
Don’t be afraid of the fact that people won’t want to buy from you if you give them information for free. In fact, it makes them more likely to want to buy from you in future.
Things you can give away include: interview transcripts with other people in your niche, eBooks solving a common customer problem, advice in the form of emails and so on.
Content is essential to your online business, but it can be difficult to find enough time and money for constant content creation.
Why not try recycling your old content? There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Creating “best of” posts linking to your past blog posts on particular topics,
- Turning emails into blog posts,
- Compiling related blog posts into Kindle books,
- Turning transcripts of video/ audio into free reports,
- Taking an email eCourse and turning it into a webinar.
As you can see, if you get creative there are a huge number of ways to recycle old content and make the very most from it. See “Content Marketing: A to Z” by Content Marketing Institute for more ideas.
One of the biggest struggles for online marketers is not having enough time to do everything they want. This is why it’s important to take advantage of systems and automation wherever you can.
This does not mean using spammy software to leave fake comments on blogs, or scraping content from the web and posting it as your own.
No, it means taking advantage of smart tools and plugins that can automate things in a way that won’t negatively affect your customers.
Here are some examples:
- Scheduling posts in advance on social media using tools like Buffer (but also logging in to interact in real time).
- Having a bank of canned answers in your support desk, but personalizing them for every customer that contacts you.
- Scheduling autoresponder emails to end out at set intervals after someone signs up for your mailing list.
It’ll take some time to find the best tools for you, and get them all set up right, but it’ll save you hours and hours in the end.
It can be tempting to go for short-term profits as an internet marketer. After all, it’s easy to send out email promos to your list and make some fast cash.
However, you’ll be doing your business and your customers a favor if you start thinking more about building long-term relationships instead.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t promote products to your list. It just means that you need to think carefully about exactly what, and how often, you choose to promote.
This might lose you some money in the short term, but you’ll build a stronger business in the long run.
If you’re like most online marketers you’ve probably got a lot of information swirling around your head. Sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of your new ideas, articles you want to read later, swipe files and everything else you’ve got to think about.
The good news is that Evernote can handle all of this for you. Learn how to use it properly and you’ll have a system that lets you file away ideas and content for access later. You can even install the smartphone and content apps so that all your notes are up to date across all your devices.
The best thing? It’s free!
No matter how much you know there’s always more to learn! And this is especially true when you run an online business – things are always changing.
Set aside a portion of time, for example 30 minutes, to read every day. And this doesn’t mean reading blogs (although that’s important, too). This means finding recommended books in your niche – and outside of it – and reading them from cover to cover.
It’s all very well trying new marketing methods to improve your business, but if you aren’t tracking them then you’ll never know where your time and money are best spent.
Whatever new method you try, make sure you’re tracking it. For example, you want to track how many new leads are coming from different sources, how many people are engaging with you on social media, how many solo ads subscribers are buying your offers and so on.
Any online business owner needs content to build relationship, make sales and grow their business, but some of us are stuck thinking that this simply means articles and eBooks.
Experiment with the kind of formats you offer your readers. Think about things that can make your content more useful to them. For example, if you put together a tutorial on starting a new blog, add a checklist of the most important tasks. Or record a video to highlight something in a way that’s easy to follow along.
Want more ideas? Check out this blog post from HubSpot.
Remember this: a project is never going to make you money unless you see it through to the end.
Simple advice, yes, but ask yourself how many unfinished projects you have right now. You’ve probably put hours and hours of work into some of them.
Is there a legitimate reason why they’re still not finished? Or is it just because you’re being a perfectionist, or that “shiny object syndrome” has caused you to move onto something else too quickly?
Be honest with yourself and choose a project that you’ll commit to taking through to completion.
“Real artists ship.” – Steve Jobs
Here’s one really simple way to improve your productivity: take 5 minutes at the end of each day to plan for the next day.
Although 5 minutes doesn’t sound like much, getting into the habit of doing this means you always have direction every time you sit down to work. Instead of wasting time wondering about what you should do, you can jump right in and get things done!
Sometimes in marketing you really have to call people to action – tell people what you want from them. How do you do that? With a call to action of course!
You can boost your marketing goals by making sure there’s a sentence or graphic in each blog post, email etc. that tells people what to do next.
This could mean an opt-in form for your email list, or a link to learn more in your paid product. It could even just be asking a question and inviting people to answer in the comments section.
If you’re still unsure about how to create the perfect call to action, see this guide from HubSpot.
Being an affiliate for other online business owners is a great way to make additional income from your readers and customers. However, it’s important that you choose your products carefully.
If you’ve been blindly recommending affiliate products that you haven’t personally used, then you’ll greatly improve your business by stopping now. Instead, only promote products that you have genuine experience with.
This helps in two ways. Firstly, it’ll build a greater level of trust, as your readers know you only promote things you’ve actually used. Secondly, it means you’re in a better position to explain the real benefits of that product and presell it to your customers. This means better conversions!
Inbound marketing is a kind of “new” marketing that’s all about customers coming to you, rather than you having to go out and find them through traditional advertising methods.
There are a number of benefits to this kind of marketing: it helps you build real relationships where customers are happy to refer you to others, it helps build trust, and it can help get you noticed in a world where people are more and more infuriated by junk mail and intrusive ads.
How can you incorporate more inbound marketing into your business?
- Give out free reports,
- Make connections on social media,
- Provide free education to your customers,
- Run a blog or podcast,
- Create shareable content.
In other words, work hard to build the trust of your readers and customers so that they go out and spread the word, doing your marketing for you, and helping you get higher up in the search engines.
“Rather than doing outbound marketing to the masses of people who are trying to block you out, I advocate doing “inbound marketing” where you help yourself “get found” by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.” – Brian Halligan (HubSpot)
Sometimes when you want something, you have to be bold enough to ask for it directly.
Here are some things you could ask for to improve your business:
- Ask some of your top customers to provide testimonials or feedback on a new product,
- Ask affiliates to promote your next product launch,
- Ask your social media followers to leave your product a review on Amazon,
- Ask your email subscribers to reply to your email.
Of course, it doesn’t make sense to ask things of people unless you’ve built up a prior relationship. If you have, however, you’ll be surprised at how willing people are to help you out!
It’s important that you see to customer emails in a timely manner, but they can be a massive time suck! This is why it’s a good idea to create an FAQ page on your website.
Every time you get asked a new question that could apply to other questions, add the question and answer to your FAQ page. Make sure you create a page that’s actually useful to your readers (see this article from the Content Marketing Institute for more information).
Make your new FAQ page easy to find on your website, and link to it from your contact page. That way, customers are more likely to read your FAQ page before even contacting you. If they do still contact you, point them to the FAQ page unless the answer needs a personalized reply.
It’s easy to get carried away on social media. Although it’s a valuable way to connect to your market and brand your business, it won’t help your business if you spend hours just chatting there!
Make a smart plan to incorporate social media into your daily schedule without letting it suck your time:
- Start by deciding how often you want to post.
- Then use tools like Buffer or HootSuite to schedule posts in advance.
- Choose a time to check in each day for a fixed period – e.g. 15 minutes – to reply to people and like other people’s post.
By using this smart combination of scheduling and real-life interaction, you’ll be able to show up in your followers’ feeds throughout the day, but you won’t waste all your time on actually being there 24/7.
Every time you create a video or audio recording, there’s an easy way to get more out of this content. Simply hire a transcriptionist to turn the audio into words.
There are a number of benefits to using transcription in your online business:
- You can send it as a bonus to people who opt in to your email list.
- You can use it to create a blog post from the content.
- Use it to release short free reports.
- Publish the transcripts alongside the other media to get greater SEO benefits.
- Increase engagement from people who prefer not to have to sit through video/ audio and like to read instead.
- You get more content from less work!
No matter what niche you’re in, product reviews can really increase your profits. Nowadays, it’s more and more common for people to head online before making a decision about what product to buy.
If you write reviews about products you’ve actually used, then you’re in a much better position to get that affiliate commission. Although it’s easy for people to find general information about a product, you can offer a unique perspective through your personal experience of the item.
Just remember to be honest. If there’s something wrong with the product then say it! For more product review writing tips, see this guide by Lynn Terry at Clicknewz.
The internet has moved way beyond the days of plain text articles. People consume all kinds of media these days, and it’s important for your business to keep up with the trends. If you’ve never tried it before, it’s time to incorporate video into your content marketing strategy.
Here’s a couple of illuminating video marketing stats from Insivia: “1/3 of all online activity is spent watching video” and “by 2016, 2/3rds of the worlds mobile data traffic will be video according to Cisco.”
As if that wasn’t reason enough to start recording video, also note that video can help people connect to you personally. Although people can connect with you through your words, they won’t truly feel as if they know you until they see you on their screen.
If you’re not yet confident enough to appear on video, start by using screen capture using software like Camtasia. Practice speaking over the top and eventually move onto video when you’re ready.
Testimonials can make a big difference to your sales. You can provide your potential customers with as many facts and statistics as you like, but a genuine testimonial from someone who has successfully used your products will mean so much more.
- Every time someone emails you with a positive comment, ask them if you can use it as a testimonial.
- Keep a file full of links to places where people have blogged about you.
- Ask your customers for testimonials and honest feedback in exchange for a reward (e.g. a discount coupon).
And, once you have the testimonials, be sure to display them proudly on your websites and sales pages!
Has the greatest new idea just popped into your head? Does it make you want to stop everything you’re working on and start a new project? If so, put that idea to one side now!
The problem with entrepreneurs is that we often have more ideas than we can ever hope to keep up with. Some ideas are good, but some are a waste of time.
New ideas can stop you seeing the old ones through, and this turn into a vicious cycle that stops your business from ever moving forward.
Try to break the cycle by making a vow never to act on a new idea on a whim. Instead, write it down in a notebook (or an app like Evernote) and then put it to one side. Revisit it in a week or a month. If you still think it’s a good idea, schedule time to work on it in the future when your current projects are complete. Chances are, though, that there will be many ideas that never see the light of day once you’ve had the time to really think about them!
Online marketers often build a brand around themselves, rather than a faceless company. This is an excellent marketing strategy, as it means you can make real connections and provide value by helping people personally.
But it’s hard to connect with people properly unless you show your personality. This doesn’t mean telling people about every aspect of your personal life, it simply means letting some of your character shine through.
“In order to rise above the competition you have to find out what YOU have to offer that nobody else can, and milk it.” – Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income)
Pat Flynn is one marketer who uses this to his advantage. People see him as a genuinely nice and helpful guy, and he’s always transparent about his online business. Sometimes he shares personal stories about his family, too.
Derek Halpern is another great example. He’s a “love me or hate me” kind of guy and people love the character in his videos. And, if you’re worried about showing more of your personality online, he has a great video on dealing with haters.
If you have your own products, strategic sales promotions can make a big difference to your income.
If you need some extra cash, or want to shift more of your products, then running a sale is a good idea. You could:
- Give customers a discount when they spend $X,
- Run a free shipping promotion for a set period of time,
- Give customers a $X savings coupon code,
- Run a “buy one get one free” sale on certain categories of items,
- Give a flat percentage off every item.
Sales are a great way to help customers make quicker decisions, give your affiliates a special to share with their customers, and help create word-of-mouth marketing opportunities.
Just be sure to use sales wisely. Run them every few weeks and people will come to expect them, avoiding full-priced items and waiting for the sales instead.
Having a blog is a very good way to build your audience and gain their trust before trying to sell them anything. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking you must blog every day!
There are no strict rules when it comes to how often to blog. If blogging every day is taking your time away from money-generating activities then you shouldn’t be doing it.
In fact, some leading bloggers advise against blogging every day, especially for smaller bloggers. Why? Because posting so frequently does not allow enough time for each post to get the attention it deserves, and some readers can even get annoyed.
“50% of the average global mobile web users now use mobile as either their primary or exclusive means of going online.” – Super Monitoring
There’s no getting away from the rise of mobile internet. A huge percentage of the population uses their smartphones and tablets not only to browse websites, but also to shop for products.
How do these stats affect online marketers? You MUST make your website mobile ready if you’re going to sell to those users accessing your sites and products from their mobile!
Thankfully, this is easier than ever. Look for responsive website themes, or use a plugin such as WPtouch to create a mobile version of your website. And make sure to test your site on your own smartphone or tablet!
For more information, read “How to Set Up a Mobile Website in 4 Easy Steps”.
If you want to improve the experience of visitors to your website, and keep them sticking around for longer, then it’s important to have a sticky internal linking strategy.
This means that you make a point to link to related posts within other posts – always give your reader something new to read.
Not only will this help create new fans for your site more quickly, it’ll help improve your search engine rankings.
“What should you link to? To your best content — what we call your cornerstone content. Your best advice, your best thinking, and your best answers to the questions readers come up with again and again.” – Sonia Simone (Copyblogger)
If you want to increase your affiliate marketing commissions then now is the time to start creating bonuses to go with your promotions.
You probably won’t want to create a bonus for every promo you send out, but creating one when there’s an affiliate contest or higher commissions on offer can really pay off.
But what should you offer as a bonus? Leading marketers like Pat Flynn recommend you think of something that really complements the original product.
For example, if you’re promoting an eBook all about eco friendly cleaning ingredients, you could put together a resource file telling people where they can find those ingredients in stores.
Try it and see how it increases your commissions!
Webinars are great ways to sell products, so you might think that more promo webinars will be a great way to boost your business. However, this tip is all about hosting webinars that don’t promote anything!
How will this boost your business? Well it’s all about inbound marketing and building trust.
Firstly, you won’t come out of things empty-handed as you can still ask for people’s email addresses when they register for the webinar. (You can make people a special discount offer in follow up emails if you like.)
Secondly, providing people with so much value for free is a great way to build trust for the future. It’ll make your customers more likely to buy from you at a later date.
You can then recycle the recorded webinar and use it in future products. It’s a win-win situation for everyone!
If you’re going to do one thing to improve conversions then spend more time crafting your headlines. This applies to blog posts, email subject lines, sales pages and even social media updates.
“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.” – Brian Clark (Copyblogger)
Your headlines can make or break the success of your copy. After all, if your headline doesn’t lure people in then people won’t even bother reading what you have to say!
You should spend just as much time writing the headline as you do writing the rest of the copy! Start practicing this new rule and see the results you get.
Trying to get so much done that you never take a break from your computer screen isn’t helping anyone!
Make a pact with yourself to start taking more breaks from your work. When you do, you’ll find that you come back with more energy. This will help you get more done that you would have otherwise.
There are also health benefits to taking breaks from the computer. When you get up and walk around, you help to avoid some of the many negative effects of sitting down all day. And when you focus your eyes at different objects, you’ll help reduce eye strain from the computer screen.
Even if you’re not yet outsourcing, getting your business organized should still be a major goal. That way, you know exactly what needs to be done, and you’ll be in a position to hire other people to do it for you as soon as possible.
One of the best ways to get organized is to use a project management system. A project management system can help you organize your calendar, plan tasks, share files and collaborate with other people.
Project management systems still let you communicate with others via email, but all of the information is stored within the system. You and your subcontractors will also get automated deadline reminders, which is a great way to keep everyone focused on the project.
Some of the top project management systems include:
Images rule on social media, so if you’re still posting plain text updates consider mixing things up.
Now that you can post images directly on Twitter, you have the opportunity to make a big impact. Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than those without! And Social Media Today predicts that images will become more important than text in 2014.
What kind of images can you post? Think inspirational quotes, info graphics and funny memes!
There are times when it’s worth it to pay to move your business forward. If you’re doing OK, and you’ve got some cash to spare, but you’re just not quite sure what to do to get to that next level, it could be time to hire a coach.
Finding the right coach for you will take time. Everyone has different needs. Start asking around in your circle of online colleagues, and ask any marketers you admire whether they’re taking on any new coaching students.
Yes, coaching is more costly than a generic training program, but the one to one insight you get is priceless.
The best way to maximize your profit is to work smarter, not harder. This is why you should start looking for ways to simplify all the tasks you regularly do in your business.
For example, if you have a virtual assistant who regularly sends you files by email, why not create a shared folder on Dropbox so your files are automatically synched to your computer each day.
Or if customers regularly ask you how to log in to their account, create a tutorial showing them how to do this. Put the link to the tutorial within your help desk to avoid the chances of them even emailing you in the first place.
Or, instead of having your writer email you blog posts and you posting them yourself, give them a direct login to your WordPress account and have them do it themselves!
If you work directly with clients then you’ll know that some of them are more demanding than others. Every now and again you’ll get that one client who expects the world and gives very little in return.
This is when you need to get tough in your business. Sometimes it’s not worth the mental drain for the money that one client brings in. It’s time to email them, politely, saying that you would like to end your working relationship.
There are other times when it’s a good idea to fire clients, even if you do like working for them. That’s when you start to scale things up, if you decide you want to stop trading time for money. In that case simply send your clients an email letting them know you’re moving onto new projects but that you wish them all the best!
If you have your own digital products then it’s important to get customers to buy more in each transaction. This is where one time offers come in.
One time offers (OTOs) are special discount offers that are shown to the customer immediately after purchasing something else. In theory, the customer only has one chance to either accept or reject this offer before being taken to their product download.
In reality, many OTOs are actually not shown just once, but the idea behind them is the same. It’s all about presenting an offer that’s closely related to the main offer, in the hope that customer will take it all.
You can do this manually by creating a webpage to redirect to after the payment is made, or you can use the feature built into shopping carts to make this easier. Affiliate systems like JV Zoo make the entire process super easy – it’s well worth doing and you can greatly increase your product earnings!
Just make sure you use them wisely and ethically. A surefire way to annoy your customers is to create an incomplete product and then try to sell them OTO after OTO to “complete” the package!
There are tasks you do every day in your business that could be outsourced and done by others. Even if you don’t have the money to pay others to do them right now, you will at some point. This is why it’s a good idea to start putting together an operations manual from the beginning.
An operations manual is where you document all the things you do in your business. It could be how to add a new product to your online store, how to send an email newsletter to your list, how to schedule posts to social media and so on.
Start documenting everything you do now – even in just a basic way – and you’ll be able to hand this over to your virtual assistant when you hire one. Even better, hire your virtual assistant and get them to create your operations manual to refer to in future!
If you want to get more done with less time and less money then start using smart content creation shortcuts in your business.
Here are a few ideas:
- Purchase topic ideas for your niche to save brainstorming time.
- Purchase article outlines in your niche to save time but still create unique content.
- Use PLR (private label rights) content for your websites, emails and products. Just edit it a little so that it’s unique to you.
- Start curating content on your blog (sharing quick snippets and pointing your readers to external sites).
- See this post from Pro Blogger for more ideas.
When you’re just starting out online, it’s easy to think you need to be like someone else in order to succeed. However, you need to remember that your personality is unique. Use that to stand out against the competition, rather than trying to blend in and be the same.
Not sure what elements of your personality make you unique? Then take a look at the Fascination Advantage Test – you might be surprised by the results!
One way to reduce information overload is to carry an ideas notebook with you at all times. As entrepreneurs, we always have more ideas than we can ever possibly use.
By keeping a notebook to write them down, we can literally forget about them until a later date, helping us to focus on the current project at hand.
When you produce a new piece of content, don’t simply post it to your blog and then forget about it. If you’ve written something particularly noteworthy, try to share it in as many places as possible.
For example, if you’ve just written top 10 tips for people new to a vegan diet, you can repurpose that in several ways. Create a PDF checklist and give it away to your subscribers, create a 10 part presentation and upload it to SlideShare, then record that presentation in a video and upload it to YouTube, and so on.
Publishing your content in as many different places as possible will increase your possible audience size.
You already know that it’s important to focus on selling to existing customers as a cheaper alternative to finding new ones. One way to do this is to create a loyalty program.
Many online stores have loyalty programs built in, or you can use a simple referral system without any software.
An example could be giving your customer 1 point for every $10 spent with you. Then, when they get 5 points, they get sent a $5 voucher.
Or, for a simpler system, let people know that when they refer a new customer to you, you’ll give them 10% off their next order (this works for service providers and product creators).
Whatever you do, make sure you go about it the right way. Create a loyalty program that really appeals to customers, and follow up with them about how to use it.
You might not realize it, but your website load time can make a big difference to your bottom line. People are more and more likely to abandon your site altogether the longer it takes to load.
Step 1: Use a free online tool like GTMetrix to see how fast (or slow) your website is.
Step 2: Improve the load time of your website by keeping the number of plugins down to a minimum, optimizing image files, using caching plugins and more.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about SEO in recent years is that gaming the system doesn’t work. People have had massive success from black hat SEO techniques, only to have it all come crumbling down again in the latest search engine update.
Instead of thinking about Google, think about your readers. Aim to provide the best reader experience possible, full of high quality content, and not only will you keep Google happy, but your readers will subscribe to your mailing list, follow you on social media and give you a following outside of Google.
Hiring a virtual assistant could be the best way to take your business to the next level. Think about it: is your time best spent managing day-to-day admin tasks and customer emails? Or would you increase your profits by coming up with new ideas and implementing marketing strategies?
There’s no point doing all the everyday tasks yourself when you can hire someone else to do it for as little as $15 an hour. You can find even cheaper help if you look for virtual assistants from abroad.
Worried that you won’t have enough tasks to send to your assistant? Don’t be – see this list of 101 things you can outsource.
If you have a product to sell (and you should) then you’ll shift a lot more copies if you enlist the help of others. And an affiliate program is the best way to do this.
Once you have your program set up, be sure to let your customers know that they can promote your product to others. And start networking with other marketers in your niche who might also be willing to promote you.
It’s not always easy to get affiliates to promote you, which is why it pays to give them extra incentives from time to time.
Here are a few ideas:
- Make sure to offer a generous standard commission e.g. 50% for digital products.
- Offer 100% commission on certain items for a fixed period of time.
- Run affiliate contests from time to time where you give away prizes like Amazon vouchers or iPads to affiliates who refer $X amount in sales.
- Put together special coupons just for individual affiliates to share with their subscribers.
If you really want to improve your online following then you’ve got to become an authority in your niche. Even if you don’t feel like you are, if you have followers then you have people who rely on you for their information!
This means sharing useful content with your readers through social media, keeping up to date with the latest trends and letting your subscribers know about them, and educating them as much as possible.
Other ways to help boost your new “authority” status include releasing a Kindle book, guest blogging on other people’s blogs, and being interviewed by others (and you can interview them, too!)
There’s a secret to growing as a person and in business: you need to learn to step outside of your comfort zone.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Certain online marketing tasks can really take you out of your comfort zone to begin with. Things like launching your first product, sending your first promo to your list, recording your first video, and doing your first interview.
The good news is that the more you do, the bigger your comfort zone grows! When you do that task for a second or third time, you won’t feel nearly as nervous.
Stay inside that comfort zone and you won’t be doing your business any favors.
Collaborating with other marketers can be an excellent way to improve your business.
Say, for example, that you’re great at writing but you don’t have a big audience. You could write an eBook and release it with another marketer who does have an audience to market to.
Or you could simply pool your skills and resources to create one mega product that benefits from having both your names on it.
Collaboration is far easier in the online world, so take advantage of that! Use it to get your products in front of a larger audience than you would have been able to otherwise.
86) Be Patient
Many people get into online marketing thanks to the promises of so-called “gurus”. Although it’s tempting to believe them when they say you can “make $1037.34 in just 4 minutes”, this really is too good to be true.
Building a legitimate online business takes time. Unfortunately, most people give up just before they would have seen some real success.
So if it’s been a few months and things haven’t taken off quite like you’d hoped, try to be patient. It’s hard, but remember that even most “overnight success” are anything but!
“It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” – Eddie Cantor
If someone unsubscribes from your mailing list, don’t take it personally! In fact, unsubscribes can be a GOOD thing – it just means you’ll have a list full of people who actually want to hear with you. You’re narrowing it down to your ideal customer base!
Did you know that even the subtlest change to your sales copy can make a big difference to sales?
If you didn’t know, it’s because you’re not testing enough! Start using A/B tests to see which elements impact your conversion rates. This could mean something as simple as changing the color of your buy button and seeing which converts best.
There are a number of tools to help you with your A/B tests:
- Visual Website Optimizer (who also have a great guide to split testing)
- Google Analytics
It can be difficult to take criticism as an online business owner. Because we’re usually working on our own, it’s hard not to take things personally.
There are two types of criticism: the first comes from people who are never going to be happy with what we do, and the second comes from people who genuinely want to give us feedback.
Although you’ll never please the haters, take the second type of criticism and use it to improve your products and systems. People will appreciate the fact that you’re listening to what they have to say!
If there’s one thing that’s certain in internet marketing it’s that everything can change! Unfortunately, so many marketers have built up fortunes on third-party services just to see it all come crashing down when those services become the victim of the latest Google update.
If you rely on third-party sites – like Squidoo, your Facebook page etc. – for most of your income, then have a long, hard think about what you’d do if you lost your account on those sites. If you wouldn’t be able to make ends meet, it’s time to make some changes.
Instead of relying on third-party sites, try to spread things around a bit. For example, have your own blog, but also collect email addresses in case your blog disappears from the search engines.
Social media shouldn’t be seen as an end in itself. What good is it to have a million fans on Facebook if it doesn’t help your business in some way?
This is why you should always try to collect email addresses from your social media profiles. This is especially important on Facebook, where it’s easy to add a subscription page to your tabs using software like Leadpages.
- Promoting free webinars on your Facebook page (where people have to opt in to register),
- Using Facebook ads to get your links seen by more people,
- Use the Facebook offers feature,
- Let people retweet links back to your freebie opt in page.
Here’s an eye opening thought that could change your business: start seeing link building as relationship building instead.
This might not make sense at first, but think of it this way: the more you build deep relationships online, the more people will spread the word for you. People will share your content on social media, they will tell people about it on forums, they will link to it from your blog.
This is all part of the new wave of inbound marketing. See how it affects your business!
Keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing can help you improve your own business. It can apply to all areas of business: customer service, product creation, blogging, social media and so on.
Every time you see your competitor do something you like, note it down in a file. Every time you see some sales copy you love, keep it filed away for future reference.
Take a look at the kind of people your competitors are talking to, and the kind of products they are releasing. Although your own market is different, it might just give you some new ideas.
What you don’t want to do, though, is try to copy someone else. Remember, you are unique and that is your selling point!
Stop seeing your business as a way to make money from others and start seeing it as a way to help other people.
When you go out of your way to help other people who are desperate for solutions, they won’t forget it. They will spread the word and grow your following for you!
“If you are serious about starting a lasting business, stop focusing on your own goals and instead focus your attention on serving others, discovering their needs and how to help them.” – Neal Cabage (Inc.)
Keeping on top of top trends in your niche is a great way to make sure you’re always putting out information and products that people are really interested in.
For example, if you know that Facebook has just changed its page algorithm, you can put out an informative blog post helping people get their fan pages seen.
Here are some ways to keep on top of the latest trends:
- Subscribe to the top blogs in your niche.
- Keep an eye on Google Trends.
- See what people are talking about on social media.
- Take note of the questions people are asking in forums.
Many online “gurus” talk about earning a completely passive income from your business. Unfortunately, however, this is not really possible. Some people even call it “the biggest lie on the internet”.
Why? Because although it’s true that marketers can and do make money while they sleep, they still have to work before that money comes in, and they still need to do the work after it comes in to keep things going.
Your aim should be to maximize the returns from every bit of work you do, but not to quit working forever. Understanding this might just set you free from the “guru trap”!
Want a simple way to improve your business? Start getting input from others. Although you probably have loads of great ideas about your business, sometimes other people just bring up a totally new perspective.
Here are a few ways to get those ideas:
- Ask your customers to reply to your email asking their biggest question,
- Create a survey and send it to your customers,
- Ask trusted colleagues what they think about your new project,
- Join a forum and brainstorm with members,
- Ask people outside of your business,
- Hire a mentor.
If you want a simple way to improve your brand and your passive income, releasing a Kindle book is a really good idea.
You might think you don’t have time to write and release a book, but don’t forget you can recycle content you’ve already written in the past! Even if your Kindle book is simply a compilation of several blog posts on a similar subject, buyers will still appreciate the fact that they can find them all in one easy-to-digest format.
Once you have books published in your name, it helps you get seen as more of an expert. This, in turn, can build trust in potential buyers and help you land future work!
Here’s a quick way to increase the income potential of your website: create a recommended resources page.
This page is where you list all of the tools and programs you’ve found useful in your business. For example, if you run a healthy eating blog, you could list links to your favorite cooking products, cookbooks and so on.
This page comes with two main benefits:
- It’ll save on customer support time. If you often get questions about certain recommendations, you can point people to this new page instead of taking time to answer each and every question.
- Make sure you sign up as an affiliate of the products you recommend and you’ll also earn money when someone buys on your recommendation!
Committing yourself to excellence in business means that you’ll always do the best job you can. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be the richest business owner, but it does mean that you’ll take satisfaction in performing each task at a very high level.
There are so many opportunities to apply this idea to your business:
- Do your very best every time you answer a customer email,
- Make sure your products go above and beyond what people expect,
- Give away your best information for free,
- Take pride in knowing that you truly care about your customers.
As you can see, committing yourself to excellence can really benefit your customers. In turn, you’ll reap the rewards of an extremely loyal following who will spread the word to others!