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Why Negative Social Proof Does NOT Work

We are all familiar with social proof – placing positive testimonials on your sales pages and websites to show what others think of our products. However, there is a form of social proof used by many marketers that actually backfires and causes sales to drop dramatically, and it’s what they call “negative” social proof.

Why Negative Social Proof Does NOT Work

It works like this: You want to create a sense of urgency, so you say something like, “A lot of people have missed out on this, and you do NOT want to be one of them.” Or “Only a handful of people who read this letter will be smart enough to grab this offer before it’s too late.”

The problem is, you’re indicating that a lot of people are not buying the product. And since people tend to look to others for indications of what to do, this kind of social proof will actually encourage prospects to follow the lead of the majority and not make the purchase.

If you read the book Yes!, you’ll see Robert Cialdini’s experiment where he measured the effects of signs posted in the Arizona Petrified Forest to prevent theft of petrified wood. They tested 3 different signs, and the one that included negative social proof actually INCREASED theft.

The sign read, “Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, destroying the natural state of the Petrified Forest.” This sign actually TRIPLED the amount of theft because it demonstrated to readers that other people were already stealing, thereby making it seem alright for them to steal as well.

Here are more examples of negative social proof:

“This year Americans will produce more litter and pollution than ever before.” Potential result in thinking: It’s okay to litter, everybody’s doing it.

“35% of sexually active teens do not always use condoms.” Potential result in thinking: I don’t have to use a condom if I don’t feel like it.

“4 years ago, over 22 million single women did not vote.” Potential result in thinking: They didn’t bother to vote, why should I?

“50% of women report being harassed in the workplace.” Potential result in thinking: Lots of other men are doing it, I’ll do it too.

However well intentioned those messages may be, as you can see they are likely to have the exact opposite effect than what was intended.

So for example, if you’re marketing something to enhance the security of a WordPress blog, do not say “80% of WordPress owners unintentionally leave their websites wide open to hacking.” If you’re selling an SEO product, do not say “90% of website owners do no SEO whatsoever.”

If you’re selling a diet product, do not say “90% of overweight people will never lose the excess weight.” And if you’re selling a dating product for people over 40, do not say “Most single people over 40 have given up looking for their ideal mate.”

How can you avoid negative social proof? Don’t focus on how common the undesirable behavior is. Instead, show that it is rare and practiced only by social outcasts. Emphasize (where appropriate) that the behavior is:

– Illegal
– Subject to penalties
– Immoral
– Reprehensible
– Irresponsible
– Stupid
– Outdated and no longer acceptable
– (And best of all) Universally scorned.

By doing this, you can make negative social proof work for you rather than against you.

You might want to look over any sales material you have, and make sure you haven’t inadvertently used negative social proof. Just because 80% of marketers have unintentionally used it at least once doesn’t mean you should. 😉

And if you didn’t catch that last bit of negative social proof, you might want to reread this article again.

You’re Doing Affiliate Marketing All Wrong

What’s the easiest way to make money online, without having to create a product or a sales page? Affiliate marketing, of course. 🙂

So, why is it that most affiliate marketers never make nearly what they could make? Anyone has the potential to make HUGE money in affiliate marketing, yet 90% or more of affiliates make a pittance (I’ll wager the number is closer to 98%, in fact.)

You’re Doing Affiliate Marketing All Wrong

Think about this: If you earn an average of $50 on each sale in a sales funnel you promote, and you make 6 sales, you’ve made $300. Sounds good, right?

But guaranteed, there is someone else who made 600 sales and walked away with $30,000.

Why did they make 600 sales when you made just 6?

There are reasons why a handful of affiliate marketers do amazingly well, and everyone else barely makes a profit.

And marketers who understand this will always have a tremendous advantage over marketers who don’t.

1: Build a Relationship

I know you’ve heard it before, but are you doing it? People buy people, not products.

If you want them to open your email and click your link, or visit your Facebook Group and click a link, you’ve got to have a RELATIONSHIP with your people.

This is so simple to do, yet few marketers take the time.

Start with a blog post that is all about you, and then send new opt-ins to the post so they can get to know you. Make the post silly, funny and most of all REAL. Talk about the stupid stuff you’ve done, the mistakes you’ve made, where you live and so forth.

Do you have a strange hobby or unusual taste in food? Include that. Do you have 17 pets? Talk about them. Do you work until 3 in the morning and sleep until noon? Mention that.

Reveal the real you. Not the details people don’t want, but the ones that amuse and interest. You’re looking to make a real connection, not give a resume.

And above all else, don’t make your life seem like a series of magnificent accomplishments. No one is going to relate to someone who turns everything they touch into gold.

But they are going to relate to the time you bought Bitcoin when it was worthless and sold it just before it took off, or the time you thought you could fly and jumped off your uncle’s barn into the manure pile.

And don’t stop with your ‘about me’ page, either. Use this relationship building in your lead magnet, your emails, your other blog posts and so forth.

Always inject a little bit about yourself. Not so much that you bore people, of course, or make everything seem about you. But just enough to keep it real.

Think about relating an event to a friend. Aren’t you going to give your own perceptions of what happened, as well as tell about how you got out of your car and stepped in the mud puddle just before your big presentation?

Use this same method of personal, one-on-one friend communication with your readers as well.

Post on your blog as often as possible, and we’re talking every day or two. Encourage your list to subscribe to Feedburner or the equivalent so they know when you add a new post.

Your readers will realize you’re a real person who isn’t out to pitch them a new product every 5 minutes. And they’ll gladly read your sales emails much more readily when they know there is a real live human being who is sending them these messages.

2: Use Your Own Voice

How many emails do you receive that say something along the lines of, “Buy this product – this product is the greatest product ever – you will be sorry if you miss this – so rush right over and buy it now.”

Yeah. Same old stuff, over and over again.

There is a marketer (or maybe several, but I’m thinking of one in particular) who sells MASSIVE quantities of this exact type of emails as a swipe file to new marketers.

Like a brand-new marketer couldn’t write their own 25 word email that basically says, “GO BUY THIS NOW!”

People are TIRED of getting these emails. You’re tired of getting these emails. I’m tired of getting these emails.

Same phrases, same message, same B.S.

If you’re not going to stand apart from the crowd, then you’re going to have to share the same crumbs they’re getting.

Instead, take 30 minutes and write your own promotional email in your own voice.

Forget hype. Be sincere. Be honest. “Hey, this product isn’t for everyone. I don’t even know if it’s for you. But if you have this problem, then maybe this is your solution. Check it out and decide if it’s right for you, because I know it’s worked like crazy for some people. And it’s on sale right now, too.”

I’ve written emails where I basically tell people not to buy something unless they really really want it or need it. “Don’t buy this if you already know how to do xyz.” “Don’t buy this if you’re not going to be doing this type of marketing.” This is only for people who want (fill in the blank.) It’s like I’m trying to talk them out of it, which paradoxically often results in more sales, not fewer.

But the point isn’t tricking them into buying; it’s to be honest. Because you know what? That latest, greatest product you’re promoting ISN’T what everyone on your list needs. Some of them, sure. The rest of them, no.

Do you have any idea how refreshing it is to open an email that says, “Here’s a new product, thought you might want to know, but please don’t buy it if you’re not going to use it.”

The first time I got an email like that, I bought the product without even reading the sales letter. True story. I was just so happy that someone wasn’t ramming a sale down my throat, that I jumped at the chance to buy it.

Weird but true.

My point is, be you. Be honest. Talk to your readers as though they are your best friends and you don’t want to lose your best friends by acting like a carnival barker who is here today and pulled up stakes (vanished) tomorrow with their money.

3: Email a LOT

This is the one where people like to argue with me, and I understand that.

You’ve heard over and over again that you shouldn’t email too often, or you’ll upset your subscribers, right?

After all, every time you email, there is the potential that a subscriber will hit the unsubscribe button.

Do you know what the potential is when you DON’T email? Nothing. No opens, no clicks, no sales… not even any relationship building.

Do you want people to open and read your emails? Then send out those emails EVERY DAY.

Here’s why:

First, almost no one will see every email you send out. Let’s say you’ve got a sale on one of your products. Don’t you think your readers might like to know about it? But if they miss the one and only email you send that lets them know, then they’ve missed out on the discount and you LOST a sale.

Second, send emails at different times. I opened someone’s email just yesterday, decided I was VERY interested in the new membership he was selling, clicked the link and discovered it was no longer available.

What happened? This particular marketer only sends out emails at 1:00 a.m. my time, so I don’t even see most of his emails in the avalanche of mail I get before I wake up.

Third, if you’re sending email once a week or once a month, your readers are forgetting who the heck you are. And when you finally do send an email, they think it’s spam.

Fourth, if you mail more often, you will make more money. Don’t take my word on this, just do it for one month. Send out one email per day, every day, for 30 days. Put a promotion in each one. See if you haven’t made more – a LOT more – money during that time period than during the previous month.

And by the way, I’m not saying JUST send out a promotion in each email. Make sure you have some content in there as well, even if it’s just an amusing anecdote.

4: Think of affiliate marketing as a BUSINESS

This isn’t a hobby, nor is it an add-on for an additional income stream.

Even if you go on vacation, be prepared to send out an email every day. Schedule them in advance or write them on vacation. Either way, affiliate marketing to your list is a business that you can’t just jump into when you need cash and forget about the rest of the time.

You don’t have many support issues, since the product owners handle this. You don’t have to worry about creating products, sales pages and so forth. You don’t have to drive traffic, unless it’s to build your list bigger.

With so much you don’t have to do, there’s no reason not to focus your time and energy into building relationships with your list and promoting to them every single day.

Affiliate marketing can be some of the easiest money you’ve ever made, if you put in the time and effort to make it a real business.

10 Attention-Getting Email Subject Lines

Successful email marketing starts with getting the attention of your subscribers. If you don’t nail it on the subject line, there’s little chance your subscriber will open your email.

10 Attention-Getting Email Subject Lines

When you’re stumped for what to say in the subject line to get your next email opened and read, refer to this handy guide to demand attention and boost your email open rates.

The Big Benefit: You already know to emphasize benefits over features, but are you placing your biggest benefit in your subject lines? Try it and if the benefit matches a major desire of your list, you’ll likely see your open rate go through the roof.

How-to: This one is easy and effective – use your subject line to indicate you’re going to reveal how to do something they are likely to want to do. “How to lose 5 pounds today,” “How to make $100 this afternoon,” etc.

The Urgency Factor: Create some anxiety and get your email opened. You can do this two different ways – first by showing your subscribers what they gain by taking immediate action, such as gaining a free Kindle book today only. Second by demonstrating what they lose if they don’t act, such as losing entry into a program that is closing shortly.

The Numbered List: There is something almost magical about using numbers in subject lines and headlines, plus it gives you a road map to write the content that follows. For example: “Top 10 reasons why you’re doing email marketing all wrong” or “5 ways to get your children to behave.”

Keyword Bait: If you’ve built a targeted list, then there are certain keywords that will likely get your emails opened by that list. For example, if your list is made up of horse lovers, then you’re going to want words like horse, colt, foal, mare, riding, etc. in most of your emails since they act as triggers for your readers.

Discover Astounding Secrets: Benefits plus curiosity are always a winner. Use words such as discover, secrets, amazing, astonishing, etc.

Ask a question: A question irresistibly compels the reader to think and answer. “Is he the right man for you?” “Would personal coaching help you achieve your goals?”

The Eyebrow Raiser: If you can get them intrigued enough to raise an eyebrow, they will open your email. For example: “Why chickens are master gardeners,” “The couch potato’s guide to weight loss” and “5 foods that make you LOSE weight.”

The Story Starter: Everybody loves a good story, so if your subject line sounds like it’s leading into a story, people will click it. “This morning my son asked me where babies come from” and “My client got blistering angry when”

The Curiosity Raiser: You’re not telling them much of anything in the subject line, yet you still make them curious enough to open it. How? By raising their curiosity. “This is B.S.,” “Never again,” “What was I thinking?,” etc.

Next time you want to send an email, refer back to this list and try out some of these proven subject line tips to get more of your messages opened, read and acted upon.

Proven Idea to Make Quick Money Online

If you’re in the IM niche, you probably get the same emails I do asking: “I need to make money YESTERDAY, what do you recommend?”

Proven Idea to Make Quick Money Online

Or maybe you need some extra money for a project you’re working on right now, or you’ve got an unexpected bill.

Here’s a method I sometimes suggest for earning a quick $500 or $1,000, and what people seem to like about it is how simple and straight forward it is.

Ask yourself what skills and knowledge you posses right now. Maybe you can write really well, or you’re good at building WordPress sites. Maybe you’re a graphic artist, or a photographer or videographer. Maybe you’ve got great people skills and you can act as an affiliate manager or set up joint ventures. Perhaps you can coach people on how to do something specific, or teach them how to find the perfect virtual assistant. I guarantee you have at least one skill or piece of knowledge that others are willing to pay for.

“But I don’t have a skill!” Really? Then you need to find dynamite outsourcers who do have skills you can market. You must find something that others are willing to pay for, and that’s usually a skill and sometimes simply a piece of very valuable knowledge.

Once you’ve identified your skill, set up a web page offering that skill for hire. A simple blog site will do, preferably on your own domain. Check out other similar websites to get ideas on how to set yours up.

Find blogs that are relevant to your skill and allow guest bloggers. For example, if you’re really good at writing engaging blog posts, find blogs about blogging. If you can troubleshoot antique engines over the phone, then find blogs about old cars. These blogs should have a bare minimum of 5,000 readers a month, and be sure they already allow guest posting.

Now write articles that provide awesome content for these blogs. Study each blog and write an article just for them that solves a problem or tells how to do something that is totally relevant to your particular skill. For example, if your skill is article writing, you’re going to tell them how to write the perfect article. If your skill is photographing products, then that’s what you’ll teach. Don’t worry about giving away all your secrets – some people would much rather hire a professional than do the work themselves. Link back to your website in the author’s box.

Don’t know if you spotted it, but there is a flaw in the steps above and here it is…

It can sometimes take WEEKS to get your guest blog post published. How do you speed up the process? One way is to link whatever you are writing about with something that is current in the news, preferably in the last 12 to 48 hours. You might need to get a little creative here but if you can pull it off then blog owners will be racing to publish your post. For example, if you’re a sales letter copywriter and the FTC just handed down new rules for what you can and cannot say in your sales copy, you’re golden.

Another trick for getting published quickly is to provide dynamite graphics, pictures or even infographics to go with your article. In fact, your infographic could even BE your article. And don’t forget to politely make a good case to the blog owners on why they should consider publishing your article as quickly as possible.

Continue writing articles and getting them published until the orders start coming in or your phone starts ringing.

The entire process could take as little as 48 hours or as long as 10 days, depending on how fast you get those first blog posts published.

Added benefit – you’ll make more business connections which can continue to benefit you in the future.

Keep Your Brain Happy to Enjoy Success

The New Year is upon us – time to talk about your goals, right? Goals are important, yes… But I’d like to focus for a moment on one of the real drivers that will allow you to achieve all of your 2019 ambitions, whatever they might be: Keeping Your Brain Happy so it can help you to accomplish your tasks and see your intentions through to success.

Keep Your Brain Happy to Enjoy Success

We all know what it’s like to try to try to work when our brain is in a fog or just doesn’t want to cooperate with us. We feel like we can’t get it in gear, like everything takes too long and the end result is sadly lacking.

Just like any other part of the body, brains can get tired. Suffering from cerebral fatigue results in a lack of new ideas, poor thinking, lousy problem solving and can even be a cause of depression.

Here then are 12 tips to keep your brain refreshed, energized and happy:

1. Mix it up. It’s just common sense that if you spend hour after hour on the same task, you’re going to get burned out. So instead of writing articles for 8 hours straight, try writing articles for 2 hours, researching your next product for an hour, returning emails for an hour, etc.

2. Don’t multi-task important stuff. Sure, you can listen to the radio while you’re doing the dishes, but that’s because neither one requires your full attention. When doing something important like learning a new skill from a webinar or working on your next product, don’t be checking email or the score of the game. By not multi-tasking you’ll accomplish more in less time, and your quality of work will be better, too.

3. Stand up and move around. If you can, get one of those standing work desks and use it at least half the time. If you alternate between standing and sitting you’ll find that you’re more alert and your brain works better.

4. Take a quick break every 20 minutes or so. 20 minute “bursts” of work followed by 2-3 minutes of non-work can make you productive and keep you and your brain energized. BEST: Do something physical on these short breaks like push-ups, sit-ups or deep knee bends.

5. Engage your senses. Use some peppermint or orange oil to wake you up. Make your work space interesting to look at with thought-provoking art. Use colored paper and pens. Get a worry stone or some kind of object you like to hold and pick this up for tactile stimulation when you’re thinking through a problem.

6. Relax for 10 minutes every 90 – 120 minutes. Take 10 minutes off to meditate, walk around the block or work on a puzzle. Your brain will love this.

7. Work when your brain wants to work. Everyone has their own circadian rhythm. Some people are morning people, others are night owls, and many fall in between. Find out what time of day is your most productive and then schedule that time for your most intense and important work.

8. Prioritize. Work on your most important task first, when your brain is at its freshest. Getting this task done first will also give you a much needed feeling of accomplishment and free you up to focus on smaller goals and tasks.

9. Work less, play more. Seriously, if you’re working 100 hours a week then I suspect you’re only doing 50 hours worth of work. Think about it – how much of your time is truly devoted to working, and how much is devoted to “getting ready to work?” Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by emails, games, news, weather, etc.

Instead focus yourself on getting your tasks done as quickly as possible, and then leave your computer, leave your office and go do something totally unrelated to work. While you are out “playing” your brain will be rejuvenating. One unexpected benefit to this is you’ll find your brain becomes more creative and a much better problem solver when it gets periods of rest, relaxation and diversion from work.

10. Take a weekly vacation. No, I’m not kidding. Getting away once a week does wonders for every part of you, especially your brain. And you don’t have to leave your area to take a vacation. Go someplace locally you’ve never been to, take a class, go to events, spend the day walking downtown or in the woods, etc.

Is the weather terrible and you don’t want to leave home? Then grab that book you’ve got of nature photographs or travel shots and sit in a comfortable chair and transport yourself to the exotic places you see in the photos. In terms of benefits to the brain, it’s almost as good as being there.

11. Exercise. I’m not going to tell you all the reasons why you should exercise here – you probably already know them. And one of the biggest reasons is because when you exercise, your brain works better. You think better and more clearly. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if people who regularly exercise improve their IQ scores – it’s already been proven to increase memory and comprehension.

12. Feed your brain. Good nutrition is vital to your brain’s well being. If you’re eating processed foods or junk foods, you’re starving your brain. If you’re eating things like fresh fruits and vegetables and fish, then you’re feeding your brain. Don’t believe me? Cut out all junk food and processed food for one week. Add in fish oils or fish, along with plenty of veggies and some fruits. See if you don’t notice a massive difference in both the way you feel and how well your brain functions.

Be good to your brain and it will help you reach your goals this year, and beyond!

My New Year’s Present to You – Your Own Money Making Machine

I could have sent you a fruitcake this Holiday season to thank you for being a loyal subscriber and reader, but I think you’d appreciate something with more enduring value. So instead I’m giving you the gift that keeps giving – your own money generating system.

2019

As you (hopefully) have already discovered, making money online isn’t difficult, but it does take some knowledge and the ability to put that knowledge to work.

I’m going to outline a rather simple and straight forward system that I believe anyone can use to make income. It can be scaled up as large as you like, depending on how much time you want to put into it and what you want out of it. And it’s easy enough for even new marketers to do.

Mind you, this is not my invention, but rather a system that has been working for many marketers for years. It’s not a shiny new bauble – instead, it’s a proven method that brings home the paycheck week in and week out – if you put in the time and effort required.

Ready? Let’s get started.

1. Choose your niche. I’m going to make it easy for you here by recommending that you choose one of the following 3 niches: Money and finance, health and fitness, or relationships and dating. All three are evergreen and bring in a ton of money.

For purposes of this training, we’re going to focus on health, because I believe it’s truly the easiest of the 3 niches in which to make money. True, there’s plenty of competition, but that won’t really be a factor for what we’re doing. That’s because people who are desperate for a health related solution such as alleviating pain or losing weight are ready to make a purchase now.

Google “most common illnesses” and you’ll find acne, allergies, ADHD, arthritis, asthma, back pain, bad breath, bursitis, etc. And that’s just a few from the A’s and B’s. $320 billion is spent on prescription drugs in the U.S. alone each year, and that doesn’t include over the counter medications and remedies.

This is a HUGE market full of desperate buyers. So forget selling granny square patterns or children’s bedtime stories for now – focus on where the money is.

And if you want to focus on money or relationships, those are always hot, hungry markets as well.

2. Choose a product to sell. This is going to be your One Time Offer after they opt in to your squeeze page. Most people will tell you to create your free report, then create your squeeze page, and then find an OTO to offer after they opt in.

This is good advice. After all, they found your squeeze page, they filled out the form and they pressed the button – they are eager for a solution to their problem! Logically this is the time to offer it to them.

But I do things just a bit differently. I find the product I’m going to be promoting as my OTO first. Preferably I also find a second, similar product to use as my back up, in case the owner of the first product pulls it (yes, it happens.) The reason I find the product first is because I want to tailor my squeeze page and my free report to that EXACT topic.

For example, if my OTO is how to cure adult acne, I will write my report on ADULT acne, not teenage acne. But if I had done things the way most people do, I could have had a report on teenage acne and an OTO on adult acne. Sure it’s the same problem, but it’s two entirely different markets and my conversion rate on the OTO would have been terrible. That’s why you want to find the product you’re going to be promoting as your OTO first.

What product should you choose? Here are criteria to look for:

* Low price – something less than $15 is ideal because it becomes an impulse purchase. And that’s exactly what you need here, because you haven’t yet established a lot of credibility with your new list member.

* Excellent product – you’ve got to buy the product and make sure it really delivers on whatever it promises. This is no time to be selling junk. Actually, there is never a time to be selling junk.

* High conversion rate – okay, this is a no-brainer. You want a product that converts really well so that you’re making money.

The ADVANCED ALTERNATIVE to promoting an affiliate product is to create your own product. The drawback is you need to create it or hire someone else to do it for you, either of which takes time. The benefit is you keep 100% of your sales, rather than splitting them with a product owner.

The CHEAT METHOD to creating your own product is of course to use some high grade PLR.

If you are using your own product, here’s a trick I like to use: At the top of the sales page, let them know that their free report is on its way to their inbox. This builds consistency and credibility and shows them they’re at the right place.

3. Next you’re going to create something to give away to your new niche. Here’s the key – you’re not going to slap together any old report or re-purpose some PLR. Instead, you’re going to create something so awesome, people would PAY YOU to get it. Best of all, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel or come up with some brilliant insight to do this. Instead, you’re going to let others do the research for you.

Head over to Amazon and search for your niche in the book section. Write down titles that grab your attention. Search inside the books and look at the table of contents. Take notes.

Now do the same with magazines in your niche. Look at the headlines on the magazine covers – these can be a goldmine. You’ll need to change them to accommodate your exact niche (and not plagiarize) but that’s easy. You want to pay attention to what the hot topics are and what headlines are used to sell those topics.

Next, visit other websites to pick up more ideas and information. This entire research process should take you about an hour or two, depending on how much time you want to put into it.

Outline the information you’re going to present, and then either write your report or record it, your choice. Don’t want to write it yourself? Then outsource it. It only needs to be 10 to 20 pages of solid, useful information – don’t write a book.

As you go through this process, always keep in mind what you’ll be promoting for your OTO, so that your freebie is 100% consistent with that product. This will give you the highest conversions on your OTO.
4. Make your squeeze page. Hopefully you garnered 1-5 smoking hot headlines during your research. Use these on your squeeze page as the main headline and bullets, let them know they get the report for free for opting in, and that’s it. Don’t make this complicated – less is more. Create excitement and curiosity. Again, if you don’t want to make your own squeeze page, you can always outsource it.

A word to the wise: Once you begin using your squeeze page, test it. Test headlines, test colors, test the call to action – just TEST. The more you test, the better conversions your page will get, the more you will make. Doesn’t testing seem boring? Let me ask you this – does doubling your conversions and thus doubling what you earn seem boring? Don’t think about it, just do it.

IMPORTANT: If you’re using double opt in to build your list, customize the page they land on after confirming their subscription. At the top of that page, let them know their report is on its way. Then either direct them to your affiliate page if you’re promoting an affiliate product, or place your sales letter on this same page. This gives them a second opportunity to purchase your offer.

5. Get some professional articles written. These articles have got to be outstanding, so unless you’re a brilliant writer, I would suggest hiring this out to a professional.

Remember when you did your research in magazines and books? These are your very best clues as to what to write about and even how the title should read. Keep in mind: If you see something on the cover of a current magazine, that likely means it’s a hot topic now and will make an excellent topic for one of your articles.

Number of articles to write: At least 2, although 30+ is better. If you’re on a budget, start small and get more written later. The articles should be magazine quality. They should immediately capture attention and rivet the reader all the way to the end of the article.

Add your resource box to each article. This is your call to action where you promise the reader your shiny new report if they simply visit your totally awesome (squeeze) page.

An alternative to sending them to your squeeze page is to send them to your blog or website. Be sure to have a sign-up form on every single page of your site, offering your free report.

Variation: If you’re sending your new traffic straight to your blog or website, make it for “members only.” This means they have to opt in to get to your website and read the content. Yes, this is also a great way to list build. I recommend testing between the squeeze page, straight to the website with opt-in forms and making your website member’s only to see which one converts the best.

6. Find blogs in your niche. You’re looking for blogs that match your niche really well, that get lots of traffic (bare minimum – 10,000 hits a month) and that are open to guest written articles. If a blog doesn’t meet all 3 of these criteria, then take a pass.

Steer clear of any corporate looking websites – it’s nearly impossible to break into those. Find the sites run by individuals that get a lot of traffic. Make a list of possibilities, and do further research on each by checking where they stand on Alexa: www.alexa.com/siteinfo

[One note here: The higher traffic blogs might be harder to break in to, but they’re well worth the effort. If you are more comfortable starting out with blogs of 10,000 visitors a month and working your way up, do it. After all, those 10,000 hit blogs may well be getting 100,000 visitors or more soon, and if you’re already established there, so much the better.]

Also, visit each blog you’re considering and look at the bylines. Are all of the articles written by one author? Or does this blog accept submissions from others? While it’s not impossible to get your article on a blog that is generally only written by one person, it’s far easier to get it published on a blog that regularly uses guest authors.

7. Rubber meets the road. Remember the articles you had written? You’re going to contact these blog owners and give them your articles. Give each blog owner 2-3 articles, and only give each article away once so that each blog owner gets completely unique material from you.

Why give each blog owner 2-3 articles instead of just 1? Because you’re proving that you can consistently write great articles. Also, what if the one article you send them is on a topic they don’t want to cover? Or maybe they just did an article on it? By sending more than one article you give them a choice and you also greatly increase the odds that they will publish at least one article for you.

Here’s how you give the articles away: Contact these people. Do it through email, through Facebook, through Skype, whatever. Better yet, contact them through all of those methods at the same time. No, you’re not spamming them. You are HELPING them. Send them a very friendly, upbeat message that includes the following points:

– You’ve been reading their blog

– You love what they write

– You’ve written exclusive articles just for them

– The articles are free – they can do whatever they want with them

– No strings attached

– You would like (LOVE!) to be a guest writer on their blog

– If they would publish one of your articles on their blog with your author’s box to help you get exposure, that would be totally awesome

– Thank you

What you’ve just done:

* You’ve made contact and you’ve GIVEN them something right off the bat, no strings attached. What happens when 99 out of 100 people contact a blog owner? They WANT something. But you are GIVING something, and it’s something totally cool, too: Well written articles that are perfect their blog.

* You’ve got a new contact in your field. Do you think s/he might want more articles? And maybe they will even promote one of your own products? It could happen, and it starts with this initial contact.

* You’ve solved a problem for this new contact – you’ve given him or her high quality content. If you’re a blog owner, you know how hard it can be to create new content week after week. Having help is always much appreciated.

* You’ve got some serious link juice going. You’re contacting BIG blogs with major traffic, many of which will be posting your articles. Think Google will notice? Absolutely!

* You’ve got traffic. FREE traffic. Highly TARGETED, raving fanatical traffic visiting your website.

* You are building a LIST out of this traffic. A list of highly targeted people who think you must be an expert because you write articles on important blogs. Traffic that reads your stuff. Traffic that BUYS your stuff.

* You are making money immediately with your OTO. Remember, you’ve got a low priced and highly targeted OTO after your squeeze page. This product is something directly related to the issue you wrote about in the article and in the report.

Total cost for this list building/product selling business? If you do everything yourself, it costs you nothing but time. If you outsource the squeeze page and articles, it might run you a couple of hundred dollars, more or less.

What do you do now? Rinse and repeat. Continue writing articles (or having someone write articles for you) and continue contacting new blogs. Write more articles for the blogs on which you’ve already been published.

This works. Don’t reinvent the wheel – just do it.

The downside is you will find a few blog owners who simply won’t publish your stuff. That’s okay. Most times they will tell you that they won’t, and then you can take those same articles and offer them to a different blog.

Power Tip: A variation to sending them 2-3 articles is to send one 3-part series. It’s got to be totally researched, relevant and on a hot topic. If you get them to publish this (generally over the course of 3-5 days) you will see even more traffic than you would from getting one regular article published.

Now let’s talk hypothetical numbers just to get a feel for what this system can do for you: You contact one blog that gets 250,000 visitors a month. 25% of them read your article (that’s kind of a low number – you might get more.) Of those who read your article, 40% click your link, and 50% of those get your free report (meaning they joined your list.)

That’s 250,000 times .25, which is 62,500 people who read your article. How cool is that?? Just imagine for a second that 62,500 people read your article and see your byline – you’re already an expert and they haven’t even clicked on your author’s resource box yet.

Of those 62,500 people, 40% click your link. That’s 25,000 people going to your squeeze page. I don’t know about you, but when I think about getting 25,000 HIGHLY targeted people to my squeeze page, my heart beats a little faster and you can’t wipe the grin off my face.

Of those, we’re hypothetically saying that half join your list. I know some of you are thinking that number is high, and for the typical squeeze page it is high. But in this case they’ve just read your article on a high authority website and obviously liked it. They already know why they are coming to your page (to get your super-duper hot report on a topic they’re really interested in) and so unless your squeeze page is awful, you can expect to get a higher than average conversion.

Half of 25,000 is 12,500 new people on your list. People who have read your article. People who think you’re pretty hot stuff. People who are now going to read your report and KNOW you are pretty hot stuff. People who are far more likely than average to open and read your emails.

12,500 people from one article. Okay, true, you had several articles written and probably sent 3 of those to the blog owner, who maybe only published one. Still – is that a good return on your time and money or what???

And if you only do 1/10th as well as our example? Then you still have 1,250 highly targeted new subscribers. Not bad.

To those skeptics who think that only the “big dogs” can make money online, I hope I have just given you something to think about, and more importantly – a plan of ACTION.

It’s the New Year. What better time to roll up your sleeves and put this to work?

One more number I want to throw out here: Suppose you got 12,500 new subscribers per month. Maybe you did it with one article, maybe it took you 20 articles. Whatever. Each month you do what it takes to get 12,500 how new subscribers. Assuming a high attrition rate of 20%, how many subscribers would you have by the next holiday season?

I’ll leave you to do your own math on this one.

Happy New Year!!!

50,000 Blog Visitors in 30 Days or Less

Can you really get 50,000 visitors to your blog in 30 days or less… and do it without lists, without JV partners, without name recognition and without advertising?

50,000 Blog Visitors in 30 Days or Less

Jane Smarts was a brand new blogger who knew she would have to do something different to get visitors to his brand new blog.

And to put this in perspective in case you’re not a blogger yet, getting 50,000 visitors in your very first month is akin to winning the lottery – it rarely happens and when it does it can pay off big.

So what did she do? We broke his methods into these steps:

1. Choose a niche you’re passionate about. Jane chose corporate consulting because it’s closest to her heart, and it’s also what her company does.

2. Make some quick posts so it appears as though your blog has been around for awhile. Jane already had 10 or 15 posts from previous work that she could immediately publish. Hopefully you already have some content written, whether it’s articles, an ebook, etc.

Break whatever you have down into blog posts and post them. If you don’t have content already written, it’s up to you whether or not you take this step. By having content already on your blog it appears as though you’ve been doing it for awhile, but posting inferior content that you rushed to write is never helpful if someone should actually want to read it.

3. Do your research. Jane researched what kind of blog posts take off in her niche, and which get the most shares on social media. Her research showed that she needed to write really long posts – between 2200 and 3000 words, and she needed to use mixed media that included bullet points, video, images, sub headlines, etc. Her research also showed that “how to” posts or posts that people can apply to get results were the most popular.

4. Apply what you learn. Once she did her research, Jane knew just what to do and she did it.

5. Think about distribution. You can write your posts according to what your research finds works best, but that still won’t initially get your article in front of people. Even the most shared blog posts in the world have to first be seen before they are shared, and if you have no traffic to begin with, you’ve got to find it.

What Jane did was tailor her first post specifically to the audience of a social news website that she read everyday. By tailoring it to that specific audience, there was an excellent chance they would appreciate it and share it.

6. Write amazing content. Jane spent 3-4 days writing her initial post. That’s right… 3-4 DAYS, not hours. Make your content great.

7. Use what contacts you have. Don’t have any? Get some. Jane started the ball rolling by having a handful of friends give her post a bump so that people would begin checking it out. The post was good, it took off, the rest was history.

8. Capture email addresses and ask for social shares. Be sure to place your opt-in box on every page, both in the right hand column and again at the end of the article. And ask your readers – if they found your post helpful – to share it via social media.

9. Rinse and repeat. Jane found a formula that worked, so she did it again and again, each time focusing and targeting her newest blog post to a very specific distribution channel.

You might not hit the 50,000 mark your first month, but if you follow these steps you could very well hit it within 2 to 3 months, even in a smaller niche. Imagine if you capture just 10% of that traffic – that’s an email list of 5,000 who you can now invite directly to every new blog post you make. Not a bad way to get your blog rolling…

Definitive Autoresponder Frequency Guide

(Or… “How Often Should You Email Your List???”)

Everyone seems to have a slightly different opinion when it comes to how often to email your list. If you email too often – marketers argue – you’ll annoy people into unsubscribing. If you don’t mail often enough, subscribers forget who you are and you lose money from not mailing more often, etc.

Definitive Autoresponder Frequency Guide

Rule #1 – How often you mail is going to depend on a whole host of factors, from which niche you’re in, how you got the subscribers in the first place, whether you write friendly emails people love or nails-on-chalkboard emails and so forth.

Rule #2 – Because every case is different, nothing beats testing for finding out exactly how often you should mail to your list.

Rule #3 – That said, we do know from experience that the following autoresponder schedule works well for most marketers. It’s based upon what it takes to build a long term positive relationship. Feel free to adjust it according to the results of your own testing.

Stage 1, Day 1 – Brand new subscriber. Send out your friendly welcome/thank you email that reiterates how smart they are for subscribing and tells them where to pick up any subscriber bonus you offered them.

Continuing in Stage 1 – Begin building tremendous value. Every email in stage 1 should be all about giving value while asking for little in return. For the next 10 to 15 days you’ll be sending out 1 email every other day, beginning with Day 2. This means they get the welcome email on Day 1, and the first content rich email on Day 2.

When we say “content rich,” this does not necessarily mean it’s a long email. Rather, it gives information that is exceptionally valuable and ideally immediately usable.

As always the content of your emails should be strictly tailored to the subject matter they originally joined for. For example, if they joined your list from your video marketing website to get more info about video marketing, don’t send them information on pay-per-click unless it somehow relates directly to video marketing.

Don’t sell anything during stage 1 – it’s simply too soon.

The ONE exception to the previous statement is if your new list members joined because they purchased your product. In that case you can make offers to your list during this stage. The offers must be directly related to their purchase, and should not be the main focus of your emails. For example, let’s say you sell a video marketing product. You send out an email to those buyers with a great video marketing tip, and then in your P.S. you mention a tool that – while not required – would make that tip work even better. In other words, it’s a very soft sell. More of a casual mention/recommendation than anything else.

Stage 2 – Continue building the relationship by providing great content, but slow down the frequency. Let’s say you’re dating this great guy or gal, seeing each other every other day. Then she or he doesn’t call for a couple of days – what happens? You miss them. Building a relationship through email can work the same way.

This stage can last 12 to 21 days, and you can send emails every 3 days. If your list consists of people who have not purchased from you, tread lightly with the selling. Only use very soft selling technique and continue to provide plenty of great content.

One email in this stage should ask them for feedback. For example, do they want to know more about “x?” How long have they been doing “y?” What’s the biggest problem they face in “z?” Ask them to hit reply and give you a quick answer. After all, real relationships are a two way street. And when they do reply, send a quick thank you back to them. Yes, this will take you a minute here and there – it’s worth it.

Stage 3 – You probably already know what comes next – continue building the relationship by providing great content. The relationship is becoming established and that’s terrific. List members who make it this far are learning they can trust you and hopefully like you.

This stage lasts for about 3 weeks, and you can send an email every 4 to 5 days. And yes, you can do a little more selling here – but again, don’t push. Simply suggest and nudge – no poking or prodding.

Stage 4 – This is the stage you’ve been building towards. Subscribers who are still reading your emails are loyal fans who know you, like you and hopefully trust you. Continue sending emails every 5 to 6 days, and occasionally more often when you really have something to say.

Continue sending great content, and also feel free to send sales messages, too.

Increase Your Opt-ins AND Your Open Rates

Now then, since you’ve read this far, I’ve got a great trick to share with you. Of course you already offer visitors an incentive to opt-in to your list, right? It’s probably an ebook, or it could be a video or recording.

What I’m going to suggest is you create a SECOND incentive for them to opt-in – something just as valuable as the first incentive. But this second incentive will be delivered OVER TIME to them via your autoresponder series.

Here’s what happens when you do this:

First, your opt-ins tend to increase, since you are offering two bonuses of high value.

Second, new subscribers more readily open and read your emails because they opted in to get this special incentive.

Third, if you use a product you already have for this, then you have pre-made content for your autoresponder. Simply break it up into emails.

Fourth – and this is ingenious, if I say so myself – if you are willing to record videos of yourself for this second incentive, your readers will quickly get to feel like they really KNOW you. For example, your second incentive is 10 ways to get traffic via social media. Instead of writing each one out in an email, you can record yourself explaining them in short 5 minute videos. After watching these, your list is far more likely to remember you, your name and what you do. And they’re also far more likely to open your emails in the future, as well.

But even if you don’t record videos for your second incentive, it’s still a very powerful technique for getting your readers in the habit of opening your emails.

One last tip – occasionally attach a short pdf with some valuable content to your emails. This tends to grab attention and increase your open rate.

How Offering Less Can Help You Sell More

Did you know that less is often perceived as being more, and more is often perceived as being less. Thus, it’s possible to offer less, charge more while also increasing your sales.

How Offering Less Can Help You Sell More

Let’s look at an example: You have a great $200 course with incredible reviews that delivers on a very big promise. You also offer a bonus $17 ebook along with the course to boost sales. Ironically, that $17 bonus could actually be costing you sales.

The reason is because of “Presenter’s Paradox,” and it goes something like this: Perceivers’ judgments show a weighted averaging pattern, which results in less favorable evaluations when mildly favorable information is added to highly favorable information. In other words, including mildly favorable information in your presentations actually LOWERS judgments from the evaluators’ perspective.

3 professors conducted several studies to test this theory. In the first test, they either bundled an iPod Touch MP3 player with 8 MB of memory and a cover, or the same iPod Touch MP3 player with 8 MB of memory, a cover and 1 free music download. Participants in the study were then shown one of these packages and asked, “Please estimate how much you would be willing to pay for this.”

Result? The participants were willing to pay more for the smaller package that contained only the iPod (m=$242.19) than for the larger and economically more valuable package that contained the iPod plus the free music download (m=$176.71).

In the next test, subjects were asked how much they would pay to stay at a hotel with a 5 star pool, versus a hotel with a 5 star pool and a 3 star restaurant. Result? Participants seeing the ad featuring both the 5 star pool and the 3 star restaurant were willing to pay significantly less per night (m=$92.45) than those seeing the ad featuring only the 5 star pool (m=$108.80).

In another test, a $750 fine for littering was seen as being more severe than a $750 fine plus two hours of community service.

And in yet another study, a scholarship for $1,750 was seen as being more valuable and making the winner more happy than a scholarship for $1,750 plus $15 for textbooks.

To be clear, in each study participants saw only one option and were asked to rate that option and say how much they would pay for it. They were not given a choice between the 2 different options.

So why exactly did the test subjects assign a higher value to the packages that contained less? The researchers believe that people subconsciously “average” the items in a package. Thus adding something small to something big results in a lower average and a lower perceived value.

So what does this mean in your marketing?

First, present only the truly great things about your product. For example, if you’ve got a piece of software that does 1 mind-blowing thing and 5 ordinary things, only talk about the 1 mind-blowing benefit.

Second, consider not bundling lesser items in with your larger item. If you do, present them as entirely separate bonuses that do not reflect the value of your main offer. And test your offer with and without the bonuses.

Third, if you are giving a presentation, reduce your points to just the exceptional ones and leave out the more mundane information. The audience will remember what you say as being more important and persuasive than if you try to cover every point.

20 Head-Turning Ways to Grow Your Brand

HubSpot has compiled the 10 most remarkable marketing campaigns EVER. And while the article is sure to entertain, it’s also an excellent resource to get ideas for your own marketing campaigns.

20 Head-Turning Ways to Grow Your Brand

For example, Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice asked Facebook users to unfriend 10 people to get a free Whopper. It only lasted 10 days before Facebook shut them down, but in those 10 days Burger King gave away 20,000 Whoppers, stood social media on its head and received a ton of free publicity and word of mouth advertising. The take-away? Use a really, really simple call to action, and don’t be afraid to push the envelope.

Also be sure to read how one company received 7 million website hits by placing ads in the help wanted classifieds.

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/34027/The-Top-10-Most-Remarkable-Marketing-Campaigns-EVER-Slideshow.aspx

No time to read about the 10 most remarkable campaigns? Here are the takeaways from each – you might want to print these out and keep them handy:

1. Use a really, really, really simple call-to-action.

2. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope.

3. Find the niche audience that is super passionate about your product or mission, and explore ways to intrigue, inspire, and deeply entertain them.

4. Invest in really good storytelling.

5. Been doing the same thing for 23 years? Surprise the hell out of everyone by not doing it. At least once.

6. Even high-profile, high-budget “do good” programs don’t do much good if they’re not authentic and brand-relevant. Learn from Pepsi’s mistakes.

7. Give your audience opportunities to “star” in your marketing.

8. Create an annual tradition (that gets better every year!).

9. Make it wicked easy to participate, and just as easy to “share.”

10. Got a spokesperson for your brand? Make sure he/she appeals to and entertains both genders, and provide opportunities for your audience to engage with him/her both on and offline.

11. Short, frequent, episodic, and highly share worthy content will be shared more than the usual marketing fodder.

12. Experiment with non-traditional marketing channels.

13. Remember that no brand is too small to make a giant, remarkable splash.

14. Explore new ways to embrace the very thing (technology, competition, etc.) that’s disrupting your business model.

15. Invest in, cultivate, and nurture deep, direct relationships with your fans/loyal customers/promoters. One day soon, that will really come in handy.

16. Focus on the one thing that makes you undeniably different from all your competitors. Double down on that one thing.

17. Forget the cow path. Blaze your own trail.

18. TELL GREAT STORIES! (Sound familiar?)

19. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be remarkable.

20. If the president of the U.S. can master this social media stuff, so can you.

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