Home Business Ideas and Opportunities

4 Reasons To Seriously Consider Using Guest Bloggers

If you have a blog you might want to consider allowing others to post on it. Here’s why:

4 Reasons To Seriously Consider Using Guest Bloggers

1. Guest bloggers create content for you, meaning you either a) don’t have to create as much content or b) you can have even more content on your blog without the extra work.

2. Guest bloggers know things you don’t. You’ve got your expertise and they’ve got theirs, and while you could take the time to master what they already know, it’s far easier to simply let them write about it.

Bonus: You look just as smart whether you write it yourself or get a guest blogger to do it for you.

3. Guest bloggers see things differently. Let’s face it, reading everything from the same perspective can get tiresome. Allow your readers to see different perspectives and it will keep your blog relevant and interesting.

4. Guest bloggers bring friends. They tell their followers about their guest posts, bringing fresh traffic to your blog.

Diversity is a big key to success in every field. Don’t always “go it alone”. Invite others into your fold. Then sit back and watch in appreciation as your business and influence grows.

5 Steps to Add Power to Your Content

Have no doubt, email marketing is still a huge powerhouse and offers perhaps the very best return on your time. So how can your emails have an even greater impact with your readers? Here are 5 tips for strengthening and adding power to content you create.

5 Steps to Add Power to Your Content

Shorter is better. But not too short. Shorter sentences are more likely to be read than longer ones. And shorter emails are more likely to be read all the way through than 3,000 word behemoths.

But there’s also such as thing as TOO short. You know those emails that have one sentence designed to make you curious enough to click the link? Don’t be clever and copy those emails, because testing shows they don’t convert as well on the backend as emails that prep the reader for what they’re about to see. By that we mean, you may get just as many clicks as you would if you took the time to explain where your reader is going and why they should go there, but because you did not prepare them, you won’t get as many sales once they land on the page you sent them to.

The trick is to tell them, or in fact EDUCATE them just enough to make them want very much to go to the page you’re sending them to. This way they’re primed to learn more about the topic and quite possibly make the purchase. Think of it as warming up your prospect before sending them off to the sales page.

Being timely is key. Open your email with the latest news in your niche and then tie it into your offer and you’ve got a winner. Can’t find a way to tie the two together? Then don’t. There’s no reason why you can’t update them on both the latest news and your latest offer. Just be sure you lead with the news – keeping them informed is more important than making a sale, or at least that’s they way you should come across if you want your readers to continue opening your newsletters.

Be a problem solver. Regardless of whether or not you’re making an offer in your email, if you can show them how to solve a problem, you’re golden. Tell them about the solution you use and how they can use the same idea to fix their own problem. If you are promoting a product, begin with the problem it solves, and then explain why this particular solution holds an edge over the others.

Get them hooked, then link them over. A wonderful use of newsletters is to get your reader hooked into a story, and then at a key moment continue the story on your blog. This will get a vast majority of your readers clicking that link to find out what happens next in the story. (Be sure you put the entire story on your blog for those that land there without reading your newsletter.)

Be funny, or at the very least have fun. You receive two emails: One from your very serious uncle, the other from your cousin the comedien. Which do you open first? Obviously we all enjoy having fun, and if the writer had fun writing the newsletter to us, you know it’s going to be enjoyable to read. That’s why if you’re able to use humor, it’s like icing on the cake.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you prepare to write a newsletter or blog post, and you are sure to create more engaging content that draws your readers in.

7 Quick Tips For Naming Your Product

A product’s name can often make the difference between best seller, and total dud.

7 Quick Tips For Naming Your Product

Here’s some tips to help you choose a name for your new product that tilts the odds of success in the marketplace in your favor.

Make it memorable – Can someone recall the name 30 minutes after hearing it? If not, you might be picking a name that’s too generic. Something that paints a visual picture works the best.

Make it meaningful – Can someone look at the name and have a good idea of what the product does? If so, you might have a winner.

Be open – Just because you don’t immediately love a name doesn’t mean it isn’t the right one.

Say it out loud – Is it a name that people like to say out loud? If so, that can only help your viral marketing.

Check the name’s history – You might think you’ve got the perfect product name, but a few years ago a scam company used the same name for their product and then took the money and ran. Do a thorough search to find out who else is using the name and what type of products it’s being used on (or was used on in the past).

Break rules – If competing products tend to have similar names, choose something that totally sets you apart from the crowd.

Make a long list of possibilities – Don’t stop on the 5th name you think of – make a list of a hundred or more and then narrow it down. Sometimes the best name is the one you think of after you’ve made your list of 100 and you’re in the shower, thinking about something else. And the longer the list, the more confident you’ll be when you make your final selection.

Now that you know some guidelines for naming your product, go out there and create a new one so you can bring it to market and experience the power of these tips yourself.

Try To Be A Little Weirder

There is a school of thought that says when you are choosing a niche, find something small and highly targeted. And that can be great if you end up being the big fish in a little pond. But if another big fish comes along in that same pond – or worse yet, a whole school of big fish – then you’re in trouble.
Try To Be A Little Weirder
So here’s a thought – why not be a little fish in a big pond, but do it in such a way that you stand out like a neon red fish in a school of gray boring fish?
Let’s say you want to write a marketing blog – guess what? There are a million marketing blogs (or more) and the field is darn crowded. That’s the bad news. The good news is there are plenty of people who want to read about marketing every day – you just have to stand out from the crowd so they can find you.
So maybe instead of your niche being, “Great Marketing Ideas!” Or “Super Swell Marketing Tips!” your niche could be, “Marketing for Chiropractors Who Hate Marketing.” Or perhaps, “Marketing For Cookbook Authors.” See what’s happening? You’re in a HUGE niche, but you’ve carved it down to a very specific group within that niche.
Now that’s good, but it’s still not great. After all, they’re likely to visit you, but will they remember you? Will they race to open your email each time you send them something? Maybe. Maybe not. So what we need to do is kick it up another notch.
And this is where you get weird, my friend. Don’t worry – secretly we are ALL weird. Being “weird” simply means being “different” than the crowd. And online, that’s a really, really good thing.
Mind you, this advice goes for websites and products as well as blogs. Take this idea for example…
mentalfloss.com/article/23836/weird-website-week-selleck-waterfall-sandwich
This famed website was exclusively dedicated to 3 things: Tom Selleck, Waterfalls and Sandwiches. You’ll be surprised at all the different ways those 3 things can come together.
HA! Okay, I admit, I was having a little fun with you there. While that is an ACTUAL WEBSITE, it’s best used as an illustration of perhaps taking “weird” just a bit too far.
We simply want to go one step further to make our brand sticky in the minds of our visitors. You can do that with a memorable URL, such as EatMyFrog.com. Seriously, are you likely to forget “Eat My Frog dot com?” Not likely.
Another technique to set you apart and make yourself memorable is by adding some personality to your name.
And it’s easy to do – just give yourself a nickname. Is this weird? I hope so – after all, that is what we’re going for. Remember, “weird” = memorable.
Here are ideas for nicknames – take something about yourself, be it a past profession, a hobby, a physical feature, a personality quirk or whatever, and give yourself a name centered around that. Some examples:
Farming could be “Farm Girl” Truck driving – “The Mad Truck Driver” Ex Military – “Soldier Sue” or “Sailor Sam.” Physical features – “The Redhead” Hobbies – “Ski Fanatic” Foods You Love – “Tony Bagels”
Better still, nickname yourself after your Expertise. For example:
Mr. Googlehead for an SEO expert. Now when they get an email from “The Redhead” or “Mr. Googlehead,” they’re going to remember you, which means they are much more likely to open and read your email.
Now not only is your niche properly carved down to make you an important little fish in a big pond – you’re also a more MEMORABLE fish. Think it’s silly? Really, it’s just good marketing sense. You’re branding yourself to make yourself memorable – and memorable is good!

How to Add 836 Million Potential Readers To Your Website or Blog

English is a very common language, but Mandarin Chinese is even more common – to the tune of 836 million people (or more, depending on which source you use.)

How to Add 836 Million Potential Readers To Your Website or Blog

And you might want to consider other languages, too, such as…

Hindi (333 million)

Spanish (332 million)

English (322 million)

Bengali (189 million)

Arabic (186 million)

Russian (170 million)

Portuguese (170 million)

Japanese (125 million)

German (98 million)

French (72 million)

And it gets even more interesting. What percentage of online shoppers speak English? Probably 80-90%, right?

Actually no. So it must be 50-75% then?

You might think so, but no. The answer is just 27% of online shoppers speak English.

Can you see now why you might want to target other languages?

So how do you translate your website into another language? You might use Google Translate http://translate.google.com/translate_tools or any of the translating plug-ins that are available. Of course, these are only machine translations, and your results may vary. Sometimes wildly.

A better course of action is to hire someone off of the freelancing sites who is fluent in English and your language of choice.

Once you’ve got your website translated, you can then offer products in that language, including your own. Naturally you’ll want to get those translated as well.

Be sure to do research into the country you are targeting, just as if you were moving there. Find out what is important to them, what is offensive, who their celebrities are, what slang is commonly used, etc.

If you are really serious about marketing in this new country, you might want to learn the language. No, you don’t need to speak it fluently, you just need to be able to read and write it (easier than speaking.)

Find people you can trust, such as freelancers and even business partners native to that country or region.

And one more thing to consider: Keywords. Unfortunately, keywords don’t necessarily translate well, and so you may want to get some help with this as well for your multi-languange search engine optimization efforts.

Is Video Blogging A Good Idea? Maybe Not…

Which would you rather do – spend two hours thinking of a great blog post idea, researching that idea, writing the post and finally editing the post… or dashing off a video post in less than half the time?

Is Video Blogging A Good Idea? Maybe Not...

Heck, let’s be honest: If you’ve got a good idea and the ideas are flowing, you can dash off a video post in the same time it takes to make the recording. Post it to your blog, and you’re done.

No wonder why so many bloggers are turning to video.

Problem is, video is not the holy grail of blogging. In fact, if taken too far it can actually lead to the downfall of your blog (notice the crickets chirping, the tumble weeds, err, tumbling, etc.)

Here are five tips for using video on your blog without totally alienating your readers or camouflaging yourself from the search engines. Or more specifically, five reasons NOT to use video exclusively.

Video is no substitute for the written word (sorry!) Users don’t just want video. Visitors want a clear idea of what they’re about to see before they hit that play button. Not to mention the fact that many of your viewers aren’t at their computer, they’re mobile users who may or may not have a speedy connection. If they can at least read your story and then decide if your video is worth downloading, you have a better shot at capturing and holding their attention.

Obvious solution? Incorporate video and writing into your blogpost, not just video.

The search engines don’t know what you’re talking about. The day has not yet arrived that search engines can figure out the words spoken in your video. Thus, if you have video only, or video and poor content from an SEO stand point, then you might as well have donned a cloak of invisibility as far as the search engines are concerned.

Instead, you want to couple good writing that incorporates your SEO terms with your video. The two paired together make a smashing team and work hand-in-hand to make your blog post even better.

Lousy videos are, well, lousy. Okay, if you’re breaking a story in front of a burning building, you’re going to use your cell phone to take the video because that’s what you happened to have handy at the time. But if you’re in your office doing “how-to” kinds of videos, PLEASE invest in an inexpensive HD camcorder. Please. Your viewers will thank you.

Also, ad-libbing is something few people can get by with. Before you begin recording, make an outline of all your major points and post it right next to the camera so you don’t get lost and you don’t forget anything. Notice I said outline – writing it out word for word and then READING it is a big (HUGE!) no-no and will make your audience fall asleep faster than two blinks of the eye.

Please be aware of camera positioning. I recently saw a video on a major marketing website that was positioned on a coffee table and afforded a perfect crotch shot for the entire duration. Ewww.

One last thing – forget the umms, errrs, and ahhhs. If you need to pause for a second to think of a word, then just PAUSE. You do not need to fill in every second with sound, especially when that sound (um er ah) makes you sound like a bonafide rank amateur.

Hiding your content underneath your videos is not cool. Look, you want people to spend as much time as possible on your page, right? Then begin your post with written content and place your video within the content – not ahead of it. Your headline and lead-in should capture their attention enough to get them reading, and within the first 2-4 paragraphs you can reference the video. If they’re engaged, odds are they’ll read the rest of your post and then watch the video.

On the other hand, if the video appears first, then they will either watch the video and leave (they’ve seen the video, why read your content?) Or they’ll just leave because they don’t want to watch a video without first having a clue why they should bother.

Don’t over use video – think of video as an hors d’oeuvre or side dish, not the main course. Videos should be short – under 2 minutes whenever possible, and certainly under 5 minutes unless your content is drop-dead riveting.

Bottom line: Video is an excellent supplement to your blog, but it shouldn’t be the only thing on there. Provide plenty of SEO friendly content that grabs readers’ attention and you’ll keep visitors on your website longer and visiting more frequently, as well.

5 Ways to Increase Your Profits

(And One Is Very Easy, Wanna Guess Which One?)

5 Ways to Increase Your Profits

There are only 5 ways to increase the money you’re earning in your online business. Every method you might think of falls into one of these five categories. And at least one of these methods can put more money in your pocket within the next week – can you guess which one(s)?

  1. Get more traffic to your offer
  2. Increase the profit you’re making on each sale
  3. Sell more stuff to your current customers
  4. Cut your expenses
  5. Make more sales

If you do all five, obviously you’ll see more money. But some of these take more effort than others, so let’s review them one by one:

Get more traffic to your offer

This is much easier said than done. You can tweak your SEO to rank higher, you can solicit joint ventures and recruit affiliates, you can hit the social media and even buy traffic. While all of these can be good, none of them tend to be quick or easy.

Increase the profit you’re making on each sale

You might do this by increasing the price of your products. Then again, increasing your prices might decrease your sales, so study the market before you do this.

If you’re providing a service rather than a product, it’s entirely possible you might earn more by charging more, since you can focus on gathering a few big (ie: well paying) clients rather than servicing a lot of low paying clients.

Sell more stuff to your current customers

This can be a really simple thing to do and it’s one of two that I recommend you work on this week. If you don’t have a one time offer, get one. Even if it’s not your product. Buy resale rights or strike a deal with another product owner.

Next, place links to offers on your download page and inside your products. Your download page is the first thing a customer sees after making a purchase, meaning they are still in a buying frame of mind and this is the perfect time to offer them something different but related. And the inside of your products is a great place to make recommendations for appropriate products and services.

Cut your expenses

Unless you have significant expenses to begin with, this won’t give you much return on your time. For example, if you switch hosting to a company that’s $3 cheaper a month, how much are you really saving? You’ll have to switch everything over, and if you’re happy with the service you have now you’re potentially switching to a less reliable service. Use caution with this one.

Make more sales

This might be the easiest of all, as well as the fastest to employ. You’re going to tweak your sales copy and even your sales process to increase your conversion rate. Think about this: You don’t have to drive any more traffic or even offer any more products to make more money with this. You simply need to increase the number of people who say yes.

Let’s say that right now your product sells for $47, it’s converting at 3%, and you’re getting 3,000 unique visitors to your sales page each month. If you increase your conversion rate by just 1%, you’ll make another $1,410 per month.

Best of all, you only need to tweak and test and improve once to reap these added sales for as long as you’ve got traffic going to that sales page.

Be Yourself, Don’t Talk About Yourself

The data is in – if you want people to pay attention to you online, you need to do the following two things:

  1. Be your original self. Don’t be ordinary, be unusual. Be different.
  2. Don’t talk about yourself much.

Be Yourself, Don't Talk About Yourself

Here’s what we know: Tweets with uncommon words and phrasing get retweeted 4 to 5 times as much as common tweets. This means if you sound like everyone else and use the same words as everyone else, your message will get lost in the crowd of clones. The more original your style, the more likely people are to pay attention to your content and forward it. (And also remember your content, but we don’t have data on that.)

And it makes good sense. After all, if you’re saying the same things everyone else is saying, why would anyone retweet your stuff?

Now then, if you want more followers on Twitter, don’t talk about yourself so much. There’s a direct correlation to referencing yourself less and having higher follower counts. Not to mention the fact that your tweets are twice as likely to be retweeted if they’re not talking about you.

Bottom line? Be yourself, just don’t talk about yourself.

News Jacking

How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story And Generate Tons of Media Coverage

News Jacking

There’s a book out with the above title, and I highly recommend you grab a copy. It’s only available as a digital download and it’s less than 6 bucks at Amazon. I’ll try to summarize here it in my own words, but this is no substitute for getting the book, reading it and above all using it to generate free publicity for you and your business.

News breaks every second of every day, providing you with literally endless opportunities to get your business free publicity. And I don’t have to tell you that publicity is worth far, far more than advertising, and yet it costs you NOTHING.

If you’re in the U.S., does the Donald Trump presidential campaign ring any bells for you?

Look at it from a reporter’s point of view – they already have the who, what, when and where – what they need is the “why,” and that’s where you come in. Journalists need original content, and they need it fast. And if you play your cards right, you can be as high as the second paragraph of that breaking news story. Jut think of what that can mean in terms of free exposure!

What is essential is SPEED. You’ve got to hit when the story is hot to have a shot at getting the publicity. Wait even a day and it may be too late.

Always use your good judgment. Your business is NOT a great fit for the majority of news stories, so be discriminate and only go with those that you can honestly, truly relate to your business.

Now then, how do you find news to “jack?” Keep your eyes and ears open, because you never know when the perfect story is going to slap you across the face. Monitor keywords, phrases and trending word clouds. Track journalists in your field and monitor media outlets. And perhaps the best tip of all – follow Twitter hashtags, since this will often be the very first reporting of any story.

When you hear of a story that’s a good fit for your business, immediately formulate your strategy. This is happening in real time and so you’ve got to act in real time, as in NOW and not tomorrow. Speed is crucial to your success in hijacking the news.

Ask yourself – how are you and / or your business related to the breaking news? What’s your angle or hook? Why should the media care?

When you’ve got your take on what’s happening – or your angle or hook – here are possible moves you can make next:

  • Blog about your take on the news
  • Tweet it using an established hashtag (this is not the time to start a new hashtag)
  • Send a real-time media alert (press release)
  • Talk about it in a speech, or make a video and post it online
  • Hold a live or a virtual news conference
  • Directly contact individual journalists who might be interested

Now if you’re thinking this article is just the tip of what you need to know, you’re right. It’s enough to get you started, but by all means grab the book so you can fill in the blanks.

And think about this: Linking yourself to one news story can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of free publicity, creating a boon for your business and perhaps even making you a mini-celebrity in the process.

How to Change Your Prospect’s Mind

As marketers we’re always trying to get into our customers minds so we know what they’re thinking. Once you know what they’re thinking, you can begin the conversation there and then move it in the direction you want it to go.

How to Change Your Prospect's Mind

But what if their line of thought totally bypasses any chance of purchasing your product? For example, if you sell alarm systems, it’s a sure bet that most of your prospects think a break-in or robbery will never happen to them. Therefore, it becomes imperative that you change their thinking to match your own – that YES, a robbery CAN happen to them at any time, and THEN WHAT WILL THEY DO?

A security company called BGS in Bucharest, Romania, came up with what might be the perfect solution. They covered apartment doors with life-sized posters that create the illusion that the door is open and the place has been devastated by robbers.

The posters are put on with a special glue so that they’re easy to remove. And on the doorknob another sticker is left which reads, “Make sure this never happens – BGS” and their website’s url.

Result? The posters impacted both the actual apartment dwellers and their neighbors. Some people left the poster on their door for weeks, and the advertising campaign become the talk of the neighborhood. More importantly, people who never would have considered a security system began contacting the company.

http://www.bestadsontv.com/ad/41378/BGS-Security-Fake-Robbery

Now here’s your food for thought: How can you show your prospects what they will lose if they don’t purchase your product? What visuals can you offer that will stop them in their tracks and make them totally reconsider their position?

Here is one possible answer that could work in MANY niches… let’s say you sell a gardening membership. What if you show a photo of two front yards, side by side. One yard is a real show stopper, bursting with huge, healthy flowers with a very pretty, smug looking home owner relaxing on the porch with a cool drink.

The other yard is total devastation. You can see an effort has been made, but most of the plants are either sick or dead. And of course you have that homeowner looking sad, dejected, frustrated, over wrought – take your pick. Walking by on the sidewalk is a couple of women who are pointing and snickering at the pathetic garden.

You might even have a handsome man stopping to admire the flowers in the nice garden – a possible beau for the lady on the porch?

This is a visual that will say more than a thousand page sales letter. And you can use this concept in almost any niche.

For example, your niche is weight loss and you have a set of before and after shots of two people. Maybe the before shots have a calendar on the wall of January 1st, and they’re both standing on scales looking concerned, unhappy, distressed, horrified, whatever.

Then you have a second set. Same people, same scales. The calendar now says March 15th (or some such.) The person on the left looks the same or heavier, and is even unhappier than before. The person on the right – well, you can fill in the blanks – lighter, healthier, happier, etc.

Your goal is to make your prospects experience in their minds and feel in their bodies what it is like to be without your product. And once you can do that, you’re halfway to making the sale.

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