Sunday, October 22, 2017

Deceptively Simple Advice to Dramatically Increase Your Affiliate Earnings

It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the different tools, tactics and tips that you come across as an affiliate marketer. One guy might tell you that extra long sales letters are definitely the way to go if you want to optimize conversions on your landing page. The very next guy might tell you that long sales letters are a waste of time and that you should be focusing on landing pages that can be viewed in their entirety above the fold. Someone else might tell you that video landing pages are the name of the game.

Who is right? What should you do?

The truth of the matter is that any of all of them could be correct under the right circumstances for the right offer at the right time. That’s why it pays to experiment and optimize and track. That’s the only way you’ll figure out what works best for you. But that’s not what I’m going to be talking about today. It’s a piece of advice I received a while ago that’s far simpler but arguably much more profound.

Shotguns and Snipers

As an affiliate, you may be tempted to take the shotgun approach at the market. You promote as many different products and offers as you can, using a myriad of different promotional techniques, and you let the data speak for itself. You see what works and you see what doesn’t. However, this could be a horrible waste of time and resources.

Instead, you should be channeling your laser-like focus. Don’t promote more products. Promote fewer products. This is especially the case if you’re working to establish your name or brand online and it comes with a myriad of potential benefits.

So, You’re an Expert Now?

Let’s say you run a blog and you want to promote an offer for Super Product ABC. A terrific strategy here is to cluster your content around that offer. You can and should approach other topics, to be sure, but it pays to have multiple posts discussing Super Product ABC.

One post might be your early impressions of the product. Another post might be your experience using it in under a specific set of circumstances. Another post might answer a common question people have about the product.

This can work wonders on your search engine optimization, because Google will start to recognize that you are becoming an established expert on Super Product ABC. This means that you’ll come up in a number of related searches, particularly with long-tail keywords if you plan your content appropriately. That lends itself to far better conversions than a shotgun approach with a great number of products.

But it’s not just about the search engines, of course. It’s about your readers too.

They can follow your journey with Super Product ABC and each step along the way represents another conversion opportunity. Maybe you’ll pick up new readers with each post that you publish too. By bringing up the same brand and the same product on a not infrequent basis, it keeps the name front of mind for your readers, which means they’re also more likely to convert too.

More Money Begets More Money

You can see how taking this approach is also advantageous for you, because it means that your attention also isn’t being split across multiple products and multiple verticals. In trying to position yourself as an expert on Super Product ABC, you really are becoming an expert on Super Product ABC. That leads to greater credibility, which in turns leads to more conversions. It’s a cycle of success.

If this strategy sounds familiar, it’s because it’s one that John has been using for quite some time. He has certainly promoted many different products over the years, but you’ll notice that he really focuses his attention on a very small number of products at any given time. And I think you’ll agree with me when I say that his results speak for themselves.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Most Important Factor When Creating a Mobile Friendly Design

There has been a lot of buzz about Google mobile update, which should be implemented into their algorithm around April 21st, 2015. Many bloggers and ecommerce website owners are scrambling to make changes to their theme so that it meets the requirements. Before continuing, it’s important to check if you meet the current demands of the mobile update by simply heading to this website: Google Mobile Testing Tool.

In the next coming weeks, you’re going to hear a lot about mobile friendliness and what factors matter when tweaking your website. For example, when I did research, I saw people discussing load speed, navigational bar, clutter, call-to-action, and colors. However, I’ve also learned that one factor cannot outweigh another so make sure you focus on all of them. If I was going to ask you, “What is the MOST important factor?” I’d like to know what people would say. Over the years, I’ve been doing a lot of research, trying to tweak different types of websites for mobile platforms. You have to admit mobile friendly design is NOT something new and has been around for years. It’s just recently that Google finally finished updating their search algorithm to give mobile friendly websites the respect they deserve.

If you haven’t started to tweak your website, it’s important to make changes right away. Start with the most important factor, which personally I believe is: The Theme

I know many of you think I’m crazy for saying “Theme”, but you have to understand a very important thing. There’s an easy way to make your website mobile friendly and a difficult way. If you’re using WordPress, then you can install a theme that comes fully operational out of the box. They have widgets in the right place, sidebars, navigational bars, and some are even drag & drop. These types of themes cut your work in half and are awesome when viewed from a mobile phone. Here’s the problem I see many people making and I use to do the same. When searching for mobile theme, they find one that says “responsive” and think this will get the job done. However, you have to keep in mind that this only means its mobile friendly, but hasn’t been tweaked to perfection. You’ll still have to put effort into color, widgets, sliders, images, and optimization. However, you have another option and that’s to choose one or purchase an all-in-one solution with a plug ‘n’ play interface.

If you head over to themeforest.net and start skimming through the WordPress category, you’ll find a handful of themes that are perfect for mobile phones. You’ll get a better idea of the different ones and will begin to notice a difference. Some themes require more work than others and don’t come equipped with sliders, widgets, easy CSS, etc. This means, once installed, you’ll have more work to do when designing, delaying your launch and mobile friendly website. At this point, you would have been better off purchasing a theme for some extra money and cut your entire work in half. Here’s my advice…

The most important factor when going mobile friendly is the initial theme you choose to get started with. This will determine what kind of work you have cut out for you going forward. It’s the difference between having a site done within hours or days. Look for the following when choosing your mobile friendly theme:

The Price – In this case, if there is a fee for the theme, it’s usually the higher, the better. I’ve noticed when the theme price is high, this normally means the theme has great options.

Drag ‘n’ Drop – These themes are easy to customize and you don’t have to go in changing code around. These themes are very easy to install and configure the way you want.

Responsive – This is obviously the MOST important because it’s mobile and tablet ready.

Interface – Once you install the theme, you want to ensure things are easy to locate. You don’t want to go looking for things, especially during the initial setup.

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Friday, October 20, 2017

7 Ways Email Signatures Can Drive Signups, Follows, and Conversions

When you think of email marketing, what comes to mind? Monthly customer newsletters, daily blog RSS feeds, curated drip campaigns…

One thing you probably didn’t think of is employee email signatures.

Email signatures

Image via Email Signature Rescue

Your employees engage with customers, vendors, friends, and family via email. With the right call to action in their email signature, any of those email recipients could turn into new website visitors, customers, or social media followers.

Sure, optimizing your employee email signatures will never be as effective as your other email marketing efforts. You shouldn’t expect to add these to your employee signatures and suddenly meet your sales goal for the year, but they will drive real incremental conversions for your business.

And the best part? This is the rare kind of marketing tactic where you can truly set it and forget it.

Here are seven ways you can get more out of your employee email signatures. Choose one, create a version for your company, and share it with your employees.

1. Drive Website Traffic

Promoting existing content in your email signature drives more web traffic and social shares. If you’ve got the landing page set up with an email newsletter signup form, it could drive more subscriptions, too.

From a high-converting case study to an infographic that went viral on Twitter, choose content that actually delivers. Coordinate with your content team and review conversion data in Google Analytics to discover what content performs especially well for your business. Then link to it in your signature.

Pro tip: Don’t just say “Read our latest blog/whitepaper/ebook!” Hyperlink intriguing anchor text that compels the reader to click, as Yesware does in this example below:

Email signatures call-to-action example

Alternately, you might use a graphic to advertise the content, as in this example from HubSpot:

 Email signatures free downloadable guide call to action

2. Increase Your Following

Want to grow your social media fanbase? You’ve got options.

At a minimum, you should link to your main social media channels in your signature. People like to follow brands they work with and buy from. Link using small icons to your social media channels, rather than including long URLs. Icons are cleaner, instantly recognizable, and simply less exhausting to look at, as demonstrated in this example from Mailbird.

Email signatures cleaner design more info less space 

If you desperately want follows, you could take a more aggressive route like Limehouse Creative did. There’s a lot of information in their email signature below, but your eye is immediately drawn to the graphic, right? If social follows are most important to your marketing strategy, this is a great option. Otherwise, you might be better off using the banner to advertise a content piece or invite demo registrations.

Email signatures to drive Facebook likes social follows 

Image via SmallBusinessSense

3. Generate Leads

Speaking of demos, your email signature is a perfect opportunity for your salespeople to generate leads.

Just like realtors, salespeople know the power of faces, so good ones always include a headshot in their signature. The example also includes a “Request a demo” link to make it easy for leads to connect with the sales rep. The only suggestion we have would be to highlight that anchor text in another color or bolded font.

Email signatures sales rep example with call to action 

Image via Yesware

4. Turn Leads into Customers

Once you’ve got a thread going with a lead, the goal is to push them further down the funnel.

You might take a cue from our first tip, and link your salespeople’s signatures to your top-performing case study. Or you could work with your CRM software to dynamically change your email signatures depending on a lead’s status. For leads that suddenly went cold, or are simply lollygagging, adding a discount offer could be just the thing that wins them over. You can even reuse the banners from your display ads.

Email signatures special offers 

Image via WiseStamp

5. Promote Upcoming Events

Does your company regularly attend trade shows? Drive traffic your way with a banner announcing your booth number that links to the event registration page. You can also hype upcoming product launch parties, local networking happy hours, webinars, and Facebook Live events. Just make sure you update your signature after the event has passed.

 Email signatures promote events

Image via HubSpot

6. Build Trust

Even if you don’t want to push your email recipients to take specific action, your email can still passively work in your favor, building trust, credibility, and brand awareness. Here are a few examples of people doing that well.

Lauren Pawell doesn’t have to ask people if they want to work with her. Showing the types of publications and podcasts she’s been featured on gets people to ask her.

 Email signatures trust signals brand logos

Image via FitSmallBusiness

Similarly, author Aaron Ross links to his book page, while noting that it’s a #1 Amazon Bestseller. He kills two birds with one stone in this email signature, both establishing his authority in the space, while also encouraging people to buy his book.

 Email signatures product links Amazon affiliate links

Image via Yesware

If your company has won awards, your email signature is a wonderful place to show them off. It looks like branding, instead of bragging.

 Email signatures opportunity to display company awards and award logos in email signatures

Image via Mailbird

7. Ask for Reviews

Another great trust signal? Rave reviews and testimonials. Generate a steady supply of these by requesting reviews in your email signature. Even a gentle reminder of “Your Referrals Are Always Welcome!” can help customers remember that their friend was just looking for a service similar to yours.

In the example below, Dr. Brian Fann links “Review Us” text and also includes a social icon for his dental practice's Google+ page, so there are multiple opportunities for recipients to click and review his business.

 Email signatures user reviews star ratings

Image via Hi5 Practice

Best Practices for Employee Email Signatures

Ready to outfit your employees with stellar email signatures? Follow these best practices to set yourselves up for success.

1. Make it Mandatory

Everyone likes to express their individuality, but your corporate email signature is not the place to do it. Tell employees to leave the artistry to their social media profiles.

Having an unified look across all your employee signatures both elevates the professionalism of your brand and avoids the formatting issues, typos, and rogue color and font choices that can happen when you let employees take it into their own hands.

2. Provide a Template

Ideally, your IT team can code these across your employees’ email settings. If that’s not possible, supply employees with a plug-and-play template they can copy into the signature settings for your email provider. Clear, easy-to-follow instructions should accompany the template.

3. Use UTM Tracking

Track your efforts by adding UTM codes to the links in your email signatures. You can check on your progress in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Campaigns. This also allows you to test different CTAs or types of content over time, or even different placements within the signature (e.g. linking to content above or below your social icons).

4. Test the Design on Mobile

We live in a mobile-first world now. Make sure your email signature adheres to that worldview. Nearly half of people read their emails from a mobile device instead of their desktop computer, so test to make sure your design fits and looks good on different smartphones and tablet devices.

5. Follow Rules of Good Design

Don’t use too many colors or fonts, and make sure that what you do use complements each other. Consider using pipes or other dividers to break up text and make it readable.

If you don’t have access to a designer, try out HubSpot's email signature generator. Fill out all your info, choose a design, and voila!

Email signatures HubSpot email signature generator templates

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

With exciting announcements like the most recent Google algorithm upgrade, the latest Snapchat feature, or a new iPhone happening on a near-daily basis, it’s easy for marketers to get shiny ball syndrome. As a result, the lowly email signature is an often overlooked part of marketing strategy. However, implementing any of the above tactics is a simple way to generate a sizable number of wins for your business.

About the Author

Michael Quoc is the founder and CEO of Dealspotr, an open social platform connecting emerging brands, lifestyle influencers, and trend-seeking shoppers in exciting new ways. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelquoc.

The Simple Reason You Need to Switch to Responsive Ad Units

You’ve probably heard many times before in the last couple of years that you should be focusing more of your attention on mobile. This makes sense, because regardless of the niche you want to specialize in, more and more people are accessing the Internet on their mobile devices. Unsurprisingly, they can be turned off when a website isn’t optimized for viewing and navigation on the smaller screen of a smartphone.

That’s only part of it, of course. We’ve talked many times before about why you want to have a mobile-friendly theme on your blog and, better still, you should be utilizing a responsive theme so that the look is consistent regardless of whether someone is accessing your site on a high-resolution desktop monitor, a lower-resolution tablet screen, or the much smaller-sized smartphone. A responsive theme will adapt to the size and resolution of the screen on which the site is being viewed.

Banner Ad Sizes

Now, if you are a regular reader of John Chow dot Com, then you’ve likely learned at this point that traditional “banner” style ad networks aren’t necessarily the most lucrative way to monetize your blog. John doesn’t run AdSense on this site any more and for good reason, but we also have to recognize that for the overwhelming majority of sites on the Internet with less traffic and a lesser known brand, it doesn’t get much more accessible than AdSense. We have Google to thank for that.

By extension, we have grown to be familiar with many of the most common ad sizes. You probably know about the 728 x 90 pixel leaderboard that might appear at the top of some sites you visit. You’ve surely seen the 160 x 600 pixel skyscraper ad that is commonly placed in sidebars. These are great and all, but they all come at the price of one very significant weakness: they’re restricted in size.

Those are very specific, pixel-based dimensions. What if someone is viewing your site on a smartphone that only has a 720 x 1280 pixel display? While the 728 leaderboard may have some pleasant white space around it when viewed on a desktop, it won’t even fit across the screen of that phone. You could switch to a 468 x 60 banner, but then that might not look as good on a higher resolution computer monitor.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution that’s been right under your nose for a very long time already and, if you haven’t already figured it out from the title of this post, it’s using responsive ad units.

Adapting to Fit the Screen

You build these ads the same way you build any other AdSense ad unit. In an ideal world, every other ad network that you work with also provides you with the option to implement a responsive ad unit but, surprisingly, many of them don’t. And so, your mileage may vary.

When building the ad, you still get to pick your colors, you still get assign custom channels for tracking, and you still get to pick an alternate URL for the ads if Google comes back empty. That’s all the same. The only difference is that you are not defining a specific set of dimensions for the ad unit and Google will intelligently figure out what would work best in the space you place the code.

Even if we put user experience aside for just a moment, there is at least one other very critical reason why you need to switch to responsive ad units with AdSense too. Google is really starting to crack down on websites that are not complying with its current terms and conditions. A big part of this is that the ad unit should not overwhelm what the webpage looks like above the fold.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the preferred best practice to maximize click-thru rate (and thus optimize your eCPM) was to place an ad unit above the fold in a prominent position. If you use a pre-defined ad size, you could run into the problem of having the ad overtake the above-the-fold view, thus violating the AdSense terms and conditions, and thus risking not only having your ads not appear but also the potential to get banned. And you don’t want that.

A Small Change for a Big Difference

You may or may not have moved on from AdSense at this point. Whether you have or not, you need to be especially mindful of how your ads appear on your site and responsive units can address a lot of common problems.

How To Make 6-Figure Monthly Online Income! Download John Chow’s New eBook!

Steve Shelton – The Doctor Internet Marketing

Steve Shelton is a medical doctor who discovered that while doctors get paid a lot of money, they’re still trading hours for dollars, and will never be able to live the Dot Com Lifestyle. A search for a better path lead him to internet marketing and my 21 step program. Using the system, he was able to make $98,000 online in only five months.

How To Live The Dot Com Lifestyle

One of the most asked questions I get is how do I get started doing this? How do I live the Dot Com Lifestyle? It’s very easy to get overwhelm with the amount of information out there.

The answer is not really not hard. You have remove yourself as the income source by leveraging systems that makes the money so you don’t have to. That is what the Internet has allowed me to do. My blog, YouTube, social media, ClickBank, MOBE, etc. combine to create a multi-million dollar online business that I can run from anywhere in the world, “working” just a couple of hours a day.

If you’re looking for a step by step solution, then I recommend applying to my Ultimate Dot Com Lifestyle coaching program. This is a 21 step program that teach you step by step how to create a profitable internet business. You’ll also get a one on one coach to help you.

You can check out any of the live workshops we’re doing in cities around the world. If there’s one near you, then make sure you attend. It could change your life. It has certainly changed mine.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Using Your Proposal as a Sales Tool: 5 Tips for Agencies

In boxing gyms, you’ll hear all sorts of expressions: “He’s walking on his heels.” “Hits like a mule.” “Cut the ring.” “Hands up.” “Stay off the ropes.”

After a sparring session, you might hear this: “Don’t get greedy.” This last one also applies to your marketing agency.

Most agencies we speak with struggle to find new clients. Put another way, they struggle with sales. This article will explain how your proposals can help solve this problem.

Your proposal is more than just a list of deliverables. It’s part of a process. Here is your strategy for using your proposals to win more business.

Addressing the Key Objection: Just Send Me A Quote

First, do no harm.

A proposal can also be a “false-objection.” In sales, the prospect will often push you off indirectly. When they abruptly ask for a quote, it could just be a way of getting off the phone. The rookie mistake is to spend time drafting a quote with an email and sending it. That’s a waste of your time. Instead, push back.

Say: “I’m happy to do that, but I don’t want to waste your time. Can you just let me know if you’re not interested in these services or maybe we can chat later?”

It’s not rude to ask this question. You’ll even find that more than likely they are interested. They’re just busy. In this case, don’t let them go without a follow-up.

Emphasize Urgency

Your quote is your opportunity to shorten your sales cycle. Agencies are busy with creative, business development, administrative work and worst of all…collections. Whether you’re waiting for a signed agreement to get started or a deposit, waiting on a proposal will slow everything.

The proposal is your opportunity to shorten your sales cycle and get paid. Whether you tell them verbally, in the body of an email or in the proposal itself, let them know the lead-time. They need to know that they’re slowing their own results.

First, it’s good business to set expectations.

Second, it creates urgency. Instead of saying, “Did you get the quote?” You could lead with: “Before we can begin drafting your copy, setting up keywords and showing your ads on Google, we need your signed agreement/deposit. There’s about a three-week lead time before your ads can even show, so please get back to me on that proposal at your earliest convenience.”

Too often we fall into the “people-pleasing trap.” Rather than just telling the client how much harm they’re causing themselves and their business, we want to please them. Don’t.

Closing As A Favor

This is a strategy that’s great if you work for someone else at your agency.

You’ve built rapport with your prospect. They’re sold on your services. They have your proposal…but haven’t signed and your boss wants to know where it is. In this situation, your job title is irrelevant: You’re a sales rep.

Don’t hesitate to share this with your prospect. It’s honest and people like to help. “Hey, I know you’re busy, but my boss is asking for the paperwork. We’re onboarding three more clients and we don’t want you waiting. Can we get a signature today?”

Again, it’s true, and it usually works.

You’re Not Done: Pick Up the Phone

The proposal is part of a closing process. The phone and email work with it.

always be following up

Always Be Following Up

GetPhound, a Pennsylvania-based agency, is client-centric in their proposals. They helped with this article and recommend offering small, medium and large packages so clients feel empowered to choose a tailored solution.

Also, don’t be afraid to follow up to earn their business.

The follow-up is the critical part. If you’re offering multiple packages or have multiple quotes, you can reach out to inquire about which option they’d prefer. Following up to answer any questions they have is very effective and also helps the client make a choice.

In this scenario, the proposal is your reason for another contact with the client and another chance to close. Let them hear your voice.

Don’t Get Greedy

Finally, don’t get greedy.

don't be greedy

Not always

In boxing, fighters get greedy after they land one or two punches. They stay too long and keep swinging. Unfortunately, this gives their opponent a great opportunity to counter-punch.

In agency sales, sometimes you should start small. PPC is perfect for that. Offer to manage or build their paid search account. From there, you can upsell as you build rapport. Send multiple quotes, but don’t be discouraged if they decline the biggest one…

Remember: Your proposal is much more than a document. If used properly, it can lead to more transactions and more clients.

Start-ups Talk about Their Biggest Mistakes

Starting a business can be tough and it’s a nervous time because you’re jumping into unknown territory. Even though you’ve done your research, it’s still a new experience and you have to learn the process as you go through it. Depending on the type of business you start, you’re going to have to engage and deal with customers, marketing, content, products, social media, and other factors in success. However, you can learn a lot from the mistakes of others, which means you try to avoid some costly errors when starting out. It’s important you utilize the resources available to you and learn from them so you don’t have a rocky start when setting up your business.

I went and did some research, compiling a list of effective ways to lower the amount of start up mistakes made during business. The list is from a study conducted by Forbes.com and I’ll narrow down some of the factors below.

Insufficient Research

This has been the downfall for so many businesses and it doesn’t matter what niche you’re starting with. I’ve stated this before and will continue to emphasize the importance of research when starting a business. This was a concept outlined by Ajay Neil from HighQ.com. He said it’s easy to confuse a good idea for a good business so emphasize the importance of execution. The major elements that provide you effective execution are:

  • Research
  • Forecasting
  • Accurate Data

If you can go through making sure all of these are in the positive, then you’ll have a high chance of surviving in your industry. Many people have great ideas but the market simply isn’t looking for it so it’s important to conduct your research, no matter what the niche.

Wrong Model

Many people, when starting out, will have the wrong model or concept in mind. Research should be able to provide insight into your success but you need to pay attention to your audience. You have to find out who your audience is, then shift into what type of products they are looking for. Once you determine this, you’ll be able to find the optimal way to deliver your product to them. Many people make this mistake as stated by Jeff Chen, Cofounder & CEO of Joyride

“One of the biggest mistakes is chasing after the product mechanic rather than the reason for the product. In other words, the model that worked for movies might not work for books.”

Intriguing vs. Compelling

Every business’ bottom line is making money so it’s important you keep this in mind. When you start a business, people are going to have all types of feedback but take it at face value. Don’t get overwhelmed when people give you positive feedback because these people might still not buy your product. It’s important to know the difference between people who are intrigued by your product and compelled. For example,

Many customers will like the concept, but still not see the value in your product. This means they won’t buy it and not invest their money into it. You have to make sure NOT to become pleased too much by positive feedback because your bottom line should be sales. It’s easy to give positive feedback, but not purchase a product, so many people opt to do this instead. You have to know the difference between intriguing and compelling when setting up your business. Your business product or service should be so compelling, people purchased your product. It’s that simple.

Many businesses become overwhelmed by simple positive feedback and fail to understand their bottom line.

Forgetting Your Purpose

It’s so hard for a start-up to lose track of their purpose. When starting out, you had a clear vision of what you wanted to accomplish and how you were going to do this. You’ve performed your research and know EXACTLY what you need to do to create a super buzz. However, with all these things popping up, you lose track of your end goal. One of the biggest mistakes start-ups make in business is losing track of what really matters along the way. Remember, when starting out, you did your research and based success on certain criteria, so moving away from these will harm your business. When you lose track of your end goal, you’re moving away from your bottom line, which can have negative impact on your employees, success, profit, customers, etc.

I know starting a business can be very hectic, but always keep your objective in mind. Try different things like writing it down on your phone or in front of you in large letters to program it into your mind.

How To Make 6-Figure Monthly Online Income! Download John Chow’s New eBook!