Monthly Archives: January 2012

Jan 20

The Multi Media Flair Phenomenon – Part 2

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Often referred to as “Media Flair”, strategic audio and video elements add an impressive touch of professionalism to your online presence. All other efforts to increase your conversions will likely pale in comparison to what you can achieve using a multi-media approach.

In my previous article we covered the 6 core components of media production:

Component #1 The Content of Your Recording
Component #2 The Quality of Your Recording
Component #3 The Production and Editing Of Your Recording
Component #4 The Delivery of Your Recording (Player & Skin)
Component #5 The Serving of Your Recording
Component #6 The Placement of Your Recording

In this installment we’ll tackle the proper implementation of FLAIR.
This is of paramount importance. Upon hearing about the power of audio and video, web elements, too many inexperienced Internet Marketers just start slapping multi-media files into their HTML without any real strategy. This can have disastrous results. You’ll definitely want to soak up everything I’m giving you today because while adding FLAIR can potentially improve the performance of your Website more than any other change, if done poorly or incorrectly it can also seriously damage your presentation.

See if you can relate to this example: You land on a sharp looking Website and are pleased to find exactly the right content for your needs. It’s a great feeling to find what you’re looking for but, after the first couple of paragraphs, you’re suddenly blasted by the crackly, muffled voice of the site owner as his poorly prepared audio message begins to stream. Everything was going so well until this seriously unprofessional bit of media scared the daylights out of you!

Anyone who surfs the Web often can recall numerous such experiences. When this happens to a visitor, they are often quite put off. This kind of disturbance can put a bad taste in their mouth and negatively color the rest of their experience on the Website. It only takes one unfavorable impression to kill a potential sale so you must avoid putting your site visitors through this!

While my example concerns audio presentations, the same risks are involved when applying video files to your landing pages. Any video needs to complement your site with engaging, multi-dimensional elements that bring out your best points. Your videos should be fun and informative, as well as setting off buying triggers and bringing positive emotions rushing to the surface. When your footage is blurry or accompanied by lousy audio, you are shooting yourself directly in the foot. Surfers demand to be compensated for their actions, even if they’re just sitting there watching an automated feed. You must reward people for taking the time to view your videos, otherwise it would be better to leave out this type of media altogether.

Don’t let all this cautionary talk bum you out. I’m not saying you have to be a professional broadcaster or videographer to succeed with media FLAIR that captivates and engages your audience. Nor do you need a state of the art studio or the budget of a millionaire. As long as you have an eye for detail and care about quality your presentations will reflect this and you’ll do fine.

There are numerous effective yet inexpensive shortcuts that can drastically improve the production quality of your FLAIR. Here are some creative tips to get you going:

Tip #1 – Plan – Prepare – Predict
In some situations unrehearsed media can be very effective, however when it comes to sales videos and promotional audio this is seldom the case. When producing a media piece with the intention of encouraging people to give you money, you should thoroughly plan out what you want to say and HOW you’re going to say it. A great approach is to prep some bullet points before you start and reference these while you record.

Truly savvy marketers will also try to predict their audience’s emotional response – including any objections or apprehensions – and address these in the delivery. It’s also a good idea to rehearse your entire pitch at least once or twice before you hit the record button. If you’re having fun with a social media program you might do very well with an “off the cuff” video blurb, but it’s unwise to take this risk when your bottom line is at stake.

Tip #2 – Control Your Environment (Audio)
Whether you’re recording an audio or a video, a powerful microphone won’t necessarily stop at your voice. The sounds of your environment, from background music and household noises to a crying baby or an angry spouse, will likely end up in your recording if you don’t take the proper precautions. Ideally your audience will be focused entirely on YOU and your message, not the sound of your neighbor’s lawn mower or the kitchen phone ringing behind you. For best results you should isolate yourself in a room with a closing door and inform anyone else in the house that you’ll be recording and in need of silence.

Tip #3 – Control The Environment (Visual)
One of the biggest challenges when creating the proper video environment is your lighting. The amount, intensity, and direction of any lighting in the room with you is going to have an enormous impact on your finished product. Major glare on your glasses, a shadow that covers your face, or a blaring light that looks like a sun in the background, will all detract from your efforts. You want your picture to be clear and well lit; finding the perfect setting may take some practice and experimentation. It’s best to use two or three lamps and angle the shades to cancel out shadows. You should capture a brief 30-second clip and then play it back to be sure the illumination is just as you want it before recording your full message.

Tip #4 – Consider Outsourcing Segments
Regardless of the type of FLAIR you are producing, there are always segments that you can outsource to professionals. For example, you may want to consider outsourcing the creation of a “Title Segment” to a professional. This could be a unique 3-5 second video excerpt with your name and logo “swooshing in”, supported by some cool sound effects. In the mind of the viewer, something as small as a professional grade intro/outro can make the difference between the impression of an average video or a mind-blowing media arrangement.

It’s also worthwhile to consider hiring a voice artist to narrate your audios and/or videos. Whether using PowerPoint presentations, slideshow videos, or animated productions, a voiceover pro can skyrocket the effectiveness of your media. You can even use a tool such as VoxFlair.com to edit and splice together prerecorded professional clips and thus create your own custom narration.

Tip #5 – Combine Multiple Elements When Possible
Remember to always be creative when putting your FLAIR together. Avoid being bogged down in the “work” mentality. Always seek to keep the viewer or listener engaged by combining multiple elements of media for maximum impact. You could try splicing together a “Title Segment” with some “on camera” footage and then perhaps insert photo stills or screen-capture shots into your sequence. Or you might consider adding some rock and roll music that fades out before your main voice narration rolls in. This kind of variety and flow keeps the production exciting and entertains the audience far more effectively than a bland monotone recording.

Audio can be leveraged very effectively without video but the opposite scenario is seldom recommended. Silent video rarely captivates a viewer and should not be used to enhance your Web pages. Unless you have a very compelling reason for leaving out the audio, all marketing videos should contain relevant sound bytes.

If you show visitors a lengthy video wherein you deliver a scripted sales pitch, they may begin to lose interest after only a few minutes. Accenting, or embellishing and enhancing the media, is an important part of FLAIR and provides numerous ways to break up the monotony of continuous media. You can overcome this potential problem by integrating any number of accents.

Media Flair Accents
Try switching back and forth between different camera angles, including zoom-ins and zoom-outs, to prevent viewer boredom. Additionally you can apply animated captions, or humorous sound effects. You may even want to cut to a black and white segment that coincides with the story line. For example, if you mention in your video that you enjoy playing basketball, that would be a great spot to insert some black and white footage of you scoring a basket. This kind of subtle variation activates different areas of your prospect’s brain to create a sense of motion and excitement. These and other small accents can raise the effectiveness of your media exponentially.

It’s a bit more challenging to apply accents to audio-only FLAIR, but it can certainly be done using various sound effects. Just after you mention your love of basketball, your MP3 sales pitch could briefly switch over to squeaking sneakers and other sounds from the court, thus imparting the same emotional imagery to your listener. Using a distinct “swoosh” sound and the applause of a crowd is a simple way to convey the emotional charge of sitting in the bleachers and being part of the experience. With audio you have the option of fading in/out and applying multiple layers of background, such as music, nature sounds, etc. By bringing your creativity to bear you can develop an audio that keeps your visitor’s mind racing and totally pulls them into the excitement of your offer.

The most important thing to consider when working with audio media is your voice fluctuation. You don’t WANT to irritate YOUR PROSPECT by fading in AND OUT errRATICally. Be sure to speak loudly and clearly as if are talking to a friend. In general everyday conversation we accentuate certain words, so you can stress points by controlling the pitch of your voice, and even fabricate emotion by bringing the volume down to a near whisper and then raising it again. With this in mind you should keep your recordings real and rely on the same nuances you use in your daily interactions.

Remember to always smile when recording any kind of media! Even if you’re not on camera a smile can transmit through a microphone and convey a positive vibe to the listener through the tone of your voice. Scientific studies have proven the act of smiling actually stimulates the flow of the chemicals responsible for happiness and optimism, so don’t skip this important part of the performance.

The critical foundation of great FLAIR is dynamic creativity. Listen to your gut and run with your impulses. If you see a video you really enjoy on another site ask yourself how you can imitate it. Pay attention to the quality of your recordings and take care to provide only the best possible content and information. Heed the advice in this article and your multi-media efforts will improve your conversions. In the next issue I’ll reveal the actual software and services that I personally use to produce and serve the FLAIR on my websites.

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By Omar Martin
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Check out Omar Martin’s WordPress tutorials at http://www.wordpressarsenal.com. Omar Martin’s sales portfolio includes many ofthe Fortune 500 corporations as well as professional sports teams and restaurant chains. Regardless of product, venue, or industry Omar has proven that people love to buy, but hate to be sold. Learn more about Omar at http://www.omar-martin.com.

Jan 17

PPC Power: Seven Times More Clicks

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Unless you’ve only just started your Internet Marketing career you’re probably already familiar with the Google Adwords program. The paid advertising option for the world’s largest search engine, Adwords can be a powerful ally for your online business. However, over the last few years, due to an ever-increasing number of advertisers across most markets, the bid prices for many strong keywords have risen substantially. This means it’s harder than ever to realize a profit from your paid traffic, especially if you rely on affiliate commissions.

Longtime Adwords users often long for the keyword prices from 2001, when competition was light; using the secret below you’ll be able to turn back the calendar and enjoy a traffic budget from the turn of this century!

The “Seven Times” Secret
For this strategy to really pay off you’ll need to understand the basics of converting your visitors to paying customers. This is a separate discussion so, for now, let’s assume you know what to do with your traffic and jump right into the specifics of how to generate it. You can always refine your conversion techniques later.

Before I share my secret, allow me to take just a moment to be sure all readers understand the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising model – specifically the Google Adwords system. When using a PPC program you create small text ads for your product and then select as many keywords as you like. You place a specific bid for each chosen keyword, and this bid reflects the amount you’re willing to pay each time someone does a search and clicks your ad from the list of sponsored results. Your ad can be displayed an unlimited number of times for free; you only pay the bid amount when a searcher actually clicks your link and views your Web page. PPC is guaranteed traffic that allows you to control how much you spend each day.

When using the Google Adwords system your PPC ads can be displayed via two distinct avenues:

1 – Search Network
The first option is advertising right in the Google search results. When a user queries keywords on which you’ve placed a bid, your ad will be shown along the right-hand side of the results page. Inside your advertiser admin area this type of promotion is referred to as Search Network Adwords.

2 – Content Network
The second alternative for Google PPC is to display your ad on targeted Web pages that use the Adsense publishing program. In this manner your ads can be shown on sites with related content. The site owner gets paid for each ad that’s clicked from their pages, so quite a few Webmasters participate in this innovative system. Within your advertiser admin center this type of promotion is labeled Content Network Campaign.

Most PPC marketers immediately think about the Search Network when Adwords is mentioned, but the majority of traffic is actually delivered from the Content Network.

The real secret to massive, low-cost, Adwords traffic and a tremendous return on your advertising budget is mastering Google’s Content Network. This is the primary focus of the strategy I’m about to show you. To make this methodology work for you, it’s important to focus on the best practices I’ll be sharing so remember the following formula:

Targeted Keyword Research +

Lots of Keyword Targeted Ads +

Keyword Targeted Banner Ads =

MASSIVE CHEAP TRAFFIC

Simple right? Let’s have a closer look at the individual elements.

Keyword Research
Since you’ll be using the Google advertising program I strongly recommend also using the Google Keyword Tool for your preliminary research. Initially just enter the broadest term relevant to what you’re promoting and Google will return up to 200 additional keywords that are also related to the term you entered. Your job is be to take all of these 200 new keywords and feed them back into the Keyword Tool one at a time; in other words you’ll create a totally new session for every single recommended search term.

This way you’ll get 200 new suggestions for every one of the initial 200 keywords!

Naturally you’ll want to filter out recommended terms and phrases that aren’t relevant to your product or service but your goal here is to generate a list of 1,000 to 5,000 highly relevant keywords to use in your next step. I can’t deny that this stage takes some time, but it’s totally worth it. I won’t even bother trying to sugarcoat this fact – if you’re not willing to spend a few hours researching an advertising campaign, you shouldn’t expect any measurable results. By targeting your keyword choices like this you’ll be able to find some nice search terms that other advertisers are ignoring. Overall you’ll pay less for your traffic since you won’t have to compete with dozens of other marketers for every single keyword.

Campaign Creation
Use the list of keywords you just generated to build your Content Network campaign. The best way to do this is to create a new Adgroup for every keyword in your list. This is probably different from what you’ve heard other people teaching. You may have been told in the past to enter multiple keywords into your Adgroups so Google can determine a theme for displaying your ads on the Content Network. Trust me; you’ll see more dramatic results when you use just one keyword per Adgroup.

Create one or two ads for each Adgroup (it’s better to use two ads so you can split test and refine). In this manner you’ll be able to steadily increase your Click-Through-Rate (CTR). Be sure each ad contains the appropriate keyword from one to three times, but make certain the ad still makes good sense when you read it. Ads with strong keyword usage are clicked far more than other ads on the page.

Newsflash: Banner Ads Work!
Once your text ads are prepared, you’re ready for the real secret to getting massive amounts of cheaply-priced traffic. This single addition to the process can increase the amount of traffic you receive 10-15 times! I’m talking about Banner Ads placed through the Google Content Network.

You may have read in the past that banner ads don’t work. Allow me to inform you that such talk is sheer nonsense. The fact is that banner ads placed within the Internet Marketer to Internet Marketer sector may be less effective now than they were ten years ago but, for the thousands of other markets, online banner ads are just as powerful as they’ve always been. In particular, within the Google advertising system, banner ads are under-utilized by most users.

I’ve done a tremendous amount of testing with Google banner ads. Not only do I get more traffic this way, I pay less per click with image ads than with text ads. How? Well, Google offers the Adwords program to create profits, obviously. Their system rewards ads that generate more clicks by showing them more frequently and by charging them a reduced fee per click. Paying less for traffic means greater profits for the advertiser, encouraging them to stay on board long-term, resulting in greater revenue for Google over time. Because banners are more likely to be clicked on the Content Network than plain old text ads, this is an easy way to benefit from Google’s policy of more displays and lower rates.

More For Less
It’s not hard to figure out how using banner ads allows you to get greater CTR and thus reap the rewards of Google’s system. First of all your colorful, animated image ads will attract much more attention on the Web page than the text ad blocks readers are used to ignoring. Second, there is currently only a small amount of banner competition within the Adwords database; in fact some markets will have no banners at all! For whatever reason, marketers just aren’t taking advantage of this awesome opportunity, which means you can exploit it like crazy and profit big time in the process. Also be aware that when you use banner ads you’ll get the entire display block all to yourself! When using text ads you have to compete with 2-5 other text ads for the attention of the reader, but your banner ad will fill up the entire Adsense block on the publisher’s page! Without a doubt, simple image ads are the best kept secret for profiting from Adwords.

Let me give you an example of just how effective image ads can be. I once created two smaller campaigns using the methodology provided in this article. One campaign leveraged image ads, and the other used only text ads. I listed only 100 keywords for each promotion. The text-only promo generated just under 15,000 clicks over the course of a week. Not too shabby. The banner ad resulted in over 109,000 clicks during the same one week period! The image ads brought me over seven times more traffic!

Because you’ve taken the time to find plenty of low-bid keywords in the first place you’ll start out paying less. Once your banner ads begin to generate more clicks than the competition, you’ll benefit from Google’s reduced click pricing. It’s super easy and, like I’ve said, relatively few advertisers are following this approach right now. I hope this demonstrates the true power of this strategy. If you’ll take the time to implement my in-depth keyword research and then reinforce this with the power of image ads, you’ll see massive traffic at great pricing.

Curing Banner Blindness
Here’s a somewhat humorous tip to help you get more from your banners. Consider using a couple of ugly banner ads for your Adwords campaigns. Seasoned surfers are so used to attractive banners they tend to suffer from what advertisers call “banner blindness”. These savvy users have subconsciously trained themselves to instantly ignore banner ads on the page. When you hit them with a really ugly banner, however, they can’t help themselves from looking at it because it interrupts the normal patterns they are used to seeing.

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By Jon Shugart
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Jon Shugart is a Software Engineer and Internet Marketing Professional who focuses on driving
large amounts of traffic utilizing PPC. His powerful software application, Keyword Rockstar
(www.keywordrockstar.com), is unmatched in the industry for both driving traffic and rapidly creating, winning PPC campaigns.

Jan 13

Book Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Guerrilla Marketing

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Guerrilla Marketing
By Susan Drake & Colleen Wells
Published By Alpha Books

Content Suitable For:

Novice Marketer
Experienced Marketer
Online Marketing
Offline Marketing

If you’ve been involved with Internet Marketing for any length of time you’ve no doubt heard the phrase Guerilla Marketing kicked around quite a bit. In a nutshell, this term refers to methods of promotion and selling that require little monetary investment; most definitions state that time, energy, and creativity are used in place of big advertising dollars. Guerilla Marketing was originally coined by Jay Conrad Levinson but has since been written about or taught by numerous, lesser known marketing consultants.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Guerrilla Marketing takes the reader from the basic definition and concept through a wide range of easily visualized application scenarios, making it very easy to grasp the basics of this philosophy. Examples provided encompass traditional brick and mortar operations and Internet-based ventures, with various promotional tactics and stunts discussed for both the offline world and the Web.

A key point made again and again throughout this book is: The flash and “bling” of big ad budgets is rarely the most valuable element of any marketing campaign. What really matters is the specific, well-defined intent behind each and every promotion and how well a businessperson knows his or her ideal customer. Any entrepreneur worried about failing at business due to lack of advertising funds will be refreshed and excited by this content.

For people who have a business and a good product or two, but struggle to get traffic and leads for their sales funnel, this material will prove most helpful. You’ll find a number of useful tips and ideas, supported by detailed examples. Perhaps the most useful aspect of this book, as it relates to inexperienced marketers, is the manner in which all information is presented from a strong, traditional marketing foundation. This is much more than a book full of tricks; you’ll get a genuine education on real marketing fundamentals that should serve you well throughout your career.

As with any book about marketing, it’s a great idea to make some notes and keep the manuscript handy as a reference tool. Select one or two of the methods provided and commit to testing them out as soon as possible, then pick another technique and give it a try as well.

Seasoned marketers will likely consider the bulk of the book a review, yet it’s quite possible one or two sections will provide new ideas. For this reason I’ve included Experienced Marketer as a relevant category. However if you’re already doing quite well with your marketing campaigns I don’t recommend putting this work ahead of more advanced material on your reading list; pick it up sometime when you don’t have anything else scheduled.

Rating: 3 stars

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By Aaron Whiston
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Jan 10

How To . . . Perform Keyword Research

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Keyword research is the first step in a number of integral online marketing processes. A simple keyword tool will help you find the right niche for your business, show you which terms are ideal for your PayPerClick campaign, and improve your chances of landing at the top of the search results. Running a brief keyword research session is one of the first things you should do when you’re heading into a new venture.

Many new or intermediate entrepreneurs find this aspect of doing business a bit confusing, and perhaps even boring. This seems to be due, in part, to the wide range of complicated products being showcased as the “must have” tool for success with keyword selection. The reality is that, unless you’re entering multiple niches simultaneously or you’re attacking a highly competitive niche, you don’t need to shell out a bunch of money for a top-of-the-line software application. Nor should you have to invest hours of your time learning an intricate procedure for finding good search terms to apply to your venture. Keyword research can be very straightforward and, if you follow the step-by-step instructions below, it should always be a productive undertaking.

The Google Keyword Tool is free to access and you don’t need to be a master of charts and graphs to understand the data generated by your inquiries. You can use this resource to plan your sponsored search campaigns, find an angle for your SEO strategy, or simply to find out if an active market exists for a new product idea. In this article we’ll take a look at the most basic functions and benefits of the Google tool, which you’ll find at:

http://tinyurl.com/GoogleKeywordTool

To put the activity of studying keywords into perspective, let’s assume we’re considering going into the silver coin business. Before investing in an e-commerce site and sourcing our products we want to gauge the activity level of the prospective online marketplace. The way to do this using Google is twofold; first we’ll use the keyword tool to investigate the amount of searcher interest, and then we’ll use the search bar to get an idea of how competitive this field is. When approaching any keyword tool with your initial premise, you need to try and think like one of your potential customers. In our example we’ll enter one or more keyword phrases we think people with an interest in silver coins might use to find a merchant.

Step One: Enter a few simple key phrases.

In this example, we’re starting with silver coins, pure silver coins, and silver bullion coins (note that Google requires a security code for the first query to prevent robots from using their system).

Keyword Research

Step Two: Click the Get keyword ideas button.

The results table is easy to read. In the far left column we of course find the keywords. Next we can find a bar graph providing a rough indication of the level of advertiser competition or, to put it another way, a general idea of how saturated the Adwords listings will be for each keyword. The third column indicates the number of Google searches performed last month for each keyword. This data is compiled from the researcher’s country (there is an option to edit this immediately above the keyword input box), so in this example we’re seeing numbers from U.S. searches performed in August. As you can clearly see many of the keywords related to silver coins are being queried thousands of times by Google users.

Keyword Research

A high volume of monthly searches is potentially good news because it means a genuine interest exists among Internet users. A fourth column displays the 12-month average figures. This line can be compared to the more recent numbers in the third column to determine whether a market has been consistent over time.

Keyword Research

Once you’re confident that a group of keywords is popular enough to pursue, the next step is to get a preliminary idea of how much competition is currently catering to these specific searches.

Step 3: Check the Google search engine

Examine the Google listings relevant to each keyword phrase that fits your prospective venture. There are three primary considerations when using Google to assess the state of a market:

  1. The total number of sites in the Google inventory will give you some idea of how busy the marketplace is.
  2. The number of optimized sites will shed some light on how difficult it might be for you to break onto the first page of the rankings.
  3. The number and nature of Websites that are selling products similar to those that you would be offering if you entered the niche, reveals the level of head-on competition you are likely to face.

Keyword ResearchIf we enter the phrase silver bullion coins into Google.com we find there are 472,000 Websites listed under these keywords. This isn’t a particularly high index, as many searches turn up hundreds of millions of listings. From an SEO perspective anything under half a million is only moderately competitive, with the really ideal range being less than 50,000.

Keyword ResearchAt this point we’ve only confirmed the total number of indexed sites for our keyword, when the more pertinent factor is the number of sites that are specifically optimized to appear high in the results. We can check up on the search marketing savvy Webmasters by entering our keyword phrase into Google using quotation marks, i.e. “silver bullion coins”. This reveals the number of web pages using all three words in this exact order. In this instance the result is a good one. Only 44,200 listings are returned, suggesting that relatively few Website owners are using effective SEO tactics to get Google’s attention.

So far, so good, but what really matters is what we find on the actual Websites listed in the top 10-20 positions of our search. In the case of silver bullion coins virtually every site is either selling coins themselves or recommending another site that retails the coins. Essentially this keyword may not be that tough to crack in terms of strong ranking, but we’ll definitely be up against a number of established competitors. Information of this nature is critical when planning a new venture.

In this sample session we find similar data for most of the keywords provided by our original inquiry. For instance, Silver Eagle Coins was searched on nearly 15,000 times last month. There are close to 700,000 sites indexed for this phrase within Google but less than 34,000 are optimized. Every single page listed in the top ten positions is actively selling Silver Eagles at varying price points. An experienced online merchant may very well decide to move forward with a business in this field, while new and intermediate marketers should probably look for an easier mark.

Striking Gold Silver
The general idea behind keyword research is to identify the path of least resistance. The best case scenario is to find search terms that are searched a high number of times, but that are not being addressed by an excessive number of commercial Websites. This typically requires a good deal of investigation, or “drilling down” as expert niche marketers say. By moving from the more general keyword phrases into the more specific terms we can establish one or more tightly focused niche ideas. We might be able to hit on a particular product name or a “how to” type search that indicates a common problem within the market. Ideally, fewer sites will be ranked well for exact product names or we’ll find a gap in the marketplace where people are looking for a solution that’s not being offered by existing sites.

The most obvious way to handle this is to simply go down the list of keywords that the Google Keyword Tool returned, select the most focused terms, and initiate a new query. In this case, silver coins investment opens the door to a whole new angle of looking into the business of selling silver coins. When we go back to Step 1 & 2 and enter this phrase into the Google Keyword Tool, things start to get interesting. The key phrase, investing in silver was searched on 4,400 times last month, and how to invest in silver was looked up over 700 times.

Keyword Research

Upon checking Google.com to evaluate the competitiveness of these two keyword phrases, we are thrilled to find that investing in silver returns only around 24,000 optimized Websites. The search how to invest in silver yields 88,000 optimized listings. The results pages for both entries are mixed between article & video tutorials, and merchants actually selling silver. This analysis suggests that a good number of people are looking for info on how to invest in silver but only a small number of savvy Webmasters are seeking search engine rankings for related terms. Perhaps more importantly, the top Google listings are not entirely dominated by commercial sites. This could be our way into the silver coin market.

In addition to the primary 103 keywords generated in Step 2 the Google Keyword Tool also suggested 97 other search terms based on different vocabulary but carrying the same intent. In other words, this software will help you think of supplementary ways to approach your market by recommending relevant keywords outside of your precise parameters. For example silver rounds and silver bars were listed in the Additional keywords to consider table. Rounds and bars are standard units of bullion measure that most coin consumers would know about and be likely to search for, so this is a fine example of how the Google tool helps you expand your criteria. You can see from the snapshot below that these and other additionally recommended terms are very popular:

Keyword Research

A wise researcher would take the time to explore these additional suggestions by checking the Google inventory and initiating new keyword data queries with the most promising terms. By now you should have an elementary grasp of this process.

This article has only scratched the surface of what the Google Keyword Tool can do, and we’ve really just given a nod in the direction of what comprehensive market research is all about. The good news is that comparatively few online marketers put forth any effort at all in this regard, so just practicing the steps given in this article will place you miles ahead of your competition.

Already Invested?

If you’ve already spent considerable time working your way into a niche, this doesn’t mean it’s too late to perform keyword research. Following the steps in this article will help you find additional, and potentially profitable, key phrases that you’ve yet to target.

The Google Keyword Tool also provides the option of generating keyword based on the content of a website. Try performing this search on your own website and also those of your competitors. Compare the results and you’ll be able to see which key phrases your competitors are optimizing that you might also want to consider attacking.

Keyword Research

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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Jan 10

MDC Monthly Preview – February 2012

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

What’s inside the February 2012 issue of MDC Monthly?

Web Tracking – No More Excuses

  • 6 reasons why Web tracking is essential.
  • Split-testing 101.
  • 10 split-tests for sales pages.
  • Getting the most out of Google Analytics

“Showcase Your Reputation” with Joel Williams

  • The power of testimonials.
  • The best WordPress plugins for showcasing customer testimonials.

“Five Steps to Cash: Step One – Find Your Niche” with Roy Miller

  • New five-part article series to get your online business off the ground.
  • How to research and select a profitable niche.

“The Hidden Market – Part Two” with David Congreave

  • Why you probably know more than most experienced marketing professionals.
  • How to use Internet Marketing techniques to attract business-to-business clients.

“Order of Magnitude – Part Two” with Robert Puddy

  • The perfect Traffic Exchange strategy.
  • How to manage multiple TEs.

“The OTO Formula” with Omar Martin

  • Use upsells and downsells to assess your members.
  • Use the correct pricing formula to maximize your conversions.

Latest book reviews:

  • “Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy” by Martin Lindstrom.
  • “Free Marketing: 101 Low and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business, Online and Off” by Jim Cockrum.

Additional features:

  • Internet Marketing News
  • Hype-Protector #2 (The Freebie)
  • Reader Revolution
  • “Free Advice and Worth Every Penny” with Dafydd Manton

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Jan 06

Stuck On You

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

My Launch Formula Marketing (LFM) strategy makes it easy to drive traffic, even with a FREE membership site. But what about the PAID variety?

Membership sites that require your members to pay a regular fee – whether it’s a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription – are an extremely enticing prospect for any Internet Marketer. Not only do they give you the means to apply the LFM techniques, they also provide their stream of income.

Just one problem… RETENTION

Ask any Internet Marketer who runs a paid subscription site about their retention rate and the chances are good you’ll see them break into a cold sweat. If you have a good product and a reasonable price point, getting people to join a paid subscription is relatively easy. The real challenge comes with trying to retain them for longer than 2-3 months. No matter how good your content is, the average member is only going to remain a paying member for 2-3 payment before they’re cancelling their subscription.

There are plenty of conspiracy theories about the reason for this phenomenon but the answer is simple; it’s just that people don’t like to talk about it. The awkward truth of the matter is that most customers, after purchasing a digital info-product, never read past the first couple of pages. That’s if they ever manage to get started with it at all!

In the case of one-off purchases this is dissatisfying but it doesn’t have a huge impact on the bottom line. Most customers won’t ask for a refund because they figure they will get around to reading it some day. A paid subscription site, however, is a completely different prospect. The customer may be too busy to read the content they’ve purchased but they’ll never be too busy to notice the money being taken out of their bank account each month. It only takes 2-3 payments to inspire the customer to accept the truth: They purchased something they were never going to get around to using.

The result? Another customer cancels their subscription.

This chain of events has led some to believe that paid subscription sites can only work if you maintain a steady flow of new customers each and every month. That’s one way to do it. But it’s certainly not the only way.

Make Them Stick

There lots of good incentives you can offer your paying members to stay but, in practice, it’s much more effective to give them disincentives to leave. Two traits that virtually all of your customers will have in common are a busy lifestyle and the fear of missing an opportunity. If your customers have the strong impression that cancelling their subscription with you is going to be time-consuming or make them run the risk of missing out in some way, then they’re going to have to REALLY hate your membership site before they can bring themselves to leave.

Relax, I’m not talking about making your customers jump through hoops before they can unsubscribe or any other unethical dubious practices. I’m talking about constructing a membership site that superglues itself to your customer’s business in such a way that separating the two becomes extremely unappealing.

One of the most high profile examples of this is the mailing list and autoresponder service, Aweber. Once it’s been established, moving your mailing lists from Aweber to another provider becomes a time-consuming and potentially expensive proposition. An Aweber customer might grumble a little when his monthly payment increases to match the size of his growing mailing list, but any discomfort that comes with the new bill can never match the pain of having to replace dozens of email subscription forms across multiple web sites.

And if you do decide to move away from Aweber, before you even get to the task of updating all of your squeeze pages you have to tackle the problem of exporting your mailing list to another provider without losing the bulk of your subscribers. Once someone has been using Aweber for any significant length of time, their online business is stuck to Aweber like glue and the longer they remain a customer, the greater the likelihood they’ll never leave. I won’t pretend to know what Aweber’s retention rate is but I’d bet good money that it’s way beyond 2-3 months.

Would you like to have a paid membership site that measures its retention rate in years rather than months? Then follow Aweber’s example and create a site that sticks.

For my own part, I followed this strategy with Instant Squeeze Page Generator and HitsConnect. ISPG makes it easy for members to create squeeze pages but, crucially, it also hosts the squeeze pages. Once a member has several hosted squeeze pages online, a member is reluctant to close their account and transfer to a rival service unless they can remember every website on which they posted their incoming links.

HitsConnect is a link tracking service and has a similar strategy. Each new tracking link created and placed makes it that much more likely that the customer is going to remain a paying member for a long time to come.

If you put a little thought into it, you’ll be able to think of many other examples both online and offline. If there is a physical or financial cost in moving then this WILL have an impact on your ability to retain paying customers. In fact the physical or financial cost of moving doesn’t even have to be guaranteed. Sometimes the mere possibility of the cost is another to motivate customer loyalty. Internet Marketers that are smart enough to use an online backup service, continue to pay the fees not because they believe that leaving will guarantee a catastrophic loss of data but because they can’t afford the high cost of a hard drive meltdown, no matter how small the odds of this occurring actually are.

I’d like to think that the knowledge I’ve imparted in this article so far is valuable enough to stand on its own but I’m going to go a step further and give you ideas for four different Internet Marketing membership sites that would qualify as a “sticky “service. These are all ideas with potential and I promise not to pursue any of them myself for a minimum of three months. If any of these ideas grab you then I suggest you start developing them NOW.

Four “Sticky” Membership Site Ideas

(1) Thank You Page Hosting
ISPG as a business model that can work with lots of other web pages that are common to Internet Marketing websites. The Thank You or Download page is a fine candidate for this because it can include various functions that the average Internet Marketer may not want to spend time learning to implement.

A Thank You Page Creation service, as well as hosting the Thank You page could also provide:

  • Secure link to deter download thieves.
  • Shortcut system for uploading products to your AWS account and generating the download link.
  • Standard set of instructions for downloading and unzipping different file types.
  • A choice of “Unadvertised Bonus” products or discount offers for related services.

(2) Affiliate Tools Hosting
An affiliate tools page contains promotional emails, images, video, etc, that affiliates can use to promote a product or service. You can target product owners and offer them your service as an easy way to create a set of affiliate tools from a series of templates. You will, of course, be hosting these pages to ensure your customers stick around.

Don’t be deterred by the fact that there is already software available for generating affiliate tools pages. The same could be said of most hosted or managed services. Customers are paying for convenience.

(3) Order Button Hosting
I’m sure you’re getting the idea now. Your customer enters the link to their payment page and selects from your selection of eye-poppingly attractive order buttons (that you’ve tested and proved to increase conversions by xx percent). Your service spits out a link that the customer can pasted onto their sales page.

There are a number of frills you could add to this service, such as sending email notifications if you detect a customer’s payment page has gone offline, or providing some basic tracking info on customers that click the order button.

(4) Essential Legal Advice
This idea plays on the customer’s fear of missing something important. We haven’t talked about this angle as much but it can be just as effective. For this membership site, partner up with a lawyer who specialises in Internet marketing (or something similar) and can produce a monthly newsletter containing updates on legislation related to selling online, as well as advice on how to remain compliant.

The odds of being targeted by the authorities may be small but the potentially devastating consequences are a good incentive for your customers to maintain their subscription. Naturally you will be placing your monthly newsletter inside the members area so you can march your customers through your log-in system on a regular basis.

Don’t Forget the Free Level

You are welcome to take any of these ideas and make them your own. If you have even a little bit of creativity you shouldn’t have too much problem taking one of these concepts and using it as inspiration to come up with something unique. Whatever you decide remember to always offer a free membership level that offers a limited or stripped-down version of your services.

A free level ensures that customers who aren’t currently ready for your service can still join and easily upgrade when they’re ready to do so. A free level also gives premium members somewhere to go if they do decide to leave (hey, you can’t expect to keep everyone indefinitely) without requiring them to completely delete their account. By allowing them to drop to a free level, you keep them on your mailing list and make it easy for them to subscribe again in the future.

Paid membership sites are a challenge and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. But make your site “Sticky” and you give yourself a fighting chance to obtain a profitable retention rate.

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By Robert Puddy
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Introducing LFMpire Builders by Robert Puddy: A step-by-step, 52-week training program for making money online using my Login Frequency Marketing strategy. Can you set aside just 1-3 hours every week to complete one simple assignment? If yes . . . fill out the form here: www.lfmpirebuilders.com/signup.php

Jan 03

Neighborhood Marketing – Part One

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Many Internet Marketers miss out on some great opportunities by failing to focus on the potential found in their own backyards. In this new series we’ll be examining the finer points of leveraging Websites that target local surfers. In other words, we’ll talk about how to create an income and promote a business using Web properties that cater to the people in your community, city, or region. You’ll most likely be surprised by the numerous ideas that spring to mind as you read the regular installments in this new article series.

Let’s start with a couple of basic questions. Specifically:

  • Why would you want to start a local site in the first place?
  • What’s the difference between a local site and a niche site?

Why Bother With A Locally Targeted Website?

The overwhelming majority of “how to make money” content focuses on the global reach of the Internet and the immense profitability that arises from being able to instantly communicate with millions of people from all over the world. Hence many people wonder, with good reason, why they would want to “limit themselves” to a local interest Website. Other people may actually like the idea of doing something local but wonder if it’s going to be financially worthwhile. In essence the big question for most people is:

Can I really make significant money with a site that targets the local population?

Put simply: Yes. Virtually every town and city, no matter how small, provides a creative and hard-working online entrepreneur with at least one or more compelling opportunities.

Obviously the size and culture of your local area will present a host of variables to work with. If you live in New York city, for example, you’ll have significantly more options than someone who lives in Johnson City, Tennessee. However it’s important to realize that people are making great money, right now, through Websites that serve small communities. One clever Webmaster in Johnson City, TN (roughly 50,000 residents) built a site that touts the local night clubs and keeps users current with the parties, contests, and celebrations from weekend to weekend. Advertising revenue from club owners provides this entrepreneur with more cash flow than his full-time day job!

Lose the idea that you have to build the next MySpace to generate a nice income stream online. Think about what your local friends and neighbors enjoy, want, and need and ask yourself how you can deliver on this via a simple Website.

The kind of willing attention you get from a captive audience who believes you intend to help them solve a problem or lead a better life is at the core of any successful site, forum, or Ezine. With a locally grown and marketed Web business, getting and keeping this kind of attention is often much easier than with sites that target a global audience. For one thing, you’re an insider. You are part of the community you intend to deal with and this immediately means greater trust and empathy from your target customers. Furthermore, you’re THE insider when it comes to your local Web program. You can very quickly and easily establish yourself as the market leader within a local niche, or at least as the head of your own online community.

It is very hard to overstate the value of being in a position of leadership when it comes to marketing. I’m sure you can think of half a dozen people right off the top of your head who, while not being the best or the brightest in a particular field, still managed to become the recognized and respected community leader in said field. A little effort goes a long way in this regard and, since the average Internet user has absolutely no clue how to set up and maintain a Website, you’ll have instant credibility and clout just because you own an active domain.

You’ll have an easier time developing the community atmosphere of a local site as well. A huge factor in the success of any Website is the level of engagement, or involvement, on the part of the visitors. Making people feel like they belong, like their opinions matter, substantially increases the level of involvement across the board. With your local site it won’t be at all difficult to inspire a great sense of belonging because your customers are also your neighbors and, in some cases, even people you already know!

For optimal results you should offer some sort of social, interactive platform. This could be a simple forum or an email list with a blog so readers can post comments. Or you could go all out and set up a complete membership program. The typical Internet user actually expects some sort of social capability these days so you should expect an all around slower growth rate if you ignore this advice. By leveraging this whole “friends and neighbors” angle you’ll have little trouble finding people to help with stuff like graphics, forum moderation, articles, comments, and testimonials. Plus you’ll find other local business owners are usually quite happy to link to your site or even arrange some kind of cross-promotion.

Speaking of promotion, this area of running an online business is also a lot easier when you’re going local. Again, because you’re connecting with people who share a sense of obligation and pride, relevant to the area, your marketing efforts will likely enjoy a more robust response when compared to a global campaign. You’ll be able to tap into a much wider range of promotional vehicles, such as TV spots and radio ads. Running national television ads would cost a fortune, but you can get your commercials on local TV, all month long, for just a few hundred bucks. With a nominal amount of effort and money you can create the appearance of being the biggest and best show in town!

Local Web promotions are particularly simple when it comes to ranking well within search engine results. Because of the relatively decreased amount of competition for locally specified keywords ([products/services] in [city/state]) it’s a very easy matter to attain the number one spot in your favorite search engine index. Being at the top of Google, Yahoo, and other engines for your ideal keywords not only delivers greater exposure for your operation, it also enhances your credibility in the eyes of your local prospects.

Now that you know a few of the major benefits associated with running a local site, let’s tackle the second primary question.

Local Site vs. Niche Site: Which Route Is Best?

Many marketers will tell you that a locally targeted Website is in fact a type of niche site. There is some truth to this, so a clear distinction in definition is in order to set this series on the right track. For the purposes of this column:

Niche Site: Any Website that focuses on a highly specific interest, regardless of a prospect’s location. In other words, a niche can reach out to global visitors OR people in a specific area.

Local Site: A website that accommodates Internet users who live in a specific town, city, or community.

The degree to which you choose to “niche” your local Web business is entirely up to you and should be based on your own goals, plus the needs of the folks you’ll be serving. Understandably, you might wish to create a strong niche site that’s not limited by geography. As we shall see in the next section, there is very little limitation involved with local sites in terms of genuine potential. Any local site you build will still be available to Internet users from all over the globe, so who says your locally targeted site can’t also make money from products sold to global consumers? You could use the local market as a sort of springboard into the larger, worldwide niche audience.

With a small adjustment to your copy and approach, it’s entirely possible to focus on local customers while still leaving the door open for surfers who live halfway across the planet.

Regarding which route is ideal (local or global), this is totally subjective and depends on your personal experience and interests. Many newer Internet Marketers have an easier time getting a locally grown venture off the ground. At the same time, it’s fair to say that several experienced marketers are leaving money on the table by neglecting, in whole or in part, the myriad local possibilities they could be exploiting in parallel with their other, more broadly-based endeavors. You’ll have to decide for yourself if tapping into a local market fits into your overall agenda but it’s definitely worth taking some time to consider seriously.

Are You Limiting Yourself With a Geo-Targeted Web Venture?

While it’s normal for people to assume a local site will be leaving out a huge chunk of potential traffic and sales, this is mostly exaggerated concern. You may naturally think you’d do better by going for the “big numbers” (i.e. building a site that appeals to people from around the world) but would you really?

Despite the global access provided by the Web, the reality is that most sites just don’t get the kind of massive traffic and response required to generate legendary income. Unless you’re a five-star marketer and you have an earth-shaking idea, there’s simply no guarantee you’ll hit a home run with your globally promoted Website. On the other hand, with a really good local site, you can capture an amazing response from only a small to medium-sized audience. So what if your site only gets 1,500 unique viewers per month? If these folks are super-targeted and really care about your message, you may very well get a couple of hundred paying players out of the deal. Think quality over quantity and you’ll be tuned into what we’re saying here.

Frankly, sticking with a local gig doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have to settle for small numbers. For instance, the main local news site in Erie, PA, is GoErie.com. The metropolitan area and immediate suburbs around Erie boasts a population of around 200,000; this is far from a mega city. Yet the GoErie website has 100,000 registered users (of which 60,000 are local) and receives 150,000 visits per month. Notice that a good 40% of these visitors are non-locals, meaning they’re people who are interested in Erie but don’t live in that area. Even moderately sized towns and cities can potentially deliver a load of traffic, especially if your content appeals to surfers from outside of the area as well.

Just because you start locally doesn’t mean that’s where you have to finish. You never know where a business venture is going to take you until you get moving. Who knows? You may find after a few months that your model can be extended to appeal to people in another city down the road, or even to several cities in your state. Many large operations began as small locally grown projects and then exploded into national or even international success.

A Brief Word of Caution

Every business model has a few potential hang ups and problem areas. Local Websites are no different in this regard. If you’re going to build a static, informational Website with no interactive functions you aren’t likely to experience many problems. You’ll almost certainly see slower growth with this sort of site, and it’s unlikely you’ll enjoy a fanatical following with a content only site, but you can expect a relatively, problem free ride.

Community or membership sites on the other hand, are prone to some specific setbacks. This is true whether you’re focusing locally or taking on the whole world. We’ll cover the exact problems and their solutions in later installments. For now I want to offer an important cautionary note:

To the extent possible always avoid public negativity and always BUILD UP your members and your community as a whole.

It sounds almost too simplistic but once you begin interacting with many different people and get a taste for all the social pitfalls involved with online communities you’ll understand why this point is being stressed. Without a doubt this premise is the foundation of your success with a community-based Website. Only express public negativity toward one of your members if doing so is absolutely necessary to protect your other members and your overall program. If at all possible, simply remove problematic and toxic people from your site quietly and without much ado. A small amount of drama and pessimism can spread like an uncontrolled fire through your social Website, so guard against this kind of outbreak with unwavering diligence.

This doesn’t mean you have to avoid being politely critical when it’s productive. Nor does it imply you should squelch all disagreements between your participating members. By no means should you strive to become a Pollyanna (unless that’s just who you are). Just think of yourself like the group guardian and protector. Do not allow yourself to be seen attacking a member or bad-mouthing the city or town you are supposed to be serving. Keep the good of your community and the enjoyment and well-being of your members first, and good things will happen.

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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.