Testing Advertising and Your Wallet

No matter if you are testing advertising via new media or testing the effectiveness of advertising concepts, testing your advertising and marketing is very important if you intend to increase profits and return on investment.

Testing is one of the toughest topics to discuss with business owners, especially when it comes to advertising. I personally enjoy it because it’s the one area that really opened my eyes years ago and lifted the curtain so I could see behind the scenes.

Which saved us money that was being flushed down the drain by ads that didn’t produce and drive traffic to our phones, email and front door.

You see, I just got plain sick and tired of paying all these companies for advertising, yet we didn’t really know what worked and what didn’t. And neither did they!

With some business owners, I almost feel like I’m tawkin’ to tha wall. And Yes, that’s some real NY accent coming out. But I mean it has has been a challenge in the past, seeing small business owners who refuse to test their advertising and marketing.

I’ve been a tester since the mid 1990’s, when I first did it the old fashioned way with paper and spreadsheets and to some extent I still use a spreadsheet for data tracking.

What does all this mean for you, my loyal reader?

About a month ago I joined a very small group of marketers in a Testing Lab that was very intense, advanced and fast paced. No joke – it was a four week whirlwind.

As we worked though and dug into the material, one of the presenters said that 95% or more of online marketers don’t test. Now this doesn’t come as a surprise. I mean look at the off line world and small businesses that advertise both on and offline. How many do you think test, split test and survey? Not that many has been my personal experience in the last 25 plus years.

So why should the online marketer test, track and survey?

I’ve been into testing for a long time. And here’s the bottom line….If you aren’t testing then you are missing out and are most likely still playing the guessing game.

Why Guess when you can Test? 

In the ‘ole days’ we had to test the old fashioned way; with physical surveys, special phone numbers, traditional email and spreadsheets. It was a lot of work, but well worth the effort and the time it took to accumulate the data.

For our small business this meant really seeing what was working and what was not. It was an eye opening experience that made me realize how important testing and surveying can be to a small enterprise.

So let me ask you a few questions:

Do you really want to spend money on advertising? Or do you want to attract new leads and convert them into clients? And put more money in your bank account?

After all, it is your money we are talking about here, not just testing.

Are you asking the tough questions – Why is this ad working? Why is that ad not working?
If not, then you should be. It’s your business. Your wallet and your future.

The only way to know is to test and test you must, if you desire to get the best results – meaning opens, click through rates, conversions to sale, subscriptions or some kind of action.

So do you really want to take your business to the next level? Do ya? Or are you just comfortable enough to say – I’m doin’ ok Dave – this testing sounds like a lot of work.

If you are ready to make the change, then start testing today, now, pronto, ASAP! And if you need some guidance, contact The SmallBiz Mechanic, he might be able to shine some light on the subject.

Test to Success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Email Marketing – “The Offliner’s Quest”

Email Marketing is one of the most powerful mediums that a small business can use to capture new prospects while better communicating and selling products and services to existing clients. Yet the more I research, the more I see offline and online businesses missing the boat and not using email marketing at all or very minimally. Some offline small businesses I’ve worked with only see email marketing as a way to blast their sale and event info to their existing list of customers.

Their perception of email marketing is simply adding the new customer to their email list and then on a monthly or quarterly basis they send out an e-blast. They yearn for more business and desire to use email, but still they search for the magic bullet that will bring new clients with wallets open.

You see us people don’t just want to know about the next biggest sale event or product launch. We like helpful, useful, quality information, especially when it pertains to a topic or subject that interests us.

Marketing via email is not just about sales, events and promotions. The idea is to connect and build a relationship with the subscriber and client.

In some cases the new client just needs more info and can be warmed up to an upsell with high quality content. So these content messages need to be mixed with sales messages allowing for the small business marketer to build up credibility and not just be a sales promoter.

Which means the better quality the content is, the more likely the subscriber is to open and read your messages.

With high quality content you need to focus on connecting with your subscriber so he or she looks forward to receiving, opening and reading your emails. And if you create the content right, then you can lead right up to your offers with credibility and keep the subscribers attention at the same time.

As an offliner with little or no experience in online marketing, you can market with email and develop a list of new subscribers and clients. Just remember to build value with high quality content and learn how to connect and cultivate the relationship, just like The List Building Guide teaches.

In the end it’s all about conversions and return on investment. If you build the list of subscribers, really connect and then offer products and services that meet their needs, then you should see more conversions and this should equate to $$ in your pocket.

Until next time,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Reality & Gut Checks

Today is one of those days that I’m going to step away from the norm and talk turkey about business and marketing online. It’s not my usual post and some might even call it a bit of a rant.

Here goes…

Do you get tired of the cheesy pitches and phony baloney
classless marketing? I know I sure do and I see this kind
of stuff all the time.

It’s the marketing that reminds of the spa or car salesperson
who will do anything to close the transaction, including
altering the truth. It’s the marketing that just makes me turn
away and shake my head.

In several of my previous posts I mentioned being real.
It’s actually my Rule #1. But being real is what seems to
be missing in many online marketers’ campaigns and websites.

It’s like they threw out the morals and scruples with the trash
and just don’t give a you know what.

Well you know what…be real. Tell your story. Tell it like it is.
Your subscribers and customers (or clients) will respect you
and you’ll sleep better at night.

Now if you happen to be reading this and your online business
doesn’t have to do anything with building a list of subscribers,
then you already know or should already know that it takes
money to make money online.

That’s Reality. You have to market, even if it’s not through ppc, banners
classifieds, and what is referred to as paid advertising.

Oh and for the crowd that is into natural organic search and content marketing…
Your time is worth something so don’t give me the line that SEO and blogging are free and you don’t pay anything for either. Because I got news for you! You are either paying someone to do it for you or you are doing it yourself and take the time to do the work.

If you consider the work that you do is free, because there’s not any cashola changing hands, then I think you need a GUT CHECK! Because your time is worth something! It’s not free!

I see the word FREE everywhere. Lots of searches for FREE this and FREE that. Get this for FREE, that for FREE, etc…

I mean – you work at a job or business offline where free is a rare commodity these days, but when it comes to online – it’s gotta be free?

The new person asks, “Where do I find free traffic, free advice, free ads
and free websites?” It’s like they’re at the Internet food bank!

Let me put it to you this way:

You are building a business online and that means you need to
work and you will need to pay the price.

That price is different for everyone, but everyone pays it.

Now the work may only be one to two hours a day part-time or it may
be more than that. Either way – you need to do the work.

So go build your business and be real, so you can stay in the land of the self-employed.

 

 

What is Email Marketing?

What is Email Marketing and how do you use it in your small business?

Email marketing by definition is the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product, service & information by utilizing the digital channel of email.

Email marketing finds its roots in the offline world of direct mail where companies build databases of prospects and client names & addresses. These databases, otherwise known as lists are developed over time and in some cases used to be rented by list brokers to the company who was looking to mail to a specific region or demographic.

It’s important to understand how offline direct mail/direct response has impacted email marketing, so if you decide to use this channel you’ll be able to better understand and comprehend how to maximize your efforts.

Email Marketing for the Online Marketer

As one of the most powerful tools for businesses to communicate and connect with their subscribers and clients, email marketing is the medium by which both offline or online businesses can sell products and services in addition to surveying and providing quality information to the end user (subscriber or client).

Email marketing is the one communication channel that allows for different variations of messages, from HTML or text and can also include video and audio(link) to mix things up. With online software called auto responders, email marketing has become even more popular in the last decade, allowing more and more businesses to expand their horizons. Without this valuable software it would be nearly impossible to develop and grow an email list of any size.

There are a number of functions that the email software provides, allowing the marketer to create, develop and manage the list of subscribers and clients.

Four of these Features are:

  1. The Lead capture web form.
  2. The Interface to create, write and store email messages.
  3. The Database which maintains the subscriber’s information.
  4. The Reports that provide the marketer with a variety of useful information.

So email marketing now enables the online and offline marketer/business to develop relationships and have a sales channel that was never possible in the offline channel of direct mail.

Should you decide to take the next step and into the world of email marketing, subscribe here and get your hands on the List Building Guide.

 

List Building – “The Secret is in the List”

“The Secret is in the list,” the Internet Marketer says to his prospect. Kind of like the spider inviting the fly over to his web for dinner.

The real secret, which really isn’t a secret at all is this…The list is only part of the total equation.

The other part of the equation is that one needs to monetize the list in order to make any money. I go into this more in depth in this article about How to Convert Subscribers into Buyers. So if this topic interests you, click on the link and check it out.

Now if you are building a business online I am going to assume (which I don’t usually do) that you have a need and desire to make some kind of income.

As far as list building goes…you will need products and/or services in your sales funnel in order to see any kind of revenue come your way.

To monetize the list of subscribers you need to offer them products and/or services that are related to your business (niche) plus the subscriber must be in the marketplace for these particular products and services.

It’s the same in the offline world.

Yeh, I know, it all sounds so simple. It is truly that simple. Really it is.

And that’s why this article is so short, because list building is really simple.

Here is the overview:

1. Find people who have interest in your niche.

2. Attract them to your squeeze page and make them an offer they cannot refuse.

3. Treat them like your friends and along the way offer your products and/or services.

4. When your subscriber purchases, he or she becomes a buyer and you make money.

Not rocket science. Not a huge mathematical equation.

So if you want more insights and tips on list building – subscribe here.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Start Your Own Business – Part I

Have you been thinking lately that maybe it’s time you start your own business and run your own show? With all the options to choose from in today’s marketplace how does one make a decision as to which business is the right one?

One thing is for sure, starting a business can be a lot of work and takes time, effort and money. If anyone tells you different, turn and run the other direction.

Now making the new business a success and becoming profitable is entirely another story and this pertains to both online and offline ventures. So which way should you go, online or offline; home based, office location or ???

For the remainder of this post I’ll focus on starting your own business online and some of the current options available to you.

Online Business Options:

Although some online businesses might be less money to start up than offline ventures, there’s still a learning curve and money that you will need to get your business started.

One of the things I see is that people think with online businesses you can start them for free or next to nothing. Well I’ve got news for you, no matter which online business you choose, there are expenses involved like hosting, domain registration and site development, let alone traffic generation.

A few of the options that you might consider and look into are:

1. Affiliate Marketing is where you market other people’s products and services and when a sale is completed you receive a commission on the sale. Commissions can range from 3% to 70% and in some cases even 90% or greater. The range of affiliate products available to the online marketer are many. Affiliate marketing also works well with my next option and that is email marketing.

2. Email marketing is where you develop a list of subscribers and convert them into buyers through the process of selling products and/or services, either your own or someone else’s. This process is also called list building and can be referred to as building an email list. To start a business with email marketing is a great way to go, especially if you already have existing expertise on a specific subject or you have a passion about a product or service that you would like to market.

Email marketing can also be used if you decide to establish an e-commerce site of your own where you market your own products or affiliate products.

3. E-commerce is the original online method of moving goods and services. Back when I first started out on the web in 1995, this was how transactions were primarily done. E-commerce is still a sound method, especially for those business owners looking to develop and grow their own business online while having the freedom to mix their own products with other brands.

Look for part two of this series about starting your own business and I’ll go further into more online options plus how you can transition an offline business some things to watch out for. In the meantime – here’s another resource that might help you in starting your small business: Start a Small Business

Should you find that your start up is missing a part or needs something to get going – go see the Small Biz Mechanic and he’ll get you fixed up.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Traffic for List Building – Part I

Traffic, Traffic, Traffic. One of the hottest and most debated topics online.

For list building – traffic is key. But traffic for list building has to be the right kind of traffic.

So I felt it best to use offline examples to show you four different kinds of traffic and how they relate to online methods:

  • City traffic can be massive if you are positioned in the right area.
  • Freeway traffic can bring massive quantities but only at certain times of the day.
  • Suburban traffic is much more targeted and can bring very qualified prospects.
  • Rural traffic is somewhat targeted but you need to be able to capture the prospect.

Each one has it’s own patterns and volumes.

The commonality amongst all the above options is that you need to capture the prospects attention, hence different methods work for the different kinds of traffic.

For years the saying in retail was location, location, location…and depending on your location determined what kind of traffic you received.

The beauty of the web is that you can dial in just about any kind of traffic that you want and along with the right amount.

The question you need to ask is, what kind of traffic do you want? Massive quantities but un-targeted or lessor quantities but more targeted. This all depends on your niche(s) and needs.

Here are four of the many online traffic sources you can use to build your list:

  • Pay-per-click can be turned on & off – which works great for some marketers.
  • Banner Ads work great and can bring tons of traffic, if you are positioned well.
  • Articles work like a charm for targeted traffic, especially if you like to write and already have knowledge about your subject and market.
  • Videos can bring searchers who are very targeted and have interest in specific niches, products, services and information.

Traffic for list building all comes down to ROI. Is the traffic bringing you ROI or is it just TOE (tons of eyeballs)?

Return on investment is the key. Without ROI, you are spinning your wheels. So make sure you test your traffic sources and work towards ones that produce ROI.

Tired of spinning your list building wheels and want to finally get some traction? This might be just what you need…check it out here: List Building Strategies & Tactics

What is Affiliate Marketing and How does it Work?

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work? And is it the right online business model for you? These are two questions that I will answer in today’s article.

There are many different ways to make money online and one of them is affiliate marketing. This model has been around for years and basically there are two side to the affiliate coin. One is the affiliate(you), who markets the product or service and second is the merchant or who provides the product or service for you to market.

When marketing as an affiliate you receive commissions when a transaction takes place. The amount of commission can vary depending on the merchant and kind of product or service.

One of the ways of utilizing affiliate products is through building a list of your own and then marketing to your list of subscribers. The biggest benefit here is that instead of you sending the searcher to the merchant’s site directly, they opt-in and subscribe to your site first. This way you maintain the relationship with the subscriber

As an affiliate the merchant will provide you advertising and promotional materials like banner and text link ads that can be used to promote the products or services. You can then use these ads on your websites, in signatures and on other people’s websites to generate traffic to the offer or your subscriber lead capture page.

So how do you the online marketer promote affiliate products and services so you can make commissions on the sales that occur?

1. Find affiliate products and services that are directly related to your niche or business and promote them on your niche based website. You will need to find an affiliate network so be prepared to research and have your sites ready so you can be approved.

2. Promote the affiliate products through content that you write and post on different websites and blogs.

3. Promote the mix of products and services to your list of subscribers in an automated email campaign. This way you can control what is sent to the subscriber and when it is sent.

Hopefully you can see that affiliate marketing can be a workable web-based business model and in some cases be just the right fit for list building online.

For more information on how you can build a list of subscribers – check out The List Building Guide for tips, tactics and strategies.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

List Building – How to Connect with Subscribers-Part III

In part one and part two of this ‘How to Connect’ series I covered my first two rules when it comes to connecting and building relationships with subscribers and clients.

This article is about Rule #3 – Be available.

Be willing and open to connect with those people that opt-in and subscribe to your email list.

What this really means to be available is that when a subscriber sends you an email, you respond to them. And do so sooner than later.

This is one of the first tests that I do when I subscribe to a marketers list.

I send an email to inquire about something. If the message comes back as undeliverable, no response, with an automated reply, or with a support ticket system, then I know this marketer is not available. Or he or she has chosen to outsource email inquiries.

What this tells me is that the marketer is not really interested in connecting with subscribers and clients.

I did this just recently and the individual never replied. But then the next day his new message showed up to pitch me another product. The funny thing is that the product didn’t have a thing to do with why I subscribed in the first place.

The no reply and then follow up sales message didn’t do much to get me to buy his product. In fact it did the exact opposite and turned me the other direction.

When a subscriber contacts you, it’s usually because the individual is searching for more information or has a question about something pertaining to your product or service.

What you should do is make the personal connection and start the cultivation process. Because after all you are building relationships and if the relationship is strong, the better chance you have of selling your products and services.

Of course there’s the easy way out and you can simply say that … Shortcuts are the way to go. And then you look for ways to automate the replies or setup support ticket software.

I say – take the high road. Be available and Connect with your subscribers and clients until the day comes that you have so much business and are overwhelmed with emails that you have to search, hire and personally train someone to help you. More on this topic in another article.

To summarize our three part series: Be real, add value and be available to the people on your list –online or offline.

And if you still haven’t picked up the List Building Guide, go now and get yourself a copy.

To your continued success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Best Practices for List Building

Best practices for list building applies to any online and offline businesses. In this series I am going to cover how best practices can be used and implemented in your list building business.

First, let’s start out with the topic of content.

If you are building a list of subscribers then the content that you post needs to be original. Buying repurposed or second-hand articles is not the way to go.

You are better off outsourcing your articles to a professional article writer but this too has its pit falls as some writers will not deliver totally original content to you. How do I know this – because I’ve experienced it first hand and on more than one occasion.

Just recently I had yet another marketer sending me a message that said he was offering a certain number of prewritten articles that could be used to promote his product.

Now why on earth would he do that? A whole bunch of people on his list will be using those articles and most likely without rewriting them. This puts a whole bunch of the same content all over the web until the engines clean it all up.

Let me ask you this…

Do like to search and find junk content or content that is obviously not well thought out or just plain awful? Does this make your day or do you hit the back button and get frustrated?

It boggles my mind that people think that they are going to use second hand content just to make a buck. But really all they are doing is taking a short cut. And I understand this – find the easiest path. It’s just human nature.

But for you the list builder who is building a business, I am suggesting you take the high road and produce high quality content that your subscribers look forward to receiving.

The people on your list do not want regurgitated, repurposed, rehashed content that has been around the block several times. They want original, quality content and by you using best practices and producing such content, your subscribers will come to appreciate you.

There are other ways to build your list. You don’t need to have articles circulating all over the place, but should you choose to write articles and blog posts, make sure they are all original.

With all that said – take the high road and produce content, products and services that speak quality. Your subscribers will thank you and will be more likely to stick around for the long-term.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

PS- If you need some insight and tips on list building – subscribe here.