16 Ridiculously Simple Ways To Get More Email Subscribers in Less than 5 Minutes

Businesses, bloggers, and entrepreneurs live and die by their email marketing.

“The money,” as it’s often said, “is in the list.”

That’s why there are so many great articles out there offering strategies for getting more leads and boosting conversion rates.

But what if you’re short on time? What if you’re not technologically savvy?

Since most list-building strategies are geared towards advanced users with seemingly infinite amounts of time on their hands, your Average Pat is often left out in the cold.

Not this time.

This article is for those sleep-deprived bloggers with day jobs. It’s for the parents juggling twenty things at once. It’s for the hopeful entrepreneur who is not quite ready for A/B testing, search engine optimization, and other gobbledygook.

It’s for anyone who needs easy list-building strategies that can be implemented in less than 5 minutes.

Ready? Let’s get started…

1. Add an Exit-Intent® Popup

Hey, did you know that over 70% of the people who leave your website will never return?

Did you know you can convert many of these abandoning users into email subscribers with one simple trick?

It’s called Exit-Intent® Technology. It detects user behavior and prompts them with an optin form when they’re about to leave.

Here’s How You Do It

You can create an Exit-Intent® popup in a matter of minutes.

Just follow our guide to create your first campaign. Then go to Display Rules » If… and choose “exit detected.” After that, choose the level of sensitivity you want.

Or, follow this easy video tutorial:

Don’t have OptinMonster yet? Click here to get started!

2. Add an Optin at End of Articles

Readers who reach the end of your article are primed.

Your headline grabbed their attention. Your introduction drew them in like moths to a flame. Your bullet points and anecdotes kept them on the edge of their seats.

Of the millions of articles they could have read, they read yours. And they read until the very end.

They like you. They really, really like you.

That’s why the end of your article is the perfect time to ask them to join your mailing list.

Here’s How You Do It

Adding a call to action in your author bio and the end of each article is a great way to strike while the iron is hot. Here’s how Jeff Goins does it:

But what if your blog’s theme lacks an author bio section? What if your website has numerous authors?

Then you can use OptinMonster to create an after-content widget with some enticing copy to compel your most-engaged readers to subscribe. All you need is an inline campaign and a compelling Call to Action (CTA). Lilach Bulloch uses inline forms to help her convert 57% of website visitors.

Case Study: See How Lilach Bullock Converted 57% of Visitors with Strategic Messaging Repetition!

Readers who make it to the end of your articles are focused. They’re engaged and looking for direction.

Direct them to your email list.

And while you’re doing that …

3. Turn Popular Posts into Lead Magnets

It has many names.

Lead magnets, giveaways, ethical bribes…

Whatever you call it, it’s mighty effective at compelling readers to subscribe to your email list:

“Want this neat bonus? It’s free! I just need your email address…”

But here’s the thing:

Creating lead magnets can be tricky.

What if you don’t have time to write an ebook or create a PDF checklist? What if producing an email or video series is more than you can do right now? What if creating dazzling infographics is beyond your current skill set?

If this describes you, it doesn’t mean you’re resigned to a fate of sitting on the sidelines while everyone else gains more email subscribers.

Not if you have 30 seconds to spare.

That’s all the time it takes to convert one of your popular articles into a handy, easy-to-print, PDF file.

Go to Print Friendly and enter the URL of the article you’d like to convert. Click the “PDF” button. Click “Download.”

Then all you have to do is offer it and deliver it to visitors. And that’s a simple process with OptinMonster.

Here’s How You Do It

All you need to do to deliver your lead magnet is to use one of OptinMonster’s Success Themes.

Go to the Success View in the OptinMonster campaign builder.

Choose the button on your optin and click Editing Button Element » Action. You’re going to edit the Action to redirect to a URL by entering the download URL for your lead magnet.

Here are some more ways to deliver your lead magnet when people sign up.

Pretty easy, right? Almost as easy as…

4. Using Content Locking

You know what’s a really quick way to get more subscribers without having to create new content?

Content locking.

It’s where you block off part of the content visitors are reading until they subscribe. And it’s easy to do with OptinMonster. In fact, Trading Strategy Guides added 11,000 new subscribers by using it.

Case Study: See How Trading Strategy Guides Added 11,000 Subscribers With A Content Locking Script!

Here’s How You Do It

First, you’ll want to identify which of your blog posts have the highest traffic. If you’re using WordPress, you can easily see your most popular posts in your dashboard by using MonsterInsights.

Or, you can use Google Analytics. Just click on Behavior » Site Content » Landing Pages. By default, it will show you data for the past 7 days. You can use the date range selector in the top right corner to get a longer view.

Create an after-post or inline campaign as described earlier, then go to Optin » Inline Settings in the OptinMonster campaign builder. Click the “Lock Content Below Campaign?” toggle to activate it, then choose how you want content to be blocked. You can either blur it with Obfuscation or remove it completely

That’s it! Once visitors subscribe, they’ll magically get access to the content, and you’ll have new subscribers.

You can check out our guide to gated content marketing for more details on this strategy.

You could also…

5. Use a 2-Step Optin

Want to know a neat psychological trick that’s proven to increase email signups? It’s the Zeigarnik effect.

This bit of human psychology just means we’re primed to finish an action we start. And it’s why OptinMonster’s 2-step optins are so successful.

Here’s How You Do It

Choose a popup campaign, go to Display Rules » visitor clicked MonsterLink™ to enable MonsterLink™. Then click the “Copy MonsterLink™” button to copy the code. You can add it to any page on your site.

When visitors click the link, your email subscription campaign will appear.

Here’s an example of a 2-step optin used by the US Student Loan Center. This is what visitors see when they click the link.

For more detailed step-by-step instructions, see our guide on how to use MonsterLinks to load your popup with the click of a button.

6. Try a Different Button Color

What color is your optin button?

If you answered “I don’t know” or “what does it matter?” you’re potentially missing out on an easy way to increase optins.

Did you know 85% of shoppers say color is a primary reason for why they buy a certain product?

Did you know the color blue creates a sensation of trust? Red a sense of urgency? Green a sense of relaxation?

By knowing how people perceive different colors and using this knowledge to your advantage, you can increase the likelihood someone will want to join your email list.

Here’s How You Do It

If you’re using OptinMonster, it’s pretty easy to change the button colors in any campaign. Just click on the button, and you’ll see the editing options on the left. Click on the color button to popup the color picker and choose your new color.

So what color should you use?

Research into color and conversions says it depends on the context.

All the psychology in the world won’t matter if your CTA color blends into the background, so be sure to choose a color that stands out from the rest of your blog or website.

And while we’re on the subject of buttons…

7. Split Test Button Copy

Do you use generic copy such as “Subscribe” or “Sign Up” for your optin buttons? If so, I have bad news for you:

It’s actually your CTA button’s copy – not its color or positioning – that matters most.

If you’ve never given your button’s copy a passing thought, it’s time to remedy the situation.

Provide value and relevance, but be sure not to exaggerate.

Keep it simple, but don’t be boring. It’s okay to use two sentences so long as they are short.

One particularly effective strategy is to personalize your optin button.

Joanna Wiebe of Copy Hackers suggests writing button copy in the first person. By personalizing the words, they become more appealing to the reader.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Which sounds better?

Which wording can you relate to?

Which button would you rather click?

The differences are subtle, but during her testing, Joanne found first-person pronouns (“I” and “my”) beat the competition by a whopping 24%.

Sometimes, “subtle” can be huge.

To get the same data on your button, you’ll need to split test. This is easy with OptinMonster.

Here’s How You Do It

Login to OptinMonster, and click on the three-dot menu to the right of the campaign you want to split test.

Select A/B Split Test,” then “Create Split Test.” Name your split test and you’ll get a duplicate of your campaign.

Then change one element of your campaign, like the button wording. Save and publish the campaign, and OptinMonster will automatically divide your traffic and collect data so you know which one works best.

8. Prominently Display Testimonials

Did you know OptinMonster is recommended by the likes of Michael Stelzner, Ian Cleary, and Yoast?

Of course you did.

OptinMonster prominently displays these heavy hitters on our homepage and Testimonials page. There’s no way you could miss them.

Why do we do this? Because it shows we’re the real deal.

People won’t give their hard-earned money or email address to simply anyone. They want to know you’re on the up and up.

Offering testimonials helps build trust, and more trust means more email subscribers.

Here’s How You Do It

Go find a great endorsement you’ve received.

Look at the reviews people have given you. Browse through your comments and emails. Search for mentions on social media.

Be A Better Blogger found its featured testimonial when the great Amy Harrison tweeted the following:

This tweet was turned into a testimonial that’s displayed whenever a reader clicks on one of Be A Better Blogger’s MonsterLinks™:

That optin form? It’s currently sporting an awesome 26.09% conversion rate.

I’m no mathematician, but it would appear Testimonial + OptinMonster = More Email Subscribers.

Of course, all the awesome testimonials in the world won’t help you if readers can’t see them, so…

9. Remove Distractions

How many widgets do you have in your website’s sidebar?

How many different calls to action are at the end of your articles?

How many choices are your visitors given?

If you’re inundating your readers with options, how can they be expected to take the one action you want them to take?

Want more email subscribers? You need to cut down on the clutter.

Here’s How You Do It

The following screenshot from Henneke Duistermaat is a perfect example of a landing page that focuses on what’s important: getting that email address.

Per Henneke, this landing page has converted as high as 59.6 percent.

It’s easy to see why. Every aspect – from the headline to the testimonial – is designed to increase conversions. There are no social media icons, advertisements, or anything else to distract readers from the task at hand.

What lessons can we learn from Henneke’s landing page?

We should remove distractions. We shouldn’t prioritize our social media icons. We should move the “search” option (which few people ever use) to the footer. We should stick to one CTA for each article.

We should get rid of anything that doesn’t help us earn more email subscribers.

Here are some more tips on creating high-converting landing pages.

And while we’re removing unnecessary items…

10. Stop Asking for Too Much Information

On your optin forms, do you ask for “name” in addition to “email address”?

If so, let me ask you a question…

Do you need it? Do you do anything with that information?

If the answer is “no”, you need to stop asking people to provide it. A/B test after A/B test confirms the more information you ask from readers, the less likely they are to optin.

Keep it short and sweet.

Stick to the bare essentials. Only ask for the information you need.

Here’s How You Do It

Don’t need names? Don’t ask for them. Have no use for phone numbers? Don’t ask people to input them.

Just keep it simple.

The less data you request, the more email subscribers you’ll earn.

Customizing your optin form fields is easy to do with OptinMonster and it works on any campaign. Simply choose the fields you want on your form. It’s all drag and drop.

11. Share Your Campaign Everywhere

You know what the trouble is with some email campaigns?

There are limits to where you can share them.

It stands to reason that the more places you can display campaigns, the more chances you have to get more subscribers.

Luckily, this couldn’t be simpler with OptinMonster.

Here’s How You Do It

Once you’ve created a campaign you’re happy with, go to the publishing options. One of those is a Shareable MonsterLink™.

Grab the link, and add it anywhere you want to show the campaign – social media, author bios, email signature and more.

See how simple that was?

And speaking of places to add a link…

12. Link to a Campaign in Your Twitter Bio

Right now, what information is in your Twitter bio?

Your occupation? A personal quote that holds special meaning to you? Perhaps a hashtag or two or ten?

Why don’t you use that precious real estate to promote your email list?

That’s how Brent Jones used his Twitter bio:

Simple, effective, and takes minutes to implement.

Here are some more ways to get leads from Twitter.

Here’s How You Do It

While logged into your Twitter account, click the “Edit profile” button on the right-hand side of your profile page. You’ll then be able to change your name, profile and header photos, bio, and more:

Once you’ve added a link to your bio, click “Save changes” and admire your handiwork.

But there’s still somewhere else you can add that link…

13. Add an Optin Link to Your Email Signature

In a given day, how many emails do you send? Ten? Twenty? More?

If you’re like most people, the answer is: “A lot. I send lots and lots of emails.”

What if I told you each of those emails you send is an opportunity – either an opportunity lost or an opportunity gained?

By placing a hyperlinked CTA in your email signature, you have the ability to turn every recipient into a subscriber.

Here’s How You Do It

Each email provider is slightly different, but for Gmail go to Settings » General. Scroll down and you’ll find the Signature section:

The link in your signature could point to a landing page, your homepage (assuming it’s optimized), or an article with a particularly-appealing optin bribe.

14. Be More Social

Chances are you already spend several hours each week on various social media platforms.

That’s good – in a recent Social Media Marketing Industry Report, Social Media Examiner noted how a majority of marketers increase leads when they use social media for 6+ hours each week.

Ah, but there’s a catch.

How you’re using those 6+ hours each week matters.

Sharing videos of kittens and puppies won’t help you unless your business is related to kittens and puppies. Publishing photos of food won’t help you unless you’re a chef or restaurant owner. Live tweeting a Kardashian TV show won’t help you unless… well, it’ll probably never help you.

To see the lead-generating benefits of social media, you need to be purposeful with those 6+ hours.

Here’s How You Do It

Be helpful. Answer questions. Share worthwhile content. Reach out to people. Make connections.

If people find you indispensable on social media, they’re going to want more of you.

More helpful advice. More answers to their questions. More worthwhile content.

And where will they go to get “more”?

Your email list.

15. Add a “Subscribe” Check Box

If you’re a WordPress user, there are two plugins that can boost optins with little-to-no upkeep. Just ensure the plugins stay up to date and you’re good to go.

But don’t worry, you’ll be notified when there are updates available in your WordPress dashboard!

The first plugin is WPForms, which you can use to add a subscribe checkbox to any form on your site. This works with the most popular email service providers including MailChimp, Constant Contact, and AWeber.

With one simple click, readers can optin to your mailing list while submitting your contact form, or any other form. It makes subscribing very easy, and readers tend to like easy.

You can check out these step-by-step tutorials on how to add a MailChimp signup checkbox to your contact form or see the tutorials for AWeber and Constant Contact instead.

Ready for the second plugin?

16. Add a “Thanks for Commenting” Redirect

The second plugin we mentioned is Yoast Comment Hacks.

When someone leaves you a comment for the very first time, this plugin redirects them to a “thank you” page. Ramsay Taplin of Blog Tyrant uses this page to encourage subscriptions:

Check out these step-by-step instructions on how to set up an after-comment redirect on your WordPress site.

If you ask readers to subscribe when they are engaged (and it’s hard to get more engaged than “leaving a comment for the first time ever”), the odds of them taking you up on your offer are pretty good.

It’s Time To Increase Subscribers

You realize they’re yours for the taking, right?

Your ideal customer? Those readers who will hang on your every word? The people who will advocate for you and preach your virtues to their friends?

They’re all out there… ready to join your email list.

You just need to make it as easy for them to do so as possible.

OptinMonster can help, so if you’re not already a customer be sure to check out our list of features. For those who are short on time and tech savvy, we’re a breath of fresh, lead-generating air.

Next, check out our ultimate guides to email marketing, growth hacking, and SEO for even more success with marketing.

And be sure to follow us on YouTubeTwitter, and Facebook for more guides, tips, and tutorials.

The post 16 Ridiculously Simple Ways To Get More Email Subscribers in Less than 5 Minutes appeared first on OptinMonster.

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Application Web Hosting 101

The post Application Web Hosting 101 appeared first on HostGator Blog.

You’re still working out the details for your website and you’re facing two related decisions: what application will you use to build your website, and what type of web hosting will you choose?

While it’s possible to build your website without using one of the popular applications available, using an application such as a content management system (CMS) is an extremely popular choice for good reason. They make website creation and maintenance easier and can help you implement more of the elements and features you want on your website.

What Is Application Web Hosting?

To understand application web hosting, you should start by understanding what web hosting is.

Web Hosting

Every website you encounter online is made up of a number of different files and elements arranged in just such a way to create your website experience. While we tend to think of the things we encounter online as existing somewhere outside of physical space (we even call it “cyberspace”), all of the different parts that go into making up each website do take up space.

And it all has to be stored in a physical web server that’s powerful enough to hold the many files that make up the website, and to deliver them all up to every visitor that comes to the site. That requires a lot of space and bandwidth on a platform, which makes web hosting something that few website owners can handle on their own.

Instead, the vast majority of websites are hosted by companies that provide web hosting on a subscription model. These companies maintain the buildings required to house thousands of physical web servers. They do regular maintenance on the servers, provide the climate controlled environment required to keep them in good working condition, and put protections into place to keep them from being hurt by bad weather or accessed by malicious hackers.

In exchange for paying a set amount of money each month or year, you can rent out a space on one of these servers (or a whole server with dedicated server hosting, if you need it). It’s a necessary service all websites need in order to be accessible online.

Application Hosting Packages

The short version: application hosting is the term used to describe web hosting plans that specialize in providing hosting services for websites built on a particular application.

Many websites are now built and maintained using popular applications. This includes popular CMSs such as WordPress or applications specifically designed for building forums like phpBB.

While many types of web hosting services will work fine for websites built with a particular application, application web hosting plans provide specific features and benefits related to the application you built your website with. They can make it easier to install the application software when you’re getting started, and provide special compatibility that ensures your web hosting account and application software play nice together.

How Does Application Hosting Compare to Other Web Hosting?

The main difference is that you never have to worry about compatibility issues between your application and your web hosting service. Application web hosting plans often include easy one-click installation of your application, so you can get the two services working together on a single platform without any real effort or difficulty.

In addition, an application hosting plan may include features that allow you to more easily access or use the application’s features within your web hosting account, to make the experience of working on your website more seamless and efficient.

In short, while other web hosting services may work just fine for your website, finding an application web hosting plan that supports the application you use can make your life a little easier.

What to Look for In an Application Web Hosting Plan

If you’ve decided to seek out an application web hosting plan for your new website, there are a few main features you should look out for:

Compatibility with your preferred application

This is the whole point of getting an application-specific web hosting plan to begin with. Make sure the application hosting option you consider works specifically with the CMS, forum, or wiki application you’ll be using for your website. Application hosting isn’t one-size-fits-all, so find the option that will fit your particular needs.

Easy setup

A web hosting plan that offers one-click set up for the application you use will vastly simplify the set-up process. But also consider how intuitive the web hosting company’s account management and cPanel tools are. And look into what kind of resources they offer to help you get started using the web hosting service.

Your web hosting account will be where you complete important tasks like domain name management, setting up redirects, and managing your web hosting billing. You want to make sure it’s all easy to learn and use.  

99% uptime

One of the main jobs a web hosting company has is keeping your website up and available on the web. Realistically, web hosting servers do occasionally have to go offline for maintenance. And sometimes they go offline for other reasons, such as issues caused by improper maintenance, repair needs, hacker attacks, weather-related disruptions (the server warehouse floods, for example), or hardware glitches.

One of the main differentiating factors between different web hosting providers is how much of the time their service is affected by these kinds of issues. If you choose an unreliable application hosting provider, your website could end up offline frequently while they deal with various issues. Ideally, you want to find an application hosting provider that promises at least 99% uptime and backs that up with a guarantee. Some of the most reputable web host providers go even further, such as HostGator’s 99.9% uptime guarantee.

If you want people to be able to access your website every time they visit, make uptime a priority in your decision.

24/7 customer service

Working with websites, no matter the application you use, will present challenges and issues on occasion. When that happens, you want to be able to identify the issue and fix it fast. If your application hosting company doesn’t offer customer service at all hours, you could be stuck waiting for hours to fix a serious issue with your website, delivering your visitors a disappointing experience all the while.

Look for an application web hosting company that promises 24/7 customer support. And check that they provide your preferred option for communication when issues arise, whether that’s live chat, email, or phone.

Security features

Website hacks and data breaches are nearly everyday news lately. And the most popular website application are often targets of hacks because of their popularity. Website owners should always be on the offensive when it comes to security. While there are a number of steps you can take to keep your website secure, one of the first and most important is choosing a respected web hosting provider.

A web hosting company that invests in the infrastructure to keep their web servers protected and sets up firewalls to keep hackers out is the first line of defense you have. Many application hosting packages will also offer additional features or add-ons such as an SSL certificate or security software that makes your website’s protection even stronger.

Security should be a priority for every website owner today. If your website will be collecting any personal visitor information, such as names and emails, it’s even more important. And if you’ll be running an eCommerce store that collects customer financial information, it’s indispensable.  Do your due diligence when choosing your application hosting plan to make sure security is well covered.

The 6 Main Types of Application Hosting

As we mentioned previously, you don’t want a general application hosting plan. You want hosting that’s specific to the type of application you’ll be using. These are the six most common types of application web hosting to consider.

1. WordPress Hosting

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, with over half of the market share. That makes WordPress hosting the most common type of application hosting website owners are likely to consider.

Websites powered by WordPress are easy to build, update, and maintain, even for people that don’t know to code. You can make changes to the website through the WordPress interface rather than having to update the page code directly. And with a library of over 50,000 WordPress plugins and thousands of themes, you can easily add a lot of features and functionality to a WordPress site.

There are many reasons to choose WordPress hosting for your website and it is a smart choice that makes maintaining your website that much easier.

2. Joomla Hosting

Joomla is another popular CMS option that falls behind WordPress in the number of users, but still dominates a certain segment of the market. Joomla is a bit harder to use than WordPress, but it’s a little more powerful and customizable, which makes it a popular choice for website owners and designers who want a step up in functionality.

Joomla also has a comprehensive library of themes, extensions, and educational resources to learn how best to use the website. For anyone that chooses Joomla as the best option to build a website with, Joomla hosting is an obvious choice.

3. Drupal Hosting

Drupal is the third most popular CMS is in the world. While it lags behind WordPress and Joomla in number of users, it has a reputation for being more sophisticated and powerful than the other two. The tradeoff is that it’s harder for any beginners or amateurs to use, meaning it’s mostly used for websites that have professional developers behind them.

If that describes your website and you choose to go with Drupal, you can keep the web hosting part of running your website simpler by choosing a Drupal hosting plan.

4. Magento Hosting

Anyone building an eCommerce website will need an eCommerce app that enables shopping cart and checkout functionality on the website. The most popular option for that is Magento, an open source shopping cart option that’s currently used by over 240,000 websites.

Magento’s eCommerce features are both customizable and easy for even beginners to set up and work with. Magento is the obvious choice for anyone building an eCommerce website, and by choosing compatible Magento hosting you can ensure that your web hosting service works well with your eCommerce software.

5. Wiki Hosting

While slightly less popular than some of the other most common types of websites, Wikis are an important part of the web. They deliver valuable information on a variety of topics in a way that’s easy to browse, search, and contribute to. The most popular Wiki apps, such as MediaWiki, TikiWiki, PmWiki, and WikkaWiki all help users create functioning Wiki websites.

If you’re specifically building a Wiki, then you’ll want to use one of the Wiki apps to get your website up and running. And for that, investing in Wiki hosting is a solid choice.

6. phpBB Hosting

User forums are another important part of the web, enabling users from all over the world with common interests to find and communicate with each other. For websites that are either forum-based or plan to include a forum, phpBB is the primary application available for building online communities.

phpBB is an open-source bulletin board software that makes it easy to build a space for users to communicate with each other online. If you choose to build an online community with phpBB, consider phpBB hosting to provide easy accessibility to your users.  

Choose the Right Application Hosting Provider

You have a number of choices when it comes to finding the right web hosting plan for your website. If you’re using one of the applications described here, you’ll benefit from finding a provider that specializes in the application you use.

HostGator is one of the most respected application hosting providers in the industry. We offer hosting plans for all the most popular applications, and have a variety of plan options at different price points that are compatible with each. We provide a 99.9% uptime money-back guarantee, and 24/7 customer support. We can offer both compatibility and reliability for your website. Sign up today.

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7 Key Metrics Every Business Should Track

If you follow professional sports, you know that you can’t just boil a player’s value or ability to perform down to a single statistic. One metric can’t reveal that much about them -- analytics is more complicated than that. It’s only when you examine numerous statistics or metrics together that you can get a full picture of a player’s ability to perform and truly gauge their value.

In business, the same principle applies. You can’t just use one metric to measure a business’ financial performance. To truly gauge its value, you need to track numerous metrics together to get a full picture understanding of the business’ ability to perform.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the seven key metrics every business should track, allowing you to gauge your business’ performance from a more holistic point of view and measure your growth in a multitude of ways.

7 Key Metrics Every Business Should Track

1. Revenue Growth

Revenue is the amount of product your business sells in dollars minus the cost of returned or undeliverable items. It’s the key metric every business uses to measure their financial performance. Obviously, earning the highest amount of revenue possible is ideal, but the metric that’s more indicative of your business’ financial performance is year-over-year revenue growth.

You must remember that your business’ situation is completely different than your competitors’, even though you contend for the same customers, so it’s better to compete against yourself and compare your current revenue and revenue growth to your past financial performance than it is to compare it to your competitors’.

Otherwise, you could set a revenue or revenue growth goal that’s not attainable within your particular context, causing you to miss your goals, pressure your employees to cut corners in order to hit their numbers, and, ultimately, burn everyone out.

2. Average Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are your business’ costs that stay constant regardless if your business sells more or less of its product. For example, your rent on office space, website hosting costs, utility bills, manufacturing equipment, small business loans, property tax, and health insurance are all fixed costs because regardless of how much product you develop, ship out, and sell, these costs stay the same each month.

To determine how much your business will have to pay for each unit of your product before you account for the variable costs needed to actually produce them, you need to calculate your average fixed cost, which is your total fixed cost divided by your total number of units produced. This will help gauge the level of impact your fixed costs have on your product’s potential for profitability and how much you should spend on variable costs in order to turn a profit.

3. Average Variable Costs

Variable costs are the cost of all the labor and materials used to produce a unit of your product. Your variable costs directly depend on the amount of product you sell, so the more units you sell, the higher your variable costs, and the less units you sell, the lower your variable costs.

Some examples of variable costs are physical materials, production equipment, sales commissions, staff wages, credit card fees, online payment partners, and packaging and shipping costs.

To determine the amount of variable costs your business will have to pay to produce each unit of your product, you need to calculate your average variable cost. To do this, add each of your product’s unique total variable costs together and divide them by the total number of units of product made.

4. Contribution Margin Ratio

Contribution margin is calculated by subtracting the variable costs required to produce one unit of product from the revenue it generated. Since your variable costs are directly linked to producing your product and fixed costs are directly linked to keeping your business in operation and not producing your product, contribution margin helps you understand how profitable each of your products are. But to truly understand how they individually impact your bottom line, it’s better to calculate each of your product’s contribution margin ratios.

To do this, subtract each product’s total variable costs from their total sales revenue and divide that number by their total sales revenue. Your contribution margin ratio will be expressed in a percentage.

Once you know each of your product’s contribution margin ratios and, in turn, their profit potential, you’ll understand which products will generate more profit if you produce more units of them, and which products will generate less profit if you produce more units of them. These insights will help you develop a product mix capable of generating the highest level of profit for your business.

5. Break Even Point

Your business’ break even point is the quantity of product you must sell so that your total revenue equals your total costs. Knowing your break even point is crucial because it serves as the minimum goal your business should try to achieve in order to not lose money during a specific time period. Even better, if you surpass your break even point, your business will turn a profit during that time period.

To calculate your break even point, add up all your fixed costs and divide them by your contribution margin or the difference of your total sales revenue and total variable costs.

For example, if you sell baseball bats and your fixed costs are $500,000 and contribution margin is $50 for the year, you’ll need to sell 10,000 baseball bats to break even. If you sell more, you’ll turn a profit.

6. Cost of Goods Sold

Your business’ cost of goods sold is the cost of acquiring or making the products you sold during a certain time period, like material, manufacturing, and labor costs. In other words, they’re your cost of sales or cost of doing business.

Tracking your cost of goods sold, or COGS, is important because they directly affect your business’ bottom line. For instance, when your COGS increase, your profits will decrease, and when your COGS decrease, your profits will increase.

To calculate your COGS, you first need to pick an accounting method. Most businesses usually decide between three: First In, First Out (FIFO), Last In, Last Out (LIFO), and the Average Cost Method.

If you use the FIFO method, you’ll sell the oldest products you purchased or manufactured. Prices tend to rise over time, so the FIFO method will allow you to sell your cheapest inventory, which will decrease your COGS and increase your profit.

If you use the LIFO method, you’ll sell the newest products you purchased or manufactured. Prices tend to rise over time, so the LIFO method will allow you to sell your most expensive inventory, which will increase your COGS and decrease your profit, but you’ll also pay less taxes, which could help you offset or even overcome that initial loss in profit.

If you use the Average Cost Method, you’ll calculate the mean cost of your inventory, completely disregarding the recency or latency of their purchase or manufacture date. This method prevents periods of high inflation from influencing the level of your COGS.

7. Gross Profit Margin

Your gross profit is calculated by subtracting your COGS from your total revenue and reveals your business’ production efficiency or ability to optimize your material, manufacturing, and labor costs. However, since gross profit is a pure dollar amount and not a percentage of your revenue, it can grow even when your financial performance declines.

So to truly understand your business’ financial performance, it’s better to measure gross profit margin, which is your gross profit as a percentage of your revenue, instead of measuring gross profit. If your gross profit margin continues to climb over time, it’s a good indication that your business’ financial health is in good shape.

Image Credit: Investopedia

Continue Reading 7 Key Metrics Every Business Should Track

7 Best Discount Wheel Popup Plugins to Boost Conversions

Ever feel like your popups aren’t getting the attention they deserve?

You’ve spent hours making them beautiful, funny, and captivating. Why are people ignoring them?

Sometimes you just need a little something extra to make your popups, well, POP! The good news is that you can still make engaging popups that capture your reader’s attention. And one way to do that is with a gamified discount wheel.

Discount wheel popups are optin forms that visitors can actively interact with. They click a button, spin a wheel, and win a prize – or not if you choose not to make every wedge a winner.

These popups are great because your visitors can play them as if they’re actual games. And that’s good for making your marketing campaign more memorable than your competitors’.

Sounds amazing, right?

Then let’s jump right in. Read on to see our picks for the top 7 discount wheel popup tools and start gamifying your optins today.

1. OptinMonster

Here at OptinMonster, we wholeheartedly believe in the value of gamified marketing. So much so that it made our list of 28 Best Growth Hacking Tools for Marketers. And if you’ve followed our blog for a while now, you probably also noticed that we believe in simplicity. It’s only natural that we combined those two elements to bring you the most intuitive discount wheel popup tool around.

OptinMonster has not 1, but 3 attention-grabbing discount wheel templates to choose from. All the “nuts and bolts” have been put together for you, meaning you can launch your discount wheel popup in minutes.

We also understand there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to marketing, so we made each template fully customizable.

Everything about your discount wheel can be customized to complement your brand image and marketing strategy. And we mean everything. You can tweak elements like your wheel color and the call-to-action button in seconds. You can even change the picture your wheel to a brand logo or any attention-grabbing image.

Choosing your rewards is just as easy. Simply type them into the “wheel selections” box and switch on the prizes you want to activate. OptinMonster will automatically calculate the probability of each prize every time you turn a wheel section on or off.

See the image below for an example of how easy it is to modify your prizes. Also, notice how we were feeling a little generous and switched off the “Not quite” slice.

As you can see, creating a spin-the-wheel popup for WordPress, Shopify, or any other eCommerce site has never been easier. Plus, you get a variety of sweet tools to growth hack your business.

You’ll need a Growth Plan to take advantage of these super cool discount wheel optins.

OptinMonster Is More Than Just a Coupon Wheel Plugin

Another thing that makes OptinMonster great is its versatility.

More than just a coupon wheel plugin, great OptinMonster features like Page-Level Targeting and Geo-Location Targeting let you choose who receives your popup and when. Managed WordPress hosting company, Flywheel, successfully boosted targeted conversions 4.7% thanks to Page-Level Targeting.

Case Study: How OptinMonster helped Flywheel multiply their leads and conversion rates!

Try our Exit-Intent® feature to engage visitors right before they leave your website. This isn’t exclusive to discount wheels, either. OptinMonster lets you engage visitors through landing pages, popups, light boxes, and more. And you can use our features with all of those. That way, you can change their minds by hitting them with your amazing offer.

OptinMonster works with all eCommerce websites, and you can integrate it into all email marketing tools.

Are you running WordPress or WooCommerce? Then activate our plugin and let OptinMonster take care of the rest. Using Shopify or any other type of website? No problem. Launching your campaign is as simple as pasting a few lines of code.

Don’t just take our word on how effective OptinMonster is at converting visitors. You can get a comprehensive breakdown of what you can achieve with OptinMonster’s coupon wheel by reading this guide on coupon wheel optins.

2. Wheelio

Wheelio markets itself as the first gamified popup to include smart tracking tools like on-exit overlays and time triggers. Like OptinMonster, Wheelio comes with a stellar template for designing attention-grabbing discount wheels in a few short minutes.

Great for gamifying optins, Wheelio offers a simple platform that’s quick to learn. That’s partly because Wheelio’s services are pretty straightforward. It creates coupon wheels and that’s pretty much it. We don’t recommend Wheelio to business owners trying to revamp their marketing strategy. But if you’re just looking for coupon wheels, Wheelio does everything you need it to.

With that said, here’s something to consider before purchasing a Wheelio subscription. Its baseline plan costs $14.92 a month and only comes with a wheel template and basic integration tools. If you need comprehensive analytics, segmentation, and custom fields, you’ll need Wheelio Pro. That costs $59.92.

At that price, you may want to decide whether you should spend a little more and get a comprehensive lead-generation solution.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Wheelio only works with Shopify at the moment. So, if you need a coupon wheel for WooCommerce and WordPress, you must find a Wheelio alternative for now.

3. Spin-a-Sale

Spin-a-Sale is a powerful tool that lets you design discount wheel popups for your website. Like Wheelio, Spin-a-Sale currently only works with eCommerce sites running Shopify. Sorry WooCommerce users, there isn’t a Spin-a-Sale WordPress plugin available at the moment. We hope that changes in the future.

Still, if you’re on Shopify and you’re looking for a powerful coupon wheel plugin, Spin-a-Sale is second to none. Its prices start at $9.99 a month for basic services and $24.99 for a premium subscription. This makes Spin-a-Sale one of the more affordable wheel of popups tools on the market.

Basic features include:

  • MailChimp, AWeber, and Klaviyo integration.
  • Advanced engagement tools like triggers, delay timers, and on-exit overlays for desktop and mobile.
  • Customizable wheel slices.
  • Adjustable win and loss probabilities.

Premium users get page-level targeting, protection against duplicate emails, and auto-generated coupon codes.

And all subscribers get access to a beautiful range of ready-made templates. So, finding the perfect theme for your Shopify site is a piece of cake.

4. WP Optin Wheel

Looking for a way to create gamified popups, but:

  • You don’t need a comprehensive digital marketing solution like OptinMonster?
  • You aren’t running your business through Shopify?

If so, then WP Optin Wheel has everything you need to create a WordPress and WooCommerce spinning wheel in minutes. You can also integrate it into most of popular email marketing platforms out there, including:

  • MailChimp
  • Klaviyo
  • GetResponse

Like the other platforms covered, WP Optin Wheel offers several ready-made wheel templates. Its easy-to-use setup wizard makes changing prizes and probability a breeze. Plus, you can integrate into Zapier and use it as part of your lead generation strategy.

But what about pricing?

There’s a free version of WP Optin Wheel as well as a premium subscription. The free version gives you access to the general template so that you can create gamified popups. But you’ll need to go premium if you want to:

  • Fully customize your wheel.
  • Gain access to fun and quirky seasonal templates.
  • Enjoy the full spectrum of marketing tools that come with the plugin, like on-exit overlays, integrated statistics, and comprehensive coupon settings.

Premium subscriptions cost a yearly fee of $39 for 1 site, $99 for 3, and $199 for unlimited sites.

5. OptinSpin

OptinSpin is another gamified coupon wheel plugin for WordPress and WooCommerce platforms. What’s cool about OptinSpin is that you can have coupon codes emailed to visitors that engage with your wheel. Visitors can use the code for immediate purchases, or they can save it for a later time. This gives customers time to think about their purchase without losing the sweet discount they won.

But wait, isn’t urgency a good thing?

Yes! We’ve covered the benefits of urgency extensively. But urgency can also backfire, as it usually does when you’re not using scarcity alongside it. For this reason, giving visitors the option to save their coupons is a great idea.

Other great OptinSpin features include:

  • Email templates for both winners and losers – if you have losers.
  • A customizable spinning wheel. You get unlimited wheel slices, customizable forms, choose probability, etc.
  • Displaying wheel as a popup or as an element inside your webpage.

OptinSpin is also one of the cheaper plugins, only costing $29 for 6 months and $38 for the full year.

6. Popup Maker

Just like the name suggests, Popup Maker lets you create engaging optins for your eCommerce site. It supports major platforms, like WordPress, WiX, Magento, and Shopify, as well as a number of other websites.

Popup Maker lets you choose from 10 popup templates, including a coupon wheel.

Each template helps you achieve a specific outcome in the easiest way possible.

Popup Maker’s Silver Plan costs $4.95 a month and gives you all the basic tools needed for creating engaging popups. The downside is that you’re limited to only 100,000 monthly pageviews on this plan.

If you’re looking for something a little more powerful, there’s the Gold Plan. It costs $11.95 a month and comes with a lot of cool marketing tools. Key features include advanced analytics, on-exit overlays, and age restriction popups. This plan works for 500,000 pageviews.

Finally, there’s the Platinum Plan. It’s going to cost you $18.95 a month. With that comes smart marketing tools like geotargeting, scheduled popups, and time triggers. This subscription gives you 1 million pageviews.

7. Wheel of Popups

Wheel of Popups is a one-size-fits-all popup tool that works for all eCommerce websites. Whether you’re running Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, or building your own site from the ground up, you can use Wheel of Popups to generate leads and convert visitors.

Wheel of Popups comes with a standard discount wheel popup template, which you can customize to look and operate the way you want it. Everything from its visual design to the prizes you want on the wheel can be changed in seconds.

It also features an assortment of marketing tools, like time triggers and movement tracking. And you can even choose to have your popups viewed on specific devices. Say you wanted to reach out to mobile users. Wheel of Popups lets you restrict popups to mobile traffic, ignoring desktop users completely.

Signing up to Wheel of Popups is free and you get a 10-day trial to see if you like it. If you choose to purchase a subscription, you have 4 packages to choose from:

  • Personal: $19 a month for 1 website.
  • Developer: $49 a month for 5 websites.
  • Agency: $149 a month for 20 websites.
  • Reseller: $249 a month for 50 websites.

All subscriptions are 20% off if you pay for the year upfront.

Putting a Spin on Your Marketing Campaign

Now that we’ve covered each product, you’re probably wondering which one to buy.

Well, every company is different. We recommend looking at your own goals and business objectives beforehand. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I only want to gamify popups or do I need a comprehensive set of marketing tools?
  • Roughly how many pageviews will my discount wheel popup receive in a month?
  • Am I using the popup on one website or many sites?
  • Will I use advanced tools like geotargeting?

Answering these questions will help you determine whether any discount wheel popup plugin will do, or if you need something that’s scalable and targets specific segments of your market.

If you’re looking for a marketing tool that’s more than just a WordPress spinning wheel plugin, check out OptinMonster today. Its tools make it possible to create laser-targeted engagement campaigns that boost conversions and beef up mailing lists. That way, you can spend more time on what matters: building an awesome eCommerce brand.

The post 7 Best Discount Wheel Popup Plugins to Boost Conversions appeared first on OptinMonster.

Continue Reading 7 Best Discount Wheel Popup Plugins to Boost Conversions

5 Smart Ways to Boosts E-commerce Store Sales

Over the last few years, I have dabbled in the e-commerce space and have owned a few different stores. Although finding things to sell takes a bit of digging into, the return can sometimes be substantial if done right.

With the eCommerce business being the fastest growing market projected to hit 4.058 trillion in sales in 2020, many have been stepping into this industry but get stuck along the way in various aspects, one being how to boost their sales. Just like Daren DeMatas rightly said, “Building an e-commerce business takes more than choosing a brand name, writing product listings, and starting to sell products online. Even the best business ideas can flop…”

This is something I have at times struggled with, and continue to work on to boost the revenues of my stores over the different quarters.

In the e-commerce industry, consumer habits change continually, and this is the reason why methods that once worked soon become obsolete. In other words, to continually gain new customers and generate sales, you just have to keep up with new trends. There’s no magic to it.

Having studied and analyzed the dynamics of the business and have used my connections to connect with some of the best in the industry, I have come up with easy and practicable tips that will help you boost your store sales.

Whether you’re entirely new to E-commerce or have been in the business for years, the tips I have shared here will hopefully work perfectly for you.

Here are 5 smart ways to boost E-commerce store sales:

  1. Simplify your checkout process
  2. Ensure that all buttons are functional, especially the back button
  3. Kill the idea of offering too many choices
  4. Put Email marketing to good use
  5. Use paid traffic

Simplify your checkout process

Simplifying your checkout process eliminates the friction associated with the “wear and tear” of potential buyers.

This practice is arguably one of the easiest and effective ways to boost E-commerce store sales. In fact, one company recorded about $300 000 000 increase in sales right after simplifying their checkout process. What did they do? They simply provided people with the option to check out as a guest.

Popular E-commerce sites like Apple, Nixon, Amazon and a few others use this tactic to greatly increase their conversion rate. You can see how they have done that comprehensively here. I love the way Catalin Zorzini, Founder of  ecommerce-platforms.com, has grouped these great sites up and explained every single step they’ve taken to set their checkout page right. He gives fantastic advice on what you should and shouldn’t do, for example he states, “one of the most common reasons for basket abandonment is forcing users to register their details before they checkout”. He then discusses how you can go about fixing it. I can hardly recall a time I’ve worked on a checkout page without making reference to his post for inspiration.

One of the most common reasons for basket abandonment is forcing users to register their details before they checkout.

Catalin Zorzini Ecommerce-Platforms

Other ways you can go about simplifying your checkout process:

  1. Reducing the number of form fields that customers need to fill in before checking out.
  2. Enabling checkout for un-registered customers (guest checkout).
  3. Keep the back button functional
  4. Offering too many choices
  5. Include a progress bar – This will greatly reduce the number of people that will back out of the checkout process. Knowing when the process will finish has a way of getting customers across the finish line.

These are really important tips to keep at the back of your mind at all times. Try them out on your store, and you’ll experience a rise in sales.

Ensure that all buttons are functional, especially the back button

Ask top level sale killers to put their arms up, and you’ll surely find resubmissions or automatic redirects sticking its arm highest. Less than a handful of customers will go ahead to restock the cart on your store once there’s a redirection and they lose their items. To avoid such situations, be sure to maintain a smart cart that will save customer items whether they navigate away from the cart or mistakenly follow a link out of the checkout page.  While this may seem too ordinary a task to make any difference to your store, I consider it one of the easiest ways to boost E-commerce store sales.

Kill the idea of offering too many choices

Not too long ago, Frank, a friend of mine asked me to help him take a look at his Shopify store. He complained of a decline in sales he had started to notice shortly after improving the mobile experience and adding extra products to his store. Immediately, I suspected the problem was from the new product categories he had added. I did some little tweaks here and there, and sales climbed up again. He had created the problem of choice unknowingly!

“Choice,” is a straightforward expression of free will, and customers love when they can find this expression. However, making too many choices available for customers could reduce sales. In fact, according to analysis carried out by Shopify: offering more products for sale will often get more people to visit your store but will cause very few to buy.

Well, you don’t necessarily need to take down your extra products if you already have them up. Simply sorting the products well enough to reduce the complexity associated with choice over a variety will boost your e-commerce store sales. Just categorize your products “seductively”. This tip worked for Frank, it will definitely work for you too.

Put Email marketing to good use

Email marketing is one of the most reliable and profitable ways to boost your E-commerce store sales.

It can be simple or complex (not difficult) depending on what E-commerce marketing strategies you apply. For example, you can simply get across to people who abandoned their shopping carts and get them to buy.

On the one hand, it could go as complex as preparing and putting out several campaigns that will work closely together to greatly improve sales. All the same, the aim remains to build trust with existing and all potential customers. Whatever be the case, there’re some great Email marketing apps you can use to make certain processes easier and smoother.

What we will look at here is the simple approach to growing your E-commerce store. To accomplish this, you need to have emails of people who have previously bought items from your store, or that are likely to buy.

If you already have an email list of customers (probably provided during the checkout process), that’s great! If you don’t (maybe because you’re new to the business), we’re still good but you’ll have to start by building a list. Here are 3 ways you can get people on your email list:

  • Use pop-up on your site that offers people a discount
  • Run ads targeted at selling a specific product.
  • Do giveaways with products related to what you sell on your store.

So, once you have got the email list, the next thing to do is sell the people on the list! Here are 2 ways you can go about that.

  • Upselling: This is the practice of encouraging customers to buy a comparable higher-end product. For example, if a customer bought an iPhone 6, you could upsell them to an iPhone 7 Plus.
  • Cross-selling: This is often confused with upselling, but they are two different things. Cross-selling involves selling products that go alongside products they have already bought. That is products that are complementary to previously bought items. For example, if someone has bought a tie, you can cross-sell them a pocket square.

If you plan on cross-selling, I recommend you start email marketing them a week or two after they buy a complementary product.

However, keep the words of Darren DeMatas on e-commerce marketing common pitfalls where he advised, “once you build a list of potential customers, resist the urge to blast them with generic sales promos!”, as this could turn them off. Darren offers a pretty detailed roadmap on the use of email marketing to boost sales on his website, be sure to check it out.

Once you build a list of potential customers, resist the urge to blast them with generic sales promos!

Darren DeMatas EcommerceCEO

Have it in mind that upselling takes a little more effort to close than cross-selling, as it requires some more convincing. You’ll definitely need some knowledge on building customer loyalty if you plan on upselling your customers.

In any case, these two methods will help you reduce abandoned carts, and go on to record fresh sales. However, as mentioned earlier, there’s more to Email marketing than I’ve discussed within the few lines above. If you’re looking to have all the nitty-gritty of Email marketing in your fingertips, there’s no better place to go than Ecommerceceo.

Paid Traffic

Most people have crossed out the idea of boosting sales via paid traffic from their to-do list based on negative stories they’ve heard. Stories of how people have spent loads of cash on paid traffic without getting any ROI. And frankly, paid traffic can be very expensive and yield you no result, but only if you’re going about it the wrong way.

If you heard of a machine that turns one dollar into more than $1, wouldn’t you invest in it? Paid traffic is such a machine, and you should invest in it. The reason lots of people lose their money through paid traffic is that they go all the way in without testing the waters!

What do I mean by “testing the waters”?  I mean spending little amounts of money running several campaigns to see which one makes the most hit, and then spending more on it.

“Spending anything within $20 – $50 on each ad variation is considered OK”

While running the campaigns and multiple ad variations, monitor the metrics to see which of them brings in the highest numbers. Once this is found, kill the rest and invest more in the winning campaign. This way, you will find boosting your E-commerce store sales more affordable and profitable.

That said, one other thing you should pay attention to while utilizing paid traffic is proper targeting. With advanced tools on great advertising platforms like Facebook, for instance, you can target people who are more likely to buy.

For example. Let’s say you sell T-shirts with stars from the TV series, Game of Thrones printed on them, and you want to run a Facebook ad to increase sales. The best thing to do is to target people who follow and like pages related to the TV series. The chances of selling are bound to be higher since the set of people already have an interest.

If your ads get to the right audience, there’s a higher chance of getting more bang for your bucks. You can generate tons of sales on your E-commerce store from Facebook ads, but there’s a lot to learn.

Conclusion

I love finding and trying out new ways to boost E-commerce store sales, skyrocket returns and build quality relationships with customers. And of course, ecommerceceo and e-commerce-platforms are two sites that help me achieve these.

I’ve tried out, and continue to use every tactic mentioned in this post extensively, and they work perfectly for me. If you put them to good use, they will work for you too.

Whether you’re entirely new to e-commerce, or you’ve been in the business and your sales are stalling, the way out is to try new tactics. Good thing you’ve come across this article through which I aim to help you explore practicable and highly effective methods that will increase sales on your E-commerce store.

Hopefully, reading this has provided you with the required skillset to achieve great results, all that’s left now is for you to get started.

Surely, there are several other smart ways to boost E-commerce store sales. Are there some you’ve tried that I’ve not discussed here? Which did you find to be most effective?

Continue Reading 5 Smart Ways to Boosts E-commerce Store Sales

How To Get Monthly Website Visitors With Top List Articles

Traffic to me is the simplest thing on the planet. It is so easy to get! All you have to do is provide people with a solution to their problem and they will come, read it and they will share it with their friends!

I have created over 100 ‘top list’ type posts which have been viewed by millions. They are so popular and well received that they have been featured on Reddit Homepage, New York Times, Yahoo News & one even became a Trending Topic on Twitter! The best part… I can get these types of posts created for just $25. Let me teach you how.

Why Creating Lists Will Drastically Increase Your Traffic

When you Google, think what you are typing in, let’s say you are looking for a cure for a health problem. Just for example, you are going to type in Cure Acid Reflux. That’s a big search term. Firstly you would be surprised how many people don’t name the article what people are searching for in Google. This blows my mind. Why are you calling your article something fancy and using words people don’t ever use, just to make yourself look smart. No one is typing that in Google, so you shouldn’t be naming your posts that.

I’m no SEO expert, there I said it. But I do get around 200,000 visitors a month from Google alone so it’s kind of a big deal for me.

Here’s what I believe: Google ranks sites which are naturally awesome. Forget everything about buying links and social love. Just imagine that your posts are so cool, people spend ages on your site and people love to share your stuff. That’s what GOOGLE wants! Great content because they are in the content industry. There job is to provide users with the right content and the best possible option, if yours is not that, then you don’t rank so well.

Back to my health post, I will call it :

10 Ways To Cure Acid Reflux

Somewhere I heard that odd numbers work better for open rates and marketing so I often will change the 10 for 7, 11, 13, 17 basically any odd number that looks good. I will decide how many I want before I even create the post. Ofcourse, it sometimes changes as I’m writing the post.

What you don’t want to do is call your article something like:

Surefire Ways To Eradicate Acid Reflux

I’m sure someone will type in Eradicate Acid Reflux every month or two but Surefire Ways? No Way!

You think this is an extreme example? Heck no, this is a nice example.

Tip 1. Name Your Posts Something People Search For!

Here’s where top lists dominate:

  • Firstly, they are quite long so people tend to spend a while reading them.
  • Each part is in section, for example, our Cure Acid Reflux post, its 7 cures, so we have 7 headlines with each option. Because of this, people can quickly decide YES, there’s something here I am willing to do, so I will read it all. I think a lot of articles don’t do well because people are not prepared to commit time to read a page if they don’t think it’s going to help them.
  • The title says exactly what you get, so you know what you are getting into.
  • When shared on social media, again, people know what they are about to get. Often people will retweet and share blog posts just because of the title, not even knowing if the article is good or not.

Step 1. To Dominating Any Industry

Post a large amount of amazing articles. That’s what I do, I show up in dozens of industry’s and just do the same old top list posts but for different industry’s. Here’s some examples:

Blogging/Make Money Industry

  • Top 30 Most Influential People In Blogger
  • 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be a Internet Entrepreneur
  • 10 Christmas Gifts For Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Tips To Cure Bloggers Block
  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Facebook

Photography Industry

  • Top 30 Most Influential People In Photography
  • 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To be a Photographer
  • 10 Christmas Gifts For Photographers
  • 17 Tips To Fix Bad Photos
  • 20 Photographers To Follow on Facebook

Health Industry

  • Top 30 Most Influential People in Natural Health
  • 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be Healthy
  • 10 Christmas Gifts for Super Healthy People
  • 17 Tips To Cure Acid Reflux
  • 20 Health Experts To Follow on Facebook

Young Entrepreneur Industry

  • Top 30 Most Influential Young Entrepreneurs
  • 10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be a Young Entrepreneur
  • 10 Christmas Gifts For Young Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Tips To Stop People Treating You Different Because Of Your Age
  • 20 Young Entrepreneurs To Follow On Facebook

See how easy it is?

And it doesn’t stop there. Each post can be done in so many other ways. For example:

10 Reasons Why It Rocks To Be a Photographer… you could flip this on it’s head and do 10 Reasons Why It Sucks…

Tip 2. Turn One Top List Into a Series of Top Lists

Remember our post suggestion: 20 Bloggers To Follow on Facebook

How about doing that with every social network:

  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Twitter
  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Youtube
  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Pinterest
  • 20 Bloggers To Follow on Google+

Instead of doing a post such as “20 Ways To Improve Your Website” – you could split it into a series and niche each one down, so for example:

  • 10 Ways To Improve Your Websites Load Time
  • 10 Ways To Improve Your Websites Usability
  • 10 Ways To Improve Your Websites Blog Layout
  • 10 Ways To Improve your Websites Conversion Rate

Step 2. Getting Articles Created (20 at a time)

So in order to achieve a lot of success with our blogs, we need a lot of content… by doing basically no actual work. This is important because as a business owner we can’t be doing everything ourselves, so we need to outsource what other people can do for us.

The great thing about top list articles, is they are more or less just research. Almost anyone can write them. The first article I ever outsourced was way back in 2009 and since then, has recieved over 1,000,000 visitors. All I had to do is hire someone and pay them $50. Still to do this day, I get thousands of visitors to my website every month because of that blog post. So don’t just think about how much traffic you will get today from a post but how much traffic you can get in the future.

Right now, one of the easiest places to hire a writer is Fiverr. They have a huge selection of writers and you can get your post written in under 24 hours. So if you want to test this strategy out, click here to hire someone to write your articles for you!

Tip 3. Be Specific With What You Want

If you want great articles, you have to give great guidelines. When you hire someone, I always include instructions so they know what I expect from them. This is what I send them:

Guidelines For Writing Awesome Articles For My Website

The majority of people who write articles for us, will go on to write many more. Please follow my article outline and guidelines to ensure your article is well received and accepted. Failure to do so will result in your article being declined.

All posts should be well researched.

If the article is numbered, please number it 1. 2. 3. etc (not #1 #2 #3 or 1 – 2 – 3 -)

If the title is broad, for example, 50 Places to Visit in 50 States of America, then please give a broad selection of choice. So for example, don’t make all 50 places landmarks, split it up so their is variety, for example, Landmarks, Famous Restaurants, Bars, Theme Parks, Extreme Things To Do and so on.

Be consistent with how you lay your article out, for example, I sometimes see people write post titles with the attraction first, followed by location. Then there will be 1 or 2 titles without a location. Each title needs to be in the same format.

Below is an example of how I like articles to be laid out:
—————————————–

Headline

Introduction to post. (This needs to be informative and make them want to carry on reading.)

Subheadline, in h2 tags. <h2>Your Subheadline</h2>

<h3>Item 1</h3>

[IMAGE]

Information why you should do what this title suggestions.

<h3>Item 2</h3>

[IMAGE]

And continue.

[There should be one line between each element.]

—————————————–

Examples of successful posts written:

  • https://www.incomediary.com/21-life-lessons-from-steve-jobs
  • https://www.incomediary.com/top-earning-websites
  • https://www.incomediary.com/top-earning-blogs

Conclusion

As you can see in the final part of this post, I guide writers through exactly what I want. Even giving them examples of writers who have already followed our guidelines. This is key to having success with outsourcing article writing.

So just to recap what you need to do:

  1. Download our 110 top list headline templates, it’s FREE!
  2. Go through our headlines and decide on the 10 that you think will be most successful on your blog.
  3. Go to Fiverr and hire a writer or several writers to create this content for you.
  4. Publish content on your website and enjoy the benefits of top list articles.
  5. Repeat the first 4 steps over and over again.

That’s all there is to our top list strategy. It works for us and it’s worked for thousands of other IncomeDiary readers as well, so why not give it a try?

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How To Make Money Online – Your First $100k From Blogging

Most people, when they try to make money online, overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.

That is why I often tell brand new bloggers to focus on the first $100 rather than the $100K figure.

That said, how was it possible, that we could create a brand new blog and only 30 days later, have already earned over $5000?

Today’s post will answer that question.

The IncomeDiary Blueprint for Making Money Online

Idea —> Take Action —> Build a Brand —> Create Content —> No Leakage Rule —> Blog Funnel System —> Free eCourse  —>  Product —> Money

All great websites start with solving a problem.

Step 1) How To Come Up With Website Ideas | Solve a Problem

At IncomeDiary we focus on the make “money online niche”.

Making money online is something that interests a lot of people, from many different demographics.

As soon as we started we had people ask us how to start their first blog.

And once they had started their blog, how could they make money from it?

Some even asked us to build websites for them.

There was a PROBLEM that people wanted help in SOLVING!

From the responses we where getting and our own research it was clear there was a demand.

But how do we make money from this demand?

In the case of IncomeDiary we knew a lot of our income would come from affiliate links.

That is where we started.

If you are a first time blogger you will need a domain, hosting, blog design, email list management.

Fortunately there are plenty of affiliate programs for services like this and in any case we needed all these services ourselves.

As an example if someone signed up for a domain, hosting and a blog design through our affiliate links, we would earn $100.

All we needed to do was convince 50 people to follow our advice and we would earn $5000.

Better still we where recommending products and services that we where using ourselves!

In blogging as in all business having a plan is essential.

A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power ~ Brian Tracy

All we needed to do now was estimate / work out how much traffic we would need in order to accomplish our goal for month one!

We are simplifying the calculations here a little – not everyone will need a domain or hosting for example – some will purchase more services, some will purchase less.

But for the purpose of planning these where good starting points.

Of course your niche may be entirely different from Make Money Online – but for just about every niche there is be affiliate programs you can promote to your readers.

As an aside, our sister site – ExpertPhotography.com covers a completely different niche to IncomeDiary – but when it started out, it used exactly the same strategy as IncomeDiary to get its first income – great content combined with affiliate income!

Step 2) To Make Money Online – Take Action

Now that we had an idea, we had to create a website.

This is an easy step, something that only took a few hours. I go over this in detail on this page.

Step 3) To Make Money Online – Build a Brand

Branding isn’t something a lot of people think much of.

But branding is important. It’s what someone thinks about your website.

When people think IncomeDiary, we want them to think, authority website that teaches people how to make money online.

To achieve this, we did a few things:

Domain Name

You want it to be easy to remember, easy to spell and you want it be a .com.

When I create a website, I don’t begin until I have found a domain that I think is good enough.

Sometimes it makes sense to buy a domain that has already been registered from a Domain Broker.

For example, IncomeDiary.com was bought for $100 from a blogger.

And we paid $2000 for our sister site – ExpertPhotography.com – via a domain broker.

Blog Design

If your blog doesn’t look good, it reflects badly on your brand. I’m not saying you have to spend a lot of money, we didn’t.

We started with buying a premium theme for $80 and getting a custom logo created. We kept the website simple and easy to understand.

It’s also important to pick a good color scheme for your site. When someone sees the green color we use, I want them to think IncomeDiary.com (I also wanted them to think money!)

Create Top Lists (read before you scroll past this)

Now I know most people know what a top list is, but you need to know what posts we created, why we created them and how they influenced our brand.

Some examples of the top lists we created:

Creating these posts, made us stand out as an authority on the subject.

If we are the website to decide which bloggers are the most influential, then we must know a lot about blogging.

Interview Experts

Interviews don’t get us a lot of long term traffic.

What they do though, is associate our website with experts in our industry.

We are not going into detail on conducting interviews in this post – but read any of our interviews and you will have interview templates you can follow.

Step 4) To Make Money Online – Create Compelling Content

To make money, we firstly had to get traffic. To get traffic, we had to firstly create interesting content.

We have spoken a lot about creating content.

The strategy for getting a lot of traffic from blogging is simple – create amazing content.

Look at this post as an example:

  • The subject of the post is something people are looking to read about
  • Over 2000 words (average page on first page of good is over 2000 words)
  • It’s easy to read (checked spelling, grammar, post styling)
  • Headline draws the reader in
  • It provides real value
  • Post images add to value of the post

The 10 posts that received the most traffic in the first few months were all top list articles.

Looking back, their was very little traffic going to any posts that were not top lists or interviews.

One big benefit from writing top list posts and interviewing authorities in your industry, is the amount of links and social media shares you get. Often when we write a post saying that someone is one of the most influential bloggers in the world, they want to link to it on their site, because it helps with their own brand.

All these links and shares tell Google that we are a great site and they should rank our posts higher in their search engine.

You can see how our traffic would spike every time we published a top list on our site:

Step 5) How To Make Money Online – The No Leakage Rule

The no leakage rule is when you create a website in a way that either a reader signs up for what you are promoting, or they leave your website.

Let me explain further:

The goal of IncomeDiary is to get people to subscribe to our email list. Now to best accomplish this, we need to keep distracts to a minimum.

That means having no banner ads, no blogroll, no top commenters links and so on…

If a website visitor is leaving our website to look at an advertiser, they are not signing up for our email list.

It’s the same reason we don’t want to link to guest bloggers at the bottom of blog posts, because if our visitors are checking out their website, they are not signing up for our list.

Step 6) Make Money Online – Blog Funnel System

This is all about getting your visitors to go where you want them to go, or shall I say, how to funnel them to your desired location.

The goal of our blog is to get people to subscribe to our email list.

That is how we make the majority of our money.

To accomplish this, we get the majority of our subscribers through a popup using OptiMonk. Read this post on: how we use OptiMonk.

The longer someone stays on the site, the more likely they are to subscribe and for us to make money.

Step 7) Make Money Online – Free eCourse

When we started IncomeDiary, not a lot of bloggers were giving incentives for signing up to a mailing list.

Those that did, often gave free eBooks.

I liked the idea of a free eBook but there was one problem.

I wanted readers to take action and if they received to much information all at once, they would feel overwhelmed and would be less likely to follow my guide.

So instead, we decided to split up what we wanted to teach and give it to subscribers over 7 days.

We called it: 7 Day Free eCourse To Creating Your First Profitable Blog

I would explain to everyone signing up that “You may have to spend some money if you want to make some money” – not a lot of money just a little if you really wanted to be serious about blogging. (Less than $100). I included special offers on domain names and offers on hosting such as get your first months hosting for 1 cent and coupon codes. (People love coupon codes)

This worked amazingly well.

Pretty much one of the reasons it worked so well was because I showed my readers exactly what I’m doing. I was not asking them to do anything that I had not done myself.

It’s also important to point out that I was solving a specific problem. I wasn’t simply trying to help people become better bloggers.

Setting up a Autoresponder

Once people opted in and joined my eCourse, the auto-responder would start sending them an email every day for a week.

The course was very much step by step – “Day One, installing your blog” – “Day Two, adding a theme and customizing your blog,” – Day Three: monetizing” etc

Every day subscribers would look forward to the next addition. Often I would get people email me saying, “Hey, is there any chance I can get Day Two now, rather than wait until tomorrow?”

Subscribers took action straightaway. I told them, “Look, take action on this today, and then you’ll be ready to do tomorrow’s assignment.”

Marketing Your eCourse

Another huge benefit of having a squeeze page, or a separate page on WordPress dedicated to your free course, is people have a link they can share with friends if they wish to recommend it. It is great when people Tweet things like “Check Out IncomeDiary’s Free Blogging eCourse” and link to this page.

This also meant I could mentioned this page in my blog posts – for example if I did a Top 30 Bloggers list I would finish it with a link says: “Follow in their footsteps, check out my free course”.

The signup page became so popular that it was the third most visited page on the site.

Step 8) Make Money Online – Selling Your Own Product

Once someone has gone through our eCourse, we want them to be thinking, WOW, that was amazing, I can’t believe that was free.

If they think this, then when we tell them that we have a paid membership site, they can only imagine how good it must be.

When creating products to sell on IncomeDiary, we think about what our readers most want.

The two biggest struggles of new bloggers is getting traffic and making money.

For us, getting traffic has always been easy. And if it’s easy for us, surely we can make it easy for our readers. So we created an eBook called Traffic Domination which is a blueprint to getting over 100,000 visitors a month from top list articles.

We also use to offer a training program called Site Profit Domination which showed our customers in detail how we were monetizing our blogs.

Step 9) Making Money Online and Reinvesting

The reason for a lot of our success is the way we reacted to making money.

When we make money, we reinvested it. We may have started our blog with a small budget but as soon as we had the money, we made it a lot better.

I was not entirely happy with the blog theme, so I spent sometime customizing the design. This included a big change to the homepage – allowing us to display a large opt-in box.

We also used some custom graphics on the side-bar to direct visitors to our best revenue producing pages.

We even bought advertising for IncomeDiary, which at the time, was not something we would normally recommend with a new blog, but earnings per visitor was so good, we could afford to buy traffic.

One final note on making money online.

I love this quote from Paulo Coelho …

It is essential to know your visitor numbers and your earnings per visitor!

For some, attracting the first 1000 visitors will be the big goal and for others it will be attracting the first 1,000,000 visitors

Set yourself high, but realistic targets and go all out to achieve.

Hoping and Guessing is not a business strategy – but FOCUS and CONCENTRATION is.

What you focus on, EXPANDS!

Take the time to build your brand, build your following and build your website into the premier site in its niche.

Making $100,000 PA is a Big Goal – but it is not an impossible goal.

Believe in you – believe you can do it.

It is also the strategy you need in order to set yourself for the ULTIMATE Pay Day!

That magically day when you eventually sell your business.

Good Luck!

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Market Research: How to Increase Sales in a Competitive Market

Have you ever come up with a seemingly original product idea, only to find that a few other people have already created something similar?

Most business owners have had this experience, some on several occasions. A truly unique, never-been-done-before idea is pretty hard to come by.

But just because other companies offer similar products doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue it. Instead, you can expect to be in a competitive market like most industries.

The competition for your product idea can vary. If you have a commodity product, you might find that you have more competition as opposed to a specialized product in a less crowded market space.

When you face this competition, it’s important to think about your brand positioning.

Visual branding, marketing messaging, brand culture, and internal communication all go into positioning your product as the top choice for people in your audience. And you’ll build your like-know-trust factor through consistent and relevant positioning.

Positioning can make or break your business. Take Warby Parker, for example.

They battle Luxottica, an eyeglass manufacturer with a monopoly-like presence in their industry. Unlike Luxottica’s B2B model, Warby Parker sells directly to consumers for a fraction of the cost. They also allow people to try on eyeglass frames from the comfort of their home and created a buy-one-give-one model.

Another example is Uber and Lyft, two popular ride-sharing apps that allow people to purchase rides without having to wait for a taxi.

No matter how fierce the competition is, you always have the opportunity to disrupt the market with your product and business model. But before you take a page from Warby Parker’s book, it’s important to assess your product’s market size and the number of competitors in your industry. Only then can you create a market research plan that will help you craft a comprehensive sales strategy.

How to increase sales with some competitive market research

How many times have you created marketing content based on what you think is true rather than what you know is true?

We’ve all done it! It can be easy to bypass market research for the sake of getting our product out into the world, but we can’t miss this crucial step.

Without market research, we are just throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that something sticks. Sure, something may stick at some point, but we can be more confident when we take the time to research our market.

Our sales strategy starts with market research. Understanding our target audience, their pain points, and what our competitors’ offer will help us determine what our foolproof competitive advantage is.

Determine who your target audience is

As you read through this Tradecraft issue, you are probably sensing a theme. We’ve been talking a lot about how your marketing and sales strategy has more to do with your audience than you. This is because they are the ones who will buy your product.

While it might be tempting to say your ideal customer is anyone who is willing to pay, it’s best to create targeted marketing toward a specific audience. When you have an ideal person in mind, it becomes easier to write marketing content and make the sale.

The first step is to think about your target audience’s demographics. This will give you a general picture of who you are trying to attract. Here’s a quick list to help you get started.

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Life stage
  • Business stage

Once you have created your target audience demographics, you can move on to understanding their psychographics. Too many businesses stop at the demographics stage because they feel like they have at least a good idea of what their audience looks like.

The problem with this is that the information we determined above doesn’t tell us much about the purchasing motivations and habits of our target audience. If we miss out on this important aspect, our marketing won’t be as strong as it could be.

Instead, let’s take a moment to answer some of these questions as it relates to your buyer persona.

  • What are their likes and dislikes?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • What does their ideal day look like?
  • What qualities are they known for?
  • How would a friend or family member describe them?
  • What drives them when they make a purchasing decision?
  • What irks them, and what energizes them?
  • Where do they go for news and information?
  • What titles do they associate themselves with?
  • How would they describe their lifestyle?
  • What holds them back, and what pushes them forward?

After you answer these questions, you will have a better understanding of who your ideal customer truly is.

Pro tip: If you’ve already been in business for a while or have been working on side hustle, you can also keep past clients, readers, or customers in mind when you go through this activity.
Pick the best people you’ve collaborated or worked with in order to fully answer these questions. It’s another great way to make your market research feel more real.

You can also create more than one buyer persona depending on how many subsets you have inside your target audience. We usually recommend doing two to three buyer personas max so you aren’t tempted to attract everyone.

Understand your audience’s pain points

Your business is only as useful as the solution you provide your target audience with. In order to gain market share, you must fully understand your audience’s struggles and pain points. Some of your audience’s pain points may seem obvious, but others may take a bit of digging.

Knowing your audience’s pain points comes in handy when you start to write conversion-based copy. Before you can offer a solution, you need to highlight what their pain point is.

If you are creating a vegan cookbook for stay-at-home moms, their pain points might be:

  • They don’t have enough time to go to the grocery store
  • They don’t always have the extra income to buy multiple healthy ingredients per meal
  • They don’t have the energy to cook after caring for their kids all day

Based on this market research, you could dig even deeper to see what Millennial moms struggle with as opposed to the generation before them. You could even look at moms who had newborns in their early twenties versus their early thirties.

All of this is to show that you can always uncover more layers that go into your audience’s pain points.

If you are struggling with this stage, we suggest casually interviewing some of your friends or people you may know who fit your buyer persona to get more information. It can be a great way to hear what their pain points are rather than guessing at what they could be. No one knows their situation and buying habits better than they do!

As you determine their pain points, you can look at what stage in the buying process they are in and what struggles they have in each stage.

If you want more information and anecdotes to back up your market research, you can also send surveys to past customers or followers to gain their feedback. Remember that people who match your ideal buyer persona will have better feedback than those who don’t.

You can also create a focus group if you want to take this activity a step further. Then you can see how people interact with your product and react to your messaging or positioning. You can choose a small group of about five to nine people so everyone has a chance to be heard. The feedback will be invaluable!

Research your competitors

We consider researching your target audience and their pain points the primary goal of your market research. Your secondary goal is to research your competitors. This is so you can understand the current product options your ideal customer base already has.

If you skip this crucial step, you may end up creating a product or service that your ideal buyers don’t need or already have. In many cases, there is room for improvement with products that are on the market.

One way to start researching your competitors is to try their products yourself. Note what your experience was like from purchasing their product to getting it in your hands. If it is a service, note how you were treated and the overall experience you left with.

Trying their products will also give you an idea of what is missing and how you can position your product to satisfy the “what’s missing” element.

You can even read consumer reviews online to see what people think. You can look at YouTube product comparison videos, Consumer Reports, or look on social media to see how people are talking about your competitor’s products. These testimonials will give you a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

After this market research, you’ll be able to see how you can fill in the gaps.

What do you offer that other companies are lacking in?
How can you improve what they are doing?
Do you have a better product, a better experience, a better all-around brand, or something else entirely?

This is the stage where all of your competitive market research will come together. Once you know what your differentiators are, you can solidify your positioning within your niche, which will help you write better emails and sell more effectively.

How will you increase sales from your market research?

By doing your market research, you’ll be building your trust and credibility with your target audience as you find ways to optimize your product, brand experience, and process.

Knowing who your audience is, their pain points, and your competitors will help you communicate clearly and effectively, giving you that coveted competitive advantage in your marketplace.

So before you start selling your product or service (or even if this is your second or third offering), make sure to do all your market research. You never know what new things you'll learn about your audience or competitors that will help you make the next sale.

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Sales Psychology: 7 Sales Tips to Win the Customer

Everyone has their own personal sales journey.

For many, they were forced to learn sales because their livelihood depended on it.

For some, like me, they were just born to sell.

Or perhaps they were creators, probably much like you, who hated the idea of selling, but in order to make their craft a career they needed to learn all the sales tips they could.

At any rate, sales is a craft and it takes time to hone. And when embarking on the journey of cultivating this particular craft, the most important thing that one needs to learn is the psychology of selling.

Let me tell you a very quick story about how I learned this very important lesson in my sales journey.

Learning sales

When I graduated college I was catapulted into one of the hardest jobs, still to date, of my career.

It was never a job that I intended to have, but I’m so thankful that it landed in my lap. It was this job that taught me more about sales then any other role I have been in.

I bet you are thinking that it must have been some intense, fast paced role at a Silicon Valley start-up. Nope. It was probably as far from that as humanly possible.

I was a coach.

More specifically, at just 23-years young I was a the youngest Division I (D1) head volleyball coach in the country.

If you are a sports fan you know that recruiting is the key to success at any level. *(Recruiting is the act of finding and offering an athlete the opportunity to represent a given university in exchange for a free education).

Now I share this because of 334 coaches in D1 athletics I was the youngest, by far (not a good thing). I couldn’t control my age, but if I learned how to sell effectively I could ensure the success of the program for years to come.

Now this role was only the start of my sales career, but it was the role that most emphasized the importance of understanding human psychology when selling, and as a result, it has drastically helped my career as a sales professional.

It is my hope that the lessons I learned along the way, both as a coach and as a professional saleswomen, can be applied to your business and help increase the amount of revenue that you generate in years to come.

Let’s dig in.

Lesson #1: People make decisions based off their emotions.

This might be my favorite of all the lessons. Maybe this is why it is listed as #1.

When people buy something they usually do so for one of two reasons– they buy because it brings them joy or it solves a problem.

Nearly every purchase we make falls into one of those two categories.

Tesla: Joy

Used Camry: Problem

Alcohol: Joy

Coffee: Problem

Movie: Joy

Medicine: Problem

Understanding this is really the basis for every sales conversation you have.

The way you sell to each prospect will be dramatically different based on the reason behind their purchase.

Are you solving a problem for them? Or are you emphasizing the amount of joy they will experience?

Key takeaway: Identify the reason behind the purchase.

Lesson #2: People think of themselves.

Has there ever been a time where you walked out of a store and felt excited about an expensive purchase after the salesperson disrespected or insulted you? I am going to guess the answer is no.

This is because people are self-absorbed. They want to hear how smart, intelligent, or attractive they are.

When selling, you need to be sure to compliment them in an authentic and insightful manner. This is important whether you are selling 1:1 or 1:many.

Make them feel seen.

If you see something in them that most people miss, they will immediately feel a connection with you and an increased level of trust.

Bottom line is that people are more likely to buy something when the attention is focused on them, and the easiest way to do that is to ensure that they feel completely seen and understood.

Key takeaway: Give authentic compliments and practice active listening skills when you are talking to prospective clients.

Lesson #3: People like to be challenged.

One of my favorite sales books of all time is The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson. For the book, they performed one of the most expansive sales studies to date on B2B sales representatives. The results were quite eye opening.

In the study they categorized salespeople into five different cohorts and then worked to identify the most successful sales representatives based on their style.

You can probably conclude that ‘The Challenger’ was the most successful of the five sales personalities.

‘The Challenger’ is a sales representative that teaches their prospect, tailors their sales process, and takes control of the customer conversation.

Now this might be an extreme example, but which would you rather?

“John – I have evaluated your email marketing strategy and I think ConvertKit would be a great addition to your suite of tools. I understand if now is not the right time to make a decision, but should the timing be right I would be thrilled to do business with you. I look forward to the fruitful friendship ahead of us.”

OR

“John – I have evaluated your current email marketing strategy and while I am impressed that you have a 20% conversion rate I am certain that by moving to ConvertKit we can drastically increase your profits by implementing the following tactics. I am confident I can help you increase your conversion rate from 20% to 30% in the next 3 month. Let’s connect this afternoon to discuss next steps.”

The first option is nice. Certainly non-threatening but pretty passive. It does not cause the buyer to think. It certainly does not evoke a confidence to the buyer that the seller knows exactly what is needed to help him/her.

However, the second option teaches, challenges, and proposes a solution to the buyer.
If I am going to invest in a new solution (or product), or replace an existing one, I want to have a very clear understanding of the benefits, the value, and the next steps.

That said, go forth and challenge.

Key takeaway: Don’t be afraid to challenge a buyer or take control of the sales timeline

Lesson #4: People love to learn.

Because people love to learn, teaching is the key to selling.

Let’s look at an example.

I grew up in Los Angeles. The land of excess.

When I was young, I valued quantity over quality. For sake of example let's say that the average price per piece of clothing I owned was $20.

As the years passed, I learned more about ethical fashion practices. I learned about quality fabrics, markups, etc. I became more educated about the amount of effort that went into each garment and what the fashion industry was doing to our environment.

As a result I now value quality over quantity. I almost exclusively support independent designers and small brands. Because of this, I have fewer items in my closet because each piece now averages $60. That is 3x the amount.

The lesson here is that I have no problem buying more expensive items because I am educated on how fast fashion negatively affects our world.

You can’t just tell your audience why your product or service is the best, you have teach them why. That’s why we always recommend creating educational email sequences that teach your audience about your topic and your industry.

Key takeaway: Teach your consumers why your product or service is worth the money.

Lesson #5: People trust their friends and peers.

Can you think of a time where you purchased or saw something that you absolutely couldn’t resist sharing?

Maybe you had an interaction with a customer support team and were blown away by the support you received. As a result, you felt compelled to share your experience with all your friends.

Perhaps a course that you purchased helped to increase your revenue by 30%. Wouldn’t it be a shame not to share?

Jay Baer talks about this in his new book, Talk Triggers *It’s a great book and I highly recommend giving it a read.

The point is that these experiences didn’t happen by accident. They were designed to be a trigger. The result or the experience was designed to be shared.

Turn your customers into volunteer marketers. Word of mouth is responsible for as much as 50% of all purchases, yet almost nobody has an actual plan to generate it.
-Jay Baer

Key takeaway: No matter what you are selling, make sure you create your businesses ‘talk trigger’. Selling becomes a whole lot easier when word of mouth marketing does the initial work for you.

Lesson #6: People are more likely to move forward when it is their idea vs. when they are told.

Let’s look at a very simple example.

Would you rather…

Your boss come up with a strategy on his/her own and then hand you the plan and say, “Go implement this.”

OR..

Would you rather your boss say, “We need to accomplish ‘x’ in the next 6 months. Please put together a strategic proposal and once reviewed we will implement.”

Key takeaway: Guide your prospect/consumer in the direction that you want them to head. A really simple way to do this is by asking questions.

Lesson #7: People like a taste of what is to come.

How many of you have been to Costco?

If you have, you know that Costco has built their entire business by implementing this lesson. Year after year they continue to increase sales and customer loyalty by offering samples of their products.

What about Birchbox? The ecommerce makeup company that distributes sample size cosmetics in the form of a subscription box. Their model allows the consumer to try several products and then purchase only those that they love.

Bottom line is that people love samples. In the digital space this is very easy to replicate.

Teaching and providing value to your audience is the best way to do this. The end result is the consumer saying, “If their free content is this great I can’t imagine what their paid content looks like.”

The options are endless.

Key takeaway: Give, give, give, before you take.

Ready to put your sales psychology to the test?

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9 Best Survey Sites to Make Money In 2019

best surveys sites, paid survey sites, online survey sites, make money online, surveys for moneyI’ve been doing online surveys for over 5 years already! I still remember it used to be my only source of extra income before I started blogging.

I didn’t make a fortune from taking online surveys, but I made a good extra money by spending a little bit of time every day.

When I first started, I remember I signed up for a lot of survey sites (I did it to get as many surveys available to complete, and it worked like a charm).

The number of surveys I do depends on how much free time I have. Some months I end up making a few dollars and others hundreds (one month I got nearly $1,000).

Related articles:

Every year I like to publish a new list with what I consider to be the best online survey sites, and here is my 2018 list!

But before we start, here are some good tips that will help you if you are new into the “survey world”.

  • Join as many free online survey companies as you can. This is my number 1 tip. The reason why signing up for all of them is that each survey company will send you a few surveys to your inbox every month, so the more you sign up for, the more potential money you will make. Here are my three favourite ones: Swagbucks, Vindale, American Consumer Opinion.
  • Never lie when signing up for online survey sites.
  • Make sure a free online survey is legitimate.
  • Surveys + Netflix. That’s my favourite combo! I can spend hours watching Netflix and sometimes feels like a “wasted time”, but when I do surveys while watching (surveys don’t need much concentration) I am productive and it feels great!

These four tips should be your bread and butter before you start doing surveys (well, the last one is just how I do it).

Best 9 Free Online Survey Sites (Make $1,000)

I think we are now ready to jump into the best online survey sites in 2018.

#1) Vindale Research (I earn $150-$200/month, $2.00 signup bonus)

Vindale is new favorite online survey company. You can earn a good extra money every month just by doing a couple of these surveys a week.

They are one of the best survey companies considering the payout and time spent. The best thing is that before taking any survey you’ll be able to see how much will they pay and the time to complete.

I only do the ones which pay between $2 to $20.

You can join Vindale Research here.

#2) Swagbucks (I got $50 gift cards, 100SB sign up bonus )

Swagbucks helps me earning gift cards which I can use at Amazon, and it’s very easy. You can also claim your points as a cash check.

They give you points for taking surveys, watching videos, using it as a search engine (just like Google), online shopping and trying new promotional products.

Then you can redeem these points for gift cards. I already redeemed more than 10 Amazon gift cards for $50 and it feels great.

You can join Swagbucks here.

#3) American Consumer Opinion

American Consumer Opinion is a really good survey company and I highly recommend it. The payment is straightforward.

Every single week I receive a few surveys from them and I always do them because the payout is quite good.

You can join American Consumer Opinion here.

#4) EarningStation (I earn around $120-$180/month)

EarningStation reminds me to Swagbucks. The way it works is the same.

With EarningStation, you earn money by watching videos, taking surveys and shopping online. During weekends when I’m watching movies or sitting on my couch doing nothing, I usually spend some time with EarningStation.

They send you emails for surveys every now and then. You get points which can be redeemed for gift cards.

Once you signup for EarningStation, you can receive 1,000 SD (worth $10) just by signing up for 5 websites. The name of this offer is “Easy $10”, make sure is the first thing you do when you register.

You can join EarningStation here.

#5) Ebates ($10.00 sign up bonus)

Just by signing up with Ebates, you will receive a 3.0% cash back anytime you buy at Amazon.

I’ve received over $2,000 cash back from Ebates since I started using it a couple of years ago. It just became to be my favourite cash back company.

There are other products from which you can earn up to 30% cash back on every purchase.

Plus, if you sign up using my link you will get $10 when you make a purchase over $25. You can signup now and claim your $10 months later.

You can join Ebates here.

#6) PineCone Research (guaranteed $3/survey)

PineCone Reseach has become one of my favourite survey sites. They have a minimum payment of $3 per survey, which is one of the best payouts in the market.

The best is that you don’t get disqualified from surveys. Plus you can manage your time efficiently knowing that you get pay always $3 or more every time you receive a survey.

Every time I do one of PineCone’s surveys, it takes no more than 15 minutes (great for when I’m commuting).

You can join PineCone Research here.

#7) Paribus (found it a few months ago and I love it)

I recommend you to sign up for free to Paribus.

Paribus gets you money back when prices drop (it actually will track the prices of the items you purchased and claim for refund on your behalf).

Last month I got over $70 money back.

You can join Paribus here.

#8) OneOpinion (available in US, UK and CA)

With OneOpinion you get points every time you complete a survey. Then, this points can be traded in for rewards (I always choose the $25 virtual Visa Debit Card).

If you prefer cash, OneOpinion has now added the option of having your rewards delivered directly to your PayPal account which I think I’m gonna try next time I accumulate 25,000 points.

You can join OneOpinion here. Must be 13+

#9) My Survey (earn up to $200/month)

My Survey is an international program available in most of the countries.

They pay you real money for completing surveys, visiting sites, trying free offers and referring friends and advertisers.

The pay via Paypal or gift cards and there is no minimum threshold.

You can join My Survey.

 

I would add more survey sites that I like but I only wanted to share best ones so you don’t need to struggle deciding. However, if you really want to know more about surveys I recommend you to check the post 100 Free Online Survey Sites To Make Money.

That’s all for today! You are now ready to start making some extra money by taking paid surveys. Remember to join as many survey sites as you can!

Are you already making money from surveys or thinking to start? How much do you make from them?

The post 9 Best Survey Sites to Make Money in 2018 appeared first on Passive Income Wise.

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