The Prosperative Blog

The Key To Traffic

Let’s start with a simple statement: Everyone wants more traffic to their sites.

Who would turn down more traffic? Nobody.

And yet, based on decades of experience and interaction with our customers and subscribers, we know where people are often failing. But what’s great is that it’s easily remedied with the right tools and a little bit of effort!

Let’s list what some beginners might do when trying to build an online business. If you recognize yourself in this take heart, because there is a way to improve on it!

If you aren’t making these mistakes pat yourself on the back – you’re already well ahead of the general crowd!

“Setting Up My Business”

  1. Look for free or very low cost tools and services. I don’t want to spend any money if I can avoid it.
  2. Find a niche that makes a lot of money. Ask other people what it is – I don’t have time to do exhausting research on it.
  3. Buy a domain.
  4. Put up a couple of pages of content. 200 words should be enough and I can buy some low cost PLR for that.
  5. Don’t edit the content – I bought PLR so it should be ok.
  6. Don’t track my visitor numbers, site engagement metrics or bounce time.
  7. Sit back and wait for the money to come in.
  8. Ditch this site after a few weeks and start on another one that will definitely make money this time. Repeat steps 2-7.
  9. Repeat step 8.
  10. Rinse and repeat.

Ok, that’s a bit simplified and there’s a slight smile in that list, but it’s pretty close to what many beginners do. We know because we get a lot of feedback from people.

The question is, does a work cycle like that work? Does it generate revenue?

The other question is just how hard is it to break out of that kind of work cycle and do better?

There is no shame in looking for low cost services, if they do the job. No shame in wanting to make money. But there is a gap in the rest of it. If you’re trying to guess what niche will make money, you’re just guessing and might end up wasting your efforts. The average person needs to spend more time doing serious research on a niche to save time and effort later.

By research, I’m talking about keyword research. If you fail to define your target well, is it really such a surprise that a beginner might miss it?

So a single and relatively simple addition to that list that would make a world of difference is do some good keyword research.

Why? 

Look, the truth is that people searching online are not really looking to help you make money. They are looking for information to meet their needs.

It might be how to make money online, it might be how to take great baby photos. Whatever it is they’re looking for, they’re looking to meet their own needs.

They are looking for an answer to whatever their question is.

That’s why Google is such a hard nut to crack, if you want page 1 rankings. Google is looking for the best answers for the questions that people are asking online. Google already knows what people are looking for – if you happen to have the answer then you’ve got a great shot at hitting page 1.

So how do you do that – get onto page 1?

One of the most effective ways to get onto page 1 has just a few simple steps. But they’re steps that some people think are difficult, time consuming and hard. In fact using the right tools can make these steps fast and simple.

  1. Research keywords in your chosen and related niches.
  2. Choose keywords where your real competition is low (yes, there are plenty such keywords).
  3. Use the keyword and related keywords you find to create content that answers the questions people are searching for.

Items 1-2 should be pretty obvious, even if you’ve never done any keyword research in your life. But item 3? That may not be as obvious a workflow as it should be. Creating good content, that answers the search question, gives you a huge competitive advantage.

WHY?

First, you have to convince the search engines that your answer is a good one for the searches people make. But even if you do that, you also have to convince your site visitors that your content is quality. And you do that by…..

PROVIDE QUALITY CONTENT THAT ANSWERS THE QUESTION!

I’m not kidding. Seriously, if you provide quality content your site visitors are more likely to stick around and take your advice/click on your links.

It’s a bit of work, but it doesn’t have to be a huge amount of work. You’ve heard this before – work smarter, not harder, right?

There’s a lot of inexperienced people out there who will put up poor quality content. They don’t get the results they want.

It’s the ones who develop quality content that see the results. Yes, there may be some exceptions, but you’re far more likely to succeed by answering the right questions with the right answers.

Creating Quality Content

So how do you develop great content? Well it’s down to research again. You’ll notice earlier that I mentioned keyword and related keywords. By analyzing what people are actively searching for, you can structure content that meets their search and gives them a complete answer – even if that answer is a pointer to a more complete resource.

Keyword research is fundamental to determining what people want to know.

But it’s also fundamental to giving them the answer they’re looking for.

Time spent on keyword research is never wasted. Time spent on quality content based on that research is never wasted.

It can be incredibly fast to do good research and generate  plans for quality content. You just have to be very focused.

How much time have you ever wasted on ineffective strategies? If you put that time to good use, doing careful research, you should expect to see better, positive results. Not too surprising, right?

There’s a simple truth that many people are not aware of. That simple truth is this:

The average person needs to do more keyword research so they can create content that ranks.

If you aren’t yet getting the results you want, maybe it’s time to focus your efforts with intelligent keyword analysis – it’s easier and quicker than you think.

If you’d like to join us on our live webinar where we’ll show you how fast it can be – and we’ll go into more detail about keyword research including how to find the real competition for a keyword – use the link below to register now.

 

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Why video is boring – seriously!

There’s a hidden truth about video. Before we get into that, let’s just recap about the things you’ve likely heard over and over again.

  1. Video sells.
  2. Video works.
  3. Video is exploding.

Yawn. Seriously. Yawn.

Could that be any more boring?

Doesn’t it make YOU yawn?

I mean, isn’t it self evident? But I can practically guarantee that you’re hearing this almost every week.

If you don’t already know this about video, where have you been? Even the least observant must have noticed that every man and his dog is talking about video’s importance.

It’s boring because it’s obvious – but it’s only obvious to those who pay attention.

But I want you to ask yourself a simple question.

Why is video still considered so difficult and powerful?

The reason video is considered difficult is that most people don’t want to learn how to make it. Most people like the idea of using video, but they hate the work involved in creating it.

Content is king.

You heard that, right? Well what you might not have heard is that creativity in content is *truly* king. You can put out junk content and you’ll get junk results.

Content is king? Yes, but only if your creativity is up to the job!

Boring content is still boring!

The reality is that many people simply won’t put in the time and effort to learn to be creative. Shock, horror! Many people are lazy! Who’d have thought that?

One of the reasons so few people make it in Hollywood (or any creative industry – ANY) is that the average person thinks creativity is born, not made. But that’s simply not true.

Everyone can learn to be creative if they’re willing to put in the work to learn techniques, ideas and structures.

It’s why you’ll find “cliff-hangers” at the end of every soap episode, for example. It works.

That’s not creative – that’s plain common sense.

So we know that video works, it produces results, it helps you sell yada yada yada.

Why is that useful to you? It’s useful because most people still don’t know it, believe it and utilize it. If you can step out of your own way just long enough to take some action, you can put yourself so far ahead of the crowd you’ll look like a seasoned pro.

Use video in your online efforts. It works and it will work for you if you use it.

But there is one thing that should be an open secret – there have been enough lawsuits about it – that everyone should be paying attention.

Astonishingly, most people are not paying attention.

LIVE. STREAMING. EVENTS

It’s an open secret that is, frankly, breathtakingly simple.

Let me explain it this way for you.

Google pretty much owns the search engine space.

Some people even think Google IS the internet! My father in law talks about “going on Google” when he means surfing the internet.

Do you think Google might be tempted to use their huge influence to favor their own websites in their own search engines?

Many legal teams think so and have brought legal action against Google for that very reason.

What if I told you that Google currently has a particular way of pushing their own website to the top of the results pages? And supposing there is currently a nice little way of using Google’s own actions for YOUR benefit?

Does that sound like something you might find useful?

In the very near future we’re going to announce a way to take full advantage of that little “loophole” with a couple of clicks. But right now let me tell you how you can do it manually.

Set up a live streaming event in a Youtube channel. Choose your keywords for the event carefully. For the event itself stream a recorded video that pushes people to your website to optin, make a purchase, add comments – whatever call to action you decide is right for you.

Then sit back, enjoy the boost Google gives you in the search engines, rinse and repeat.

Right now video is hot, hot, hot. And live streaming video is even hotter. It has the immediacy and apparent importance of a fax. If you’re old enough to remember that offices stopped what they were doing when a fax came in, you’ll know exactly what I mean. When email first came out, people did the same with that. Then when SMS/text messages came out, people stopped when they heard a notification ping. Many still do!

If you’re too young to remember what a paradigm shift those things were, you’ll struggle to see the significance.

Here’s the significance: Whatever is currently the hottest, immediate form of engagement with your audience tends to command search engine results pages.

The time to strike is now.

We’ll have more to say about this over the next week or two including how you can leverage webinars into the mix.

There has never been a better time to engage with your users using low cost services.

There will likely never be a better time again.

If you’re not already using video, you’re already behind your competition.

How long you stay behind is up to you.

Embrace the video revolution, even if you’re scared.

Here’s another secret for you: nearly all video producers are scared, even the big Hollywood guys!

Why should it be any different for you?

Being scared has never stopped anyone from achieving great results, unless they allowed it to.

Be bold, be creative, be proactive.

Keep reading for more on this soon!

p.s. Since we started using videos on sales page and affiliate promotion pages, we’ve seen revenues rise time after time after time. Sometimes, all the hype you hear is justified!

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A Simple Market

Most of us want to find an online marketplace where we can make money.

Some of us spend a lot of time and energy to break into heavily competitive arenas. Weight loss is such a global industry. Good luck trying to be top dog there!

But there is one product type that many, many people shy away from. 

It’s a product type that has made Prosperative many tens of millions of dollars. And it’s easier than you might imagine.

I’m talking about producing software products. One of the many hats I’ve worn over the years was as a systems analyst and computer coder. I made some big money in my time doing that, but it was hard work.

Very hard work.

The systems I wrote were big and complex and I did it all myself. I sought no outside help. The legal system I wrote took me many years, including most weekends and many late evenings. I was very proud of it, but it was exhausting to produce. I had the complete idea for it much faster than it took me to produce it.

That was then. This is now.

But the first software I sold online, I didn’t even code. I came up with an idea and I paid somebody to code it for me. It was one of the early days of the “gig” economy, where you pay someone to do a specific job for you and that’s it.

I paid a couple of hundred dollars to have an application made. Before I requested quotes for the work I had no idea what it would cost. I thought it might cost me thousands. Turns out it was much cheaper than I could even have hoped for.

I learned a great deal about having software made for me during that time. One of the things I learned was that (generally speaking) computer coders want to code. They don’t want to come up with the original ideas. If they did, they’d do that wouldn’t they? No, they want to be told what to do and then they’ll do it.

Another key thing I learned was that you have to be very clear about what you want. Tell your coder what you want – don’t make them guess!

I also learned that there are pitfalls when you first hire someone to make an application for you.

The return on the money I invested in my simple piece of software was very welcome. My software did a simple job and did it in a simple way. That’s what people really want, you know. They are looking to reduce their simplicity, not increase it.

After that I hired a programmer to create a string of products for me. They were all simple and functional. And they shared a common base of coding, which made it easier to build on.

There’s a saying about online business. You should work ON your business, not IN your business. In the past I would work in my business. It’s a hard way to build a business, I can tell you.

But for many people the idea of having software made is scary. They don’t think they can come up with an idea (you can, I promise you).

They don’t think they can find someone to implement it (there’s a long queue of people waiting to implement it for you). They are scared that it will cost too much. That last fear is a sensible one. It’s easy to let development costs run away with you, if you have no experience.

You probably have all the knowledge and ideas you need to come up with a good piece of software. Anything that would make your life easier might make someone else’s life easier too. And it doesn’t matter if someone else has done it before you. There is always room for another good software application. Just think about software notepads. There are tons of them.

Think about operating systems – Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOs, Android. The very fact that a product exists and sells is a good indication to you that *yours* could sell, too. That’s why supermarkets have more than one TV brand, more than one brand of coffee, cornflakes, bread, sugar – the list goes on.

Never worry that being second in the marketplace is no good. Just ask Pepsi if they’d give up the billions of dollars they make from being second to Coke. They’re not software applications, but they are competing products – and the same rules apply to software products.

So how do you get into this? Well the first step is to have an idea. And if you can find something that you do in your daily life that can be made easier with software, other people are likely to feel the same way. How many times a day does something frustrate you, when you’re trying to do something on your computer? If you had a solution for that frustration, would you pay a few dollars for an easier life? I would and I do.

The best part, for me, about software development is that you can have other people doing it for you. Your job is to tell them, as clearly as you can, what you want. Their job is to create it.

That means you’re free to do other things with your time. It may be enjoying your favorite coffee. It may be planning your next application. It might even be enjoying a vacation.

The work can continue no matter what you’re doing. It’s a way of cloning yourself so you can achieve more with the fixed time you have every day. You’ll never have more than 24 hours a day

Even if the sight of code makes you dizzy, that does not matter.

You don’t have to be a coder.

You just have to come up with an idea. And you just have to be able to communicate that idea to someone who is a coder.

You get to be the boss and let your worker do the work for you.

If you’ve never considered creating software applications for your business model, at least think about it. The next big idea may come from you. And if it doesn’t, it just may turn out to be the next simple idea that just makes life a bit easier. Someone had to invent copy and paste and it’s used millions of times a day. It’s not a huge difficult concept – but it’s a huge help on a day to day basis.

Your own life experience, doing the things you do online, can become the genesis for a single product, or an entire range of products.

Whether you want to launch a low cost $47 product, or a high ticket multi-thousand dollar application, there are coders out there who can make it happen for you.

You just have to find them (and avoid the traps for the unwary).

 

 

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A Seasonal Freebie (For Subscribers)

We decided to give our newsletter subscribers a gift. If you’re not yet a subscriber, read on anyway!

We talked about the importance of seasonality in a recent blog post. It’s something that happens every year, over and over.

We’ve also talked about how video can improve your sales.

What better time of year to use video than now?

Most viewed videos are under 2 minutes in length. People have short attention spans and want instant gratification. Especially at this time of year!

Worse than that, you have only a few seconds to get the attention of your viewer even with a short video. If you don’t do that quickly they may never watch your full video.

Add to that fact the fact that videos on landing pages increase conversions (sales or optins) and you have a dilemma.

You need to put a video on your landing pages, but you need to make it short enough not to bore your visitors.

So what do you do?

Well the logical thing is to put a short video on your landing page!

Yes, it’s pretty much that simple. Bear in mind that strangers to your site want information first. When they get to know you, like you and trust you, they may enjoy your personality enough to want to hear more about YOUR story.

But until they, frankly they don’t care.

Your site visitors just want to know what you’re offering them and what you can do for them.

Think of it this way – most TV adverts (usually) have unknown actors who are not part of the business they’re advertising. They’re just actors doing a job.

What does that mean for you? It’s simple. It means you can use generic videos on your landing pages if you want to. You’ll still get a benefit from them in terms of conversions.

Later on when your visitors become your subscribers and then your fans, they’ll want more interaction with you. Until then they don’t even know you, right? And they can’t get to know you until you get them onto your list.

At this time of year you’ll almost certainly get a boost in traffic, no matter what. There’s simply more web traffic and more shopping traffic. People are looking for solutions, gifts….things to spend money on.

Which makes it critical that you make the most of that extra traffic.

It’s a bonus that you shouldn’t waste.

There are certain very popular and big niches that will explode at this time of year and for the next month or two. But there are other, smaller niches which will also experience higher traffic volume.

If you’re unable to make your own videos, how can you take advantage of that traffic? We’ve already told you that videos on your landing page will increase conversions.

You could pay someone to make a video for you. A video specific for you and your website could cost a pretty penny. And it would only work for that website.

You could buy some generic videos that will work in any niche, but you have to be sure that the person making them has legal rights to use any images and music used in the videos.

Either option would normally cost you money – until now.

As our gift to you for reading this far, we’ve sent our subscribers 4 generic videos to use on their sites, asking people to optin. You’ll have to find a report to give them, but you probably should be doing that already anyway.

The 4 versions have an end segment with an arrow that points up, down, left or right. Just use the one that matches where your optin form is on your site. We’re giving you usage rights to these videos, but you can’t disassemble the music or images in them. You have to keep them intact.

Our subscribers you can upload them to Youtube as is. Then can embed them onto their sites. Use them on as many sites as they wish.

We’ve given personal use rights, so videos can’t be given away to anyone, or sold. Personal use only!

But we’ve gone a couple of steps further.

We’ve also made an optin videos for the two top niches coming up at this time of year.

The first is an optin video for weight loss. Just embed it onto your lead generation pages and start persuading your viewers to optin.

The second is for the New Year rush when everyone wants to exercise.

After some considerable discussion we decided we’d allow anyone who visits this blog post to download the videos as well (same usage conditions apply!). 

Is there are a catch? Yes, you have to download them before the download link expires! You can use the videos as often as you like, but you have to get them now, while you can.

You have until Dec 7 to download them and keep them safe – no, we won’t store them for you forever! If you want them, download them now and keep them somewhere safe.

Don’t wait until it’s too late and ask for them two weeks from now. Your free opportunity is right now – those who take action will benefit. Those who take no action…well, you already know what happens, right?

Download your gifts from me, Josh and Jon right now!

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Why our loss of revenue will help YOU!

So we “lost” a ton of money.

And that loss is something that can benefit you.

Before I tell you what the loss was, let me tell you why this benefits you.

If you try to do everything from scratch, it can take you a long time to learn “how” to do those things.

When you start from scratch you have to solve every problem yourself. And sometimes you don’t even know there’s a problem. Starting at the beginning with everything you do takes a lot of time, effort and energy.

It’s called reinventing the wheel. And you don’t need to reinvent the wheel…

…if you allow *other* people to make mistakes so you can benefit from those mistakes.

There’s a big “IF” there, but we’ll cover that shortly.

Let’s get to the loss of money.

One of the multiple streams of revenue that we enjoy is from Adsense. And we have Adsense installed on a range of blogs in different niches.

That’s multiple streams of revenue via Adsense.

If you’re not aware of it, Adsense is a way to make money passively. Once you’ve set it up (the right way) it can produce income for you with very little ongoing work.

We have multiple sites in multiple niches all monetized with Adsense. Once we have the content set up (we use high quality content) we don’t really need to do any ongoing work. There’s the problem. It’s incredibly easy to “set and forget” when you’re monetizing via Adsense.

And that’s what we did. We set up sites, added hiqh quality content (very important to have high quality!), added a nice theme, added some images and then….we sat back.

Money came in on autopilot. Over time the money increased. We’re talking about many thousands of dollars a month. All earned passively, once the site is set up.

Very nice, right?

But here’s where the money loss comes in. We sat back. And sat back. And…sat back.

And then we had a thought. What if?

“What if we experimented with different types of ads and different layouts?”

“Could we earn a little extra money?”

Grow your revenue

This is called optimization. And it’s hard work.

You have to change one element then collect and analyze the results, compared to the original results. If the results are better, you now have a new baseline. But you don’t stop there. You start another optimization trial. Rinse and repeat – right?

And we were delighted when we saw some small percentage increases in revenue. Success!

On the next testing we tried something that sounds easy, but boy it was not! We’re all pretty technical people here so we’re not usually fazed by technical issues. What we did was add in something called link ads underneath the header of our sites.

It’s not easy! Every WordPress theme is different and they all seem to have their code in different places. We had to work out – for each theme – how to integrate the “link ads” so they appeared in the right place.

What happened next was unexpected. And it’s the reason this blog post exists. We would encourage you to learn how to modify your own blog themes so you can use “link ads”. When you see the figures below you’ll definitely want to!

We tripled (yes tripled) our RPM earnings
RPM has continued to increase. It’s now $12 RPM – if you don’t know what a good RPM is, even $3 RPM would be nice to have. $12 RPM is fantastic!
We earned $133,815.40 *just in Adsense revenue* by using the new ad layout.

Oh, one other thing before I forget – we made sure that our sites were mobile responsive – very important!

Let me explain the significance of what I’ve just shared. With no change to the content (no new content on the site) we earned 300% more just by changing ads layout. That’s all we did. To show you the difference, look at the image below.

But to increase by 300% took us some time, trial and effort to learn how to make the change.

You can do exactly the same with your sites. You can test, tweak and improve. The time and effort you spend working out how to incorporate link ads will be repaid *every single day* after you make the change.

It was worth our time – it’s a worthwhile investment of your time.

What do those link ads look like? The screenshots below show you how they look on a desktop machine. For privacy reasons we’ve blurred any information that will allow the unscrupulous to go steal our content!

You’ll notice that you can’t really miss the link ads. They’re right under the header image. Anyone viewing that site is going to see those ads first.

That’s what we want – ads in their face.

We also added two ad units in the sidebar of the blogs (check the screenshot). One other change we made was to remove extraneous information from our sites.

We WANT people to see the ads and have nothing much else to click on – if the only clickable items on a blog are the ads guess what?

It increases the chance that someone will click on the ad!

The video below shows you an example of where we made the change to the coding of our site themes. Every theme is a little different. Your site may need code elsewhere. But once you’ve found where that code goes for your theme you’re set.

It took us probably a week or so to get that integration and code just right.

It will probably take you longer, unless you’re very experienced.

Is it worth the effort? Is making 300% more revenue every day for a one-time effort worth it to you???

It was for us.

Of course now we make sure we build sites with link ads from day one. We have a best practise formula that we apply to every site we build (for ourselves or for clients).

And you should do the same. Test. Experiment. Learn.

Then replicate. Or, to coin a phrase that you’ve heard a million times before….

Rinse. And repeat.

Adsense is still a big money earner, despite what some people believe. It’s also one of the easiest ways to start making money online without your own product, or doing massive product research. The reason is simple. Google knows what adverts to show to the people coming to your site. Google knows how to squeeze as much money out of traffic as possible.

That’s one of the reasons we let Google optimize which adverts show on our sites. But we give Google a helping hand by optimizing where those ads show!

And the results (as shown above) speak for themselves.

Build your site correctly and optimize your Adsense ad placements and you’ll never look back!

If you haven’t yet tweaked your Adsense ad placement, learn from our mistake – we increased revenue by 300%. How much extra might you make?

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Three Step Business Formula

Want a sure-fire way to run a real business?

Here’s the summary version!

Read on for full details…

If you’ve been involved in Internet Marketing for any amount of time at all, then you’re very well aware of the constant barrage of gimmicks that come your way.

Every so-called “guru” has a new “secret” formula for making money.

Amazingly enough, they come up with new “secret” formulas on a regular basis — quickly asking you to forget about the OLD secret formula and move onto their next shiny object.

It’s how “gurus” make their money.

But the reality is that there is NO “secret” formula for making money — online or off.

There IS a formula, though.

And it’s a simple one. So simple that you may not really believe it can be this simple.

Step 1. Find a problem that needs to be solved.
Step 2. Find (or create) a solution to the problem.
Step 3. Offer the solution to the people with the problem.

Sounds simple and logical, right? It is. That’s the fundamental formula for all business done in the world.

So let’s talk about each step just a little bit.

Step 1. Find a problem that needs to be solved.

Look, everybody’s got problems. All you have to do is look around the world today. We’ve got problems galore!

But when you’re looking to create a business, you’re not looking for just ANY kind of problem. You need to find a problem that can be SOLVED — by you.

And not just any kind of solvable problem, either. You want to find a problem that people are willing to pay money to solve.

The best kind of problems to solve are the problems whose solution will either save the buyer some money, make the buyer some money, or give the buyer more happiness. People have a lot less resistance to buying solutions that fall into one of those three categories.

There’s a reason why the weight loss industry in the United States alone is valued at over $60 billion. That’s $60,000,000,000.00 – annually!

Think about it: people need to lose weight because it’s better for their health and helps them feel good about themselves.

Solving the weight loss problem for people hits all three things that make a problem worth solving. It saves them money (fewer doctor bills from poor health) it makes them money (to be blunt, people live longer and have better quality of life, so they accomplish more in their personal and secular lives), and it brings them more happiness (they look better and feel better about themselves).

The problem you want to sell a solution for HAS to hit at least one of those three things. To recap, the solution to the problem should  either 1) save a person some money, 2) make a person some money or 3) give a person more happiness.

Of course, not every problem people buy solutions to hit one of those three markers. It’s just a lot easier to sell those kinds of solutions, so I recommend — especially when you’re starting out — focusing on problems whose solutions fall into at least one of those categories.

Where can you discover problems people are having? One great place is at forums and discussion boards for the market you’re looking to get into.

Whether it’s weight loss, home improvement, travel, internet marketing or whatever, there are TONS of discussion boards and forums where people routinely go looking for solutions to their problems.

If you hang out in those places, too, you’ll become intimately familiar with the kinds of problems people in your market are facing. If one of those problems falls into at least one of the three categories we’ve been discussing, you’ve got a problem worth solving.

Step 2. Find (or create) a solution to the problem.

So you’ve found a problem that, when solved, would make or save people money (or make them happier). The next step is actually implementing the solution to that problem.

There are two ways to go about solving the problem.

1. You can find a solution that already exists and sell THAT solution.

2. You can create the solution yourself.

There are pros and cons to both methods.

Using an existing solution is easy because you can use an affiliate link, refer your visitors to that solution and get a commission when they buy.

There’s no investment to have the product created. There’s very little loss to you if it fails to sell. You don’t have to write the sales letter. You don’t have to manage the customer. You don’t do support. It’s easy. Those are some definite pros.

On the negative side, you don’t earn as much money from the product sale — just whatever the commission percentage or flat rate is. You also lose control over the sales process: you can’t improve the sales letter, you don’t control the additional offers and upsells and the like.

You also risk losing the customer long-term once they go into the pipeline of the product you refer them to. You can get around some of that by trying to get the person onto your email list BEFORE sending them through your affiliate link, but you still don’t hold the trust of the customer as much.

After all, who’s medical opinion do you trust more: the doctor or the friend who referred you to him (even if the friend is very knowledegable)? If the doctor sets you on a path other than the one your friend says you should go on… which path are you more likely choose? It’s obvious.

In the same way, being the creator of a product builds trust in you and the other products you recommend to your customers. Rightly or wrongly, people think more highly of professionals who have published books in their field. That’s just the way it is. So keep that in mind when choosing the route you want to take to solve the problem.

If you go the affiliate route, you can of course find products at the big affiliate outlets like ClickBank or Commission Junction and the like, but don’t limit yourself to that. There are a lot of products that have independent affiliate programs.

So look for the BEST product that solves the problem and see if THEY have an affiliate program or reseller program FIRST. The best products will usually have the best conversion rates, so you want to offer the best.

Step 3. Offer the solution to the people with the problem.

Of course, unless you can get the people WITH the problem looking at YOUR offer for a solution, it doesn’t do you any good to have the greatest solution in the world.

And I’m not talking about just ANY eyeballs viewing your solution. You need to TARGET your customers.

For instance, if you were selling term life insurance in only the state of Connecticut, should you try to rank #1 in Google for the phrase “life insurance” or #1 for the phrase “term life insurance connecticut”?

Let me tell you: the time, effort and money involved in ranking for the broad phrase “Life Insurance” would be HUGE! You would need a massive team of people working on your behalf to make that happen.

But all you offer is term life insurance in Connecticut. So even if you COULD rank for that broad, high traffic phrase, only a very small number of your visitors would need what you’re selling.

On the other hand, it’s much easier (comparitively) to rank for “term life insurance Connecticut”, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of your visitors needs EXACTLY what you’re selling!

So when it comes to traffic sources, it’s often better to think SMALL than it is to think BIG. Small means targetted, and targetted visitors mean high conversion rates and less time and money spent acquiring new sales.

The same is true with Pay Per Click traffic like AdWords or Facebook. Narrowing your audience to ONLY those who REALLY need your product will save you money, both because the clicks will be cheaper due to lower demand AND because your conversion rate will be higher due to better targetting.

There are, of course, other sources of traffic, too. Driving visitors from YouTube videos or articles posted to related authority sites can also drive traffic to your offer — but it HAS to be targeted or you’re wasting your efforts, or at the very least not using your time very efficiently.

To recap, running a successful business — online or off — is a simple three step formula:

Step 1. Find a problem that needs to be solved.
Step 2. Find (or create) a solution to the problem.
Step 3. Offer the solution to the people with the problem.

Notice that I said it’s SIMPLE.

I didn’t say it was easy! It’s not easy. It times time, effort, skill and training to know how to accomplish each step in the most effective, productive way possible.

The difference between simple and easy is that “simple” means everyone could do it, but not everyone will because it’s not “easy” – it takes work. If you’re willing to put in some work, you can do this no matter what your previous education, experience or income levels.

The only thing stopping you from earning your share of the global revenue pie is…you. What action will you take today to start earning your slice?

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Show, Don’t Tell

Many people focus on the wrong thing when producing content. We’ve all done it. When you’re trying to understand the complexities of codecs, file formats, recording formats, audio levels, lighting levels and all the other technical details, it’s easy to get bogged down in the “How”, rather than the “What”.

(Even worse, you might get bogged down only trying to make money rather than sharing quality information!)

The “What” is your content. What you’re actually talking about and covering in the video. The “How” is how you made the video – what equipment and software you’ve used.

In the video below (it’s only 10 minutes long) I cover a couple of examples to show why the “What” of your content is way more important than the “How”. When you’ve finished watching the video please leave a comment – better still let us know about your own videos. We’d love to check them out!

 

Whatever system you use to create videos, focus on your content first. When you have that part right you’ll be surprised how much user engagement you can get, even with relatively poor video quality. People watch video for the information they’re searching out – at least for the kind of videos we’re talking about in Internet Marketing.

Videos can help to sell products. They can help you to generate more revenue. It’s unlikely that video is going away any time soon – isn’t it time you put the power of video to use in your business?

For those who would prefer to read what I was saying, here’s an approximate transcript. The comments I read out are not transcribed here, but you should get the gist of the entire video:

This first example is a video review of a techy gadget. That’s a popular type of video on Youtube – it doesn’t have to be just physical tech gadgets of course.

You can review software products, digital items, courses, places, events – you name it, there’s probably someone on Youtube wanting to find out more about it. As an affiliate it’s a great way to promote an item with a detailed and ethical review of that item.

This channel – I’m hiding the details because I want to use it as an example rather than homing in on the particular video maker – has a very large number of subscribers. You can see the channel has nearly 200,000 subscribers – clearly they’re doing something right. I’ve watched the video. It’s only 8 and a half minutes long. Near the end is a small amount of sample video footage created with this device.

That’s where the problem comes in. The sample video – which is really what most people would come here to see – does not show that the item is any good.

There is a disconnect between what is being said (“it’s a great gadget for smooth video”) compared to what is being shown. All that does is frustrate people. They come looking for an example of how good this device is because they are thinking of buying it.

They are shown poor quality video samples, but told it produces much better video. If that’s the case, why not show the better quality? Why not take the extra few minutes to add some extra sample footage to this video? Don’t tell me that the steak in the kitchen is better than the one you just served me – give me the good steak! This channel creator definitely puts a lot of work into the videos.

That just means it’s a little odd to cut short what could be a great review for the sake of a small amount of extra work. Ultimately this video fails because it tells us, rather than shows us. Here’s a couple of reactions.

Notice that the channel creator argues back – that’s also interesting because the commenters are telling him how they could improve his content to keep them happy. That’s great feedback, but he seems to take it personally.

Let’s read them …..

When you’re looking for reviews, don’t you want the good and the bad so you can make up your own mind? Don’t you want to see some kind of proof of what is being said? So in this case the lesson is “show, don’t tell”. Some of you might have heard that as one of the basic story telling maxims – and never forget that you’re telling a story in your video, even if it’s a true life story.

Let’s find out why that’s important before we move onto the next video.

Wikipedia…

Now here’s an interesting one. The actual video isn’t important so much, since it’s just talking about what kind of equipment would be “perfect” for making videos. Since everyone has a different opinion, that argument is going to last forever.

Let’s take a look at the comments though and how this content creator reacts to negative feedback.

Reading comments…. Asking for ideas from the audience. What a concept! But it shows a willingness to engage with the audience and look at the follow up response! Great, right? What’s the lesson here. Well I guess it’s a simple one. So many people feel that they can’t produce quality content without an “if only”.

“If only I had a better camera”

“If only I had a better computer”

“If only I had a better face/speaking voice/accent/age/house/background….fill in your own blank”!!!

The medium – how you deliver the content – is the least important part. A great story is still a great story if it’s printed on a page, turned into a Hollywood movie, or told to someone over a campfire – let’s say!

Don’t focus exclusively on the how of delivering your content.

Focus first, second and third on what that content is – what does it offer the viewer or reader. If you haven’t yet made videos you really should start. And the best place to start is by examining what you want to share with the world. Once you have that right, you’re good to go. Have you made any videos? Why don’t you share them with us? We’d love to see them!

 

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Make Your Videos Even Better

If you’re not yet making and using videos in your online business, you should be. There’s no question that they help to engage your subscribers and customers more effectively.

In this post I want to talk about some simple lessons that will help you make better videos.

Why should you listen to me anyway? Who am I to tell YOU how to improve your videos?

Actually in this case the advice is based on a magazine interview with a big-name director: Guillermo Del Toro.

Before we get into the advice part, let’s consider the fact that all around you are lessons in how to improve your video making. All you have to do is pay close attention to adverts, films, news programs. Look for elements that appear regularly. Examples include

  • Is music used?  When? What volume? Does the volume change?
  • Are on-screen graphics used? When?
  • Do images and audio match?
  • Is the audio crisp and clear, or is it muffled and awkard to hear? How does that relate to the experience you have watching?
  • What techniques are used on shopping channels and infomercials to get you to buy? Do they show price before listing the item features? Why would one channel show price and an informercial leave it as long as possible to show price?
  • Are the presenters “known” to the audience, or total strangers? How does that affect how they have to present their message?
  • Are “experts” interviewed by another person, giving conferred authority to the interviewee? When is that technique not used?

It sounds like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. If you look for the techniques and strategies used you’ll see them used time and again. You’ll learn to spot them a mile away. At that point they become second nature for you.

So what does Guillermo Del Toro have to say?

Interviewed about his love of computer games, Guillermo raised some points that relate directly to the user experience.

He’s talking about video games, but video is video, so let me quote his points and then draw the lessons from them.

I hate bad voice actors…I can’t stand it.

Now of course you may not like the sound of your own voice – most people don’t when they hear it recorded. The real issue is surprising. Poor quality audio quite simply makes the video look worse! It’s not intuitive at all, but good quality audio makes a video look better.  Sound affects the viewer perception of the image.

Weird, right? But for as little as $40-$60 you can make sure your audio is crisp, clean, clear and convincing.

So rule #1 is make sure you sound good, to look good (even if you’re not on camera yourself).

If you’ve ever watched a Youtube video with poor quality sound, you’ll know how annoying it can be even if the video itself is great. So pay attention to sound for better visuals.

Rule #1a is sound effects and music can enhance the quality of your audio enormously.

Pick the right “feel” of music and you’re more than halfway home.

Of course you have to be careful to make sure you have the rights to use music you choose. You can’t just download the latest hit from the internet and do what you like with it. You have to use music that gives you permission to use it in your videos.

Make sure you always check your usage rights in all assets, whether visual or audio.

What’s the second thing Guillermo talks about?

I hate cutscenes. I like gaming (the visual). I don’t want you to cut away and show me a junky little film in the middle.

Wow, this one takes a bit more dissecting. Remember he’s talking about gaming and I’m talking about video making. But let’s examine what he means.

As you watch a video there comes a point (hopefully, if you’ve done your job right) where your viewer is immersed in what you are saying and showing.

They are “in” the video. If you have some kind of visual disconnect within your video, you spoil the experience for your audience. Think of adverts in the middle of your favorite show, just at the good bit. They cut to commercial.

Does that please you? Or does it frustrate you that you have to wait for the resolution to the cliffhanger you just saw? For most people that enforced cut is not what they want.  It’s a nuisance.

So the lesson here is to avoid having a cognitive disconnect with your audience. Stay on message and do not jerk your audience out of the narrative structure that you’re trying to create.

We’re aiming for a smooth journey (99% of the time – there are exceptions) from point A to point Z. Whether that’s establishing the need for your product to the purchase point, or training how to boot up software to using it, the flow should be logical.

Nobody likes traffic jams, right? A disconnect in your video message is like a traffic jam. Unwelcome.

Disruption is powerful, but it needs to be handled carefully. Unless you know your particular video requires it, don’t break the viewer’s concentration. Don’t drop a stupid little segment into the middle of an otherwise great experience for your viewers.

An example of that is the mid-stream ads you sometimes see on Youtube channel. Just as you’re getting to a point you want to pay attention to, boom, a break and an advert. Thanks, Youtube – not!

These are just two points to pay attention to when you’re making videos. There are many more besides these, but these are pretty key points.

Let’s recap:

Keep the audio crisp and clear. Your video will look better!

Keep to the point. Your audience’s attention won’t wander away!

You don’t have to use video for everything. I haven’t made a video for this post, for example. In my case it’s because it would be difficult to make good audio today – I have construction work right outside my home and the audio would be terrible. It’s likely to be another week before that’s finished.

But when you do create video – and you should almost certainly create more than you do already – please pay attention to at least these two points. Those alone will put you ahead of the vast majority of amateur video makers.

 

 

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Increase Your Happiness

In this blog post I’m going to tell you how to be happier. It’s really simple.

working hard is hard workWork Smarter, Not Harder – because working hard is hard work.

There, easy advice, wasn’t it?

What, you want more details? Ok, let’s jump right in.

A couple of days ago I was making the tutorial videos for our new service, TextSuite. It’s the next generation content creation machine. That’s not hyperbole, that’s simply a statement of fact.

In looking for the best way to demonstrate the incredible power of the tool, I found an article on the BBC.co.uk website. It was the perfect article for me to demonstrate TextSuite with. But…it was also a provocative (to some) and thought provoking article about happiness.

Let’s just take a side road for a moment. You’ve all heard that content is king. You’ve heard it for years and years. It happens to be true. But if you ever worked for a king you’d probably find it a very stressful, tiring and demanding job. Producing content that is king is hard work. Yet you have to produce and keep producing it to keep the search engine mega-kings happy. That’s before we even consider your site visitors!

So how does this relate to the article on the BBC website? I’ll summarize it for you, but you can read the full details a bit later.

  1. Many of us, particularly in the developed countries are “time poor”. In fact it’s been described as a “time famine”.
  2. Even those with deep pockets and healthy bank balances don’t seem to like to spend money to have work done for them.
  3. When scientists conducted tests, they found that spending money to release time created more happiness and less stress than spending money on “things”.

It’s probably not a huge shock to most of us. Having more time to do the things we love is something we all pretty much agree on. What we don’t all agree on is the best way to do it.

We’ve seen people spend a fortune on web hosting, powerful computers and even training courses. But for some reason many people will not pay a few dollars to save themselves hours of time. In fact some people will earn less in an hour than they could generate by spending that same amount elsewhere.

You want to do well in the search engines? You need content. 

You want to have time with your family? You need to work less.

You want your visitors to stick around on your site? You need great content.

You want to choose the life you lead? You get the idea – work smarter, not harder.

The mythical “make money while sitting on a beach” scenario is something many aspire to. It tells us what people really want out of life. Time. Time to do the things you want to do – not the things you have to do to survive.

So if you need great content on a regular basis, how do you produce it currently? Do you sit and painstakingly research everything from scratch? Do you steal other people’s content unchanged and hope nobody will notice? Do you plan great content, but never get around to producing it?

What is your story? Does your strategy work for you?

Over the years we’ve found that outputting – actually publishing – huge amounts of content has a simple result. It produces revenue. It’s hardly a secret. But we do have an edge, because we use the tools that we create. When we create a tool we tweak it to give us as much power and ease of use as we want. We want to work smarter, not harder too!

TextSuite is the culmination of more than a decade’s experience of content creation and automation. I’m producing this content using TextSuite and at the foot of this article you’ll see the demonstration article I created.

Let’s revisit that whole scientists and happiness thing. How does that fit into what I’m saying here? What the scientists discovered was that spending a small amount of money to have a small task done (thus releasing time) reduces stress and improves happiness.

You know you need to produce lots of content. You know you have to do it regularly. You probably stress about it. You are not alone.

So let me pose a question to you. If you could spend a small amount of money to help you create great content faster, more easily and more often, would that help reduce your stress levels? Would it help you achieve your revenue goals by publishing content? Would it be something that could make a difference in your life beyond the cost itself?

The scientists would tell you “yes”. They ran the experiments on a number of simple tasks that people don’t like doing. Offloading them, or making them easier, lead to increased happiness.

Beneath this article is the article I created using TextSuite.

As you’ll see when you read it, it’s a unique article that currently does not exist anywhere else on the web. The content itself is unique.

  1. It was easy to do – so I was more likely to do it.
  2. It was prompted by an online article. That gave me inspiration without too much sweat equity!
  3. It used just one of the many tools within TextSuite, so I can repurpose it in the future.

I don’t know your particular story. But I do know that those who buy services that save them time – and then use those services – have more time to do the things they love, or more time to do more of the things that earn them money.

It’s your call. You can save a few dollars and do everything yourself. Or you can take the advice of the scientists who have demonstrated how to improve your life. Use money to buy time so you can release your own time. Use money to make your life easier, not with “things”, but with services and tools that free your time.

Very few of us these days would consider walking 5 miles to the store. We go in our cars. We buy cars to be able to go farther, faster, with less effort. It just makes sense, doesn’t it?

So why do so many people struggle to do the things they need to do online?

That doesn’t make sense – not when investing a few dollars and cents make much more sense.

Think about that the next time you’re struggling to produce content for your sites. There is a solution. And August 1st you’ll learn more about it.

Click here to read the article that inspired me.

Here’s the plain text article I created using TextSuite:

Although it sounds amazing, it’s now claimed that spending your money can increase your happiness. Read on to find out how and why!

An experiment was conducted with a simple goal. To see if spending money to save time (on boring tasks) could make someone happier than spending that money on material goods instead.

As most of us know (and psychologists tell us) stress can create anxiety, depression and unhappiness.

But even if you’re already well off, you may feel hesitant to spend money on having things *done*, instead of on *buying* things.

Surveys suggest that if you free up your time, you’re more likely to be happier. Paying for jobs to be done to save you time may very well improve your satisfaction in life!

Quality of Life

In countries where income rises, something slightly weird happens. It even has a weird name. There’s a thing called time famine. People are literally starved of time and it’s stressing them out. They have no quality of life.

So a test has been carried out to see if spending money actually does work to make people happier 🙂

The test actually included millionaires, as well as every day people. The survey looked into how often people spent their money to release (or buy) time.

It seems that fewer than 1 in 3 of us (or those tested, anyway), regularly spend money to save themselves time. Rather than spend the money, they put up with having limited time for themselves.

Here’s a key fact though: Of those who did spend money on having tasks and jobs done, they scored more highly on life satisfaction.

For two weeks a test was carried out, although the small scale of the test means it’s not conclusive. It is, however, interesting.

The test group were given a simple instruction. For one week, spend a small amount (around $40) on something that would have the effect of giving them more time. Some would pay for lunch to be delivered to them, instead of going out. Some paid local kids to do small jobs for them. Some paid for cleaning. They were all small scale tasks, not costing a great deal of money.

For the other week, the group were instructed to buy “things”. That could have been a book, some clothes, drinks, anything that was material.

What do you think the results were? It’s probably no big surprise that spending to buy free time made people feel less stressed.

Think about that for a moment. Instead of stressing over doing the laundry, you could pay to have it done and spend the time with your family in the park. Or go sailing, painting, playing sports – whatever your free time activities are.

So nobody can create time. We all have 24 hours in a day. But money can be used to buy someone else’s time to free up some of your time. It seems like it’s a pretty effective strategy.

If you hate doing something, or just get stressed out about it, is there someone you could pay to do that task for you? If you do, it might just remove that stress from your life. Scientists who tested this seem to think that’s a good way of using money.

Many people feel like they have a second job when they get home. There is so much to do in the average household, especially if you have kids. That can be a powerful stressor.

But if it’s true that using money to can increase your happiness, isn’t that a wonderful thing to know?

After all, would you rather have another $40 item cluttering up your house, or would you rather spend time doing exactly what you love? I know my answer. What’s yours?

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Google is behind the times!

Ever wondered how much time and energy you’d need to write 30,000 stories a month?

Recently, nearly a million dollars ($1,000,000.00) was spent on a new scheme to make it unbelievably fast and easy to achieve.

The claim is that the end result will benefit media outlets. At least that’s the claim and it will start in 2018.

The idea is not to do away with human input totally. But it is to make less human input necessary. And when you find out who’s behind it you may be astonished!

Google has funded a project to create about 30,000 stories (articles) a month, to submit to various media sites, using automation to create the content!

Yes, I said Google and I said 30,000 articles a month!

How many writers do you think you need to pay to create 30,000 articles every month? And how much do you think it would cost you to do that?

The team that will be outputting 30,000 articles a month consists of five people. No, that is not a misprint. I said five people. Do the math – that’s 6,000 articles per person per month.

Or, if you prefer, it’s 300 articles per person per working day. Working 8 hours a day that’s 37.5 articles every hour – one every 1.6 minutes.

It’s been claimed by the editor of a news agency that it would be impossible to produce this many stories any other way. Well duh!

In effect, he’s saying what we’ve always said.

Here’s what we’ve always said, in the plainest language possible:

Use modern tools to save time and energy.

Use your saved time to achieve more and do more.

When you achieve more, you can earn more.

Not rocket science, is it? And the fact that Google is getting in on the whole “automated content creation” trend should make it 100% clear that it’s “OK” to do it. You just have to be sure you use the right sources. Add into the mix a little human “curation” and what you have is quantity AND quality.

When all is said and done, isn’t that what you want? Lots of information, but GOOD information? Isn’t that what your site visitors want as well?

It could not be clearer – big money and big names are getting behind automated content creation.

I have a question for you. Can you tell that I used an automated content creation tool to produce the first half of this email? No?

There’s the proof that a small amount of human input can and does make the difference to the output.

So how did I do it?

You’ve already heard from Josh about how to help rank your sites in Google with content. He also showed you some screenshots of the next generation content creation tool we’ve been working on.

I simply used our own tool to curate some content from a news report about Google’s involvement in automatic content creation!

Everything we develop we use ourselves. That’s one of the reasons our tools are so simple to use – we don’t want hassle and inconvenience!

On August 1st you’re going to get an opportunity to access our next generation content creation tool – I can tell you without hesitation that you’ll be blown away.

TextSuite is the culmination of 14 years work by Jon Leger and decades of real world experience that Josh and I bring to the table.

TextSuite is simple, fast and easy to use because we don’t want to use anything that isn’t those things.

We’re fussy, we’re busy and we’re demanding! And we’re especially demanding of ourselves. 

We expect tools to make life easier for us. TextSuite has been built with that in mind, front and center.

The result is something that will benefit you every day of the month, every month of the year.

You already know that content is king.

But we know that most people are not used to producing huge amounts of content, fast.

On August 1st that all changes.

Your output will no longer be constrained by your input.

On August 1st TextSuite will put the power back into YOUR hands. You’ll be able to compete with people with deep pockets, assistants and experience.

Finally, the balance of power will be restored.

Keep watching for more details of TextSuite, because it is literally transformative and it’s coming your way August 1st!

p.s. Want to see a short video of this incredible tool? CLICK HERE

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