Author Archives | Caitlynn Cush

Twitter made some changes to their battle against internet ‘trolls’

Twitter Inc  made some significant changes to their strategy for fighting internet “trolls” on Tuesday.  Twitter will begin using a wider range of key points to rank tweets in conversations and searches, hiding even more replies that are likely to be abusive. The company is turning to greater automation, saying its software will start automatically demoting response posts that it determines are likely to disrupt users’ conversations.

Twitter’s rules already prohibit abuse, and it can suspend or block offenders once someone reports them. Users can also mute people they find offensive.  Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said Twitter now would try to find problematic accounts by examining behavior such as how frequently people tweet about accounts that do not follow them or whether they have confirmed their email address.

“We want to take the burden of the work off the people receiving the abuse or the harassment,” Dorsey said in a briefing with reporters. Past efforts to fight abuse “felt like Whac-A-Mole,” he added.The new algorithm will roll out over the next week.

Posted in CPA Marketing0 Comments

Follow the Influencer to Follow the Money [Infographic]

Influencer marketing is on the rise. With 39% of marketers planning to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018, and 19% planning to spend over $100k per program, the growth of this industry simply can’t be ignored.  The infographic below, created by St. Joseph Communictions, outlines the industry’s growth over the next few years.

Check out the informative infographic and let us know what you think in the comments below.

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Influencer Marketing0 Comments

5 Huge Lessons of a Solopreneur

 

Way back in 2005, I hung out my shingle as a freelancer.  I was the ripe old age of 32 and had simply had it with the corporate life.  Even though as Americans we have been tricked into thinking that if you are employed and working for a corporation that you are guaranteed a paycheck, I never felt “safe.”

Not only did I not feel secure in the fact that the paychecks would just magically keep coming, but I also felt as if I was more often than not just a number.  A number that had no ideas of her own, no goals to make the company’s bottom line larger, and certainly no personal goals.

Clearly, I needed to make a change.

A full thirteen years later, even though times have been hard in spots, I have never once regretted my decision.

Over the years I’ve hit some speed bumps and sputtered to the point of almost failing, but I just pick myself up and move forward.   During those times though I’ve learned many lessons that could ring useful to other freelancers or solopreneurs.

See also 6 Hacks that are a must for Solopreneurs and Weapons of a Super Soloprenuer [Infographic]

Readjustment takes time and dedication. Going from the structured, fast pace of a 9-5 job to a “free for all” type of working environment takes a certain adjustment period.  People often grossly underestimate the energy and self-motivation it takes to make such a massive transition. Try to stay on a schedule as much as possible. This means setting your alarm, pulling your butt out of bed, showering, and throwing on something that “feels” like work.  I realize that most of you are saying “but that is why I’m leaving my 9-5.”  You can still have the freedom to occasionally break your schedule, but don’t make it a habit. If you are a night owl (like I happen to be), then just shift your work schedule to meet the needs of yourself and of course that of your clients.  To many though will have trouble shaking the feeling of either a perpetual vacation or the total opposite of being so stressed out over the next check that they simply can’t concentrate on the task at hand.

Never work for free.  I often find myself in this very situation.  Friends or acquaintances love to pick my brain for this or that, which ultimately I’m ok with.  I gain join in helping others and sharing my learned marketing knowledge (just as I do here every week).  That however is where I draw the line. No more free logo work for the ex-roommate who just started his latest dream business.  No more guest blogging for the aunt who doesn’t know the first thing about her blog topic. And absolutely no spec work. If the agency or client is reputable they wouldn’t even think of asking for that kind of deal.   My payment structures are simple. 50% up front and the rest on delivery. Or if I’m written into the deal, there is a clear payment structure for payment on points, commission, etc.

 

Plan for everything but expect nothing. Being self-employed is often like walking a tight-rope without a safety net below.  The best way to give yourself a bit of piece of mind is to plan, plan, plan. (Seriously, solopreneurs can never have too many plans in play.) Try your best to think ahead and cover all the what-ifs in all the situations. This of course includes your financial welfare since you are often at the mercy of clients following through on their word that they are going to pay you on-time. If you are doing freelance work, make certain you have clear and concise contracts and agreements in effect before starting any job. (The norm for most freelancers is to bill 50% down before work even begins and then the remaining 50% upon delivery.  However, do what is best for YOU and your clients.)  This of unfortunately won’t stop all the deadbeats from being dishonest, but it will at least give your clients the impression that you have your affairs in order and are organized enough to handle the gig.

Your time is just as valuable as the client’s.  Most new freelancers or soloprenuers often have a hard time transitioning from Boss/employee. (See first point) You must remember that you are now your own boss.  Your time is a huge part of your value, to both yourself and to your clients.  When setting aside time to speak to clients, set up actual appointments with allotted time slots that you communicate with the client.  Otherwise, you could run into clients that are a bit of a time hog. This of course will set you behind in your own personal business schedule. 

Run your business or it will run you (into the ground).  Create tasks lists the day before laying out your day (See above point).  Make sure to include one or two big tasks up at the top of the list.  Tackle these head on and early in your work day. It will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment, and you are less likely to resent the tiny tasks that will come up later on your list during the day because you have already made major progress.

Stay tuned for more tips and lessons regarding freelancing and solopreneurship in the upcoming weeks.  In the meantime, what did I miss? Have you experienced any of the lessons above?

 

Posted in CPA Marketing0 Comments

New Facebook Update Will Show You Exactly Who Shares Fake News

Today Facebook announced that it was rolling out an update on it’s plan to tackle fake news. While on the surface the update appears bot be giving users context for the news stories they read, the update also has a less obvious secondary purpose: Showing you which of those on your friend’s list are sharing fake news stories the most.

This update that is new to us, actually first tested last year.  How does it work?  By tapping on the “i” icon next to the story’s headline, you’ll be shown the source’s Wikipedia article, related articles, and a map showing where the story has been shared before, and who shared it.

Most of us already have our primary friend’s list figured out when it comes to their viewpoints, and thus already know which of them are probably going to be on the receiving end of old “unfriend” or “unfollow” boot during the next election. But for those of us that actually use our pages for more of a business or networking platform, you will now be able to see what those unknowns have been sharing and where it comes from.

Pretty handy when it comes to how to market to them.

According to Facebook’s developers, the original idea came from the “Related Articles” you can find under news stories on your feed. In order for this to work, the authors of the stories have to have author tags implemented on their page.

The update is available for everyone in the US as of today.

Do you think this will help or hurt your social media marketing efforts? We would love to hear about it in the comments below. 

 

Posted in Social Media Marketing0 Comments

5 Awesome Way Thank You Pages Will Boost Conversion

Conversion, conversion, conversion!  The three C’s to any online marketing campaign.

Yes, do your happy dance or have a mental party, but don’t think your job is done – yet.   You are on a role.   Your page visitor is already strolling down that “yes” path, they are engaged, and seemingly loving your business.

Now is the prime time to take this proverbial bull by the horns and ride it all the way to the stall.

How, you ask.  A simple thank you page can do wonders to generate even more conversions.

Thank You Pages Not Only Used To Be Polite

Why the heck is a thank you page important anyway?  For many businesses, the thank you page seems to be at the very bottom of the priority barrel.  Conversion is not your end goal, it’s really just the beginning of your relationship with your visitor.

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs as reported by Return on Behavior magazine, “The probability of selling to a new customer is 5-20 percent, while selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent.”

Customize your thank you pages to your business (and your customer alike)  and take that opportunity to grab their attention before they leave.  Your thank you page is the perfect opportunity to cross-promote your products, tell visitors about promotions, or ask them for a social media share.

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty and find those 5 ways to utilize the heck out of your thank you pages!

  1. First and foremost, make sure that your visitor gets what they came for.

Begin by covering the conventional purpose of the thank you page and say thank you!

It’s a good idea to include the title of the offer on the thank you page itself. This will reassure the visitor that they are on the correct page.  Then, if applicable, provide them the means to download, view your content, or print a receipt for their purchase (hard good sales).  This could take many forms, such as a PDF of the whitepages, a zip file for the ebook purchased, or even a video explaining what their “next steps” should be.  If the offer should happen to revolve around a consultation, be certain to set expectations and set forth when they should expect a phone call or something in their email.

  1. Cross promote related products

Perfect example of this would be Amazon.com.  They cross promote and show recommended products not only inside their shopping portal but also on the thank you page.

The customer has just made a purchase and is in a “yes” kind of mood.  By showing them additional products they might like, you can then lead them towards yet another purchase.

You don’t run an ecommerce site?  If visitors opt into an email campaign or download an ebook or software, you can then suggest other materials or resources that could be relevant to their previous purchase(s).

  1. Social media sharing

Yup, you too should hop on the social media bandwagon.  This are not only important to your landing pages, they are just as important (if not more) to include them on your thank you pages. Even with all the new changes with Facebook, social media is still a relevant avenue to market to your existing customer base.

A key tip, is to make sure that the links to your social networks open in a new tab or new window.  This gives the visitor a chance to read and otherwise consume their purchased content without closing out of the thank you page.

  1. Customize

Your thank you page should be genuine and sincere.  Ensure that your appreciations is a major feature on the page.  You may even add their name and make it more personalized.  Sound hard?  Not really.  There’s just a block of code you need to copy and paste into the “head” section of your page. Then, you’ll put a smaller block of code wherever you insert form data.

Still sound like too much to handle? It should be easy for your developer, then. Otherwise, here’s the code and instructions on how to do it.

By using the visitor’s name, your page is more likely to grab their attention and give her an even more positive outlook on your company’s goals.

  1.  Autoresponders

Finally in addition to redirecting to a fully optimized thank you page, you should set up an auto-response email that is automatically sent to the visitors who have filled out your lead/buyer form.  This is a tried and true strategy that serves as an additional way to follow up with your new leads and increase repeat conversions by suggesting another offer they might be interested in.

Remember that autoresponders are in addition to the thank you page.

  1. Ask for feedback

You have their attention, so why not utilize that to ask them about their overall experience thus far.  You can ask them to leave a comment about how you are doing or in what ways they believe the process could be improved.

Asking for feedback will allow you to spot issues that you very likely didn’t even know were an issue.  You will also get a non-biased perspective about how you are doing and what could be improved.

Feedback could be in the way of a short survey, since most people are more than willing to answer a few quick questions (multiple choice) about your business and their experience.  Remember to keep it short and simple so that visitors feel inclined to quickly fill it out.

A thank you page, could be, the last impression your visitors have of your business.  Don’t waste this golden opportunity to reinforce value, promote customer loyalty, and also build a lasting relationship.

How are you utilizing your thank you page to engage your visitors?

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Conversion Optimization, ecommerce, Email Marketing1 Comment

Price vs. Value: How it Relates to the Products That You Are Promoting

Every marketer wants to have the edge at selling a product or service at the highest price to be demanded, however, a truly successful sale will be cornered in a value pricing level that keeps pace with present demand. The two theories – price and value – go hand in hand and, determining which strategy you implement to make a sale is dependent upon the product that you are selling. Depending upon the industry you are promoting, people do not have sensitivity to price – in fact, they expect to pay more when you are offering higher quality products and/or, one-on-one services. However, experienced marketers know that competing on price alone is a dead-end strategy that will burn you out regardless of what you are selling. You just need to get up off that cheap sales couch – take the difficult and high road – and research and focus your marketing strategy on potential customers who want top notch service and a quality product, regardless of pricing. A seasoned marketer knows that those customers who don’t understand that they must pay accordingly for quality products and services are the type who complain regardless of value and WASTE YOUR VALUABLE TIME.

How price relates to the product that you are promoting.

If you want to sell product at the optimum price, then you need to focus on products that will be worth your time and effort. Price is dependent upon how you create, produce, and market the value of your product. If your prospective buyer perceives the value in your product, then you’ve successfully promoted your product and have made a sale. The principle is basic: Reach a match between what you believe is of value and that of which your prospective buyer believes is of value. If you don’t arrive at a match, you don’t have a sell.

Selling high priced products and services is primarily about finding the right buyer which includes honing your skills on targeting correctly and timely. Don’t just find a product – locate a product that will provide you with a sustainable business with each sale. Finding the right product or service to sell will require you to perform intensive research in order to understand the consumer you need to target and redirect them in your direction.

Once you have targeted and redirected a potential buyer to you, the time has come for you to add value to the product or service by pre-selling or providing the pitch that will click in the mind of your prospect. This is accomplished by adding more value content, more services, more bonuses, and, most importantly, by getting personal with your prospect and proving that you care about the attributes of the product and services you are promoting – these make you stand out of the crowd and become unique to the buyer.

How value relates to the product you are promoting.

Value-based pricing and marketing is a business strategy in which a company sets prices and promotes products based on the value consumers perceive a service or good to have. It is an alternative to other forms of pricing: market fluctuations, production costs, competition pricing, field of competition, and historical trends.

Promoting on value involves a balance of confidence, personal rapport, and doing your homework. Technology has made this more difficult as it gives consumers greater access to price information and competitors. Nevertheless, you can make your products stand out in a low-cost world. The solution is based in simple economics, genius: Buyer’s value perceptions are connected to how much of a product is available to them or how easy it is for them to receive a service. If your customer is pleased with your services or products, then you will have more ease at setting future pricing based upon increased demand.

If you don’t want to compromise on price, then you must stay competitive based on the value of your product or service to consumers. People are willing to pay more for a product if they believe it will give them a truly special or significant value – especially if you present it to them in a unique and convincing manner. Don’t waste your valuable time and sanity by targeting buyers for your product to those who won’t appreciate what you are selling. Narrow your target consumers with intensive research and find buyers who make good candidates with the potential to meet your price requirements.

Value-based customers are receptive to hearing why they should pay more for a certain product as opposed to your competitor’s. Today’s consumers are very sophisticated and understand how to explore price for value. One-third of buyers are focused upon only price – 2/3 are open to hearing a value-based pitch for your product.

Customer service emphasis is key to creating value in the product or services you are selling. Everyone wants to be a valued customer and, when you make your customers feel valued, they will want to continue to do business with you – referring you to another customer, in turn.

Value is the key in this market and if you deliver a succinct and relevant pitch by informing the customer who you are, what your product/service does, and how the product/service brings value to the market. If you explain the value of the product/service as a problem solver in a compelling manner, then you have what it takes for a compelling value sales technique.

How consumer surplus dictates price versus value.

Consumer surplus is an economic term referring to the difference between what a customer was willing to pay and the amount he actually paid. Marketers usually generate consumer surplus by lowering prices, such as with sales. This can help customers feel like they had a good experience with the company and impacts customer loyalty. If a company places its price beyond the value the customer assesses or the amount the customer is willing to pay, then consumer surplus is reduced or eliminated. This may have a negative impact on the customer’s experience and stop customers from making future purchases. Conversely, placing prices below the assessed value improves customer surplus and customer experience.

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, ecommerce0 Comments

Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes When Selling Online

It happens time and time again: budding entrepreneurs create what they believe is a very good product, but are stuck (or suck) on how to sell it.  Most forget that having a successful business entails so much more than just the product. One also needs to learn the art of selling online.

Unfortunately many people are seduced by the “get rich quick” songs being chanted in various forms around the net. Theses decits have people believing that setting up a business online is as simple as a few clicks of the mouse, some keywords, and a shopping cart.  True, it isn’t rocket science, but the process is a little more involved than those commercials would lead you to believe.

To avoid the bad taste left in your mouth from a BizOp (Business Opportunity) course gone bad, I will share with you some common mistakes to avoid when learning to sell online.

3 Errors to avoid if you want to sell online

1. Failing to Do Market Research

When I first started my online Etsy store, I created about 4 products and quickly had my first sale. It wasn’t long after that, I started churning out products left and right. Though I have a background in marketing and know the importance of market research, I was having so much fun creating the new items that I went on a “creation spree” without doing any market research to see if the new items would actually convert. Though many of the ideas were fun to make, they didn’t sell, making it harder to generate an initial profit.

Jitpal Kocher, founder of Lionsmark, recommends doing one thing really well instead of bouncing from product to product. “Put an emphasis on a singular product type with different themes or the same theme across different products rather than being all over the place,” stated JitPal. “Let people find you because you make really cool movie poster spoofs rather than having a collection that isn’t connected together.”

Now, I spend a great deal of time conducting various forms of market research before I even begin to create a new product.

2. Doing Everything Yourself

Running an online business does not have to be a one man (or woman) show. Learn where your strengths are and focus on those, and simply outsource the rest.

Cathryn Lavery, founder of BestSelf Co recalls: “The biggest mistake we had was trying to do it all ourselves. We would have hired faster, put the right people in the right places. Undervaluing key positions like customer support was an initial mistake we made. Now we recommend hiring great customer support within the country you operate from to look after your customers. Don’t try to farm it out at $5 an hour overseas.”

Don’t burn yourself out on the tasks that you either have to take copious amounts of precious time learning or you simply aren’t good at.  Instead spend the precious time hiring someone that both knows how to perform the tasks at hand or is simply better at it than you.

These tasks could be anything from copywriting to customer service management.

3. Under or Overpricing Your Products

It is always important to take into account all forms of overhead before landing on a final public price.  This should include shipping, returns, taxes, listing fees (if any), web hosting, etc.

“Margins and cash flow are everything,” said Nate Ginsberg an e-commerce entrepreneur. “E-commerce can be VERY expensive. And you can often lose money and not even know it if you don’t know your numbers.”

Have you become victim to any of the pitfalls above? Or maybe one (or more) that weren’t listed.  We would love to hear all about your success and failures in the comments below.

 

Posted in ecommerce0 Comments

Facebook

Subscribe via RSS