+=+=+=+= INSIDER REPORT =+=+=+=+
The SIM INSIDER REPORT is dedicated to helping readers succeed online while saving time and money with cutting-edge tools, tips and strategies for internet marketing, online advertising and website promotion.
IN THIS ISSUE
==> Tip of the Month
==> Tips, Tools & Resources
==> Feedback & Contributions
==> Food for Thought
First, a warm WELCOME to all new subscribers.
The theme of today's Insider Report is one of the most important and often overlooked elements of running a successful online business -- "time management."
Corey Rudl discusses automating your business in our Tip of the Month feature, the "E-zine Queen" shares her insights into using vertual assistants to free up some of your valuable time in our Food for Thought section while Andy Jenkins points out the significance of managing your site visitors time with his report in our Feedback & Contributions section.
Speaking about saving time...
I'm excited to share with you one of the most incredibly useful, and powerful new tools I've seen come out in a long time!
If you're in the information business creating infoproducts, researching niches, or simply researching information, you'll be interested in this...
Recently, Derek Franklin, who's better known for writing and selling over 250,000 computer books about Internet technologies, released a program that's got to be seen to be believed.
It's called Search Automator, and according to Derek, it's purpose is to 'take a keyword, and within seconds, turn it into a treasure-trove of websites, ebooks, tutorials, checklists, tips, guides, resources, tricks, articles, MP3s, videos, images, and more.
He's not kidding!
If you've ever been at a loss for quality content, information, or inspiration, you need to take a serious look at Search Automator.
I recommend you watch the short video found part way down his sales page showing the Search Automator in action. Derek also offers a 10-day ecourse on some of the easiest and fastest ways of finding the content you want online.
Check it out here... http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com/sa
TIP OF THE MONTH
Learn the Two "Little Secrets" of BIG Growth and Profits for Your Business!
Have you ever switched off your computer at the end of a day's work, but found that the "to do" list you started with that morning is still as long as your arm?
Okay, you've answered tons of e-mails containing questions from customers, you've fulfilled some orders, and you've updated your newsletter subscriber list by deleting recent unsubscribes and bounce backs, and adding some new subscribers.
But what have you really *achieved* in that time? Have you generated more sales? Have you developed improvements to your products or services? Have you come up with some ideas for your next really profitable campaign?
The fact is, many small business owners get so caught up with *running* their business, that they have no time to *grow* it. Answering e-mails, fulfilling orders, and updating your subscriber list are all essential tasks -- but they will NOT increase your profits.
The only way to grow a business is to market it. And the secret to being able to grow your business and still run it at the same time is *automation*.
Automating key tasks -- so they happen without you lifting a finger -- doesn't just free you from doing some of the daily chores involved in running a business... it actually grows your business, too.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that automation is ESSENTIAL to your web site's growth.
Here's a few examples of what I mean...
THE best way to automate all your daily chores is to use "autoresponders." Autoresponders are pre-written e-mails that are automatically sent on your behalf -- for example, in response to an e-mail sent to a particular e-mail address that you set up, or when an order goes through.
They take care of the tasks that would take you hours to do yourself and leave you free to concentrate on building your business. All you have to do is write the e-mail messages in advance and set them up to be sent out when you want.
Unfortunately, some autoresponder services charge for every one you send, which can get really expensive. The good news is that there is a cheaper, more efficient alternative, which I'll talk about later in this newsletter.
First, though, I'd like to run through the two areas of your business that are essential to automate... and tell you how autoresponders can help you do it.
Secret #1: Automate your ordering and fulfillment process
Your sales and ordering process is *crucial* to the success of your business, and it's critical that you automate it from the beginning.
When you start your business, you might find that you WANT to handle the orders yourself. After all, it's satisfying to see those first few sales come in and to deal with your first customers personally... it means all your hard work is paying off!
However, after that initial honeymoon period is over and you're handling hundreds and thousands of orders -- you won't find the hands-on approach so much fun.
Just think how long it takes you to handle ONE order manually, and multiply that by 100 or 1,000!
Put simply, your business won't grow... unless you automate your whole ordering process. So this is where autoresponders come in -- they can manage all your most time-consuming tasks, including:
However, online customers are a very demanding bunch! They want to be able to browse for, order, and receive the items they buy online as quickly and easily as possible.
It's in your interest to make it easy for your customers to order and receive your products, as well as making the whole process hands-free so you can concentrate on growing your business.
Secret #2: Automate your customer service
As I've just mentioned, online customers EXPECT quick service. The fact is, if you leave it a day or two to respond to a question about your products or services, you could lose that customer to your competition.
So good customer service is a vital component of a successful online business.
And once again, autoresponders are crucial. They allow you to...
And automation is the key to making this process hands-free. If you can make your customers' buying experience as quick and easy as possible, and make your fulfillment and follow-up efficient and instantaneous, you can significantly boost your sales... without lifting a finger!
But how do you go about automating your business without having a lot of down-time or spending a lot of your hard-earned profits?
How you can automate YOUR business
Many Internet entrepreneurs get into the habit of doing everything themselves when it comes to running their business. It's partly because that's in our nature! We're very hands-on and like to be in control of everything!
But then more and more orders start coming in, you get more and more questions from customers, and before you know it, you're spending nearly ALL of your time performing these "administrative" tasks.
And when you actually break down what you're spending your time on, you can find you're really just standing still instead of growing your business.
Meanwhile, your competitors who HAVE automated their business are snagging YOUR customers, who've become frustrated by your slow response to an e-mailed question, the time it takes to get an order confirmation, or slow fulfillment of their order.
Automation is the perfect solution to providing great customer service *and* freeing up your time to develop your business.
And autoresponders, in particular, are amazing tools for handling all the mundane e-mail chores that can take up so much of your time. They allow you to...
However, some of them charge you for EVERY autoresponder. And as there are tons of ways to use autoresponders, that cost really adds up.
A better solution is to use custom-built software like Mailloop.
This is the software I use at The Internet Marketing Center, which I developed because of my own frustration with the limited and expensive solutions out there on the market.
It's built with Internet business owners like you in mind -- both newbies and more experienced netrepreneurs -- and it allows you to set up UNLIMITED autoresponders.
That means that you can set up autoresponders to handle all aspects of your ordering and fulfillment process, answer questions from visitors to your site, *and* upsell backend products to your customers -- automatically.
The automated e-mails that you write will still sound personal and can contain any information you want -- but you only have to write them once!
Then Mailloop takes over, allowing you to get on with the important job of building your business.
Check out the full range of benefits Mailloop can offer your business, such as...
Remember, the HUGE benefit of automation is that it allows you to spend more time coming up with new ways to grow your business and increase your profits.
It's not impossible to make money and grow your business *without* automation, but it's *very* difficult if you spend hours every day answering e-mails, fulfilling orders, and taking care of all the other daily chores yourself.
You'll basically become a secretary in your own business -- which I'm guessing is not what you set out to do!
By automating your business from the beginning, you have the time you need to grow your business... test new strategies and techniques... AND spend more time with your family -- while your business runs itself!
. . .ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Corey Rudl is the owner of four highly successful online businesses that attract more than 1.8 million visitors per month and generate over $6.6 million each year. He is also the author of the #1 best-selling Internet Marketing course online.
© 2005 MarketingTips.com - All rights reserved
To check out his site that's JAM-PACKED WITH THE EXACT INFORMATION YOU NEED to start, build, and grow your very own profitable Internet business, I highly recommend visiting http://www.marketingtips.com/tipsltr.html
This guy really knows what he's talking about!
SIM's "Tip of the Week" back issues available at... http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com/ezines
TIPS, TOOLS & RESOURCES
Super Powered Sales Grabber
New 12 Page "sneak peek" PDF excerpt of Chapter 6 from the "Action Grid System". The PDF file contains free, but very valuable and meaty content that includes step by step details on how anyone can create their own Audio Recordings that they can sell online for $20, $50 or $100 a pop!
Is the Internet "BlackHole" Stealing YOUR Customers? This free PDF report features screen captures showing how the Internet Blackhole is actually stealing 25% to 50% of profits. This is NOT theory. Here's ACTUAL proof... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/bh
Becoming A Super Blogger
The Power Users Quick-Start Guide to Becoming A Super Blogger features step by step instructions for setting up your own blog in just a few hours. It's a free ebook with distribution rights from Doug Champigny.
FREE WEB BOOKS
Internet Marketing Basics
If you're not TOTALLY familiar with the BASICS of marketing
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the many aspects of bringing your business online...
tell me more / download now
The Birth of a Professional Website
This free download is brand new and available from the SIM
site ONLY. It's a compilation of 10 articles by Shelley Lowery
and completely covers the launching of a professional website.
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Syndicate Your Headlines Using RSS
RSS is quickly becoming the standard choice for delivering
syndicated web content. If you've thought about syndicating
your own content, this report will get you started...
tell me more / download now
We have a large selection of free courses waiting for you at http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com/fc
*Mastering Search Engine Placement
*25 Secrets eBay Doesn't Want You To Know
*Netwriting Masters Course
*Affiliate Masters Course
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*Make Your Net Auction Sell
*Make Your Price Sell, The Masters Course
* For more great tips and tools, go here:
FEEDBACK & CONTRIBUTIONS
5 Essential Steps To Increase Your Close Ratio
--- 8 Seconds till impact ---
Over 60% of web surfers will decide to stay at your site or leave for another site within the FIRST 8 SECONDS of their arrival?
Letís put that into perspective:
It takes about 8 seconds for a drive hit by Tiger Woods to shoot into the air, land on the ground, and then stop rolling.
It takes about 8 seconds for a really fast car to do a quarter mile drag race - a really fast car.
It takes 10 seconds for a boxer to be called "Knocked Out".
It takes 29.9 seconds for the average 30 second television commercial to try to sell you something.
But all we have to convince a web surfer to stick around and shop at our site is a paltry 8 seconds
What a world...
Since this is what weíre up against, this is how you can do it.
First - Close your eyes (after reading this, that is) and clear your mind. Enter your sites URL into your web browser, THEN close your eyes, and hit enter.
Keep your eyes shut for 10 seconds, just until things start to get creepy.
Then, open them and look at your home page from a distance 2 times greater than you normally use to look at your screen (This is an old Film Editors trick).
What do you see? What is the FIRST thing that hits you between the eyes?
Hereís a hint: If it doesnít have to do with what you sell, then youíve got problems.
--- 5 things to look for when you are doing your own "Make Emí Stick Site Survey" Do your own little survey and see how your site stacks up.
Can a visitor clearly and within 8 seconds determine?
1.--- What do you sell?
If youíre selling physical products, a headline doesnít cut it. People buy benefits, which are read. People shop pictures, which are seen.
The key is getting your visitors to START SHOPPING!
Do you have a very pretty, very clear image of a product of product that defines what your site sells? If you donít - get one.
2.--- That you are a legitimate site?
If you shop online (and you should), take a look at the last 5 places that you purchased real goods from. Look at all 5 of those sites. What made you decide to buy?
If it wasnít Amazon or Best Buy, Iíll bet that the final feeling of security and confidence in your purchase decision came to you because the site looked "Legit".
Does your site look Legit? Does it have credit card logos? Secure Logos?
Does your site look "Homemade"? There is a place for homemade looking sites, but if youíre selling into a space that has professional sellers (along with professional buyers), then itís your job to have a professional looking site.
Donít freak - professional often means simple. Just go take a look at Appleís site. You can do that, right?
3.--- Is your site for the shopper or for the buyer?
This is an important distinction - are you selling goods that people already know about and just need a reliable store to get them from, or are you selling stuff that needs a lot of explanation.
For example: Selling Ink Cartridges does not require explanation Selling Security Cameras does require explanation.
Do you offer enough info for your shoppers to make a buying decision? Survey says? "No."
4.--- If I were a customer that came to your site, would I know what to do?
I donít mean "Should I buy, or book mark, or leave". What I mean is, lets say that Iím interested enough in the pretty pictures on your site that I decide that I want to stick around and poke through your site.
Would I know what to click on? And if you just answered "My Navigation Bar", then you get an "F". The answer is not your navigation bar - itís what any form of link or call to action that will cause your customer to click on to the next level of your site - NOT including your Nav Bar.
Ever wonder why some successful web hosting services have a link(right on their home page) that says "Click here for your features tour"? Now you know.
Getting customers to take action is MORE than just asking them to buy. The more clicks a customer makes into and through your site, the more likely they are to make a purchase. The more pages your customers look at, the more likely that they will find something to BUY. So, give your customers something to do besides clicking on your navigation bar.
5.--- Who and where are you?
Wanna know a simple trick that increased Brad Fallon's and my conversion by about 90%?
--- We added contact information or a contact mechanism right to our site.
Thatís right, we added some sort of live chat, or a phone number, a contact form, an address, store hours, etc. and watched our sales double.
You see, people are freaked out because, now that the presidential election is over, thereís nothing scandalous to report, but WHOA, let there be an identity theft and itíll be on the news for 2 weeks.
Your average shopper online has about 10% of the knowledge of how things really work online - Meaning, even though your eCommerce solution IS secure, your customer has no way of know that.
Itís up to you to make them feel secure about shopping with you, and one of the ways that you can do that is to offer them a clear method of contact.
Yes, 8 seconds can make or break your siteís sales. Just start with the 5 things that are outlined above and track your results.
Remember, you canít go any higher than position 1 in the Search Engines, but you can make each visitor count more.
Andy Jenkins http://www.yahoo-store-builder.com
. . .
If you have a promotion tip to share (or an affiliate program that would be of interest to the rest of us) or if you have a web design tip, or a specific question, please feel free to post all tips, questions, or answers to posted questions here and I will add your email or URL with it. It's FREE promotion!
Send your tips, questions or answers to:
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Why Are You Doing Everything Yourself?
One problem I often see with solo professionals is that their businesses aren't growing because they're simply not making enough time to do it!
It's not that they don't understand the value of those efforts, or they don't WANT to make the time. It's that they're simply trying to do too much by themselves. They're so busy running their business that they're not working ON their business.
Are You Spending All Your Time on the Little Stuff?
Owning your own business requires wearing a lot of hats. But it seems that when many people leave their jobs to "go solo," they think they must work completely solo as well. They insist on doing everything themselves -- even tasks they know darn well they're not good at.
They try in vain to design their own Web sites and brochures, write their own sales copy, process their own orders, manage their own mailing list, personally respond to every customer call and e-mail, ship their own products, and more. Pretty soon they're running around like that proverbial headless chicken.
What eventually happens is their love for their work -- the reason they started their own business in the first place -- drowns in a flood of administrative trivia. Suddenly one morning they wake up feeling burnt out and without that positive, creative energy they used to have.
When this happened to me a few years ago, I was lucky to learn about virtual assistants (VAs). VAs are freelancers who take care of all that "busy work" for entrepreneurs like us. Because VAs are independent themselves, they work on an as-needed basis from their own homes or offices, saving you the cost and hassle of hiring a regular office assistant.
I now have two VAs -- Liz, who lives in Boston, and Julie, who lives in Iowa. And I can't live without them!
What Could YOU Delegate to a VA?
During next week, keep a log of all your activities. Then sit down and review it. Decide which activities are truly ones that only you can do and which you can delegate.
For example, here are some of the tasks I delegate to my VAs:
Worried You Don't Have the Budget?
The good news is you're not hiring your VA full time. A VA only charges you for the hours she actually works. Although VA rates may be more than you'd pay an administrative employee (usually $30-50 per hour), you don't have the added expenses of employee benefits, office space, and equipment. You're also getting someone who has years of experience, who loves what she does, who already has her own desk, chair, computer, software, fax, phone, stapler, and pens, and who's ready to leap in and start work as soon as you are.
Keep in mind that having a VA will IMMENSELY free up your time to focus on the stuff that matters: marketing and growing your business, developing bold new product ideas and income streams, and servicing your larger clients. You'll think much bigger and will have much more creative energy. I guarantee it!
Look for a VA That Matches Your Needs
If you're looking for a long-term partner who is committed to helping you succeed (and I was), look for someone who's graduated from a VA training program such as AssistU (www.AssistU.com). That's where I found both Liz and Julie, and I highly recommend it. Another resource is the International Virtual Assistants Association. (www.ivaa.org)
Don't wait until it's too late! Most people put off hiring a VA until they "hit the wall." Things like overdue bills, a messy office, late projects, and unreturned phone calls add up until their business almost collapses.
Take action NOW and at least learn more about getting some help. It will be a big relief, I promise!
(See my program "How to Find, Hire, and Work With Your First Assistant" at www.ezinequeen.com/assistanttele.htm
. . .ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," is creator of the award-winning 'Boost Business With Your Own E-zine' system. To learn more about this step-by-step program, and to sign up for her FREE how-to articles and FREE audio class, visit www.EzineQueen.com
© 2005 Alexandria K. Brown - All rights reserved
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