Archive for January, 2016

Increasing your AdSense earnings is often about using tactics rather than increasing traffic. Yes, traffic matters a lot; but building traffic is slow and implementing potentially lucrative tactics can happen overnight.

These three tactics can take a low or mediocre CTR ad and turn it into an absolute cash cow. Of course, they may not work all the time – you need to test them for yourself.

==> Using the “This Can’t Be Related” Image Technique

Images draw the eyes. When people look at a page, the first place their eyes go are the pictures. Then their eyes go to the things near the pictures.

It only makes sense then to put your AdSense ads near pictures. Unfortunately, AdSense is adamant that you can’t put ads next to anything that looks related to what advertisers might be selling.

That’s okay. Just put images that can’t possibly be related next to your ads.

For example, a giant photo of you smiling while looking at the camera. Make it stylish and classy, then put the ads somewhere near the picture.

It can’t possibly be related to the ads, as it’s not about a product or even about the content. But it’ll still draw the eyes and likely increase CTR.

==> The Below Quotes Technique

Quotes also draw the eyes. In fact, people will usually read enlarged quotes before reading most areas of the article.

Put quotes throughout your article in enlarged text. To see good examples of how this works, just look through a few magazines or newspapers to see how professional editors do this.

Then put a small AdSense block right under the quote. That quote will get read, people will see your ad and the CTR might shoot through the roof.

==> The High Contrast Technique

A lot of people say to blend your ads into your layout. But a very effective technique can be to go for high contrast instead.

For example, let’s say your site layout is primarily blue. Instead of making your links blue as well to blend in, why not make them bright red to really draw attention to them?

This will really get people to look at your ads. They still might not click, but at least you’re getting the views now.

Any one of these three techniques can take your CTR and give it a powerful boost. The exact results vary from site to site and niche to niche.

Remember to carefully read the Terms of Service for AdSense to make sure you’re not inadvertently violating any clauses. Whenever you experiment with controversial techniques, you really need to be well versed in what’s allowed and what’s not. Reread the Terms of Service (even if you’ve already read them a while back) before trying these techniques.

Use Keyword Spy Tools to

Posted January 31, 2016 By Callie

One of the fastest and most efficient ways to build a strong keyword list is to just “steal” your competitor’s. They’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars testing to find the best keywords and it can save you a lot of money if you just use their existing data.

How do you find data on your competitor’s keywords? What are some of the best tools on the market? Here’s an overview.

==> Tip: Use a Variety of Tools

Different kinds of tools get their data from different sources. Some sources (Alexa) do it through toolbar installs that gather data as users with their toolbar browse the web. Others buy data from ISPs (Compete) and still others scrape Google (SpyFu) for fresh ad data.

Each of these sources is going to tell a different story. They’re going to give you different traffic estimations, different keyword bids and different keywords.

There’s no such thing as a tool that’ll give you all your competitor’s keywords 100% accurately. Instead, try to combine as many different keyword spy sources as you can to get as complete a picture as possible.

Only pay for a source once you’ve gotten a sense for what it can do and believe that the paid version will pay for itself.

==> Compete.com

Compete.com is targeted primarily at large corporations and media buyers, but its free keyword spy tool is still one of the best on net.

Simply go to Compete.com, click “Site Profile” and type in the domain you want to spy on.

Compete will give you a list of their top five paid keywords and top five organic keywords. It’ll also give you an estimation of their traffic.

Yes, you only get 10 keywords without paying. But if you compile 10 keywords from 15 competitors, that’s 150 keywords that you know are already working for someone else.

Compete’s data comes from purchasing data from other companies, many of which are ISPs.

==> SpyFu.com

SpyFu offers not only keyword data, but also ad and campaign data. They can tell you how long your competitors have been running any given ad and how long they’ve been bidding on a keyword.

With this data, you can pretty much tell what your competitors have tested in the past that has worked and what they’ve tested that hasn’t worked.

Not only will this give you a good keyword list, but it can save you a lot of time and money by not testing things that have already been proven not to work.

==> KeywordSpy.com

KeywordSpy is one of the old school, simple and direct keyword spy tools.

Just type in the domain you’re looking for data on and it’ll show you a list of the keywords they believe they’re getting traffic from.

Generally you’ll need to type in quite a few domains into KeywordSpy to get a meaningful keyword list.

These are three very popular keyword spy tools online. There are many more – some paid and some free. Try to find two or three tools that really fit your style and consider paying for one tool if you really find that it gives you the data you need.

Much of what your mother taught you when you were a small child, can also be applied to running a business. After all we’re still interacting with other people and should do so in a kind and honest way. Here are four lessons that we learned from our moms that hold true when it comes to doing business.

Always Make A Good First Impression

First impressions count and it’s something you want to work on. Make sure the first interaction you have with your potential customers is a good one. This means putting your best foot forward on social media sites and on your own website of course. Do your best to make sure things are working and carefully plan your email messages. Never forget that at the other end of that email is a real person. Respond to emails, comments and social media posts you get and make sure each interaction with your audience is a positive one.

Be True To Your Word

We’re good at being true to our word in real live, but when it comes to online interactions or business transactions, we’re not afraid to stretch the true a little bit in the name of marketing. Aggressive marketing tactics may work in the short term, but they won’t allow you to build a sustainable business. Building it on strong core values like always telling the truth and making good on your word will.

Be Kind To Others

People like to do business with someone that’s nice to them. And those are the people they will recommend to family and friends. Always be polite, be nice and don’t be afraid to go the extra mile for your customers. They will reward you for it in the long run with plenty of good word-of-mouth advertising.

Show Some Patience

Last but not least, let’s talk about patience. It takes patience to get a business off the ground. Make sure you’re prepared to stick it out until you make it. But it doesn’t stop there. You want to have some patience with your audience. Just because they don’t jump at the first offer you make them, doesn’t mean they are less valuable. Be patient and earn the trust of your subscribers and website visitors. There will come a time when you’re presenting them with the right offer and they’ll gladly take out their wallet and buy.

Be patient with the people you work with. This could be employees, independent contractors or other business owners you’re cooperating with. We are all busy and sometimes things don’t work out exactly as planned. Give those around you the benefit of the doubt and be patient with them. Showing a little bit of grace may end up in long-term friendships that will benefit your business for years to come.

Who knew that the things you learned as a Kindergartener would come in handy now that you own your own business?

3 Powerful Ways to Recognize an Opportunity

Posted January 31, 2016 By Callie

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur one of the things that you’re going to have to do is be able to recognize opportunity when it knocks. An opportunity to fill a much needed gap in the market or to change your business to take advantage of a trend could mean the difference between a little bit of success and a huge amount. But you must know what these opportunities look like so that you can grab them when you see them. Here are three ways to recognize an opportunity.

It Might Not Be Perfect

One of the earmarks of a good opportunity is that it doesn’t sound too good to be true. A true opportunity that has great potential isn’t going to be perfect when you encounter it. You’re going to have to do the work to make it into a successful venture. However, one thing that should have is potential. If you can see it becoming a great idea in the future than it might just be the opportunity that you been looking for but just be sure that just because an idea is imperfect that you don’t discard it completely.

It Is Built on Previous Failures

The best ideas are the ones that have evolved over time because they have been honed through past failures. If an idea has been through the furnace of discovery, there is a much greater chance of it working when you decide to implement it. In other words, you might want to give an idea time to fail a few times before you decide to run with it yourself, because otherwise, you’ll be making all of those mistakes yourself and that won’t result in the grand opportunity the you’re envisioning.

It Might Not Be What It Was Intended to Be Used for Originally

Some of the best ideas that have ever been thought of were completely different takes on what a product or service was originally intended for. The idea might’ve been a failure as it was intended but it sparked an entire new thought process and brand-new applications. These accidental inventions ended up being something completely different because someone had the ability to see past the original application. For example, both the slinky and silly putty toys were intended for industrial application. However, they failed as intended and instead became some of the most popular toys ever invented.

Effective Email Marketing

Posted January 31, 2016 By Callie

Email marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of Internet advertising. This is because there are many distinct advantages to the concept of email marketing. However, email marketing does have some disadvantages as well. In this article we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing and will also provide some insight into how to plan and execute an effective email marketing campaign.

Email marketing certainly has a set of unique advantages over other types of marketing both online and offline. Perhaps one of the most significant advantages to email marketing is the ability to reach a worldwide audience with minimal effort. It is certainly possible to reach a worldwide audience with other types of advertising but traditional types of advertising such as television, radio and the print media are not nearly as effective for reaching potential customers around the world all at once.

Another major advantage to email marketing is it is extremely affordable. This is significant because there are many other types of marketing, including Internet marketing, which are significantly more expensive than email marketing. The costs associated with email marketing are minimal. Ideally you will already have a list of email recipients who are interested in your products and services so there is no cost associated with obtaining a list of email addresses. Additionally the cost to send out emails is minimal and can be considered part of your regular operating costs. All of these factors already make email marketing extremely cost effective.

However, there is some cost involved in email marketing. Primarily this is the costs associated with writing the advertisements and creating any graphics which will accompany the email advertisements. This will require hiring a writer to write the copy for the advertisement and a designer to create and implements the graphics. The cost of these services will vary pretty widely but in general you will pay more for writers and designers with more experience. This is because these writers and designers are expected to be able to produce a higher quality of work than those with less experience could produce.

The most obvious disadvantage to email marketing is the possibility of having your email marketing viewed as spam. This is a very important problem because it could prove to be quite costly in terms of the profit margin for your business. Each day Internet users are bombarded with unsolicited emails serving as advertisements. This problem has reached epic proportions and the abundance of spam infiltrating the email boxes of innocent Internet users has to be cautious and suspicious about any email they receive which is unsolicited and appears to be promoting a particular product or service.

Emails which contain subject lines or content which appear to be similar to spam may be automatically transferred to a spam email folder by the email system. Emails which are not automatically deleted may be deleted without being opened simply because the recipient does not recognize the sender of the email. Both of these problems can result in essentially wasted time for the business owner because the recipients are not even viewing the emails advertising the products and services offered by the business. Additionally, they may result in complaints being lodged against the company for being a purveyor of spam.

Now that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing, you might wonder how you can maximize the advantages to use email marketing to your advantage. The most important factor to consider is your email distribution list. This should consist of former customers who have expressed a desire to receive emails with information and advertisements as well as potential customers who have also expressed interest in more information.

The content of the emails should also be carefully considered. They should certainly highlight the products and services you offer but should do so without appearing to be a hard sales pitch. A writer with experience in writing this type of copy should be able to assist you in providing insightful and accurate copy which also entices the reader to find out more about your products and services. Finally your emails should provide the readers with a call to action. This should be a statement urging the reader to take a specific action such as making a purchase or researching a product.

Three Cool Tools for AdSense Webmasters

Posted January 30, 2016 By Callie

With AdSense being one of the most popular ways to earn an income online, there have been quite a few tools released to make webmaster’s lives easier.

Here are three of the coolest tools for setting up, using and managing AdSense ads.

==> The AdSense Sandbox Tool

What kind of ads will show up on your site? What kind of ads are already showing up on your site? What kind of ads are showing up on your competitor’s site?

The AdSense Sandbox tool will give you a whole array of ad listings to look through.

This can help you start your campaign with certain advertisers blocked, or to optimize your page a bit more if you’re finding a lot of irrelevant ads.

The sandbox tool can be found here:

http://tools.digitalpoint.com/adsense-sandbox.php

==> AdSense Notifier

It can be very addictive to watch money coming in. How many times a day do you track your stats? Many webmasters will check their AdSense earnings as much as five times, ten times, even twenty times a day.

How much time does this take? Even if it just takes a minute or two each time, they add up. Also, every time you check your stats you’re interrupting your work flow. It takes energy and time to get back into the flow.

You’re also more likely to go off on other distracting activities (i.e. email, Facebook) after you start checking your stats.

AdSense Notifier is a free Firefox plug-in that will completely handle this for you. Basically, it’ll check your AdSense earnings for you every 15 minutes and display it for you in the lower right corner of your browser.

This way, you’ll always know exactly how much you’ve made today without having to break your workflow.

This tool can be downloaded here:

http://code.mincus.com/3/adsense-notifier/

==> Alternate URL

If you have PSA ads displaying on your sites but you don’t want to go through the trouble of setting up another ad network or finding affiliate products for all of your sites, Alternate URL is the perfect answer.

Alternate URL will find the best alternatives to AdSense for your website and place alternative ads on your site for you anytime a PSA ad would display. The revenue is split 50/50 with you and you’re paid by PayPal every month.

If you run just one main site for the majority of your income, you’ll probably want to find your own affiliate ads or use another ad service for your PSA ads. But if you have hundreds of sites that make up your income, Alternate URL will be a lifesaver.

You can register at:

http://www.alternateurl.com

These are three of the coolest, most unique tools available to AdSense publishers today.

Start with Profits, Then with Volume

Posted January 30, 2016 By Callie

One of the most sure-fire ways to make sure you’re profitable is to start with highly targeted campaigns containing only your most likely to be profitable keywords. Once you prove the campaigns’ merits, then you move on to broader keywords.

==> What Your Starting Campaign Needs To Look Like

Your starting campaign should contain mostly proven keywords with moderate competition. You might have a sprinkle of highly targeted unproven keywords, but try to stick with proven keywords. “Proven” keywords are basically keywords that at least one competitor has run successfully and profitably.

You’ll primarily be bidding on exact match keywords. Exact match keywords almost always convert higher than phrase and broad match, because you can specifically target people in the perfect mindset for buying your product.

The goal is to sell just to your most likely buyers first. Yes, the volume will be low. Your profit margins might also be low, as you’ll be paying higher CPCs with exact match and proven keywords than if you were doing more fringe keywords or broader match types.

But by starting with this narrow, proven range, you drastically increase your chances of building something that makes money from the beginning.

Once you’ve proven the concept behind your campaign, how do you scale up your volume?

=> Scaling Up: Stage 1

The first step is to enable syndicated search results. That means your search results will appear on other websites (e.g. AOL.com) that have search engines but use Google’s search data for their results.

This will pretty quickly boost your traffic by about 20%. Make sure you track the referrers on your conversions so you know whether or not this traffic actually converts.

The next step is to enable phrase and broad matching. Generally, you’ll want to bid a little bit less for phrase matching and a lot less for broad matching. If you’re bidding $0.27 for exact match, you might only bid $0.17 for phrase matching and $0.11 for broad match.

=> Scaling Up: Stage 2

Once you’ve tried syndicated search and loosening your match types, assuming you’re still profitable, you should be getting a lot more volume. But you can still take it even further.

Scale up by adding more keywords. Add keywords in “sideway” niches and markets. Add keywords that target the same type of person who buys your products, but might not necessarily be a dead-on relevant keyword.

If you’re targeting the dating market, for example, instead of using keywords like “dating” you might try keywords like “what to do when I’m bored” or “how do I find love.”

Finally, expand your traffic by porting your campaign over to Microsoft AdCenter. Now that Bing has taken over Yahoo’s search traffic, they consist of over 30% of the web’s searches. Not a small market share by any means.

Start by making sure your campaign can actually make money. Then expand your reach and keywords to get as much volume as possible.

Our world is very different from the one our grandparents grew up in. One of the biggest things lacking today is patience. Let’s call it the lost virtue of patience in business. We live in a fast paced world where we want results now, not down the road. We don’t want to wait, we want to be an overnight success. We don’t want to grow something from the ground up and we pay a price by ignoring the value of patience.

Patience Leads To Higher Quality

It takes some patience to do things right. But if you take your time, both to learn what you’re doing and while you’re doing it, you end up with much higher quality. If you’re a maker of products, patience to find the right resources and fine-tuning your process will result in a higher quality end product.

If you’re a consultant, patience with your clients will give you the best results. The same goes if you’re a shop keeper or an email marketer. If you’re a blogger, being patient when you create your posts and images, grow your audience, and your social media following will result in the highest quality blog and traffic to it.

Great Service Requires Great Patience

Let’s talk about customer service for a minute. No matter what business you’re in, if you’re customers aren’t happy, your business isn’t doing well. One of your primary goals should always be to provide excellent customer service. And that will take patience from time to time.

Being patient with your customers and offering great customer service is a learned skill. The best first step is always to put yourself in your customer’s’ shoes. Why are they upset, or why are they asking questions that you think have an obvious answer. Try to remember what it was like not knowing what you know now. From your current point of view, it may be obvious how the product should be used, but maybe your directions aren’t as clear as they seem. Understand why your customer has questions or is upset and see what you can do to help them out.

Patience Earns You Loyalty

Here’s what patience will do for you in the long run. You’ll come out with better products and services. You continue to work hard at keeping your customers and your employees happy. And all that effort will not go unnoticed. It will earn you loyalty. And loyalty is one of the biggest secrets to long term success. You don’t have to continually go out there and find new customers. Instead your business will thrive on repeat customers and referrals via word of mouth advertising. Isn’t that a goal worth striving for, even if it takes some time and patience?

Creating Email Lists for Marketing Campaigns

Posted January 30, 2016 By Callie

If you plan to do some Internet marketing to promote your business endeavor, you should seriously consider email marketing as at least one tier of your Internet marketing campaign. Many business owners shy away from email marketing because they believe all email marketing campaigns are purely spam. However, this is not true and not partaking in this type of marketing can cause your business to lose out on a great deal of business. By not appealing to potential customers via email, your business may lose a great deal of business to competitors who are using email marketing campaigns to reach customers around the world. However, the first step of an email marketing campaign should be creating an email distribution list. This article will discuss some popular options for doing this and should help to the reader to learn more about what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to email marketing.

Once you have made the decision to start using email marketing to promote your business you are likely facing the dilemma of compiling an email distribution list. This is essentially a list of email addresses to which you will email your advertising and promotional materials. One common way to gain a list of email addresses is to purchase a list from distributors. However, this method is not very effective at all and we do not recommend it. The problem with purchasing an email list if you have no way of knowing whether or not the members of the list would have any interest at all in your products or services. This is very important because while you want to reach a large audience with your email marketing you also want this audience to be members of your overall target audience.

When you purchase an email list you may be sending your email messages to some users who might be interested but this is largely coincidental and is not likely to be well received because the message was not solicited. Internet users are very quick to delete materials they believe to be spam without even opening or reading the emails. In fact some Internet service providers include spam filters which may automatically delete your emails if your messages are deemed to be spam. These filters run complex algorithms on the subject heading and content of the message to determine whether or not it is spam and are quite adept at weeding out spam. Therefore you run the risk of having your email marketing effort turn out to be a complete waste if the majority of recipients never even read or receive the message.

A far better way to create an email distribution list for your email marketing campaign is to ask current customers as well as interested potential customers to register with your website to receive additional information and periodic updates about your products and services as well as other information which might be of interest to them. This provides you with a database of email addresses from current customers as well as potential customers who have a genuine interest in your products and services and who are interested in learning more about these products and services.

Once you have a list of interested customers or potential customers you can send emails or create e-newsletter for distribution to the members of your email list. These documents should contain a wealth of valuable information as well as a soft sell pitch for your products and services. This information will be valued by the readers and may help to persuade them to try your products and services. You might also want to include useful links to either your website as well as other websites which may be of interest to your readers. Your content should also contain a portion which urges the reader to take a specific action such as making a purchase or at least investigating a product further.

Cash flow is the amount of money that flows through your business. Positive or negative denotes whether or not you make a profit in the end. If you earn more than you spend, you have positive cash flow. If you spend more than you earn, you have negative cash flow.

In general terms your business profit is what you have left after you take what you earned and subtract what you spend. When you look at it in those simple terms, positive cash flow generally means your business is profitable, while negative cash flow means you’re in trouble… at least in the long run.

Of course things aren’t always that black and white. Tracking cash flow is simply a planning tool and there may be times when you’re intentionally sacrificing present day profit to grow your business and make it more profitable down the road.

The majority of the time, you want to make sure you have positive cash flow in your day to day operations. Not only does it mean your business is doing well and you can cut yourself a paycheck at the end of the month, it also means that you have plenty of cash on hand to pay your bills, hire help and buy more stock. Positive cash flow will keep your business running smoothly.

Now let’s look at negative cash flow. While the name sounds bad, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes we have to invest some money and even go into debt to help us grow. Compare it to buying a house in your personal life. You take on a mortgage and between paying that off and all the other costs associated with owning a home, you usually end up spending quite a bit more each month than you would renting an apartment. Regardless of the negative cash flow we’re creating, it’s still a smart decision for the future. The same holds true for your business.

You may want to invest in some new equipment to create new products or better serve your clients. You may want to hire some help so you’re free to solicit more clients. There are plenty of good reasons to spend money up-front to help you grow.

Just as negative cash flow isn’t always a bad thing, positive cash flow doesn’t always mean you have a profitable and sustainable business. For example, you may decide to run a big sale one day to generate more cash. You reduce the price of your product or service by 50% and end up making a lot of sales. Your business will see a lot of positive cash flow, which is great if you’ve done your homework. If however, you didn’t sit down to calculate the true cost of what you are offering, you may find that once the suppliers, and employees are paid and you took care of all ongoing bills, you ended up spending more than you sold the product for. Yes, you got lots of new business, but you didn’t make a profit. This seemingly positive cash flow isn’t sustainable month after month and won’t keep your business afloat.

Keep in mind that cash flow statements are just a tool. They are a set of numbers that can help you see what’s going on in your business, but also something you have to look at in context to make smart decisions.