Free Information Isn’t Enough Anymore

Posted by on Aug 11 2014

I have ebooks, audios and videos sitting on my hard drive that I’ve never consumed. I bet you do, too.

Free information is everywhere. Even if it’s excellent, it’s not always easy for your audience to digest it and create a strategy around it.

The next place of growth for service professionals and information marketers is to take all the free information you research and produce for your clients, synthesize it, and give it back to people in a practical, DO-able format: a paid class.

Want to be unique?

If you want people to consume your information, teach people how to consume it and use it. This will set you apart from the crowd.

The reason people spend money on your webinars, teleseminars and live classes is that:

  1. They get to ask questions of the teacher
  2. They get to learn in a group environment, where they can brainstorm ideas and feel supported while they learn
  3. They’re given bite-sized homework assignments
  4. They can apply what they’re learning and get feedback right away
  5. They walk away with a do-able action plan

Even offering free webinars and teleseminars sets you apart from the crowd in your industry, because it allows people to receive a chunk of information (about an hours’ worth), learn how to apply it, and ask questions to clarify points. If you’re not offering free webinars and teleseminars as part of your marketing plan, now is a good time to start. Just make sure you have a plan for helping your audience consume that class material.

What students want today

Information is everywhere. But smart students are now saying to teachers, “Make it work for me in the real world of busy schedules and conflicting priorities. Help me to focus. Short-cut the learning process for me, and I’m willing to pay you to make this learning logical and easy for me.”

If you want to be unique and stand out from the crowd, start helping your customers consume, digest and use the information you’re giving them.

If you can simplify a complicated topic, if you can save your customers the time of having to do the research and analysis themselves, if you can cut through the noise and help your customers know what’s relevant and important, then you’ll always be valuable to them.

   

11 comments for now

Category: Creating, Marketing & Teaching Classes, Marketing, Running a Strong & Efficient Business
Tags: , , ,

Mastermind Group Facilitator Training Begins September 23

Posted by on Aug 04 2014

The success of your mastermind group hinges on YOU.

If you want your mastermind group to be a success, this class is for you. This class is for people who are ready to take their mastermind group facilitation skills to a whole new level.

Learn the expert mastermind group facilitator’s art of being the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage.

In this 9-week teleseminar series, you will learn about:

  • Using the six Mastermind Process Techniques
  • Your role and responsibilities as a mastermind group facilitator
  • How group dynamics impact your group
  • Group Facilitation skills for mastermind group facilitators
  • Creating and using a Mastermind Group Facilitator’s Journal
  • Creating a Mastermind Member Journal to use with your members
  • Creating trust in your group
  • Helping members make decisions and choose a course of action
  • Enforcing group guidelines
  • Handling problem members
  • Tracking group member progress
  • Creating and using Prep Forms, Mastermind Matrix and Group Evaluations
  • Closing your meetings
  • Dissolving your mastermind group
  • PLUS: Get live, hands-on practice with your mastermind facilitation skills!

This teleseminar series meets one hour each week, for 9 weeks, beginning on September 23.

Each class session will be recorded, so if you miss a session, you can download it and listen to it at your leisure. :)

For all the details, visit: www.thesuccessalliance.com/facilitator/

I’m looking forward to hearing from you in class!

   

3 comments for now

Category: Start and Run a Mastermind Group, Upcoming Classes

August Writing Journey: Non-Fiction Book Proposal

Posted by on Jul 30 2014

I’ve made the commitment to finish writing my book proposal and two sample chapters by August 31. Want to come along on the journey with me?

Every Friday during the month of August, I’ll be taking the entire day to research and write my book proposal. That’s 40 hours of work — 40 hours of work that I’ve been procrastinating on since earlier this year! :)

So I’m committing now to myself (and you!) to get this puppy done. Each week I’ll write about the section of the book proposal I’m working on, what decisions I’m making, where I’m getting stuck, and what resources I’m using. I hope you find this “insiders view” helpful, especially if you’re writing your own book proposal.

And for those of you who have written a non-fiction book proposal, I hope you’ll chime into the conversation with your own pearls of wisdom. ;)

Writing Journey, anyone?

I’ll be posting my progress reports on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, so whichever service you prefer, you’ll find the notes there!

   

no comments for now

Category: Business Strategy & Planning, Managing Projects, Tasks & Time

Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index

Posted by on Jul 25 2014

You’ll want to read this great report, The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, by Robert W. Fairlie (in PDF format). It was published in April of 2014, and includes research into entreprenuerial business-creation trends like:

  • There was a drop in the rate of business creation since its heights during the Great Recession. In fact, the current level of business creation mirrors the level found in 2006.
  • There are approximately 476,000 new business created each month in the USA.
  • Entrepreneurial activity is highest in the western portion of the country, with San Francisco leading the pack.
  • Rates of growth are highest in the construction and services industries.

This report is easy-to-read and decipher and is helpful for any small business owner to see the trends for the past few years.

   

1 comment for now

Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Tweaking the Steps Along Your eCommerce Sales Path

Posted by on Jul 17 2014

ecommerce pathDo you sell products and services via the Internet? Do you get the results you want?

If you don’t get the results you want, it’s helpful to re-visit each step of your “sales path” to see where tweaks can be made.

Do a little marketing detective work

For instance, let’s say your sales path starts with an email broadcast, which directs the reader to your website. Here are the different statistics you will want to analyze to see what’s working and what’s not.

  1. Open Rate: Open rates, on average, hover around 20-30%, and in some industries they go as low as 13%. (See Mail Chimp’s Open Rate by Industry table. Here’s Constant Contact’s version of the Open Rate by Industry.)  If your statistics show that 20% are opening the email, that equates to a real open rate of 40%. We know this because only half of all email users will open their email with the graphics turned on, which sends a “beacon” back to the email server to say “This person opened an email.” If they don’t have their graphics turned on when reading emails, then they won’t show up in your Open Rate.
  2. Check Click-through Rates: Just because someone opens an email doesn’t mean they read it. One way to calculate whether people are actually reading your emails is click-through rate (CTR). CTR is the percent of people who clicked on a link in your email which took them to your website. You can you get this statistic either from your email company or from your website statistics. Here’s Mail Chimp’s chart showing click-through rates, and here’s Constant Contact’s benchmarks for click-through rates.) There are a lot of opinions, pro and con, for whether you should put links in your emails or simply put the full text in your emails. Read more about that here in my blog post “Include Full Articles or Only Links?”.
  3. Check Your Website Statistics: Once they click through from the email to the page where you are making your offer, how long are they staying there? This number helps to guide you as to whether they’re actually reading the web page text or not. If your web page is too long, poorly written, or doesn’t clearly explain what you’re offering, people may be turned off. Or perhaps the text isn’t formatted in a way that’s conducive to reading. If they’re not staying long enough on the page to read it, it’s time to re-write the page. HINT: to determine how long it really takes to read the entire page, read it out loud to yourself. That will slow you down so that you read every single word as if it were the first time you’d seen the page.
  4. Bounce Rate: If they read the website text, does it answer all their questions? If not, they may click away and never return. Check your bounce rate. Bounce rate is expressed as a percentage of the people who visit one page of your site, then leave immediately without looking at other pages on your site. Google says the average bounce rate is between 40-60%. If your bounce rate for your page is less than 40%, you’re doing great! If it’s over 60%, you need to tweak that page.
  5. Call To Action. What are you asking people to do once they read your page? A strong call to action matters.  Let’s say you’re selling a class. Should the call to action be “buy now?” Maybe it would be better as “register now” or “click here to register.”
  6. Sales Rate: Did they buy? Which payment option did they use?

Which sources give you the best results?

Every step along the sales path is an opportunity to tweak your technique. Your ecommerce path might start with web traffic from a search engine (so good SEO is important) or it might start with online referrals from other sites. Perhaps you’re sending traffic to your site from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Check each of these “sources” in your website statistics to see which ones yield the best results. To do that, first go to the Landing Pages section of Google Analytics. You’ll find it under the Behavior section of the menu.

landing pages

Then use a very cool feature of Google Analytics, the “Secondary Dimension,” which allows you to select a page you want to focus on and drill down to each source of traffic to that page and how they did individually. To do this:

  1. In the Landing pages table, click on the URL of the page you want to study. This will bring up statistics only for that page and help you drill down to get specifics for that page.
  2. Above the “Page” column, you’ll see a button that says “Secondary Dimension.” Click on that, and a drop-down menu will appear of all the different statistics you can get about that page.
  3. Select “Acquisition” then “Source.” This will show you all the sources of traffic to this specific page. Check the Time on Page and Bounce Rate for each source, to see which on yields the best results.

source

NOTE: The source that says “(direct)” simply means that people came directly to this page without going through an additional website. These are the people who click-through from your email campaigns. If people are reading their email in a browser-based email system, like Gmail or Yahoo Mail, the source might say Google or Yahoo.

Once you find the right combination of the steps above that brings the best results, you then repeat that over and over again.

By the way,  I recommend you use Google Analytics, if you are not already using it. It’s free and it gives you a ton of good information about how your marketing campaigns are doing.

Do You Find These “How-To” Types of Posts Helpful?

Let me know if you find this helpful and if you’d like to see more of these step-by-step “how-to” types of posts!

   

no comments for now

Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Marketing
Tags: ,

Is the Problem Traffic or Copywriting?

Posted by on Jul 14 2014

I recently worked with a client who has a beautiful website. The graphics, layout and branding are perfect. So why wasn’t she getting more clients?

The first thing we needed to do was some detective work. Why? Because we don’t know if her problem is that she’s not getting enough traffic to her website or if the problem is that the visitors aren’t converting because of poor copywriting, website design, etc.

Here’s How to be a Website Marketing Detective

First, you must have access to your website statistics. I always recommend that you have Google Analytics installed on your website. The statistics that come with your standard website hosting package are probably not strong enough to help you do the detective work.

Second, you have to know how to find, read and interpret those statistics. This is just about the time that most people’s eyes glaze over, so let me short-cut the process for you and make it simple.

How Many Visitors Are You Getting Per Month?

In Google Analytics, look at the menu on the left side of the page. Find the section called “Audience” and open the menu, and then click on “Overview.”

How many visitors are you getting to your site? Is there an upward trend?

What I have discovered is that the concrete, exact numbers don’t matter as much as the direction they’re going. So look at your visitor numbers over the course of several months. If the number of visitors is trending upwards, then you’re doing a good job with driving traffic to your site.

Also note that in some months, the visitor count may be down. Sometimes it’s because you’re not doing your marketing properly or consistently that month, and sometimes it’s because it’s a month when your audience traditionally is away from their computers or distracted with other things, like summertime months and big holidays months. So don’t make assumptions about your visitor traffic; get to know your audience and know when they’re most likely to be paying attention to your site and when they’re likely way on vacation or holidays.

Recent studies show that 79% of visitors who come to your website are not ready to buy. If you’re not getting enough traffic to your website, you won’t have enough people interested in buying from you.

Which Pages Are the Most Popular?

Now it’s time to figure out if your visitors are looking at the website pages you want them to look at.

Go back to the menu and find the section called “Behavior.” Within that section, there is an area called “Site Content” which gives you information about how visitors are using your website. Go to the “All Pages” sub-area under “Site Content.”

Which pages are viewed most often? You can find this on the chart on the right-side of your screen once you select “All Pages.” (See example chart below.)

The two key statistics to review are:

  1. How many Unique Page Views does each page get? You will see two numbers: Page Views and Unique Page Views. Why are there two numbers? Because Google Analytics counts every time the page if viewed, even if one visitor views the page two or three times. So in the example chart, you can see the What Is  a Mastermind Group page got viewed 9,015 times, but only 8,034 unique views. This means (roughly) that 981 people viewed the page twice. Unique Views gives you a more realistic guide to how many unique visitors viewed the page and is a more reliable number to watch.
  2. How long are they staying on the page? In the same example, the average visitor viewed the What Is a Mastermind Group page for 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Why do we care? Because if it takes a visitor 3 minutes to read a page, and the average visitor is only on that page for 1 minute, it means they’re not reading your text! Here’s how you can tell how long it should take someone to read your page: Set a stop watch and read the page out loud to yourself, slowly. Because you’re used to seeing this text, you’re likely to skip over words and sentences. By reading it out loud, you are forcing your brain to re-see all the text.

What Results Are You Getting?

So now you know how many visitors are coming to your website, and which pages they’re viewing once they get there. Now look at your actual results.

  • How many sales are you making?
  • How many prospects are calling you to ask about your services?
  • Are they buying your products, classes and groups directly from your website?

Conversion Ratios

Let me give you a concrete example. In my client’s case, she got 113 people to visit her services page in the past month. She got three phone calls after people visited her website. Her conversion rate is 2.6% (3 divided by 113). Average website conversation rates are around 1%, so that means that her website copy is converting prospective clients into paying clients.

Because of this data we can conclude: Her problem isn’t that she needs to re-write her website copy or design. Her problem is that she needs to drive more traffic to her website.

Conclusions for You

How can you know if you have a problem with driving traffic to your site, or if your problem is that your copywriting needs work? Do the math above.

  • If your conversion rate is less than 1%, then you need help with your copywriting or site design.
  • If people don’t stay on your pages long enough to read them, you need help with your copywriting or site design.
  • If the number of visitors you’re getting to your website is low, or if the trend is not on the rise, you need help with driving traffic to your website.

Note that if you’re driving traffic to your site through email marketing or social media marketing, and your audience is a devoted following, you conversation rates should be much higher.

Now that you know how to read these basic statistics on Google Analytics, you can take control of your marketing and make changes for the better!

Was This Helpful?

I know that statistics can be daunting. If this was helpful to you and you’d like me to show you more (simple) ways to get important data from Google Analytics and interpret it for your small business, please let me know in the comments section below. I love statistics because they let me play marketing detective and figure out what’s true in my business. And that’s how my business remains successful! I’m happy to write more blog posts like this if you want this type of information. :)

   

12 comments for now

Category: Internet & Social Media Marketing, Running a Strong & Efficient Business, Website Planning
Tags: , , ,

Next »