How to Develop an Email Course

Wemail coursee’ve all seen them before, right? You arrive at a website for the first time and while you are looking around you are invited to sign up for an email course, something like the image to the right from www.marketingtechblog.com. Email courses are effective ways to connect with prospective clients and really show them who you are and what you have to offer. In fact, they are an essential part of any marketing campaign that attempts to communicate their value by getting people to Know, Like and Trust them. See our post, “Creating Your Prospect to Client Experience through the Marketing Hourglass” for more on this topic.

So how do you do it for your website? Let’s take a look at some of the things you will need to do. An email course is usually delivered in “drip” mode. This means that whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, part of the course is delivered to those who signed up for it via their email, through an autoresponder service. An autoresponder service like Activecampaign.com, Convertkit.com or Mailchimp.com, can get the job done delivering an email course.

7 Steps to Building Your Very Own Email Course

1. Determine What the Purpose of the Course Is? Is this a free or paid course? Is the purpose of the course to encourage your audience to buy something from you when the course ends? If it’s a free course, what will the offer be at the end of the course? If it’s a paid course, how can you deliver exceptional value to your audience and make them feel as if they got their money’s worth?

2. Decide What to Teach. Teach your audience about or how to do something that is unclear, frustrating or hard to do for your audience. If you’re not sure what this could be, look be ask your audience for the answers. You can ask them directly, or you can find groups where they ask questions. Any question is a likely a good choice for an email course.

3. Organize the Subject. Choose your topic or question to answer so that you can now organize the subject into subtopics. You’ll want to pick one focused subtopic for each part of the email course. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information at one time. Instead, think of it like teaching one point of a problem at a time in a logical order.

4. Choose How Long You Want the Course to Be. Usually an email course consists of five to seven emails for free courses, but sometimes a topic will require a lot more than that – especially if it’s a paid course. Decide how long, but more than six to eight weeks might be too long. It’s important to consider your audience so that you know how they’ll deal with shorter or longer courses. Making it too long might mean a lot of people don’t finish, but you do want to give enough information that they learn the material.

5. Tell the Subscriber What to Expect. Before and after the subscriber signs up for the course, you should let them know what to expect. Be explicit about what is in the course so that they’ll know what’s coming and know what to look for. How many emails will be in the course? How often will they come? Will you send other emails and information to them? Let them know what to do if there is a problem. Probably the best place to do this is on the sales page, plus on the thank you page, plus in the first email.

6. Format Each Email Similarly. You want each email to look like part of the same course by branding it the same. Use the same fonts, images, colors, intro and exit. Always tell them what you have already told them, and then after the body of the email tell them what to expect for the next part of the course. This will help hone their expectations in a way that keeps them interested and involved.

7. Make Each Email Simple and To the Point. Once you’ve created a template for your course, it will be simple to fill in the details for the course. Give them one strong lesson each email, and keep the emails on the short side – no more than 700 to 1500 words per email. Otherwise it will be too overwhelming.

8. Craft Subject Lines They’ll Recognize and Open. The subject line is important because it will be key to ensuring that your subscribers know to open the email. You probably want to put the name of the course and the lesson name inside so that they know.

9. Give your audience a way to report problems and ask questions. You can do that via a special course email address or by making a private and closed Facebook group only for people who have signed up for the course.

Once yo have all this information sorted out, all that remains is to setup the technology and plug it in to your site. Here’s a great article from Convertkit.com that shows you exactly how to set this up using their automation tool – http://kb.convertkit.com/article/understanding-email-courses-convertkit. Let me know if yo have any questions and please feel free to leave your comments below.

How to Promote Your Blog Posts, Proudly!

promote your blog posts

Publishing content these days isn’t enough. There is no such thing as “build it and they will come.” In fact, if you really want a successful blog, you’re going to have to spend time promoting each piece of content that you create. There are several ways to promote your blog posts and for best results, be sure to try all of them.

8 Strategies to Promote Your Blog Posts

1. Write Awesome Blog Posts – When the content you create is awesome, you’re going to be much more likely to want to promote it. Work on each blog post to make it the best that you can. These days, in-depth authoritative content is more important and “Google worthy” than shorter “keyword” blog posts.

2. Don’t Leave SEO Out – While the most important part of the blog post is the content, you should still concern yourself with using keywords properly and naturally. Do keyword research occasionally to find out which keywords you should be using. Remember to look for low-competition keywords for best results.

3. Include Relevant Images – They say an image is worth 1000 words, and that’s likely very true. Therefore, include relevant images in your blog posts that help advance your meaning and purpose of your blog.

4. Build Relationships – Believe it or not, part of your blog’s mission is to build relationships with your audience. Ask questions at the end of each blog post, give them something fun to do, ask them to share something with you, or conduct a poll. Find ways to build your relationship with your audience.

5. Build an Email List – One of the most effective forms of marketing is email marketing, and bloggers should build email lists too. When you have an email list it’s a good way to inform regular readers about your new blog posts, promotions and events.

6. Be Courteous – A really good way to promote your blog posts is to promote other people’s blog posts too. When you share other people’s content, they will return the favor and share yours too.

7. Use Social Media – Create varied blurbs introducing your new blog post for different social media accounts to help them click through to read the blog post. A good way to do that is not to finish your sentence in the blurb; instead put dots to get them to read more.

8. Know Your Audience – It may sound like old news but it’s very important that you know your target audience, including where they hang out, what they like to do, and when. That way you’ll know where to promote your posts for maximum impact.

If you’ve taken the time to create your blog posts, you need to take the time to promote them. Using these strategies you can find new readers and ultimately grow your following, which potentially should lead to growing your business.

How to Improve Your Mobile Marketing Methods

mobile marketingMarketing on mobile today is a lucrative way to get your products and/or services in the mind of your customers, but, there are some things that you can do to ensure that mobile marketing works even better for you and your business. Here are a few of the things you should consider to enhance your mobile marketing efforts.

Improving Your Mobile Marketing

Ensure That Your Website Is Mobile Ready

Don’t just start a mobile marketing campaign without giving some serious thought to whether or not your website and purchasing procedure is ready for mobile. All your email marketing, your website, your blog pages, and shopping cart have to look just as good on a mobile device as they do on the PC. Plus, everything needs to work seamlessly, or people will not come back.

Find Out Whether or Not Your Audience Is On Mobile

While mobile technology is outselling personal computers today, there are some small niches that have an older population. This demographic is less likely to have, use, or even fully understand mobile technology. Therefore, do the research necessary to find out how much your audience is visiting your online real estate using mobile devices. You can see what browsers your audience is using by looking at your analytics.

Make Buying Simple

Fewer choices, bigger buy buttons, and easier check-out procedures that work with a finger on a small mobile screen will improve the chances that your audience members using mobile devices will complete their purchase. The easier and the cleaner the website design, the better. What’s great is this simple type of design works with larger personal computer browsers too.

Create Multi-Browser Websites

Do not bother with “mobile versions” of your website. Everything should be responsive and work well on any device regardless of device and regardless of browser. Building responsive sites is easy today if you use a good website builder like self-hosted WordPress and choose the right mobile ready themes.

Find a Reputable Advertising Service

Test out the different services to find out what will work best for your needs. There are many different services that conduct mobile advertising. You want to be sure you can track results as well as target the right demographic with your advertisements.

Create a Mobile App

Mobile apps are great ways to keep your audience interested. You can run “in app” ads too with a free mobile app. You can offer two versions, paid and free with ads. A lot of people will use the free one, and you can market to them (with permission) your own products and services when they are using the app.

Track Everything

Most mobile marketing applications and programs will offer you the ability to track a lot of things. Be sure that it has the ability to track the items that you want to be able to track. You should know what you want to track based on the goals of your mobile marketing. For example, if you want to track downloads of your free report, it should be able to do that.

Test, Revise, and Repeat

Like most marketing efforts, it’s imperative that you are willing to test, revise on the fly, and repeat as necessary until you get the results that you expect. You also need to be willing to throw out anything that you’re doing that simply is not working and head back to the drawing board.

Marketing to mobile devices is a skill that everyone who wants to have a business needs to learn. Mobile is becoming more popular by the day. The time is now and if you don’t catch up right now, you’re going to leave a lot of money on the table.

How to Write Social Media Posts That People Respond To

Social Media PostsPosts are what keep your social media active and your audience engaged. However, it’s imperative that you have a strategy so that you can get the most out of your social media interactions. For the most part, your social media strategy should involve building your email list or sending them to your website so that they can become customers.

8 Tips to Write Social Media Posts that get Responses

1. Understand Your Customers – You need to know who your target audience is so that you can recognize what type of posts will get more traction with them. For example, some audience members will be insulted by certain types of comedy. Others will respond very well to it. Know who they are so that your posts can be targeted.

2. Watch Your Competition – It’s always a good idea to check out what your competition is doing in regard to social media posts. Don’t just copy what they are doing. Instead, observe whether or not the competition is getting a result or not from their actions, and note how you can do it better or differently.

3. Know the Goal of the Post – What action do you want your customers to take when they read the post? Do you want them to click through to read more? Do you want them to like, follow and share? You need to be clear about what you want them to do in order to get action.

4. Add a Relevant Image – People respond best to relevant images on social media. You can make memes and infographic using free software like Canva.com for your social media posts. A nice image, watermarked with a relevant quote will do wonders.

5. Write a Blurb that Gets Attention – When you share a meme or a blog post or other type of post on social media write a blurb about it, and what you want your readers to do about it.

6. Link to the Rest of the Story – Don’t just post most of your updates without linking to the rest of the blog post, more information about the meme, a newsletter sign up, or your website.

7. Ask Your Audience to Share – Never forget to ask your audience to share your posts. You can also invite them to take memes and infographics off your website to share. Just set up a new page that lists all the watermarked images that your audience can share.

8. Respond to Comments – Don’t just ignore the interaction that is happening on your social media pages. Always respond, and add comments to the discussion. Answer questions, and be kind. Even if someone is rude, don’t respond rudely. If you have to, delete the rude comment and let it go.

Writing social media posts that get a discussion going and inspire people to share and interact is an art. You’ll need to try different tactics to see what works with your particular audience. But, be sure to always have a call to action on the post so that your audience knows what to do. Remember that your goal is to get them on your email list so that you can market to them on an ongoing basis.

How to Use Market Research for Your Business

market-researchMarket research is the best way to ensure longevity of your business. Many small business owners often overlook this research – to their detriment, finding out what your target market is thinking is an essential and ongoing component of all successful businesses.

12 Ways to Use Market Research for Your Business

1. Discover Your Target Market – Many people make products, and then try to find a market for them. However, the truth is that you should first find the market you want to work with, then create products for it. But, even if you skipped that, you can now find your target audience so that you can get your marketing materials right.

2. Get to Know Your Potential Customers – The market research that you conduct will allow you to get to know your potential customers better. When you know them better, you’ll be able to create customer personas that help with creating content and marketing which really gets results.

3. Develop New Products and/or Services – When you know what is going on in the marketplace you’ll get more ideas about products and services that your audience needs. You may get the ideas from reading industry news or from what the competition is doing.

4. Refresh Your Marketing Efforts – Sometimes marketing becomes stale and even though your audience doesn’t change who they are, they do change how they feel about things. For example, what was acceptable marketing for companies in the 1960s isn’t acceptable today. You need to refresh your marketing as needed.

5. Determine Who Your Competitors Are – It’s important to identify your competitors so that you can keep an eye on them and what they are doing. Sign up for their lists and purchase some of their products. Don’t copy them, but do use them as a standard bearer so you can be better.

6. Educate Yourself to Become an Expert – The more information you learn about your industry and the market for your products and/or services, the closer you’ll become to being an expert. Reading as much as possible keeps you up-to-date and knowledgeable.

7. Confirm Your Ideas – It’s important that when you have an idea or assumption about anything to do with your business, you do the research to determine if it’s right. Sometimes anecdotal stories are wrong; sometimes a result is an outlier and not true. Only market research can help determine what is genuinely right and wrong.

8. Learn New Opinions – During the market research you’ll also learn totally new ideas and opinions you never considered. You may find during your research that they are wrong or you may find out that they’re right. Only proper research will help.

9. Keep Up with New Technologies in Your Industry – Keeping up with market research will also help you learn about technology as it happens. Every day new technologies are being discovered that can help you with your business. Without research you won’t know about it. It’s easy to get trapped within your four walls and not realize what is happening.

10. Identify New Trends – As you’re doing your research, you’ll start to be able to identify new trends that are happening right now. These trends are things that you need to jump on because as fast as they come, they change.

11. Avoid Marketing Snafus – Business owners who avoid market research are prone to making horrible marketing mistakes. They are at risk of believing their own biases. If you want a laugh and a cringe or two, see Ad Week’s list of advertising and marketing fails.

12. Track Your Own Brand – Many people don’t realize that during market research you’ll also be able to determine how you’re doing as a brand getting information out to the public. If you do not run into your own articles, interviews, blog posts and research while searching, then you need to start working harder.

The fact is, without market research your success is in jeopardy. Some business owners will achieve accidental success but it will be hard to keep up. If you plan for success by conducting market research for your business, you will be set up for success from day one. If you started already, it’s not too late to conduct market research to ensure that you achieve and maintain success.

How to Use Google+ to Develop a Following and an Audience

google-plusGoogle+ is not the place to put advertisements and marketing information. Instead it’s a place to get to know people, let them get to know you, and post the things that are interesting, informative, interactive and inspirational. You want people to see what you have to say, make you part of their circles and come to your Google Hangouts.

8 Ways You Should be Using Google+

1. Use Buttons and Badges – There are several badge types and buttons that you can grab the code for to help people find you from other online properties, but there are also buttons and badges you can use within Google+ that can assist with people finding your Google Hangout and other activities. Follow the rules of Google badges and buttons for proper use.

2. Get Verified – Google allows you to verify your business, yourself and your profiles. Be sure to do the process. The extra steps are an excellent way to build trust with others. After all, your focus is on building an audience of followers who want to get to know you better. If you’re not verifiably you, it won’t work as well.

3. Post Enough – Google+ is not Twitter, or Facebook. You don’t need a continuous stream of posts. Post things that are thoughtful, smart, informative and engaging two or three times a day unless one thing you post causes a lot of stir, in which case focus on that one for that day.

4. Identify and Engage Influencers – Use the tools that Google+ has developed such as Ripples, Search and Explore. When someone pluses up one of your posts, you can use the Explore link to find out more about them and Ripples to find out how far, and who else has shared your post, and who with. These are likely new people that you can add to your circles.

5. Add a Google+ Link to Your Website – Seems like a no-brainer but you must put your Google+ link on your website and other social media. Cross-promoting is the best way to get people to follow you because some people prefer one type of social media over another.

6. Interact with Others – Don’t just plus things; also comment, discuss, and find ways to interact with others on Google. When you do that, they’re likely to add you to their circles faster, building your following and an audience quickly.

7. Promote Other People’s Posts – It’s important that if you see a post someone made that fits your audiences, you comment on it and share it. Starting the sharing will help others want to do the same for the things you share.

8. Use Google Hangouts – You want to collaborate, communicate and discus with like-minded people on Google Hangouts. This is an excellent way to build a following and an audience who is ready to watch you and interact with you. Hold regular round table discussion with other colleagues live on Google Hangout so that the public can watch.

Google+ is very useful to help you get more traffic to your website, as well as help you accumulate a fast-growing group of followers who will interact with you. Yes, eventually they will find their way to your sales pages, and buy from you too. But, being more interested in building relationships on this social media platform is the best way to go about it.

How to Create a Professional Podcast – “How To” Series

podcastingPodcasting is a great way to get information to your audience. They can download and take your message with them to the gym, listen in the car while traveling, or simply listen on their computer while they chat on Facebook. Podcasting makes your message more personal and tangible to your audience. Aim to make your podcast as professional as you can to give the best possible experience to your customers.

9 Ways to Create a Professional Podcast

1. Use the Right Mic – Purchase a mic that has noise canceling features, and that is of high quality. The best mic will be one connected via USB and not cordless, as the latter will mess with the quality of your mic. You want a directional mic that captures sound in front of it and not around it; this will make for a much better quality sound. Ask your guests to also have a good sounding mic if you’re recoding them over the internet or by phone.

2. Invest in Good Software – Software made for podcasting like Audacity is good a choice to record your podcast. Be careful using software like Skype and Pamela for your podcast because the quality will be affected due to talking over the internet. But, if you do choose to use something like that, ask that your guests are plugged into the internet by USB and not wireless.

3. Edit the Final Results – Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s not as if you have to make every answer and every last part of your podcast perfect and whitewashed. But, some editing will need to be done so that everyone sounds professional and long-winded answers can be cut down for time’s sake.

4. Keep the Room Quiet – Yes, you have a life and you are probably recording your podcast in your bedroom or home office, but you don’t want it to sound like you are. You don’t want to have to take time out to shush a child, or quiet a barking dog. Instead, do what you can to make sure the room stays quiet while you record your show.

5. Practice – When you first start out it might take some practice to get used to the technology, the quiet time in the recording room, and a lot of other things. Take the time to have a few practice shows before you put your show live so that you can learn how to use the new technology.

6. Pay for an Introduction – Find someone to do a professional voice-over, and make some intro music to take you in and out of commercials. Some people have music for the end of the show as well. It helps the listener to get ready to listen, and helps let them down easily when the show is over.

7. Sell Advertising – As your show becomes more popular, sell advertising. In the meantime, you might consider giving away some advertising so that people who are listening gets used to ads being in the show. And if anyone who listens wants to place an advertisement, they can hear the type of quality you expect.

8. Invite Rock Star Guests – People love listening to podcasts more if there is a conversation instead of just one person talking. Try to invite guests who are masters of their niche and their businesses. This will rub off onto you by association. If you hang out with those who are doing well, you’ll be seen as someone who is doing well too. Think: Oprah.

9. Be Consistent – Putting out a podcast irregularly is the kiss of death for your podcast. It’s important that your audience become dependent on hearing your podcast on a certain date and time. It sometimes takes a bit for a good audience to catch on, and if you aren’t regularly posting podcasts you’ll never catch on.

10. Stay on Niche – This can be hard when you are doing a podcast because of having to repeatedly come up with subject matter for shows. But, you want anyone who listens to understand who you’re speaking to and not to end up bored due to targeting the wrong audience.

You really can produce a professional-sounding podcast from your home office. You just need to have a good niche, understand the audience, and post podcasts on a regular basis using subject matter that your audience wants to hear.

How to Use Audio in your Marketing – “How To” Series #3

Audio is a such great way to expand your market. If you start thinking about how you can add audio to your content marketing efforts, you’ll improve your connection with your audience. This in turn will boost sales by making a stronger connection to your target audience and current customers, creating more repeat buyers.

9 Ways to Market Your Business with Audio

1. Make Audio Available on iTunes – If you can get approved to be on iTunes with whatever audios you create, not only can you expand your audience, but you can also earn some extra money, thus creating a new income stream.

2. Use Audio to Increase Opt-Ins – When your target audience clicks to get more information for your products and services, how would it make a difference if you were talking to them with your voice to explain what you have to offer?

3. Create Audio Testimonials – Ask your fans to create audio testimonials. You can set up a special number for them to call which records their testimonial. Then you can use the recording on your website. Set up a Google number using Google Voice.

4. Add Voice to Your Blog Posts – Using the software you probably already have on your computer (search for sound recorder) to record yourself reading your blog posts, you can easily add the recording to the blog post as a choice over reading.

5. Create an Audio Version of Your EBooks – Using the same software mentioned above, you can record your voice reading all of your eBooks so that you can offer a recording of your eBooks on iTunes or other places where audio books are sold.

6. Interview Experts Regularly – People love hearing two people conversing and nothing is better than listening to an expert talk about the things you’re interested in. If you can find experts to help you create recordings, so much the better.

7. Create a Webinar – Another way to use audio is to create a webinar, which has both voice and video. A webinar can help your audience feel much more connected to you because they can hear your voice and also see you.

8. Have a Teleseminar – Want to really get close to your audience? Offer regular teleseminars for your “inner circle” subscribers. If you do this once a month or so, be sure to record them because you can use the recordings to create other products.

9. Repurpose Everything – When anything is in one format, remember that you can recreate it into a new format. A blog post can become an audio post, and vice versa. The more you repurpose your products and information, the more people you can reach.

Using audio for marketing is a great way to get new interest, find new customers, and to boost your brand across the internet. Audio can breathe new life into your marketing if you figure out interesting ways to use it, giving your followers and fans a new way to interact and engage with you.