Five Tips for Creating and Monetizing Your Own Web Applications

You could make the case that designing a web application is the easy part of the app creation process; the hard part is actually monetizing it, or earning an income from it. For example, the user interface, or UI, of your web application is one of the most important parts of the application itself. The user interface will be the main area of the application that your users will actively use, so it is important that you ensure it is easily understandable and helps promote other parts of the application that could earn you extra income. Strategies like these can you improve your application and its monetization potential.

# 1: Highlighted Changes
To help ensure that your customers notice when there has been a change since the last time they used or updated the application, it often helps to highlight these differences for them. These changes do not have to be only to the application itself, but simply in its function or purpose; they can even be something as simple as the customer receiving a new message.

Five Tips for Creating and Monetizing Your Own Web Applications

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

# 2: Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to make it easier for your customers to navigate through different parts of the application without having to open a dozen different menus to get what they want. If you decide to incorporate keyboard shortcuts into your user interface, you need to make sure that you either have a shortcut guide or have the keyboard shortcuts written next to the option in the menu.

# 3: Upgrade Options
This aspect of your UI will be used to remind customers that they can get more features by upgrading their accounts on the web application. Including a simple upgrade button in the interface itself that users will see each time they open the application will encourage quite a few free users to upgrade their accounts, simply due to the added convenience factor. Make your upgrade button stand out from the other buttons on the page. Many web application designers will do this by making the button either a yellow or golden color, but the final choice, of course, is entirely up to you.

# 4: Feature Promotion
This point ties in closely with point three. While the free version of your application may be high quality and very useful, it still needs to show the customer all of the other features to which they would have access if they were to upgrade their account. It is best to list the most relevant and appealing features near the upgrade button without taking up a significant amount of room. However, the feature list itself does not really need to stick out, as the upgrade button will attract users’ eyes.

# 5: Color Coding
To make it easier to spot different tools on the user interface, it can often be helpful to color-code the most important features. This will allow users to instantly find what they want after they have used that feature a few times, and it will help them differentiate between all of the different available options when they are a new user. The last thing you want is for a new customer to become overwhelmed by all the different options and just quit using the application you have worked so hard to build.

7 Strategies for Gaining Loyal Customers for Your Online Business

Consider the Pareto principle, commonly known as the 80-20 rule:  80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.  While these figures may differ somewhat from one company to another, experienced business owners can testify that repeat customers are responsible for the bulk of their success.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So how can you acquire more of these high-converting customers?  This article examines 7 practical techniques you can implement right away in your own online business:

Make Use of Social Applications to Build Brand Awareness

Out of sight, out of mind.  In a world where countless distractions and competitors are vying for the affections of your customers, social applications offer a powerful solution for positioning your brand.  Use social media platforms to actively engage your customers, letting them know there’s a real person behind the logo.  You can also use e-mail newsletters to great advantage by creating helpful content and keeping customers posted about upcoming sales.  Including incentives such as product coupons within your newsletters will encourage your customers to stay subscribed.  Make use of RSS widgets on your website and invite customers to subscribe to your blog. 

Make Sure Your Company Policies Validate and Protect the Customer

Having overly rigid policies in place can be a business hazard.  Many customers simply won’t buy from a company with a no-returns policy.  This is especially true online, where customers can’t actually see or touch a product until it’s delivered to them.  Be as flexible as possible.

Offer Incentives at Every Opportunity

Let your customers know you value their business by rewarding them.  You might offer an incentive, such as a gift certificate, to a customer who refers you to a friend.  Besides creating a positive experience for existing customers, this has the added benefit of drawing in new clients and promoting your brand by word-of-mouth. 

Another great way to offer incentives is to have a savings program in place for your most loyal buyers.  By rewarding good business, your customers will view a sales transaction as an investment rather than an expense.

Make Your Website Approachable

Approachability is a key factor in building trust.  Make it easy for customers who visit your website to contact you, and be available for questions for as many hours of the day as possible.  Respond quickly and personally to e-mails rather than using an autoresponder.  Besides an e-mail address, your website contact page should include your phone number and a business address.  Consider using a live chat application on your website to address immediate problems. 

Having a comprehensive FAQ section and an About Us section on your website can also be very helpful in alleviating the concerns of first-time buyers.  Simply being open with your customers will establish your reputation as a professional, and new visitors will feel safer knowing you’re not some kind of fly-by-night scam. 

Keep in Touch Year-Round

Don’t just send chocolates on holidays.  Get in touch with your customers on a regular basis – ask them if they’re happy with their latest purchase.  Don’t underestimate the power of small talk.  The more you engage your customers, the more quickly you will build a trust relationship while getting to know a lot about them in the process.  Simply listening to your customers will open up opportunities to make them feel valued and win their loyalty.  This might come in the form of a wedding or a graduation, for which you might send a letter or a gift.  Get creative. 

Be Willing to Negotiate With Difficult Customers

Handle customer complaints as soon as they arise.  Be prepared to be flexible in providing solutions, even if this means bending the rules of your regular policies.  If a customer posts a negative review online, you can harness this to your advantage by responding promptly and politely and resolving the issue as reasonably as possible.  Other customers will trust you more if they see that you’re willing to work with buyers to ensure they’re satisfied with your product or service.  In this way, uncalled-for negative reviews can become a positive marketing tool.

Poll Your Customers

There’s no better way to do market research than to go directly to your customers and ask them how you can improve your product or service.  One of the simplest ways to do this is by adding a poll application to your sales page.  Simple checkout polls are less hassle for the customer than a lengthy survey sent several days after a purchase requiring them to fill out a lot of personal details.  With a quick poll, you might simply ask how a customer’s experience was and how you might improve on it the next time around.  You should also follow up with your customers a day or so after their purchase to make certain they’re satisfied with their product.

By taking advantage of every opportunity to strengthen relationships with existing customers and to win the trust of new ones, you’ll be able to position yourself as the go-to guy for your product or service.

Information Marketing Secrets

Information marketing is simple and easy.  Even then, only a few people who set out to become an infopreneur end up being successful.  There are many reasons for this outcome.  Some of them are obvious.  They give up too early.  They are not willing to work hard.  They focus on shortcuts instead of learning the correct approach.

Even if you put your head down to focus on achieving success as an infopreneur, you may not succeed without some advanced information marketing secrets.  In this report you’ll learn four of the most profitable secrets that hundreds of information marketers have applied to create a great impact.  Use them wisely and well to achieve information marketing success.

1. Focus on lifetime value

This may not seem like a very advanced secret, but it is incredibly powerful.  Your information marketing can scale unimagined heights if you correctly implement this simple concept in your business.

Lifetime value is a measure of the overall value of your customers over the duration of their association with your business.  This means that if a customer buys a $20 book three times in a year, and continues to do this for 5 years, that customer’s lifetime value is $300.

There is an interesting dimension to lifetime value that is created by the bond of loyalty.  A happy customer often comes back to buy more from a business.  Think about how often you return to your favorite restaurant or bookstore or gas station.  If you sell a $19 ebook to people, and 10% of your buyers become repeat customers, then you are tapping into this powerful profit boosting phenomenon.

While it costs the same to attract a new buyer to your information business, the 10% of loyal repeat customers will generate much more profit for your business over the lifetime of their association with you.  A happy buyer may sign up for a coaching program which charges $150 every month.  If they stay in the program for a year, the lifetime value of this customer shoots up from $300 to $1,800 from that single additional purchase.

Lifetime value matters because you can make other decisions about marketing budgets and advertising efforts based on it.  It is easy to invest $50 into acquiring new customers if you know that each one will be worth $100 or more to your business over time.  This knowledge gives you leverage in marketing your information business more aggressively without taking any additional risk.

Information Marketing Secrets

2. Remember back-end profit

Another advanced information marketing secret is understanding that the real profits from selling information products come from follow up selling.  These are popularly called ‘back-end sales’ because they happen on the back of the initial purchase.

The first time a new buyer purchases an item from you, the profits are small.  This is because you must invest some money into advertising or marketing to attract these buyers to your business.  Once they are in a buying relationship with your business, you are able to offer them additional products and services for sale without spending much.

If your $19 ebook is what introduces a new customer to your business, your profit from that sale may range between $5 and $10.  With a back-end sale of your $150 per month coaching program, you boost the profitability of that customer massively.  Convincing a happy buyer to spend more money with your business is easier than getting a stranger to take a chance with you.  That is why every smart information marketer has a range of products and services to offer their new customers.

3. Know your cost of customer acquisition

Do you know how much it costs your business to attract a new buyer?  You must calculate this figure because it has a significant impact on your marketing strategy.  Taken along with lifetime value, this number can transform your information marketing success.

If you know how much a new customer will be worth over the duration of your association, then you can set yourself a generous limit to invest into acquiring a new buyer.  Let’s assume that your average customer lifetime value is $50.  You can then safely invest $25 into gaining a new buyer, secure in the knowledge that you will not lose money.

This also means that you do not have to set a marketing budget.  When every dollar that you invest into gaining customers earns you two dollars in return, you have an unlimited marketing budget.  Can you imagine how this can transform your competitiveness?  No other business will be able to out-spend you.

4. Create a real business

This should be obvious, but is often overlooked by information marketers.  Many infopreneurs build a money-maker instead of a business.  They create a single ebook and spend time and money selling it.  Their profits are smaller, and there can be no break in their marketing efforts.  If they stop advertising, sales dry up and profits plummet.

Sustainable businesses are structured differently.  You build them on a series of processes that integrate into a system.  You will have processes that attract new buyers, others that fulfill their purchase, and a further set of processes that handle customer care after the sale.  Each of these is managed, modified and improved over time.

With a portfolio of related information products, a follow-up selling process ensures that each buyer is offered other relevant items.  This boosts profits through back-end sales.  Everything runs smoothly and can be automated using technology.  This frees up business owners from tedious tasks, and allows them to relax and enjoy their success.

If you implement these four advanced information marketing secrets in your business, you can enjoy greater profitability with less effort and stress.

How To Be An Infopreneur – The Rare Art of Effective Online Marketing

Who is an infopreneur?  The new term evolved to describe a person who combines the role of an entrepreneur with that of an information creator.  An infopreneur creates (or commissions) valuable information that informs, educates or inspires its audience.  The infopreneur then turns these precious information assets into income streams in various ways.How To Be An Infopreneur - The Rare Art of Effective Online Marketingbook of success business

It’s easier to explain the concept with a concrete example.  Imagine an author who writes a book, or a professor delivering a lecture, or a craftsman recording a short movie to show off his skill.  They are all infopreneurs who can leverage the content they are creating into a source of ongoing income.  With the incredible global reach that the Internet offers today, it is possible for each of them to tap a worldwide market at affordable cost.

If you’re wondering if it might be too difficult to get started as an infopreneur, then the rest of this report will show you how easy it really can be.  Every beginner was once in the same position once, and had to learn everything about becoming an information marketer.  All it takes is to follow a sequence, one step after the other.

Dig into your reserves of knowledge and experience.  Think about what you already know well, and may even reasonably be considered an expert at.  What are the things you are good enough at to teach or explain to someone who is just starting out?  It could be a job, a hobby, a skill, or an art form.

Then consider your potential audience.  Are there people who would be interested in learning what you can teach them?  It can be a costly marketing mistake for infopreneurs to set out being obsessed about whatever they know, and disregarding what their market wants.  As an infopreneur, you will quickly learn that your target market is king or queen.  Your role is to serve them what they desire.

When you’ve hit upon the ideal information to share with your eager audience, decide the format in which you will make it available.  You can be an infopreneur who writes, or one who speaks, draws, records or meets your students in person.  The format you choose depends on your personal preferences, skills and strengths.

Chalk up your action plan next.  Your success as an infopreneur will not be automatic or instant.  You must first come up with a plan of action, backed by a powerful strategy.  Just as you wouldn’t set out on a trip without a plan and a destination, your infopreneur journey must also follow a carefully drawn up business plan.

Finally, prepare to take massive action.  Remember that infopreneurs are entrepreneurs.  They are action-oriented, purposeful and motivated people.  They think big, and believe in their dreams.  You should cultivate the same attitude and behavior. Your conviction in the quality and value of your information and the value you will add to your audience should drive you beyond any hurdles and obstacles towards success.

Along the way, be prepared to keep learning.  Information marketing changes constantly, especially when you are using a rapidly evolving technology like the Internet.  There will be many interesting twists and turns.  Staying on the cutting edge takes constant education and practice.  If this is something you’ll enjoy, there is nothing that will hold you back from massive success as an infopreneur.

The journey towards becoming an infopreneur is fun.  It may not always be an easy path to treat.  In essence, it is simple and logical.  Once you learn the rules and develop a system to get your information in front of the ideal prospects, you will find it almost effortless to keep the momentum going.  Eventually, being an infopreneur can be fulfilling and profitable.  You may not get rich in the first week or two.  But sooner or later, as the value you share becomes obvious to the people who need it, they will gather around you and happily pay to receive the value you offer.

How to “Steal” Your Competitors’ Links Legally

Many SEO companies are nothing more than link building companies. While there’s nothing wrong with that, these link builders typically only have one way to build links: they buy them. Yes, you’re not supposed to do it, but many big names in the industry do it, and are getting pretty covert about it. Of course, for every link broker, there are clients. Big-name companies are engaging in link buying on a massive scale.

Unless you’re a big company, with a big budget, link buying might not be feasible. Even if it is, it might not be a smart idea. Companies like J.C. Penny have the means to get back into the good graces of Google. You might not. You need SEO tactics that can crush your competition without going blackhat.

Take Advantage Of Your Lazy Competition.how-to-steal-your-competitors-links-legally

Let’s face it: most of your competitors are lazy. Even the big boys. They’d rather throw money at the problem and try to solve their ranking problems that way. Take advantage of this. There comes a point when many people give up on an idea they had for a website. They either get lazy or they lose motivation or something else happens.

However, chances are they created a lot of content and they actively worked to get backlinks. Old sites that are no longer kept up in good working order probably have a lot of broken links. This means that there are websites out there that are pointing to 404 pages. These 404 pages used to contain some good stuff. They don’t anymore – obviously.

This is a goldmine. Find these broken websites (i.e. geocities communities) and drop the 404 page into the way back machine. Find out what used to be on there. Find out who links to these now defunct pages. Contact those websites and tell them “hey, you’re linking to a dead page.” Create content that is at least as good as the dead content on that 404 page. Now you have some kind of valuable offer for these people who are linking to the 404 page.

These websites can continue linking out to a broken webpage, or they can link to you. Remember, you came to them with a value proposition. You’re not trying to scam a link from them. You actually have something they want – otherwise they wouldn’t have linked out to that old website in the first place. You can help their SEO and yours at the same time. They’ll probably even thank you for it.

Rinse. Repeat. Crush your competition.