Psyche Up Your Customers to Buy

You may have the nicest layout and the cleverest images, but when it comes time to click “Buy now!” your customers are going to want to know why. Why are they buying? If you don’t understand what triggers your customer to buy, you can’t expect them to either. Content development is more than just prefect grammar and a flair for the theatrical, it can also take the skill of a psychologist to push the triggers that make people who visit your site decide that they do indeed want to buy your product or service. That’s why all Internet marketers should familiarize themselves with common psychological triggers that create some sort of response towards copy that aims at creating a sale.

What Makes Us Human

Psyche Up Your Customers to BuyThere are certain psychological aspects that we all share as human, and they’re not all positive. But, they can positively be used to create a sale. Envy, for instance, can translate into copy that targets status seekers. It can appeal to people who want to maintain a certain upper-crust image or at least pretend to be a part of that group for a while. It’s often said that when you are selling a product or service, you sell the benefits, not the actual description of the item. What are those benefits? Those benefits are the things that will trigger us to buy, by making it clear what we get when we choose to purchase. Here are a few different types of triggers that smart content writers can use to instigate a sale.

  • Laziness – Sloth is one of the deadly sins, but it doesn’t stop people from looking for the easy way out. If you have a product or service that creates ease in a person’s life, it can be a major draw. Difficult or tedious tasks can be a golden opportunity to trigger someone’s laziness factor and make a sale. Most people would rather pay someone to make their life easier than to work hard to solve a problem. It’s just that much easier.
  • Fear of Loss – This is not that hard to trigger with limited time offers. If you want to light a fire under a customer that won’t get off the fence, create a fear of loss in them. Tell them that they’ll lose out on this great deal if they don’t take it within a certain period of time. This can work wonders for first-time buyers, too.
  • High Perceived Value – In other words: Greed. Greed is a psychological trigger than happens when someone thinks they’re getting an unbelievable deal. Make your offers high value in comparison to your competitors and the greed factor definitely kicks in. One way to do this is to show your customers what the real value of an offer is (without discounts or sales) and then offer them the limited time, high value, low price offer.
  • Status – Status can take on many forms. It can mean looking wealthier than your neighbor or more knowledgeable. It usually distinguishes you as part of a select group. Use status when you make exclusive offers that only certain people are allowed to take advantage of because of their preferred customer status. By offering specials that only come to certain people, you trigger a tendency to create status and people feel special when they buy.

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.

Mobile SEO Now More Critical after Google Alters Algorithms

It is not often that an algorithm change from Google goes relatively unnoticed, but the latest move from Google has flown under the radar a bit despite the big impact it could have on many websites. In a recent post on the company’s webmaster blog, Google announced that algorithm changes were now in place that could negatively impact those sites that offer a poor user experience to visitors using smartphones or other mobile devices.

Recognizing the obvious shift toward mobile internet usage, Google is encouraging webmasters to offer visitors more than just a mobile version of their site. Google wants all users to get the full internet experience they are looking for, even when they access the web via smartphones. As a result, algorithm changes from Google will now boost the rankings of those pages that offer top notch mobile infrastructure, while punishing sites that do not offer a good mobile experience.

Identifying Two Common Mistakes

The blog post pointed out that Google has yet to roll out the planned algorithm changes to enhance mobile user experience, meaning there is time to for webmasters to fix key areas of concern before the algorithms begin to have a negative impact on page ranking. Google highlighted two common mistakes that webmasters make when developing mobile versions, offering reasons for the problem and helpful tips in solving them.

First, it was pointed out that faulty redirects are common problem that irritate smartphone users and is easily fixed by a capable webmaster. Faulty redirects occur when a mobile user is redirected by a site to the main page of the mobile version rather than to the corresponding mobile version of the desktop version of the page they were on. The following diagram puts this concept into image form:

In simpler terms; when a smartphone user is on a subpage and tries to navigate to the mobile version of that sub-page, they are more often than not redirected to the mobile version homepage. This means they have to start their navigation over again to the sub-page they were on. While it may be a minor inconvenience, it can interrupt a visitors flow and cause them to not return to the site in the future.

The problem is easily fixed by setting up redirects such that users are sent from the desktop version directly to the same content on a mobile version. If the site doesn’t have the content available in a mobile version, it is best to leave them on the desktop version rather than interrupt their workflow on the site.

Secondly, Google pointed out that many mobile sites have smartphone-only errors on them. This means that desktop or tablet visitors using desktop version might not experience any errors on a given page, where mobile-version users will encounter an error page when loading the same content in a mobile version.

Common mistakes in smartphone-only errors, as listed by Google, included the following:

–          Incorrect handling of Googlebot-Mobile. When employed incorrectly, Googlebot-Mobile creates an infinite redirect loop where mobile visitors are redirected to feature phone optimized sites, which in turn redirects smartphones back to the desktop site.

–          Unplayable videos on smartphones. A lot of video content is embedded on websites and designed for desktop viewing, but fails to load on smartphones.

The issue with Googlebot-Mobile can be avoided by setting up Googlebot-Mobile user agents to identify smartphones as smartphones, not feature phones, and redirecting them to the appropriate mobile version (if it exists, remember no faulty redirects) rather than simply sending them directly to the desktop version.

Additional Misconfiguration Problems

While Google highlighted the issues above as the most common, webmasters will need to address all mobile configuration issues in order to avoid punishment at the hands of the new algorithms. The blog post contained links to specific smartphone misconfiguration issues Google believes webmasters should be aware of. These other misconfiguration included:

–          App download ads that hinder usage: Some on-page advertisements for a site’s apps actually hinder a smartphone user’s experience. Google recommends using either a smart app banners or a simple HTML image with a link to the proper app download store.

–          Develop content that loads faster on mobile versions. Smartphone users are facing steeper costs for data and restrictions on usage as unlimited plans disappear. Pages should be designed to load faster and offer an optimized experience for mobile users.

Lasting Message for SEOs

In the end, Google’s overall message with this algorithm changes appears to be that SEOs and webmasters need to focus on delivering the right content at the right time and less on delivering the specific mobile experience on a device by device basis. Mobile access is differentiating as more and more tablets and smartphones hit the market.

SEOs and webmasters need to adapt a more responsive design that delivers the right content to the mobile user, even if that content is not necessarily designed for the mobile device they are using to access the site.

Five Common Social Media Mistakes

Social networking conceptMore and more small businesses are catching on to the fact that social media is more than the latest hype, and they are beginning to see its value for marketing purposes. Larger businesses have paved the way for these smaller businesses to follow. They have done this by making a lot of mistakes from which small businesses can learn a few valuable lessons. Below is an overview of five common mistakes you should try to avoid making with your business.

Mistake 1: Constantly offering special deals.

While daily or weekly offers are no doubt appealing to consumers, you run the risk of your business developing the reputation of being an online discount store. Be sure to offer added value to consumers beyond being the cheapest. Your goal is to get people interested in buying from you for other reasons than just price.

Mistake 2: Waiting for consumers to find you.

Just because your business has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, that doesn’t mean that consumers will spontaneously drop by. Setting up a social media account or two alone is not enough. You will need to put some time and effort into the various social media channels by engaging in conversations with potential fans or followers.

Mistake 3: Posting long (news) items.

It is best to avoid posting entire articles on Facebook or Google+, no matter how interesting or relevant the information might be to your fans or followers. Instead, you should post a teaser. This usually consists of a short introduction and a link to the relevant web page.

Mistake 4: Frequently organizing competitions.

If you run competitions all the time, consumers will start to feel less emotionally connected with your brand. In time, they might not even remember what products or services you offer. Instead you will forever be associated with the chance of winning something. You can, however, run competitions periodically, as long as you make sure that you leave plenty of time in between competitions and you never run two competitions at the same time.

Mistake 5: Blocking negative feedback.

Larger companies have been known to ignore or even remove negative comments by consumers. Funnily enough, consumers are suspicious of businesses that receive only positive comments all of the time. When consumers see some negative comments as well, they get a much better impression of the business, because their suspicion that the comments might be fake falls away completely.

Social media is a great marketing tool for small businesses, but when things go wrong, they go wrong very quickly. With social media, your mistakes are there for everyone to see. That is why it is important to set out a clear strategy before you begin using social media. Some sound practical judgment will stand you in good stead.

Better Business Blogging: The Seven Rules You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Maintaining a business blog is still an effective way of engaging with consumers, but with so much online competition from other businesses and the growth of social media, retaining customer attention is harder than ever before. To be truly effective, your business blog needs to be highly focused on delivering shareable content that is also in line with your evolving marketing goals. Remember the following key principles and your business will stand a better chance in today’s crowded online environment.

Define Your Marketing Goals

Before launching a business blog and before each post, it’s vital to think about what your marketing goals are at any specific time. Are you trying to improve brand recognition, drive sales, gather important data about your customers, educate potential customers, or develop your brand’s personality? Maybe it’s a combination of the above. There are many different ways to approach a blog post, but each one should have a clearly defined purpose. This helps to ensure each post is optimized to engage, inform, and convert prospects. When businesses complain about their blogs not delivering results, it’s often due to poor planning.

Use Knowledge to Strengthen Credibility

Every blog post has the potential to increase the credibility of your brand. Informing and educating readers is a powerful way to gain the trust of people who have become cynical of old-fashioned advertising. Aim to become a powerful voice in your industry sector and you can soon become the go-to resource for news, information, and inspirational content. If you can achieve this, you will not only convert more readers into customers, but they will also promote your brand on your behalf.

Address Your Ideal Customer

Many businesses still focus too much on their own affairs instead of addressing the needs of their audience. Keep your blog content more in line with your marketing goals and remember that people are looking for solutions to their problems. One way to ensure your blog posts are relevant to your target audience is to ask your readers directly what questions they would like you to answer about your products and services.Better-Business-Blogging-The-Seven-Rules-You-Can’t-Afford-to-Ignore

Maintain Writing Quality

Many business blogs fail because they are poorly written and fail to engage the reader within the first paragraph. You need to quickly communicate the value of continuing to read your content. It’s also important to post original content, not only for your credibility, but also for improving your SEO. Use an editorial calendar to make sure you have enough relevant content to publish every month, and time each blog post to align with your marketing goals.

Don’t Forget SEO

The blog’s page title should include relevant keywords, and when appropriate try to include your company name in headings to gain authority for those keywords. Also make sure the page’s meta-description includes keywords to inform the search engines. The title of the post and actual copy should also contain relevant keywords, but not too many. Before you upload an image to a post, name it first with relevant keywords, and remember to include alt text for occasions when an image cannot be displayed. Navigating to other content within your domain and your own content on external sites will also help you rank higher with search engines.

Include Calls-to-Action

Many business blogs still struggle to engage effectively with prospects because they simply lack focus. Each individual blog post needs to a have a clearly defined purpose. Before writing each post, consider its main objective. Do you want it to generate leads, promote interaction, or boost sales? Perhaps you just need to raise awareness of a particular product or service. Whatever it is, remember to make it clear in the post and whenever possible, include a strong call-to-action.

Remember the Bigger Picture

There are various ways to optimize your business blog to maximize its impact. Remember to make it easy to navigate to your primary business pages and keep readers engaged by providing clear links to similar content within your blog. Linking to your social media channels will also encourage interaction on other platforms, enhancing your online presence. Don’t forget to use recognizable sharing icons to strengthen credibility. Including a social media share count on every post will also encourage people to share your content.

The Next Step

The best business blogs can become the heart of a company’s website, or even stand alone as a go-to resource, enabling customers and prospects to share content around a brand. If you don’t have time to write consistently good content and your marketing budget allows, you could even invest in a full-time or part-time writer. If not, just remember these golden rules for better business blogging and with a little creativity and dedication, your blog can give your business the edge over the competition.

10 Sure-Shot Ways to Get Penalized and Lose Your Rankings in the Post EMD, Panda and Disavow Scenario

Internet marketing has turned into a fast-paced survival game where both newbies and gurus are dreading the scathing whims of Google alike. The search engine giant has made it clear with the recent Panda, EMD and Disavow updates that it will never rest till it destroys every single SEO shortcut that previously used to work. The current scenario is one of fear and anxiety as internet marketers go to sleep wondering whether their rankings will disappear overnight. In fact, many of the so called ‘gurus’ have now begun to use scare tactics to lure newbies and inexperienced marketers into ‘update-proof’ SEO courses, and many of them end up being scams.10-sure-shot-ways-to-get-penalized-and-lose-your-rankings-in-the-post-emd-panda-and-disavow-scenario

What Google looks for in websites is clearly mentioned in its guidelines. Though the whole thing looks like Google hiring a pack of henchmen to run around the web, and take down thousands of ‘low quality’ sites, the algorithm is a program- a bunch of codes that rank sites according to their quality and relevance. It is a widely known fact that the preferences of the algorithm are not top-secret, and there are many who know a lot about the algorithm.

Here are the top 10 causes for which Google may downgrade a website. It is not guaranteed that following any of these methods can land a website in Google’s hit-list, but each of these methods can expose a site to penalization. It is also not guaranteed that staying away from these tactics will keep any website safe forever, but websites that refrain from committing such crimes will have an edge over others in ranking longer.

Over-optimization

Over-optimization has turned into the most prominent topic in the post-Penguin world. Though over-optimization is a general topic that most internet marketers are familiar with, the finer details remain obscure to most.

According to Google, a website must rank by their natural relevance to the searched keyword. Over-optimization refers to purposefully increasing the relevance of content on a website to a keyword. The practice of Search Engine Optimization is not wrong, but there is a limit. Over-optimization can be either on-page or off-page.

1.  Content Over-optimization

Content is king. It always has been. Search engines, whichever they may be, prefer sites having high quality content. Content created for the sole purpose of SEO is bound to repel the search engines. There used to be a time when over-optimized content used to crawl the top rankings in the search engines, but not any more.

‘Keyword stuffing’ is the name given to the over usage of targeted keywords in the content. Though Google does not state any permissible keyword density vales in its guidelines, the best considered range is 1-2%.

Try reading the content a few times. Make sure that it has good readability, provides some value to the readers and that it makes sense. Use keywords only where they can be used, and only where they blend into the text. Avoid using the same keyword over and over frequently.

Using keyword variations is a hugely search-engine friendly habit. For example, for keywords like ‘exercises for body building’, try using the variations ‘body building exercises’ or ‘exercise and build the body’. Using keyword variations tell the search engines that the content was not written for the sole purpose of ranking.

2. Over-optimized anchor text

Using the main keyword frequently as the anchor text was one of the main practices that got hit in the search engine updates. Webmasters who used their primary keywords in the anchor text widely suffered rank drops, and some of the websites even got de-indexed. It was once a usual practice to use exact match keywords in the links to boost relevance, but in the current scenario it would be wise not to resort to such practices.

Try using more natural anchor text like “Click here” or “Click to find out more.” It is to be noted that over-usage of any text can be harmful. The link text must be varied as much as possible.

3. Over-optimized meta-tags

Always try to keep the meta-tags natural. Meta-tags are vital to any website page as they let the search engines know about the content on a page, and add up to the page’s relevance in searches. Over-optimizing meta-tags refers to keyword stuffing of these tags.

For example, for the keyword ‘Credit Management’, it would be better using ‘Credit Management Company’ or ‘Manage Your Credit’ for the meta tags rather than directly using ‘Credit Management’ or ‘Good Credit Management’.

4. Paid Linking

The paid linking strategy has been on Google’s hit list from the very beginning, and it is worse now. Never sell or buy links, period. In case of paid advertising display the link as sponsored, and use only no-follow links. There has been a long line of sites that got de-indexed due to paid linking.

5. Non-contextual Links

Always try to use contextual links. Many often resort to linking within the page headers or footers, and this just does not look natural to the search engines.

6. Poor Link-Diversity

Link diversity is all about looking natural to the search engines. It is always ideal to have a mixture of both relevant and irrelevant, high and low quality links in the backlink structure of the website. Try to obtain links from a wide variety of sources. A 70-30 ratio between the high quality and low quality links is considered ideal.

7.  Rapid Backlinking

Ever thought about how fast a link building campaign should be? It should be as slow as possible, period. Google looks for natural websites that have high quality content, and a diverse backlink arsenal created over a long period. A new site will never attract backlinks as fast as an established authority site. Just be slow and steady.

8. Duplicate Content

Content is king, period. Never steal content from other websites. Stealing content from other sites, if discovered, can lead to de-indexing within no time. Many article directories provide content with usage rights, but credit must be given to the author. It is a no-brainer that Google undervalues sites having duplicate content.

9. Thin or Spun Content

Article spinning was once an SEO revolution. Webmasters could create tons of unique content easily from a single article. However, spinning is against the guidelines of Google. In most cases, spun content is illegible, and filled with grammatical and structure errors that hinder readability. Google does not like this one bit.

Thin content refers to poorly written content used for the sole purpose of directing traffic to PPC or affiliate ads. It can either be too shallow with very few words, or can be of low quality providing little or no value to the visitors. Google considers sites having thin content as those created just for hosting ads, and not as a service to the user.

10. Content Cloaking

Content cloaking is a spammy method in which the content that is visible to the search engine bots is made to be different from the content that is visible to the users. In the current scenario, the practice of cloaking is utterly meaningless. It is simply impossible to fool Google. Cloaking might have worked earlier, but now it is a ‘do and die’ strategy that can get a site banned within no time in most cases. It would be wise never to resort to such infamous practices, which may piss off the search engines.

Outranking Your Competitors

If you want to outrank your competitors and get that first spot in the Google search engine you need to investigate the websites that are ranking above you right now. You need to know what they are doing right so that you can copy their moves. But copying their moves will not be enough for you to outrank them, as you will then be two equally good websites. You instead have to be better than they are and have greater content, better backlinks and a better reputation.

Check the Backlinks of Your Competitors

Do some research to find out where your competitors get their backlinks. You can do the simple Google search where you type in “link:websitename.com” in the search field, but this will only give you some of the sites that links to your competitor. There are also some free tools online that allow you to check websites’ backlinks. So go through the list and select the sites that look good and relevant and have a PageRank over 3. Find out how you can get a backlink from that site. Do they allow DoFollow comments or should you E-mail them about guest blogging opportunities?

You should not focus on how many backlinks your competitors have but more on the quality of the backlinks. If they for instance have ten thousand backlinks but only five of them come from websites with a high PageRank, you may have a good chance of outranking them if you can get those five high quality backlinks as well.

So try to find some really great sites such as CNN, BBC, or some sort of popular online news-site and see if it is possible to get a backlink from some of them.

Offer Something That They Do Not

Take a look at your competitors’ websites and see what they offer people. What kind of information do they offer, do they have some sort of free download or do they have a community such as a forum or membership site? Write down everything you can find on your competitors and why you think this makes them successful. So for instance, why would a forum make a website popular? People love to be a part of a community, especially if they are not that many websites in that particular niche. They like to share their own knowledge and experience and get feedback and help from others who are in the same situation and are interested in the same topic.

Are They Bookmarked?

Outranking Your CompetitorsSee if you can find any social bookmarking share buttons on their sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit or a Facebook like button. If they have some of these you will sometimes be able to see how many have liked, tweeted or stumbled their sites. This will give you an idea of how popular the sites really are.

How is Their Content?

Take some time to actually read some of the website content to see how good the sites really are. Is the content unique or just like what you could find on most websites and blogs? If the content is not that great you will have an easier time outranking them.

Make Keyword Targeted Videos

Submitting videos to those well-known sites such as YouTube and Metacafe is a really good idea, as Google sometimes tends to rank videos much higher than websites. So make some videos on some of your keywords and then hope that Google will place the videos on the number one spot.

So improve your ranking and outrank all of your competitors. Getting to the top in Google means that you will get most of the visitors, which means your will get more traffic, which leads to more sales in the end.