The world is positively buzzing with talk of the latest and greatest ‘Cloud Based’ offerings from the tech giants, but what is it they are really after?
A lot of hype surrounds vaporous services such as Apple’s iCloud, Google’s Chromebook, Cloud Music and multitude of web-apps, the Amazon Cloud and even poor old Microsoft’s Office 365.
We could be forgiven for thinking something innovative was afoot.
But what’s new, really? The act of using a search engine was one of the first manifestations of cloud computing. Rather than every internet user needing 5 million Terabytes of data storage in their basement, we sensibly share the resources of servers in remote data centres. Without needing a name for it consumers have been enthusiastically embracing other ‘cloud computing’ concepts – and feeding the data collectors – since the early days of webmail in the 1990’s.
Google was the first company to realise the full potential of storing and indexing our data when it successfully monetised the nominally ‘free’ function of search provision.
Through Gmail, Google Analytics, the verging-on-compulsory nature of various Google accounts, YouTube accounts, blogging services, Google Apps and even News distribution, most web users can’t really live or do their jobs without feeding Google enormous amounts of invaluable data about themselves. The towering technological achievements of Google Earth, Streetview, book-scanning projects, self-driving cars – and who knows what else – are all part of this data feast. Even where the end-use of data is not yet clear, Google collects it anyway.
Of course, it’s definitely not all doom and gloom. Providing open, global access to much of this information is to be applauded as real libertarian progress, and the attempts of oppressive regimes to cut people off from web resources are a testament to their social power. The more idealistic among us can still argue that ‘the Google plan’ might actually amount to an empowering, egalitarian information philosophy of share and share alike which benefits us all.
But hang on – scrape away all the insubstantial talk of ‘cloud-based innovation’ drifting gently across the technological horizon and witness the big players competing to own even more of your data.
What do you mean your music?
With iTunes, software, and the iPod series, Apple has succeeded in taking the lion’s share of the global music market. What I’ve always hated about these services is the way Apple makes me feel like they own my music collection. Half the fun of music has always been the sense of discovery; that rare 45 in a charity shop record box, an awesome mix-tape from a friend, or things like the unknown Jimi Hendrix tapes discovered in a New York rubbish skip. Aficionados of any style are still happiest hanging out, listening, learning and buying with a like-minded and knowledgeable friend in the local record shop and taking a physical object home. If we let the tech giants have their way, all this will be impossible in the near future.
If Apple’s iCloud takes off, you won’t actually have music on any of your devices and ‘buying’ an album will be reduced to owning the right to stream it. Apple will effectively still own and control the data you have paid for, so any issue with hardware or internet connection and there’s no music for you, dear customer. How long until they charge extra to ‘distribute’ your music through loudspeakers instead of headphones?
As many observant journalists, bloggers and media pundits have been quick to point out, another very odd thing about the cloud storage offering is that there really is absolutely no point for most of us. I can buy a Terabyte of storage round the corner for less than fifty pounds. Even the most voracious video downloader or digital content producer can now afford to store and backup their data across multiple locations. What I need to share is easily emailed, drop-boxed or just transferred wherever via FTP.
Everything I do, I do it for you
Google’s Chromebook concept takes all this data-grabbing even further and looks like a premature and probably doomed attempt to absorb information from every computer interaction you perform.
The Chromebook isn’t a computer in the traditional sense, but what has been known in IT virtualisation circles for years as a thin client. The Chromebook is less than a computer, less even than the iPad; nothing more than an interface which allows you to interact with websites and online apps. Pre-loaded with the Chrome browser ‘OS’, loaded with bookmarks to Google web apps, devices like the Chromebook probably could replace your desktop, laptop and smart-phone. But imagine not storing anything locally, and handing everything to Google on a plate.
Everything you type, every document you create, every email you send, every search you make, every video chat, phone call or IM, every film you stream, every TV show you watch, literally every single computing, social, working or leisure action in your day will be captured, stored, analysed, and eventually monetised by Google – or whoever they sell the data to.
Even if you don’t see a problem with the philosophical implications of data control, see it in practical terms;
Most people stand to gain nothing from these services, while the companies launching them will be in the enviable position of being paid to gain the data they want.
One of the most frightening aspects of website ownership is the constant threat of being penalized by Google. This morose uncertainty is like living with a cloud over your head. Not everyone is entirely certain causes the “Wrath of Google” to come down on them. A lot of honest webmasters often times think they are being penalized and sometimes this is just not the case.
What is the reason for this confusion? Basically no one knows form day to day exactly what will result in a penalty. The actions that will cause one to incur a penalty are changed and updated without much warning. Using only the “White Hat SEO” practices is one way to ensure that you never have to worry about a penalty. If this were to happen only those who are not honest or legitimate would incur Google’s censure.
By doing only what is considered appropriate and safe you can avoid many of the known triggers and this will allow you to work online with peace of mind. It will also ensure that you have better results in the SERPs. (Search engine results pages)
The people who regularly incur penalties all have one thing in common. That is, they did not thoroughly read and understand the policies of Google and their terms and conditions (or perhaps they read them and intentionally ignored them). The worst possible penalty is that your site could be banned from this search engine industry leader. This is a potential revenue loss that few of us can afford. Why risk this when it is so simple touse only good search engine SEO practices.
The following are the major reasons users get banned from Google.
1) “Buying Links” from shady Web sites (or really buying links from any Web sites)
2) Participaing in link farms
3) Intentionally constructing your Web site to “trick” google spiders
4) Overlinking to you Web site too quickly, using the same anchor text
5) Cloaking your Web site and using doorway pages
6) Optimizing more than one similar Web site for the same keyword
The most minor infraction of a term of service or policy can result in your webpage losing rank in the search engine’s ranking. Of course this is relative and could possibly seem harsh to some. It may result in you falling 3-4 spots, 10-20 spots, or it could even drop you out of the first 1000 spots. It all depends on the severity of the infraction and the mood of the Google employee on the other end on that particular day.
As a webmaster it is much easier to follow the rules than to bounce back after censure. So learn what the terms are and use only acceptable SEO to avoid making Google angry. To paraphrase the Incredible Hulk, “You will not like Them When They Are Angry!”
There’s nothing wrong with it if you are thinking how to instantly increase the number of your email subscribers. In fact, most of the savvy marketers are racking their brains to grow their list of subscribers. If you plan to make more money online, growing your subscriber’s list is vital. There are some key strategies that you can use to achieve success increasing the number of your subscribers. Building a responsive list of subscribers will need you to put in a lot of energy and effort into the entire process.
Let us have a look at some of the key strategies that you can use to grow your email subscriber’s list instantly.
Leverage the Power of Social Media
Before we discuss some more effective strategies, let us not ignore the potential of what social media can do to grow you email list. There are several popular social networking websites that you can use to achieve success in email list building. Engaging in Twitter chats, engaging your target audience through Facebook fan pages and joining relevant groups on LinkedIn can instantly get you started with the process of email list building.
Become a Guest Blogger
If you have been guest posting for quite sometime, you must be aware of how beneficial it can be in terms of getting more traffic and building quality links. Well, you can also use your guest posts to increase the number of your subscribers. The idea is to simply add an invitation at the end of your blog post requesting readers to join your subscriber’s list.
Sign Up for a List Building Program
In your search to increase the number of your email subscribers, you’ll come across a wide range of list building programs. Don’t just sign up for any software program or plugin. Before you make the final choice, read the customer feedback and reviews to ensure you pick the best.
I also want to tell you guys about a brand new list building plugin for WordPress called ‘List Eruption’. Today is launch day, so we are currently offering a 7 day exclusive discount on this plugin. It has been proven to grow your list by over 257%.
Give Away Freebies
Giving away something valuable for free can immediately grow your list of email subscribers. Create an guest blogging ebook or offer a teleclass for free and get people to sign up for the same. Distributing free items like these can attract a lot of people to join your subscriber’s list and elongate your email list. Just make sure you are offering something of really unique value.
Submit to Article Directories
Create a list of authority article directories where you can submit your articles. Most of the article submission sites allow writers to include 2-3 links in the bio section or the author resource box. In this section, you can simply add a link to your email list building page.
Sign Up for Google Adsense
Another key strategy for getting more email subscribers is to run a Google Adsense campaign. Google will charge you a fee on a pay-per-click basis. Create a good banner ad for this campaign from where you’ll send people to your list building page. Make sure you have created an engaging list building landing page to capture more and more subscribers.
How many website owners have said this to you?
“I don’t get it! I am writing killer content on my blog, but don’t understand why my site is not building traffic or authority within my niche! I am at a loss about what to do, can you help me?”
As a reader of this blog, I am sure you come across many individuals like this.
The Truth Will Set You Free
Here are the brutal facts that you must know, if you want to solve this problem for yourself and for others that you work with.
Brutal Fact #1: Creating high-value content for your website is only one integral part to creating a successful internet marketing and website traffic driving strategy.
If you believe that only writing content on your blog will effectively bring traffic and links, you are sadly mistaken.
Here is some advice…
Stop listening to those individuals spreading the adage “If you build it they will come” because it isn’t doing you any favors. Planning out your content, and hitting the publish button is only half the battle. (The other half is generating traffic and links.)
While there may be the one in a billion exceptions every now and then where published content magically becomes viral, the chances that this will happen to you are very unlikely.
Brutal Fact #2: You must know how to leverage the traffic that will be driven into your site or else driving traffic to your blog will be a waste of time.
Here’s the truth…
You can take the time to create an awesome blog post and drive a ton of traffic through it, but if the content within your site doesn’t generate leads, or close sales, you are wasting your time exerting the effort to create the content and drive traffic to it in the first place.
Understanding how you will fully leverage the content on your site, and how it will fit into the entire website strategy to reach your goals is important. If you don’t have a pre-defined path taking your visitor from your content to a sale or other call to action…stop everything you are doing right now and take the time to figure it out.
Think about the exact step-by-step process you want your visitor to take after reading your blog post.
Do you want them to sign up for an e-mail list, send them to the products page, watch a video, or have people re-share the post? Make sure you have this figured out before you start publishing and driving traffic! I see too many entrepreneurs screw this up and waste time!
Brutal Fact #3: For your site to start generating a substantial amount of traffic and backlinks quickly, you will have to create and leverage your trusted Internet and in-person relationships.
Why do you think individuals who help websites drive a massive amount of visitors through them are massively connected? Do you think that is by accident?
It obviously is no surprise to those who know this secret! Here is the thing…
Taking time amid your busy schedule to grow current relationships and create new ones with individuals in your niche, is one of the unspoken secrets of successful bloggers and website owners.
Here is a tip: Make sure that when reaching out to new contacts, your intention is to create a win/win situation between the both of you. Always focus on what you can do to help the other person out first, and then more often than not, they will want to help you as well.
Brutal Fact #4: Having an understanding of your market, and knowing how to effectively create content for that market is an essential skill.
(This also includes having the copywriting skills to format content effectively that will capture and hold a visitors attention and lead them to a precise call to action.)
If you don’t know how to write killer posts for your site that will resonate with your market, you will definitely experience challenges.
Even though you think you may be creating high quality content, step back for a minute and ask yourself, “Is this piece of content something my market wants, and is it formatted in a way that will hold their attention from beginning to end?”
If you can’t say yes to this question quickly, go back to the drawing board and find a way to fix it.
Brutal Fact #5: Understanding how SEO and social media work together is a must when it comes to building backlinks and driving massive amounts of traffic through content on your site.
When you understand the impact how social media affects SEO, you really have the keys to the kingdom.
Knowing how to leverage your current relationships to drive the traffic into your site and create the backlinks to content with the appropriate anchor text, results in ranking high in google. The high rankings cause more continual traffic that is generated into your site long term from the search engines for key search terms.
Mastering these two moving parts takes skill, but they wouldn’t be possible if you didn’t focus on always continually building win/win relationships with individuals in your niche.
You can’t just write great content or create a website and expect the mere act of creating content to get you what you want, without the knowledge of how social media works, and the necessary skill of building and growing relationships with individuals who will help you as you help them.
Make sure that you take the time to learn the necessary skills, and connect with those individuals who can help you. Continue to do this as you focus on creating the best content possible for your site. If you need help in this area, go to people who are doing it themselves and ask for their help, or buy their products that teach you how to do it.
To put it as simply as possible, a blog without readers isn’t a blog at all. It’s just you talking to yourself. For a blog to be successful, it needs to have readers. More specifically, it needs to have readers who will interact with you and share your posts with their friends.
So what can you do to get more readers for your blog? To understand, you need to first know what things you shouldn’t do as a blogger. These are the 5 things that will cause you to lose blog readers.
If there was a single right way to write copy, every company would have a great website that attracts traffic and converts visitors into buyers. But the truth is that copywriting is part art and part science. Sure, there are some right and wrong things you can do, but for the most part, copywriting and most marketing is very subjective.
However, there are some things you can do to help determine the quality of your website copy.
- Use the We-We Calculator—Your copy needs to be focused on your customers. It needs to be about them, not you. You should be talking about how they will benefit by taking action. The We We Calculator grades your copy on how customer-focused it is. It’s an essential tool that every copywriter should be using.
- Read it aloud—The easiest way to tell if your copy has a smooth, natural flow is to read it aloud. Take note of any phrases that sound awkward or are troublesome to read. This is especially important when you’re optimizing your copy for keywords as you want to make certain you’re not guilty of keyword stuffing.
- Have someone who doesn’t know your business read it—Sometimes, you can be a little too close to your business. It’s easy to just assume everyone understands who you are and what you’re selling. That’s why I like to have an outsider read my copy. If they read it and understand it easily, that’s a good sign that your copy is clear and effective.
- Track the results—At the end of the day, it’s all about results. If your copy isn’t getting visitors to take action, it’s not doing its job. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there that let you monitor the behavior of your website visitors. My personal favorite tool to use is Google Analytics.
What are some other things you can do to determine the quality of your website copy? Share your best tips by leaving a comment below.
I recommended this idea to a client of mine and she made a killing! It’s a marketing idea that’s great throughout the year and is perfect for around the holidays.
As you already know, getting business from your existing clients is a lot more effective than getting new clients. One of the best ways of capitalizing on your existing clients is by asking for referrals. Around the holidays your clients will be catching up with family and friends, and also meeting new people at holiday parties and gatherings. It’s a great time for referrals but ASKING would only spoil the holiday cheer. GIVE them something instead.
Here’s a very clever way to ask for referrals without having to ask. This is how it works.
- Give your current clients gift cards. Not the kind you buy for a store like Best Buy, but rather a gift card that can be used to pay for your own company’s services.
- – Make sure you’re giving something with real value (i.e. $200, one month free, etc.)
- – Make sure that it’s something free and not a free upgrade.
- – Using a dollar amount is much better than offering a discount percentage- $200 has real value; 50% off the first month doesn’t have as much value.
It’s a great WIN-WIN-WIN for the holidays. Your client wins because people like giving gifts to their friends, their friends win because they’re getting a gift and you win because you’re getting new clients.
I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving, and… Well it’s that time of year again. For those of you that have known me for a little while know I usually like to do something special around the holidays. However this year I am a bit busy doing client work so I won’t have time to dance with Santa’s elves in the north pole.
Last year I actually got a bit of flack for the “Christmas tree axe murder incident”. So this year there will be none of that.
Instead I’d like to simply (from my family to yours) wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. Cheers!
Believe it or not, there’s a lot that we can learn from sex and apply it to marketing.
You Need to Warm Them Up First
You wouldn’t approach a complete stranger with this opening line, “hi, how are you? Do you want to have sex?” In business, however, this is what a lot of companies do. “Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter, now read all my specials” or “Welcome to our website. Buy Now!”
Take the time to build trust. Show people how you’ve helped others just like them. Show them testimonials, case studies and a list of your current clients. Ask for their contact information and give them something of value. They’re going to buy whenever they’re ready. For now, show them that you’re trustworthy.
It’s About Quality, Not Quantity
Some companies take a quantitative approach to marketing. When sales are down, they do MORE of what they’re doing instead of doing it BETTER. If what you’re doing isn’t working, doing more of it isn’t likely to fix the problem.
Great lovers and smart business owners do one thing very well: they ask their lovers/customers questions. “Is this what you want?”, “how can I do it better?” Do you talk to your customers? Do you ask them why they decided to go with you instead of your competition? Do you ask those people who did go with your competitors why they chose them? Ask more questions.
Experiment and Adjust
Most companies choose their marketing tactics based on “what everyone else is doing” or “because I thought it would be a great idea.” Some companies don’t try new things because they don’t know whether it’s going to work. My advice is, “test small, measure results, get rid of what doesn’t work and do more of what works. Don’t be afraid to experiment.”
How You Finish Is as Important as How You Start
You don’t finish having sex and tell your partner, “OK, that was nice. Now you can go home.” But that is exactly what some companies do to their customers. They never call them to find out how happy they are with their purchase and if there’s something else they can do for them. This is a perfect moment to stand out and build an even stronger relationship with your customers. And remember: selling to existing customers is a lot easier than selling to someone who never bought anything from you. Plus, caring for those who feed your family is the right thing to do.
Great marketers are also great observers of human behavior. They pay attention to their own behaviors and figure out what it is that gets them to buy or make decisions. It’s something that business schools just don’t teach. This is what gives the best marketers in the world the edge that everyone else just dreams about. These are the 9 weird psychological tricks they know.
Have you ever bought something because the original price was $100, but was now just $50. This is because everything is either a great deal or an awful deal based on what you compare it with.
What this means to you? You should have a bad offer on your website. Yes, I’m serious! Every time we’ve tested it, it has proven true. It makes your main offer look great. One of our clients was selling 4 bottles of his product at $89. We added an option to the site for 1 bottle at $75. His sales (for the 4-bottle package) increased by about 60%. Decoy offers make “the real offer” look very, very good.
In his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, Robert Cialdini talks about an experiment he did.
Group A was asked to put a huge sign in their yards that said “Drive slow; kids playing”. Most of the people in Group A said no.
Group B was asked to put a tiny sticker in their windows with the same text. Almost everyone agreed. Then they were asked to put the giant sign in their yards. A large percentage in Group B agreed.
The takeaway? People want to be consistent with previous actions. If they said yes to something in the past, they’re more likely to say yes in the future.
What does this mean to you? You need to get your prospects to say yes to something. And the best way to do this is by asking for a tiny micro-commitment. For example, if you sell a $2,000 coaching program, you can have a funnel that looks like this:
- Download free report (only 3 pages; it can be read in 10 minutes)
- Get my free videos (total 45 minutes)
- Get my DVD (only $19.99)
- Free 10-minute phone consultation for people who bought the DVD (deliver a lot of value here. Provide “useful but incomplete” information. Keep them wanting more.)
- Group training ($499 and includes a 110% money back guarantee)
- Private coaching ($2,000 and includes a 200% money back guarantee)
High Price = High Quality
A $500 tennis racket is always going to be better than a $100 racket, right? Isn’t a $400 office chair always going to be better than that $100 chair? No, of course not. But as the buyer perceives it: “If it cost that much, it must be good.”
What this means to you? You are hurting yourself by charging too little for your products. Raise your prices and increase the perceived value of your stuff.
People want what they can’t have. Do you want the new phone that’s sold out everywhere or one you can get anywhere? What restaurant would you rather go to: the one that is fully booked for the next 3 months or the one that’s empty?
What this means to you? Let your prospects know you don’t take just anyone as a client. Tell them they need to apply and that you only select those clients that are a good fit. This will make them want you even more!
If you sell products, try this: in your copy say who SHOULDN’T buy your product. For example, if you sell artisan bread try saying “this bread isn’t for people looking for mass-produced loafs of blandness. If you’re the kind of person who appreciates hand-crafted bread that’s full of flavor, you’re in the right place.”
Everyone wants to be liked and they want others to think they make smart decisions.
What this means to you? Explain why buying your product is a SMART decision. People will need to justify their actions with others and they’ll repeat whatever you say. Make a compelling argument so people feel good about buying your stuff. (And, make sure your stuff is extremely good!)
Too Many Choices = No Action
Don’t you hate when you want to buy a laptop, you go to eBay and they have 2,000,000 laptops to choose from? You think “OMG! I’ll be here all day!”
What this means to you: narrow down the choices you give your visitors and you’ll increase your sales instantly.
If an offer may be gone tomorrow, than a person is more likely to take action today.
What this means to you: don’t just give people reasons to act; tell them why they need to act NOW! Some ideas:
- This offer expires on Sunday
- I’ll take only one client this week
- I’ll only be teaching this to 8 people
- Only 6 items left. When they’re gone, they’re gone forever.
Risks = “Reasons Not to Act”. Therefore; the less risky an action is, the more likely someone will take action.
What this means to you: Go beyond the standard “money back guarantee”. Some ideas:
- Offer FREE shipping on returns. (It has worked wonders for Zappos.com)
- Offer a FREE trial and let them keep something, just for trying it out.
- Ship the product now but don’t charge them for 30 days. If the customer returns the product within 30 days, then they never get charged!
Guarantee results, not just “satisfaction”. Get very specific.
Note: Depending on your market, about 1% of the people will rip you off, but your sales will double. Do the math for yourself and you’ll see that it’s still worth it! Remember: your market is going to be taken by the boldest marketers. This could be you or it could be your competitors. Don’t let the fear of losing stop you from winning. If you’re afraid of things going wrong, start by testing your guarantee on 200 sales and keep some reserve cash just in case. Then compare the extra sales with the refunds you had to give and see if it makes sense to keep doing it.
This one isn’t weird but it is 100 percent true. Sex sells. That’s why models are hired to sell products.
What this means to you: you need attractive people to show your products. Don’t just use your cousin Joe (the one with the beer belly) because he’ll do it for nothing. Use stock photos or if you need a model put an ad on Craigslist and you’ll get very attractive -although not famous- people to feature your products.