Monthly Archives: April 2004

Readers question – the best way to advertise online

Another readers question now and this week I answer a question for Fred – he actually asked me three questions so I will try and answer the other two in a future edition of the newsletter.

Fred asked me, ‘What is the best way to advertise online – I currently only use offline advertising?’

Well, there are many ways of advertising online and each one will vary in terms of how successful it will be for your business and how much it will cost (from free to very expensive!)

If you are already doing some offline advertising I assume that you are paying for this?  This being the case, I would assume that you are happy to pay for your online advertising?  The reason I make this point is that there are ways of getting free advertising online and many people are only interested in the free ways (for obvious reasons).  However, as you might expect, free advertising will usually either yield poor results or will take a long time and a lot of work to start delivering worthwhile results.

Therefore, if you are prepared to pay for your advertising, head over to www.adwords.google.com and start up a pay-per-click campaign.  This will allow you to advertise your business on some of the main search engines based on users searching for a specific keyword/s (which you choose).  Each time a surfer clicks on your ad, you pay a fixed amount (the amount you pay depends on how popular the keyword is but can be as low as five cents). 

This method of advertising is very simple and effective and you will see almost instant results.  Just be aware that this can get expensive if you are bidding on popular keywords so do keep an eye on your expenditure.

Thanks for the question Fred – I will do my best to answer your other two questions shortly.

A glance into the future of the Internet

As we all know, the Internet changes on an almost daily basis.  It is always developing and at times, it can seem impossible to keep up with.  From an entrepreneurs point of view this is excellent because every change represents a new opportunity.  How many other industries provide you with a new opportunity to earn money every single day?

I wanted to spend a few minutes to talk about how I think the Internet is changing and how it will continue to change in the future.  However, I am not talking about over the next five, ten or twenty years – I mean in the next six to twelve months.  A year is a very long time online and let’s face it; we are interested in what is going to make money today not in 2014.

The biggest change that I see occurring in the next few months is the growth of multi-media.  By this, I mean the use of audio and video on websites and within specific products.  The technology to allow webmasters to easily integrate audio and video is available and with more and more people getting faster broadband connections, these mediums will only become more common.

Even today, it is not unusual to have audio on sales websites.  I don’t mean the incredibly annoying music or bleeps that some people still insist on using, no, I mean verbal sales messages from the site owner trying to persuade you to purchase their products.  Audio used in this way can be very powerful and many site owners report large increases in sales after adding a short audio introduction to their site.  An audio message helps to build confidence and your relationship with your customer and this helps to increase sales.

The use of video is also on the increase, particularly screen capture video.  Screen capture is when someone records what they are doing on their computer into a file which someone else can watch on their own computer.  This is excellent for training videos because you can see exactly what your tutor is doing even though they could be thousands of miles away.  Video files are considerably larger than audio files and as such, a fast connection is required to appreciate this medium to the full but there is no reason why video (and audio) files cannot be copied to a CD-R and posted to a customer.

This brings me to another prediction…

Info-products as we know them will begin to change significantly.  Whilst there will still be eBooks, there will be far more training and how-to info-products available in audio and video format.  In addition, whilst one of the attractions of selling eBooks is that the product can be delivered instantly with no work on the part of the seller, there will be more and more physical info-products being sold.  People like receiving things through the post and are usually willing to pay more for them.  A package of five CDs that include audio, video and eBook files, along with a printed manual is far more attractive to the buyer than a single eBook.

If you want to take full advantage of these changes, then you need to be preparing now – consider putting an audio sales message on your site or start that eBook that you have always intended writing but include a few screen capture videos as this will vastly increase the value of your finished product.

Finally, think about this – would you like to have been around when the first eBooks started appearing for sale on the Internet?  What a superb opportunity to have been in at the start.  Well multi-media IS the next big thing and you are now in at the start…

Your say…

In the last newsletter, I asked you if you had any particular questions regarding Internet marketing or working online that you would like me to try and answer.  As I thought might be the case, I received a number of questions so I will be working through these over the coming weeks.

The first email that I received in response to the last newsletter was from Maria and I feel it is only fair to answer her question first.

Maria wrote:

‘I have noticed that the majority of ‘information sellers’ have very, very long introductions to their products, and most won’t actually tell you what the ‘product’ is until you sign up.  I find this off-putting, and quite often I have neither the time nor inclination to read all the blurb. 

Do you think that these very lengthy introductions are really necessary, or is a short, sharp concise intro the key (or one of them) to signups? Thanks.’

Anyone that has spent some time looking at information products (ebooks etc) online will know what Maria is talking about – some of the sales pages do seem to go on forever. 

The thing is that long sales pages CAN work but they won’t ALWAYS work.  I personally think it depends on the copy-writing abilities of the writer.  Good copy will grab your attention and make you want to read every last sentence and by the end of the copy you feel you have no option but to reach for your credit card and purchase.  Bad copy on the other hand will turn people off before the end of the first paragraph (or much sooner!).

I guess the best way to answer this question fully is to consider what you would do when faced with a long sales page…

The first thing I do is skim through the text and this means that I tend to read only the highlighted areas or bold text.  If the writer has done his job properly, this will mean that I get to read about the main features and benefits of the product so that even though I am not reading every line, I will have a good idea by the end of the page as to what the product can do for me (if anything).

Once I have skimmed through the text, I should have a rough idea of whether the product will benefit me.  If I still think that it will, I look for the price to see if it is a figure that I think is realistic and good value given my basic understanding of the product.

Assuming that the price is reasonable, I would then go back to the top of the sales page and read it through properly – line by line – so that I understand EXACTLY what I would be getting for my money.  Bear in mind that I may leave the website at any time during the above process if the copy didn’t ‘impress’ me sufficiently.

In summary therefore and please bear in mind that this is my opinion only, from a buyers point of view, I like long sales pages as long as the content is meaningful.  By that I mean that the long page has been used to explain in detail exactly what the product is or what it will do for me.  I don’t want to read hype; I want facts and the more the better.  The more information I am given, the more informed I am to make an accurate buying decision.  If I am not given enough factual information then I may well not buy simply because I don’t fully understand what it is I am buying.

That said if you opt for a long sales page, your copy needs to be superb or people won’t finish reading.  Like most things online, it is a fine balancing act and the only way to truly find out what works best for your site is to test both methods and see which gives the best sales results.

Thank-you for your question Maria – hope that helps to answer it.

How safe is your computer?

For the first part of this week’s newsletter, I am going to ‘steal’ a topic from my online colleague, Jim Edwards.  Jim wrote about this topic last week in his newsletter and I am sure he won’t mind me copying him just this once.

You may well have heard of spyware.  This is software that installs itself on your computer and can automatically send information about your online activities to the originator of the software.  Some of the information can be fairly harmless such as what type of websites you like to visit but some can be far more intrusive, for example, keystroke loggers.  Keystroke loggers are basically able to send a list of every single key you have pressed since turning your computer on and that could include passwords, credit card details and other personal information that you would not want getting into the wrong hands.

It is actually very easy to end up with spyware on your computer and often it is installed as part of another program that you have downloaded – for example a piece of shareware.  This means that even if you have a firewall installed, you may have inadvertently authorised the spyware to operate in the background when you installed the original software.

Fortunately there are a number of programs that you can use to check your computer for spyware and one of them has a free trial so you can check your computer out at no cost.  This software is called SpySweeper and you can download it from:  http://www.webroot.com

You will also find more information about spyware, how you can end up with it on your computer and what sort of things it can do at the above link.

Small Steps

Ok, here’s the thing…

Many people start off their online business in totally the wrong way.  By this I mean that their expectations are too high.

I am sorry to be the one to say it, but it is a fact that the vast majority of people that start an online business will not end up earning enough money to give up their jobs.

There, I have said it – it might not be what you want to hear but it is true.  In fairness, this fact is no different in the ‘real’ offline world – whilst there are many people that would like to give up their job in order to run their own business, few actually succeed in doing this.

HOWEVER if you set your sights a little lower, it is much easier to earn ‘pocket money’ from the Internet to boost your normal income.  When I say pocket money, I am talking a few hundred dollars/pounds a month, so a worthwhile sum.

If you start your online business with the intention of making, say, $500 a month, you have a much better chance of being successful AND there is every possibility that your business will gradually grow to a size where you CAN give up the day job.

If you start out wanting to earn, say, $5000 or more a month from day one, you will quickly become disappointed, lose interest and probably give the whole thing up as a bad job.  If your mindset had been a little different, who knows, you may have succeeded?

With all of the other distractions that surround us when trying to get an online business off the ground (family/work commitments etc) you have a far greater chance of success if you keep things as simple as possible and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make a fortune.

At the end of the day, a few hundred dollars/pounds a month extra is better than nothing – this was exactly the view that I took when I started ‘playing around’ on the Net and I was over the moon the first month that I cleared $500!

Small steps are the way to go – don’t try and do everything in one big leap because it just won’t happen.

Remember also that hundreds of people ARE managing to give up their jobs every month in order to work for themselves online.  It is tough but it certainly isn’t impossible.