Top Ten Tips for High Converting Web Form Design

When it comes to e commerce sites, few things are as important as web forms. They are often the very last step in converting an interested visitor into a paying customer. They are therefore not something that you want to get wrong from a design standpoint. A poorly designed web form can easily end up costing you conversions and with them, profits. (more…)

Five Growth Strategies for your Small Business

In order to grown your small business, it is necessary to develop some growth strategies for your business. However, as a small business owner, it is important that your growth strategies are feasible and do not amount to simply building castles in the air.

5 ways to grow a small business (more…)

PROMOTING YOUR BLOG USING A VIRAL EBOOK

Most bloggers know that writing viral posts is one of the most powerful ways to promote your blog. If you can get everyone linking and talking about your posts, you can generate a swarm of traffic. Quality and “uniqueness” is the key to that game. But another viral game that bloggers can play has to do with viral ebooks. Very few bloggers use this marketing technique because most bloggers surprisingly don’t know how to write an ebook. Well guess what? If you can write a blog post you can write a viral ebook. And no, you don’t need to write an ebook that’s as long or as good as a New York Times Best Seller. Some viral ebooks are less than 10 pages long and fare quite well.

So what should your viral ebook be about? Well, if you want to bring “targeted” traffic to your blog, your viral ebook needs to be related to the subject of your blog. And if you actually want the ebook to go viral, it needs to be BOTH bizarre and extremely useful. In order for the ebook to be bizarre, it needs to somehow tie in with a subject that some people believe to be taboo while still staying on-topic. In order for it to be extremely useful, it needs to be somewhat of a black book with information that most people don’t know about. Combine the two together and you could have a winner. Some people might say that extremely useful would be good enough. In some cases it would be. But it’s really hard to get people to talk about your viral ebook if it doesn’t fall into those two categories.

Once you have your concept down, you’re half finished so pat yourself on the back. All that’s left is the actual writing of the ebook. Don’t worry. You don’t need expensive software to create your viral ebook. In fact, most viral ebooks are nothing more than a simple PDF file. The best software to create a PDF-style ebook can be downloaded at www.OpenOffice.org. After you install this application on your computer, you’re going to need to open the Open Office Writer. This program works in the exact same way as any other word processor. Write your ebook and once you’re finished, click on the PDF icon which is on the top of the page. Wallah! You’re finished and your ebook is ready to be distributed.

But what if you want a much nicer ebook? Simple. All you have to do is find somebody who can create an ebook cover for you. Prices vary but most designers will create a professionally-designed cover for $50 or less. Not all designers are created equal so take your time. When the cover is finished, add an image of the cover within your ebook on the first page and save it as a PDF file. Now your ebook has a face that more people will notice.

Now it’s time to distribute your viral ebook. While there are many ways to do this, the first way I would suggest you promote it is by contacting other blog owners with related blogs. If they like it, they’ll blog about. And if other people follow their blogs, they’ll blog about it too. Let’s not forget all the social bookmarks you’ll get from the people who visit those blogs. If you’re lucky, you’ll get lots of people talking about your ebook and your ebook might even be mentioned in some book one day on how viral marketing should be done. Wouldn’t that be something!

This was Guest Post submitted by Greg Davidson.  Check out his site at Script Package.

How to rock 2011 in the last 6 months

I don’t know about you but I love new. New stuff. New days. New weeks. New years. They make me smile.

The anticipation of new can be so motivating. Why else do we hold such store by making New Year’s resolutions and bucket lists?

But of course those resolutions soon fall by the way side and, as summer approaches, it can be all too easy to write off this year and look forward to the next. I hear that the summer is traditionally a really quiet time here online. Maybe this lack of new is the reason why?

Well I have some good news for you. This year is only half over. The glass is half full. July 1st is our latest ‘new’ to relish and take encouragement from.

Because here’s the magic secret of the day – there is no best new time to be awesome!

Even if you’ve just stumbled over here and are as green as the lovely Welsh grass outside my window, getting your stuff together right now and deciding that today is the day you’re going to take action makes today your awesome.

You might like to write the first half of the year off as your time for learning and research. You maybe took the time to build a rather wonderful looking online home. Did you start connecting with people via Twitter or LinkedIn and as such, have built trust and recognition for your brand?

All of those things are valid and wonderful. They’re a great foundation for this second half of the year.

But unless you put yourself out there, show the little corner of your world exactly what it is you’re about and what you have to offer, all of that ground work will soon get grown over with weeds and you’ll waste a huge chunk of next year getting your daisies straight again.

“Enough with the gardening analogy already, what do you want us to do?!”

Your 10 minute task, if you choose to accept it, is to make a list of all the little things that you could be doing that will make a difference to you and your business. We’re not looking for epic stuff right now. This is about the little things that you never seem to have time left for at the end of a busy day.

Maybe it’s the customer you promise yourself you’ll follow up with. Or it could be the emails that left unanswered because you’re a one person operation and you just haven’t got to it yet. Did you promise yourself you’d get more structured with how you hung out on twitter but you didn’t yet devise a plan? Or maybe you just need to ask for the sale?

Whatever it is that you keep putting off doing, add it to the list. And sure, I cheated, just a little, because this list might take a little longer than 10 minutes to put together. But once you have it you’re good to go.

Here’s how: Every day for the next 30 days (or until you genuinely can’t find another thing to add to your list!) choose one thing off your list and do it. First. Before anything else.

And then feel to come back here at the end of the 30 days and tell me I’m an idiot if your business hasn’t grown in some measurable way as a result.

The journey of a thousand miles might start with a single step* but it’s the one after that and the one after that and the one after that that gets you there.

What are you doing today to make the second half of 2011 brilliant?

 

3 Awesome Ways To Really Upset Your Customers

Let’s be honest … none of us start out aiming to ruin our customer’s day. It’s not like you woke up today and thought, “Now what’s the best way I can make my favourite customer really grumpy this morning?”

But how much time have you spent delighting your customers today? Or if you’re a blogger, have you thought about how you can make the world a brighter place for your readers right now?

Because if the answer can be counted on the digits of one hand, there’s a good chance you’re making your customers miserable, right now, and you don’t even realise it.

Introducing 3 awesome ways to really upset your customer!

Underwhelm them

Anyone can teach you to write a fabulous sales page. You could even throw cash at it and hire one of the great guns of the web to do it for you. Full of emotionally compelling language and highly charged awesome sauce that gets people plotting how they can sell a spare kidney to buy from you.

That’s great and all but what if the thing you’re selling just plain sucks?!

Maybe you’ll get lucky? Throw enough eyeballs at your emotionally compelling stuff and people will buy it. Make it cheap enough and maybe they won’t ask for a refund when it’s over-hyped garbage. Maybe they’ll just chalk it up to experience and move on and you’ll be none the wiser.

That’s one sure-fire way to really wind up your customers!

Make them beg to give you cash!

Or maybe you’re the opposite of Mr ‘All Talk and No Substance’ over there? If someone comes to your site at 3am when you’re tucked up dreaming sweetly, what do you want them to do? Subscribe? Read? Comment?

What if they love what you do and they really want to buy a piece of you? How easy do you make it for people to buy off you right now?

Naomi Dunford calls this The Golden Minute. (And seriously, please do click that link and read her post. It’s great. We won’t wait for you but the magic that is the Inter-web means we’ll be here when you get back.)

Look at your site through the eyes of your customer. What can they do right now that will get them a piece of you?

Bleed them dry

Has this ever happened to you …

You make a carefully considered decision to buy something online. You click to ‘buy now’ but before you can login to Paypal they hit you with ‘oh, well seeing as you want to buy this amazing stuff from me, maybe you’d like to buy this thing that costs ten times the price but get it for fifty bucks, but only this one time.’

And you sigh. And your tummy does that thing that the person who wrote the amazing one time offer knows it will do because that’s the emotion they were playing on when they wrote it, but you know your budget and click ‘no thanks’. You’re mentally willing them to just take you to Paypal so you can get the deed done but wait for it, there’s more …

‘You don’t want that? Well how about this much cheaper but just as life transforming thing that I put together for just such an eventuality as this’?

Gah!

I understand that one time offers work.

I know that they’re popular.

I know they earn people a lot of money.

But please … do we really have to bash our customers over the head with them, time after time after time after time after … you catch my drift?

Takeout time:

  • Make sure your stuff is worth the sales page flogging it. Instead of wasting hours tinkering with your widgets and fonts, pour that energy into creating something awesome that will have your customers falling over themselves to tell their friends to buy from you.
  • Look again at your site and see what you can offer new fans during the golden minute.
  • Create epic stuff and use that as reason enough to be compelling instead of walloping your unsuspecting customers with yet another ‘one time offer.’

And now it’s your turn. What have you done to really upset your customers this week? Confess all in the comments. We promise to be kind.


How a 6 month old blog raised $3849 in 22 hours – and how you can too!

We’ve all seen it – the high traffic, massive list blog with its clockwork pre-launch, opening the doors to its latest and greatest offering – and selling thousands of dollars worth of  business in just a few hours.

It’s exciting and inspring to watch but, if we’re honest, just a little bit daunting too.

Because, what about the little guy? The hardworking, new to the game entrepreneur?

Maybe that’s you?

What would it take for you to believe that you could create awesome in just a few hours?

In the last 22 hours I’ve watched that awesome unfold. Regular readers may have heard the news last week about an exciting project I’ve been involved with. 22 hours ago that project went live.

And as you may have guessed from the headline, in the last 22 hours that project has raised a little over $3840.

But here’s the kicker – the blog and team behind the project is just 6 months old and made up of relative newcomers.

No A-list blogging celebrities. No millionaire spouses with PR firms. No half-naked photo shoots. (Phew ;))

Just a handful of hardworking bloggers with a fire in their belly and the hard work and belief that anything was possible.

And if we can do it, so can you. But before I tell you the 5 secrets of our success, why not click here and check out what we’ve been up to. Go ahead. Click here. I’ll wait.

That simple page, at the time of writing, has raised $3849.50 Here’s what made it possible:

1. Belief

At risk of sounding all woo-woo and tree hugging, this one will get. Without belief in what you are doing, why you are doing it and your ability to do it, you will fail. Every. Single. Time. Don’t get me wrong, we all have wobbly days and times when we doubt ourselves but ultimately, you need to believe you’re going to nail it.

Believing you can do it is different to knowing you can do it. There are no guarantees in this life. You might give it your all and still fall flat on your face. But without the belief you can do it, you won’t even get the chance to try.

2. An irresistible offer

Did you see the sales page for that project? (If you skipped it, click here to look now.) We made the decision to donate a total no-brainer. If someone visited that page and had the money to give, they gave. The bundle of goodies on offer is huge (and with the promise of a choice of high-value bonus items, the whole deal became time sensitive. Wait until later and your bonus of choice may have already been snagged.)

You can do the same with your next big thing. Offer your readers something so awesome, they know they will kick themselves if they say no. Think outside the box about how it works for you and your blog.

3. Team work

It doesn’t matter if you think you’ve learned all the tricks of the trade and have bootstraps worthy of Seth Godin fame, if you want to nail this in style you need to get help. The customer love fundraiser was made up of copy writers, marketing experts, visionaries, strategists and wordpress geeks. All playing to their strengths and with the ability to defer to the better judgement of others.

Even if you’re running a solo adventure, you can still get advice and input from others. If there are things you know you’d be better served delegating, don’t be afraid to outsource.

Have no budget to hire outside help? We’ve all been there baby.

Think creatively about how you approach people. I’m not suggesting you contact a firm of $5000 a time web designers and try and talk your way into a deal. At best they’ll probably just ignore you. However, find an up and coming hot new thing and offer to partner with them, a share of the profits and the chance for excellent exposure and suddenly you’re back in the game.

4. Plans, plans and more plans

I really shouldn’t be sat here writing this, 23 hours into the launch. Emails to people donating products asking them to contact their lists shouldn’t have been sent several hours after we went live. The reason why the big guns come out the gates strong is their planning. It’s called pre-launch for a reason.

This is one of those ‘secrets of success’ where I know we could have done better. To be fair, we organised this whole shebang in just a couple of weeks, responding quickly and decisively to a very real need. But that speed has its drawbacks.

If you want your next big thing to be a rip-roaring success, you’ve got to get the planning in place. And yes, I know it can be boring and just a little bit dull, but get all the pieces of the jigsaw in place and that win you’re after is looking much more like a reality.

5. Expecting the unexpected

Yes, this seems to fly in the face of planning. Why bother planning at all if the unexpected is standing by to hurl itself at you at will? Expecting the unexpected is about flexibility and building time into your launch to put out fires.

Stuff will crop up. You will hit publish on a sales page and forget to paste in the code for the ‘buy now’ button. You will mis-spell one of your contributors names. You will have links that don’t work and others that open in the same window (thereby sending your precious buyers away from your page.) It happens.

It’s how you deal with the unexpected that will make or break your launch.

And now it’s your turn. Have you launched something special recently? What did you learn from the experience?

P.S. Seeing as 100% of the money is going to direct to the relief effort in Japan, it would seem remiss of me not to give you one more sneaky peek of that sales page. Click here to get involved.

P.P.S. Scroll right to the bottom of that page to check out other ways you can help us spread the word. Thank you. :)