Possible Online Partnerships to Pursue

There are literally thousands of online joint venture possibilities to pursue.  However, they generally fall into a few basic categories: list leveraging, product creation and general sharing.  Here are ten online joint venture possibilities:

1.  List leveraging.  This is a common and generally simple joint venture.  If you have a great opt in list and someone has a great product, you can promote their product to your list for a percentage of the sales.

2.  Information marketing businesses can partner to bundle their products together and promote them to their combined email lists.  The benefit to this type of arrangement is potentially huge.  Each business increases their exposure and customer base, each business makes money, and each business gives their customer and email list an opportunity to take benefit from a new product.

3.  Another simple joint venture might involve sharing or exchanging text links or banners with other related web sites.

4. Partner with another online business with a similar target market to create and share a web site.  For example, you create dog training information products and your partner makes home made dog treats.  You will both be marketing and advertising the same web site which means double the traffic.

5. A very simple online joint venture is to exchange testimonials or endorsements for each others products or services.  For example, if you are a virtual assistant, you could promote the services of a web design firm or copywriter you’ve used.  In return, they could promote your services as a virtual assistant.

6. If you have a product that is nearing the end of its life and sales are dwindling, you could offer it as a free bonus for another businesses product or service.  In exchange, ask for a small portion of the profits.

7. Offer to insert a promotional ad for another business into your product package.  You could take a small percentage of the profits or ask them to return the favor.

8. Trade ezine ads with relevant businesses that have similar target markets.

9. Create a promotional giveaway with another business and publish your ads and links in the report, ebook, or even talk about them in a video or audio product.  You’re essentially sharing the labor to put together a promotion that will reach both your list members and the list members of your partner, which means you’re doubling your reach.

10. Create a freeware program with another business. Include a promotional ad for each of your businesses in the program. Submit it to freeware and freebie sites.

When considering the many possibilities of joint venture partnerships, consider what skills, strengths and assets you can bring to the partnership.  This will likely give you numerous possibilities and then all you have to do is find the right partner.

Share

Over-Marketing

We have all seen the horrid commercials, filled with redundancy and borderline stupidity that are played time and time again.  We have seen, heard and been victims of advertisements that make no sense to us as an individual.  These advertisements may come in the form of an annoying telemarketing call that has nothing to do with you or your lifestyle.  Or it may be something aired, or simply too many of the same commercials, or too many billboards covered with the same information that you have read a million times elsewhere.

We see companies that advertise their specific products in glaring lights, and may even have come across the occasional sales person that seem to push a product by over-speaking, thus losing a sale.

This is what I would classify as over-marketing.  Over-marketing a product can actually turn you off of a product and in some cases even turn you off of a company.  In many instances, as regards too many aired commercials, many people will get up and walk away from the commercial, or just turn the channel, simply because they can’t stand to watch it yet again.

With this happening, it becomes a waste of time, energy and money for businesses.  In case of too many printed advertisements, people will start to avoid looking at the ad or make unflattering comments.  When this happens, someone has gone too far overboard with their advertising, and sales will reflect this.

Companies need to use a more strategic and creative way of advertising if they hope to gain more positive consumer relations.  Cross-advertising is one way of accomplishing this.  In cross-advertising you can be at one company that sells refreshments or food for those on a healthy diet lifestyle and receive a coupon of so much off at another company that promotes a different form of healthy living.

Maybe you do make the visit to this second company that was originally advertised by the first company you visited.  And perhaps you see or receive another offer of so much percent off at a clothing store that specializes in wear that would be purchased by those who live a healthier lifestyle; for example jogging shoes and apparel, ski apparel, or maybe apparel specific to those who hang glide or are bicyclists.

This advertising can happen between many different companies who form a circle of businesses, referring each other and thus gaining more consumer attention – simply because they are not seeing one company vociferously advertising themselves in a garish or over-abundant way.
What the consumer would see is a group of businesses working together in a team work fashion, lending the thought and feeling of goodwill about these companies, simply because they have chosen to work together for the sake of not only themselves, but also for us as the consumer.

My favorite example involves the nationally known Bi-Mart stores.  Many stores advertise a percentage off simply by you showing your Bi-mart card.  I actually choose to go to many of these places and happily flash my card.  One place gives a $2 reduction of the cost of an extra large pizza, while the feed store gives a 10% discount on Thursdays.  See – this is cross- advertising and it’s working, as I frequent these stores for discounts offered from another store.

In keeping all of this in mind, companies are starting to use simple logic and team efforts and they see it paying off.  I guess if this is working then it wouldn’t qualify as the annoying, useless, over-marketing techniques – instead it employs much more and provides gains for all.

Share

Media Page, Media Kit – What Is the Difference?

Your business is starting to take off but you want to take it to the next level of success.  Many businesses use media pages and media kits to get noticed by a larger audience.  Depending on your products, you may choose a media page or media kit.  This article explains the difference in the two so you can make the best decision for your business.

A Media Kit for Your Business

Media kits show what your business is all about and how successful it is, to entice people to learn more about it.  Media kits are much like press releases in that you talk about your business, changes, and new products.  A media kit is a package of material explaining the business and it can include:

• Reports on earnings
• Testimonials from clients or customers
• Images or samples of products
• CDs or DVDs
• Detailed information about its anticipated growth

After getting a package together, you are able to send it to various clients or customers for advertisement purposes.  The more impressive you make the media kit, the better a response you will receive.

A Media Page for All to See

A media page is much like a media kit but it is a website or page with the information you would have placed in a media kit package.  When you make your media page, you want to make sure you represent your business clearly and provide enough information, just as you would in a media kit.

You may decide to have a whole website with different pages for each of your informational material, or you may only have one page.  If you choose to create one page, you will have to make it attractive, organized, and simple to understand for your audience.  You want to include all of the enticing material you would have included in your package on the first page people visit.

If you choose to make a whole website, you can designate different pages for annual reports, testimonials, product descriptions and new products, and any upcoming business changes.  This will give your customers and clients a chance to read what they want to read and get the information they are seeking about your business.

The Cost of Media Kits and Media Pages

If you are looking for a cost-effective way to advertise your business, a media page may be the best way to go.  Media kits are costly because you will have to pay information printed on paper, have CDs or DVDs made, and produce samples.  With a media page, you can make changes as needed with minimal cost to you.

Making your business a success is easy with a media kit or media page.  Decide if you would like to send your business information to specific audiences or make it available to anyone that may wander onto your media page.

Share

Media Page? What Are You Talking About?

Experts agree that one of the best things a business owner can do is create a media page on their website.  What is this latest trend?  And why should you consider implementing this in your own business?

A media page, sometimes known as a “media room” or “press room”, is a page on a website that contains information the media and press would find helpful.  Some examples of what you can find include press releases, links to interviews and articles that the business owner has been featured in, interview topic list, sample questions, and more.

Including a media page on a website can be a very smart business decision.  First and foremost, it can help a business look professional and credible.  When someone stumbles upon a website for the first time, they usually look at a few pages before clicking away.

A business owner can be a very well known expert in a certain field, and even interviewed in major newspapers, magazines and television shows.  However, if they do not put that information out there for the public to see, the public won’t know about it.

Now, imagine a person stumbling across a site for the first time, viewing a press page, and realizing they are on an expert’s site.  That first-time visitor will be more likely to pay attention to what is being said on that site, sign up for the newsletter, and keep coming back for more information.

Not only will a media page impress potential customers and clients, it can also impress the media themselves.  Many editors, reporters, and producers regularly surf the web looking for people to interview.  Having a media page will alert media professionals that a business owner takes their business seriously and is looking for more media exposure.

While listing all the interviews and other media exposure a business has received may seem a little like bragging, it really isn’t.  Some media professionals are only looking to work with media-seasoned business owners.  For example, if given a choice between an expert who has been featured in several articles and a newbie, the producers of Oprah or Good Morning America will be more likely to interview the expert.  Not listing past media exposure can actually hinder a business.

Even if a business has not received very much media exposure in the past, having a media room with the few listings they have or even their press releases can help them establish credibility.

A media page does not have to be fancy.  In fact, a simple page that allows the business to showcase their achievements may work best.  Business owners that do not have web skills can hire a web designer or virtual assistant to create their media page for them.

Media pages can help bring in customers and clients, as well as bring on new opportunities for media exposure.  With so many benefits, there really aren’t any reasons not to have one.

Share

Providing Great Customer Service

I am a friendly person and I like friendly people.  In reality, everyone is not going to be pleasant, but one place that I expect a warm reception is in the retail business.  This includes physical stores and virtual stores.  When I am a customer shopping for goods and services, part of the deal is that I receive the best product and the best help from the company.

What is that old adage, “Good news travels fast?”  Well, in business just the opposite is true.  When someone has a bad experience, they can’t wait to tell everyone that they know.  Part of it is venting and maybe getting even with someone that has wronged them, and part of it is warning people that they care about not to use such an inferior product or service.

Whatever the reason, bad customer service is to blame and it can hurt your business.  Our business will encounter customers that will put us through our paces.  They will be irritable, grouchy, and looking for something to be wrong.  We have no choice but to tolerate their behavior and deal with them tactfully.

For every bad client, there is a client that appreciates our business and expects the same respect in return.  What does this mean?  It means that when a customer contacts us via email about a problem, we respond to their request as soon as possible.  If the standard time for response is two days, state that clearly on the page that is set up to handle complaints.  Customers should know upfront what the procedures are for contact.

Don’t hide from your customers if you don’t know the answer.  Get to work on the issue right away and find the answer.  This is where all of those forums come in handy.  You can find someone else who has encountered the same problem who can give you advice.

Ensure excellent customer service by setting up a section devoted to it on your website.  Troubleshoot all of the things that can go wrong with your service or product.  You have been a customer enough times to be able to role play.  Maybe a report didn’t download.  Or maybe an item was delivered damaged.

Spend time working on solutions to these problems so that you don’t have to improvise when you come to that fork in the road.  It is best to be prepared ahead of time so that the customer service process runs smoothly.

When customer service is bad, people will talk a lot.  When a problem arises and customer service is good, someone may talk about how you solved their problem, or they may not.  But, when someone is looking for a professional business of your caliber, that same person will know who to recommend and it will be you.  Keep them talking by sending a customer survey by email whenever someone purchases your product.

Share

Tips for Improving Your Adsense Income

Google’s Adsense program lets website owners generate income by allowing ads to be displayed on the site.  Payment is made either per click or per thousand impressions.  Ads that are displayed on the site are selected based on their relevance to the site, and this is determined by the frequency of keywords.

Volume of traffic on the site and click-thru rate both affect the amount of income that can be generated through Adsense. To improve income generated through Adsense, a number of steps may be beneficial:

• Focus on the quality of the website as a first step to increasing traffic.  Adding solid content and keeping it fresh will give visitors a reason to keep coming back.

• Implement traffic-generating activities.  Webmasters have found that activities such as emailing a weekly newsletter or offering a free item bring new and repeat visitors to the site.

• Optimize the website to ensure relevant keywords appear frequently on the pages of the site.  Researching the term “search engine optimization” will provide a great deal of information on how to accomplish this.

• Test the website to determine which keywords are used most often and how these keywords rank in Google.  One free tool for doing this can be found at tools.seobook.com/general/best-keywords.  The site also offers a free keyword suggestion tool.

• Add the Google search box to the website if this hasn’t been done previously.  When visitors use the Google search, the website’s Adsense ID is embedded in the search.  The host website will be credited for any resulting click-thrus.

• Harmonize the appearance of ads with the website.  Make sure that the colors of the ad text and background match those of the website so that regular content and ad links flow together smoothly.  Ads that attract the highest number of clicks-thrus seem to blend in flawlessly with the content.

• Pay attention to where Adsense ads are placed.  Research indicates that more click-thrus are received by ads near the top of the page and by those to the left of the page.  White space surrounding the ad also improves its appeal.

Other factors that will affect Adsense income include the bid prices on the ads being displayed on the site and the amount of competition.  Google’s Traffic Estimator Tool can help determine bid prices and AdWords click volume.  The Keyword Tool shows how much competition exists for a given keyword.  A website can improve its Adsense income by using different keywords, either to attract better-paying ads or to achieve a higher ranking with the search engines.

Internet marketing is an evolving environment that requires ongoing monitoring and testing in order to achieve success.  By tracking the effectiveness of a websites Adsense program, webmasters can develop their sites to become increasingly effective and profitable.

Share

Does Paying for Lead Lists Work?

Various people in professions such as direct sales and network marketing depend on leads.  These leads may come from many sources, including their own advertising.  Some people do choose to buy leads from outside companies, and new people who come into these types of businesses wonder if they should buy leads, too.

As with most questions, there really is no “one size fits all” answer.  Paying for lead lists may work well for some people, but it might not work very well for others.  In this article, we will discuss some of the benefits of buying leads as well as some of the reasons that lead lists may not be the best solution.

Some of the benefits of buying lead lists are that the leads are delivered relatively quickly.  When someone is starting a new business and needs to have leads to call, buying a lead list enables them to get started quickly.

There are many creative people in the world who can write great ads and create great graphics.  Not everyone has these gifts, and for those that view advertising as a chore, buying lead lists eliminates the need to create one’s own advertising.

Buying leads is something that should be done with caution, however, as it can get very expensive.  If someone is buying a high quantity of leads without seeing a worthwhile return on investment, then it would be wise to find another lead source.

In many cases, people buy leads to offer them a work-at-home opportunity.  Some lead companies have unethical ways of gathering leads and the lead may not know anything about “requesting” any work-at-home information.

The lead may have actually been filling out a survey or some other form in the hope of winning a prize.  Yes, the lead company may have included some very small print about a work-at-home opportunity, but the lead was probably only thinking about winning the flat screen television that was printed in big print.

The only way to tell if buying lead lists works for your business is to carefully track the cost of the leads and the results that came from the leads.  It may be helpful to enter this information into a spreadsheet.

When a person is able to see how much was spent on the leads and if any of those leads joined the company or purchased products, it can make the decision of continuing to buy leads a lot easier.

Someone who purchases lead lists may also want to work with several companies and compare the various results to find where their money will best be spent.

Share

What Do I Do When My Email Is Ignored?

The Internet age is great, with video conferencing and sending emails back and forth.  However one of the most annoying things in this age is when an email is sent to someone who does not reply.  When there is no reply to a business email, it can be extremely frustrating and annoying.  Believe it or not, it doesn’t mean you’re being ignored.  Sometimes it’s just a way of saying “I’m extremely busy and I’ll get back to you when I can.”

That leaves the burning question of what to do about it?  Ignore that business contact?  Absolutely not.

If all hope is abandoned after the first few tries, how is that sale going to be made?  If you have a business proposal for them, how will they accept it if you give up?  Prospects need to be reminded, sometimes more than once.  Persistence pays off.  Always be ready to talk with them when they reply to your email.

Try these techniques when you have an ignored email:

1.  Send a short email asking for a short response like a yes or no.  Most contacts will take the time for a quick yes or no regardless of how busy they are.

2.  Send another email, this time putting “Second Request” in the subject line.

3.  Give a deadline for responding to your email.  Some people need to be reminded and by having a deadline it’s the push they need to respond.

4.  Show concern in your second email.  Say something like, “I was concerned when you didn’t reply to my last email, are you alright”.  This is good for people who you know on a personal level.  It creates more of a human feel to the email.  This usually will get a response of some kind.

5.  Put the contact on “automatic pilot”.  Even if there isn’t a deal in process, you have an automated reply system that helps to keep your name fresh in their minds.  You can also remind business contacts of your products or service by sending them a newsletter by email, by regular mail or even a direct mail postcard.

To avoid crossing that line, ask the customer when the best time is to contact them or ask permission to contact them once a month or so.

Always keep in mind that when you are ready to present your next proposal to this customer they will without a doubt be grateful you never gave up.  In the rules of the sales game, a customer just may say they’re happy to hear from you the next time you call or email them.

Share

What is Google Adsense?

Google Adsense is a program that allows web publishers to partner with Google and earn additional income.  When someone joins the program, they allow Google to place ads on their website or blog, and based upon the ad that is shown, they will either get paid for a certain number of ad impressions or when one of their visitors clicks on these ads.

Google uses their technology to “read” the content on the pages the web publisher is allowing them to place ads on. This increases the chances of the ad being relevant to the topic of that particular web page or blog entry, which also increases the chance of a reader clicking on that ad.

While Google does have the final say in which ads appear on which pages, the web publisher is the one that decides how they will look and where they will go.  Adsense users can choose from several styles of ads, including links only as well as full ads with text and even ads with pictures.

In addition to choosing which type of ad, a user can choose from many sizes and shapes of ad boxes, also known as ad units.  In the final step, the user gets to fully customize the color of the ad units, including the borders, links and text.

In recent months, Adsense users have been allowed to publish ads on their site in a whole new way with Adsense embedded YouTube players.  Many web publishers are actively placing videos on their sites and blogs to help grab their visitors’ attention and add interest to their site.  Now these web publishers can earn additional income for it, too.

The actual amount of income a person earns through Adsense has many variables.  Since a person generates income through the amount of clicks they are receiving or the amount of people who are viewing the ad, a website owner with a large amount of traffic has the potential to earn a considerably greater amount of money.

There are, in fact, a number of people who are earning large sums of money with the Adsense program, but they are few and far between.  To many website owners, Adsense is only an additional stream of income.  Simply joining the Adsense program is not a guarantee of future income, it is only a possibility of future income.

Adsense does provide tools for their users to help them maximize their earning potential.  One of these is called a channel.  This allows the user to create different styles of ad units and place them on different pages of their site in order to track the results.  This can tell the user which shapes and sizes of ads, as well as what type of content, induces the highest amount of earnings.

For web publishers looking to earn an additional stream of income, Adsense can be a great way to accomplish that.

Share

Marketing Mojo

The term “mojo” can mean different things to different people.  For some, it means being “in the swing of things” or on top of their game.  When a business owner has marketing mojo, they are on top of their marketing efforts and are having fun with them.

Having this mojo is very desirable.  When a business owner is having fun with their marketing, it won’t seem like a chore at all.

One of the easiest ways to develop marketing mojo is for a business owner to fully know their product.  What are the product’s best features?  What can the product do that the competition’s product can’t?

Setting mini marketing goals can be a fun way to stay on track.  Constantly setting and meeting new deadlines will help raise confidence and that will definitely get your mojo running.

These mini goals can be based on tasks that need to be done, such as writing your monthly newsletter or spending an hour doing some social networking.  They can also be based on new things you would like to learn.

Learn By Doing

One of the best ways to build your marketing mojo is to just do it.  Instead of spending hours of your time reading up on the latest marketing techniques and then debating over which will benefit your business, try different ideas out as you go.

By testing the waters yourself, you can better judge what is going to be worth your time and what needs to be tweaked to suit your product.

Don’t be afraid to experiment or modify marketing ideas that you have discovered.  Changes to the standards are what give companies an edge in their marketing strategies.

Even if the tactics you test out do not work for you, analyze why they didn’t quite pan out and see where you can build on the strengths and weaknesses.  Those with real marketing mojo learn from their mistakes and downfalls, creating a better plan for the next effort.

Watch Pros In Action

Feed off the marketing mojo of others to help build your own.  Watching the marketing strategies of those who have already found success is a great way to build your business’ arsenal.  What works for them just might work for you as well.

Networking with other business owners both in and out of your own industry can really pay off with new marketing tips and ideas.  Ask for their advice or just keep an eye on what they are doing to present their own product to the world.

Set goals for yourself, try out new ideas, learn from others and above all, have fun with your marketing efforts.  Before you know it, you’ll have your own marketing mojo working and will be reaping the benefits of your success.

Share