2013,Dec

checklist-154274_150One of the best ways to increase daily productivity is to create a to-do list before bedtime.  Having a to-do list ready to go first thing in the morning allows the workday to start with momentum.  A to-do list is helpful for workers who deal with anxiety issues caused by over-thinking tasks that need to be accomplished throughout the day.  The bedtime to-do list allows workers to hit the ground running first thing in the morning and accomplish more work earlier in the day.  The end result will be a sense of accomplishment as tasks are completed, which will help drive future productivity.

 
2013,Dec

Chunk Daily Tasks Into Pomodoros

in Uncategorized, by Ryan

egg-timer-154763_150The Pomodoro technique is a time management system that allows you to break up your daily tasks into smaller chunks.  The whole method centers on breaking your to-do list into 25-minute increments called a Pomodoro (named after a Tomato-shaped timer).   Following each Pomodoro the user takes a 3 to 5 minute break from working on tasks.  This method naturally puts the worker into a natural rhythm of working through tasks in small chunks.

The main benefit of the Pomodoro technique is that it helps the user avoid burnout.  By chunking tasks into 25-minute increments, users can work in short bursts of intense focus.  This is especially important for workers who have trouble getting started with daily tasks.  With the Pomodoro method, the user only has to focus for a short period of time before taking a short break to rest and recharge.

You can read more about the Pomodoro technique at the official website.

 

 
2013,Mar

money-symbolI was recently asked to explain how to set-up a sales page to sell a product or electronic download.  This is a great question, but the answer isn’t a simple one.  Most of those new to direct marketing or internet marketing will think that they can simply build a sales page and immediately reap profits from their efforts.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.

My answer is that I need more information.  I want to know more about the type of product you are trying to sell, potential demographics, and the benefits of the product.

Who is my Customer?

Before even considering building a sales page, you need to identify whether there is a need for your product.  Does your product solve a need or common problem?  Does the benefit of the product invoke an emotional response?  What type of person would typically be looking for your product?  What state of mind does your buyer need to be in?  My point is that you have to put some thought into what kind of buyer will be looking for your product.

Type of Sales Page

The type of sales page that you build will be determined by the answers to the questions above.  For example, if your product is a rubber o-ring for the kitchen faucet, then you really don’t need much copy to sell your product.  As long as you have a “buy now” button clearly visible, you will make sales from people looking for that o-ring.

However, if you have an “Improve Your Marriage” e-book, then you are going to have to presell that product by clearly explaining the benefits gained by purchasing the e-book.  This means that you will need to develop copy that explains the benefits of the product and details how it will satisfy the consumer’s “wants” or “needs”.

Copy Writing

Let’s continue with the “Improving Your Marriage” e-book product example.  It’s easy to pull at a consumer’s heart strings when dealing with the relationship vertical.  Your goal should be to invoke an emotional response from your customer.  To learn how to do this, I recommend the book Cashverting by Drew Whitman.  The book teaches you how to persuade the consumer mind.

The biggest take away from Cashvertising is that consumers have 8 basic needs and if you can fulfill one of those needs, you will make sales.  In Cashvertising they identify these needs as “LifeForce-8″ and “9 Learned Human Wants”:

The Life-Force 8

1. Survival, Enjoyment of life, life extension.
2. Enjoyment of food and beverages.
3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger.
4. Sexual Companionship.
5. Comfortable living conditions.
6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses.
7. Care and protection of loved ones.
8. Social Approval.

The 9 Learned Human Wants

These are secondary, and learned “wants.” We’re programmed to have these wants, we’re not born with them.

1. To be informed.
2. Curiosity
3. Cleanliness of Body and Surroundings.
4. Efficiency.
5. Convenience.
6. Dependability/Quality
7. Expression of Beauty and Style
8. Economy/Profit
9. Bargains

You need to craft your copy so that you convince the consumer that they need your product to satisfy their “needs” and “wants”.

Test Sales Page – Product Saleability & Demographics

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of what kind of consumer you are targeting and how your product will benefit that consumer.  Your goal at this point is to build a test sales page to determine whether the product will sell and get an idea of the demographics for the product.

For example, with the “Improve Your Marriage” e-book, I would make a simple HTML page in the following format:

[Main Sales Tag Line: e.g. Learn How To Improve Your Marriage by Empower Yourself and Reigniting Romance & Happiness in Your Relationship]

[e-Book Title:  Improve Your Marriage by Ryan Sullivan]

[Video Containing Main Benefits of the Product]

["Buy Now" Button to Sales Page]

[Bullet Points of Benefits i.e. Needs & Wants]

["Buy Now" Button to Sales Page]

I would recommend making your test page as clean as possible.  Personally, I like my test pages to have a blue background with the copy text in a white background with a black font.   Try to avoid getting creative at this point.  The purpose of the test sales page is to see if the product will sell.  It’s best to test the product saleability before investing a lot of time and resources into a sales page.

Once you have your test sales page complete, you need to send traffic to the page.  Traffic generation is another subject all on its own and will not be covered in this article.  (If there is interest, I can discuss traffic generation methods later.)  Generally, traffic generation would include media buys, PPC (pay per click), CPV/PPV (cost per view/ pay per view), SEO/SEM (search engine optimization/ search engine marketing), or email based list building methods.

sales-arrowStatistics & Sales

When running traffic to your test sales page, you need to collect as many statistics as possible.  You need to be tracking each visitor to your product page.  Important information to track include: the traffic source, which sales page you are using, time on site, click through to payment page, and sales (i.e. conversions). Heat maps are also a fun addition, but are not a necessity.

Your goal at this point is to make sales and track which traffic sources are making those sales.  You should not be concerned with profits at this point.  The idea is to find what traffic sources contain your product’s demographic or target audience.  Once you find a few traffic sources that make sales, you can find similar traffic sources that have similar demographics.  Similar traffic sources will most likely make sales too.

Improve Conversions & Sales

Once you have identified which traffic sources or streams convert to sales, then it’s time to perform A/B testing with different sales pages.  The goal is to always be alternating between two sales pages to identify which one converts to more sales.  For example, Visitor 1 goes to Sales Page 1, Visitor 2 goes to Sales Page 2, Visitor 3 goes to Sales Page 1, etc…  You should always be discarding one sales page and adding a new sales page to the rotation until you are happy with the number of sales and profit levels.

Quick Tip:  Make sure you send enough traffic to the sales page to make your visitor stats statistically significant.  As a general rule of thumb, I try to spend twice the product sale price on each traffic source.  For example, if my product sells for $50, then I plan to spend $100 from one traffic source for testing purposes.

Stats are the name of the game here.  You should rotate sales pages using different product price points, colors, headers, “buy now” buttons and copy.  You will be amazed at how a small change can significantly change the conversion of sales on your page.  Keep changing small items on your sales page and watch those visitor stats to see which changes have a significant impact on your click through rate and sales.  This is the optimization part of setting up a sales page so your focus should be profit!

This is my quick and dirty guide for launching a product or sales page.  I firmly believe that the numbers don’t lie.  I watch stats like a hawk.  Anyone who tells you that they can build the perfect sales page right off the bat is a joker.  There is always something that can be tweaked to gain more profit.  Statistics are your best friend in the direct marketing game.

 
2013,Mar

googleplusI’m finally getting around to setting up this blog!  I know, it’s a project that has been on hold for years.  In the process, I’m setting up my blog to syndicate to a few of my Social accounts (i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, & Google Plus) via API.  However, Google Plus only allows “read only” access at the moment.  From the Google API website:

Note: The Google+ API currently provides read-only access to public data. All API calls require either an OAuth 2.0 token or an API key.

Seriously!  Get with the program Google!  How can you be a competitive social platform and not allow full access?  I understand that you don’t want those internet marketers spamming your platform, but what about legitimate blogs like mine.  I want to share high level blog posts with professional content with my contacts on Google Plus.

I’m currently not a huge user of Google Plus and it looks like it might be a while before it really catches on with me.   There are too many “fun” platforms that allow me full access via API.  I’m surprised that a leading edge company like Google is still operating in the stone age.  Come-on!