Tag Archive | "Simple"

Call-to-Action Optimization: 132% increase in clickthrough from changing four simple words

Small changes to call-to-action wording can have a large impact on conversion.
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Quit Annoying Your Audience! Take 3 Simple Steps to Focus Your Content

Ever have a friend who tells stories that never seem to go anywhere? It sounds okay at first, then it spins off to a tangent about how they met their spouse, then we go into their first college dorm room, with a side trip to that deeply formative event that happened in third grade, then
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3 Simple Ways to Overcome Surprising Challenges of Working from Home

“Wow, you have the best job ever, getting to work from home.” “You’re so lucky. I wish I had that option.” Those are some of the comments I hear when I mention to others I work from home. Typically, I just nod and say, “Yes, it’s awesome.” I love working from home because I get
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3 Simple Keys to a Successful Video Strategy

When my middle son was seven, he knocked it out of the park with the first video he created. Back when Rainbow Loom bracelets were hot, he put together a tutorial on how to make a certain type. Within three days, his video received 70,000 views. He also received quite a few nasty comments. He
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Simple Tips for a Productive Short Week

How was your long weekend? Or, if you don’t live in the States, how was it watching all your U.S. pals enjoy the long weekend? This was Labor Day week in the U.S., which means about half of my compatriots are running around this morning thinking it’s Wednesday, the other half think it’s Friday already,
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A Simple Plan for Managing and Completing a Content Project

"Think about where you could be one year from now if you start today." – Stefanie Flaxman

On June 20, 2009, I was reading Copyblogger and I got a new idea: I should write an ebook.

At that point, my writing and editing business was less than a year old, and I had never written anything that resembled a book.

Could I actually do it?

I knew I wanted to try, so I established a plan on July 1 that would help me write, design, and self-publish an ebook on my website by September 15.

I’m going to share that plan with you today, so you can adapt it to any type of content project you’d like to finish by the fall. You’ll also learn some habits I like to avoid when there is a specific goal I want to accomplish.

Select the right topic

Writing an ebook could easily take a year or two … or five.

But launching it as soon as possible was an important step for my business. The ebook would help:

The last bullet point above was especially critical because I didn’t have my own blog yet. I’ll explain that in a bit.

In order to complete the project by the end of the summer, I decided to create a short guide to avoiding common writing mistakes.

If I had chosen a more complex topic, either the quality would have suffered or I wouldn’t have been able to release it on September 15.

Carefully select a project you have the time and resources to finish.

Set final deadlines

On July 1, I set these deadlines …

  • August 1: complete draft
  • August 15: complete editing
  • September 1: complete design
  • September 8: complete guest posts for promotion
  • September 15: launch ebook

As you can see, I had a pretty weak promotion strategy. It made me nervous, but since my goal was to produce an ebook, I didn’t worry about it too much.

The project taught me countless lessons about writing, content creation, and marketing that I could apply in the future.

If you don’t try something new because you don’t feel confident about every aspect of it, you’ll never learn those lessons.

Work on weekly goals

After I marked my calendar with my final deadlines, I outlined weekly goals for how I was going to meet them.

Even though I made daily to-do lists to keep me on track, I preferred to measure my progress at the end of a week. Daily goals are often too strict for my creative process.

Sonia recommends forming a support group with other entrepreneurs to help manage your stress and keep yourself accountable. If you’re more of a lone wolf, adopt a no-excuses attitude.

Don’t treat your deadlines as options. Meet them like your job depends on it.

But also recognize that no project goes perfectly. If you have a week that doesn’t quite go as planned, simply reschedule the tasks you didn’t work on.

It’s possible to have a flexible attitude each week and still finish everything by your final deadlines. Find the space where hard work and fun co-exist.

My website didn’t have a blog

How embarrassing is this?

Although I don’t regret spending a lot of energy in the summer of 2009 on that ebook, it would have also been wise to set up my own blog.

I had already been guest posting on other websites, but my online home was a basic “brochure” site that described my services.

I missed out on a lot of opportunities to build my audience (and business) but came to my senses about a year later when I was ready to blog regularly. :-)

What’s your next project?

It could be:

Think about where you could be one year from now if you start today, and let us know in the comments about a new goal you’re ready to focus on this summer.

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Simple tips to get your app indexed, ranked & installed

Got an app you’d like to promote? Columnist John Lincoln provides some basic tips for helping your app to appear in Google’s “app pack” search results.

The post Simple tips to get your app indexed, ranked & installed appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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3 Simple and Effective Keyword Research Tips

"This is not a time to guess or assume you know your audience so well that you know what they’re thinking." – Beth Hayden

Keyword research is always a hot topic in content marketing circles.

It’s one of those subjects that never goes out of style — because wise content marketers know that using the right words in their content will give them a big edge over their competition.

Wondering how to find the “right” words to optimize your business’s content? Here are three quick tips for solid keyword research.

1. Discover the language your prospects use when they talk about your topic

My friend Shawn, whose company Clear Harmonies creates custom a cappella arrangements for vocal groups, learned an interesting marketing lesson after performing some focused keyword research and talking to his customers.

He thought that his prospects searched for the term “a cappella arrangements” when they looked for arrangement services online. But he discovered they actually searched for the term “a cappella sheet music” much more often.

Shawn’s story illustrates why it’s important that you discover the actual language your potential customers use when they search for information about your topic (or look for vendors who provide your services).

This is not a time to guess or assume you know your audience so well that you know what they’re thinking.

In addition to online keyword research tools, you can also:

  • Check out the comments you get from your community members and pay attention to the terms they use when they tell stories, ask questions, and offer opinions about your content.
  • Collect keyword data about the terms people were searching for right before they click on your site from most site statistics or analytics programs. It’s a gold mine for you as a content creator.
  • Conduct interviews or social media discussions to ask your prospects and customers about the terms they search for when they’re looking for information about your topic.

2. Study the content your prospects consume

Great copywriters thoroughly research their topics before they start writing projects.

Copywriters want to make sure they understand the language their prospects use before they craft their copy, because without that knowledge, they know their copy won’t convert.

You need to do the same thing with your keyword research. Read the articles your prospects read and study the language the authors use.

Find out which social media platforms your customers prefer and hang out on those sites. Watch for discussions where people ask questions or debate each other.

Popular videos, webinars, and podcasts in your niche are other resources. You can even review social media ads that target your ideal customer.

This technique will not only enhance your keyword research process, it will also ensure that you’ll never run out of content ideas!

3. Remember that language evolves over time

Search terms are always evolving and the way your customer speaks about your topic will change over time, too.

It’s smart to repeat your keyword research on a regular basis to make sure you stay current on the language people use.

To incorporate keyword research into your content marketing routine:

  • Add reminders to your calendar (quarterly, biannually, or annually) to prompt you to conduct additional keyword research.
  • Try a method you haven’t used before: experiment with a different keyword research tool, monitor conversations on social media, or conduct interviews.
  • Make time for keyword research after a task you already perform regularly, like checking your website traffic stats on a monthly basis.

The multiple (and often overlooked) benefits of keyword research

By discovering the language your customers already use, consuming the content that’s popular with your audience, and cultivating consistent research habits, you keep keyword research at the top of your business’s priority list.

Which is smart, because keyword research doesn’t only help you rank higher in search engines, it can also give you an endless supply of content topics and product ideas.

How has keyword research helped you optimize your content? What are your favorite tips? Share in the comments below.

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The Smart and Simple Framework for Finding the Right Pricing Model for Your Membership Site

don't guess! discover the pricing model that works

Building profitable membership sites is one thing we know a lot about at Rainmaker Digital, and one question we often receive is:

How do you create the right pricing for a membership site, especially one that is just launching?

Even sophisticated online entrepreneurs struggle with that question.

And while there are many ways to optimize your pricing plans once your site is launched, starting with the right foundation will make it easier to improve.

In this post, I will walk you through a basic framework you can use to determine the best pricing models for any type of membership site.

Rule #1

The most important rule you must remember is this:

You are in control of your pricing.

There is no national database of pricing that you have to follow. You are in control of everything when it comes to pricing — so don’t feel like you have to do what everyone else does.

Yes, the “market” does decide if your price is “right.” But you influence the perception of your price through the unique value you offer.

So toss out any preconceived notions of what you have to do and focus on what works for you.

Know your costs

I know what you are thinking right now:

“Damn it, Sean. I am a marketer, not an accountant.”

Don’t worry. You just need a “bare bones” understanding of basic math and a little logic to find your costs, so that your site will “live long and prosper.”

All membership sites share a common set of annual costs, including:

  • Credit card or PayPal fees
  • Hosting costs
  • Platform costs
  • Time spent on customer service
  • Time spent on contributing to the site

You should think of your costs as the money you spend to fulfill the customer’s purchase.

And these costs are different from expenses.

An expense is the money you spend to run your business.

Typical expenses include:

  • Sales and marketing: the money you spend on promoting your products and services, including affiliate commissions, advertising, or content marketing
  • Research and development: the money you spend on building your membership site, developing content for the site, or educating yourself on digital commerce
  • General administration: expenses like your internet connection, rent, or accountant

Expenses are not costs even though you spend money on them.

Why is this distinction important?

Unless you identify your costs, it makes it very hard to determine your profit. Profit is defined as your revenue less your costs and before you pay any expenses.

And as a general rule of thumb, a membership site should generate a profit margin between 90 percent – 75 percent.

Or put another way, for every $ 100 you collect in revenue, your costs should be $ 10 – $ 25, netting you a profit of $ 90 – $ 75 per sale.

An example of membership site costs

Let’s say that for a year, you estimate your costs as follows:

  • $ 12,000 on credit card fees
  • $ 1,500 for your Rainmaker Platform site (includes hosting)
  • $ 6,500 for a part-time assistant to handle customer service questions
  • $ 80,000 for you to manage and contribute to the membership site

Based on these items, your total costs are $ 100,000 per year, before you pay for any expenses. And if your costs are 10 percent – 25 percent of your total revenue, your target revenue is between $ 400,000 and $ 1,000,000 per year.

Your profit will be between $ 300,000 and $ 900,000 per year.

membership site profit example

That’s a lot of money, but don’t get too excited yet.

You will still need to pay for your affiliate commissions, advertising, and any other expenses you incur to operate your business — and that comes out of your profit.

Now that we have covered your costs, let’s get to work on pricing your different membership categories and offers.

Create an anchor offer

An anchor offer is the most expensive membership type you sell.

For example, your anchor offer could include telephone consulting, personalized daily emails, and/or exclusive access to webinars, conferences, or other high-touch events.

Basically, it is the offer you would give to someone that includes everything you would ever want to provide to a person willing to pay you a huge premium.

The good news is that very few people, if anyone, will buy it because it is so expensive!

So, why create it?

By creating a very high-priced offer, you anchor the expectations of website visitors for your lower-priced offerings. Your goal with your anchor offer is to create an emotional desire for it, knowing that most people can’t afford it.

Luxury brands use this tactic all the time.

Buying a luxury car? The most expensive ones are in the showroom. Want a deluxe coffee maker? They show you the $ 5,000 model first, before they show you the $ 500 one.

When you create your anchor offer, you set the expectation of quality in the mind of your customer, even though they will probably buy your lower-priced membership.

Next, create two lower-priced offers

Once you’ve defined and priced your anchor product, you can create two other offers or categories for your members.

Why just two? To avoid analysis paralysis.

The first offer you need to create is the lowest price for a membership to your site — ideally between 10 percent and 25 perfect of the price for your anchor offer.

This low-priced offer should meet the basic needs and wants of your customer, including some, but not all, of the features and attributes of the anchor offer.

The second membership category is the mid-tier offer that is priced between the low price and your expensive anchor offer. It should have more benefits and features than your low-priced offer and is generally priced between 30 percent and 49 percent of your anchor offer.

So, let’s say your anchor offer is priced at $ 97 per month, and you want your lowest-priced offer at 20 percent and your mid-tier offer at 40 percent.

Your lowest price will be $ 19 per month and your mid-tier price will be $ 39 per month.

Pretty easy, right?

But now comes the real question …

Can you afford your customers?

We started this article with a basic discussion about costs, but we did not determine if those costs are sufficient to run your membership site.

This is where a little math and a basic rule of thumb can help.

In general, the average revenue per member you will receive from a membership site will be between your lowest-priced offer and your mid-tier offer.

For example, if your lowest price is $ 19/month and your mid-tier price is $ 39/month, then your average revenue per member will be around $ 29/month.

Let’s look back on our costs. We identified $ 100,000 of costs per year and we want to target $ 400,000 per year in revenue. That means that every month we need to generate $ 33,333 in revenue ($ 400,000/12 months).

If the average revenue per customer is $ 29/month, then we just need to divide our target monthly revenue ($ 33,333) by the average monthly revenue per customer ($ 29) to find the number of customers you need:

$ 33,333 / $ 29 = 1,149 customers per month

Now you want to ask yourself:

Does your $ 100,000 in annual costs allow you to support 1,149 members per month?

If the answer is “yes,” then you are good to go.

If the answer is “no,” then you either need to increase your pricing or lower your costs.

Get all the details in this SlideShare presentation

Your head might be spinning right about now, but we want to make it easy for you.

Here’s a SlideShare deck that breaks down all of the information above:

Learn about profitable membership sites each week

We have a new podcast called Members Only that helps you not only develop the pricing model for your membership site but also gives you the tactics and techniques you need to grow a profitable online business.

Every week, Jessica Frick and I provide an entertaining format to discuss the challenges online entrepreneurs face with ideas that you can implement to improve your own site.

So, if you are serious about running and growing a profitable membership site, we hope that you will tune in.

And since the show is free, we know the price is right.

Subscribe Now to Listen

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Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines

answer these questions to write better headlines

Last week, when I wrote about how to become a writer, I forgot to mention something about why you’d want to be a writer.

Writers are communicators. If you’re proud of your ideas, you want to be able to communicate them clearly and precisely.

Headlines are your first opportunity to present your message to the audience you want to reach. The language you use should appeal to those people and make them want to find out more.

To review the next headline you write from the perspective of an editor who is focused on audience engagement, here are three simple questions you can ask yourself.

A guide to finding the right words

Once you’ve written a draft of your headline and article (or you’ve recorded a podcast episode or video), use the questions below to ensure your headline is the most effective it can be:

  1. Who will benefit from this content?
  2. How do I help them?
  3. What makes this content special?

The answers to these questions most likely won’t produce the exact headline you’ll use. Rather, they’ll help mold your headline draft into a persuasive message that reaches and connects with the people you want to attract to your content.

To keep the process of infusing your headline with meaning and fascination simple, I recommend answering each question in one to two sentences.

If you need to write more, recognize your opportunity to fine-tune your goal for the content before revisiting these headline questions.

Let’s look at the important information each question will help you cultivate and how the answers will transform your headline.

1. Who will benefit from this content?

As Brian wrote yesterday:

“The point is to bond strongly with someone rather than boring everyone.”

When you define your audience, you can review your headline to make sure you use language that intrigues those individuals.

For example, your target audience may be marine biologists who have a tendency to procrastinate.

If your headline only says, “10 Tips to Beat Procrastination,” you can look for ways to add words that will attract marine biologists. And you don’t have to explicitly announce, “Hey marine biologists who have a tendency to procrastinate, this content is for you!”

You could try:

10 Tips to Beat Procrastination Faster than a Black Marlin

(A black marlin is one of the fastest fish.)

2. How do I help them?

People don’t necessarily wake up in the morning excited to read content.

The promises that certain pieces of content make to expand people’s understanding or knowledge of a topic persuade them to read content throughout the day. The content may even change their lives.

Your tips might help marine biologists accomplish tasks faster, and if they can accomplish tasks faster, they’re less likely to put them off.

Here, you can add another benefit to the headline:

10 Time-saving Tips to Beat Procrastination Faster than a Black Marlin

3. What makes this content special?

You may now realize that while a lot of other articles focus on “beating procrastination,” your content is special because it shows how to simplify and organize your daily marine biology to-do list so that each task is manageable.

Now you’ll want to revise a few words from your original headline:

10 Time-saving Tips to Zip Through Your Work Day Faster than a Black Marlin

Custom-tailored headlines for your content

We started this exercise with the headline:

10 Tips to Beat Procrastination

The final result is:

10 Time-saving Tips to Zip Through Your Work Day Faster than a Black Marlin

If you’re a marine biologist with a tendency to procrastinate, which headline would you click on?

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