Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Holiday's

I just wanted to wish everyone a safe, happy, and joyful holiday season! I hope you get everything you ask for and have an amazing new year!

- Trent Brownrigg

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How To Stay In Your Customer's Mind

Welcome back biz tips readers! Today's free home business tip is about why and how you should use newsletters to help your home business.

How To Stay In Your Customer's Mind:

Imagine the following scenario... Six months ago you paid someone to come and clean your pool. You'd like to use them again but you can't remember their name and you lost their business card. You end up calling another pool service, which means that the first service has probably lost you as a customer for life.

How easy would it have been for that person to stay in touch with you by sending you a newsletter with pool tips and product recommendations? If you're running your own business, you can't afford not to have a newsletter. Sure, it seems that every business sends out one these days but that is no reason to avoid using this highly valuable marketing tool. It's an excellent way to build ongoing customer relationships, establish trust and build credibility.

The most cost effective way to send out a newsletter is by email. That way you avoid printing and mailing costs, and it's so much more immediate.

Here are 5 tips to using email newsletters as a way of staying in touch with your customer base:

1. Use the 80/20 Rule

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is talking only about themselves in their newsletters. Think about the newsletters that you delete and the ones that you make the effort to read. Usually the most interesting ones contain solid information and tips that benefit you in some way. Think about what would really interest and help your readers and write articles on those topics accordingly. 80% of your newsletter content should directly benefit your reader. Only allow 20% of your content to promote your business.

2. Choose a schedule and stick to it

Consistency is the key when sending out newsletters. Whether you decide on a monthly, weekly or daily newsletter, make a commitment to yourself to keep to this schedule. If your newsletter is good, your customers will start to look forward to hearing from you and you don't want to disappoint them, do you?

3. Pick a quality newsletter provider

An autoresponder service like Aweber will provide you with the best in service at a very reasonable price. As part of signing up, you get free templates to use. Customize these with your logo and photo to add that personal touch. Aweber also manages people wanting to unsubscribe from your list automatically, which is a great time saver.

4. Plan your content

Instead of inwardly groaning when suddenly it's time to send out your newsletter again, why not brainstorm and work on some article ideas in advance? Think of your newsletter as an ongoing, fun project and it will be.

5. Put your sign-up box on your website

Make it easy for people to sign up for your newsletter by putting a sign-up box prominently on your website. Also invite people to sign up by putting a sentence at the end of your email signature, saying something like, "Sign up for my newsletter with the latest business articles, internet marketing news, tips and stories at..."

The time and effort that you put into your newsletter will pay off tremendously by increasing repeat business as well as bringing in new business.

Dedicated to your home business success,
Trent Brownrigg

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Get Rich Quick Online? Not Gonna Happen!

It's a hard thing to do. You've just lost your job, or just plain got fed up with it. You've decided that you're going to make a living on the Internet. You have no idea what you want to do but you do know that you need to start making money and fast. You have it all figured out. You're going to do a search for something that promises you will make X amount of dollars in your first 30 days. You find an amount you can live with at one of those really flashy sites and you sign up.

30 days later you're still broke and wondering why.

It's not totally your fault. These companies prey on people like you. They know you don't want to go to that lousy job anymore. They know you want instant riches. So they promise you the moon, hoping and knowing that you're going to pay them the 20 dollars a month, or whatever, to make some obscene amount of money. But it never happens. You're disillusioned, frustrated and clueless as to where to turn. You don't know who to trust anymore and you're at your wits end.

Like I said, it's not totally your fault. But you are going to have to accept some of the blame. Nobody can pay $20 a month for a business then sit back and expect to make any kind of real money! If you were going to open up a candy store on the corner you'd have thousands of dollars in expenses in rent, inventory and advertising. Why should online be any different? It's not! No, you don't have to spend nearly as much money as you do in the "real" world, but some investment is going to be required. It is a fact of life that you need to learn to accept. Otherwise, you're just headed for more heartache.

So what's the answer? The answer is to have a realistic outlook on what is possible. Aside from that, you need to get an education. Hopefully, browsing around this site will help provide you with some of that education. But it can't do it all. Why? Because there are too many variables in making a living online. Everyone has different skills and interests. One person may be very technically adept while another can't find the "on" switch of his computer. These people are not going to go in the same direction.

The most important thing is to sit down and make a game plan. Figure out how much you can afford to spend and what you can reasonably expect to get back from that investment. Figure out where your strengths are. What do you like? What do you hate? There has to be something that you are naturally good at or have an interest in that will give you a head start.

The chances of you getting rich quick on the internet are about as good as you winning the lottery... It's simply not gonna happen! But with a little planning and determination, you can eventually reach a monthly income that will sustain you in the life you are accustomed to and beyond.

Dedicated to Your Online Business Success,
Trent Brownrigg

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Follow Up or Fail in Online Business

The mentality of put up a sales page and expect to make sales boggles my mind. People think that's all it takes. Logical right? You see the product, like the product, buy the product. Simple, clean and easy. Unfortunately, Internet marketing is nowhere near that easy. If it was, everybody would be doing it and making a fortune doing it. That is why the saying "follow up or fail" is one of the most important things you MUST learn when running an online business. Otherwise, you are opening yourself up to heartbreak and headaches of the likes you can't even imagine.

For starters, NEVER try to sell somebody something right away. Why? For one thing, the Internet has become such a hangout for crooks that most people online have already been the victims of a scam at one time or another. Because of this, they are very leery of buying anything, especially from somebody they don't know. You have to gain their trust. And believe me, this isn't an easy thing to do.

Okay, so how do you gain a subscribers trust? By doing just that. Make them a subscriber to begin with. Don't sell them anything. Give them something for free, most preferably, information. A newsletter series on Internet marketing might be a good start. Educate them on what it takes to properly run a business online. Teach them advertising methods that work. Show them how to use these techniques. Then, after they see that your information has actually produced results, they may actually write to you and tell you.

But, they may not. That's why followup is so important. After you've given them your whole series, write to them. Ask them what they thought about the series. If it was helpful to them, they may write back and tell you. They may also ask if you have anything else that can be of help to them. This is where you can start suggesting things that they would have to pay for. Their thinking at this point is that you've already helped them this much for free so maybe this other product will really make a big difference in their results. You've already shown them you're honest so they are more likely to trust you. Once somebody trusts you, that is half the battle won.

But what it they write back and tell you that the information you gave them didn't work at all. This can lead to two things. Maybe, if you are able to get into a conversation with them, you can find out a step in the process that they misunderstood, or maybe something really doesn't work anymore. This is vital information to your business and you can use it to make much needed changes to your newsletter and maybe even to your product itself.

The bottom line is this. Without followup and feedback you are working your online business in the dark. Working in the dark can only lead to online business failure.

That's why we say, "follow up or fail."

It's a motto that will certainly help your online business!

About the author:

Trent Brownrigg is successful internet marketer and online business consultant. He has helped thousands of people realize the dream of owning a successful home business. He can help you too! Visit his websites and for more information.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Increase Sales by Using Guarantees in Your Sales Letters

Imagine that you're someone who has just purchased a product or service after reading a well-written and persuasive sales letter. You pay the price of the product or service and eagerly await the product's arrival or to speak with a representative about using the service. Finally, the product arrives, or you've used up your service hours and you have not reaped any of the benefits touted in the flashy sales letter. Even worse, the product you purchased was broken or not satisfactory when it arrived and now it's going to be a hassle to replace it or get a refund. If this were you, how would you feel?

Potential customers are often wary about purchasing a product or service based only on a sales letter because there are no expressed guarantees. The product can be damaged upon arrival, the service can provide little help, or the product or service is just not worth the price the customer might pay. There is one trick you can use to reduce these fears on the part of the potential customer. Use a guarantee in your sales letters that allows customers to shed the risk they would normally assume when making such a purchase.

A guarantee can be in several forms. You can guarantee free replacement if a product is defective, additional free services if a client is unsatisfied with the service you have provided, or even offer to refund the entire purchase price of the product or service if the customer is not completely satisfied. When you offer a guarantee, you are creating goodwill and confidence in your product or service. Many potential customers think, "Why would they guarantee their product or service if it didn't work as well as advertised?"

When you offer a guarantee in your sales letters, make sure the guarantee is risk-free. This means that you should not attach any strings to the guarantee. Some companies require that a product be returned unopened or in its original packaging in order to receive a full refund. If you've had the product for a month or two, and you've already thrown out the packaging, this can present a problem. Then you're stuck with a shoddy product and an emptier wallet. Making your guarantee risk-free means that you don't require customers to meet any conditions in order to receive the refund, replacement, or free services.

This is a marketing tactic that can create quite a lot of goodwill from customers. People are more likely to buy from businesses that stand behind their products and services than from businesses that are hard to deal with and inflexible if a product is damaged or a service has not benefited the customer. By offering a risk-free guarantee, you are telling your customers that you care about their experience with your company. You are also giving customers an easy way to solve problems, rather than making them go through a difficult process. This can even create repeat business from satisfied customers.

Once you've mastered the art of using risk-free guarantees in your sales letters, you may see an increase in the number of inquiries generated by a particular sales letter or even in the number of sales that result from a direct mail campaign. If you see results, it only makes sense to keep this tip in the front of your mind as you develop sales letters in the future.

Be sure to honor your guarantee. Having a guarantee and not sticking by it will put you out of business in no time!

Dedicated to Your Success,
Trent Brownrigg

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