4 Quick Ways to Make Money Selling Online

Champion Assistants services for online salesI have often been asked: “What is the quickest way to make money selling online?”

This is such a hard question to answer because it depends on each person’s ability, financial back up and knowledge.  What I can do here is list some of the ways that do make money fairly quickly once it is up and running.   What a solopreneur would need to do is look at how long it would take them to get a particular business opportunity making money.

INTERNET MARKETING

  • Selling products online from your own blog site or website
  • Selling affiliate products (other people’s products for commission)
  • Promoting a service that you are going to run, like a consultancy business

With products you may choose to buy them or make your own.  There are so many choices in this field.  It is important to choose something that you like doing so that you can keep your motivation up because as a solopreneur you are it.  You have to keep yourself motivated.

SELLING ON EBAY

Some people selling on Ebay are making thousands of dollars a week.  There is a system that works and it would probably be a good idea to buy into that or research how these people are doing so well when others are making nothing.

PROVIDE WRITING SERVICES

Many people write for a living.  With the popularity of the internet there are thousands, if not millions of people who do not have either the ability or time to write for the internet, but really need to.  Very good money can be made from writing for the internet if you make it a full-time job.  There are writing sites like Elance, Guru and others where a writer can earn money.

SELL PHOTOS ONLINE TO PHOTO WEBSITES

Because of the growth in promoting online, site owners are always looking for Public Domain Photos.  What you do here is take photos and upload them to the photo sites and they pay you a commission on each photo that is downloaded by a buyer on the site.  This is quite a good way to get passive income coming in because once it is set up you can just leave it there.  For example, a site that uses these photos is http://www.isistockphoto.com

Seattle Businesses – Don’t miss this brand and marketing workshop!

Maria Ross - Marketing and Brand Expert

Maria Ross - Marketing and Brand Expert

Defining a brand strategy is essential for all businesses and a task that many small business owners find daunting.  To be successful in any economy or market, businesses need to have a defined niche and a sound strategy for how they are going to position themselves in the market place.  Regardless of how good a product or service may be, positioning and perception make all the difference.

Taking the time to define a marketing and brand strategy are a wise time and money investment that will pay off quickly.  Two of Seattle’s big brand and marketing dynamos, Maria Ross, Marketing Director for Red-Slice and Whitney Keyes of Whitney Keyes Productions, are holding a workshop to guide you through the marketing maze and help you find practical and creative ways to attract new customers  – and keep the ones you have loyal to you.  The workshop is being held February 11th, 2009, and is an excellent opportunity to get practical strategies from Seattle marketing dynamos.  For more information about the workshop, just visit: Branding Workshop.

Best,

Heather

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5 Basic Elements of Targeted Marketing

tragetThere are many styles of marketing, but only one that truly works in all applications. That one style is known as Targeted Marketing. Targeted Marketing uses information and planning to reach the right people at the right time. Below are the five basic elements to effectively and efficiently utilize this style of marketing.

1. Know Your Audience: Just like you know your products or services, you likely know who will benefit from them the most and why. What problem does your particular product solve? Are there any other problems that that same product solves? Who has these problems? Bingo, you have found your target. Now you must learn about your target market. What are there habits? Where do they shop? What media sources do they use frequently? Why do they hang out? What do they like and dislike? Knowing your audience in this way will help you to focus your marketing efforts toward them in an efficient manner. If you were trying to reach an 80 year old man you wouldn’t post an ad in Vogue would you?

2. Optimize Your Efforts: For every company this element will vary slightly, but the general emphasis here is to make sure the tools and information you have available to your clients are working for you. If you have a website, make sure the content is updated on a regular basis, the metadata is accurate and accessible including keywords and a site map. The same goes for brochures and other informational leaflets. The information needs to be accurate and honest and the appearance needs to be clean. No one likes looking at something that hurts the eyes. If there are too many bells and whistles or too many vibrant colors you are going to lose your audience. Simple is usually best!

3. Be The expert: Develop the ‘Know, Like, Trust’ effect by becoming an expert in your market. Write articles, have free information available, be honest and upfront. If you have the opportunity to share something that you know and enrich someone else’s business/life they will become a source of referrals down the road.

4. Plan Your Attack Strategy: Whit the information you now have you should be able to formulate your marketing plans. Know what you are willing to spend and where you want to spend that money. Figure out if your going to use mail marketing vs. email marketing and know where you are going to get your mailing lists from. (It is always best to use a source you can trust) Know what keywords are best for finding your information online. Figure out where you need to be so that your customers will find you instead of you having to hunt for them.

5. Befriend the media: The media is a huge source of referrals and are more than happy to learn about new inventions, new techniques, new anything. Use the media to your advantage by sharing information. Think of this as an extension of both elements 3 and 4. You are more of an expert in the public mind if the media mentions you or your business. Press releases, on air spots, and other media events should be a part of your attack strategy.

These five elements take planning and effort to be successful. Just as you wouldn’t leave the house without your keys, you don’t want to start your marketing with only one element in place. Figuring out who your marketing needs to reach, where to find them and how best to reach them makes a huge difference in any marketing plan.

InfusionSoft – Think twice before sinking your money in this CRM tool

Champion Assistants Technology TeamI’ve seen a number of clients invest in CRM tools that are far more powerful than their businesses require – and more expensive than they can currently afford – because their business advisers have told them that they should invest in technologies now that will support their future business plans.  These business advisers instill the fear  in their clients that their company won’t be prepared in the future when their prospects and clients outweigh the capability for the company to manage them.  I have never witnessed a case where this was the reality.  In reality, the sudden onslaught of clients never comes, and even if it were to, most CRM systems are built so that all current data can be easily migrated with a learning curve for using the technology.

The biggest example I have seen in unfortunate CRM purchases is InfusionSoft.  I have seen InfusionSoft touted by so-called industry experts and gurus (think Dan Kennedy, Bill Glazer, Ali Brown) who advise info-marketers to invest in this CRM solution now in preparation for future business.  InfusionSoft has a number of drawbacks like not being able to paste text in various modules and difficulties pasting links to name a couple quick irritants.  The biggest thing about InfusionSoft is that it is NOT for info-marketers.  InfusionSoft is for businesses with actual sales teams.  To use InfusionSoft effectively the business needs to be sales-oriented, equipped with a multi-person sales force, have a database with hundreds of thousands of contacts AND have the budget to effectively implement this technology.  The time to migrate data, implement the tool and train a salesforce how to use it – and continue to update it – is extremely time intensive.  This is not the responsibility of a business owner either.  This is the responsiblity of an IT Leader.  While Champion Assistants provides the service of IT Team Lead, we are very careful to only work with clients who have a business that is both financially and mentally prepared for a company-wide CRM rollout.

Sadly, I have seen a number of solo-preneurs buy InfusionSoft on the recommendation of their marketing or sales advisor and start implementing the software only to find that it’s extremely cumbersome to use and their business only requires a fraction of the power of the tool.  InfusionSoft is not for contact management.  It is in fact a full-scale CRM tool.  Also, I have seen that the people referring this software get a handsome referral bonus, and I know there are ulterior motives at play as well.  For instance the Dan Kennedy – Bill Glazer Inner Circle has made huge amounts of money through their referrals to InfusionSoft.  They make so much money they actually hold presentations on buying InfusionSoft at their SuperConference and InfoSummit conferences!  It’s great business for them, but not necessarily the right decision for all of those people trying to follow the Dan Kennedy – Bill Glazer methods.

I advise against purchasing any technologies that require your business to grow into.  It’s difficult to predict if the tool will be outdated by the time you need it or if there would have been a better solution based on what your business actually needs at the time. Save yourself time and aggravation and focus on strategic growth instead.

Best,

Heather

Improving Sales Through Social Interaction

Sales isn’t just about making money, it’s about building relationships. Business slows when companies forget the human factor. Businesses that maintain a connection with their customers thrive. Why is this? One of the basic fundamentals of human nature is a need for connections. When a connection is broken we feel it both physically and mentally.

The number one thing professionals forget is the importance of the human connection. Some of the best ways to maintain this connects are with: newsletters, promotions, and thank you notes. These things may seem simple, but they have a large impact on the way your customers perceive you.

Thank you notes are a simple way to make a customer feel special and know you appreciate their business. When someone feels special and appreciated, they tell others. A Thank you can be as simple as an email or a hand written thank you card. However you choose to do this, keep the customer in mind.

Promotions are a great way to drum up business. By sending an exclusive promotion to past customer you again make them feel special. Remember to always have a reason behind the promotion. The reason could be as simple as “we’ve run out of room” or more personal such as ‘My wife’s tired of my piles, please help clear out my closets’.  Putting a reason behind a sale or promotion can drive up business as much as 20%.

Newsletters are a good way to keep your clients interacting and up to date with your business. Giving out information on new products is only a small piece of this puzzle. The main draw and what will keep your customers reading your newsletter over time is to have articles that interest your customers. This can be a time consuming process because you have to stay current on market trends, new and existing ideas and anything and everything else relating to your market and products. Your readers are going to be relying on you to keep them informed, so in turn keep yourself informed.

There are many other ways to maintain a connection with your clients. Do what feels right to you and your business. Never forget that your customers are working for you only when they feel a connection. If you want the word of mouth advantage, work for it.

What are the results you’ve had with these methods?  What other methods have you tried that are effective?  We can all benefit from each other’s suggestions!

Best,

Kristi

Viral Marketing in Any Market

The term ‘Viral Marketing’ is fairly new however the concepts and practices behind it are not. All Viral Marketing is, is a message that is simple and catchy that gets forwarded on through a social network. Think of it as a chain letter. The original letter was sent to perhaps a list of 40 people. Those forty people sent the letter on to ten more, who sent it to ten more, and so on down the line.  By the time this one letter has been sent on 5 times it has reached 64 individuals. With every successive step, the letter goes to exponentially more people.

The Internet has made Viral Marketing faster and more effective by making it simpler and easier to do. Though mail or email is still the easiest format to have forwarded, website pages and social networking group sites are getting a taste of this trend as well. In an age of instant everything, viral marketing is an instant path to millions of people worldwide.

There are several ways to incorporate Viral Marketing techniques into your business.

First: you must come up with a short catchy tag line for your business. This tag line will be incorporated into every step of your business, so be choosy when making that decision.

Second, incorporate that tag line into all of your materials. This includes your email signature, your letterhead, business cards. Anything that is sent to anyone should carry your tag line.

Lastly: Integrate your tag line into your marketing plans. Your tag line becomes like a virus. It is remembered and referenced by anyone and everyone who comes into contact with anything from your business. This includes a newsletter that a customer forwards to a colleague, a business card that was handed from friend to friend.

Viral marketing is here to stay. The use of it will not only draw customers during a marketing campaign, but on an on-going basis.

Best,

Kristi

Sales Strategies That Really Do Work!

Selling is not rocket science. In fact, if you know the basic principles behind why we buy, sales can be the simplest part of doing business. I know, you are staring at this article going, yeah right! But it’s true. No matter what culture we come from, what country we live in, or how old we are at some point in almost every day we will buy something. If you understand the reasons behind each sale, than increasing those sales becomes child’s play.

One of the basic fundamentals to remember, when thinking of human nature in relation to sales, is that everyone loves a deal. The reason we like deals varies from person to person. So what can you do to make people feel they are getting a deal? There are several paths you can take to reach this goal.

Short Term Availability – When something is only available for a short period of time there is usually a reason. If you let your customers know the reason they are more inclined to buy during that short window of availability rather than miss out on the product or the special price.

Have A Sale – Again, the time thing works in, but here they also feel like they are getting a deal. A bargain if you will. Would you rather pay full price for a book or get it at half off? Here again, describing the sale is a sure way to entice buyers. If something, especially something online, is marked down but doesn’t give a reason our first thought is that the product has a fault.

Quantity Customer Discounts/Rewards – Making someone feel special is a good way to make them return and when they do let them know you appreciate it by giving them a deal. A customer who returns and gets the same or better treatment is more likely to tell their friends, colleagues, or peers about it, which will in turn bring more potential sales your way!

Free Samples – The idea of giving something away for free is hard to swallow for some people, but it is a good way to draw in those unsure customers. When you give something for nothing it should represent your company and your products. This item will give potential customers a chance to try out your company and see if they truly want to do business with you or not. If they like what they get, they come back for the rest. But don’t go overboard with this item. Whether it’s a gift bag or an article on sales tactics, freebies are meant to give a glimpse of the possibilities your products hold.

Up Sell – When it comes time to checkout make sure to mention products that your customer may have missed that complement what they have in their cart. If they are buying shampoo, suggest a conditioner along the same lines. Whatever your products are, there are bound to be complementary products in your stock room.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to sales tactics, but the number one thing to keep in mind is that your customers are human. They are not numbers to be added or subtracted. Treating everyone with a personal touch will make them feel special and they will have the desire to come back and bring others.

Best,

Kristi