Experts on Experts

The Best AWeber Strategies & Tactics for Small Businesses - E-book

From this moment on: 192 pages Ebook on

The Best AWeber Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses
£7.97

Instant access to put your ethical email marketing into hyperdrive with tested and tried successful Strategies and Tactics used by small businesses.


Modern Tools to Write and Publish a Book: ScreenSteps, Google Adwords, SurveyMonkey, PoD

After Ed Rivis wrote his second book "Email Marketing Dynamite" he published a post about his preferred method of writing books: Become a published author in less than 7 days...

As you can read in the comment I left there: a great method for those who are verbally attuned, but that's not me I'm afraid. I've always (and still) preferred to write the "old-fashioned" way: keyboard (starting with a very old real typewriter, since 1988 in front of a pc or on the occasional laptop)

Writing made easy

Whenever you write about something you are really passionate about the words just seem to flow out of your fingers, through the keyboard onto the screen in any format the program you're writing in provides you with. Word, notepad, online editor or in many of my cases: ScreenSteps Desktop.

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The benefit - and I've mentioned this often - of using ScreenSteps to write articles, blog-post, marketing messages, and complete books is the "library" of lessons/articles. Once written they are there, ready to be exported as stand-alone in multiple ways plus ready to be added to a "manual" where you can combine one article with others (already in the library or written a new) to be published in again multiple ways.

That's why writing our extended "Wooden Floor Installation Manual" took not that much time - most of the articles/chapters were already in the ScreenSteps library, so "all" I had to do was to create a new manual, add chapter titles and where needed write additional articles - with or without images using the image capture tool.

Using ScreenSteps Live for the editing process

Another great benefit of writing a book with ScreenSteps is when you combine it with ScreenSteps Live where the manual can be uploaded to for others, in this case our editor Trevor, to download into their own ScreenSteps Desktop program to do their job. In this case our editor's brief was to translate out double Dutch English into proper English without losing the essence of the article.
(We "found" Trevor using LinkedIn where we opened a "discussion" in one of the groups I'm a member of.)

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In ScreenSteps Live we used a simple colour coding to tell each other what the progress on every article was: for instance: red meant Trevor to edit the content and green meant: article edited by Trevor and approved by me = a finished article.

The whole editing process is now finished and the E-version of the Installation Manual was launched end of last week, replacing the older Installation Guide we launched beginning 2009.

Which brings me nicely to why we decided to write a "new" Installation Manual and how we went about it.

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The Guide was more a compilation of various questions from DIY-ers that had arrived in our inbox over the years and our answers. Some of these Q&A's had been already transformed into blogpost on our FAQ & News blog, and in order to make it easier for our prospects and clients we grouped the most Frequently Asked Questions (and answers of course) into a ScreenSteps Desktop manual which was then exported first as PDF file and later also as a ScreenSteps Live space (password protected). Our most successful "digital product" in 2009!

Once in a while we would add a new article to it and in the end it became a rather loose collection of articles, not so much a practical guide any longer. Spurred on by the success of the Guide we decided it was time to turn it into a new manual, this time not only as an E-book or online version but into a proper paperback using PoD (Printing on Demand). After a little bit of research and tips from Debbie Jenkins (The Publishing Academy) we opened an account with Lightning Source UK for printing and part distribution. The needed digitising of the content of our new manual and the cover is now in hands of Greenwood Graphics (a contact we knew from our BNI-Ashford time).

Getting our reader, prospects and clients involved

A lesson learned/copied from Ed Rivis - involve your prospects as soon as possible in a new project, especially when the content/features should solve their problems.

In one of our monthly newsletters we mentioned our intention to write a new manual and asked for participation in a survey: what would you expect in a Wooden Floor Installation Manual?

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The participation IMHO was overwhelming, 62 prospects, clients and even suppliers (yes, our suppliers do read our newsletter) took part and prompted us to focus on the right chapters.

Using SurveyMonkey (even the free version) is also great to ask for "other subjects we should include or not overlook":

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Valuable information to have and very simple to gather. We also included some marketing research in the same survey: what would the participant regard a fair price for the most comprehensive manual on this subject. Again, very valuable information. And, of course, we gave all participants the option to be added to our "pre-launch" list. A whopping 68% of participants wanted to be added to this list.

The result of this survey was two-fold: we now knew even better which subject to elaborate on and the retail price we would be able to demand for it, once the paperback was printed.

In search of a title

The first Guide had the title Comprehensive Installation Guide (floorboards). We needed a better one to front the manual. A few ideas where tossed around, but no final decision was made. So I decided to use a Google Adwords campaign for this sole purpose: which title would get the most clicks, i.e. would be most attractive for potential DIY-clients looking to install their own floor but in need of some guidance.
A special domain name was registered and a special landing page - including webform to subscribe to updates on the imminent launch of the manual - was created in no time at all and the campaign started.

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The first 4 adds run for 3 weeks, then during a discussion with our digitiser Peter Greenwood to add something memorable to the title or subtitle, 2 others where added, both with the "series" name "Q&A's on wood flooring" (in the event we do manage to write more manuals).

Once again we turned to our existing clients and asked their opinion again with help from SurveyMonkey. And again with the option to submit their own 2p for the best title.

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(Hope no one is offended that I left the second suggestion in - sure you have a sense of humour but rest assured, that suggestion will not be printed on our book!).

The third suggestion was a tiny little tweak on one of the original titles and with another tiny tweak (due to the number of characters Google Adwords allows you) it was added to the campaign. To become the best performing add in no time at all! Within 2 days it'd beaten all other titles and it continues to do so.

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Although it received fewer clicks - because it's not running from the same moment as the others - the CTR is the most important value in the above statistics: Click Through Rate = number of impressions divide by the number of clicks.

That's where we're stand at the moment: title decided on (and we'll gift the client who tweaked our title to make it better with a signed copy the minute the first paperback comes from the printers), E-version launched (and already sold, plus those clients who'd bought the earlier "guide" were offered an upgrade to the new manual for a very low price, already 10% has taken us up on that offer) and ETA of the paperback: end of this month/beginning next month.

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We started this project 3 months ago, it did take more than 7 days (although if I would count the hours I spent writing the content it would make less than that, thanks to the existing material already in ScreenSteps). All in all there are plenty of modern tools out and about to assist everyone becoming a published author. And most are very cost-effective too.

So,what's keeping you?


Typepad Pro with 15% discount

From everything.typepad comes this New Years Offer:

Open a Typepad Pro Account (the one I always recommend you use for business blogs) and get 15% discount.

The only thing you have to do to profit from this offer (which runs till the end of January, so get your skates on!) in to quote "2010RESOLUTION" in the discount code field when you register before the end of January 2010.

Another excuse for not starting your own blog down the drain: 15% discount and I promise you the blog platform is a piece of cake to get started with. You'll be up and running within a few minutes!

Crafted With Love - Powered By Typepad

Remember to quote "2010RESOLUTION"


RSS so obvious - we forget we had to learn too

AWeber announced the imminent arrival of their brand new web form builder - making it even easier for everyone to design/create those all important forms to capture names and email addresses to start your ethical marketing conversation with your prospects.

Watch the video and read the exciting list of new features (soon to be released) on AWeber's blog.

Underneath the post you can find a Web Form to subscribe to AWeber's blog alerts. Now the rss feed of AWeber's blog is already part of my blog-reader, but I thought: what the heck, let's submit my name and email address and subscribe to the alerts.

The first email - after confirming my subscription - came into my inbox promptly and in it AWeber informs me of another list I can subscribe to: email delivery tips.

But it was the paragraph underneath it that made me turn to my trusted Typepad blog to write this post:

How Do We Make These Emails Automatic?
Questionmarkspeople
Many websites have blogs that they regularly post new information to. The most common way for visitors to get notified of new posts on a blog is via RSS.

 Unfortunately, according to a study by Yahoo, up to 96% of your visitors have no idea what RSS is.

Using the Blog Broadcast tool, we automatically convert the blog's RSS feed to an email newsletter format that more visitors are familiar with.

We - as bloggers and email marketers - know all about rss and feed-readers, but how many of our website/blog visitors have the same knowledge? Are we - bound by our own learning curve and experience - forgetting about how we "discovered" slowly how all this Web2.0 technology can work together and assume everyone else must know this too?

96% of your web visitors don't - so help them (and yourself) out by offering blog-alerts. In Typepad you can so easily insert a web form in the sidebar (see right) and when the new - soon to be released - web form builder becomes available my guess is you can design your web form is such a way it will entice your visitors even more to pop in their name and email address.

So don't forget what is so obvious to you might be absolutely undiscovered territory for most of your web visitors (96%  - blimey!)

Not on AWeber yet? Open an account now and try it out for 30 days.


Blogging Faceoff: WordPress vs. Typepad - worth a vote?

Today I encountered plenty of tweets about the Blogging FaceOff at Mashable, The Social Media Guide. This week they turned their attention to blogging platforms: WordPress or Typepad.

I found this in the comment box underneath the poll:

DaveWeissDotNet Yesterday 11:47 PM  3 people liked this.
I don't think you're using a full set of criteria to appropriately judge which platform is "better".

In fact, I'd go as far as saying that the author of this post inappropriately sets up an argument without laying any groundwork as to what people will argue about. I understand TypePad inside and out - the nitty gritty details of every nook and cranny of their system and their templates and tags.

I also run a few blogs built on WordPress, customizing templates to my liking. So I understand both the WordPress and TypePad worlds thoroughly.

Here are things I think about when considering which platform is the "best" for a particular need:

Hosted Solution vs Self Hosted - As a blogger, do you have the technical ability to host your blog, and understand all the maintenance issues that go along with it? Just finding a decent hosting company can be painful. They all have their pros and cons. Backups, upgrades, technical support... A lot of bloggers just want to blog - not be a system administrator. TypePad's platform allows for a nice looking blog that can be customized to a great degree, without the maintenance issues that come along with WordPress.

Technical Support - Again, there are bloggers who just want to blog, and not have to spend time with "self help". You have a problem or issue with TypePad, you log into your account and file a help ticket. They have customer support reps to help you out.

Yes, their templating system is not as robust and flexible as you'll find in WordPress, but you don't need to know php to manipulate and customize the look and feel of your blog. Learning php, javascript, or JQuery is a big hurdle for a lot of bloggers.

The platforms are aimed at two different sets of people. If you want ease-of-use on a hosted platform, TypePad may be a good solution for you. If you want infinite control over every aspect of your installation and templates, perhaps WordPress should be your platform of choice.

The "TypePad vs. WordPress" thing is nonsense.

via mashable.com

The conversation in the comment box is more interesting IMHO opinion than the whole vote for....
(but of course I voted for Typepad ;-)

What's your opinion? (Not just about the platform but about Dave's comment)


The Ultimate Webmarketing Strategy: get your hands on one of the last copies now

Hot from the "blog" press: Ed Rivis' excellent book "The Ultimate WebMarketing Strategy" is almost sold out - only a few copies remaining.

Ed announced this by reminding us of one of the best known Direct marketing guru's from the last century: David Ogilvy and wondering if he (David) would have changed tactics with all the new "tools" around these days.

"I wonder what he’d be doing differently in these days of the Internet? Probably not much!

The direct response principles that were his ‘first love and later became his secret weapon’, and which allowed him to grow his agency at record speed translate directly to web sites.

In my book The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy I explain how to utilise the principles of highly-effective direct response advertising — how to change a website from “all about you” to “all about your visitor” to dramatically boost enquiries, sales-lead generation, opportunity creation, and sales and profit!

If you have a web site that focuses on your brand (you know, the kind that start with “Welcome to our website. We’ve been in business ‘x’ years and won all these awards”) maybe you should consider why the visitor has actually come to your website… probably to get information on — and the solution to — a pain, challenge, problem or opportunity they have.

Probably not to learn about you and your business. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s true in most cases.

Give visitors answers… not branding… and you can have a successful website.

The first edition of my book The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy is now officially out of print.

If you want one of the last few copies (from stock) then grab it now… because it explains how you can change your website from no-response to direct response, the approach David Ogilvy used to become a world leading advertising agency, and help his clients become world leading brands."
Ed Rivis

Ed's book sits in my bookcase next to my desk so I can grab it whenever I need it/want it and I must say, even after reading it 3 times from front to back: I always find some new or better ideas in it to implement in/fine-tune our own strategy.


Webinar: Using a blog for your website and ecommerce

The Small Business Blogs division of Typepad regularly organises Free Webinars with Andy Wibbles.

The next one on August 26 relates perfectly to my latest post on Why I Use Typepad for Business "Blogging":

Using a blog for your website and ecommerce - Learn how to use your blog to create a lightweight website with a product catalog integrated with PayPal or other ecommerce systems. Time: 11.00am PST = 7pm BST
(Follow the link to register for free)

If you can't make it, the recording of the webinar will be published later - as soon as it's up I will tell you where to go for it.

Side-note: don't think I agree with the term "lightweight" website though ;-)


Are you using Email Marketing? Then read this!

Email Marketing Dynamite - Ed Rivis  Last month Ed Rivis announced his soon to be launched new book: "Email Marketing Dynamite".

"E-Mail marketing is the #1 most critical tactic any business can perform online. Pound for pound it’s also reported to be the most effective tactics any company can perform in terms of ROI (Return on Investment).

All the biggest companies use it to generate extra sales, revenues and profits - so if I have a ‘mission’ at the moment, it’s to get a lot more small business owners using e-mail effectively."

If there is anything I can totally agree with, it is his mission. Our own retail businesses thrives on web marketing which includes - of course - email marketing. If you have been following this blog for a while you know I even created "The Best AWeber Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses" which is absolutely, purely based on our own successful experience with this modern tool.

Ed has asked (through his own email marketing campaigns in combination with his blog) if he could interview various small businesses about their experiences with email marketing: what effect it has had on their business success or even survival. I had the pleasure of talking to Ed for almost 1 hour as one of the interviewees.

You can subscribe to the pre-launch news of his new book - which, and I'm sure of it, if it is anything like any of Ed's other products and publications, will show/teach you how you too can effectively implement email marketing to grow/sustain your business in any economical circumstance.

First step: preregister your interest and profit from the opportunity to buy his book for only P&P the minute it is released.


Are you re-inventing your own wheel?

Re-inventing the wheel is commonly regarded as a waste of your time and effort. So how would we regard re-inventing your own wheel?
Believe me, it happens more often than you think - I've discovered this only last week myself.

During the second half of last year we noticed an increase in website visitors searching on the keywords: restoring or repairing parquet floor. Web marketing logic dictated we wrote a dedicated web page - wood guide -  on this subject (in fact, we wrote two: "7 Easy steps to repair/restore your parquet floor" and "3 Easy steps to clean and maintain your parquet floor")

The 7 Steps almost immediately became the most popular page of our 'static' website. We then took the step - no pun intended - to turn this wood-guide into our first digital wood product, complete with extra information and advice. This was launched end December and has been ordered 7 times already (not bad for a specialised and physical product retailer we think = average one a week).

Now, on our FAQ & News site we also have a most popular post containing simple tips and advice for DIY-ers. In fact sometimes we feel we are giving away too much information - information suppliers/retailers should give their clients. Most however don't and many DIY-ers end up on our websites. Even if they have already bought all the materials somewhere else. This and the "succes" of our first digital wood product gave food for thought, which in a meeting with our good friend "the company-doctor" also came to the forefront. Why not reduce the info in that particular post and create a Comprehensive Installation Guide, give this away for free to our own DIY-clients (on CD-rom) while making it also available (at a price) for others?

Decision made.

We also agreed that if we were to sell our knowledge it should contain as much practical information as possible - we still feel a bit strange 'selling' digital wood products. And I saw a month of writing ahead.

And then I saw 'the light'. We've been writing advice, tips etc in posts and web pages for over 4 years! Why re-invent the wheel, or better our own wheel?

All I had to do was compile the written material already at hand. In between normal daily tasks of a retailer this only took me 4 days. A great help in this was of course one of my favourite software programs "ScreenSteps", the Rapid Documentation Tool.

You create a 'manual', name sections (like introduction, preparations, installation and resources) and in these sections you create your chapters (lessons).

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In the lessons you write the 'steps' - every step is a 'sub header' - your audience/reader must take to complete the task at hand and even better, the 'camera' lets you capture screen shots for images. As in "a picture tells more than a thousand words".

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In the lessons you can swap steps around by simple drag and drop them and in the manual you can swap lessons around in the same way.

ScreenstepsexportThen the best part of the software takes place with one simple click of the button Export. The whole manual is converted into a PDF complete with:

  • Cover page (you can add and edit the templates very simple)
  • Bookmarks
  • Index-page (with links to the 'lessons')
  • Page header image & footer text (again you add/edit these in the PDF template and you can create an unlimited number of templates)

The whole process of converting the 57 pages - yes, 57 pages! - into a PDF took only 1 minute.

Since yesterday the new Guide is for sale on our website, the "delivery" of it is of course automated too: combining AWeber with Paypal (more on this in later posts).

Lesson learned: all of us have specialist knowledge about our job/trade/profession and most of us have written plenty of posts/articles/white-papers about it. Instead of writing new material, why not search through all you already have in your 'possession' - and only add new materials/edit existing material where needed?

Why re-invent your own wheel?

Learn more about ScreenSteps


Glitz or content? - Why a blog platform can be as good or even better for your business

Most small business have a web presence. Most small business have delegated the creation of their web presence to web design companies. Most web design companies want to put Glitz on your web site to show off their talent.

What do your web site visitors want?

Look at the sites that currently rank high on the search engines and you will see that they have simple designs with graphics that use minimal bandwidth, and they're easy to navigate. Simple, clean designs are what both search engine crawlers and search engine users like, as it lets them get the content they want without any fuss. This is what your web presence should be aiming for
 
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Above are all samples of web presences created on blog-platform (Typepad).

Potential clients want to know what you can do for them, not how fancy or glitzy your web site is.



Keep in touch with AWeber

Keeping touch with your prospect, clients is essential for any business that wants/needs to grow. How else are they going to remember the products/services you have to offer them? You don't need to bombard them with your marketing messages, but regular contact between you and them is a proven profitable way to grow any business - as long as your messages are interesting enough for them.

AWeber (aff) makes "keeping in touch" not only easy but versatile too: you can choose to send your prospects follow-up messages at regular intervals (automated!) and/or broadcast special offers, product release, trade-news at a pre-determined time.

Message menu in AWeber
(screen-snapshot made with MWSnap3 - a great, simple and free tool)

(Blog-broadcasts are another option, in fact a combination of the two but that's for another article)

Follow-up versus broadcast - when which?

Say you're offering a free report, product leaflets or interesting article to your website visitors. All they have to do to receive it immediately is to pop-in their name and email address in the web form you provided for it and your AWeber campaign takes over, automating the delivery of your message for you. Your website visitor turns into a prospect by confirming his/her wish to receive your report, leaflet, article etc. Your first AWeber follow-up message contains the promised 'product'.

After two days you like to tell your new prospect more about your product, service. In AWeber you create your second follow-up message. And a third 4 days later in which you tell them even more, point them towards a specific webpage on your site etc. The options are plentiful.

Any new prospect receives your 3 messages at the interval you've set in your follow-up messages, no matter when they requested your free report or anything else you've offered. In the example above your messages will be send out to them over a period of 7 days (1 on day 1, 2 on day 3, 3 on day 7)
(This is an ideal method when you're offering/selling weekly or regular tips that don't have a 'sell-by' date or even courses.)

Broadcast is a message you create to be send out to your total list of verified opt-in email addresses at a specific pre-determined time. And only once.
For instance a Monthly news-letter. We email our newsletter every first Monday of the month. Any new subscriber to our newsletter after the first Monday of the month will not receive our latest newsletter (and of course there's a solution for that too, but that's for another article).
You can imagine all the options these broadcasts can give you: special offers with a time limit, 'breaking news', daily updates of share prices or one-off announcements.
You determine when the broadcast is emailed (day and time) and all your prospects/clients on your specific campaign list will receive it at the same time.

So, to re-cap:
Follow-ups
are the messages your prospect/client receives at pre-determined intervals from the moment they subscribe to your AWeber campaign.
Broadcasts are the messages your prospect/clients receives at the pre-determined specific day and time you decide.
(And of course you can combine both methods for any of your campaigns!)

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

3dAWST1
(image for illustration purpose only)

192 pages (download online)

"E-book" £ 7.97

(After payment is accepted, please wait until you are redirected to our 'download' instruction page - if you don't receive a confirmation email within 10 minutes, please email me for support: karinh@1plus1makes3.co.uk)

Instant access to put your ethical email marketing into hyperdrive with tested and tried successful Strategies and Tactics used by small businesses.