3 Tips for Better Live Videos

Live videos are everywhere – Periscope, YouTube, Facebook, and who knows how many more in the future.

Live video is clearly the hottest thing since Facebook, and marketers in every niche are taking advantage by hosting their own events.

Some of them are good. They’re well attended, fun to watch, and you feel like you benefitted from attending. But some of them feel like they’re an afterthought, put together at the last minute, and don’t really bring out the best in the host.

If you’re thinking of hosting a live video event, you don’t want to fall into that latter group! Here’s how to avoid it.

Promote, Promote, Promote

On many platforms, a live video event is just a few clicks away. You can literally plan and host a video in just a few minutes, and an impromptu event can be fun.

But with a little planning, you’ll have a much better turnout. And that planning must include promotion.

Let your private groups know about upcoming events. Email your list. Post a blog. Even consider running paid ads for your upcoming video event if there’s the potential to grow your list or increase your sales.

In short, don’t throw a party without extending invitations to your friends!

Interact with Your Audience

One of the biggest draws of a live video event is the opportunity to interact with the host. Your viewers want to get to know you better. They want to chat with the other participants. They may have questions to ask.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring them. To do so is to say, “You’re not important to me.”

Instead, take the time to chat up the audience, acknowledge their presence, and answer their questions. Even if it takes you out of the flow and you lose your place momentarily, it’s worth it to make viewers feel respected and as if they’re a part of the event rather than just a passive viewer.

Remember to check the comments later, too. If your video is available for viewing after the live event is over, encourage the conversation in the comments.

Repeat What Works

You have a lot of options when it comes to live video. Periscope, YouTube, Facebook, and others all have their place, and I encourage you to try them all. But in the end, you’ll want to concentrate on what’s working.

If your audience loves Facebook but can’t figure out Periscope, it makes no sense to broadcast there. The same goes for length, topic choices, and day and time of broadcast. You’ll want to test all the variables, track your results, and do more of what’s working.

Here’s what you don’t need to worry about when it comes to live video: Perfection.

No one expects you to look like a cover model or to speak like a news anchor. In fact, if you do look that perfect, it might actually negatively impact your results, simply because your audience loves to feel connected to you. They know they aren’t perfect, and if you can show off your imperfections, it will help create a stronger connection.

BONUS TIP – Topic Ideas for Live Videos:

If you’re struggling to think of topics for your live videos, here are some great options to get the juices flowing!

  • Behind the scenes for your business (what goes into making your business run, how you make the things you sell, etc.)
  • How-to videos for something you’re great at
  • On-location at conferences, conventions, festivals, or fairs that relate to your business
  • Interviews with staff, other business owners in your industries, past clients, etc.
  • How your product or service solves problems (read this to learn how to identify your potential client’s problems a.k.a. pain points)

No matter if your video is impromptu or planned and no matter the topic, the one thing you absolutely must remember is to be yourself. It’s usually quite obvious when someone is pretending or trying hard to be something they’re not, and you are amazing and have so much to offer the world. So just be you and you’ll already be ahead of the game.

Email Subject Lines That Increase Your Open Rates

It’s one metric we consistently watch and try to improve: email open rates. There’s a good reason for it, too. If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, then they can’t read about:

  • Your newest coaching program
  • Your latest must-have tool discovery
  • That epic blog post you just wrote

The trouble is, you only have about two seconds to entice a reader to open your email. Even worse, you have to do it in ten words or less.
Yikes! That’s a pretty tall order, even for seasoned copywriters. But there are some simple tricks you can use with your email subject lines.

Be Ambiguous

If you’ve been on Facebook lately you’ve no doubt seen those “clickbait” headlines that say things like, “She adds this to a box of Wheat Thins and I’m drooling!” The reason headlines like that work is because we can’t help but want to know what “this” is that she’s adding to her Wheat Thins. Is it sugar? Salt? Peanut butter? We imagine the possibilities, but in the end, we have to find out, so we click.
You can employ the same technique in your email subject lines. Just substitute the word “this” for the actual thing you’re writing about, and you’ve got instant enticement.

Use Numbers

Here’s another strategy for creating must-read content: numbers.
“7 Hidden Benefits of Waking Up at 5am”
“3 Unlikely Ways to Close the Sale”
“5 Social Media Platforms You Shouldn’t Be Ignoring”
The reason numbers work so well in subject lines is because we are ego-centric and curious. We simply must know if we already use those three ways to close the sale. We will either walk away feeling good for being a marketing maven, or we will have learned something. Both are compelling reasons to open an email.

Use Power Words

Just as with all writing, choosing power words is far more effective than settling for their weaker counterparts. Imagine these two subject lines appear in your inbox. Which are you more likely to open:
“WordPress Makes Better Looking Websites for Non-Designers”
or
“Create a Gorgeous Website—Even if You’re Not a Designer”
While both subjects offer the same information, the first is weak, while the second is far more compelling.

When it comes to email subjects, there are a few more tips to keep in mind if you want to up your open rates:

  • Keep it short – no more than 10 words at the very most, and fewer if you can.
  • Test everything. Use your autoresponder’s split-testing functionality to see which subject line styles perform best in your market.
  • Use personalization, but sparingly. Occasional use of your reader’s first name can be a powerful technique.

Here’s the bottom line: If your subscribers aren’t opening your email, they’re not buying. Paying closer attention to your email subject lines is the single most important thing you can do for your email marketing campaigns.

Generate More Sales and Repeat Customers With Automation

As any smart business owner knows, the key to passive income is a well-established (and full) funnel.
So of course you’ve optimized your opt-in pages and monetized your download pages and encourage more buyers through well-placed upsells and downsells.

Well done! But what about the follow-up?

Do you contact customers about the products or services they didn’t buy? Do you encourage them to use the products they have purchased? Are you making sure they know about all your other wonderful programs?
If not, you’re missing the boat. But the good news is, this can be easily managed with just a bit of simple automation, and when done right, it will smoothly lead your customers from one purchase to the next, at the exact right time for them to take advantage of your best offers.

Segment Your Audience

Many autoresponder services allow you to target emails based on reader action. Want to send a follow-up email to those who clicked a specific link? Create a segment and mail away. Want to re-engage with those who haven’t opened your emails in a while? Easy to do, and you can potentially recover subscribers who have gone missing.
In more sophisticated systems you can dig even deeper, and move people from one series to another based on their buying habits. That way you’ll never promote a product a reader already owns. Not only that, but you’ll always be able to offer the very best next thing, no matter where a subscriber is in your funnel.

Still another way to segment your list is according to what they do not buy. If a subscriber has been on a list where you’re promoting your top-level coaching program, and she has not yet purchased, it may simply be too expensive for her at this time. Consider moving these readers to an autoresponder series promoting a lower cost option instead.

All of these tactics require that you know your audience and your products exceptionally well. Study your stats. Know your open and click rates. Pay attention to the promotions that work, as well as those that fall flat. With that information in hand, you’ll be better able to effectively segment your lists and make the most of all the parts of your funnel.

Common Mistakes That Send Affiliate Partners Running

Affiliate Partners are a huge asset for any coach or product seller. They’re the ones who are out there singing your praises, spreading the word about your services, and helping you reach a larger audience than you could on your own. Not only that, but they generously lend their good name and reputation to your business, so it makes sense that you want to treat them as well as possible.
But there are some mistakes that product sellers make over and over again that will frustrate and even turn your potential affiliates away. Here’s how to fix them.

No Promotional Calendar

Busy entrepreneurs are obsessive planners. They know they need to produce content, mail their lists, create products, speak at events, and all the other marketing tasks that go with owning a business. They very likely maintain a calendar that helps them stay focused and on track. If you want them to promote you, it’s a good idea to publish your own promotional calendar so they know what’s coming up.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, and it doesn’t have to stretch for weeks or months ahead, but it should give them a bit of notice about upcoming launches so they can work your products into their schedule.

Launching Without Them

Got a big product launch coming up? Excellent! But don’t even think about launching without your affiliates on board. Your lists most likely have some overlap, and promoting to your list before you allow affiliates to mail will result in lost sales for them—and angry affiliates who won’t be anxious to promote you again.

Stealing Their Sales

This should go without saying, but if you’re considering creating your own affiliate link for your products, stop. Mailing your list or posting on Facebook with your own affiliate link will—in most systems—result in your promotions overriding those of your affiliates. In short, you’ll be stealing their sales, and no affiliate partner will want to promote you after that.
If you need a tracking link, there are far better ways to go about it than to create an affiliate link in your own system.

Slow Pay

No excuse is ever good enough for failing to pay your affiliates on time. If you promise to pay monthly, then you must make that a priority. It’s never okay to “borrow” from your affiliate payments to cover an unexpected bill or take advantage of an opportunity. To do so is bad form, bad karma, and will give you a reputation for unreliability.

Your affiliate partners are some of your most precious assets. Treat them as such, and they will return the favor with increased sales, more leads, and plenty of social love.

3 Proven Ways to Market Your Business (Marketing Made Easy)

The world is filled with great ideas and broke business owners with fabulous products but no sales.
The fact is, ideas are not what drives most businesses success. Marketing does. So before you quit your day job to branch out on your own, it pays to have a solid marketing plan in place. Start with these 5 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Free Webinars

For information product sellers, coaches, and service providers, one of the best sources of new clients is in free training webinars. No matter what your niche, the promise of in-depth training at no cost is enough to entice potential clients to part with an email address (which you’ll be able to market to later) and an hour of their time.
Not only that, but webinars are a fantastic way for those potential customers to get to know you better. And the better they know you, the more likely they are to buy.

Content Marketing

Not comfortable hosting a webinar? Hit the keyboard and start sharing your thoughts and ideas via your blog, ebooks, guest articles, and other written content. For internet marketers, this gives readers a taste of what they can expect from your product. If you sell physical products, it provides the perfect opportunity to share useful tips and other important information with your buyers.
Of course, there’s another important benefit to content marketing, too: search engine optimization. Google and other search engines index the words on your website and use the information to present search results to their users. Content marketing is a tool you can use to make the most of these results and to bring more potential buyers to your website.

Paid Advertising

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, and plenty of other sites all offer paid placement, and with today’s powerful analytics tools, it’s easy to create ads and drive traffic inexpensively. Consider starting with Facebook, since the cost is low and it’s easy to target your ads to your ideal client. Once you’ve perfected your funnel, you can branch out into more costly ads with a larger reach, such as Google AdWords or another ad network.

Don’t limit yourself to these three marketing methods though. There are dozens of others you can try, including affiliate programs, automated funnels, direct mail campaigns, and even television advertising. The key is to keep testing and tweaking to make the most of every marketing effort so that your business continues to grow.

The Art of the Soft Sell: How to Get the Click on Your Sales Page Without (Really) Asking for It

We’ve all seen those old-style sales pages filled with yellow highlights and screaming red text and lots of “BUY NOW” buttons, and when we think of copywriting, that’s often what comes to mind. While that style of sales page can be effective, it’s not the only way to make sales.
In fact, by taking a more subtle approach, you might even find that you generate more interest—and potentially more sales.

Stories Sell

One effective way to entice readers to click through to your sales page is with stories. These can be your stories or those of other people, with the goal of helping your readers to see themselves in the same situation.
Did you help a client turn her chaotic household into a calm oasis with better organizational skills? Her story on your sales page will get more clicks than all the yellow highlights you can buy.
What about that time you trashed your entire business plan and started over because you simply weren’t passionate about your work? Your potential business coaching clients will be anxious to learn more and will click through without you even asking.
That’s the power of stories, and you can use them everywhere: in your blog posts, in your emails, on your sales pages, and even in videos and on social media.

Be Genuinely Helpful

Want to build a reputation as the go-to person in your niche? All it takes is to help people. Answer questions on social media, volunteer to speak to groups who need your advice, write blog posts that address the most common issues your readers face.
By volunteering your time and knowledge, you’ll attract a wide audience of potential customers who may need your services in the future. Who will they turn to? That very helpful person who went out of their way to offer assistance in the past.
Now we’re not saying you have to give away all your time, but if you really want to show off your expertise, you can’t do better than a little volunteer work. Not only will you make an impression with the person you help. But chances are good they’ll share with their friends as well, further expanding your audience.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that there is no place in your business for a strong call to action. “Click here to buy” and “Learn more right now” are still useful (and even necessary) on sales and opt-in pages. The key is to know when to make a subtle offer, and when to offer a bit more hand-holding.

Quick and Easy Tweaks to Automate Your Sales Funnel

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read our disclosure for more info.

When it comes to leveraging your time, automation is the sharpest tool in your toolbox. It allows you to get more done in less time, and to smoothly move people through your sales funnel.

For many small business owners, though, that’s one area that’s often overlooked is your website.

Use Your Blog to Build Your Mailing List

Like any smart business owner, you likely have opt-in forms on your website. They’re in the sidebar or maybe the footer, and you might have a pop-up to capture attention as visitors are about to leave. (If you aren’t using pop-ups, you should be! Here’s my favorite WordPress plugin for pop-ups.)

But do you have a solid call to action at the end of your blog posts? When a new reader is finished consuming your posts, are they primed to learn more? Give them the opportunity by offering an opt-in at the end of each post.

Even better, make it a logical next step by creating a related offer for each post. Called a content upgrade, these offers typically consist of a simple checklist or worksheet and capture attention by providing even more information about a topic they’re already interested in. You can even customize the forms on each blog post with tags so you can target them further in your sales funnel.

Keep Them Reading With Related Links

How often do you revisit old blog posts to link to newer content? This is an important maintenance job that will help provide visitors with the information they’re looking for by linking related posts together.

Not only is this strategy good for keeping visitors on your site, but Google approves as well. Posts that link to each other encourage search engine bots to crawl your site more thoroughly and help boost the rankings of your most relevant posts.

[Hint: This is a perfect job for your VA.]

Make the Best of Your Download Pages

Whether you’re giving away a free report or paid product, your download pages can pull double-duty by offering visitors a “what’s next” option. For free download pages, a related, low-cost product is best. It gives readers the chance to learn more about you with a small investment.

For paid products, consider offering a complementary product instead. If you’re protecting your download pages with a membership script, you can even offer upsells based on what they already own, making the choice even easier for them.

And if you’re using a double-opt-in mailing list, make use of that confirmation page, too! That’s the perfect place for a quick upsell or an invitation to join you in your Facebook group or weekly Periscope.

Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow on your website: Whenever a reader lands on a page, she should be offered the next logical step. When you write your blog posts or create your download pages, keep that in mind, and your sales funnel will practically fill itself.

3 Proven Strategies for Small Business Owners to Increase Cash Flow

Is your small business struggling to make enough profit to pay the bills? Low cash flow and living paycheck to paycheck can be quite frustrating. Perhaps you started a small business so you could pursue your dream while earning money at the same time. If so, then you know that it isn’t always easy to get a small business to bring in the profits you’d like.

However, if you’re willing to work hard and have a good plan, there’s no limit to how far you can take your small business. Luckily, there are many ways to increase your current cash flow and free you from the threat of financial disaster.

Consider these strategies to increase your cash flow:

  1. Collect feedback. Many small business owners forget the importance of soliciting feedback from their clients. There are several effective ways to find out what your clients think about your products and services.
    • Ask the client to fill out a quick survey or questionnaire to rate various aspects of your business. These surveys can provide an excellent glimpse into your client’s point of view. There are many different websites that enable you to create simple surveys. Look online to find one that meets your needs.
    • Follow up with your clients with a phone-call or email asking for comments about your products or services. Inquire about which aspects they are satisfied with and which need some work.
    • Talk to your clients in person and ask them how they feel about their experiences with your business.
    • Remember, word of mouth is one of the best ways to advertise your business. If you have a bunch of satisfied customers, they’ll tell their friends and family about their positive experience and you’ll get more business.
  2. Get rid of products that don’t sell. It’s likely that you offer your customers a wide variety of products, but only a few of these products bring you maximum profit.
    • Sometimes a large inventory can work against your business. Customers often avoid buying altogether when they’re overwhelmed with options.
    • Instead of offering more products that likely won’t be sold, trash the unattractive products and offer more items or services related to your best-sellers. This is an excellent way to boost sales while reducing upkeep and inventory costs.
  3. Pursue unique marketing strategies. If your business is experiencing a steep drop in sales, there must be a reason. It could be that your marketing techniques are simply not as effective as you thought. Consider alternative marketing techniques.
    • Think about marketing your business online. It’s becoming easier with each passing day and more people are prone to search the internet for better deals. Businesses that have online order options are often much more successful. It’s a perfect way to increase cash flow.
    • Get the word out. Take advantage of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Check out our Social Media services to see how we can help with this part!
    • Radio advertisements, commercials, billboards, and flyers all increase the visibility of your business. Sometimes, direct marketing is just as effective.

By using these strategies you can boost sales and increase the revenue of your business. Once these strategies have been implemented, there will be no need to worry about how you’re going to pay the next bill. You’ll finally have the money to live the life that you’ve dreamed of.

It just requires determination, persistence, creativity, and an open mind to make your business successful. Test different strategies and stick to the ones that work best for you. Your efforts will be worth it once you see those increased profits.

Have you used these, or any other, strategies to increase your small business’ cash flow? How did it go?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Health-Related Facebook Pages Could See Downgraded Posts for Sensationalist Health Claims

Last Tuesday, July 2, 2019, Facebook announced that they implemented two new post ranking updates to their most recent algorithm which was released last month. These updates target Pages that post “exaggerated or sensational health claims [or are] attempting to sell products or services based on health-related claims.” According to Travis Yeh, Facebook Product Manager, the reason behind this change to the algorithm is to “improve the quality of information in News Feed.”

Examples of the types of posts that would be downgraded were provided by Facebook. However, they leave a lot of room for interpretation. In our opinion, that means that there will be a lot of misidentified posts. The only good news is that Facebook won’t block the identified posts. Instead, they will be shown lower in the News Feeds of your followers.

Here’s what Facebook says about how they are evaluating posts through this new lens:

“We consider if a post about health exaggerates or misleads — for example, making a sensational claim about a miracle cure [and] we consider if a post promotes a product or service based on a health-related claim — for example, promoting a medication or pill claiming to help you lose weight.”

As you can see, their definitions are fairly broad, though they anticipate that a majority of Pages won’t see a significant change to their post distribution in News Feeds. They suggest that Pages should avoid sensationalist health claims and solicitation using health-related claims. In addition, any pages that do see a decrease in distribution can simply stop posting that sort of content.

These newest changes to the ranking algorithm come on the heels of another major change involving health-related posts. In March, Facebook announced that it would take strong action against Pages and Groups that “spread misinformation about vaccinations on Facebook.” Those types of posts will see harsher consequences than those discussed above. Spreading misinformation about vaccinations can completely exclude your Page or Group from recommendations on Facebook. Also, Facebook will reduce the distribution of posts made by offending Pages and Groups as well as rejecting ads with the offending content.

So how do you avoid this type of content if you’re in a health-related field?

As with most issues related to Facebook’s algorithms, this all comes down to word usage. The algorithm will indetify posts by searching for phrases commonly found in spammy health-related posts. Facebook has not said what phrases the algorithm will look for. We believe terms to avoid are things like “guaranteed results”, “lose weight fast”, and “risk-free”.

What do you think of this change? Do you think it will help reduce spam for users? Or will it just make more unnecessary headaches for business Page owners?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook Released 2019 Q1 Numbers on Automated Standards Enforcement

If you’ve been on Facebook for any amount of time (for business or personal use), it’s likely that you’ve had a post flagged for some sort of violation of Facebook’s community standards. As Facebook comes under more scrutiny for the content posted on their platform, they have increased the automated detection of said content. For the most part, this is a good thing, but there is a dark side to this increase in automated standards enforcement: misidentification.

In a recent report, Facebook gave an overview of how their automated detection is working. For the purposes of our post, we’re only going to focus on the spam numbers in the report. The report covers the first quarter of 2019 along with a broader view of the past year. Specifically, it shows the amount of content that Facebook has “taken action on” during that time period (meaning they removed the content, applied a warning screen to the content, or they disabled the account). According to the report, the amount of spam content that has had an action taken on it has more than doubled in the past year, going from 836 million in Q1 of 2018 to 1.76 billion in Q1 of 2019.

For the first quarter of 2019, they’ve added a new metric – they are now showing how much of the content that had action taken against it was restored, either by their own accord or because a user requested an appeal. They don’t have that information for any other time periods, so everyone is just going to have to wait and see how that metric increases or decreases in relation to the amount of spam identified.

To give Facebook some credit where credit is due, the report shows that in Q1 of 2019 only about 3% of the posts Facebook took action on were misidentified. That low of a percentage is great, but it still equals out to 44.2 million posts that were restored after being misidentified as spam. If one (or more) of your posts was part of that 3%, I’m sure you’d agree that it’s frustrating and troubling, to say the least, to have your content misidentified as spam. According to some users, having a post identified as spam can also cause problems in other areas, such as having your comments on other content flagged and locking you out of your account.

Overall, it appears that Facebook’s automated standards enforcement is doing its job, but because of the incredible amount of content shared on the platform every day, we feel like they might be struggling with getting it right. Regardless of our opinions though, one thing is certain, as Facebook continues to increase their automated standards enforcement, it’s likely that you will see an increase of spam notifications for content that you post on the platform.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s automated standards enforcement? Have you seen an increase in reported posts on your profile or pages?

Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter.