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 Unusual Places to Find Affiliate Partners

No matter how proudly you embrace the “solopreneur” title, there comes a time when you absolutely must reach out for help. And for savvy business owners, that help often comes in the form of affiliate partners.

Also called JV partners, affiliates act as your own private sales army, spreading the word about your products and services to a whole new audience—theirs. Not only do you reach people who might otherwise never encounter you, but you also benefit mightily from your affiliate’s existing relationships. By promoting you, an affiliate is endorsing you to their audience. They’re saying, “I know this seller; I trust them, and you should, too.”

But even with all those many benefits, coaches and product sellers sometimes struggle to find great partners. Sure, lots of people will register for your affiliate program, but the Pareto Principle is alive and well when it comes to affiliates: 20% of your partners will do 80% of the work. That means your goal is to recruit higher-performing partners.

The only question is, where do you find these great partners?

Pick Your Virtual Assistant’s Brain

Chances are good that your VA works for other business owners in similar niches. If you’re a business coach, they very likely work with several other coaches and they’re in a position to know…

  • Where their clients are in the business development cycle (ideally you want established partners, not newbies)
  • Their audience demographics (so they’ll know if they’re a good fit or not)
  • Their willingness to promote (some people simply don’t do affiliate partnership, so it’s a waste of time to approach them)

Look to Your Best Clients

Especially if you’re a business coach, your clients might just be your biggest fans—and they’re in a position to recommend you to friends, family, social connections, and elsewhere.

Be sure your clients all know that you offer a referral/affiliate program, how to sign up, and what the benefits are.

Your Competitors

It’s true—your competitors might just be your biggest affiliates if you give them a chance.

In some circles (such as business and relationship coaching) clients tend to “graduate” from one coach and move to another. This is normal and to be expected. And when you’re on good terms with your competitors, the coach their ex-clients move to might just be you.

Don’t be afraid to look in unusual places for your next affiliate partner. You really never know who can connect you with potential clients and partners. Think about all your relationships—from your team to your social circles to your competitors and colleagues—and consider all of their relationships and how far that might stretch. Then pick up the phone or draft an email and start leveraging your contacts!

6 Easy Ways to Energize Your Workday

While you’re at work, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with all the projects you’re juggling. Concentrating for a long period of time can be taxing both emotionally and physically. This often results in a tired mind, aching muscles, and a complete lack of energy. What can you do to revive and energize yourself during your workday while still being productive?

Check out these suggestions for incorporating short breaks into your daily work routine:

  1. Close your eyes and listen to three songs. Most people have their favorite music easily accessible on their phone, MP3 player, or other electronic devices. Choose music that relaxes you and if you can, put your head down on your desk and listen to three full songs.
    • Let your stress float away and clear your mind as you let the music flow in.
    • Music soothes the body and soul. After three songs, you’ll be surprised at how relaxed and energized you feel. You’ll regain the strength necessary to make it through the rest of the day.
  1. Shut your office door, prop your feet, and lean back. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and count backward from 50. You’ll be comforted by the sound and feel of your own ability to inhale and exhale. Then, open your eyes and you’ll feel refreshed.
  2. Take a brisk 10-minute walk. No matter how big or small your office, you can always take a stroll around the hallways or between the cubicles. If you need some fresh air, go outside and walk around the block. Getting your blood pumping at an optimum level will energize you and make you feel revitalized!
  3. Splash cool water on your face. Go to the restroom, splash cool water on your face and wrists, and then dry them off. Sometimes, cool stimulation to those areas is not only refreshing but can also wake you up if you’re feeling sleepy.
    • If you prefer, wet a paper towel with cool water. Then you can continually blot your face, neck, arms, and wrists to stimulate your senses.
    • It’s amazing how much this little break can perk you up, energize your mind, and allow your positive energy to flow again.
  1. Relax and rejuvenate with a power nap. If your employer allows you a 15-minute break in the afternoon, use it to take a nap. Even if you don’t usually take naps, give it a try.
    • Set your cell phone alarm for ten minutes and try to snooze. If you have your own office, close your door, get comfortable in your chair, and grab a few minutes of shut-eye. If you don’t have your own office, go out to your car or use an empty conference room.
    • When the alarm goes off, you still have five minutes left to take a brief walk around your department, grab a refreshing drink of water, or have quick chat in the break room.
  1. Go for a change of scenery. You might break out of your rut when you’re able to change your view.
    • If you work in a large office, try working in the conference room. You can even try sitting in a different chair or on the couch in your office.
    • If you work from home, take your laptop outside and sit on the porch to work. Or try working in the living room today if you’re the only one home.

Although work can be tedious, you have some choices in what you can do to relax, revitalize, and energize yourself throughout the day.

Use music, deep breathing techniques, walking, cool water splashes, power napping, and scenery changes in order to keep yourself alert and focused. These methods will help you embrace that next big project with optimism and renewed energy.

Which of these have you tried? How did they work?

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Eliminate All But The Essential Tasks: A Guide to De-Cluttering Your Life

If you have an endless list of tasks that need to be done, and most of us do, it can be overwhelming. The list just gets longer and longer each day because you can’t get today’s list completed, and more tasks just keep coming at you.

If you can pare your list of to-dos down the most important tasks, you can keep your planning and time management system simple. A simple list of the 3-5 most important things is all that nearly anyone needs to be very effective and successful.

Follow these steps to manage your time and make success your reality:

  1. Get rid of the extra stuff in your life. Unless you live like a monk, you have more stuff than you need or use. If it’s not important to your life, consider getting rid of it. You spend a lot of time and money on those things that provide minimal value. Eliminate the clutter in your life and you eliminate a lot of the clutter in your mind.
  2. Eliminate the trivial. Start by making a list of everything that you feel you need to get done. Cut the list in half, removing the things that aren’t absolutely necessary. Don’t worry; you can come back to those items later. Now go through the same process and cut the list in half again.
  3. Review your goals. What have goals got to do with eliminating all but the essential? Reviewing your goals allows you to see what tasks are most essential. Assuming that your goals are very important to you, they provide an excellent tool to evaluate which tasks are the most important to you.
  4. Be aware of what’s essential. The essential things are those that support your goals. Pay your bills on time, work toward your goals, and take care of yourself and your family. Life is short; spend it on the most important stuff.
  5. Evaluate your other commitments. Is the weekly poker game worth it? Golf every Wednesday? Clubs, charities, committees, and more all take time. Eliminate the extra activities that mean the least to you. This includes all the people in your life, too. Some people you’re stuck with, others are optional.
  6. Minimize your sources of information. We all spend too much time receiving information and too little time doing worthwhile tasks. Cut back on TV, newspapers, browsing the Internet, email, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s largely wasted time that could be better spent.
  7. Review your list regularly. Periodically, take a look at your list of things to do and go back through the elimination process. Don’t worry about the stuff that gets axed. If it’s important, it will come back around after the really important stuff gets done.

We have a tendency to do the things that are the easiest; what’s important is to do the critical few items each day. Simply ask yourself what the advantage is to getting an item done and what is the disadvantage to not getting it done. Don’t choose tasks based on what is the quickest or most enjoyable; that’s what average people do. Be exceptional and do the most important items. If you spend all day on important tasks, your life will be remarkable.

Life doesn’t have to be an endless list of obligations. The key is to recognize that only the most important tasks really matter. When you can see that, you feel free to start chopping obligations.

Most of us major in minor things. Focus on the most important stuff and feel comfortable letting the rest slide. You’ll have more free time and your life will change for the better.

Did any of these tips really “speak” to you regarding how to de-clutter your life?

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What is Success?

How do you define success? Would you consider yourself successful to be at a C-level position in a big organization or to be your own boss in a small business? To many, success is obvious. It’s a life that includes a nice car, a fine home, an impressive job, and an attractive spouse. Yet, people with all of these things aren’t any happier than those with less impressive lives. It’s because all of those achievements only serve to impress others. They do little to enhance the quality of your life.

Those with large homes still spend 80% of their time in just a couple of rooms. A $20,000 car provides just as reliable transportation as an $80,000 car. Even the most attractive people can become tiresome after a short period of time.

Success in the western world is too focused on showing off to your friends, family, and neighbors. It doesn’t focus on what will make you happy. You can’t find happiness by trying to impress others. You only show yourself that your own interests aren’t important.

Redefine success with your own definition:

  1. What is your passion? If you can determine the central focus of your life, everything else becomes much easier to determine. Do you want to write a great novel? Focus the next 25 years on creating and raising a family? Explore the world? Explore yourself?
  2. What do you like to do? Most people consider money first, but what would you like to spend eight hours per day doing for 40+ years? Of course, you’ll need to make enough money to pay your bills and pursue your passion.
    • Let’s assume that your passion is writing. Your career choice should support your interest in writing. That means your income is sufficient to be fully engaged in your writing activities. You might even consider a career related to writing, such as an editor.
  3. Your choice of living accommodations can also support your passion or be an obstacle. A home that is too big can require too much of your time to maintain or require too many financial resources relative to your income. You might also have to hire staff or housekeeping service to help. Managing those people is a drain on your time and focus.
    • Do you need to live in the city, country, or suburbs to support what you truly desire? How many bedrooms would be ideal?
  1. How much free time do you want to have? This isn’t just free time to pursue your passion, it’s also free time to enjoy other things in life, such as your family, friends, hobbies, or attending the ballet. A successful life would include enough free time to satisfy all of your interests. Your choice of career is a big part of this.
    • Limiting your non-essential activities is also necessary to create the free time you desire. Avoid joining clubs, committees, and other voluntary activities that don’t add sufficient quality to your life.
  1. Consider the end of your life. Imagine you only have a few months to live. What would you like to look back upon? Think about the kind of life you’d have to live to feel good at the end of it. Your time is limited, so make the most of it.

Truly, a successful life is one that allows you to accomplish or experience those things you consider to be most important. Those accomplishments won’t be the same for everyone. Avoid allowing society to determine the definition of success. Decide what is most important to you and then create a life that supports those things.

Pursuing society’s definition of success will result in confusion, resentment, and disenchantment. Be brave enough to find your own path.

How do you define success? Do you have any tips or ideas for learning how to redefine success in your own life?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

A Remote Worker’s Guide to Balancing Home and Work

Regardless if you do remote work and punch a clock or if you’re a business owner that works from home, balancing your home and career can be a challenge. As a remote worker, how do you allocate your time between personal and professional responsibilities? How can you focus on conference calls when you’re surrounded by dirty laundry?

Learn how to set priorities and reduce distractions whether you’re new to remote work or you moved out of your cubicle years ago. Use these tips for staying peaceful and productive when you work from home.

Steps to Take by Yourself:

  1. Follow a schedule. Set a start and end time for your day. Tackle your most challenging tasks during the hours when you’re at your peak. When it’s time to quit for the day, leave your job behind.
  2. Design an office. Designate a separate space for business. It could be a whole room or a corner in your dining room. Decorate your space with pictures, art, and objects that you find inspirational and uplifting.
  3. Change clothes. You may not want to wear a suit and tie but changing out of your pajamas will help you to feel more professional. Hang up your bathrobe and get dressed each morning.
  4. Limit distractions. Do you waste time watching TV or checking social media? Ban leisure activities during business hours except during break times.
  5. Take breaks. Speaking of breaks, take them. You’ll be more productive if you refresh your mind and body periodically.
  6. Wind down. Do something at the end of each day to help you transition into an off-duty mindset. You might listen to classical music or take a walk in the park.
  7. Get organized. Create routines and systems that encourage efficiency. Buy a cabinet for your office supplies. Use an online calendar to block out your time.
  8. Continue learning. Career development matters whether you work at your dining room table or in a corner office. Take a course online or order a catalog for the adult education program at a local university. Read industry publications and general business news. Check out our blog for ideas on how to continue learning!
  9. Evaluate your performance. Conduct your own job evaluations. Look for ways to increase quality, save time, and manage stress. Update your strategy as your goals evolve.

Steps to Take with Your Family, Friends, and Colleagues:

  1. Talk with your boss or family. It will be easier to balance your life when you and your boss/family agree on overall expectations. Negotiate the flexibility you need to succeed.
  2. Post your hours. Ensure your boss, coworkers, and family members know the hours that you’re available. Discuss arrangements for how to deal with emergencies that occur outside of those times.
  3. Go out for lunch. Your midday meal is a daily opportunity to stay connected while you work at home. Plan a weekly date at a local cafe to catch up with your office friends or other employees who work from home. If you’re unable to meet in person, schedule it as a video chat so you can still enjoy the socialization that you miss with remote work.
  4. Remain visible. Make business lunches and other events part of your strategy for cultivating your network. Show up at the office (or in the video chats) on a regular basis for staff meetings, birthday parties, and other gatherings (if you don’t have those types of gatherings at your work, suggest them!) Volunteer at the local chapter of your professional association.
  5. Pull together. A strong support network helps you to build your confidence and accomplish more. Ask your family and friends for the emotional and practical assistance you need. Let them know how much you appreciate them and pitch in when they need a hand too.

You don’t have to give up life balance when you give up your commute. Enjoy more health and happiness by drawing sensible boundaries between your personal and professional activities.

Do you have any other tips for creating a happier remote work environment?

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Entrepreneurs: 3 Crucial Questions That Can Increase Your Profits

A high percentage of people who opt to run their own business find themselves working longer hours for less money than the job they worked so hard to escape from. That’s not all bad news, though, because they at least have the freedom that they craved. They don’t have to answer to anyone. But is that all there is? Isn’t there a way to have that AND increase your profits?

It Could All Be So Different

If you started a business of your own, and within a year it was making twice the salary of your current job, you would be pretty happy, right? But what if, in addition to that, you were only working half the hours of your current job?

So, now you’re working half the hours for twice the pay. Nobody is telling you what to do. Plus, there’s no commute. How would that feel to you? Pretty good, right? How would that go down in your social circle? Do you think your friends would be a little envious?

You would have time to take your kids to school, learn new skills, get in shape, make new plans, and the money to fund them. THAT is what most people would call a fantastic business!

Most people would find this a very attractive proposition. But is it possible? Of course, it’s possible! Thousands of people are already doing exactly that and more, and so can you.

How Can I Do Better?

If you want greater profits from your business, it’s important to perform regular and specific reviews of all aspects of your business.

You’ll want to know what’s working, what’s working the best, and how you can do more of that.

You’ll want to figure out what’s not working, too, so you can determine why that doesn’t work or how you could improve or replace your process. If neither is possible, just stop doing that.

Finally, ask yourself the question, “How can I do better?”

Albert Einstein once said, “It’s impossible to solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it.” So, you might need some help on this one. Your best resource is to talk with someone who has faced these issues before and found effective solutions for them. Click here to contact us now – we would love to help you hash out these issues.

True entrepreneurs never waste time or energy re-inventing the wheel. They just go and talk with the guy who created the wheel in the first place.

Here’s a tip that seasoned business owners use:

When reviewing business strategies, most people come from the “What’s wrong and how can I fix it” perspective.

Here’s a better idea:

Start from “What’s right about this issue?” When you come from a positive perspective, your creativity for problem-solving is switched on and in alignment before your start.

This creativity could very well transform your business from a good business into a fantastic business!

Let’s look at how.

The Five Right Questions

Asking yourself these questions will lead you to the answers you seek:

  1. What’s right about this issue/situation/strategy? Get clarity on the task at hand.
  2. What makes it right? Get specific. What is it about those things that make it an effective process for this situation?
  3. What would be ideal? Get creative. What would be the absolute ideal strategy/solution for this issue?
  4. What’s missing that could bring about the ideal situation? Get resourceful. What do we need to find, create, add, or invent to reach this ideal?
  5. What will it take to put in what’s missing, so we can bring about the ideal? Get busy. What is it going to take to make this issue/strategy/situation ideal?

Using the “What’s right?” perspective will, over time, change your complete mindset for everything – not just your business, but your personal and family life, too. Just think of how many conflicts occur each day in the home where the words “What’s wrong” describe their mindset.

Try it yourself the very next time a conflict shows up in your life and see how different your whole attitude becomes immediately.

30 Day Reviews

It would be good business practice to sit down every 30 days and review the answers to these questions:

  1. What action did I take this month to support my business?
  2. What action did I take this month to grow my business?
  3. What action did I take this month to improve my effectiveness?
  4. What action did I take this month to improve my efficiency?
  5. What specific results have I created this month through my efforts?
  6. How can I do better next month?

Onward and Upward

The truth is, the more decisions you make, and the more action you take, the more efficient you become. And the more efficient you become, the better results you’ll create. Plus, it will take you progressively less time to achieve those results!

This is why seeking the advice of seasoned professionals is a key strategy in creating a fantastic business! Talk to fellow entrepreneurs and ask for their advice.

The really smart ones will suggest you hire a Coach. All the most seasoned entrepreneurs have at least one Coach. Ask for a referral if you can.

A Coach can help you make profitable decisions, take effective actions, and streamline your thinking. It’s like having a business partner that you don’t have to split the profits with. Or having a high-value employee without having to pay for taxes and medical benefits. It will save you more money than it costs!

So, making greater profits in your business comes down to these important questions: What’s working? What’s not? How can I do better? Answer these on a regular basis and reap the benefits!

We would love to know the answers to those questions in your own business: what’s working? what’s not? how can I do better?

Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.

11 Quick Tips to Add Hours to Your Day and Be More Productive

As business owners, we’re all stretched for time. You can’t wave a magic wand and make the day longer. But there are things you can do to save time. And there are things you can do to maximize what you accomplish with your time. In essence, you can add hours to your day.

This will require a change in your habits, but many of these strategies are self-rewarding. Once you see the benefits to be gained, you’ll be motivated to continue.

Follow these tips to add hours to your day and accomplish more:

  1. Put things away when you’re done with them. Rather than creating clutter that gets in your way and is emotionally distracting, put things away when you’re done using them. Tell yourself that a task isn’t complete until everything is picked up.
  2. Do easy things during your least productive hours. Everyone has a time of day when their physical or mental energy is low. Schedule easy tasks during these times. It can be a good time to read emails, file papers, or tidy up.
  3. Do your most challenging tasks during your most productive hours. Likewise, you have a time of day when your focus and energy are high. Do your most challenging tasks during this time.
  4. Reduce the amount of time spent on low-value activities. You might be surprised by how much time you spend watching TV, surfing the internet, or texting friends. Putting this time to better use can easily add a few hours of productive time for most people.
  5. Batch your activities. Answer all of your emails at once. Pay all of your bills twice a month. Remember that it takes time to switch tasks and regain your focus.
  6. Make use of waiting time. If you’re stuck in traffic, make your phone calls. If you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, deal with your email. Waiting for your child to get dressed? Clean up the kitchen.
  7. Track your time. The average person has little idea about how they spend their time. Track how you spend your time for a week. Every 30 minutes record how you spent the last half-hour. Divide your activities into different categories and see how much time you spend on each.
  8. Get help. Ask for help at work. Give your spouse or children some tasks to do at home. Is your mother constantly asking you if she can help? Give her something to do.
    • Hire someone to mow your grass.
    • Hire a cleaning service.
    • Buy your groceries online and have them delivered.
    • Pay someone to run your errands.
  9. Schedule your day. Make the most of each day by making a schedule and sticking to it. Decide the most important tasks that need to be done and do those. You’ll waste less time and add hours to your day.
  10. Go to bed earlier. Most people don’t accomplish a lot in the evening. Shorten your evening by going to bed earlier. Then, you can add hours to your morning by getting up earlier. There are very few high-achievers that don’t get up early every day.
  11. Eliminate distractions. Turn off your phone. Use white noise to drown out distracting sounds. Close all of your computer windows and tabs other than what is needed. If you can get more accomplished each hour, you’re adding hours to your day.

The length of a day is fixed. After sleeping, there are a finite number of hours left. You can’t make the day longer, but you can get more out of each day. Get as much out of each day as you can. The more effective you are at using your time, the more success and free time you’ll enjoy.

Do you have any other tips for stretching the hours in the day?

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