Quick and Easy Tweaks to Automate Your Sales Funnel

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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?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

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?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.