Tag Archive | "Methods"

12 Methods to Get from Blank Page to First Draft

If you’re like me, after taking some time off from writing, you’re refreshed and champing at the bit to translate…

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4 Unexpected Methods for Becoming an Authority on Nearly Any Subject

simple steps to master your topic

The key to online success is authority. The key to authority is knowing what the heck you’re talking about and being able to express it well.

So, what’s the key to knowing what the heck you’re talking about?

One of the things that holds people back from creating content-driven websites is the insecurity that they’ll never be able to learn enough to be an expert.

Here are four unexpected ways to become insanely knowledgeable about nearly any subject under the sun.

1. If you’re a one-eyed man, work with that

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

You’re not going to get to Nobel-prize-winning authority status using what you read in this blog post. (Although if you think you are, kudos to you for thinking big.)

There will always be people who are smarter, more skilled, and more knowledgeable than you are. Don’t let that get you down.

You don’t have to be Richard Feynman to teach high school physics. You don’t have to be Joshua Bell to teach violin to a three-year-old.

Sure, you want to be the “best in the world.” But to be the best in your world, you don’t have to be the entire planet’s foremost authority on your topic.

You could be the foremost expert in a particular online forum. You might be the biggest expert in your town. If you’re the best in the place where your customers hang out, you’re the best.

Don’t turn your nose up at being a big fish in a small pond. There’s a lot of success, satisfaction, and wealth to be found in small ponds.

And all of those folks who truly are wiser about your topic than you are? Those are your teachers and mentors, whether or not you ever meet them face to face.

Study what they’ve written. Synthesize their work into your own. Give them ample credit for educating you. Openly acknowledging your debt to them doesn’t diminish your authority — in fact, it enhances it.

2. Make complicated topics easy to understand

You might not be the planet’s greatest authority on your topic. But it’s possible for you to become the most accessible authority.

Make life better for your customers by taking something hard and making it easy.

Take boring scholarly articles and turn them into interesting audio recordings. Take complicated diagrams and turn them into good stories. Take books written 40 or 50 years ago, update the language and the examples, and turn them into Camtasia videos.

If I want to learn to cook Italian food, I may not be ready for a renowned master like Massimo Bottura. I might want the simple recipes and breezy style of Rachael Ray.

3. In order to learn, teach

There’s no better way to become a master than to find some fellow apprentices and start teaching them.

You start by teaching the folks who know absolutely nothing and don’t know how to find the basics for themselves. (Or who just don’t want to.) Teach the tried-and-true.

It doesn’t matter how many other people are doing it. Do it well, put your own personality into it, and you’ll find students.

As you teach, you’ll find that the “simple stuff” gains a new depth and richness. You’ll start to see things about your topic that you never did before. And as you keep learning, you’ll be able to teach more and more sophisticated students.

Before you know it, you’re an authority.

You can study for decades and not learn what you can by teaching for a month or two. Just remember to be honest about your skill and experience level, and you’ll find the right students for you.

4. Commit to a sincere desire to help

Your goal in becoming an expert isn’t to look and feel like a giant smartypants. It’s to help your readers and customers.

You might want to neatly letter this on a card and stick it somewhere you can see every time you use your computer:

It’s not about you.

Blowhards and know-it-alls have a tough time online. The “social” nature of social media means there’s always someone with a pin looking to deflate that bloated ego. When you try to position yourself as “the smartest guy in the room,” you’ll find yourself ducking constant potshots.

On the other hand, serious students are rewarded. (They still get potshots, but they have a community to help deflect them.) When you approach your subject with curiosity, modesty, and a sincere desire to help, you’ll find raving fans.

As long as you always keep your audience and their needs at the forefront, you can’t lose.

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Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on January 23, 2009.

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Site Search Solutions: 3 methods for implementing search on your site

As your site grows in size, choosing the right site search method will become an important factor in keeping your content available for visitors. Learn about three site search implementation methods that you can use to help keep your site running smoothly.
MarketingSherpa Blog

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3 Simple Storytelling Methods That Can Do Your Selling For You

image of maverick giving us the thumbs up

Sometimes this gets me in trouble with the hardcore copywriters …

I believe a story can potentially carry the entire sale for your product, even if everything else is technically “wrong” in your ads (no clear call to action, lame bullets, weak offer, etc).

Take the 1986 box office hit “Top Gun”, for example.

Top Gun is about a couple of hotshot Naval pilots given a chance to train with the “best of the best” pilots in the world at the “Top Gun” fighter pilot school. And it was, in many ways, an extremely profitable sales letter.

Here’s why …

After the movie was released:

  1. Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses (the kind Tom Cruise’s character “Maverick” wore) jumped 40%
  2. Air Force and Navy recruitment shot through the roof

The movie was so good at “selling” the young whippersnappers of the day on how cool being a fighter pilot is, recruitment booths were set up inside theaters it played in!

Behold, the selling power of stories

Nothing in “Top Gun” movie told you to buy Maverick’s brand of sunglasses or join The Navy. But the movie “sold” both products to hordes of people.

So, how do you apply this to your marketing?

Below are 3 storytelling methods I’ve used in some of my most profitable sales letters, emails and other marketing campaigns.

I did not invent any of them (they’ve been around for centuries).

And they’re not the only ways to do it. But they’re simple, easy to write, and get the job done.

1. The personal story

This is one of the most common landing page stories.

This one is simple — you just “walk” people (step-by-step) through a painful problem you went through and how you achieved the result your readers are looking for.

For example:

If you sell an eBook on how to get rid of painful urinary tract infections, you would tell the story about all the pain your urinary tract infection caused you — including what it was like, how nothing gave you relief, and the embarrassment, humiliation and other physical (and psychological/emotional) horrors you endured.

Then, you segue into how you figured out a way to get rid of that infection and how you wrote your solution down in a short, easy-to-read eBook …

See how that works?

You walk them through all the worst parts of the problem (the exact symptoms your readers are experiencing) and then lead them to how you solved the problem (i.e. your product).

Very simple.

And, very easy to write, too — just tell your story.

2. The historical story

This kind of story is extremely persuasive, contains nothing even remotely resembling “hype,” and can persuade people to buy things they otherwise might ignore.

Here’s a real life example:

Once upon a time, I had to write an ad selling a grappling DVD course to adult men who hate the thought of having to sweat or roll around in a dirty dojo, etc. (They wanted the instant-tough-guy “push button ninja” solution to self defense.)

So I had to make grappling sound sexy and cool.

What did I do?

Nothing earth shattering — just some simple research online (maybe 30 minutes, nothing big) and found how certain people used grappling and wrestling in ancient Roman coliseums to fight lions … barehanded. I also read how ancient Samurai used to terrorize westerners in battle with their “bizarre” way of fighting … in other words, grappling.

So I told those stories in the ad.

And suddenly, grappling went from something that seemed dirty and sweaty and unappealing … to something exciting and fun.

Yes, this takes extra research.

But the extra sales are more than worth it …

3. The “meet the guru” story

This one is related to the personal story, but it’s got more “pop” due the built-in credibility it gives you.

With this format, you tell a story about how you met/talked with a guru who showed you how to solve the problem your product is about. It can be as simple as some time you spent with them on the phone … to something as dramatic as traveling up a forbidden mountain in Tibet to learn at their feet (assuming that’s true — telling a story never gives you a license to lie).

So it’s like a rite of passage:

You had a problem (one that your market shares).

You found an expert who helped you solve it.

That expert then passed his/her wisdom on to you, and now you are passing that on to your customers.

And they lived happily ever after …

And that’s all there is to it, three persuasive storytelling formats — proven to work.

Never underestimate the power of stories.

They are the chief means by which humans have communicated for thousands of years, and we’re all “hard wired” to be persuaded by them.

Use them in your marketing and soon you’ll be telling stories about all the money you’re making …

About the Author: Ben Settle is a direct response copywriter and email marketing strategist. Although Ben no longer accepts clients, he gives away over 700 pages of his bestselling ideas and insights free at BenSettle.com.



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My Top 5 Favorite Passive Income Methods

Whether passive income exists is an age old debate, which in my opinion will never be resolved. It all comes down to our individual definitions of the term.

Without “duking” out whose definition is more accurate, here are my top 5 favorite passive income avenues. No matter how you define passive income, each of these has some characteristics that I am positive will meet your definition as well.

1. Inheritance

Didn’t we all wish we had a rich uncle who loved us so much that he decided to name us the beneficiary of his entire estate? It only happens in movies from my recollection, but this is by far the quickest and easiest way to benefit from a passive cash windfall.

All jokes aside, though massive inheritance cases are far and few, inheritances ‘happen’ everyday to all kinds of people in all corners of the world. The beauty of it is that YOU DO NOT have to create the initial capital needed to benefit from the passive income stream.

2. Interest On Certificates Of Deposit / Fixed Deposit

id="more-7544">I like this avenue because it not only provides a nice passive stream of income, but also protects your hard earned capital over the years, months, weeks, minutes or seconds (if you inherited it I suppose).

As long as your money is protected or insured (example: FDIC insurance in the USA for up to $ 250,000 per account or RBIReserve Bank of India insurance up to $ 1M on foreign deposits), you can sleep well at night knowing your cash is safe and earning interest income.

Of course, the historically low rates in the USA are not helping right now, but if you are in a country that pays in the double digit interest rate margin, you may be profiting nicely from this scheme. I just hope your country’s inflation is not as high or higher as well.

The challenge in capitalizing from this passive income stream is obvious. You need to build a capital base first on which you can earn the income.

3. Royalties / Franchise Fees

This one always intrigues me. I wished I had the genius to come up with an idea / patent and license it out in exchange for royalties. Either that or starting a burger joint like “In and Out” that blows people’s mind with their “secret sauce” so that I can franchise the concept and collect on franchisor fees.

Unfortunately, I have neither going on for me, and that is why this one made it to my list of top 5 favorite, but not my list of the top 5 of MY highest passive income earners.

4. Rental Income

This is one I currently capitalize on and enjoy a lot. I like the cash flow I receive monthly, the equity I build with each passing month (mortgage balance is reduced over time), the potential long term appreciation of the property and the short term tax benefits from depreciation and what have you.

The challenge here is that you must understand real estate investing, and execute it to where you have investment property that generates passive income. Similar to accumulating a capital base on which to earn interest, this endeavor can also initially be capital intensive.

5. Internet Income

You can’t deny it, but you GOTTA love this one. Aside from a fat inheritance, what other platform allows you to create something (a lot of things) from nothing? With a mere $ 10 investment in a domain name and another $ 20 in hosting, you can be flying with the pigs.

There are so many ways to monetize your website or blog online. I currently capitalize from at least seven different income streams from my portfolio of niche websites. I generate profits from private advertisement, public ads such as Google Adsense, sales of my digital products such as e-books, lead generation and referrals, affiliate commissions and a few others.

The success of my websites and blog have also led to several one on one coaching and consulting type gigs, with both individuals and small companies. The experience has truly been rewarding and I really enjoy this passive income avenue.

But is this avenue truly passive? Not in the beginning, no way. You can toil for years before the fruits of your labor start paying off. From personal experience, once it starts raining, it pours. And the beauty is that it pours harder automatically on its own with each passing day, week, month, year.

Concluding Thoughts

I am not a trust fund baby. I have not yet and do not anticipate benefiting from an inheritance. That said, I have managed to amass a decent amount of cash on which I am generating a solid passive interest income stream.

I don’t think anything can get any more passive than inheriting wealth (maybe finding a stash of cash on the street can be), but aside from that unlikely scenario, interest income on your savings is the epitome of passive income in my humble opinion.

If you are wondering why dividend investing is not part of my list, I don’t particularly rank that avenue as high as these five because of the risk / uncertainty component attached to it. That said, a portfolio built carefully to yield dividend income can provide a nice trickle of passive income over time.

Anyway, these are five solid passive income avenues, which are my favorite, but not necessarily my 5 top earning passive income streams. Perhaps in my next post I can talk about my personal top 5 earning passive income streams?

What about you? What are your favorite passive income avenues? What are your current top passive income earning streams? />


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5 Methods for Connecting Online and Offline Marketing

offline and online marketingInbound marketing is awesome, but let’s be honest: many marketers are still doing a mix of inbound and outbound marketing. The challenge in using both online and offline marketing tactics is integrating them in an effort to generate even better results than just one tactic would have experienced on its own.

At first, this idea might seem contradictory. How do online and offline marketing work together? One key factor is analytics, among others. Check this list for some of the best ways to connect online and offline marketing.

5 Methods for Connecting Online and Offline Marketing

1. Tracking URLs – The web is great for analytics. When using offline tactics like print advertising or outdoor advertising, be sure to use unique tracking URLS for the URLs you add within each separate advertisement and placement. These URLs will serve as redirects that your web analytics would track, but send the visitors all to one core page with your central offer. This method allows you to understand which segment of your conversions are from your offline tactics.

2. Social Media Driving Offline Traffic – Do you exhibit at tradeshows? How do you get traffic to your booth? Sure, giveaways and spending lots of money is one way, but why not supplement that with some online promotion using social media and your corporate blog to promote your presence at the tradeshow? Use your online reach to educate people why they should stop by and connect with your team in an offline situation. Consider offering something exclusive to social media followers who stop by your booth.

3. QR Codes – Mobile technology is huge. One aspect of mobile that is gaining traction with marketers is QR codes. These 2 dimensional barcodes allow someone in an offline situation to use their mobile phone to scan a code that automatically performs a specific action such as taking them to a website, showing them a video, sending them a text message, etc. QR codes can be a powerful tool to link offline and online efforts. Read more about what you should know about QR codes in a recent article we published.

4. Offline Reach Building – Do you include URLs for your social media accounts in your offline marketing materials? You should. When working to build online reach, including your account information in offline materials can help inform potential social media connections who may have never known about your online content. The next time you are printing brochures or designing an ad, make sure to include your social media profile URLS (e.g. http://twitter.com/hubspot or http://facebook.com/hubspot) to encourage people who find you offline to follow you online, too. Avoid simply including logos for Twitter and Facebook without providing your URLs. This doesn’t help your business; rather, it’s free advertising for those social networks.

5. Social Media Lead Intelligence – Unfortunately, buying leads and cold calling still happens. If you are still purchasing leads for your sales team, at least help them improve their close rate by teaching them or providing them with online data and background information about the lead. Even if it’s just teaching your sales team how to do search on LinkedIn to identify the lead’s background and interests, these details can be instrumental in helping to build trust with new prospects.

What methods have you used for successfully connecting your offline and online marketing?

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