About Learning

Johannes Stockburger writing about  learningForgetting learning was the one huge mistake I did a few years ago. I was just content with the system that was working for me. I was building a travel agency using Google Adwords, and it worked fine for me. I got new customers, albeit for a price. But through repeat purchases the expenses were coming back.
Next came the meltdown of the financs system 2008. I added money to increase the exposire, but the return was shrinking. This bankrupted me almost, before I just stopped advertisements and worked only with the customers I already had. I improved the service and concentrated on the customers who appreciated my work. Business was growing nicely, and with it profitability. But then in 2012, the crisis of the Euro zone flared up, shrinking the activity of my best customers. Now, I had foreseen this and prepared to add another income stream from publishing. Here I could reach the whole world, depending less on the Euro Zone and its problems.

In Two Years Back to the Newbie-Level

But when I returned in 2011 to build a business using the internet as main communication media, I found that not a single one of my old methods and techniques from the time prior to 2008 was still working. I found myself reduced to the position of a newbie. And worse, it tokk me some time to realize this. There were so many new things:

  • Government regulations have changed. Today it is in Germany courts even raise questions about the double-opt-in routine. Some judges classify the first email sent after a user requested to join a mailing list through a web formas SPAM. There have also been big changes around the use of testimonials and endorsements.
  • Email deliverability and click-through-rates are dramatically down.
  • The way search engines evaluate and rank websites has changed dramatically.
  • Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are now hugely important.
  • Video is in everybody’s reach and absolutely necessary, if you want to build an audience.
  • Publishing ebooks and even printed books is now in reach for everybody.

These are huge changes, and all happened just in a few years. This dynamic is full of opportunities. But if you ignore learning and fall into the trap of doing things the way you always did, this fast flow of change is deadly.

How to Embed Learning into the Daily Work Routine

The only way to survive and thrive is to stay on top of the game and adapt constantly. The question is: how to do this without getting paralyzed and overwhelmed?

Here are some of the answers:

  • Stay connected to the top people in each field, listen to their discussions and whatch what they are doing.
  • Select people with a strong desire to learn to share your working day.
  • Join a mastermind group. Share your observations and brainstorm for solutions.
  • Observe your customer’s feedback closely. Do not rely only on words, watch their behavior.
  • Automate mechanical tasks and processes to avoid being eaten up by daily chores. This allows you to keep learning.
  • Consider outsourcing tasks which can be done better and cheaper by specialists.
  • Develop several income streams. This allows you to react flexibly on sudden changes.
  • Do not allow stress ruling your work experience.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more possible ways to integrate learning into your day. But I think, the key is to create a working environment fostering an open mind, curiosity and happiness.

Marketing Strategies with a WordPress Blog

Everybody shouts “Facebook marketing!” Why bother to create marketing strategies with a WordPress blog? The answer is simple: A sports car cannot replace a tractor; neither can the tractor replace a sports car. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or LinkedIn can give you exposure. But the WordPress blog can fill the role of the work horse in your marketing strategy. Through your blog you can lend a hand to your prospects, guiding them from the moment they expressed interest by clicking on the link leading to your blog through the decision process until they have a burning desire to reap the benefits of your product or service. At the end of this way your prospect should be ready to proceed to the sales page and buy. To say the same in a more formal language: In your marketing strategy our WordPress blog should take care of the desire part of the AIDA sequence.

How can marketing strategies with a WordPress blog foster the growth of desire in a prospect’s mind? There are several ways a blog can help you out to reach that goal:

  1. Post regularly to highlight different benefits of your service without exhausting your readers.
  2. Provide samples to help you prospects quickly and gain credibility
  3. Ask for comments to learn what your prospects think and gain social proof
  4. Control the environment to keep you audience focused.

Our marketing strategies with a WordPress blog use an indirect approach. We do not try to push our prospect to buy. We provide for our audience a context where everybody can try and feel how much safer, more enjoyable and richer his life could become by using our products or services. We provide free samples and explain how to use them. We give people the opportunity to comment on our samples and explanations. Readers can ask questions, suggest improvements and tell us how they use our content. Obviously we remove spam comments, and we will never allow people to hurt others with their comments.

Another important component of my marketing strategy is the blog feed. WordPress automatically creates feeds of posts, and also of comments. This helps to alert people about fresh content, highlighting new aspects of the offer. I use Google’s Feedburner service to get an idea how many people are really keen to see my content as soon as I post it.

Email is also a regular component of our marketing strategies with a WordPress blog. We offer email subscriptions throughout the blog and use the lists to offer extra samples and goodies. Subscribers receive also alerts when we post fresh content on the blog, and if we have any special offers.

We also mail related offers and alerts about valuable content from other publishers, provided they add extra value to our readers.

In Customer’s Shoes

Test with Adwords, Then Make Money with Twitter? Wrong!
I used to think: Write a sales page, drive Google Adwords traffic, test it. With a decent conversion rate, start to drive serious traffic from social media, banner ads, etc. This is, what happened:

  • Signup rate from people coming from my blog: 15%
  • Signup rate from people coming from Google Adwords: 5%
  • Signup rate from people coming from Twitter: 0%

I got lots of traffic from Twitter, and people seemed to be interested. But no conversion! Adwords remained at 5%. From my blog the traffic numbers went naturally down. I cannot write posts promoting the same offer day by day.

Putting Myself into Twitterers’ Shoes
I was scratching my head for several weeks, hoping to get at least one or two conversions from Twitter. After a while it seemed that even the click rates from Twitter went down. Naturally, because my followers knew the offer, as my blog readers did. Anyway, I was careful enough not to damage that Twitter account, it is still growing.
So, what does that mean? Is Twitter traffic useless? I do not think so, and I know that other people get conversions, signups etc. from Twitter.
I drew two conclusions: The page must be reasonable for people coming from search engines, and for people coming from my mailing list and blog, but not for Twitterers.
Thinking about the reason, I came up with the following conclusion: The signup page was, as thousands, driven by flash videos. But further investigation let me to conclude, that a Twitter link is rarely leading to a video.

Mobile Users Have Different Priorities
A little further brain wrenching reminded me, that even the emails with video links I get, do not work, as long as I open them on my mobile device, because the handset does not show flash.
In fact I use the email on my Palm to skim through the emails, to see if there is something I need to respond quickly. But all these video emails are left to my desktop, and I check them, if and when I have time and desire to do so.
Twitter is strongly geared towards mobile users. They may have difficulty to watch a flash video. And a Twitter user has often a very short span of attention. He may just to get a glimpse about what’s going on in his arena, between leaving the plane and picking the luggage. And unlike emails, tweets go away. They are not saved for later inspection.

Landing Page Must Correspondent to Traffic Source
This consideration seems to explain why my video page did not work with Twitter. And, while investigating, my brain reminded me that I should copy the ones, who get already results. Many of them seem to promote their blogs on Twitter, and then using their blogs to promote their money making stuff.

What do you think? Did you observe the same phenomena? How did you solve the problem? Please share your insight and leave a comment.

Traffic – Conversion – Backend Sales

Making money in direct marketing (online or offline) follows a clear sequence of actions:

  1. Traffic Generation: You need to get visitors to your website, and lots of them.
  2. Initial Sale: To receive money, you need to gain trust of your audience. The willingness to give you money for a promised product is certainly an expression of trust. The price of the initial sale may or may not cover the cost of acquiring this new customer.
  3. Backend Sales: If you have earned the trust of your audience, and strive to earn their trust every day again, they will buy again and again. This is where the real money is.

This is a numbered list, because it is essential to go step by step. Why? It is much easier to sell to somebody, who has already bought from you, and was more than satisfied with your performance. You just need to tell him: “I have this, do you need it?” And he will at least consider your offer. But to come into this position, you must have made already a first sale (or at least built a relationship of trust with the customer).

To get a first sale, which means a sale to a person who never bought from you before, and who probably does not know you, you must have an excellent offer. And you need to present this offer in a very convincing way. You know this long sales letters and these product launches.
If you are not completely new to direct marketing, you know probably also, that the only way to get a real good converting sales letter or sequence of sales messages only by testing. There is no way to know for sure, which headline is performing better, which picture, background color, layout outperforms all others. But the difference between a conversion rate of 1 percent and 2 percent can be the difference between a big loss and a small profit, especially if you realize that you pay for your traffic. And you do pay, either with money, or with your effort.

To get valid test results, you need lots of traffic. If you run a split test only between two headlines or two pictures or two videos, you need at least 30 conversions on the weaker one, to have a reliable result. This means to test only two variants, you need at an average conversion rate 3000 visitors. If you do not have a strong stream of traffic to your website, you may just need a year or two to test every aspect of your sales process. In this case your product will be probably obsolete before you can roll it out.

To learn how the masters are using this sequence, read The Great Formula. Mark Joyner, the author, allowed me to offer you a free download.

How to Get Traffic to Your Web Page?

Traffic is like the blood of all online activities: If nobody sees you article, photo, video, there is no sense in publishing it.
But not all traffic is equal:
The people who see you message on their screen need to

  • be interested in the topic
  • believe that you can give a valuable input
  • give you at least some trust

You need to have that in mind if you start to channel traffic to you new web business, no matter what is the source of traffic. In essence you need to build an audience. This means you need to build a relationship to people who value your input, and who are willing to listen, if you send them a message.

If you have already an audience in the offline world, you can draw them into your internet world. This is the case if you have already a brick-and-mortar business. You can draw your existing customers and prospects into your internet activities by providing through the web enhanced service, like support videos, 24 hour ordering etc.

To get additional people into your audience, you can use many methods. Some of the more popular are:

  • paid advertisements
  • article marketing
  • social networks
  • teleseminars or webinars

About each of this methods there is a lot of material and training courses available. And it is important to master the ones you use. So, the best approach would be in the beginning to study one or two in depth.
I one of the next posts I will discuss some characteristics of each method. This will help to decide which is the best to start.