2014 – A Year of Online Marketing Lessons Learned – Part 2

Yesterday I talked about my 2014 online marketing lessons and today I want to continue discussing the things I’ve learned and how I will progress in 2015.

Just to recap, in Part 1 I talked about:

  • Doing what you love
  • Eliminating Time Wasters
  • Doing Giveaways
  • Selling on eBay and Craig’s List
  • Getting More Social

The above list is really just a high level overview of how I will plan to work and then as the calendar turns to 2015, work my plan. This is important for me to sort out now, since I am also planning to go back into the full time work force soon, while I grow my online business passively.

In the meantime, here are more online marketing lessons I’ve learned in 2014.

I will Focus on Very Unique Niches. If you are reading this and thinking, duh…aren’t you already doing that? The answer is yes, but the market is fast becoming very saturated. There are too many people trying to market similar things to the same audience on the Internet.

The only way to stand out is to focus on narrow niches that address a specific audience and need, but not too narrow. I will continue to use the Google Keyword tool and Google Trends to be sure a topic is not too narrow and will generate interest. As always, I prefer to use free tools for my SEO than pay for another monthly membership.

So, whether I will be writing sales-based blog posts or article packs for my PLR store, this is the guidepost I will be using for my niche writing projects.

I will be Getting More Visual. I know I’ve talked about using more photos and visuals this year and I have been practicing what I’ve preached. I may not have blogged a lot in the month of November, 2014 but I did shoot close to 1,000 personal photos that I will be using for my blogs.

These photo’s include home décor, crafts and cooking. So why so many photos?  Truthfully, not every shot comes out perfect, so I’m getting into the habit of taking more, just in case. Also, I will be needing lots of content to put on those Facebook fan pages I built this year. LOL

Additionally, I am using Photoshop and PicMonkey to watermark and brand my visuals, as well as make cool little Infographics. (And I just want to give a shout out and thanks to Cynthia at The New Internet Marketer for initially introducing me to PicMonkey). Visual is the way to go!

I will be promoting my Shareasale Affiliate Programs More. The Shareasale Affiliate Network still remains one of my favorite places to find high quality merchants and products to promote across all of my blogs. Since my other niches include home décor and women’s health and beauty, I now have an good sized approved list of diverse merchant to promote.

The other thing I appreciate is that even though my blogs are still small and growing, many of the Shareasale merchants are easy to get approved for and in most cases offer a decent commission rate. Plus, by having several approved merchants, I can combine and reach my commission threshold much faster.

Promote More Big Ticket Items. There’s nothing wrong with selling lower cost products because they are the bread and butter items that keep cash flow coming in. But I still continue to promote bigger ticket items.

Back in October, I shared some of my HubPage commissions that included a few products in the $300 range that brought in some nice earnings.

As a rule, I don’t do regular income diary sharing, but I occasionally like to show proof that yes, the system works. Otherwise why would I be doing this?

To further reinforce what I’m saying, here’s another commission I earned promoting just one high end PLR content provider.

cmm

So whether I am writing on a revenue sharing site like HubPages, doing an Amazon review on my blog or promoting PLR, I know it’s possible to earn commissions on bigger ticket items, regardless how big or small your business is. :-)

It’s been a long and prosperous year of marketing, writing and work projects, but what I find is that the learning and lessons never end with online marketing and I look forward to see what 2015 holds. :-)

2014 – A Year of Online Marketing Lessons Learned – Part 1

This year has been an eclectic mix of online marketing ventures, working as a web project manager in the corporate world, selling PLR products and experimenting with different online business models.

But through it all, I have learned quite a bit, found new ways to expand and have enjoyed the journey so much more than the money I’ve earned. So, let me start with my biggest lesson learned.

Do What you Love. By trying different things it becomes so much easier to figure out what you love and enjoy doing the most. For me, I like interaction, meeting new people and communication.

But I’ve also learned I like exploring my creative and sometimes “crafty” side of my personality. So being creative has to be in my mix.

I love diversity in my work which is why I will be finding new ways to market next year and make my online business and marketing fit my lifestyle.

For me, this will mean making my business more passive and doing more outsourcing so I can focus working in the areas that I enjoy most.

Eliminate Time Wasters. One of the easiest ways to save time is by finding tools, software and systems that work. For instance, I am always on the lookout for plugins that automate my blogs or niche PLR to flesh out my sites.

But there are so many ways we tend to waste time that are self imposed. For instance, getting bogged down in reading emails, rewriting a blog post or fussing over a graphic till its perfect can really eat into your day.

So let’s all start treating our time as our most precious commodity and eliminate time wasters to accomplish more.

Do Giveaways the Right Way. One of the things I want to do more of next year is contests and give-aways. Why, because they’re fun and they work.

It’s not that I haven’t wanted to have a contest, but more so that I just did not have a system in place to do it correctly.

However, one cool website I found this year that showcases contests is called Contest Chest where you can not only find online contests, but list your own. Another popular site I discovered to run raffles and give-aways is called RaffleCopter.

What I like about RaffleCopter is that it can help you build both your social following and your email opt-in list with not a lot of effort.

So now that I’ve found the right tools and see the huge value in doing this, I will be using contests and freebies to help grow by online business.

Sell on Craig’s List and eBay. In one of my previous careers, I was asked by my employer to open and run an eBay store to help them sell their discontinued products. Over time, this resulted in a 400+ product store making on average $3000 a month.

These days I don’t sell a lot on eBay, but have some family members that are making great money selling physical products on eBay and Craig’s List.

The Craig’s List sellers repair and refurbish items before listing them and they are bigger items that the buyer must pick up in person. The eBay sellers market all sorts of vintage and used items and ship out all purchases without any face to face selling.

But the bottom line is that all these sellers bring in anywhere from $200 to $1000 per month on a regular basis. Wow, that could be a car payment and the rent check for goodness sakes!

And while I consider myself more of a creator, I was asked the other day how many packs of PLR articles would I have to sell to equal one $200 Craig’s List sale? The answer is a lot! So next year, I will consider selling bigger ticket physical products.

Get More Social. This year, I made sure that all my key websites had Facebook fan pages created and I will continue to build upon each of them in the upcoming year. I also will continue to build my Twitter following and my boards on Pinterest. Why?

Having a solid following will not only help build readership, but also help grow my customer base. I also want to work with more product reviews in 2015 and having a strong social network will help me meet people and partner with others who have similar goals and interests.

As the Internet becomes more about collaboration and sharing, finding more ways to get social next years seems like one of the smartest online marketing moves.

Because there are far too many lessons to share right now, I will continue with this blog post in a follow-up part 2 post very soon, where I will get more in depth on my year of online marketing lessons learned.

 

 

 

How to Brand Yourself and Business on Social Media Sites Using PLR

Recently I talked about branding and shared some easy image branding ideas. So continuing with that theme, today I am sharing some social media branding ideas using Private Label Rights, (PLR) content.

Using social media sites for networking and building your online presence is becoming more and more vital for businesses who want to want to build their brand.

Social media sites not only give your audience a chance to interact with you, but also become familiarized with your blog or business. When you use social networks to showcase segments of your business, building your brand becomes much easier.

But with so many people vying for attention on social networks, there are some drawbacks to using social media for branding. First, social media requires having a marketing strategy to really understand what you want to achieve.

Developing content such as Infographics, or continuity messaging can be time consuming, as well as costly and that’s where Private Label Rights (PLR) content can help you.

Not only is high quality Private Label Rights content affordable, but it offers versatility that can be used in a number of way to communicate.

Now if you think PLR is only for small blogs or solo business owners think again! I’ve seen PLR content used by big businesses and high profile online consultants, so it does offer value!

Choosing your Social Networks for Branding

NewWomanOnComputerPhsp copy

Before you can plan your branding campaign, you need to decide which social networking sites you want to focus on.

If you have a product that’s highly visual, you may want to build your social media around Pinterest. Or if you want to educate others through a tutorial, making a video for YouTube may be the more suitable social network to choose.

It’s also important to use a social network where your key target audience spends their time. With so many social sites out there like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus and YouTube it makes sense to start with one or two.

To research where to begin use hashtags (#) to search for topics and see what’s popular within your niche business.

Once you find a solid audience, set up a social account for your chosen social network.

Typically, I prefer to use my blog and business name for my Facebook pages. However, I also join social groups as myself. Both these options work well.

The next thing you want to do is to start finding PLR content that can be used in your social media campaigns.

For instance, many PLR providers offer articles you can use for content on your website with complimenting tips, tweets or visuals. These are ideal for preloading into social management software like like Houtsuite or Social Spout.

In fact I recently created a Going Green PLR content bundle that includes articles, tips, PowerPoint slides and an ebook that any online business can use and customize for this very purpose.

Once you have some good PLR content to work with, there are numerous ways you can change it up to create surveys, engaging questions and more.

And the best part about using PLR content for social branding is that you don’t have to spend weeks creating your content from scratch.

High Quality Sources for PLR Content

There’s a number of places you can find high quality PLR content online. Some PLR content providers focus on a single niche topic such as weight loss or food and recipes, while others offer a variety of article topics.

Some sites offer monthly PLR memberships where you can receive fresh content every month when you become a paid member.

But many PLR content providers simply offer content packs that you can buy online as you need it. Here are a few top PLR providers in different niches.

PLR.Me- High Quality Self help PLR

Business Content– Professional Business PLR Resources

Fitness Content - Top Quality Fitness and Workout PLR

Using PLR Content to Grow your Social Audience

Once you find some PLR content that meets your needs take some time to think about both how and when you will want to use it on your social networks.

For example, let’s say you are promoting products in the weight loss industry. If you go on Twitter or Pinterest, you may want to start following people who are talking about your niche and strike up some conversations.

After you break the ice, set aside 15 minutes a day to go into your social networks and post some relevant PLR content there.

The best part about social media is that your messages will be short, so it won’t take a lot of time. Just make sure that all of your posts link back to more high quality content that reinforces your brand.

As you continue to post social media messages, more people will become familiar with your offerings and begin to understand what your product offerings and brand are all about.

Engaging Your Followers on Social Media with PLR

The key to social media is not just getting your messages out there, but to get others engaged into conversations.

One of the best ways to do this is to ask questions to see what’s on people’s minds.

Through talking with others you may find that there are key trends within a certain market that others want to learn more about or find solutions for.

Pay attention to online conversations and take notes on the concerns and comments you hear over and over again.

Then take a look at how you can fit your business offerings into a solution for others.

Be the provider who can offer what others are looking for and turn that into a key market for your business.

Using Images and Visuals on Social Networks for the Most Impact

Incorporating images into your social media messages is one of the fastest ways to get noticed. People also love to share images, which is why using visual PLR is so handy.

When you think about using images and pictures on social media, don’t limit yourself to just Pinterest.

Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus are all huge platforms for sharing images and getting them to go viral.

So whenever you use a snippet of text from a PLR article, try incorporating it into an image to post to your social networks.

There are many online tools you can use to create graphics for your social images. One cool tool is Canva that offers images, shapes and more to create your own Infographics for free.

Other ideas for creating unique visuals is to use your own photos and add messages to them in Gimp or PhotoShop.

The overall idea is to have a steady supply of social media images on hand to help spread your social messages.

Repurposing PLR for Social Network Engagement

Being able to repurpose your PLR content over and over can help you get the most out of your social media messaging and branding.

Video is one of the best ways to repurpose your PLR content. You can read
or recite a segment of an article or turn some of the key points into a slideshow.

One you have your video complete, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo where is can get exposure and be shared by others on social networking sites.

You can also use your PLR to make an audio Podcast for your website audience and may find many Podcasting tools online that will help you make quick recordings.

However, one of the best tools I’ve found is Audacity, which is a free audio editor and recorder. Once you have a Podcast complete, you can then make it available on ITunes for downloading.

Try to remember that you don’t want to spend too much time on social networks or have it cut into your productivity time. Social media should be quick, easy messaging that grabs attention with images that showcase your brand.

So if you want to gain authority in your niche, while reinforcing your brand, remember that using top quality PLR content can be a reliable tool to grow your readership faster and help build your business!

Roundup: My Marketing Activity and Advice to Online Marketers

Today, I just wanted to put a quick round-up post together that will hopefully help you as an online marketer make more money.

Now as some of you know, I spent a couple of months dabbling in online marketing projects to see what would bring in results and I’ve been paying attention to what works and what doesn’t.

So here’s a quick overview of what I’ve learned that has helped me improve my online marketing and income.

Pinterest

Pinterest still is one of my favorite social media websites that I try to post to at least every day.

What I like about it is that posting to Pinterest takes about 5 minutes and I can get traffic to an interesting blog post quickly and way before the page even gets indexed by Google.

In the summer I focused on a bathing suit niche and it took off immediately, which tells me how powerful Pinterest is. (If you really want to see where your traffic comes from, get this plugin on your blog right away).

My advice to online marketers is to include visuals in your blog posts and get into the habit of posting a picture from your posts every day.

Flippa and Selling Website

Over the past couple of months, I built two custom websites with a lot of premium features with the hopes of selling them on Flippa quickly and perhaps gaining some clients.

What I found is that the niche blog template-looking sites that you see sold as PLR all over JVzoo, have a higher selling rate than what I built from scratch, but are dirt cheap.

My perception and advice after this experiment is that it’s more likely you can flip a basic PLR website with a purchased domain for around $50 if you just want to make a quick sale.

So if I do try to flip a site agin, I will be using something “canned” at a very low price point and market to those looking for a lower end product.

My First WSO and Feedback from Tiffany Lambert

I launched my first WSO on Food and Cooking, after purchasing and following Tiffany’s guide on “How to Launch a WSO on JVzoo”.

So far sales have been slow, so after contacting Tiffany for advice she recommended lowering the price.

Her guide is easy to follow and I love that she took the time to give me the feedback I needed.

My advice to anyone who wants to do a WSO, is to get this guide and make sure your product has a lot of value for the price, even if it seem too inexpensive, keep the price low.

Cleaning House at my PLR Store

Recently I talked about making sure that the products in my store were at a high quality level and that I was cleaning house. So, I’ve started by removing the products that appear to be the oldest and not big sellers.

The advice I would give to anyone who has a PLR store is to take the older article packs out of the store and get them rewritten as new, fresh content.

That’s what I plan on doing because I’ve noticed that even some of the best PLR content providers have rebundled their old stuff into new packages and I for one, do not what to end up with the same old articles twice.

As I’m improving the quality of my store, I’m also turning down affiliates requests from those who do not offer quality or have a decent online reputation.

And I’m happy to report that after making these few changes, the store is doing well.

Lenses Converted to HubPages

Oddly enough, my old Squidoo Lenses that have been converted to HubPages are doing OK. I have 21 featured hubs and they brought in $98.66 for the month of October with not much effort from me.

Now here’s the interesting part. If you have set HubPages up using your own Amazon associate code, my advice is to switch it to HubPages Amazon code.

If you use their ID instead of yours, you will average between 8 – 10% commissions, which is a high rate if you typically only average 6 or 7%. Take a look at my stats and then decide. :-)

hubamazon

So, I’m closing out today’s post with the “money shot” that surprised even me. Would love to know your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment and or any questions you might have.

Cleaning House: These Products Cannot Be Sold

Recently, I talked about rebranding my online business by using visuals and streamlining the look of my sites. Today, I am reviewing the products that are in my online store and removing anything that is not offering value or the level of quality I want to give my customers.

When I first started selling digital products online and did not have an online shopping cart, I used JVzoo for my sales transactions and their “Buy it Now” buttons. It was easy solution for accepting payments online.

But as many of you know, JVzoo is not a shopping cart system, meaning you can only buy and pay for one item at a time. So, that’s when I moved to an actual shopping cart system.

However, even though I have my own online store set up, I still use JVzoo for special offers or single products that I do not want to put into my store.

So today is all about “cleaning house” and I’ve decided that any digital product that is  not up to my standards is getting removed from both JVzoo AND my PLR Store.

Now because I like to accomplish things quickly, while still being practical, I want to share my tips on the best way to take products out of your online store that you no longer see value in.

1. Do not delete any products that you have set up as WordPress blog posts. Instead, simply go to that post, change the status to “Draft” and click “Update” and this will remove it from your blog.

The reason not to delete is so you have the basic sales information for future use. For instance, if you decide to later on take this product and bundle it with another one to create a more value-add product, you don’t have to start from scratch.

(Handy Tip: When you put a live post back into Draft Mode, make sure the blue button says Update and not Schedule. What I do to make sure I don’t accidentally reschedule a post that I don’t want re-published is change it to a date in the past, after I put it in Draft Mode).

wpdraftmode

2. Turn the product OFF in your shopping cart software.  My shopping cart allows me to keep all my products set up in the software, whether they are in the shopping cart sor not.  So that means all I have to do is click on the “remove” option and it just takes them out of the store, but not the system.

Of course, the shopping cart or membership software that you use will be different than mine, but always first check to see if you can turn a product on and off in the software before deleting it. It will make your life easier down the line if you want to revive that product or re-launch a newer version of it.

dlguard

3. For JVzoo, just say NO.  For any product you have in JVzoo, the first thing they ask in the product editing page is if you want to Allow Sales or Show in the Marketplace. By taking a product that is live and active in your JVzoo account and clicking NO to these two options, the product will no longer appear for sale.

In my own JVzoo account I turned off the products that were hardly making sales or were out of season, (like summer related items). This is a really great way to clean up shop fast. :-) So in 6 months from now if I want to rewrite and update a product, I’ll have a draft of it to get started with.

JVzoo: These Products Cannot Be Sold

Once you click these 2 options, underneath the list of your products that can be sold, you will have a list that looks like this one show below.

JVzoo: These Products Cannot Be Sold

So now in JVzoo, if I go back and look under My Account>Public Profile, I see ONLY the products that I want to showcase in my marketplace. And if I ever decide I want to revise a product and put it back into the JVzoo marketplace, I can easily update the copy and click on Allow Sales or Show in the Marketplace and the revised product will be restored.

I definitely like the idea of weeding out the things that aren’t working in my store and keeping the option open of revising those products in the future.