It’s Not 2003, Time To Improve Your Landing Page

It happens all too often: You stumble upon a product to promote, or someone’s personal website and it looks like it was created in 1999.

You cringe and move on, and you know what sucks for that person? Their potential buyers and leads do as well. Everyone may think that their site is the special snowflake exception, and that it has a sort of old fashioned charm, but then everyone would be mistaken.

Landing pages change in effectiveness with consumer trends and buying habits, so it’s important to make changes to your own pages to reflect these. Here are a couple of major changes that have happened in the last 5-10 years, which affect how people buy online:

1. People are more sensitive to BS. Every landing page used to begin with a giant claim:

“WHO ELSE WANTS TO BE ABLE TO DO X IN ONLY Y HOURS, WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR BED!”

In short, headlines were sensational. They sounded exciting, but people have been let down enough to times to want to avoid them. In general, as customers got more comfortable online, they realized that anyone could say anything they wanted about themselves, and that they often did.

While this increased aversion to sensationalism may or may not have affected your target market to a large degree yet, it’s coming, so make changes accordingly: Honesty beats sensationalism in many markets now.

2. People expect more of design.

Websites now generally look a lot better than they did even just a few years ago. Design software that’s suable by just about anyone has meant that it’s become increasingly easy to not have a sucky page, and people have come to expect this.

If someone lands on a page with the standard sales letter formatting with non-flat elements and giant, multicolored text everywhere, they’re going to bounce and never come back. Often times, seeing on of these pages makes people think that it has been abandoned or is no longer relevant, why else would the owner have left it looking so poorly?

3. Text isn’t your only option.

Remember when everyone started using video landing pages? The buzz of their effectiveness would soon spread like wildfire.

The reality is that using different types of media on your site helps to engage different kinds of users, and accommodating all of them can help you achieve higher conversions. While you want one intended path through a page to be clear, it’s a good idea to still give users who want to learn about your product or offering in a different way the option to go somewhere and do so.

Finally, let’s stress something that hasn’t changed: Benefits vs features.

Yes, the old adage holds true, people are much more likely to respond to specifics about how their life will be changed by making a purchase decision than they are to hearing about all of the bells and whistles your product has.

Of course, it’s a good idea to avoid that sensationalist trap here as well. Honesty and value win in 2016.

Small Things You Can Do To Make Your Clients Go Wild

So you’ve got your business up and running, whether that means freelance consulting, promoting affiliate products, or running a monetized online community, things are on the up and up. However, you know there’s lots of other, more established competitors in your space; so how do you stand out and convince customers that switching to you is a no-brainer? Well, here are a few proven ways to over-deliver in the digital age.

1. Collect feedback. With the amount of survey tools out there, or
the ability to, you know, send an email message, it’s incredibly
important that you start listening to what your customers are saying.

Early on, this can be as simple as asking them in a post-sale or ideally post-service email what they thought of your service, and if they have anything they would improve.

This serves two purposes: First, it’s going to help you identify people who are really keen on your brand or product, and who might be good candidates to become your affiliates, etc. Starting out, you might just let them know that if they enjoyed working with you, you’d love to send some kind of reward their way if they find a few people to refer to you.

These gifts don’t have to be anything expensive, but the gesture is often appreciated and the potential to help you grow is huge.

2. Have a personality. Seriously, for the same reason people vote for political candidates based on how they look, or how they generally “feel” about them, interactions and perception go a long way in purchase decisions. Plus, this is actually something you have a huge advantage at over your larger rivals: When a company has 37 different support agents to help with their massive customer base, they can’t offer the same kind of repeat interactions or treatment that you can as an individual. Smart companies on the rise use the technique of over-delivering in the personalization and customer support department to win clients from their competitors. It’s not a bad strategy for entrepreneurs and online marketers, either.

3. Connect with them via social media as a person, not a brand. This is an interesting one. Now more than ever, people like to know who they’re doing business with, because they can. Social media has greatly raised expectations of interaction and transparency, to the point that even massive brands make sure they have a presence actively chat with those who mention them.

As an individual entrepreneur, you have the unique opportunity to let people know the person who wants to do business with them. This goes hand in hand with point number two about having a personality. Let people Snapchat with you in your off-hours, post Instagram pictures of your work days as they progress. The Facebook page for your freelancing or brand can be a place that people not only get to know you better through written posts, but when you can foster community through asking discussion questions and special offers.

Remember that your biggest weakness, being small and up against long-standing competition, is also your biggest asset, because it makes you more agile than anyone else (and your clients will remember that).

How to Divide Up Your Day for Maximum Productivity

As an entrepreneur, it’s far too easy to find yourself a bit disorganized and losing time throughout the day. As many people grow up and begin their work under the dynamic of a boss-employee relationship, it can be easy to have a bit of a crisis when first learning to self-manage. Unfortunately, that’s a mistake that’s not just left to the newbies.

While you may have avoided the disorganization and task jumping plague, here are just a few tips for making sure that your day goes to the most important tasks on your plate, and in the right proportion.

1. Don’t just make a to-do list, have time slots. For example, write out approximately how much time you think each task will take, and then assign it a time in your day. To-do lists have a weakness, and that’s their lack of boundaries. Too often, we can let tasks drag on and on because we just want to have them done and ‘check them off’.

When each task has a specific time allotted, we tend to be pretty good at actually sticking to that allotment.

2. Check email at 2-3 specific times throughout the day. The nice thing about email is that it’s a form of communication that people don’t expect to be instant. Even as everyone has their phones on them all day and can check their emails constantly, most people still understand that email communication is asynchronous. Most professionals waste an ungodly amount of time in their inbox, and for entrepreneurs or those who are working in consulting (contacted by clients all day, etc.), email can turn into a huge time sink before you even realize it. Many productivity experts recommend making special times a couple times throughout the workday for non-emergency communications, and sticking to them. Turning off the alerts on your phone for new emails during this time can help you resist the temptation to read and reply to everything as it comes in.

3. Take a lot of breaks. In a net way, you want to be working extremely hard and putting in a lot of effort into your business to give it the best chance of supporting you. That said, many people don’t realize that the human brain can absolutely suffer from task burnout.

If you can stomach the change, try a week of working for 20-30 minutes, then taking a 5-10 minute break. Do some pushups, play a game on your phone, write a song, anything to completely switch gears for a few minutes and come back at your tasks refreshed. Every person will respond slightly different to this type of schedule, so be willing to tweak it a bit and find out what exactly will work for you before knocking it completely!

Finally, consider taking your office outdoors for a day, or at least a few hours. Work in the office most days? Try the kitchen! Entrepreneurship, especially done from home, can be lonely and unstimulating despite its best parts. Changing scenery can be a great way to break things up!

10 Things To Know About Working In A Startup

Just a few short years ago, many online marketers were still going down the road of blogging and creating websites, courses, and sales funnels in order to promote products or services as an affiliate or owner.

While there are still many people working off of this or a similar model today. There’s also another offshoot of entrepreneurship, and that is the ‘startup.’

The definition of a startup is different depending on who you ask, but most people have some sort of mental image. It’s the tech company who believes they have the next Facebook. It’s the idea that people think is so good they throw money at it before it’s ever turned a profit based on pure potential alone.

If you find yourself ever making the move from a lone online marketing wolf to starting a small company off your own, especially in the startup space, here’s what you should know:

– People will depend on you. For many, their employees will be the first one’s they’ve ever had, and you need to be prepared to help manage not just your own goals and deadlines, but those of your workers as well.

– Things will get hectic. You will have to do more than you ever have before, and the legal hoops you may have to jump through might not be ones you had encountered when working on your own. It’s important to know that you will likely spend many more hours on admin duties than before.

– You’ll need to stem disorganization. In the midst of having to deal with the most you’ve ever dealt with before, you will need to also make sure that you don’t fall victim to the startup syndrome in which you have no systems in place for accountability, collaboration among the team, etc.

– You’ll need to provide fun. Yeah, this is an odd one. But you need to make sure you are team-building and fostering a positive environment. In the startup world, people are used to taking a hit on the salary their experience would normally command, but they also expect an enjoyable experience in which hard work can yield high rewards.

– Speaking of salaries… try to find people who are experienced by want something new, instead of just assuming you can only take super young and inexperienced employees because that’s what you think you’ll be able to pay for. You’d be surprised at the seasoned veterans you might find willing to work partially for equity.

– You have to play the long game. Even if you think that your idea has the possibility of absolutely explosiveness, you will likely need to need to wait quite some time to see a return. Make sure that you’re able to financially and mentally ride out the storm!

– Investment isn’t everything. Early on, there’s a cycle of hunting for funding to survive until the next time you need to hunt for funding. Instead, try and work on using your sales skills to get self-sustainable as soon as possible.

Finally, there are no guarantees in the startup world, so make sure that you’re ready to bend even these pointers to make them work for you!