Happy New YearHappy New Year everybody!

 

I hope you had a good  Christmas, and that Father Christmas was good to you. I must have been pretty good this past year, because I got plenty of really good stuff. That came as a bit of a surprise. And, no, not because I haven’t been good (I know that’s what you were thinking! Naughty, naughty!!), but because I didn’t have a list or anything, so I didn’t really expect much.

 

It just goes to show, “Good things come to those who…don’t ask for them”, I suppose!

 

Slow Down, 2014!

 

Well, this is a bit of a belated New Year’s greeting, since it’s already the middle of March. I don’t know about wondering where 2013 went, but where’s 2014 going???? That can only mean one thing – time to get cracking and make the most of this year to get where you and I want to be, which, for me, is a working at making a  LOT more progress than I made last year.

 

I started last year out with some great goals and a lot of enthusiasm, but, yet again, got side-tracked, took detours and just lacked focus yet again. I was planning on getting into product creation in a serious way and also ramping up my Amazon affiliate efforts. I did do some work on both of those, but nowhere near enough and what I did didn’t result in much of anything. Yes, I got a few Amazon affiliate sales, but I think Donald Trump’s spot on the World’s Wealthiest is in no danger of being challenged by me!

 

Overcoming setbacks

 

The other major setback during 2013 was, of course, the death of my Dad, Horace. I wrote a post about that, so you may already know about that. But, just to sum up, my Dad (who was 88, by the way, so he had a good run) was constantly battling ill health, but he seemed to somehow manage to win each battle and keep going, so  that was good. But, he fell one day and broke his hip and never really recovered.

 

I took several trips back home to England to check on my Dad and help him out where I could, and made my last trip towards the end of June, when my Dad passed away on June 21st. We lost my Mum in 2007 and my Dad was devastated and just wanted to be reunited with her and my brother, Terry, and now he is, so we know he’ll be happy again.

 

A New Year Means New Goals and Opportunities

 

But, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. A marketer I know and trust made a tremendous offer as far as offering personal guidance to achieve success online. The price seemed ridiculously cheap for what he was offering, so I dove in, head first. He recommended getting into the offline sector, that being one of the easier ways to start seeing some success, so that’s what I decided to do.

 

I’ve got to say offline marketing really appeals to me. It’s not necessarily about being a technical wiz or anything – it’s more about knowing a lot of basic common sense that can help local businesses achieve better results and more success. Yes, you need to know some basic SEO (search engine optimization) techniques, but even then that mainly revolves around finding a few less competitive keywords or phrases (more often than not longtail (3 or more words) keywords) that the client’s site can rank for fairly easily. I should point out that I’m talking about working with local businesses here, and that ranking for local keywords is a lot easier, competition wise, than non-local.

 

The Writer’s Life

 

Another skill I’ve taken a lot of interest in developing is copywriting. Copywriting is the skill of writing various types of text from blog posts to white papers and everything in between. The area of copywriting that appeals to me most of all though is writing sales or direct response copy. Direct response is written to elicit an immediate response from the prospect, whether that’s a sale, a sign-up for a newsletter or subscription or some other action desired by the person or business making the offer. 

 

You see, I love writing, so I want to do something that allows me to incorporate that and copywriting seems to fit the bill.  I can also use that in the offline world, because a lot of small businesses need copy written due to the fact they either don’t have the time or staff or both to create content themselves.

 

So, there it is. It’s a New Year (albeit a couple of months old now) and it’s time for me to make my mark, so watch this space for updates on my progress and, of course, tips and information to help you on your way as well.

 

What’s New With You?

 

What’s 2014 got in store for you? I’d love to hear from you and see what your plans are for this year, so please leave a comment and let’s get a conversation going.

 

And don’t forget to share this with friends and colleagues you think might enjoy reading it.

 

Here’s to a great 2014 for you,

Ray

DSC04211

Losing our parents is something most of us have to face at some point. It’s inevitable, a part of life. But, inevitable or not, it doesn’t make it any easier when that time comes, as it did for me recently.

 

I’m now officially an orphan, as is my younger brother, Neil, since we just lost our Dad, Horace (that’s me with my Dad, taken when I went back to see him in March of this year (2013). Not the best photo of my Dad, but it’s the last one I had taken with him, so it’s special to me). Our Mum, Ivy, passed away in 2007 far too young at age 77. Taken from us by that terrible disease, cancer.

 

A coal miner’s son

 

My Dad lived to the ripe age of 88, which, considering he had one of the toughest jobs on the face of the planet (he was a coal miner), was a bit of a miracle.

 

He worked hard and provided for our family, as did my Mum. In fact, I’ve probably never known a more hard-working couple, and I’m not just saying that because they were my folks.

 

They made sure we never wanted for anything, and, despite their hard work, they were always there for us.

 

My Dad’s health was failing over the last few years of his life, and he suffered from emphysema for quite a few years. But, he battled on regardless, knowing that one day he’d get what he really wanted, and that was to be reunited with my Mum up in Heaven.

 

Reunited

                                                                             

Well, that day came on June 20th, 2013, when my brother, Neil, phoned me to give me the bad news that my Dad had passed away. I knew he wasn’t doing well and that he didn’t have much longer, so I’d already made a reservation to fly back to England and so flew out the day after.

 

I missed seeing him again, but not by much. Not that that’s any consolation, but I do take some comfort in the fact I went back in March to see my Dad for a couple of weeks.

 

The reason I went back then was because my Dad had almost left us a little earlier but managed to pull through, so I wanted to find out how he was doing.

 

I spent quite a bit of time with him, and it was good to see him doing relatively well. My Dad was a man of few words, so we didn’t say a lot, but just passed the time.

 

Regrets, I have a few

 

So, no, I didn’t get to see my Dad in the weeks leading up to his death, but I do take comfort in the fact I made that trip in March, when he was still in reasonable health.

 

I do have a few regrets where my Dad’s concerned, and I want to share them with you in case any of them strike a chord with you. Maybe you can do something about it while there’s still time.

 

1. My Dad and I were completely different people, and we didn’t get along that well as I moved into adulthood. I’m not sure just why that was. Our relationship seemed to deteriorate the better I did with my education and sporting and recreational activities.

 

Whether my Dad resented my success, or I got too big for my boots, or we just ended up having less and less in common, it’s hard to say.

   

Anyway, my point here is that I never took the time to find out why we drifted apart. I kept thinking, “I should ask him why he seems to resent me and everything I do, and why he wanted me to leave school, etc.”.

 

The problem was that we never really talked, and so I left it that way. Now, I’ll never know – at least, not in this lifetime.

 

2. Like I mentioned, my Dad was quiet and never had a lot to say. My Mum was just about the polar opposite, and I think I take after her more than my Dad, so I tend to get along better with people who are more outgoing.

 

We’ve all met people different from us as far as personality goes. And while we might not exactly see eye to eye, we generally get along with them, or we at least make the effort.

  

OK, this was my Dad, so it’s a bit different from just meeting somebody who’s not like you. Isn’t he supposed to just accept me as I am? After all, I am his son.

 

Well, it works both ways. And there’s a word for it – intolerance. That word brings to mind slavery and such barbaric things as that, but this isn’t much different.

 

3. When I was a kid, I used to love sport (still do) and played football (soccer) competitively from an early age. I played for my school team and was one of the youngest to do so, so I was very proud of that.

 

When we played, many of my fellow players’ parents would show up to the matches. I used to see that and wish I were one of them, because my Dad never did come to watch me play. 

 

I know as a miner he had a really hard job, but still we’re only talking about a few hours of his time here. Looking back, I feel sorry for him that he missed out on sharing some of the greatest experiences of my young life.

 

That taught me a great lesson. I vowed I’d always be there for my kids and attend whatever they were involved in.

 

I’ve kept my word. Believe me, it makes a difference.

 

Love and respect

 

I hope you don’t get the impression from this that I didn’t like my Dad. Far from it, I loved him; he was my Dad and he gave me life, and I respected him for everything he did for us, his family.

 

We even told each other “I love you”, and I know he meant it, as did I. And I still do and always will.

 

I learned a lot from my Dad; not all good, but plenty that was. I don’t think I’d have survived 5 minutes doing the job he did. Yet, he did it for many years and retired as a coal miner. That deserves infinite respect.

  

Maybe this will affect or help you in some way. If nothing else, perhaps it will encourage you to enjoy not only the similarities you share with family members and other people, but also enjoy and appreciate the differences and what makes them special and unique.

 

R.I.P., Dad. Love always,

Ray

 

Thanks for letting me get this out. If you’d care to have your say, please do. And if you think somebody you know may be interested in this, don’t be shy about sharing.

 

If you’d like to see more posts in this category (Life), go here.

All good things come to an end…

I know it’s been a while since I’ve been in touch, so apologies for that. I did drop off the Internet Marketing radar for a while as I had some family matters to attend to (more on that in the next post, as there have been some life-changing events recently for me). I think most of that is behind me now so I can get back to what I really enjoy, and that is this IM thing.

 

If you’re like me and most other marketers, you already know how important it is to keep up with the latest and greatest trends and tools in the IM world. Let’s face it, things in IM change quicker than you can say “Jack Robinson”, and keeping up with these changes is vital if you want to be successful.

 

Google_Reader blurred

So, how do you keep up with all the latest IM news and happenings?

 

If the answer is blogs and similar such sites and you’re using the Google Reader to aggregate those sites, then please read on and take action immediately!

 

There’s no time to beat about the bush, because, if you haven’t already heard, Google Reader is no more and access to all your feeds, etc., will close down as of July 15th at 12 pm PST. After that all your data, feeds, etc. stored on Google’s servers and that you previously accessed using Google Reader will be deleted.

 

I mean, gone, kaput, destroyed, never to be retrieved. Here’s a link to a post all about these changes.

 

So, if you value that data and want to retain it, here’s what you need to do in 4 simple steps:

 

1. Create and download an archive file of your data by:

a. going to https://www.google.com/takeout/

b. logging in with your Google account

c. clicking on “Create Archive”

d. clicking on “Download” once the archive has been
created

2. Choose a new aggregator – here’s a link to a list of

     aggregators:

 http://alternativeto.net/software/google-reader/

3. Create an account in your service of choice

4. Import the data from the file you downloaded in Step 1

Note: I used Feedly (http://cloud.feedly.com/#welcome) and this step was easy with Feedly. I can’t speak to any of the other services
available, but I imagine they’d be similar

That’s it. Your feeds will have been saved and will continue to be available in your new service. You can add new feeds and maintain your data as you please. 

Of course, if you don’t subscribe to blog feeds and such, you won’t need to worry about this. Otherwise, I hope this was helpful and that you’ll be able to get to your data before Google brings the hammer down on it.

 

Speak soon,
Ray

Author’s note: I’m sorry it’s taken so long to complete this series. There have been a few personal issues that have come up over the last couple of months that have taken a lot of my time; that combined with the fact I got distracted by other projects. Anyway, I hope you’ll find this last part was worth the wait and that you’ll come back for more updates soon (a LOT sooner from now on, I promise).

And so we come to the last day of what has been a fantastic event so far. Let’s not forget – it’s all about those 2 important ingredients, traffic and conversions.

Traffic and Conversion Summit

I was even more tired this morning (amazing how much attending one of these events can take out of you. I must not be used to all that mental concentration and attentiveness needed – been a while since I was in school!), but no less excited than the other days, and jumped into the car, excited at the prospect of learning a lot more tips and tricks to go with the mountain of info I’d compiled over the previous couple of days.

In The City

Fueled once again by lashings of hot coffee, I parked a lot nearer this time – a parking lot not far from a timeshare we have on Bush at Stockton. Unfortunately, I messed up the one-way system and ended up going the wrong way, so had to do a couple of circuits before I got to the garage entrance. And there I was thinking I was going to be on time!

Oh, well, after a brisk walk in lovely weather, I got there a few minutes after the start of the first session (missed my chance to win an iPad again – drat!) and grabbed a seat near the back.

Let The Day Begin

The first session is “Affiliate Armies” and is presented by a couple of snappy chappies named Vincent Fisher and Mark Jenny, 2 top affiliates. I’m definitely interested in this because, if you’re trying to sell something in the Internet Marketing niche, say on the Warrior Forum, one of the biggest keys to success you hear people talk about is getting affiliates to promote your offer. And if, like me, you’re not especially well known, that can be tricky.

So, what do Vincent and Mark have to say? Well, plenty, as it turns out, but here’s a brief review of what they covered:

  • Affiliates can scale your business – it’s not just you marketing your product
  • Focus on helping affiliates make more money – the more they make, the more you’ll make
  • It starts with a good offer that affiliates can get behind
  • Affiliates also look for a product that’s convert, good support and the highest possible payout
  • Don’t wait for affiliates to find you – GO OUT AND FIND THEM! Look at competitors (reverse engineer competitors – where do they get traffic (use Compete.com, Quantcast.com, AdBeat)?; get affiliate’s contact info and contact them; show proof of your converting offer), affiliate networks (Clickbank, Commission Junction, etc.), customers (your customers may be some of your best affiliates! May already be affiliates and will send you sales, or may like your product so much they refer it to a few friends), affiliates promoting other niches (may or may not be related to yours – good affiliates can sell anything!)
  • Commission payouts – pay affiliates as much as possible, but NEVER MISS A PAYMENT, or you may lose that affiliate forever.
  • Get a dedicated affiliate manager – good at customer relationship management, maintains affiliate database, keeps affiliates informed of latest offers, etc.
  • Make sure affiliate tools are in place and are of the highest quality (custom landing pages, emails, banners, etc.)
  • Get the most out of your affiliates by deepening your relationship with affiliates – communicate regularly (email, phone, Facebook, etc.), get to know them, add a personal touch (send a gift or something they’ll remember you for), offer prizes, frequent contests. BE CREATIVE AND STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD!

Fantastic information! That was a lot to take in, but I feel like I know a LOT more about what I need to do to get affiliates on board when I release a product. I hope you found one or two valuable pointers here.

Break time, so I went out to the lobby and mingled a bit and had a look around the various booths. I’m sure there are LOADS of well-known marketers here, and I’ve seen videos and photos of some of the bigger ones, but I can’t say I recognize any (i later found out there were indeed LOADS of top marketers around – where were they hiding?!!??).

The 100 Year Company

Next up was Perry Belcher with a presentation called “100 Year Company“. Intriguing title, so let’s see what it was all about. Here’s the 30,000 foot overview:

Overall, Perry was giving us the information we needed to build a long-term business, and here are the main points I took out of this:

  • Why do companies fail?
    • lack of vision
    • lack of leadership
    • lack of commitment
    • lack of scalability
    • no metrics
    • poor management
    • flawed model
  • What makes great companies great?
    • great leaders (should be fair, calm, inspirational, mentors)
    • competitive advantage (fast mover, price, USP (unique selling proposition), selection, legal) = your unfair advantage
    • measurement (great companies know their metrics and are constantly on top of them – product performance, employee performance, customer success)
    • seek opportunity for growth (international, cross markets, joint ventures, expand product offering)
    • take advantage of leverage (other people’s money, ideas, energy, trust, innovation)
    • ethics of the highest order (customer care, employee success,  partner success, charitable giving)
    • urgency and commitment (money loves speed, speed attracts talent, talent drives innovation, innovation drives value)
  • Reasons your business may be stuck:
    • lack of marketing
    • lack of talent
    • lack of systems
    • lack of capital
  • Only 3 ways to grow a business:
    • get more customers (trade shows, SEO, joint ventures, direct mail, Facebook ads, etc.)
    • increase profits per sale (upsell, cross-sell, bundle)
    • increase frequency (stay in touch (email, newsletter, etc.), continuity billing, loyalty programs (free stuff, frequent buyer discounts), line extensions (sell more of what customers want (use joint ventures))

If you grow your business to a size that makes it a market leader, the sky’s the limit. The best part of having a successful business that is of the highest caliber is that you may be in a position to sell it for potentially huge profits.

The moral to this story – GROW A GREAT, SUCCESSFUL COMPANY!

Good stuff, Perry – thanks.

Lunch time now, so Chaim, Alyssia and I went to the mall food court along with one or two others from the conference.

Good Afternoon!

We’re back for the final session of what has been an amazing weekend. This afternoon was going to be all about books and publishing, starting out with a pretty informal chat between Ryan Deiss and a fellow I’d never heard of before, Tucker Max. It seems he originally made his name by writing funny, sensational and nakedly honest emails to friends, who in turn shared them with other friends, resulting in viral emails that eventually provided him with online “infamy”!

What I found out was that, although Tucker Max did his best to come over as an obnoxious, brainless half-wit only interested in beer, women and hangovers (not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with those interests!), he turned out to be a very funny, intelligent and engaging fellow, who figured out his niche and how to market it and ended up being extremely successful at it. He gave some great advice on how to use books to build brand and media awareness and also to build a publishing empire.

The final session featured published author Guy Kawasaki talking about “The Art Of Publishing“.

Here’s a synopsis of Guy’s presentation:

  • There are 3 phases in publishing a book:
    1. Author
    2. Publisher
    3. Entrepreneur
  • Write for the right reasons – enrich people’s lives, further a cause, meet an intellectual challenge
  • Give people a reason to care about your book
  • Use word doc to compose your book
  • Write everyday – half a page a day
  • Build your market platform – be a curator and an expert; spend a couple of hours on social media (Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
  • Start with a Kindle ebook – getting published on Amazon is key
  • Tap the crowd – have your followers review your content in all its stages (outline, manuscript, PDF finished product)
  • Get the name and email address of anyone offering a review – build your contact list
  • Hire a copy editor
  • Hire a cover designer
  • Test your ebook
  • NEVER GIVE UP!

What a great way to end the weekend! Guy was a superb speaker – very engaging and inspiring and he made getting published and establishing a business on Kindle not only doable for anybody but also a lot less intimidating than many of us may have previously thought.

 

And in the end…..

This was a great weekend of great, potentially life-changing information during which I met and learned from some amazing people. It was brilliant meeting up with Chaim and Alyssa and I hope we managed to stay in touch and maybe get to work together on some projects where we implement some of the things we learned over this weekend.

 

Time to grab a cup of Peet’s coffee and then head off into the sunset and start thinking about all the possibilities this weekend brought up.

 

Onward and upward before the next marketing conference!

 

I hope you enjoyed this article and this series and perhaps learned one or two things from what I learned. So, what did you learn? Let me know – I’d love to hear from you. Even if it was just the fact that you never want to go to an internet marketing conference yourself (I hope that’s not the case, but, if it is, feel free to tell me and the rest of the community here)!

 

 

Day 2 (Saturday) dawned, and it was even harder for me to get out of bed and get going! Nothing to do with any lack of excitement over the conference – today is going to be about conversions, and that’s definitely something to get excited about! – just plain old tiredness. But, today being Saturday and an easier day, traffic-wise (well, that combined with the fact the first train didn’t leave til 7:30 a.m. – far too late to make it to the first session in time), I’d decided to drive up to the conference (about 50 miles north of where I live, San Jose).

Traffic and Conversion Summit

Seemed like a good idea at the time, but, even armed with a stiff shot of Starbuck’s Holiday Blend coffee, I was REALLY sleepy driving up there, but made it without too much trouble. But, now the fun begins – finding parking that doesn’t cost more than our monthly mortgage – and I’m talking PER HOUR, here! Actually, I cheated – I found a garage online not too far from the conference and pre-booked it, since it seemed reasonable at $24 for the day.


 

It turned out to be a bit further from the conference than I thought, so I was a bit late arriving. Drat! That means I missed out on the chance to win an iPad – everybody there for the start at 8 a.m. had a chance to win one of those coveted gizmos. Now I’m depressed (just kidding)!

 

Showtime!

I grabbed a seat near the back for the first session, Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher covering “Conversion Hacks”. Chaim and Alyssa were there and had saved me a seat near the front, but I didn’t want to disturb everybody trying to get to the seat they were saving me, so I just stayed where I was. Such a nice chap, I know!

 

First item to be discussed was testing, and the key metrics involved, such as opt-in rate, conversion rate, etc. Next was some really interesting stuff about “Impact Points” and how to increase the success rate of these. Impact points are defined as:

 

  • The Open
  • The Click
  • The Opt-In
  • Conversion

 

They showed an example of how dramatic an effect increasing the success rates of these points can have on your business. All well and good, but now I was really chomping at the bit and wondering just HOW to do that. Patience, my man! Ryan and Perry won’t let you down.

 

And, sure enough, they went into a discussion on how to go about improving these metrics, providing methods for each particular impact point:

 

  • Increasing the Open Rate – it’s all about the subject line, because nothing happens until an email is opened. Here are proven types of subject lines:
    Please Like us on Facebook to continue reading.

 

  • Increasing the Click Rate – the important factors here are send times, link placement and image placement:          
      1. Send time – best time = 4 am CST (US Central Standard Time); best days = Tuesday-Thursday; here’s a big tip – weekends are great for low dollar amount and lead-gen offers
      2. Short emails produce higher CTRs (click-through rates)
      3. Link placement – 3 links – intro, body and close/P.S.
      4. Images – at beginning and end of email

 

  • Increasing the Opt-in Rate
      1. Keep opt-in forms BASIC – ugly wins every time!
      2. An alternative is using ladies in bikinis or something equally revealing – tests have shown THIS WORKS! This is not some male thing; it’s actually a proven marketing statistic.

 

  • Increasing the Conversion Rate
      1. Statistics show that 1 in 3 customers who use the chat feature buy. Add a chat feature to your site.
      2. Customer service people are your best affiliates. They know your business and interact directly with customers – make sure they’re educating people about your products. Add a promotion as a signature to customer service emails.

 

That was a great session – a lot of useful and actionable info.

 

Sales, Sales, Sales

 

Next session was Perry Belcher’s “Secret Selling System”. There are 5 aspects:

 

  1. Targeting – this is all about knowing your customer. Create a profile of your ideal customer so you know how to promote to them.
  2. Getting leads – once you’ve identified your target audience, you need to get them on your list by offering list-building bait.
  3. Getting sales – create an irresistible offer that addresses one of the reasons people buy – gain, fear, pride, value, imitation. The sequence in the sales letter is vital – space doesn’t permit here, but Perry went through a 21 step sales presentation formula (which actually stretched to 24 steps, but who’s counting!) that was very thorough. Proof trumps all – social proof is essential. New always wins, i.e. getting to market first. Be aware of reasons people don’t buy – lack of connection, lack of confidence, wrong price, lack of urgency, no money. Always provide value and OVERDELIVER!
  4. Increase profit per sale – offer upsells. Customer is in buying frenzy – take advantage.
  5. Frequency – increase the frequency of contacts. Use social media, snail mail, telephone, events and parties. Build loyalty and continuity.

Great stuff, Perry. Thanks!

Time for lunch – a quick trip to the local mall and the food court, one of the classiest (and most expensive!) I’ve seen. Very nice.

 

Let’s get physical!

 

First session after lunch was all about ecommerce. I actually have an ecommerce web site, so this definitely intrigued me. Everything was covered, from finding a niche to validating that niche with a marketing checklist. One of the niches the presenter suggested made me giggle a bit – manscaping! Never thought of personal grooming for men quite that way – I like it.

 

Next up was “Mobile Voodoo”. I think we all know that mobile is the future, and this just reinforced it. Optimise landing pages, etc. for mobile, and get ready for the goldrush to come!

 

The last session was “Lifecycle Marketing”. There are 7 phases to the client lifecycle, namely:

  1. Know thy target client
  2. What’s your lead magnet?
  3. Nurture your prospects
  4. Convert into sales
  5. Deliver value and satisfy customers
  6. Upsells
  7. Get referrals

Wow! A long day, but a great one. One of the great features of this type of event is the ability to meet and mingle with like-minded people, and I met some great folks during the breaks and over lunch. It’s always good to network – you never know where your next JV partner may come from.

 

So, exhausted but exhilarated I trudged off to the parking lot and headed off back home to crash for the night, a hot cup of Starbucks coffee and KFJC for company.

 

See you tomorrow! But, don’t forget to leave your thoughts, comments, questions, insults (if you must!), jibes, etc., below and, love it or hate it, let your social media chums know what’s going on here.

Cheers!

 

How was your weekend? I hope it was good and that you enjoyed a couple of days free from the daily weekday grind. I’ve got to say mine was EXTREMELY busy, but in a REALLY good way.

 

This last weekend I attended Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher’s Traffic and Conversion Summit up in San Francisco. If you don’t know who Ryan Deiss and Perry Belcher are, just search for their names in your favourite browser, and you’ll soon see that they are 2 of the most respected names in internet marketing.

Traffic and Conversion Summit

Let the show begin

 

The conference lasted 3 days (Friday, January 18th to Sunday, January 20th.), and started at 8 a.m. each day. I decided to take the train the first day, since it was a weekday and since I knew the traffic would be terrible. So, SUPER tired but ULTRA excited, I dragged myself out to the railway station to catch the 6:45 a.m. train to 4th and Townsend station in San Francisco.

 

The conference was being held at the Marriott Marquis hotel, about a mile from the station. It was a nice morning in The City (as people in this area refer to it), so I took a brisk walk up 4th Street to the hotel, also on 4th, just south of Market, with a stop at Peet’s on the way (can’t beat a hefty shot of Peet’s to start the day!).

 

I got there and met up with Chaim, my accountability partner in Alex Jeffrey’s Inner Circle. Chaim and I had chatted over the phone weekly for a while, trying to keep each other accountable for our businesses, but we’d never met in person before, so it was great putting a face to the name finally. He’d come from Las Vegas, and just flew in REALLY early that morning, so was feeling pretty tired.

 

Friday morning session

 

The first session started out with Ryan Deiss, one of the organisers, discussing what he expects the future to hold. He predicts the “Channelisation of Everything”, resulting in businesses being run through niche channels, and the “Dollar Store Mentality”, in which consumers purchase lots of small items and we as business owners need to provide the tools to make the overall experience as simple as possible for them via 1-click shopping, free shipping, etc.

 

Next up was the keynote speaker of the day, none other than William “Captain Kirk” Shatner! Wow, talk about excitement boost! The pulse of the place just about went through the roof, and, as a life-long Star Trek fan (and, no, I’m not a Trekkie!), this was worth the price of admission by itself. But, the bonus was that the next hour or so that Mr. Shatner was on stage proved to be not only interesting but also enlightening as he talked (in a mini-panel format flanked by Ryan Deiss and his co-conspirator, Perry Belcher) about building his brand and his years marketing Priceline.com (did you know their shares are at nearly $700 per share? No, neither did I – in fact, Chaim and I were convinced he’d lost his marbles, but, after checking online, we verified what he said. Turns out Mr. Shatner could have been a billionaire today, except he sold his Priceline shares when they hit rock bottom after the Dotcom bust!).

 

At the break, Chaim and I met up with Alyssa, another member of the AJIC, whom I was meeting for the first time also. Again, nice to put a face to the name.

 

The final session  of the morning was titled “Post Panda SEO”, presented by Eric Lancheres, who gave out some great tips on how to Google-proof web sites. Here are a few of the tips he shared that you can also implement to safeguard against future Google shenanigans:

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These tips alone could improve your site’s performance in Google’s eyes considerably. Great session – thanks for the tips, Eric!

 

Friday afternoon session

 

The first session of the afternoon was “List Banking”, presented by Ryan Deiss and Chris Oyolokor, all about building a marketer’s greatest asset, a list. They discussed the need to determine leading performance indicators (LPI), competitive analysis to see what’s working and getting leads for competitors, testing banners, etc., pruning and weeding out what is and isn’t working, and then optimising for improved performance. Once all this has been done, the results should be used on other web sites to improve their results also.

 

The final session on Friday was called “Traffic Hacks”, and was basically a panel hosted by Perry Belcher, in which each panelist presented an idea for a different method of getting traffic to sites. The topics ranged from Facebook to YouTube, solo ads to PPC, and a whole lot more. I’ve got to admit, one or 2 of them went well over my head, but hopefully they weren’t lost on everybody.

 

So, that was it – Day 1 in the books and a great day it was as well. I think we learned a lot about traffic and various traffic-getting methods, which is vitally important, of course. This made me think of a traffic course that came out towards the end of last year and that was superb. I’m talking about John Thornhill’s “Simple Traffic Solutions” course. I picked this course up towards the end of last year and learned a TON of stuff. John’s a great teacher and he explains just about every method of getting traffic there is and then has separate modules devoted to implementing the various methods. The amount of detail is amazing, and I’d advise you to at least take a look at the course and decide for yourself by clicking the following link to access the most comprehensive course on traffic I’ve ever come across.

 

I’ll be back with details on how Day 2 went next. In the meantime, leave your comments below and hit any of the “share” buttons to spread the good word.

 

Cheers,

Ray

Continuing on in this series of articles about the mental approach to success, in this article I want to focus on getting out of our comfort zone. In case “comfort zone” is a term you’re not familiar with it, allow me to explain what it means as it relates to our discussion of the mental approach to success.

 

Your comfort zone is everything you’re used to and that you’re comfortable with. In other words, if you do something that you do regularly, you’re probably  comfortable doing that, and it’s something that doesn’t cause you to feel uncomfortable. For instance, you take a trip to the movies every week, so you’re perfectly at ease and comfortable doing that. But, if you’ve never appeared on stage and you’re asked to take a part in a play, that would probably be something you would be a bit apprehensive about because it’s something you’ve never done before, i.e. you would be well out of your comfort zone.

 

Why should I leave my comfort zone?

 

So,  you may be asking yourself, why would I want to do something that makes me uncomfortable, i.e. voluntarily decide to leave my comfort zone? Well, the good news is that nobody can force you to leave your comfort zone (unless you commit a crime or do something where you have no choice (being in the military springs to mind – disobeying your superior officers could be a bit problematic!)), so, normally, you wouldn’t have to. For example, you’re invited to speak in front of a group and you’re scared to death of even the thought of speaking in public (more good news – you’re FAR from alone in that!), feel free to stay in your comfort zone by declining the request. 

 

Simple, right? Yes, but then you may start feeling bad about not only letting others down but about letting yourself down. Here was a chance to expand your comfort zone and stretch yourself and improve yourself, but you declined and so you carry on as before, living a settled-for life, accepting your limitations and  living with them.

 

That may sound a bit harsh, but that’s basically what it boils down to. And that’s exactly the opposite attitude you need to have if you’re going to separate yourself from everybody else and become successful in your own business.

 

Self-growth and reaching your potential

 

If you’re going to be successful in your own business, there will be many times you’ll be called upon to leave your comfort zone. Just making the decision to start your own business is a big step outside your comfort zone, because you’re taking a chance and risking not only success but also failure. This is where it gets REALLY scary!

 

And, yes, while it is scary, it’s also liberating, because you’re breaking free of the shackles of the known and stepping into the unknown. So, yes, scary, because you’re taking a leap of faith, but at the same time exciting because you’re doing something new that, provided you add the key ingredient “action” to your decision, could be the most life-changing decision you’ve ever made.

 

This then leads to self-growth and the possibility of reaching your potential. You’ll be learning a lot of new skills and techniques, and generally expanding your horizons as you grow and develop your new business. You’ll have to decide on an area of internet marketing you want to specialise in, be it affiliate marketing, product creation, CPA (Cost Per Action), niche marketing, etc.

 

You’ll need to learn how to make videos – an integral part of internet marketing these days. And here’s the part that scares me the most right now – you’ll want to lead your own webinars at some point. Brrrr! Gives me the shivers just thinking about it, because I haven’t done one yet. But, I WILL do one, and will be MILES outside my comfort zone when I do, as you will probably be, but the results both personally and business-wise will probably be more than worth the anxiety we may feel at first.

 

Increased self-confidence and reaching your dreams and goals

 

As you challenge yourself and go outside your comfort zone more and more, you’ll feel your self-confidence increase and you’ll be ready to take on bigger and bigger challenges. And with each new challenge, you’ll be moving yourself and your business closer to your dreams and goals, and, eventually, your ultimate success, however you’ve defined that for yourself.

 

While all this may seem a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re at the beginning stages of your internet marketing journey, just remember that it’s a bit like eating an elephant – impossible to do in one sitting, but definitely achievable in bite-sized chunks . Just take things one step at a time, and take the time to celebrate each gain, or step forward, however small, before moving on to the next one.

 

Leaving your comfort zone can be a scary proposition, but every time you do so, you’ll not only feel great but you’ll be improving yourself and growing as a person, while growing your business at the same time.

 

What makes you uncomfortable or scares you? How will you go about getting over that? Share your thoughts here and share this with your friends using our “Like” and “Tweet” buttons.

 

Grow  and prosper,

Ray                                                                                                                                         

It IS how you think. Part 4 – Self-confidence

self-confidenceThe last post I wrote in this series was about courage and having the guts to face your fears and go through them. The common denominator in this whole series on the mindset of success is the 6 inches between our ears, our brain. Because that’s where most of these feelings and emotions emanate – it’s all to do with what we say to ourselves and the feelings we allow to rise to the top.

 

This latest post is about self-confidence. First of all, what is self-confidence? It’s the confidence we have in our own abilities and powers, and it’s what gives us the ability to do certain things and perform certain tasks we may not otherwise be able to. For example, during our dating days (mine are well past me!) we may see a member of the opposite sex we like and are attracted to, and would like to ask out on a date, but do we have the nerve (read “self-confidence”) to go up to this person and ask them out? And, if not, why not?

 

The fear factor

 

One of the reasons we lack self-confidence is fear – fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of what others will think, etc. The number one fear that most people  have is public speaking, which is a fairly well-known fact, but here’s the really scary part of this whole thing – death is regarded as the FOURTH most dreaded event. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it, but some people would actually rather choose dying over doing such things as speak in public. It’s crazy, but that’s how strong a hold fear can have on the lives of some of us.

 

Do you ever find yourself wondering how some people just radiate self-confidence? How do they manage to do most things with such apparent ease? Well, for a start, even the most self-confidence people will tell you that, despite their outward appearance, their stomach actually does somersaults before such things as giving a speech.

 

Face the fear and do it

 

Some people just have a natural air of self-confidence about them – they’re the exception rather than the rule. For most of us, the only way we can develop self-confidence is to face our fears and just do it, to steal Nike’s thunder. I speak from experience here, because, when I was a kid, I was absolutely terrified of things like ferris wheels and roller-coasters, and used to stand and watch with envy as my younger brothers went on all the  roller-coasters and had a great time. I used to think to myself, “Why can’t I do that?”.

 

That fear really affected my ability to enjoy our trips to amusement parks and seaside resorts like that (I grew up in England and most seaside resorts used to have amusement parks), until finally one day I decided I’d had enough and jumped, scared to death, on a roller-coaster. And, guess what, surprise, surprise, I loved it! And I’ve loved roller-coasters and similar rides ever since, and enjoyed amusement parks so much more as a result.

 

So, what’s the answer to the question, “Why can’t I do that?”? The answer is there is no reason! I could do that, and anything else I felt fearful about. How? By doing exactly that which I’m afraid of. That’s right. You have to face the fear and just do it, otherwise that fear will consume you for as long as you allow it to, and will adversely affect your overall enjoyment of life. And the more you do that of which you are afraid, the easier it will get and the greater your self-confidence will be. Then, others will look at you and wonder how you manage to be so self-confident, and won’t that be a nice feeling to know!

 

So, yes, some people are naturally more self-confident than others, of that there is no doubt. But, we can all develop our self-confidence over time if we are willing to make the effort to step out of our comfort zone and do that of which we’re afraid, and the more often we do it, the more confidence we’ll develop.

 

In which area of your life do you wish you had more confidence? What type of fears do you want to overcome? Feel free to leave your thoughts and let’s help each other develop our confidence. 

 

And, do me a favour, if you found this interesting or helpful, show this piece some “Like” love or Tweet it to your followers and help them overcome their fears and develop their self-confidence.

 

Confidently yours,

Ray

It IS how you think. Part 3 – Courage

courageIn this, the third in the series covering the mental approach to success, we’ll discuss the concept of courage. “Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage!”. You probably recognise that quote. Of course, it’s the Cowardly Lion from the “Wizard of Oz”. He was a lion, the King of the Beasts, but in the film he was scared of his own shadow. Yes, he really needed a hefty dose of courage, and, of course, by the end of the film he had all the courage he needed.

 

How did that happen? Well, the lion was never really a coward. In fact, he displayed tons of courage and bravery throughout the film. It’s just that he was fearful, and, because of that, he considered himself a coward, thinking to himself “How can I be King of the Beasts if I’m afraid?”. Yet, he battled through his fear to show tons of courage.

 

Battle through your fears

 

When it comes to stepping away from the herd and doing something different, that takes a lot of courage. More often than not, you face self-doubt, fear of the unknown, negative comments from family and friends and quite often financial challenges. That’s the lot of the entrepreneur, and that’s why most people don’t follow the entrepreneurial path because it’s just too risky. They’d rather stick to the familiar comforts of a regular job, however limiting or demoralising that may be.

 

If you want to get out of “the rut” and follow your own path, you’ll need that elusive quality the lion had all along without realising it, the quality of courage. If you’re reading this, the chances are you’ve already made the decision to be in business for yourself, and I applaud you for that. If you’re just considering it, I encourage you to do so, as long as you’re not putting yourself and your family in jeopardy.

 

Either way, you’ll face plenty of fears, and you can either allow those fears to get the better of you and leave you frozen like a deer in the headlights, or you can decide to battle through them and do whatever it takes to reach your goals. Hopefully, you’ll decide to do the latter and forge your own path as an entrepreneur.

 

Getting out of your comfort zone

 

As an entrepreneur and would-be business owner, part of facing your fears and conquering them will involve getting out of your comfort zone. Chances are you’ve already had to do that on more than one occasion. Think back to your schooldays. You were probably called on to give a speech or make a presentation in front of the class, which probably meant you were well out of your comfort zone the first time you did it. I speak from experience here because I was petrified first time I had to stand up before a crowd, but it did get easier the more I did it.

 

But, if you did it more than once, did you notice something the following times? It probably felt a lot easier, didn’t it? That’s because you’ve already done it at least once, and, even if you were a bit nervous or uncomfortable again, I can guarantee you weren’t as fearful as the first time. Why? Because you made the breakthrough by getting out of your comfort zone and doing what made you fearful.

 

Feel the fear and do it anyway

 

If you’re jumping into the world of internet marketing and this is your first business venture, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be more than a bit apprehensive. For a start, there’s a whole new language to learn practically. At least, there was for me. There were terms and concepts I’d NEVER heard of – what’s a “squeeze page”?; “autoresponder”? “webinar”?, etc. There were new skills to learn and new methods to follow. It was like a new world opening up to me – exciting but scary at the same time.

 

The best advice I can give is to learn as much as you can as you’re doing what you need to to become successful. In other words, feel the fear and do it anyway. You’ve already shown immense courage by deciding to take a chance on yourself and getting into business for yourself, so congratulations on that.

 

Now, gather up your courage and press on, taking action and having the courage to face your fears and do it anyway.

 

What’s your biggest fear as far as being a business owner is concerned? Drop a note in the comments area and let’s discuss it.

 

Press the “Like” or “Tweet” button and see what your friends think.

 

To your courage and success,

Ray

 

Video killed the radio star

VideoRemember when MTV introduced the world to music videos? All of a sudden, if a band or musician didn’t have a video in regular rotation on MTV, they’d be regarded as nobodies. It wasn’t so much about the music anymore – it was all about the video.

 

You could say the same about business these days. If your business doesn’t have a video on its web site,  your  site may end up being lost in the shuffle as more and more people look to get their information visually rather than just in the written form, and your business’s site may end up being overlooked for one that does provide the information in the format your visitor wants, i.e. video.

 

The age of the viral video

 

After the internet became available to everyone, video became even more prevalent – enter YouTube. YouTube set the stage for videos to make it possible for stars to be made overnight, as videos went viral and the number of views went through the roof.

 

 

Suddenly, it was possible for anyone to become famous just by making a video. Here’s an example of this phenomenon in action recently, and if you haven’t heard about this, you must have been hanging around on Mars or somewhere for the last year or so; I’m talking about the “Gangnam Style” video by an unknown fellow from South Korea named Psy, who’s now a worldwide superstar thanks to the fact his video went viral on YouTube.

 

Jumping on the bandwagon

 

All this hasn’t been lost on business owners, and, as I said, business web sites without videos are now more the exception than the rule as businesses embrace video as a vital tool in their marketing arsenal. Nowhere is this more obvious than in internet marketing where video has almost become a necessity for marketers to stand out against their competition. 

 

A few years ago, a fellow Englishman named Josh Bartlett saw the video trend taking place and realised that marketing videos were about to explode, so he introduced Easy Video Player, which rapidly became the video tool of choice amongst savvy marketers.

 

It made it possible for marketers to create videos incorporating marketing tools with just the click of a mouse rather than requiring extensive programming knowledge or expensive outsourcing services. In short, it revolutionised video marketing practically overnight.

 

Then came Easy Video Player 2.0, which took video marketing to an entirely different and more powerful level, adding more tools and enhancements to an already amazing tool.

 

Enter Easy Video Suite

 

Now the next evolution of Easy Video Player is about to be unleashed to a highly expectant audience, and, in conjunction with that launch, John Thornhill and Omar Martin are holding a contest that involves accumulating points just for spreading the word about the upcoming launch.

 

 

And they’re giving away some amazing prizes – click here to take a look and get involved in the contest and what promises to be a historic launch. The great thing about this contest is you don’t have to sell anything nor do you have to buy anything – you just let as many people as you can know about the contest via such things as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.

 

I made a short video about the contest – take a look.

 

 

Are you using video in your business? If so, how are you using it? To market products, to provide information to your visitors and customers, or some other way?

 

Please share this post with your social media contacts, and I’ll look for your videos in YouTube. In fact, feel free to come back and let us all know when you post your next video.

 

Action – take 1!

Ray “Spielberg” Boreham

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