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increase in sales

4 Ways To Increase Sales Right NOW

increase sales

Are things not going the way you’d like? Want more sales? Feeling kind of helpless?

You’re not alone. As marketers, sooner or later we’ve all been there.

The important thing is to DO something. Any action is better than paralysis, because it gets you moving. You can always course correct as you go.

I’m sure you have heard of the phrase “fail forward” and it is a good mantra to stick to when running an online business (in fact, any business really).

Don’t let fear of failure stop you from taking action because that is a sure fire way to fail.

OK, with that being said, here are 4 ways to increase sales and increase your income right now.

You might balk at one or two of them. All I can say is try them before you pass judgment.

1: Get More Affiliates

how increase sales

And I mean LOTS more affiliates. How much time do you spend creating products? Or getting new people onto your list? This is also how much time you should be spending on recruiting more affiliates, and especially GOOD affiliates.

If you can afford it, I highly recommend getting an affiliate manager. If you can’t yet afford it, then become your own affiliate manager. Watch launches and see which affiliates do well, as well as which product owners are building a list that’s perfect for your offer.

Recruit bloggers who are list building. Ask your list and especially your product buyers if they want to be affiliates.

Every where you go within your own niche, watch for people who might be your next affiliate, even if they’re not currently doing affiliate marketing.

Then cultivate relationships with these people. Don’t just approach them and forget them. Send them personal emails, comment on their blogposts and act as though you are friends, because that’s the best way to MAKE friends.

And don’t discount little affiliates, either. I once had a new affiliate who made exactly ONE sale. However, that sale was to a super affiliate who contacted me, asked to promote my product, and sold 420 copies in one week. You just never know.

2: Grow Your Lists

increase sales

Yes, this is obvious, isn’t it? We all know that the money is in the list, right?

Well, I know marketers who aren’t aggressively list building, and they wonder why they’re not making sales.

On a typical list, you’ll have attrition. And I don’t just mean people unsubscribing, either. The person who is hot to buy your product today will have forgotten who you are in 6 months, or they moved on to another interest, or whatever. You have to be continuously building your lists – all of them.

This includes your email list, your Facebook group and any other list of potential prospects you’re building. Be continuously building, because if you’re not, then your list is shrinking.

Do more guest posting, more webinars for other people’s lists, more JV’s and anything else that will further fill your lists with prospects.

3: Increase The Number Of Marketing Messages You Send To Your Lists And Prospects

increase in sales

If you’re placing ads, place more and better ads. If you have a Facebook group, send them more marketing messages. If you’re doing webinars, do more webinars for your lists.

And by all means send more marketing messages to your lists. A lot of people are scared silly to email their list more than once or twice per week, but here’s what happens when your list doesn’t hear from you every single day:

They forget about you.

They even forget who you are and why they subscribed to your list.

Plus, just about no one on your list is going to open every email you send. It just isn’t going to happen. You might have to send 4 or 5 emails on the same offer before some folks will open even one of them.

Yes, you will get a few more unsubscribes from your list when you email daily, or even twice per day.

But that’s okay, because you will also keep the rest of your list engaged and interested, and you will likely double or perhaps even triple your sales.

Email daily. Email twice a day if you can keep it interesting. But only do this sparingly and if you are email marketing correctly i.e. you are providing value upfront before ever promoting anything to them.

And here’s an alternative if you don’t want to write two different emails in one day – send the same email twice. The second time you send it out, only send it to those who didn’t open your first email. Nearly every email program now gives you this option, so take it.

Some marketers take this to extremes during a launch and do a “crush campaign” which really hammers your poor subscribers when they get 5+ emails the same day about the same promotion. I don’t treat my list like this but there are those who do; I normally unsubscribe when I get hammered like this because I don’t think the marketer really cares about their subscribers by doing this.

4: Raise Your Prices

how increase sales

 

If your sales page is converting well, then raise your prices and see what happens.

Even if you wind up converting at a lower rate, you’ll likely still be making more money because your prices are higher. Consider a $20 product converting at 7%, versus that same product priced at $35 and converting at 5%. You’re looking at $140 versus $175 per 100 visitors, or a $350 increase for every 1,000 visitors. It adds up.

In addition, by raising your prices you automatically rebrand your product into a higher-perceived level of quality. This is why – oddly enough – there are times when an increase in price can actually result in an increase in sales.

When you raise your prices, some of your steady customers will stop buying. But you’ll also get new customers who want to pay for quality, and you will make more money.

When marketer Dan Kennedy advises any business owner on how to increase revenue, the first thing he tells the owner is to raise prices. Nearly every time the business owner will balk and tell Dan it’s a terrible idea. And nearly every time it results in a MAJOR boost in revenue.

And there you have it – 4 ways to increase your sales and revenue right now. These might not be for the timid, but I can tell you from experience that they work.

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Affiliate Marketing

Becoming A More Effective Affiliate Marketer

Affiliate Marketing

If you are reading this post, you must already realise that affiliate marketing is one of the quickest and most lucrative ways to start an online business.

But it isn’t always as straightforward as it seems and we’re going to look at a couple of affiliate marketing strategies that you can use to boost your effectiveness as an affiliate marketer and these are based around the concept of SEO (search engine optimisation).

Firstly, we’ll take a look at keyword research to help you rank in Google and then we’ll look at best practices to set up your site so it can be easily found.

This may sound like affiliate marketing for beginners, but I reckon most would benefit from these 2 tips.

Sound good? Let’s dive right in…

Basic Keyword Research For Affiliate Marketers

Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

As an affiliate marketer, you want to learn the best ways to use keywords to help build your business. But if you don’t have any experience working with keywords, it can be a little confusing.

These helpful tips should assist you in being able to learn the best keywords and how to use them. First, you need the right tools to help you gather the best keywords.

These are called keyword tools and their purpose is to show you which keywords people are using to search for things.

If you’re just starting out, there are some great free and paid keyword tools you can use. One of the good free ones is Google AdWords. You can also use tools like Wordtracker, SEMrush, SpyFu, Ubersuggest, Wordze or Keyword Discovery.

Some of these have all free access, some free but limited usage offers and others are paid.

The Google AdWords Keyword Tool is very easy to use. When you pull up the screen, type the word or phrase you’re thinking of using on your website or blog. For example, if you’re selling acne products, you’d type the word acne in the box where you list the word or phrase.

When the words come up, you’ll see: acne, cystic acne treatment, adult acne treatment, best acne treatment, etc. The tool will show you if the competition is high, medium or low and what the volume of global and local monthly searches is.

One helpful tip is that you also want to cover other terms people would use to search for acne. To get other words people might be using, you can pull up an online thesaurus and type in acne.

You’ll get a response of: blemishes, pimple, skin inflammation etc. – and you can put those words in the keyword tool and see how they rank.

You want to make sure that you’re looking for both broad and longtail keywords. A broad keyword has the potential to bring more views to your site if you’re able to rank high for it.

These are words that people use when they’re looking for something but aren’t completely sure what they want. For example, someone might type in the keyword ‘shoes.’

When you’re doing keyword research, you also want to look for exact matches. An exact match is how it sounds. Your keyword or keywords exactly match what someone has typed into the search engine.

For example, if someone types in ‘black lamp’ and you have that as your keyword, it will lead them to your website or blog or ad.

You want to make sure that you use longtail keywords. A longtail keyword is a set of 3-5 words that are better targeted toward someone’s search because they’re more specific.

While ‘play guitar’ is an example of a keyword phrase, an example using longtail keywords would be ‘learn how to play guitar’ or ‘how to play guitar notes’ or ‘how to play guitar for kids’ etc.

Longtail keywords are important because you can get more traffic because you rank well – and you’ll end up with higher conversions.

OK, now let’s look at some ways to optimise your site with some basic SEO settings and we’ll assume that you are using WordPress to build your blog or website.

Basic Search Engine Optimisation For Affiliate Blogs

Affiliate Marketing Strategies

Some affiliates set up a blog and create lots of content – without ever learning the ins and outs of search engine optimisation. As a site owner, whether you have your own products or promote someone else’s, it’s important that you know SEO.

Make sure the settings allow search engines to index you. Inside the dashboard, you have the option to block access to your site by the search engines. This is under Settings and Privacy, so do a quick check to see if it’s set up correctly.

Give your site a title and tagline. Under the Settings tab again, you want to go into the General section. Here it says Site Title and Tag Line, you want to fill these spots in with relevant, keyword-based content that tells people what your site is all about.

In the Writing category under Settings, go to the bottom where it says Update Services. Find a good up-to-date Ping list and paste those URLs into this area. That helps other sites know when you have new content.

Categorize your blogs and deliver a good navigation system. When a visitor lands on your website, you want it to be sticky. Sticky means they stay around for awhile, not clicking out after they read one blog post.

With good navigation, like a list of categories and recent or popular posts in your sidebar (all done with widgets), you can let the visitors know there’s more good content they might like.

Go to the Settings section again and click on Permalinks. You want this option to be Post Name. This means that after your domain and the word blog, the URL will have the name of the post, like this: yourdomain.com/blog/keyword-relevant-blog-title.

Use both broad and longtail keywords in your posts and pages. Some affiliates make the mistake of trying to rank for the broadest keywords in their niche, like “health” or “diet.” It’s much easier to rank well in search engines when you use longtail keywords.


By the way, if you are serious and want to take your blogging to the next level, check out the Rapid Blogging Blueprint. This is a premium level training that takes you through each and every step of setting up your own highly profitable blog and profiting from it. You can check it out here.


A longtail keyword phrase would be something like this: “the best diet after pregnancy.” Over time, as your blog becomes an authority figure, you may find that you’re also ranking for the broad terms as well.

Use a Google sitemap plugin. This plugin helps Google have quick access to a sitemap, rather than you having to manually create a sitemap that helps guide their robots or spiders around your domain.

Consider an SEO optimiser plugin to give your blog a boost. There are many plugins that help you maximize your blog posts on autopilot. Do some research and see what works best for your needs.

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conversion rate

Using Personalisation To Get Higher Conversions

conversion rate

It’s amazing what a little personalisation can do.

Quick example: You go into a store looking to buy something. A salesperson helps you, but you leave without making a purchase. You go back a week later, and the salesperson greets you by calling you by name.

How do you feel? Maybe respected, appreciated and memorable? And do you want to do business with someone who cares enough to remember your name? Of course you do; it makes you feel special doesn’t it?

When Coca-cola introduced Coke bottles personalised with people’s names, sales jumped 2%. Now I know 2% might not sound like much, but to a company as big as Coke, it’s huge.

Personalisation – when used properly – can double your conversions.

Here are 10 ideas on how to personalise not just words, but actual images – and how you might use these ideas in your own business…

1: Inactive Customers Or Subscribers

conversion rate

Re-engage with customers and even subscribers who are no longer active.

For example, for customers who haven’t made a purchase in 90 days, or subscribers who haven’t clinked a link in a month, send them a photo of you in front of a whiteboard looking sad.

The whiteboard has a simple mathematical equation with your business name, minus their name and a frowny face, like this:

     Your Business Name  –  Your customer’s name = ☹

2: New Customers And Subscribers

Conversion Rate Optimization

Create life-long customers and communities by taking the time to welcome someone when they join you. For example, you might send them a picture of you holding a sign that says, “Welcome Paul!”

Many people know that emails (even with their first names) are hardly personal so by going out of your way to send them a picture like this will make you stand out.

Is it a little cheesy? Perhaps, but it does work so why not give it a go?

3: Product Sales

Conversions

When your customers buy a product that you are shipping out, keep them engaged by sending them an email with a picture of their package.

This keeps them excited and tells them it’s on the way.

Bonus: Get a clear shot of the address label, and it will help them to confirm their shipping address before it’s too late.

You could even do this with a digital product such as a course. Most courses will have a generic welcome video but you could easily personalise this and welcome them to the course by name. How cool is that?

4: Webinar Attendance

conversion rate

Get people to show up for your webinars by sending them a personalised reminder email in the form of a photo of a handwritten note, or of you standing next to a whiteboard with the written words, “Are you coming to the webinar, Joan?”

This will capture their attention, be far more memorable and do more to get them on the webinar than the standard email that webinar services send out as reminders.

Once again, this takes a little effort (but not much) and it really does make a difference.

5: Cart Abandonment

Conversion Rate Optimization

If someone goes to buy one of your products or services but doesn’t check out, you should be following up with them as soon as possible to try to save the sale.

 Send out a photo of an empty box with their name on it, such as, “Order for Bob Smith.”

This emphasizes the sense of loss in not ordering and will get some of your customers to come back and finalize their purchase.

Remember that you don’t know why they abandoned the cart; it could be that their internet connection dropped, doorbell rang, any number of reasons that had nothing to do with your product or service so you lose nothing by following up.

6: Text Messages

Conversions

If you use text messages for following up with customers, how about adding an image of a newspaper that features their name and the reason for the follow up?

Guaranteed you’ll have their attention.

This may not be as easy to do as some of the other methods but that is why it can be so effective.

Also, text messages and instant messaging services just feel more personal than email so if you aren’t using them in your business, perhaps it’s time you looked into adding them to your arsenal.

7: Customer Anniversaries

conversion rate

Send out a personalised image that contains congratulations on their anniversary – perhaps the anniversary of purchasing a product, subscribing to your list, joining your membership site, etc.

You’ll make them feel special and important.

8: Upsells

Conversion Rate Optimization

This is a brilliant idea that can put serious money in your pocket almost immediately – send out an image letting your customer know they forgot something.

It might be a picture of the upsell they didn’t take, along with words such as, “You forgot something John! (It’s our best offer).

Remember it’s much easier to convince someone who has already bought from you once than it is to convince someone who hasn’t bought from you yet so it makes sense to try to increase the average order value as soon as possible.

9: Certificates

Conversions

Do you offer any kind of courses or online training?

Send out personalised and official looking certificates of completion with their name, the training level achieved, the date, signatures and seal.

You could also use gamification in your courses too.

These may appear gimmicky, but they do work to encourage buyers to actually log in and consume your content.

If they do that, they are more likely to get results, and if they get results, they are much more likely to buy from you again!

10: Online Order Confirmation

conversion rate

When someone places an order, send them a photo of you and your team (if you have one) with a sign that welcomes them by name. It might say something like, “Welcome to the family, Aaron.” Make sure everyone in the photo looks especially happy.

Now then, you might be saying: “Sure, this is all well and good and I can see how it will help me to retain customers and make more sales, but who has time to do all this?”

Good question. The answer is, you do – if you get PicSnippets.

PicSnippets creates personalised images for marketing, sales and customer follow-up. You can create your PicSnippet and use it on nearly any platform such as ClickFunnels, ManyChat, Convertri and more.

Just go to PicSnippets.com and register today.

OK, so there are 10 ways you can use personalisation to boost conversions and if you want some other strategies to boost your conversion then grab a free Conversion Boost report by clicking on the “Featured Resource” below.

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Target For Marketing

Target Marketing – A Quick Case Study

Target For Marketing

We talk about targeting the right people for your product, but just how valuable is it to know your audience?

Well, it is of  critical importance to the life of your business and can have a substantial effect on your profits and whether you even get off the ground in the first place!

If you are not crystal clear about who your target market is, you could be wasting time driving the wrong kinds of people to your opt-in offers via social media etc.

And, even worse, if you are using paid media such as FB or Google ads you will be wasting some serious money by not targeting the right audience.

So, as you can see, doing the research on your niche needs to be done before you even think about creating and selling a product or service.

And once you have decided on a profitable niche, you need to dial in and really find out what makes these people tick so you can target those specific people who will be most attracted to your offers.

It may not be sexy, but it can have a huge impact on your business, and in an area where so many people give up before they have really started, wrong niche selection and poor target marketing is one of the primary causes for people giving up.

This is because they aren’t seeing any return on their investment (whether that be time or money) and quickly become disheartened and it’s easy to see why.

Now we have established that being able to target your market successfully is of vital importance, let’s look at a company that did this right.

Target Marketing Done Right!

Target Marketing Strategies

Here’s a quick case study of a deodorant that became a top seller through nothing more than pinpoint targeting of its customers:

In Brandwashed: Tricks Companies use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy, we learn how Axe Deodorant took over their market through laser-focused targeting.

Unilever executive David Cousino tells us that Unilever first analyzed the potential male deodorant user by breaking men down into six profiles:

The Predator – He takes advantage of drunk girls, and lies about his job and where he lives

Natural Talent – Athletic, smart, and confident. He doesn’t need to lie to score

Marriage Material – Humble and respectful, he’s the sort of guy you want to bring home to Mom and Dad

Always the Friend – He always hits that glass ceiling

The Insecure Novice – He has absolutely no clue what he’s doing, and things get awkward fast – the geeks and nerds

The Enthusiastic Novice – He has absolutely no clue what he’s doing, but he’s outgoing and tries valiantly anyway

Based on these six profiles, they chose to target the ‘Insecure Novice,’ since these are the guys who need the most help in getting women.

And frankly, this is the target market that could most easily be persuaded into buying a product – ANY product – that could potentially help them get over their nerdiness and get the woman. Or women. Lots of women.

The next step was to create the ads. Research showed that the ultimate male fantasy isn’t to have just one woman at a time – it’s to be irresistible to several sexy women at once. (Seriously, did they really need research to determine this?)

That’s why the TV ads proclaim that if you use Axe Deodorant, you will get the chicks. ALL the chicks.

The result? Axe came out of nowhere to be the #1 male antiperspirant / deodorant brand.

Is this a bit cheesy? Yes. But did it work? Absolutely!

Notice they weren’t targeting EVERY man. They didn’t target married men, old men, men who could already get women on their own and so forth. They targeted ONE demographic – men in their 20’s and 30’s who were nerdy and had trouble getting women.

But in the process, they had a great deal of crossover into the other groups as well.

This is an added benefit of targeting that most marketers don’t realize. They think in order to get the biggest share of the market, they must target everyone.

But when you target everyone, you tend to get almost no one. Paradoxically, when you target one specific group, you tend to get customers from all the other groups as well.

One side note: In this case, Axe’s marketing worked almost TOO well. High school kids were completely dousing themselves in Axe, thinking they would get every girl in class to fall all over them.

Instead, school districts complained of kids reeking of the cologne-like smell.

How could Axe have fixed this? Perhaps by cautioning its users that because of the power of Axe, a normal amount was actually more effective than going full coverage.

Instead, Axe backpedalled a bit from their original campaign, and sales declined.

Which is another lesson – when you find a target market that works for your product – or better still, you target your product to the right market – don’t change what’s working.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Make a list of potential target markets for your next product.
  • From that list, choose the market – or demographic – you want to target.
  • Create a profile of ONE person in that market – this is your ideal customer.
  • Tailor your product and your message to that one person.
  • Dance around your office as you see the sales come flooding into your in box.

Stop targeting everyone and start targeting your ideal customer. Once you do, it will become clear how you should market, where you’ll find your customers, and how to get them on board.

So, if you haven’t done so already, think about your ideal customer and create a customer avatar and really get to know them and what flicks their switches. 

And yes, your sales will almost certainly increase because you not only know what they need, you also know wat they want and you can tailor your products and services just for them and they will gladly pay you for them which is win-win for both buyer and seller 🙂

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Value Proposition

How To Create A Great Value Proposition

Value Proposition

Your value proposition determines if people will bother reading about your product or close the page.

If you get it right, sales can skyrocket. Get it wrong, and you’ll wonder why all that traffic isn’t converting into sales.

The less known your company is, the more you need to work on and perfect your value proposition. Does Pepsi or Coke need a value proposition? Probably not.

Does Little Guy Joe who just got into online marketing need a value proposition? He sure does if he wants to make sales.

So What Is A Value Proposition Anyway?

Value Proposition

Not wanting to rely solely on my memory, I did some research, and this is what I found to be something of a consensus of what a value proposition should be:

It’s your promise of value to be delivered to the customer. And it’s the #1 reason your prospect should buy from YOU.

A great value proposition incorporates one or more of these qualities:

  1. Explaining how your product is going to solve your customer’s problem, or how it’s going to improve your customer’s situation. (This is called relevancy)
  2. States specific benefits your product delivers (This is quantified value)
  3. Tells your customer why they should buy from you instead of your competition (This is unique differentiation)

But I think we need more clarification. In doing my research, I also found that a great value proposition…

  • Targets a specific market
  • Focuses on quality, cost or speed, or a combination of two of those
  • Clarifies what the company or product does not do

Your value proposition should be the first thing visitors see on your home page. Plus, you’ll want to place it on all entry points to your site as well.

People need to be able to read it and immediately understand it. Which is to say, corporate gibberish created by a committee of eggheads isn’t going to cut it.

For example, if I tell you that my value proposition is:

“Revenue-focused automated marketing and sales closing solutions unleashed through collaboration throughout the revenue cycle”

I’m guessing you’re going to be bewildered. Or you’re falling asleep. Or you’re confused as can be.

And there’s no need to be redundant. For example:

Online Billing and Invoicing Software

Invoice Dude is an online billing software specially designed for small and medium businesses. Thousands of businesses and individuals trust us for their invoicing!

This tries to appeal to too many people – small businesses, medium businesses and individuals.

There is no differentiation from other online billing and invoicing software.

In addition, it says ‘thousands of businesses,’ yet offers no proof. Stating an actual number such as 12,549 would be a great help, and it could be updated automatically or manually on a daily or weekly basis.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but this entire value proposition puts me to sleep.

And with a name like Invoice Dude, they could have done soooo much better.

What A Value Proposition Is NOT

Value Proposition Template

It’s not a catch phrase or a slogan.

“Coke, it’s the real thing” and “L’Oreal, because you’re worth it” are slogans, not value propositions.

It’s also not a positioning statement.

“America’s #1 bandage brand, heals the wound fast, heals the hurt faster” is a positioning statement.

These are better than nothing, but they’re not what we’re striving for.

Calling your product the ‘real thing’ doesn’t show one benefit or reason why we should buy it over the competition.

Because you’re worth it doesn’t tell us anything – it just sounds good. And expensive.

Being #1 doesn’t make me want to buy your product, either.

These are all examples of slogans, not value propositions:

  • Like sleeping on a cloud (Sealy)
  • Milk from contented cows (Carnation)
  • Save Money, Live Better (Wal-Mart)
  • I’m lovin’ it (McDonalds)
  • When you care enough to send the very best (Hallmark)
  • Just Do It (Nike)
  • Finger Lickin’ Good (KFC)
  • Have it your way (Burger King)
  • Melts in your mouth, not in your hands (M&M)
  • The happiest place on earth (Disney World)
  • The best a man can get (Gillette)
  • Betcha can’t eat just one (Lays)
  • Think outside the bun (Taco Bell)
  • “Koo Koo for Cocoa Puffs”
  • “Snap! Crackle! Pop!” (Rice Krispies)
  • Are you a Cadbury’s fruit and nut case?”
  • “Keep Walking” (Johnny Walker Whiskey)
  • “Wii would like to play.”
  • “I’d rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity.” (Stella Artois)
  • “We don’t charge an arm and a leg. We want tows.” (From a towing company)
  • “Yesterday’s meals on wheels” (From a septic tank)
  • “We repair what your husband fixed.” (From a plumber’s truck)

Value Proposition Components

Value Proposition For Customers

A value proposition is usually longer than a slogan.

In fact, it can have a headline, a sub-headline, one short paragraph of text and possibly bullet points.

And it might even include a visual, such as a photo, graphics or hero shot.

There is no one correct way to build your value statement, nor is there only one possibility. This is something you’re going to have to think about for awhile.

You make notes, try things, think about it, tweak it, ask opinions and tweak it some more.

Headline: This is usually the big end benefit you’re offering your customers, stated in one clear, short sentence. You might mention the product, the customer or both. This is where you grab attention, because if you don’t, then you’ve already lost a fair share of your prospects.

Sub-headline: This is a specific explanation of what your product does, who the ideal customer is and why your product is useful.

One short paragraph: This can be instead of or in addition to a sub-headline, and serves the same purpose as the sub-headline above.

3 bullet points: These are the key benefits or features. Notice we said three, not unlimited. You may or may not need bullets, but if you do, keep them short and punchy.

Visual: Images always communicate faster and generally better than words. You might show the product, the happy customer or an image that reinforces your message.

How To Write Your Value Proposition

Value Proposition

This takes time to get it just right. In the beginning, do the best you can, and then adjust it along the way.

There is no reason to delay starting or growing your business just because you don’t have the perfect value statement yet.

A good value statement is better than no value statement, and in time you can make it great.

Start out by answering these questions:

  • What’s your product or service?
  • What is the BIG end-benefit of using it?
  • Who is your ideal target customer?
  • What makes your offer unique?
  • How is your product different from anything else available?

NOTE: If you can’t answer why your product is unique or different, then you might want to work on the product itself. Selling a ‘me too’ product that is identical to what’s already being offered can be difficult UNLESS you already have a well-known brand.

Once you have your first draft of your value statement, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it clear and easy to understand?
  • Does it communicate concrete benefit(s)?
  • Will a customer know exactly what result they will get from using your product?
  • Does it say how it’s different or better than the competition?
  • Does it avoid hype? (amazing, fantastic, best ever)
  • Does it avoid business jargon? (revenue generated resource allocation blah blah blah)
  • Can your ideal prospect read it and understand it in a few seconds?

If someone is shopping around, then they’re likely to check out 4 or 5 different options before deciding.

By having your value proposition at the top of your first page, you can easily stand apart from all competitors.

Research shows that visitors notice value propositions faster when they have more text. Visitors were also able to describe more product advantages when there were more to read about in the value proposition.

And readers tend to prefer bullet points – they’re easier to understand and remember.

Examples Of Great Value Propositions

Value Proposition Template

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Uber is the smartest way to get around. One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.

Unbounce: Build, Publish and A/B Test Landing Pages Without I.T.

The mobile responsive landing page builder for marketers.

<button copy>Build a high-converting landing page now.

  1. Build a page
  2. Publish it
  3. Test and optimize

Slack: A messaging app for teams who put robots on Mars!!

NASA’s jet propulsion laboratory is one of tens of thousands of teams around the world using Slack to make their working lives simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.

Trello: Trello is the free, flexible and visual way to organize anything with anyone.

Drop the lengthy email threads, out-of-date spreadsheets, no-loner-so-sticky notes, and clunky software for managing your prospects. Trello lets you see everything about your project in a single glance.

iPhone: Why there’s nothing quite like iPhone

Every iPhone we’ve made – and we mean every single one – was built on the same belief. That a phone should be more than a collection of features. That above all, a phone should be absolutely simple, beautiful and magical to use.

Value Proposition Boosters

Value Proposition For Customers

Sometimes it’s difficult to find ways to differentiate yourself from your competition, so you might try adding one or more of these to your offer:

  • Free shipping
  • Fast or next day shipping
  • Free trial
  • Free setup or installation
  • Free bonus
  • No long-term contracts or payments
  • A very clear money back guarantee
  • A better than money-back guarantee
  • A discounted price
  • Customization
  • One-on-one personal help

Remember, you don’t need to hit your value proposition out of the park on the first try. But you do need to build one and use it.

Tests show that having the right value proposition can have an immediate effect on your sales, sometimes even doubling or tripling conversions.

Of course, it’s going to depend on your product, your niche, your customers and even your competition.

And most of all, it will depend on how well you craft your value proposition.

One more thing – an added beauty of having a great value proposition is it clarifies in your own mind what it is that you are truly doing for your customers.

It actually makes your job easier, in that you are no longer trying to be a jack of all trades, or trying to make your product fit everyone.

The clarity your value proposition brings can also bring you peace of mind and a better ability to grow your business big, strong and fast.

Niche Marketing

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Build A Business

How To Build A Business, Sell It And Retire In The Next 5 Years!

Build A Business

Are you willing to work like crazy for 5 years (give or take) so you can retire?

If so, I’ve got a business plan for you. And I don’t care if you’re 20 or 70 – this can work.

One note before we get started: Anything that you either can’t do, don’t want to do or don’t have time to do, you outsource.

If you’re going to actually, really, truly retire in 5 years, taking this from zero to a 7-figure payday, then you need to get work done FAST.

And in many cases that’s going to mean outsourcing some of this.

Oh yes, did you notice how I covertly slipped that “7 figure payday” in there? I’m serious about that. Doing what I’m about to lay out for you, you can indeed retire in about 5 years with about 7 figures.

Your results may vary – in fact, they might be a whole lot better than that, I don’t know.

Let’s get started:

Step 1: Select Your Niche

Build A Business

What I’m about to propose isn’t rocket science. It’s not even new. But it is profitable, and here’s the key: You can do this in parallel, meaning instead of doing just ONE of what I’m outlining, you do several.

I recommend 3 – 5 of them.

What you’re going to do is build an entire business from the ground up, with an eye on selling it.

That’s right – the entire time you’re doing this, you have your exit strategy in mind.

It’s sort of like someone marrying for money, knowing they’re going to be asking for a divorce in 5 years. The money is a sure thing, they just have to put in the time and work.

Okay, that was maybe a bad analogy, but you get the point.

If you put in the time and do the work, you will get the money.

You’re going to choose a very popular and not too broad topic. For example, weight loss for busy women, dating for men, traffic generation for online marketers, etc.

It needs to be a topic that has plenty of interested people willing to buy plenty of products, and of course there needs to be plenty of affiliate products continually coming into the market.

Step 2: Setup A Sales Funnel

Build A Business Plan

Now that you’ve got your topic, you’re going to build a sales funnel.

Run a free offer on a squeeze page to get subscribers and place a couple of products in your funnel for them to buy.

Maybe you’ve got a $7 report and a $37 video course, or whatever.

These should be quality products that YOU own. And yes, they can be built around PLR, or you can outsource, etc.

For your high-ticket offer, create a membership site and drip feed content into it. Your goal is to get lots of people into that membership site.

I know what you’re thinking – thus far I haven’t told you anything new, except for the fact that you’re doing all of this with an eye to selling it.

Yet who does this? Very few people, but those who do end up with BIG paydays.

Do everything under a pen name. Make no mistake – EVERYTHING must be under your pen name.

And for each of these businesses that you build, you need a different pen name.

Okay, you’ve got a squeeze page to capture names, a funnel with a low-priced product, a mid-priced product and a membership site.

Step 3: Setup A Blog

Build A Business Online

Now you need a blog. Get a great logo, excellent branding and make it look super professional. Do NOT skimp on the branding and logo.

Post on the blog at least a couple of times a week, preferably more.

Link from the blog to your free and paid products.

Make each upsell in your funnel a stand-alone product, too, and promote those on your blog.

Promote affiliate products to your list to make some good money as you go along.


By the way, if you are serious and want to take your blogging to the next level, check out the Rapid Blogging Blueprint. This is a premium level training that takes you through each and every step of setting up your own highly profitable blog and profiting from it. You can check it out here.


Step 4: Write A Book!

Build A Business Plan

Now write a book. See? I told you there was work involved. You can use content from your blog to create your book, or hire someone, or just write it yourself.

Link from inside the book to a squeeze page to capture more subscribers.

Get a great book cover. I mean a cover that looks like it should be on the New York Times bestseller list. Don’t skimp on this, either.

Put your book on Amazon and get your subscribers to review it for you. Yes, the book is under your pen name, too.

Don’t worry too much about promoting the book. Your real motivation here is to build credibility. A book on your topic with your pen name on it looks AWESOME when you put the thumbnail at the TOP of your blog.

Wow! You (your pen name, actually) are an EXPERT.

Cross-promote from any existing lists you have to get more people onto your new blog and get more subscribers there.

If you create a big product such as a $200 – $1000 course, get affiliates to promote it. Or get affiliates to promote your memberships site.

Your goal is to build your list BIG, make some nice income along the way, and put together a very professional looking business which you then sell for six or seven figures.

Rinse And Repeat!

Build A Business

If you do this simultaneously in 3 to 5 different niches, you will have an AWESOME retirement in about 5 years or so.

What I recommend: Start in ONE niche and get everything into place. Hire someone to write the blog posts for you and do some promotion.

Now that you know everything that is involved, take some of the profits from your first site / list / business and those profits to outsource a lot of the work in your second, third, and fourth businesses.

You see where this is going. Five years of hard work, along with rolling some of your profits back into the business, and you then get to sell them.

Sites like these that have products, big lists and a BOOK sell for a healthy six figure income. Sometimes even seven figures. Apiece. And you’re going to have 3, 4, maybe 5 of them.

Remember to keep everything separate on each site. Separate hosting. Separate autoresponders. Separate everything. This makes it super easy to turn control over to someone else when the time comes.

Turnkey online business are always in demand. From a buyer’s perspective, they pay a big chunk of money but then they get a guaranteed stream of income. All the buyer has to do is continue what you started.

You can even turn over your outsourcers to the buyer if they don’t want to do the work themselves, and often they won’t. For them it’s an investment in their future. For you it’s a major payday and a plane trip to the islands.

One more thing… if you would like to continue to make a nice, easy income after you sell your sites, then I recommend you promote your own personal site to the folks on these lists you’re building.

For example, your pen name is Jon Smith. Your real name is Abby Jones. Jon Smith often recommends Abby Jone’s product or blog or freebie to his readers.

Thus you get people subscribed to your list, too, who get to know you, not just your pen name.

You retire, and you can continue to send out emails promoting affiliate products.

So not only do you get a big payday – you also get some large lists of your own that you can continue to promote products to.

Remember – 5 years of hard work, and then you can retire.

No job in the world, that I know of, offers you a retirement plan like that.

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Email List Building

How To Launch A Product To Your Own Email List

Email List Building

We all know that having your own list is the holy grail of online marketing and there are numerous articles on this site (such as here and here).

Once you have an email list, it is important to nurture it and provide value to your subscribers before bombarding them with offers.

Unfortunately many marketers go for the bombardment approach and quickly burn through subscribers and they wonder why they have people continually unsubscribing and have to relentlessly try to replace them; the classic churn and burn model!!

There is no problem marketing to your list, but you must always have their best interests at heart and treat them the same way that you would want to be treated by a marketer.

Once you have built that rapport, feel free to offer appropriate affiliate offers that would benefit your readers.

And, hopefully you may also have your own products and services that you can put in front of them.

And this is also a way of launching a new product or even relaunching one of your previous products or services.

Let’s say you’re reopening a membership for a limited time, or you’re launching a product just for your list.

And by the way, this is a great way to test the waters on a product and see how well it converts. Once you go through this sequence, you’ll then be able to tell future affiliates what you did and how well it converted.

Okay, so you’ve got a product you’re going to be offering to your list for a limited time – let’s say three days.

After the three days, either the product is no longer available, or the price goes up.

Yes, there is nothing wrong with offering special deals to your own list on your own product. In fact, I think it’s a great idea, because people on your list should be rewarded with special deals no one else can get (hint hint!)

In this example you’re going to be sending out a total of 6 emails. Yes, you could do 5, or 7, or… but I’ve found this sequence works well, so it’s what I do. Your mileage may vary. 😊

I suggest you write all 6 of your emails ahead of time, and here’s why:

First, you can schedule them and forget them. Nice.

Second, you can see if the entire sequence flows and makes sense.

Third, you won’t forget to write and send one of the emails (I learned that one the hard way) because they’ve already been written and scheduled.

Your first email will go out the day BEFORE your launch, and it will say something like, “Watch your email tomorrow for a very special limited time offer for my subscribers ONLY. I think you’re going to love it!”

This first email is low key, short, fun, and only sells them on watching for the next email.

On the day of the launch, you’ll send out two emails, one first thing in the morning and one in the evening.

How much selling you do is up to you. Generally, if you’ve got a great sales page, then you should be mostly selling them on clicking that link.

But if the sales page is lacking, then you can do product selling right there in the email.

The first email of the first day of the launch gives all the great reasons to buy, only abbreviated. I like my sales page to do the heavy lifting.

The second email of that first day tells them how the launch is going, how many people are buying… that sort of thing.

Yes, it’s written ahead of time, so yes, you now know one of my secrets – I’m guessing how well it will be going when I write it. 😊

On the next day you should send one email in the middle of the day to remind them that this offer isn’t going to last, and to remind them of the big benefit they’ll get from the product.

On the final day you should send two emails. The one in the morning says something like, “Last 24 hours.”

The one in the evening says, “Last chance, last email.”

You will probably get a LOT of your sales from that final email. In fact, that subject line, “Last chance, last email” gets more opens than any of the other five. Some people ignore the first 5 emails, open that sixth one and buy.

The power of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is very strong in people so don’t underestimate it!

I’ve used this same sequence of 6 emails many times because it’s effective. It works. And it gives me plenty of sales which I can then show to affiliates to get them to come on board and do their own launches.

As mentioned earlier, I recommend you make a special offer that is available only to your own list, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a special price. It could mean a special bonus that only they get. That way your affiliates can offer it at the same price point to their lists, too.

One more thing: If you’re only working with a handful of affiliates, you can make a special page for each one that says, “Special deal for Jane Smith’s subscribers only.”

I’ve found that using this technique boosts conversions by about 10%, depending on the offer and the list.

The thing is to not do this kind of thing all the time or you may end up annoying your readers.

Some marketers do these sorts of “crush campaigns” all the time and it just causes the readers to get angry and unsubscribe and you then need to keep replenishing your list.

Isn’t it much better to actually nurture and help your readers to succeed? They will appreciate you so much more and you can then build a tribe of people who will follow you and buy repeatedly from you and this is the best way to do business as you are building a brand reputation.

By the way if you are interested in building your brand the right way, you can grab a free report called Brilliant Branding by clicking on the featured resource below. If you do download it, please read it and take action and good luck 😊

Email List
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Time Management

Time Management: 3 Steps To Multiply Time And Profits

Time Management

When you hear the word entrepreneur, your first thought might be Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Daymond John or Susie Ma. These are high level entrepreneurs that saw opportunities to solve problems and make a lot of money. They built capital, created products and services, that are unique and became very wealthy.

The ideas in this article are some of the ways high level entrepreneurs succeed. Have no doubts that if you are a new entrepreneur or even a solo business owner-putting these seven time management ideas to work…will advance your business to new levels.

Some of the ideas can be incorporated immediately, while the others, such as the ones with software or apps…will require a bit of research and decision making.

Set Your Business Goals

Time Management

Are you 100% clear on what your business goals are? You need to get your new business off to a flying start. Or if you have been in business for awhile and there have been issues, it may be due to not seeing things, crystal clear.

Consider having a self-improvement goal as part of your business goals. Self-improvement will strengthen the other areas of your goal setting. Get a mentor or a coach who has the experience in the areas of self-confidence, self-esteem or creating a new mindset around achieving success in business.

You need to set income goals and keep track of everything. The most basic thing is having monthly, quarterly and annual income goals. If you want to be a high functioning, successful entrepreneur, think about tracking everything daily in a special spreadsheet. You could have a daily income goal and keep track of every dollar that comes in and what you spend on your business daily.

Stop your internal negative dialogue. When you have lofty business goals, sometimes you end up talking yourself out of something that if you stuck to it…would be ultimately successful.

Hannibal saw the mountains and basically said, “we will either find a way or make one. Leading thousands of soldiers and elephants over a mountain range, Hannibal had an extremely positive mental image of himself.

Have a great idea for something that will make you $10K a month? If you start to balk, just take the first few actions and as you see success, put your foot on the accelerator and get up to speed.

Internal negative dialogue or “stinky thinking” as it is also called, destroys dreams and ambition. You can overcome that and build an awesome business.

Define The Tasks That Will Help You Achieve Those Goals

Time Management Tips

When you have a business idea and want to either start it or add it to your existing business…you need to define your tasks. This is where you put on your strategic thinking hat and write out the who, what, where of what the tasks are. Questions to ask are things like:

  • Who will help you? Do you have a team already that has the skills to get the new business up and running, then turn it into profit?
  • What exactly is the business? Make a business plan. Add mind maps.
  • Where will you conduct this business. Decide if you have enough space. Do you need to upgrade?
  • How long will it take to get this business off the ground?

When you are a solo venture, the tasks will be slightly different. Let’s look at the example of someone who runs a social media business for a medium size start-up.

Some of the tasks for this person to reach their goals might be:

  • Getting traffic to their website, to gain new clients.
  • Getting new testimonials constantly to show they are on top of their game.
  • Studying and trying new methods to gain followers for their customers.
  • Learning the best of copywriting to create awesome Twitter/Tumbler/Facebook posts for their customers.
  • Creating lists for different tasks and tracking everything from sales, expenses, cold calls for new business and new supplies for the home office.

Writing out the tasks and adding time to complete dates will help save time and achieve your goals.

Plan

Time Management Strategies

There should be an action plan with clear time frames, deadlines and who should complete those tasks. Use project management tools as Asana, Basecamp or Trello.

Everyone needs a plan. And the entrepreneur always creates the best plan, while putting together an amazing team. It is a case of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the team members.

With that knowledge, you can decide the best person for a task, set the deadlines, the goals and of course the rewards. With technology today, project management tools help the entrepreneur keep everything on track. Let’s look at three outstanding tools now.

A) Asana allows you to assign projects and then see on the righthand side of the app, who has the project and what stage they are currently in, such as just started or completed. You can chart your course for smooth sailing through the entire project. In Asana, there is a feature called, “Timeline,” where you can see the flow of work and where it is being passed to the next team member for their actions. There are over 100 items you can integrate into Asana, such as emails and all pertinent files.

B) Basecamp works in the same way and has features to remind people when a task is overdue. One thing that bogs any business down, is endless meetings. With Basecamp, it eliminates the need for time wasting meetings as everyone on the team can log-in and see where the project is at.

Basecamp states that 59% of meetings have been cut out by its users. Basecamp is simple to use and there is no steep learning curve, so anyone can jump right in. Basecamp is great for multiple projects, since you can pull them up all onto one screen and see the status.

All conversations on inline and this elimates that annoying re: factor you get in traditional emails. Cut down on the number of apps you normally used in projects, because in Basecamp, all notifications are in one spot.

C) Trello works on a board system, where all aspects on your projects are listed on individual cards that you can glance at. You can view a card like, “research,” and jump in with a comment or attach a file that will assist in the research end of the project. If your team is already using apps, you can incorporate those right into the Trello card to maximize productivity.

Check out the apps that you feel will power your business by clicking the link below:

https://asana.com/

https://basecamp.com/

https://trello.com/

OK, there are 3 steps you can use to multiply time and profits. However, there are 4 more and if you want to get all 7 in a handy report, then click on the featured resource below to download a free report that you can read at your leisure 🙂

Time Management
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email marketing

How Often Should You Email Your Subscribers?

email marketing

All marketers will know that building an email list should be your number one priority when starting out in any kind of online business. If you ask any marketer what they would do if they had to start again, most will invariably say that they would start to build their list from day one and wish they would’ve done this the first time around.

This is because an email list is an asset you own, unlike the many social media platforms that you may be on who can shut you down without any notice at all.

So, after you have started to build your list what then? Well, you email them on a regular basis with useful help, tips and advice. You should also try to entertain them and open up to them and show them the real you rather than a business persona.

This opening up builds the know, like and trust factor that will make them more likely to buy from you again and again.

The key is to be yourself and don’t try to fake it. They want to know about you and your perspective on things or they wouldn’t have signed up.

You can also send them offers that you may think they will be interested in but the key here is not to promote everything under the sun (especially poor quality products that you haven’t personally invested in). 

They want to know that you have their best interests at heart and that you don’t just think of them as a commission on a sale!

So, now you have an email list and have started to write to them; great.

The next question is, “How often should you email your list?”

Believe it or not, this is one of the most commonly asked questions regarding email marketing. Some marketers say that you should mail daily so that your list can get to know you.

You’ll be creating a habit where they look forward to your emails. This is true and there are several marketers who mail their list several times a day and make six figure earnings from email marketing.

On the other hand, many other marketers feel that you shouldn’t swamp your list with emails or they’ll get fed up and unsubscribe. So, they mail less often… but they make good money too.

So who is right? How often do you mail out?

The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on several factors ranging from the people on your list to the type of marketer that you want to be. We’ll look at a few tips below and they’ll shed light on how frequently you should mail.

The Golden Rule

Email

The golden rule is that you should do unto others as you’d want others to do unto you. If you do not mind receiving several emails from marketers promoting products every single day, you’d probably have no qualms mailing your list daily or even several times a day.

However, if you prefer getting one email every 3 or 4 days from a marketer and daily emails seem like too much for you, you can choose to email every 3 or 4 days.

You’ll feel better about yourself… and this will reflect in your emails.

You’ll also attract subscribers who prefer fewer but better emails. It’s of vital importance that you do what’s right for you and your list.

If several people on your list tell you that they prefer fewer emails, then mail less frequently. You must have a ‘feel’ for your list.

What Type Of Marketer Do You Want To Be

email marketing

There are two types of marketers when it comes to email marketing. One type follows the ‘Churn and Burn’ method of email marketing.

Basically, they release products constantly and use traffic generation methods such as solo ads and paid ads to build their list.

They then hammer this list with emails promoting offer after offer after offer. This can be very effective and they may make thousands of dollars doing it.

However, they’ll burn out their list quick and this explains why they keep having to add new subscribers to the list.

The second type of marketer sends fewer emails to the list and he or she is more concerned about building a relationship and rapport with the list. The focus is on repeat customers and the long term value of the customer.

Their goal here is to build a business and not sacrifice long term profits for short term rewards.

Providing value and helping their list is put ahead of short term profits. They treat their subscribers as people and not cash cows.

Both methods are just as profitable… and ultimately, you should choose one that you’re comfortable with.

Do You Have Something To Sell?

email marketing tips

If you feel like you have something to sell to your subscriber that will be of value to them, cast aside your hesitation and mail away. Just make sure you exercise due diligence and check the product out first.

Never make the mistake of blindly promoting a product that you don’t have a clue about. Like they say, trust takes years to earn and seconds to break.

A good practice to follow will be to always have a link to something a subscriber can buy. Even when you’re sharing information and providing value to your list, there should always be one link in your email that will take them to your store or a product that they could buy.

Curious subscribers will click on the links and you will make sales. So, even if your emails are purely helpful content, do find a way to add a link or two subtly within the email that could lead to sales. After all, you are a marketer and you do need an income to keep your business going.

At the end of the day, the best way to know how often you should email your list is to self-reflect on your business goals and to do what is comfortable for you. Monitor your email open rates, click through rates and unsubscribes. With these stats you’ll have all the information you need to figure out just how often your list wants to hear from you.

If you want to know more about building your list after they have opted in, check out the featured resource below where you can get a free report about simple list building to expand your knowledge further.

email marketing
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goal setting

Breaking Goal Setting Down To Maximize Success

goal setting

How do you move a mountain? One shovelful at a time. It’s a cute saying, but how many of us grab the shovel and start frantically banging away at the mountain, trying to whittle it down through sheer brute force?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the size of the mountain. It’s easy to get frustrated and angry because the challenge seems insurmountable.

That’s why so many ideas to help change your life fail—the frustration gives us an out, a way to rid ourselves of something so vast. It’s an open invitation for defeatism and defeatist thinking.

So how do you move a mountain? You make it into a series of tasks. You have the end goal; now you have to make your timeline. The catch is – you need to make it backward. You need to start with the year-long goal first and then slice it into 12 parts (one for each month).

Then slice each of those into four sections (one for each week) and then each of those into seven (one for each day). See the pattern?

Let’s look at this in a little more detail:

Figure Out Your Big Year-Long Goals

goals

Although it might not be the whole mountain that you’re looking at, your yearly goal should be BIG. At least big enough to be a little scary.

There is wisdom in the expression that “it’s only the frightening things that keep us interested.”

What’s big enough to be a little bit frightening without taking you off into the world of outright terror? What will challenge you this year?

Most of our big goals run into a few general categories.

  • Career. Are you looking for a new job or a promotion? Do you want to leave a low-paying job and get something with a better future or more in line with what you like to do? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do that would boost your career significantly (like gaining certification or additional training) but that you’ve never taken the time to do? Now might be the time.
  • Heath and fitness. Many people make goals to get “healthy.” The problem with that this kind of goal is not measurable. “Healthy” can mean many things to different people. Does “healthy” mean losing weight? Not necessarily. It could be exercising more. It could be eating better and less junk food. It could mean making sure you get enough sleep at night. Be specific in your goal. Ask yourself how it can be measured and quantified.
  • Fun. This goal is also rather vague. What do you consider to be “fun?” For some, a day at the beach would be fun, for others, it would boring. Often “fun” is used as a placeholder for some activity that involves being alone or alone with a significant other. Think about times in the past that you considered ‘fun.’ What were the elements in common? Create a goal then that incorporates those elements. If fun is your goal, be specific about what fun means to you.
  • Relationships. This goal often arises in several parts. Sometimes we want to have a relationship, whether friendship or romantic, that we don’t already have. Or it might be we want to strengthen an existing relationship. Ask yourself where in your relationships you need the most help. Remember that you might need to enlist the cooperation of the person you’re having the relationship with to succeed here. Resolving to spend more time with a person only works if they’re likewise interested in spending more time with you.
  • Giving. Donating to your favorite charity is the most obvious goal in this category, but it might be that you’d like to take your commitment to the cause a little deeper this year. Consider giving your time and talent to your community. But don’t forget that giving time to your family also counts here. Often we become so caught up in work and the pressure to earn money and support the family, that we sacrifice the time we could be spending with them. Re-evaluate where you give your time, and then consciously choose where you want to spend it.

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, sit down for an hour or so and daydream about this time next year. What do you want this year to look like at the end of it? Who do you want to be in this year? Be specific. And don’t worry about “how.” That part comes later. Just figure out the “what” for now.

Decide what you can reasonably do in a month. If you’re taking a rock here and there from the mountain, it will never look any different. You need to concentrate on one small part at a time. Go back to that year-long goal and pick something that you can realistically do in a month.

Now, schedule a re-occurring appointment with yourself once per month to reflect on the progress you’ve made so far on this goal. Look at the long-term plan, the mountain you’re going to move (because you are going to push it), and fix what you can accomplish in the next 30 days. Write that down too.

Take the mountain out in monthly chunks. If your overall goal is to change your career, one month might involve learning a new skill set, say a programming language. The next month might be getting real-world experience by designing and building a website for a charity for free, just as a demonstration project.

Break That Down Into Weekly Goals

goalsetting

This time, the re-occurring meeting with yourself is once each week. It can be a shorter meeting, about 15 – 20 minutes to plan out some steps you can take to get closer to your goal in the next seven days.

Write these down. For example, using the idea of working toward a change in careers, week one might be researching the best programming languages to study and which ones are in highest demand. Week two might be working through the first half of the book or video course you have on learning the language, while week three would be finishing the book and making some test programs, and so on.

Maybe you won’t have a finished web page or object-oriented database interface by the end of the week, but you’re making progress to get you there.

Now you’re ready to look at the wheelbarrow full of rocks. In the morning, jot down your to-do list for the goal you have in mind. Following the previous example, you might be doing the next three lessons in the language tutorial, finding a server to create pages on, or learning how to create that database.

Dividing the mountain into successively smaller and smaller pieces makes it easy to see how daily goals become weekly become monthly become annual goals, and moving the mountain suddenly becomes doable. If nothing else, it removes the overwhelming initial fear of trying.

This type of planning is flexible and powerful. Instead of saying, “I am moving that mountain,” all you’re saying is “I have a wheelbarrow full of rocks to put over there.” You still have the scary, impressive goal to aim for, but you’ve made it manageable. It’s now broken into bite-sized chunks that you can handle on a day to day basis.

Take control. No one will care about your goals like you will. The timeline here is yours, so take ownership of it. Our calendars control too many of us, instead of us being in control of our calendars.

One final note: Do you know someone that cannot make a move without checking their calendar? Are you one of them? If so, you might be begrudging the time set aside for contemplation each week or each month to get caught up on the progress. Don’t. It’s your schedule, and the end goal is worth the time. If that weren’t the case, you wouldn’t have gotten this far.

You have work/school/kids to work around your schedule. That’s understandable. Few of us do not have a full dance card. But isn’t achieving this beautiful far-flung dream worth skipping an hour of TV each week? What if you sacrificed that time you’d spend playing that game on your phone, or checking Facebook?

Prioritize the time in your week/month by the core values you have. How important is this goal? Where does it rank against the other items in your to-do list? Spending time with the family might be more critical, but maybe spending time vacuuming isn’t.

This fact is especially important for children. Trying to achieve a balance between work and family, and still finding time for some self-investment is a delicate thing. Remember that word – this is an investment. You are investing time and energy and even money into your future. Keep in mind; the payout will benefit you as well as your family.

While this tool is a form of time management, it’s a different type. It’s counting down, making the goal smaller and smaller instead of planning. You’re planning backward – to go forward. Stay the course, and those yearly goals won’t know what hit them!

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