A great video that visually explains how to use QR codes in general and also socially on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Learn what QR codes can do for your business in under 4 minutes.

 

Once you've decided to start an email list, you'll need a way to manage your contacts so you can easily add and delete contacts, and send them a variety of electronic communications. While some people try to handle their lists through their personal email accounts, when your list grows, you'll soon run into problems. Not only may your internet server flag you as a potential spammer, keeping track of hundreds – if not thousands! – of subscribers would be a nightmare. Make it easy on yourself and start with a robust system from the beginning.

Here are some questions you'll want to ask when evaluating email list management systems:

  • Will it generate an online form for installation on your blog or website that allows someone to subscribe and unsubscribe easily, at the push of a button?
  • Does it have the ability to send your newsletter in the format you choose (text or HTML, for instance)?
  • Will it scale as your list grows (plan ahead – you don't want the hassle of moving your list later on)?
  • Does it offer the ability to create autoresponder messages, where you create a series of email messages and new subscribers receive the messages in order, regardless of when they subscribe?
  • How much does it cost, and does it charge by list size or by number of messages sent?
  • If it is a free service, does it include ads in the email messages?
  • What are its statistics for message delivery?
  • Can you attach files to messages? What file types are supported?
  • How difficult is it to use? What kind of support is available?

A little research online will bring up a variety of options, any one of which may be ideal for your purposes. One of the most popular for Internet marketers is Aweber. Aweber is a popular choice because:

  • Outstanding technical support. Live online chat and help lines make it easy for you to get person-to-person support to set up your list.
  • Great training. A number of online training videos are available to help you learn the ropes.
  • Inexpensive trial. With your first month just $1, you can try the service before you commit.
  • Competitive pricing. Aweber's price structure is competitive to services with fewer options.
  • Unlimited lists. You can create as many lists as you like – one for each location, product line, market segment, etc. – all for one price.
  • Unlimited emails. You can send as many messages per month as you like, for the same monthly price.
  • Follow-up series. You can set your list so all new subscribers will automatically receive a series of scripted email messages, regardless of when they join.

There are many other possible email list managers such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, List Mail Pro, AutoResponse Plus, and Yahoo Groups. Do some research and ask pointed questions to determine the best solution for you – not just for your current list, but for the future. Experts say that you lose an average of 50-90 percent of your subscribers when you switch from one list manager to another, so the decision you make today is one for the future as well. 

If you've ever entered an online contest, offered your email address to an online or local store, or given the okay for a sales consultant to send you information, you've joined an email list. Email lists are simply the email addresses and names of people who signed up, by one of many different means, to receive emails such as electronic magazines (“e-zines”) or newsletters, electronic courses (e-courses), or product information in their inbox.

Collecting customer and prospect contact information and keeping in touch with them on a regular basis is the key to any online business's success. Here are some of the main reasons to start building your list now:

Presence – An email list that you use regularly gives you an easy way to keep your name in front of your customers and prospects on a continual basis. By making your name top-of-mind, you're increasing the likelihood that your customers will purchase from YOU when they're in a position to buy.

Connection – Say you're a florist. Your average customer may only purchase from you a few times a year. But you continue to stay in touch with her, providing her with quality information that relates to a topic she's interested in – holiday decorations and entertaining tips, for example. When she DOES need a flower arrangement, you'll be the one she buys it from. Why would she spend her money with some website she's never heard of when she knows you, her online friend who sends her useful information every week?

Education – Some products and industries require more education before prospects are ready to purchase. Email lists offer an easy, inexpensive way to provide the information your prospects need, moving them through the learning curve, until they're ready to buy.

Feedback – Do your customers want your next product to be bigger or smaller than what you have now? Do they hate the background music on your website? Do they wish your software was compatible with a platform you don't currently offer? Don't guess — just ask them! Email lists give you a simple way to solicit feedback from the real experts – your customers themselves.

Easy to Share – Word-of-mouth can be your best source of new business. By providing easy-to-share electronic newsletters or product information, you make it more likely that your current customers will pass the word to their friends, without incurring a minute of your time or a penny of your money.

Revenue – Some enterprising electronic newsletter publishers make money by selling ads in their publications to complementary businesses. The larger and more targeted your audience, the higher rates you can command.

Starting, growing, and maintaining an email list of targeted subscribers is one of the most profitable things you can do to build a successful business online. Not every prospect will become a subscriber, and not every subscriber will turn into a loyal customer, but you'll find you're much more successful selling to your list than you are to a group of relative strangers.

Provide subscribers with quality information on a topic that interests them, and they'll gladly allow you to tell them about your products and services, knowing you're an expert at what you do. 

Part of promoting your website business is getting in front of as many people as possible. While you are there, give them something interesting the read, listen to or watch that will direct them to your website through a link. One of the ways that people like to hear about new sites is through podcasts.

What is a Podcast?

A podcast is a multimedia tool that people can follow. Think of it as audio or video information that you can listen to or view on your computer, your iPod or any other multimedia enabled device. It’s like having your own radio show on your website.

Podcasts can be syndicated using RSS (really simple syndication). This is the same process that people use to keep up with blogs and websites. The RSS feed allows them to receive updates when changes are made on the site so they don’t have to visit every day.

Creating your Podcast

There is software available to help you create your audio and video files. You can embed code for them on your website so others can view them.

Beyond the technical aspects, the purpose of the podcast is to present interesting information to your readers in a new and unique way. People browse the Internet to find useful items. They like to read, but would admittedly like to watch or listen as it is a more convenient way to get the same information.

So what will make your podcast stand out? Use engaging dialogue, present relevant topics and use visually appealing props and sets for video casts.

Going Viral

For one, don’t forget the keywords. You want people to be able to find your podcasts when they use their search engines. Even if you are using mainly audio, include keyword optimized titles, tags and links in your podcasts.

Submit your podcasts to directories. Use every avenue to get yourself in front of the public. That includes creating press releases to announce your podcasts if you are introducing them for the first time. Optimizing your press releases and submitting them to free press release sites keeps people finding them even after you are through using them.

Let your existing customers in on the new podcast. Use your email list to keep them in the loop as you unroll your podcast project. Give them links directly to the podcast so they can view it and hopefully pass the link on to others.

Your podcast can be turned into a radio show with regular guest spots. Interview other business owners in your niche and notable online personalities who would be of interest to your readers. A recurring show can increase your traffic and your following.

Want to get people to your website? Create a podcast. Turn it into a radio show or recurring video cast to create a following and gain more traffic to your business.

Do you have the gift of gab and a lot of knowledge to share? Then you can promote your website business for next to nothing. That has to sound good especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on advertising right now.

Internet Forums

Forums are places where people with similar interests can meet, exchange information and chat online. To become a member of an Internet forum you usually have to sign up on a membership site. This doesn’t involve any money. Sites want to keep up how many members they have.

The sites include other perks and ways to join in but the forum is where most people go to congregate and talk. You can use these forums to not only promote your website but also get a little extra that can add up to big benefits for your business.

Here’s how they work. Once you join the membership site, you can access the forum by creating a username and password. When you log in, you have access to all the different topics and threads (each conversation started by forum members).

Choosing Forums

Not just any forum will do. You want to find forums that pertain to your target market. For instance, if you sell lighting fixtures, you’ll want to look for DIY (do-it-yourself) forums for a start. Also, look into forums for contractors and builders. They certainly use lighting fixtures in their line of work.

In these forums, half of the work is done for you. You are already accessing your target market, but the rest is up to you. That is why conducting yourself well on these forums is an important cog that makes this type of website promotion run smoothly.

Using the Forum

Before you jump into talking about your business, think about one thing. If the tables were turned and you were just a regular forum member, what would build your trust and what would break it down? People spamming would probably make you mad, but people who participate and also help others, would inspire your trust.

Interact with people in the forum. There is a wealth of knowledge there. You can offer expert advice and get help yourself. Their advice to you can help you implement changes that benefit your business.

Use your signature line to promote your website. Include a link here along with your name. The more you post in existing threads and your own, people whose trust you gain will begin to click on that link and check out your website.

Internet forums that cater to your target market have a two-fold benefit. First, they help you get in touch with the type of person you seek for your business and second, you can establish yourself as an expert and use your signature line to promote your website.

Does this sound like you? You have your website, your products and are pretty well established in your market. Sales are good, but you’re reaching a bit of a plateau when it comes to business growth. The big question is how you move forward.

One good option is certainly to create more complimentary products that you can then sell to your existing customer base. Today, I want to mention a slightly different strategy though. Instead of creating more new products, why not take what you already have and tweak it for a different niche.

Why Moving Into A New Niche Is A Good Idea
The main reason I like doing this is because I can leverage the time and effort I put into the original product. I don’t have to write and market something else from scratch. Instead I can simply edit what I already have and use it again. Let me give you an example to illustrate:

Let’s say you wrote a guide for restaurant owners on how to promote their business online locally. Why not take that same guide and rework it for flower shop owners or dry cleaners?

When Is It Time To Move Into A New Market?
A word of caution – it’s not always the right time to move into a new market. You want to make sure your existing business is well established and your sales are steady. It may be easy to rework an existing product, but it will take some time, energy and focus away from what you are already doing.

If you are just entering a market, this is not the time to expand. Work on what you’ve got until you reach a point where no matter how much more effective marketing you do, you’re not seeing a lot of results.

How to Tweak Your Products
Now, let’s talk about how you would go about entering a new market with your product. I like to start by brainstorming with anyone and everyone that might benefit from my product. Take those ideas and write them all down on a list.

Then go back to your list and decide who would benefit the most and would most likely buy. Another thing to consider is how big the new market is and how easy it would be for you to tweak your product for that particular market or audience. Once that decision is made, it’s time to get to work.

Start by going through your product and marking what content can stay as is and what you need to change. The things I find myself changing are the name of the product, how I address my audience and the examples I use. Sometimes I also need to slightly tweak different strategies that I am teaching.

Make the changes as needed, give your product a new title and create a new cover or packaging to indicate the new brand. Don’t forget to set up a new sales page as well.

A Crucial Step – Make Sure You Move Into A Profitable Niche
Before you get to work tweaking your products, I need to make you aware of one more very crucial step. You have to make sure the new niche market you are moving into is profitable. No need to do all this work just to find out weeks later that your product isn’t selling.