If you want to run a successful business, then you can't compete solely on price. Offering the lowest price and hoping to make it up in volume is the easy way out, the lazy person's guide to increasing sales and it doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to turn more of profit. If you really want to grow your business and make more money, then you are going to have to figure out ways where you can charge more money for your product and to do that you are going to have to differentiate from your competition. There are several ways that you can set yourself apart other than price, so let's take a look.
1. Associated Products - Can you bundle additional products to go along with yours, thus increasing your total profit on the sale? If you are buying a hot tub, normally they also try to get you to buy all of the spa products that you need to use.
2. Deliverability - If you are offering an informational product, what forms are you delivering that content? If you competitors are all selling ebooks, maybe you can offer the same thing in audio files, or better yet, video and charge more for these upgrades.
3. Support - Do you have customer support readily available on your site? Can the customer call, email, and use live chat? Hit all of the options so you allow them to get in touch with you however they feel comfortable.
4. Guarantee - Are you confident that your product will deliver? You can translate that confidence into a guarantee, which can lead to you charging a higher price.
All of these things work to set you apart from the competition, plus there are plenty of others. If you have any tips then I'd love to hear them in the comments.
Everybody who sells a product or service knows that if they can keep their costs the same, and they can get just as many people to buy their product or service, then by increasing price you will increase profits. The trouble is that in every simple economics class you learn about the supply and demand curves. If you increase price, then you decrease the number of people who are willing to buy from you at that price. Still, there are things that you can do in order to sell just as much product for a higher price, you just have to work a little bit harder. Here are some tips how:
1. Make it FREE - Now I don't mean give it away. I mean that make it appear that they are saving so much money by purchasing for you that it isn't costing them anything. Let's say it's a hybrid car for example. Would you rather pay $10,000 for a car that you are going to have to fuel up for $1,000 per year over five years, or $12,000 for a car that you NEVER have to fuel? Right, you are charging $2,000 more in order to give the consumer a FREE $3,000 in saved fuel costs.
2. Increase the Value - Some people want the bare bones, and some people will pay more for the finer things in life. One way to increase the price of your product is to add something of value that consumers are actually looking for. Let's take a look at the car example again. You can sell a bare bones truck for $2,000, but if you put in an air conditioner that costs you $200 you can sell it for $2,500. Most people are willing to pay for the air conditioner, so by adding that value you just made yourself more profits. It's not just addition functions or products thrown in, but it also goes for higher quality and increased durability.
3. Demonstrate a Return on Investment - This is even more important when you are dealing with a business-to-business transaction, but it applies to consumers as well. Let's say you are comparing two products, one shows that it can increase your business by 10% and the other by 20%, you obviously are going to go with the one that increases your bottom line by the bigger amounts.
4. Branding - This is tough and not something I really recommend. Research shows that it costs a LOT of money to establish a brand in a market place. If I'm going shopping for medicine I know I also fall for the brand name trap over the generics, but I'll give myself some credit and say I want to maximize the placebo effect. =)
If you plan to make money blogging then it's important that you use a quality webhost for your site, but if you are just starting out then you might not have a lot of money to spend on a solution. However, you don't have to worry because I've found some of the best sites for hosting your new blog or web site that won't break the bank.
There are plenty of other low-cost webhosts out there, but you are going to want to make sure your sites are up and running 99.9% of the time or you are not going to be able to make as much money online as you should be.
One of the best webhosts that I have found is HostGator. I have been using this company for quite a few years for my sites and they are inexpensive, have several different plans to fit your needs, and their customer service is top-notch. Plus, it is extremely easy to install WordPress or several other content management systems for your site using Fantastico. One click and the files are uploaded for you and the database is created!
Another hosting company that I use and strongly recommend for beginners is BlueHost. They also have the cpanel backend, which makes everything easy to find and easy to use. You also get the Fantastico installs, which if you are a beginner can be a real help to get you started (and save you money from having a professional install something).
Basically if you go with either one of the above companies you will get a cheap webhost to help you get started making money online. Both of these sites are fairly big, so you don't have to worry about them disappearing one day and taking your site along with it.
If you want to find your own webhost, make sure that they are going to guarantee 99.9% uptime, they have 24 hour live support via phone or live chat, and that you can cancel at any time without incurring a penalty. If they don't live up to the hype then you want to find someone else who does.
Which hosts do you use? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.
If you have a website or a blog then you should know about web analytics. You can learn a lot about your site, what works, and what doesn't if you take a look at your stats on a frequent basis. Most hosting companies provide some kind of stats software, but I recommend adding Google Analytics to your site in order to get a complete picture of what your visitors are doing and where they came from. Best of all, it's FREE to use!
Here are a few metrics that I think everyone should keep a close eye on. There are countless of different options in the Google Analytics back end that you can track, but don't get bogged down in spending too much time back there. However, if you are paying for any advertising I would track the ROI on those campaigns, but that's a topic for another day so let's get started with this simple list.
This is the most basic metric to monitor. With all things being equal if you get more traffic then that should mean your site will make more money right? If your goal is to keep increasing your general traffic numbers then you should continue to make more money from your site.
This is how many pages your visitors are looking at. Increasing the number of pageviews will increase the "eyes" on advertisements which will help you charge more for your space. Linking to relevant posts at the end of each article is a great way to increase the pageviews on your site as your visitors spend more time looking at your content.
Who is linking to you and how much traffic are they generating for you by doing so? If you get a lot of traffic from a link then maybe you should think about partnering up with that site or writing a guest post for them. If you are doing advertising then tracking click through traffic lets you know if it's generating a positive return on your investment.
How are your visitors finding you in the search engines? Google the keywords found in this section of your analytics to see where you rank in the results. A few more internal links to that page could boost you up a few spots in the results and bring you even more traffic than you are already getting.
You will also find topics to write about and areas that you might want to focus on when you see which keywords visitors used to find you. For long tail keywords you can rewrite some of your content to include those phrases and see a boost for those terms as well. There are lots of things you can do from an SEO standpoint if you keep an eye on the keywords people are using to find you.
What other metrics do you track? This list is pretty basic but I think it covers the most important stats to look for.
Google doesn't exactly tell you what formula they use to determine quality score, but there has been plenty of testing done by experienced marketers to give us a few guidelines. If you have a quality score of 0-3 that is considered "poor" while 4-7 is just "OK." The scores of between 8-10 are "great" and it means you are definitely on the right track. If you are in the 0-3 category then you might need a major revamping of your whole website, but a few simple tweaks can turn those OK ads into great ones.
1. Improve Your Click Through Rate - How do you do this? By split testing your ads, waiting until you get at least 30 clicks and then throwing out the loser. Then test the winner against a new ad you create. Rinse and repeat until you have the ad with the highest possible CTR.
2. Put Your Keyword In Your Ad - Are you using one ad for several different, related, but not totally similar keywords? Then get more specific with your ads, putting the keyword somewhere in the ad. This will also help your CTR as the keyword will be in bold.
3. Check Your Landing Page - You need a lot of keyword-relevant content on your landing page. This again goes with your keywords, if you are sending a lot of related but not similar keywords to the same page you could be hurting your score. Maybe it's time you create a specific landing page for a tunneled down version of your keywords.
4. How Quick Your Visitors Leave - Are you matching your visitors needs with what you are offering? Give them plenty of options with links to other sections of your site. The days of just having an opt-in page are long gone. You need the visitor to stick around and not hit the back button or just leave and go elsewhere.
Follow these four simple steps to improve your quality score and to help keep you from receiving the dreaded "Google Slap".
The key to making money online these days is to find a successful niche to market to. You aren't going to be the giants out there like Wal-Mart and Best Buy so why are you trying?
The first thing for you to figure out is what exactly a niche market is. Let's use the example of music. Most of the giant department stores like Wal-Mart only carry a small percentage of artists, and even though only a limited selection of albums from those artists. A niche would be insound.com, which carries more alternative or lesser known artists.
So how do you find your niche to be successful in? Well here are a few tips for niche research that I have to help you come up with some ideas.
What's in the News?
Find out what is going on in the world and which current events are getting a lot of attention. Pay attention to morning shows on network television which have several different segments on books, movies, and new products hitting the market. These shows do not put items on the air that they do not think their viewers would be interested in hearing about, so you can let them do the market research for you!
Make a List of Things You Are Interested In
It's going to be much tougher to succeed in a market you do not care anything about. I have found that the best way to get traffic to my sites is to write content. That can take many shapes and forms, but knowing about a topic and writing about it is the single most important thing you can do to grow your site. How tough is it to write about something you aren't interested in? I've done it, and my work suffered from it. Make it easy on yourself and only get into a niche that you are interested in.
Do Keyword Research
You can't go after general keywords, so get specific and then see if there is anything related to the keyword you can use. You also want to check the traffic numbers because if nobody is searching for your term, how many people are actually interested in it? Not many.
Now you have three simple steps to help you find a successful niche to make money online. If you have any other tips and tricks you've used in the past to discover a niche market to sell in then I would love to hear about them in the comments.
Getting your site to rank high in the search engines is not a quick and easy process. It takes a lot of work on your part and it takes time for the search engines to find your site and then trust it enough to rank it high in their results. If you want to get a jumpstart on using Google, Yahoo, Bing or other engines then the quickest way to get your site out there is to use pay-per-click advertising. I personally prefer Google Adwords, since they are the biggest and have the most tools available to advertisers. This will help you test out what ads work and which do not before moving your campaigns over to different properties.
1. Educate Yourself - There is a pretty steep learning curver so make sure you read or watch all of the information in Google's learning center guide so you know your way around the Adwords interface. If you want to really become an expert in pay-per-click marketing though, try Perry Marshall's definitive guide to Adwords. This five day program will have you ready to get started in no time, and will have you prepared to dominate your niche.
2. Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew - If you are just learning how pay-per-click works, you are going to want to start off small in a non-competitive niche. The goal for your first campaign will be to learn how the system works and which tools are available to you. Don't try bidding on weight loss keywords against a lot of experienced competitors when the cost per click is going to quickly eat up your budget. Make sure you use plenty of negative keywords and exact matches so you really narrow down the viewers to people you know will be interested in your product. Set up a budget so you don't login one day to see Google has spent drastically more than you were planning on them spending to send visitors your way.
3. Study Your Competitors - I like to use Keyword Elite for this from Brad Callen. This way you can find out which keywords your competitors are also bidding on so you won't be left out of the loop on successful campaigns. Also take a look at what seems to be working for them in terms of successful text combinations.
4. Don't Forget : Keep Testing - Rotate different ad groups to track which ones get the most clicks, and how many of those clicks are converting for you. Never stop testing because every little percentage increase in conversions means more money for you and your business!