Internet Marketing

How to Make It in Saturated Niche Markets

There are some markets that are known money makers — big money makers. And you can recognize most of those niches because of the mammoth companies already parked in those spaces, carving out huge chunks of the market for themselves.

Do you really want to compete in the weight loss market against Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, or Nutrisystem?

How are you going to make a dent in the home improvement market against Bob Vila, Lowes or Home Depot?

There are many people whose advice is to find different niches, that you shouldn’t try to compete against those monster companies. And while that’s one way to solve the problem, there’s also another way that keeps you in the competitive space, but also puts you in a class by yourself.

Let me show you what I mean with a great example from the foreign languages market.

Go into any Barnes and Noble or spend a little time online and you’d bet there’s not really any need or desire for yet another book on how to learn Spanish. After all, there’s Spanish in a Flash, Spanish While Driving, Just Enough Spanish, etc. Most people would say to pick another niche, that the “learning spanish” niche is saturated.

But just yesterday I was in a boating store and spotted a book on learning Spanish that speaks directly to a certain group of people: Spanish for Cruisers: Boat Repairs and Maintenance Phrase Book. It’s aimed perfectly at people who are taking their boats down to Mexico!

Sure, any of those other Spanish books would be good to have, but if you’re heading south on your sailboat and see a stack of Spanish books, which one are you probably going to grab? The one that’s written just for you!

And that’s the secret to competing in a niche that others might think is saturated — don’t play chicken with Rosetta Stone or Berlitz, they won’t blink and will steamroll right over the top of you. Instead, go for a segment of the market they’ll never target.

No, the potential market isn’t as big, but you don’t have to stay in the sub-niche. Get good and solid there and then start spreading out with a base of satisfied customers to build on.

Look at the broader niche in which you’d like to market and the start brainstorming sub-niches that aren’t being served. Even if there are products that would be fine for the sub-niche, one that’s laser-focused is going to appear to the target market as if it’s better.

If there’s a big-money niche you’ve had your eye on but didn’t know how to compete with the Big Boys, now you know the secret — don’t compete straight on, make an end-run around them into a sub-niche they’re not exploiting and start serving those people.

What do you think of this technique?

Internet Marketing

Get Ready for the New Product

Sitting here outside my son’s Civil Air Patrol meeting and finishing up the notes for my latest product.

What is it? Well…

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could make apps for the iPhone and the new Apple iPad tablet — even if you’re not a programmer?

You’ll be able to do that with my new step-by-step video tutorial series I’m launching very soon. (You can underline the word “very” in that statement.)

I’ll have a sign-up list tomorrow and those who are interested will get full details on Friday.

Get ready!


PS – Oh, and those who sign up first will get one-on-one personal coaching included so you can pick my “programming brain” for extra ideas!

Article Marketing

Article Marketing Tricks #10: Resurrecting Your Articles

While an article used to promote your product or service might be just a bunch of words, it also has a life beyond what most people think. In this 10th and final article in the series of making article marketing pay off for you, let’s talk about Resurrecting Your Articles, or breathing new life into them.

There are many ways article marketing can work for you, but the most popular first step is to submit them to online article directories for two main reasons:

1. To create links that lead back to your web site.

2. To allow ezine and web site publishers to syndicate your content on their sites.

Which, in turn, brings reason #1 back into play — the more people who can see your article, the more traffic you’re going to get.

As you can see, submitting to article directories really make a lot of sense, but too many article marketers stop at that point and don’t reap the whole benefits of writing an article. So let’s look at 5 great ways you can reuse one of your articles in order to bring in even more sales.

1. Sales on Autopilot. Article #2 in this series covers this step in detail, so look that up if you want more, but in a nutshell, put your articles online as a single webpage and then have it lead into a pitch for your product or service. Now, add a follow-up message to your autoresponder series pointing to that web page. The people on your list will get good content, and you get another way to try and make the sale.

2. Blog Content. Most article directories don’t require exclusive content so you’re free to publish your article on your own blog even after submitting it. And while doing a 2- or 3-part article is frowned on by some of the major article directories, on your blog it’s perfectly fine. If you have a longer article consider breaking it up to make it last longer.

3. Special Reports and Ebooks. By combining like articles together and publishing as PDF you have a no-brainer way to create your own whitepapers and special reports. Those can be sold or given away as a bonus for people who join your list, etc.

And by putting several of those special reports together you can easily create an ebook that can then be sold. If you’re interested in this tactic, article #3 in this series goes into more detail.

4. Podcast Material. If you have a microphone on your computer you can easily create content for a podcast by simply reading your article as you record it. If you don’t have a podcast, you can still record your articles and then offer that audio content to others who have podcasts. It works the same way as people with websites republishing your content, except this content is an audio version of the article. Yes, complete with your offer and a link at the end.

5. Video Article. I know I’ll lose some people just at the heading (“You lost me at video!”) but creating a video article is super easy and doesn’t require that you look fabulous or have professional equipment. If you created an audio version of your article in step 4 above, you’re more than halfway done.

Now all that’s required is to create a slideshow using Keynote or PowerPoint with key phrases from the article on the slides. Now play the audio and flip through the slideshow while recording the screen using something like ScreenFlow or Camtasia.

Sure, the first one you do might take a weekend of tinkering, but by the time you hit the third or fourth one you should be cranking them out in about 30 minutes.

There you go, five more ways in which you can resurrect your articles and gain more traffic. Submitting to directories is a great idea, but don’t get stuck thinking that’s all you should do — the more you can reuse and repurpose your articles the more sales you’re going to make.

Article Marketing

Article Marketing Tricks #9: Don’t Let Them Escape!

Article marketing is pretty easy to explain — you write simple little articles about a topic and then give people a link at the end of the article where they can get more information. That link takes them to a web site where they can then find out about a product and buy it if they desire.

It really is that simple, although there are easy tricks you can pick up after getting some experience under your belt that will give you better results — I’m going to try and help you take a shortcut and explain one of those tricks in this article.

This is the 9th article in the series of tricks that can help you make article marketing pay off and I call this one, “Don’t Let Them Escape!”

I’m not talking about an online version of “Hotel California, where you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave” — while this is a little less dramatic, it can make a big difference in your online business.

I’m talking about that standard marketing tactic, list building.

A lot of article marketers don’t want to think of that aspect of ecommerce — they just want to write articles and send the traffic to a sales page. But let me give you what I think is the most compelling reason to take the time and build a list of people who are interested in your topic.

Looking At The Conversion Rate

Every sales letter has what’s referred to as a conversion rate. That’s the ratio of people who see the sales letter versus the people who buy the product. It’s usually described as a percentage — for example, a sales letter that makes 3 sales for every 100 visitors would have a 3% conversion rate. A conversion rate of 3%-4% is considered very good in the online world.

Here’s the only problem with that — there are many more people who don’t buy than do, and if a prospect leaves your web site without a trace, there’s no way you can follow up with them.

Which means there’s no way to make the sale.

If, however, you offer them something of value in return for joining your list, you are now in a position for two things to happen…

1. As you continue to send good content about the topic to the people on your list, a relationship of sorts is built and your credibility as an expert is increased.

2. You can continue to promote your product or service over time. It’s been shown that people usually need 7-8 “promos” before they’re ready to buy. People who see your web site once and leave don’t get that repeated exposure.

Building A List Is Not Rocket Science

There are a couple things you’re going to need in order to build a list…

While an autoresponder isn’t technically required to start building a list, manually mailing out emails to a growing group of people isn’t something you can do and retain your sanity. Plus, creating “systems” for your business is the only way to get the entire process automated so you can make sales without managing every aspect of it.

The other thing you’re going to need is an “ethical bribe” — something of value to give the prospect in exchange for their email address. This can be a whitepaper or special report, an exclusive piece of software, etc. It should be something directly related to your niche.

Don’t let them escape because you may never get another shot at making the sale. Start building your list now and as it grows over time you’ll find sales of your product or service growing along with it.

Article Marketing

How to (Finally) Start Writing an Article

I’ve written a lot of information about article marketing, but I seem to have skipped over something that’s very important to some people…

…how do you actually start writing?

I’ve been writing enough now that the question almost doesn’t make sense to me — after all, you just start writing (typing), don’t you?

But the more I thought about it, the more important the question became, because I imagine there are a LOT of people who’d love to get free, targeted, pre-qualified traffic to their web site using simple little articles, but the act of getting started is holding them back.

So I’m going to attempt to lay it out in such a manner that anyone should be able to get started writing an article.

You’ve probably heard this in regards to how someone should give a speech:

1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
2. Tell them.
3. Tell them what you told them.

In other words, set up the learning environment by giving them a preview of what’s coming. Then explain whatever it is you’re trying to teach. And end up by recapping what you just taught them. That same series of steps can be used to write an article.

Let me give you an example.

I’m not a cook but I could pretty easily find out the steps needed to cook a steak. If I wanted to write an article telling people how to do that, I could start like this:

3 Easy Steps to Cooking a Great Steak

“Most people like steak and so I’m going to teach you how to cook one in 3 easy steps.”

That could be considered the opening, or telling them what I’m going to be telling them.

Then I’d put in three steps, such as:

1. The best type of meat to use.

2. Spices and preparing the steak.

3. The cooking process.

For each one of those I’d type up a paragraph explaining the step. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just plain language is good enough.

And finally, I’d end the article with a summary, that could be something like:

“As long as you follow those 3 easy steps, you shouldn’t have any problems. Try it for yourself the next time you have company.”

Believe it or not, that’s ALL you need to do to write an article.

But let’s bump it up just a little bit.

My opening paragraph above is very short. I wrote it that way on purpose, just to show you that flowery language and lots of words aren’t required. However, if you can string a sentence or two together, don’t hold back. I’d probably use something like this for a real article on how to cook a steak…

“There’s nothing like the smell of a steak cooking on the grill. And when a steak is set down in front of you and your mouth starts watering, nobody better get in your way!

But a juicy steak doesn’t just happen. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can end up with a steak that’s dry and tough. Not only are you out the money that steak cost, but if it happens at a party you’re hosting you’ll never hear the end of it!

The good news is that cooking a good steak isn’t rocket science, and I’m going to show you three easy steps that are designed to make the process simple and the outcome guaranteed.”

There are two important things to notice about this new introduction:

1. I tried to use some of the senses in talking about the taste and smell — that can help the reader really get into the article.

2. There are a lot more words in the second example.

You don’t want to pad an article just to increase the word count, but a better article is often a little plump — not just skin and bones (facts and figures).

If all you can manage right now is something like the first example, go for it! A skinny article is better than no article, any day.

And the more you write, the better at it you will get. Seriously — there are some things that just naturally increase as you do it more and more and writing is one of those skills. Give it a shot and see what you can come up with — you don’t have to be Hemingway on your first try (or even your 100th try).

Internet Marketing

3 Tips for Creating A Good Screencast

Screen recorders have revolutionized the “how to” market — it’s now very easy to start recording your computer screen and walk through the steps to show how to use a piece of software, build a web site, or even write an article. Those videos are called screencasts (like podcast, but concerning your screen).

But if you’ve watched more than a few screencasts you’ll have discovered that just because it’s easy to make one doesn’t mean it’s easy to make a GOOD one.

Well, actually it is easy to do that, but some people are either too lazy or maybe just don’t realize they could make a screencast that’s much more effective if all they did was take into account these three tips.

Tip #1: Shorter is better. Yes, length matters, and lucky for us good screencasts are usually short. I try to keep one to less than 5 minutes, and a better length is less than 4 minutes. So how do you do that if your subject takes longer than that to explain? Make a series of short screencasts. The nice thing about that is it’s easy for someone to watch just the screencasts they need to understand something rather than having to wade through minutes of video for something they already know.

Tip #2: Chop out the fluff. This, I think, is the worst sin of screencasting — recording everything and leaving it in. Don’t waste the time of the viewers — if you’re showing something online and a site is slow to load, don’t make the viewer sit there and watch it load. Chop that section out. If you mess up and need to re-do something, chop out the mistake. You don’t have to go crazy and chop out every little “um” or “er,” but if you’re sitting there for 5 or 10 seconds waiting for something to happen, chop it out.

Tip #3: Start with an outline. Nobody wants to watch you meander all over the place — just get to the point. You don’t have to write out an entire script of what you’re going to say, but you should know where you’re going and in which order. In the case of a series of screencast videos, this becomes especially important to make sure you cover everything that’s needed.

I’ll give you an extra tip that will actually make all the difference in the world: practice. The more screencasts you record, the easier it will become and the better your screencasts will end up. Start recording the different things you do in your online business and pretty soon you’ll be cranking out good screencast videos effortlessly.

Article Marketing

Upcoming Feature (and one Vanishes)

If you downloaded v2.8.x of Article Architect you may have noticed a new feature called Article Popper. You probably also noticed no instructions on how to use it. That’s because it’s an upcoming feature I’ve been working on and when I released that version I forgot to re-hide it.

It’s a feature that’s not ready for prime time. =:) So in the next version it vanishes but will probably appear in an upcoming version later this year.

What IS going to be in version 2.9.0 is a feature called SR (Search & Replace) Tokens and I’m finding it a tremendous time-saver for my own work — I hope you do, too.

In general, it allows you to write an article and insert “tokens” that will be replaced on-the-fly when you submit an article to a directory, export it, publish to blog, etc.

What’s it good for?

Let’s say you use your real name when submitting to one directory but a pen name when submitting to another. In the article you write instead of putting your name, you’d put in a token, such as ~name. It could be anything you find handy, maybe %name% or something.

Then you specify whenever you’re submitting to Directory A and it sees those characters, it replaces with Bob Smith. When submitting to Directory B and those characters appear, it replaces with John Jones. You no longer have to “tweak” the article for each specific directory.

I use it mainly for the tracking codes I use in the resource box links — I want to know how much traffic comes from the articles I submit to EzineArticles vs GoArticles vs iSnare, for example. In the past I’d have to change each tracking code as I submitted the article — now I have a different SR Token set up for each directory and when it sees ~track it knows to change that to the tracking code for that directory.

Another Handy Use

It’s also handy for shortcuts. Right now I’m writing a series of articles on “cowboy action shooting” and those three words show up time after time. I now have an SR Token of ~cas that “expands” to those three words when I publish or submit the article.

Note: If you do that, realize the word count for the article may be off a little if your token is a different number of words than the replacement text.

SR Tokens is the main new feature of version 2.9.0 — and while it may not be earth-shattering in nature, it’s a really handy feature for people who are heavily into article marketing.

Version 2.9.0 should be available at some point tomorrow (January 14).