Financial Freedom Category

The ABC’s of Internet Marketing: Is it all about the Keywords?

April 17th, 2012 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

So the other day, I was stuck in a pretty bad traffic jam. I’m not 100% sure what caused the jam. There were no car accidents, no road work, no floods and no snow. Nothing. To keep myself occupied, I imagined what caused the traffic jam.

After contemplating for a few minutes, I came to the conclusion that it was probably caused by a number of different things. Maybe someone’s car engine stalled for a few minutes. Maybe someone was driving slow, trying to learn how to drive. Maybe a scene for a movie was being shot and a few drivers slowed down to catch a glimpse of some movie stars. Individually, these minor traffic delays wouldn’t cause a heavy traffic jam, but if these minor things happened at the same time, it could cause a complete jam. That’s when I had an epiphany.

Website traffic is a lot like road traffic. Although there may be instances when it’s caused by a single factor, such as massive roadwork, or poor weather conditions, for the most part, what causes web traffic is a number of different factors. It’s not just one particular method or technique. It’s a combination of different factors.

Recently, internet marketing trends are leaning towards the use of SEO (search engine optimization) techniques to increase traffic. Many internet marketers are using keywords in the hope of getting a high ranking in search engines.

However, there was an interesting article I read recently from Internet Marketing TNT that argues against the use of popular keywords. This article by Darren W Chow takes the bull by the horns and asks what every internet marketer is thinking of. The article was called, “Which Is More Important – Traffic or Top Rankings?

As Darren says, the obvious answer to the question is, of course, “both.” We need both traffic and a nice ranking to draw traffic into our sites. However, according to Darren, this is where the problem comes in. He says, “In our effort to turn our sites into virtual cash cows, we tend to lose sight of our priorities as we get distracted by the “clutter” on the Internet.”

His point is that many marketers, in their desire to increase their site traffic, lose sight of why they want traffic to begin with – to make sales. Many marketers use popular keywords to get more traffic, but fail to convert the traffic into sales because they’re drawing the wrong traffic.

Darren suggests that we shouldn’t just focus on getting the most traffic by using the most popular keywords. We should focus on getting the “right” kind of traffic by using the “right” keywords. Optimizing your content using the right keywords is a popular method used to increase traffic in a site. But as I mentioned earlier, it takes more than just one specific method to create traffic.

The best type of traffic is caused by a combination of different factors. A real life traffic jam can be caused by a flood, for example. But just imagine how big that traffic jam would be if that flood happened during rush hour, and caused several vehicles to break down, in an area where some famous movie stars are filming the next Hollywood blockbuster? That would be an epic traffic jam indeed!

This is exactly the type of effect we want for our sites. We want to use the right keywords and place them in the right type of content. We also want to feature great products and link to affiliates that are relevant to our niche. We can’t just rely on SEO techniques to carry our sites. In fact, misusing SEO techniques might even harm our website rankings instead of helping it.

I can try and explain how this could happen, but Michele Pariza Wacek explains it better in her article, “Spiders or Peeps, Why Writing for SEO Can Hurt Your Website Rankings.” In this very insightful article from Internet Marketing TNT, Michelle explains why SEO techniques aren’t as effective as they used to be.
She says, “First off, SEO (like everything Internet-related) has changed. A few years ago, SEO made perfect sense. That WAS the main way people found things on the Internet.”

Take note her use of, “WAS.”

Michelle is pointing out that our searching habits have changed. Although some of us still use keywords for our searches, we no longer rely on generic keywords alone. We search for specific brand names, we search for people and we search for specific details we hear about in different venues – television, radio, print, and even social media sites.

The role of blogging, the personal touch, has increased. There is more emphasis on content and genuine human connections and opinions. It’s no longer about the keywords, it’s also about credibility. As Michelle says, “Google and all the other search engines are going to reward you if your website isn’t deceptive, offers great content, and the content changes regularly. If you do that, the search engines WILL like your site regardless of your SEO.”

If you are an internet marketer, a heavy reliance on keywords may quickly bring your site traffic, but your visitors may click away just as fast once they realize that they’ve been “tricked” to go there with keywords.
If you really want to make a connection with your target audience, you have to take the time to be genuine. Eventually, if you care about your content, you’ll get visitors who will do for you what they’ve never done for those “keyword sites” – they will read your content, they will link to your site and your articles, and, best of all, they would thank you and inspire you to continue what you’re doing knowing that you’ve helped a person find what he or she needs in the most convenient and sincere way you can.

Good luck! :)

Adaire

Image by: think4photop / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



The Art of Attention-Grabbing

April 10th, 2012 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

Let’s do a little thought experiment today. Imagine two kids who decided to sell lemonade on their respective lawns throughout the summer vacation. One is selling one glass of lemonade for 40 cents, but only has a simple table and chair for his set-up, as well as a moderately sized white signboard with the words “Lemonade 40 Cents” in black marker. The other kid is selling one glass of lemonade for 80 cents, but his set-up is comprised of an actual plywood stand with a counter covered in bright yellow cloth, as well as a large signboard that reads “Sweet, Ice-Cold Lemonade – JUST 80 Cents!” in bright red paint.

Who do you think will sell more?

Attraction, Reaction!

If you guessed the latter kid, congratulations! There’s an enormous chance that the one with the more attractive set-up will get more customers. At this point, the fact that it’s twice the price of the other kid’s lemonade doesn’t really matter. Would you buy cheap lemonade that’s been sitting on a sad little table all day, or would you buy pricier lemonade from the cutest, most fun-looking set-up on the block? It’s a no-brainer! :)

What does selling lemonade have to do with internet marketing, you ask? Well, everything, actually! If you don’t even have the marketing savvy to sell a glass of lemonade on your lawn, what makes you think you have the skills to market a more complicated line of wares over the World Wide Web?

There’s a reason why all the biggest and most successful corporations have an incredibly disciplined marketing team working for them. In this day and age of seemingly infinite choices, it’s no longer just about having a top-quality item to sell. It’s also about knowing how to set this item apart from others. It’s about grabbing attention—making people look in your direction despite the fact that your competitors are trying to do the same.

Be Accessible

Image by: stockimages

So, what’s the first step towards grabbing people’s attention?

The secret is accessibility. Sure, you may have all the bells and whistles at the ready, but if your advertisements are improperly placed, or are placed in sites that hardly anyone visits in the first place, of what use are all those bells and whistles? I read this article “What Makes an Effective Internet Marketing Tool?,” by Anthony Harris in Internet Marketing TNT that explains this issue so well. According to Harris:

A good internet marketing tool should be located where it can be easily accessed by people. No matter how good an advertisement is, if no one can see it, then it is useless. It should be known that people are the target of internet marketing tools and that these people can have various interests. Thus, a company can choose to place its internet marketing tool where it receives the most attention by all people, or it can place the tool where it can attract the attention of the target market.

Well said, don’t you think? :) So, before you even think of getting all these amazing multi-media gimmicks to sell your product, you have to first make sure that you have the right venue for all of it. Remember the kid with the awesome-looking lemonade stand? Now imagine that his house is at the very end of a dead-end street. If you don’t think he should move his set-up to the park or by the school playground, then you have a thing or two to learn about real marketing!

The Bells and Whistles

Image by: Robert Cochrane

Once you’ve pinned down a great spot for your advertisements, it’s finally time to concern yourself with all the bells and whistles! Now, being that you’ll be working with stuff available on the World Wide Web, you have quite a smorgasbord to ponder over! How do you figure out the right thing to do? Well, according to Alan L. Smith in his Internet Marketing TNT article “Multimedia Marketing – The Latest Online Marketing Tool,” getting professional assistance is definitely worth it. He says:

The goal of multimedia marketing is to make the customers feel that they are getting personalized treatment along with a fair price. In your site’s testimonial section, you can record live video footage of satisfied clients in their own voice. Also, you can creatively display your products/services with animated images. You can couple it with attractive sales and discount offers, thus creating a complete online marketing package. Such type of work can be well executed by a professional multimedia development company who conducts extensive research and consults with you before developing a web multimedia solutions plan.

Sometimes, people can get so excited about all the possibilities in marketing that they forget to really home in on the techniques that are best suited for their product or brand. Getting professional assistance can help you look at the bigger picture better. It will also definitely lessen potential stress, especially if you’re not that skilled in setting up all sorts of multi-media gimmicks and making them run for the long haul.

The bells, the whistles, and the extra help will have to cost you extra, but that’s definitely money very well spent! :)

Focus, Focus, Focus

Gone are the days when marketing just meant walking around wearing a sandwich board and pointing people in the direction of your store. Today, marketing, as well as advertising and public relations, makes staggering amounts of money each year making sure that certain products and services grab your attention more than others. And if you have your own product for sale online, marketing is a necessity from the very beginning. Just make sure that you focus your ideas on what your product or service is, and who you want to attract. There are so many great possibilities out there for you to take advantage of, and it’s all just a matter of finding the right one. :)

Adaire

Images by: stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Robert Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Drafting Your First Business Plan

February 20th, 2012 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

I have a slightly embarrassing confession to make. While starting out, I encountered challenges and setbacks that were really demoralizing. Do you want to know what kept me going? Inspirational quotes. I’m happy to admit that many of the things that led to my success can be found on the most common, most unremarkable greeting cards.

One of my most favorite quotes is, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” I consider myself lucky to have come across this quote very early in my career. I realized soon enough that many of my setbacks have been due to a lack of preparation. Back then, I thought of planning as something that is for people who lack the creativity to improvise. That, of course, was a bad assumption. Experience and research have taught me that planning is a prerequisite for success.

In fact, until today I still scour the Internet for information that can help me make better planning decisions. One of the gems I found was an article from Small Business CEO entitled, “Summary of a Business Plan.” This article by Don Sandoval reminded me of many of the key points about business planning that I always try to remember:

- Acquire the necessities that would help the company get established. Where is company headquarters going to be located? What type of construction or renovation needs to be done?

- Indicate your marketing plan. What markets are you planning to attack? How will you market?

- Decide on what you plan to market first. When do you plan to open for business? What will you produce first?

These are the main principles that you’ll have to incorporate into your business plan. Yes, there are going to be a lot of questions you have to answer and if this is your first time drafting a business plan, you may find that dealing with these details is a little tedious. You might even feel the urge to skip it altogether. Let me tell you right now, persevere and make a business plan because it’s very, very important. As Dan says, “The Business Plan is very important and basically serves as a road map of how your business is expected to grow.”

Now, you might be thinking, “Yes, Adaire, I want to make a business plan. If only I knew how…” If this is a concern of yours, then I have the perfect solution. There’s something also from Small Business CEO that can definitely help you draft your first business plan. Andrei Boudnikov wrote a very informative article called, “What a Business Plan Is,” where he provides a foundation for an effective business plan. Here are some items found in his article:

- A brief description of your business. This section of the plan should include who you are, what your products are, and who you intend to sell them to.

- A business strategy. This part should include a brief description of how you intend to market or promote your product or service.

- Your personnel. This is where you have to indicate what type of employees you need to run your business.

I encourage you guys to read the rest of his very informative article. It’s certainly worth your time. Once you learn how to create great business plans, you can start presenting them to potential partners or investors. Who knows? You might even find a way to start a business without spending so much capital.

Always remember that with an effective plan, you’ve already won half the battle. As the wise inventor Thomas Alva Edison once said, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” It takes more than luck and skill to reach your dreams. You need to be ready when such opportunities come, otherwise you might not be able to take full advantage of them.

So, take those creative business ideas and turn them into organized business plans! Soon enough you’ll be able to draft a plan with great potential that you can carry-out as a business project.

Good luck! :)

Adaire

Image by: jannoon028 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



An Introduction to Internet Marketing

February 13th, 2012 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

Today I’m going to talk a little about one of the biggest earning secrets of the Internet: internet marketing. I’m going to be honest right now and just tell you upfront that internet marketing is the gold rush of the 21st century. It has made millions for companies, and has created millionaires all over the world. It is one of the most convenient ways to make money online.

Initially, I thought that marketing online was going to be complicated. In the real world, before you can endeavor in marketing you’re going to need a company, several licenses, a client list, an office, and the worst part – you’re going to need money. What if I told you that in internet marketing you wouldn’t need any of these to begin? It is truly a great opportunity as it allows you to start earning immediately without having to make a capital investment.

I was thinking of the best way to introduce you to the topic of internet marketing. Thankfully, I came across an article from Internet Marketing TNT. It’s called, “The Basics of a Home-Based Internet Marketing Business.” As soon as I saw that title, I knew that I found exactly what I was looking for.

This article by Sam Schneider provides all the basic information you’ll need to gain an understanding of the fundamentals of Internet Marketing. In that article he talked about:

- The advantages of home-based internet marketing businesses. Sam calls internet marketing “the perfect model for a home-based business” because it can be started from home, does not require special training, uses minimum equipment, and it doesn’t require a start-up cost.

- Limitations of internet marketing businesses. Like all businesses, internet marketing has its limitations too. One of which is its bias for new technologies. You really have to be aware of the most recent developments that make online transactions easier. Other concerns involve internet security and broad return policies.

- The types of home-based internet marketing business. There are several types of internet marketing businesses. In his article, Sam provides a brief introduction of the most popular ones: online commerce, service-based commerce, Multi-Level Marketing, and Publishing and Advertising.

I really hope you read that article. All the information contained there will put you on the fast-track towards a successful internet business you can run from the convenience of your own home!

However, since internet marketing is such a popular business choice, I realized that you may encounter a lot of competition. I started asking myself, “What advice should I give my readers on how to gain a competitive advantage in this business? What skills would they need to succeed in this business?” Then, I suddenly remembered an article I previously read at Internet Marketing TNT. Karen Newman wrote an article called, “Executive Level Skills = Internet Marketing Success,” where she explains how developing certain executive levels skills can turn you into the perfect internet marketer. Here are some of the skills she mentioned along with a few short excerpts from the article she wrote:

- Leadership Skills: “In the parlance of Internet marketing, a leader is a successful entrepreneur who can assist others in achieving success.”

- Organizational Skills: “Being able to manage a myriad of ever-changing tasks is a necessary skill for any Internet marketer.”

- Sales and Marketing Skills: “Sales and marketing professionals understand how to define and promote powerful messages that attract potential customers to an opportunity.”

- Technology and Computer Skills: “A solid understanding of technical matters will increase your chances of success.”

- Mentoring Skills: “An important facet of any executive level position is the development of subordinates into effective managers and employees.”

- Motivational Skills: “The motivational skills necessary to succeed in Internet marketing come in two flavors-personal motivation and team motivation.”

- Self-Discipline Skills: “There will always be ups and downs as a business unfolds, and a tremendous amount of self-discipline is necessary to stay focused and committed to long-term success.”

The short excerpts I included here do not do justice to the amount of insight she provides in comprehensive explanations found in her article. I hope you take a look at it and really try to understand what she’s saying.

One key attribute that can help you find success in business and in life is a thirst for knowledge. Take knowledge wherever you can find it: read articles, listen to good advice, learn from your experiences and find good mentors. Gain a competitive advantage in internet marketing by knowing more than your competitor. It is usually what brings victory. Knowledge is power.

Good luck! :)

Adaire


Image by: Renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Online Business Tips for Home Based Entrepreneurs

January 26th, 2012 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

I still remember the first time I decided to start my own online business. My goodness! I really had no idea where to begin. I felt like a fresh college graduate on my first day of work. But I knew that there were a lot of opportunities online, and that I wanted to start my own business.

There were so many acronyms and terms used in online businesses that I couldn’t understand. It was actually quite overwhelming, but I just decided to stick with it since I had nothing to lose anyway. Even then, I knew that it was important for me to learn ways to overcome adversity and to find new ways to generate income.

So, even if I was struggling, I persevered. I did my homework. I visited instructional sites, I joined forums, and I even searched the Internet for online business articles that I could read! It took me some time to learn the tricks of the trade. I was not the most technologically aware lady, but what I lacked in natural ability, I made up for with determination.

These days, articles regarding the topic can be found all over the internet. There are even more resources now than there were before! Just a few days ago there was an article I read at Internet Marketing TNT written by Make Money Online entitled, “Online Business Ideas – 3 Ways To Finally Make A Full-Time Online Income In Part-Time Hours.”

In that article, I learned that:

  • It is better to sell someone something over and over again, rather than always finding new clients to sell to. The ideal situation is to find clients who would pay you every month. Consistent income, even if it’s just for a small amount, is better than inconsistent large incomes.
  • There is a big difference between generating small income from lots of sources and generating big income from few sources, and there are different approaches for each.
  • A person looking to make money online should not start from scratch. There are many people who have built online businesses and are just looking for people to sell it to or help them build it up even further.

The article was very inspiring because it constantly reminded me that there are many opportunities out there for everyone. It’s comforting to think that even in these times there are ways to find profitable work. So, don’t be discouraged. The information you need to reach new heights in your career may be right under your nose. You just have to type the right keywords.

I know you are having doubts right now. I had my doubts before too. You are probably asking yourself, “Can I really make a profit online with the little online knowledge I have?” Fortunately, there are articles online that show us how this can be done!

A few days ago I found an article also from Internet Marketing TNT which talks about a key aspect in making a profit online. The title of the article was “The perfect online business model?” In that article, Ryan Lee talks about how building a good business model can boost your online profits!

According to Ryan, running a membership site is one of the best business models to make money online because:

  • Membership sites have minimal startup costs, no inventory, no employees, and have a steady income.
  • Membership sites are less of a risk than other online business models.
  • Membership sites can provide multiple streams of income that could include backend offers, affiliate reviews, seminars and many more!

I know that many of you are as intimidated and overwhelmed as I was when I started out. Don’t be afraid. Just do your best and I know that you can be successful too. Trust me. It’s not as hard as it looks. If I can start from scratch and grow to understand these crazy, techie systems, so can you! It’s not rocket science. All it takes is a little faith in your own abilities. Take that leap of faith and start your own online business now. :)

Adaire


Image by: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Secrets to Starting a Small Business

January 17th, 2012 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

One of the earliest tips I have received about proper money management was not to put all my savings in the bank. When I was younger, I didn’t listen to this advice because it went against what I thought was the right way of handling money, which was to save, and save, and save some more. Back then, all I knew was that if I didn’t go shopping as often as I wanted to and saved my money instead, I’d be rich one day!

However, I learned later that this was not a very good approach if my goal was to one day become financially free. I found out how inflation rates could sometimes reduce the value of my money faster than the interest rates can increase its amount. If I wanted financial freedom, I had to find a way to make my money grow. As soon as I learned about this fact, I decided that my money should go into business.

However, starting a business is not a simple task. There are many things to consider and a single mistake can cost you most, if not all, your hard-earned savings. You really have to plan carefully before you begin such an endeavor. Thankfully, a lot of information online can make starting a small business easier than it has ever been!

Just a few days ago there was an article I read at Small Business CEO written by Greg Crabtree entitled, “The Winning Game Plan for Your Home-Based Business.” Greg successfully articulated many of the points I wanted to share to you myself. He reminds us that in order to be successful in our business endeavors, we should:

  • Define what success looks like. We all have different standards of success. My definition of success is for a business to at least be able to become a primary source of income. It depends on you what type of success you want to achieve.
  • Choose a simple organization structure. A small home-based business doesn’t need a fancy business system. Make your business a simple one so that it’s easier to maintain.
  • Count the cost of our business. In order to keep track of our progress, we must check if we’re losing or gaining resources by understanding the four forces of cash flow.

These simple adjustments in your home-based business can be the difference between success and failure. For the most part, it’s fear and not a lack of information that prevents people from starting their own business. It’s okay to be afraid. I experience a lot of fear too, but I also know that I’ll regret not trying more than I will regret failure. As long as you have the passion to succeed and the faith to persevere, you will find success in life.

BUT before you get carried away and start a business today, I think I should give you a practical tip that can help you start a stable and successful business career: Don’t spend your savings with abandon.

Some people make the mistake of being too brave. When starting a business, we also have to start with caution and prudence. An article also from Small Business CEO gave some very practical advice about starting a business. It was called, “The Secrets of Starting Business Successfully.” In that article, Julia Tang reminds us not to get too fancy when starting a business. Here are some of the reminders she gave:

  • Be careful with our money. We should not splurge on superficial improvements to our business. In fact, according to Julia, “a good rule of thumb is that anything that does not make money for you or protect your investment, should not be purchased at this time.”
  • Select simple names for our business endeavors. A hair salon with a fancy, ambiguous name such as “Cut it Out” may miss out on potential clients who are in a hurry. People who just want basic service are more likely to visit stores with clear signs like “Joe’s Barber Shop.”
  • Be humble. Julia says, “Just as a doctor is a specialist in his field, and you go to him for medical problems, your banker is a specialist in his field and you should go to him for your money problems.” In business we have to learn to respect the expertise of the people we work with. Just because you’re the boss does not mean that you should act like a know-it-all.

These are just a few samples of the many wonderful insights and ideas in Julia’s article. One of the more memorable ones was when she explained the effects of using full names in the title of our business. For example, calling my business Adaire Mercer’s Styling Salon has the advantage of making credit somewhat easier to acquire for me, but it also has the disadvantage of making my business seem like a small, local business. Amazing!

There are literally hundreds of articles full of useful tips online and elsewhere that can truly help you start your own profitable business. Quite honestly, starting a business is one of the most exciting, challenging, and fulfilling things you can do in a single lifetime. There are risks involved, but these are risks worth taking. Have faith in yourself and in your abilities. Good luck! :)

Adaire


Image by: Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Marketing Strategies for Penny-Pinchers

November 18th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom, Sharing Success

Running your own business can really strain your budget. I’ve had my own share of penny-pinching from time to time, but I’ve always, always made it a point to keep my businesses’ marketing campaigns up and running. Losing exposure and missing out on potential customers are two things that you definitely want to avoid as a business owner. But how do you do that when you’re running low on funds?

There are a couple of ways to work your marketing campaigns around a tight budget thanks to the fact that there are a lot of great marketing strategies out there that are both cheap and effective. I found two articles that mention a few of them at Small Business CEO Magazine, and figured I’d share them with you here! :)

In her article 5 Creative And Low Cost Marketing Ideas, Janice Jenkins mentions traditional marketing methods such as using business cards and getting involved in community activities as well as e-mail marketing and internet marketing. She mentions internet marketing is “the latest trend in marketing today”. I wouldn’t really call it a trend – it’s too important to be called just a trend! :) Online marketing is something that no business can survive without. Everyone and everything is on the internet now; if you don’t get your business up online, then you’re going to find it very difficult to promote it on a tight budget.

“It is the digital age,” she says, “so if you have not been using the email to send out your message to your existing and prospective customers, then you are missing out a lot.” E-mail marketing campaigns really are cost-effective – all you need to do is find a suitable e-mail server that’s both reliable and affordable, like AWeber, set it up with your e-mails and auto-responders, and you’ll be all set! Just make sure that your e-mails are well-written and catchy, or else your customers and clients will ignore you or mark your messages as spam.

There are several methods you can include in your internet marketing strategy, and most of them don’t require you to spend a lot of money. Aside from e-mail marketing that Janice mentioned, Matthew Bylett mentions a couple of other free (or affordable) internet marketing strategies in his Small Business CEO Magazine article, The Best Internet Marketing Strategies for Beginners.

One of the first things he mentioned was article marketing. “The idea of this,” he says, “was to get a whole heap of content out onto the internet quickly so I could lay foundation of back-links on which I can later build.” The basic gist of article marketing is to write articles that contain keywords that are related to your business, and linking those keywords back to your site. This way Google and other search engines will associate your site with them, and allow it to show up in the top results when someone searches for those keywords.

Having a blog is also one of the great marketing strategies that Matthew mentions. A blog is where you can really establish your identity and share your stories and experiences as a small business owner. A blog (like what we have here for Make More Live More Give More :) ) also gives you the opportunity to get to know your readers and clients a bit better too, since a blog is a great venue for discussions and commentary!

Making good use of social media sites is also an effective way to establish a friendly relationship with your customers, partners, and readers. You can set-up a fan page to help promote your site on Facebook for free, and you can tie it in with your other social media accounts like Twitter for maximum exposure. You can gain a lot of insights from them through reading your fans’ or followers’ reactions to your posts, and you can respond to them really fast, too, which is great for starting up conversations.

While article marketing, blogging, and using social media is pretty much cost-free, there are other internet marketing methods that will cost you some money to get started. You can offer to pay other sites to put up banners or buttons that link to yours, or invest a little in affiliate marketing or pay-per-click marketing (PPC).

Affiliate marketing and PPC involve setting up affiliate/advertiser links that your advertisers can put up on their websites. These special links allow you to track how many people click on it, and let you know how much you have to pay your advertisers for sending the traffic your way. These marketing tactics will cost you a bit more, but most websites that host these services allow you to tweak your payment settings at any time, so if you’re running short on cash, you can send out an e-mail to your affiliates or advertisers and inform them about the temporary delay or adjustment in payment. You may lose a few advertisers in the process, but it’s definitely better than going bankrupt or shutting down your advertising program altogether!

Even when you’re running your business on a tight budget, there really is no reason for you to put your marketing campaigns on hold! Try out any of these online marketing campaigns that I’ve mentioned above and see which one works best for you. :)

Adaire

Image by: Jomphong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Finding Fulfillment Through Entrepreneurship

August 16th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom


When we were little, our teachers often asked us what we wanted to be when we grow up. Quite predictably, many of us raised our tiny hands and gave the standard responses: doctor, teacher, pilot, nurse, policeman and so on. If your class was anything like mine, anyone who answered “I want to be an entrepreneur!” would have been greeted by a lot of confused looks from our classmates because most of us didn’t even know what an entrepreneur is!

Some people today still don’t know what an entrepreneur does – or they simply brush entrepreneurship aside because they think it’s too unstable or risky to pursue as a career. But the fact remains that entrepreneurs are a very important part of our economy, as Julia Gentry, one of the pioneers of ultimateE.com, argues in her Healthy Wealthy nWise article “Why Do We Need Entrepreneurs?

In this article, Julia presents some facts that prove the importance of entrepreneurs in society. She stresses that at the alarming rate that people are losing jobs, it’s essential that entrepreneurs keep coming up with new businesses to help these people find jobs and decrease the rate of unemployment in the country.

While society depends on entrepreneurs for growth and success, the companies and businesses that entrepreneurs start up can’t guarantee perpetual providence for people and their families. No one should feel financially secure just because they have a job. The economy is constantly changing, and businesses can go bust in the blink of an eye and leave its people with no income at all.

While the fluctuation of the economy is beyond our control, the career path we choose to take and develop is in our hands. No one will be a victim of financial distress caused by unemployment if we all take the time to learn how to be an entrepreneur.

Find What’s Missing
When you become an entrepreneur, you essentially get to be your own boss. But being the boss doesn’t mean freeing yourself from the dirty work. It actually means embracing all aspects of the business – that means everything from making the most difficult business decisions to motivating your people to keep up the good work. In a sense, you evolve from a mere contributor to an insider with deeper involvement in the business that determines the outcome of your and your people’s endeavors.

This sounds like a huge responsibility, doesn’t it? So why would you want that kind of burden on your shoulders? Is entrepreneurship worth all that hardship? The answer is a resounding yes. It’s through entrepreneurship that you can find the true essence of success, purpose and fulfillment. If you’re an employee who feels like there’s something missing in your life, then you may find that missing piece in the independence and success that you can achieve through entrepreneurship.

A lot of people say that when choosing a job, you should choose one that you love because you’re going to spend most of your life working on it. Business ownership may require you to shed a lot of blood and sweat, but none of it goes to waste because everything you do will help you achieve your dreams, and you’ll be helping your people earn a living too. What’s not to love about that? :)

Nothing is Impossible
Becoming an entrepreneur doesn’t only improve your character and sense of responsibility – it also grants you the opportunity to do the impossible, explore the unknown. It’s just like Julia says in her article: entrepreneurship allows you to take nothing and turn it into something. Entrepreneurs think of creative ideas, identify opportunities, take risks, and respond to the market’s needs. These are people who don’t just stop at conceptualization, but put their own ideas into action.

Most people hesitate to start up their own businesses simply because they don’t know how to. Reinaldo Lopez, an Internet Marketing Consultant, has unleashed a possible springboard for business rookies in his Small Business CEO Magazine article, “How to Capitalize on Your ‘Aha’ Moment”. Reinaldo enumerated a simple process on how to turn an idea into a business. The key points in his list include changing one’s mindset, avoiding distractions and hindrances, and taking massive action now. There’s no room for hesitation here; you have to be confident in your own abilities and start taking steps toward your life as an entrepreneur today. :)

Entrepreneurship cultivates not just self-fulfillment but also a continuous pursuit to get more value out of life. It liberates people from the mediocrity of normal employment, and prevents them from becoming too complacent about their careers. This is true not just for business owners, but for the customers they serve and the people who work for them as well. Customers will benefit from the improved products, while the people involved in the business will have the added benefit of learning many things that will help them become entrepreneurs themselves.

In essence, becoming an entrepreneur gives you the opportunity to make life better for yourself and the people around you. That opportunity is lying there, right in front of you, just waiting for you to grab it. All you have to do is get over your hesitations, adjust your mindset to focus on your goals, and start your career as an entrepreneur today. :)

Adaire


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Investment – Is it for you?

August 11th, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

A few years ago, I told myself that I needed to make money and buy a new property or business. If I relied on my income alone, it could take me decades to achieve that goal. I had to find other ways to earn money so that I could achieve my goals at a much faster rate, and I found that making wise investments was a great way to do just that. With some assistance from this article by Lyn Bell in Healthy Wealthy nWise entitled “Top 10 Ways to Wisely Invest Money”, I’ll talk about what you aspiring investors out there need to do in order to achieve the same results as I did. :)

Investments and Savings
There are two things we can do to help our money grow: we can either try to save it or invest it. Saving is pretty easy – set aside some of your money, put it in a savings account, and allow your money to earn a small amount of interest over time. This sounds like the simplest way to get more money into your pockets, but the growth in interest is often too slow and too small for you to even notice.

Investment is more complicated than just sticking your money into the bank and watching it grow. Like starting up a savings account, making an investment requires you to have a capital to start with, but the money you put into an investment can grow significantly larger at a much faster rate. That’s because the value of investments are a bit unpredictable and are prone to going up or down very quickly.

This unpredictability gives you the opportunity to increase the money that you earn in the blink of an eye, but it also makes you prone to losing all your money in an instant. To avoid falling prey to that risk, you have to learn how to lay out a solid game plan before you start investing.

How do you start?
A common misconception is that investing is a privilege only for the rich people. The truth is that investment is also something an average Joe can do to fulfill his dreams – but only if he does it with careful planning and proper timing.

According to Lyn’s article, “In order to invest wisely, one must know where he or she wants to be”. When you’re thinking about investing, be specific. Ask yourself what you’re saving up for and determine a target date for your goal. Do you want to be able to buy a new car within the year? Do you plan on retiring in 15 years and want to have a nice retirement fund ready for you by then? Having a clear goal will help you stay focused and channel your resources towards getting there.

Should you focus on investing or saving?
You have to remember that even though you’re setting money aside for investment, you shouldn’t be ignoring your savings! Savings serve as your security blanket if investing doesn’t work out for you, or if there’s an emergency that you need to pull out extra cash for.

But if you’re still struggling to save money, how can you even think about investing? It’s definitely going to be a challenge, but the trick is to ensure that your money is going where it’s supposed by channeling your resources properly. To do this, you have to divide your money into three categories: expenses, savings and investments. The common tendency is to view investments the same way you’d view savings – as leftovers from your expenses. That’s a mistake! Investments should be treated more like expenses – like bills that you need to pay monthly. You don’t even have to set huge amounts of money aside per month – you can start at as low as $5 a month until you’ve got enough for an investment.

What are your options?
As an employee, have you been branded as an asset to the company? An employee can be considered to be an asset if the value of their contribution to the financial growth of the company is greater than the amount of money that they’re being paid. That’s the kind of value you should be looking for in investments.

The different types of assets include properties, retirement or mutual funds, health insurance, stock purchase, foreign exchange trading, business ventures, and many more. Choosing the right type of investment for you depends on your goals, schedule, and risk tolerance (meaning how much risk you’re willing to take). People who are closer to the age of retirement will have very little time to make up for any losses, so it’s usually wiser for them to have lower risk tolerance as opposed to a younger entrepreneur.

Which asset should you choose?
Now that you understand your options, which one should you choose? You don’t actually have to limit yourself to just one – in her article, Lyn mentions investment diversification, or spreading your invested resources among several types of assets. The concept is very similar to the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. Diversifying your investments will help you cope with losses, as it’s not likely that all your investments will fail at the same time. If only a few of your investments fail while others continue successfully, your losses won’t be as debilitating.

What do you do after investing?
Once all of your investments are in place, you need to monitor the rise and fall of your assets’ values to help you determine your next move – whether to venture into other assets, to buy or sell stocks, or to completely withdraw an investment. However, Lyn advises that you shouldn’t keep checking on your investment too often – investments are unstable and are bound to go up and down, and you might be tempted to back out of an investment if you see the slightest decrease in profit. As Lyn says, you have to “think long-term”, and that you shouldn’t “treat [an investment] as though you want the money next week and then take fright when it’s down.”

So is investing something that you should do? Yes, it is! You don’t have to be filthy rich to get started – all you need to become an investor are the right mindset, a clear plan, and possible contingencies. Investments provide opportunities for everyone – not just the privileged few – to fatten up their wallets and live in the lap of luxury. :)

Adaire


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Getting to Know Your Online Target Market

August 2nd, 2011 by Adaire in Financial Freedom

It is true that the internet has provided a medium to capture a wide range of markets regardless of age, gender, purchasing power, and other market profiling indicators. However, just like products sold in shops, familiarizing yourself with your product’s target market is the key to your business’ success.

There are several key things to take a look at when researching about your target market, and some of them have been highlighted in the Internet Marketing TnT article: “How to Do Research for Your Internet Business Product”, by Michael Tasker.

Product Demand
One of the things you research in any business is the demand for your product. For online businesses, the simplest thing to do would be to take a look at what people are searching for when they go online to shop. In his article, Michael highlighted the use of Google’s keyword tool, which tracks how many searches are conducted using keywords related to your product within a month. Determining the popularity of Google keywords related to your product is a good way of gauging the market demand– after all, people wouldn’t be looking for something they don’t want, would they? :)

When researching about the demand for a product, Michael also suggests that you take a look at websites like YouTube, Amazon, and ClickBank as well. These websites provide you with various bits of information that will prove to be useful in your research. YouTube has become a popular go-to site for people looking for solutions and product reviews, so it’s always a good place to see what kind of things your target market is looking for. Amazon is also a good source of product reviews, and taking a look at the number of people buying a specific product from this popular online store is a good way to gauge the demand for that product. Aside from viewing sales statistics for online stores, you should also take a look at the affiliate sales statistics on affiliate networks like Clickbank, because these statistics can tell you a great deal about which products are popular across a variety of websites.

Market Saturation
Keyword research isn’t the only thing that Google is good for; it also helps you determine the saturation levels of your target market. A market that is highly “saturated” means that the product is already so widely distributed that it’s not very likely that demand or sales will grow any further, unless there is an increase in the actual population of buyers.

In the online marketplace, levels of saturation can be determined by the number of websites that show up when relevant business keywords are used in Google searches. All you have to do is simply run a Google search on your keywords and take a look at the search results. How many of those are websites are selling a product that’s similar to yours? If your search results are composed of more than two pages of these websites, that means that there are already too many competitors out there, and you may want to think twice about your target market. A highly saturated market segment is something you want to avoid targeting because there’s too much competition, and that will make it very difficult for you to compete with other sellers.

Economic Value
What if you discover that your target market is not saturated at all? Wouldn’t it be a good idea for you to hop to it and take advantage this discovery? In this case, Michael says that you shouldn’t just assume that you’re the first to discover a gaping hole in the market. The lack of competition could be a sign that others have already tried to sell products or services that are similar to yours, only to discover that they had no economic value.

A good way to determine the economic value of your product is to take a look at the advertisements that appear at the top or the right hand column of your Google searches. Those are paid ads that were purchased through the Google AdWords service. The presence of two or three paid ads indicates that the product was so profitable that their sellers could afford to spend money on these ads. If there are no paid ads at all, then the product may not be worth your time and money.

Customer Engagement
Another important thing you need to know is how to engage your target market. It won’t be enough just to show them your product and their benefits; to turn your online window shoppers into actual buyers requires you to build a reputation of being trustworthy. To do that, you have to know what to say to your potential customers to assure them of the quality of your product and the integrity of your services. Conducting customer surveys, reading product reviews, and asking for feedback from your active customers will help you tweak your strategies and come up with new ways to engage your customers in a positive way.

Conducting all of this research may seem tedious, but it certainly won’t be a waste of your time. In order to succeed in the online market, you need to invest ample time and resources in online market research until you get a crystal clear picture of who your target is so you can win them over and leave your competitors in the dust. :)

Adaire


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