September 28Photography Tips While Traveling
Whether youre embarking on a family vacation or your family reunion, its going to be a special time. When we think of trips weve taken, we tend to remember them best with photographs. Heres some ideas to enhance your vacation as well as your memories of them.
Since you know where youre going (that’s a minimum requirement), doesnt it make sense to check out the location before you get there? Create a list of attractions, accommodations, special points of interest, amusement areas, shopping, etc. A good source to help you do this is: the Places and Travel section of msn.com ( http://groups.msn.com/Browse?CatId=179)
Figure out the photo opportunities for each appropriate venue. Anyone can take a thats nice picture of the kids at an amusement park. Wouldnt you rather capture a WOW photo that could be hung over the mantle?
Depending on the location youre traveling to, you can see what books are written about them that highlight the best photo opportunities for the entire area
If youre cyber-savvy, start at www.google.com and search using different combinations of: your destination, best photography locations, for images of the location, scenic spots, etc. The options are endless.
If youre off to a non-big city area, scout out the national parks in the area. The great thing about national parks is that the scenery is usually so breathtaking, that a so-so shot looks outstanding, just because of the subject. Once in www.nps.gov, do a search on photos and you will be presented with terrific shots of all the parks
OK, youre either traveling through or youre at a wonderful location full of photo opportunities. You began this leg of your trip at the crack of dawn and as youre pulling into the most scenic overlook for 400 miles, the sun is just starting to crack the horizon.
You instinctively pull the car over, grab your camera and your tripod, and look for the best spot to set up. Just one tiny little problem YOU FORGOT YOUR TRIPOD! Rather than smack yourself on the forehead then, why not plan these things now, before you leave?
Your list should include AT LEAST the following consideration
Do I need to repeat BRING YOUR TRIPOD? It doesnt take up much room, and as explained at www.best-family-photography-tips.com/tripod-photography.html, tripods allow you to capture entirely new categories of photographs that wont be possible without one
Memory. Of course, bring all the memory you have, but also pack your portable storage device such as an sd card.
If your camera has a hot shoe, bring your external flash, and any additional equipment that can be used to help with bounce flash
Remember your external shutter release cable for those long exposures. How else are you going to get that angel-hair look of the waterfalls?
Dont forget the basics like: batteries, battery charger, camera bag, and additional lenses and filters (if applicable on your camera)
And just in case you need it, bring the manuals for your equipment.
Finally, dont get so wrapped up in taking perfect shots that you dont enjoy the trip. Remember to use the tripod so that you’ll be in at least some of the photos.
Article courtesy of www.best-family-photography-tips.com, where you can see some sample pictures including more photography tips.
September 28Exceptional Bonuses That Will Increase Your Sales!
At least once a week we get asked about the common approach to offering bonuses — has this technique been overused?
My answer is always the same…
Crappy, freely available, 3rd party bonuses are definitely overused and have become quite ineffective.
Bonuses that are different, relevant and of high perceived value will often double or even triple your sales – It has happened to me.
WHY BONUSES WORK
Since the beginning of time, bonuses have been used by advertisers to entice users to make a buying decision.
Bottom line is, they do work and here’s why…
We make buying decisions based on emotions, you’ve no doubt heard that statement before.
However, being rational, thinking and logical humans, we also must justify our decision to buy we do that by convincing ourselves there is enough value to justify our emotional decision.
You read a sales letter, are intrigued by the headline. Your attention is kept through the first paragraph and you decide that you want the product or service based on benefit statements you relate to.
Now, you check the price – and it’s somewhat higher than you anticipated.
Buyer’s won’t usually give up at this point.
They will actually attempt a value calculation by re-looking at what they get.
That’s where your bonuses can make a big difference – they either justify the cost and click your order button, or they are gone forever.
5 EFFECTIVE BONUSES YOU CAN USE
It used to be you could throw just about anything into your offer and it would increase your response rate.
Not today though, today’s customers look closely at the benefit they will get from their bonuses.
Select the right combination and you can still easily double or even triple your response rate.
So what can you bundle that will provide value for your customers WITHOUT taking months to create?
Here are 5 power-packed bonus ideas to increase your sales:
1. Work Sheet or Checklist.
This is one of our favorites, we’ve had terrific feedback using checklists in the past – some of which could have been sold on their own. If you have a product that explains a series of steps, processes, techniques or strategies to your customers, then pulling those into a checklist can be extremely simple and effective.
Use Microsoft Word’s ability to insert a square symbol and a check mark – you will find both under the “Webdings” symbol options.
Checklists are also wonderful bonuses to use for tele seminars, coaching sessions, consulting services, seminars and other educational opportunities.
2. Short Summary.
You’re ebook, audio or video may be 100′s of pages long. Summarize the key points into 3-5 pages and you will have created a high-value bonus without having to create additional content.
3. Audio or Video clip.
Use a related audio clip to help communicate your point, cover a case study or example that is related to your ebook.
Interviews are a great way to quickly generate high-value bonuses. A 15-20 minute telephone interview will give you a 1-2 Meg audio file that can prove very valuable to your customer base – as long as it is directly related to your content.
Assume your ebook topic is exotic travel. Find a few people who have travelled to exotic locations and request a few minutes of their time to answer some questions over the phone.
If you need more information on recording telephone interviews – you can download our complimentary special report here:
You are selling an eBook on how to make it big in the stock market. Imagine if you could bundle bonus software that makes it simpler and quicker to apply your techniques.
Software has a high perceived value.
You can find tons of free or trial software at sites such as http://www.download.com (Select “Advanced Search” link in upper right hand corner and select different License options in drop down list), http://download-soft.com/, or http://www.50download.com/
Another option is to hire a developer through http://www.elance.com or http://www.freelance.com to create a simple software application you can offer as a bonus.
5. Bundled service
I’ve had great success bundling relevant services with my products. For example, if you order “Ultimate Information Entrepreneur’s Success Package” – http://www.infoproductcreator.com you will not only get an incredible package for creating your own income-generating infoproducts, but you get a complimentary 20-minute consultation with a top copywriter online.
Makes sense right?
You are creating a product to sell online, you will need to create a highly effective website.
Think beyond the specific problem/problems you are solving for your customer. What ELSE will they need solved?
Match that need up with a service professional and you have a very high-value bonus.
Most service professionals offer some form of gratis trial, that’s what you can offer to your customers.
MAKE YOUR BONUS STAND OUT!
The final point on effectively using bonuses to enhance your sales is to stand out from the crowd.
What is everyone else doing – offering some crappy, resell rights, largely useless eBook.
The perceived value of such bonuses are less than zero – meaning they can HURT your sales more than help them.
Create a high-value bonus, and you will see immediate positive results on your sales and profits.
Email newsletters and ezines can be extremely profitable for their owners, providing that their newsletter has subscribers, the more the better. Without a large number of subscribers your going to have a tough time making money when the only recipient of your ezine is you.
To prevent this from happening to you, I am going to share with you five free and easy ways you can start generating more Opt-in subscribers for your ezine mailing list.
1. Opt-In Storm
Opt-in Storm is an online list building system that is totally free to join and use, and best of all it actually works, unlike many other list building services.
When you join Opt-in storm you will have thousands of marketers promoting a newsletter ad that you create all over the Internet.
Also the leads you will receive from Opt-in Storm are 100% targeted leads, and Opt-in Storm requires subscribers to enter their primary email address and they do not allow subscriptions from any of the free email accounts. While this may cause you to lose some subscribers, the subscribers you do get will probably be way more responsive. More responsive subscribers = more money!
Another cool thin about Opt-in storm is after someone subscribes to your newsletter through Opt-in Storm, they will promote relevant ClickBank products loaded with your ClickBank ID on the conformation page. Sounds pretty cool huh?
You can learn more about Opt-in Storm here:
2. Ad Swap
Another great way to get more subscribers is to participate in an Ad Swap with another newsletter.
An ad swap is when two newsletter publishers each create a short advertisement (usually 5 lines with 60 characters per line) which they then swap and publish each others ad in their next newsletter.
Most newsletter publishers are very willing to participate in Ad Swaps. However, many newsletters will only participate in ad swaps with other newsletters that are of equal size and/or target a similar audience.
The best thing to do after finding a newsletter youd like to do an ad swap with, is to send that newsletters publisher an email with a proposal for an ad swap, It is also a good idea to include the ad you want to swap, so they can make an informed decision. If they say no, thats fine, there are thousands of other newsletters out there, so go find another one and try again.
3. Submit your newsletter to ezine directories
This is something that every newsletter or ezine owner should do, but many do not.
Why? Because people are lazy and it takes time to submit your newsletter to a bunch of different directories.At the time Im writing this article there are over 110,000 matches for ezine directiories on Google.
I highly recommend that you set aside a day or two and submit your newsletter to as many different directories as you can. This can help you in several different ways.
For example, most ezine directories allow you to post your newsletters name, subscription info, a short description of your newsletter, a link to your website, your advertising rates (if you accept advertising), article submission details, ect.
Now when someone searches that directory and finds your newsletter, they will have a wealth of information available to them to help convince them to subscribe.
Also other newsletter owners and product owners can see your ezine and then send you offers for Joint Ventures, advertising, ad Swaps and more.
Many of the directories will also post a clickable link to your website on their site. This will help improve your search engine rankings, by having other sites link to you.
So you see there are several other benefits of listing your newsletter in the ezine directories besides just gaining additional subscribers.
4. Write ezine articles
If you own your own newsletter or ezine, then there is a very good chance that you write articles and create content for your newsletter.
But why stop with just your newsletter, why not ad a resource box and share it with other newsletter publishers and allow them to publish your articles in their ezines?
What is a resource box? A resource box is basicly a short 3-4 line paragraph that is located at the end of an article and introduces you to the author of the article and usually includes a link back to the authors website. For an example, look at the resource box at the end of this article.
If you allow others to use your articles in their newsletters, they must use the article in its entirety including the resource box. What this does is spread the word about your website and it also helps to build up your credibility as an expert in your particular field.
The more you share your articles, the more people will know about you, and the more people will visit your website or subscribe to your newsletter, and that means more money in your pocket.
5. Add an exit Pop-up to your website
Many people think that pop-ups actually reduce the amount of sale you will make on your website. Now that is true in many cases, but in the case of gaining new subscribers for your newsletter, the opposite is in fact true. I will give you an example of my own experience.
One of the websites I run is a content rich site built around online auctions, also on that website I had web forms that allowed people to sign up for my free newsletter. Now I was consistently gaining 5 to 6 new subscribers every day, not bad right? a little over 1800 new subscribers a year.
But then I added an pop-up that opened when a visitor exited my website and reminded them to sign up for my free newsletter. Overnight my daily subscription rate more than doubled, I started getting 14-20 new subscribers every day, thats more than 5000 new subscribers year, with just one little exit popup.
Why did my subscription rate double? Its called information overload, and it happens on many websites that offer their visitors a lot of content. The visitor gets engrossed in reading through all the information on the website and then they leave and forget to sign up for the newsletter.
By adding an exit pop-up that contains a newsletter sign up form and only opens when they leave your site, you will remind the visitor to sign up for your newsletter, and chances are they will.
I have just shown you five different ways you can gain more opt-in subscribers for free. Now all you have to do is go out there and apply these five ideas to your own business and watch your email list start to grow.
September 18Online Advertising For The Perplexed
One of the more frightening realities of business is that in order to make money, you often have to spend it first. For independent software developers, the costs of doing business are usually very low. There are often no expensive offices to purchase or lease, a limited amount of hardware to buy and maintain, and for most, no stock to tie-up precious capital.
For many developers, the first and most obvious option for productive spending is advertising. And for the online business, there is no shortage of options to choose from.
Most websites like www.thesource.ca offer some form of graphic or text advertising, and there is a bewildering variety of mailing lists, newsletters, and regular mailings. And that’s before you even begin to consider the printed media.
However, before you even start to think about where you want to advertise, you need to consider why you’re advertising in the first place.
For many companies, the aim of an advert will simply be to increase sales and make more money. Other legitimate reasons for wanting to advertise can include raising the profile of your company or product, increasing brand awareness, and testing new pricing strategies or new markets.
>From the outset, it’s important that you are clear about exactly what it is that you want to achieve. From there, you’ll be able to choose where to advertise.
When selecting a venue, an important factor will be how targeted the audience is, as this will have a major bearing on the price that you should be prepared to pay for the ad. In general, the less targeted the audience, the less money you should part with. And even though it’s not always the case, you might want to consider spending a little bit extra for a highly targeted advert.
The next obvious factor is the price.
First of all you need to know how much you will be paying, and whether this is a flat fee, a cost per click, paying per exposure, or some arrangement.
You also need to consider the costs involved in preparation. If you’re using artwork, you may wish to use a professional designer to create it, and don’t overlook that the graphic might have to be in a specific format. More importantly, you have to take into account the amount of time that you will have spend on arranging this.
You also need to consider the time period that you’re hoping your advert will cover. If the ad will be on a website, then you’ll probably be looking at days, weeks or even longer. If so, then you should find out whether you can change the content of the ads as you go. If this is what you want to do, all the ads should be prepared well in advance, and the total costs of these should also be factored into the budget.
A good starting point in finding a suitable place to advertise is to learn from the experiences of others. As an ASP member, you have access to the private newsgroups, where other members will often be considerably more open, detailed and revealing than they might in public.
When you think you’ve found the right venue, read through whatever information you can find on their website or in their publications, and only then contact the person who handles these matters.
Present them with a general introduction to yourself, your products and your needs, and don’t be afraid to ask questions right from the start. Ask about their terms, payment terms, conditions, and whether they offer any form of guarantee or minimum response levels. A little bit of optimism never did any harm!
You’ll also want to find out if there are any deadlines or timescales to consider, and whether they will publish your ad “as is”, or reserve the right to edit it to suit their content.
Bear in mind that whoever you contact is likely to know their audience very well, so make sure that you ask for any guidance, tips or pointers that they can offer. Find out who will see the ads, what behavioural patterns you might expect, what outcome or response rate you might get, and whether they can offer any helpful suggestions.
Also find out who else has advertised with them in recent months, and ask if you can have their contact details. Make sure that you chase these up, and ask them outright about their experiences.
Leave nothing to chance, and find out whether there will be a contract to sign, and any commitments that may be involved throughout and beyond the advertising period. It’s also a good idea to find out how flexible they may be. For example, if the ad will run for a number of days or longer, can you change the content of the ads with little or no notice?
At this point, it’s very important to keep in mind that you are the customer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, don’t be worried about bargaining, and make very sure that you’re getting all the information and answers that you need. If not, move on. There are many other places to advertise.
Assuming that their answers meet your satisfaction, you are then in a good position to negotiate. The web is full of advertising, but even the more popular websites and newsletters often find it difficult to sell all their advertising space nowadays.
You might also want to ask them whether some form of trial period may be possible. If they’re very confident of a high click and success rate, then they shouldn’t object to an ad going out to a smaller test group, or perhaps a normal ad running for a number of hours.
When it comes to the actual payment basis, the ideal scenario would be a vendor offering high-quality, targeted advertising, with payment based solely on a commission basis, with no sign-up fee or base rate.
This is, however, a little on the unlikely side. A more realistic option will be advertising that is based on a flat fee, most (or all) of which will be paid for in advance.
When the terms, price and payment conditions have been dealt with, you’re then ready for the content of the ad itself.
The following article will look at the importance of knowing your target audience, what to include in the ad, and how to know when to call in the professionals. We’ll also be looking at the importance of implementing a good tracking system, and how to follow up an advertising campaign to gain from your experiences. In short, we’ll be looking at everything else you need to help make your ad campaign a successful one. Until then, be seen, be sold.
Copyright © 2005 Dave Collins