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What’s Working Now in Online Business?

Share the love & make a difference.

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

This week I asked our panel of experts the same thing I asked last year and the year before …

“What's something cool in your business that is working really
well for you – right now?”

I greatly enjoyed reading the responses. I hope you enjoy them, as well.


Tiffany Dow of Squidoo Quick Commissions Guide says:

In 2013, part of my plan was to get re-involved with Squidoo and tangible affiliate earnings. I had been there since 2006, but sold off all of my profitable lenses and I wanted to get back to what it was all about for me when I first started – sharing.

But like everyone else, I wanted to spend time doing something that would launch some residual earnings. I like things I can set up once and basically never touch again. What Squidoo does for me aside from that is it also lets me break away from my usual topics – it helps prevent boredom.

I’m a flitter online. I like to jump around and do different things. I used to buy domain after domain and waste TONS of money setting up sites to promote a myriad of things (household good, sushi supplies, etc) when there’s no way I wanted to blog about that daily. Lenses help feed my craving for variety – and they’re FREE. (Love that).

So at the end of 2012, I challenged myself to test some new strategies out. I used Erica Stone’s Squid Pro Quo research tactics, but then I FrankenTiffed the lens creation with my own content strategies. I also left out the design tips (pure laziness on my part).

While the original guide had some fantastic methods on how to research products, I knew I wanted to share more personalized information. For instance, if I write about the Kinect video game – I don’t want to just write about technical aspects and price.

I get personal satisfaction sharing my story about it – how I use Dance Central and the kids and I have contests to see who can score better (and would you believe I score better every single time? I’ve got moves apparently).

When I started seeing the lenses start to perform (set up a page, leave it, and let it earn up to $30 a month), it led to me whipping up a little report on how I was doing it called the Squidoo Quick Commission Guide.

I love checking in each day to see which lenses are performing (not all do). Sometimes there’s a surprising niche that I discover. I decided to openly track my 2013 earnings and I know it’ll be slow re-growing all of my content since I was basically starting from scratch.

The earnings are a little topping on my Internet income (for now), but that’s the kind of stuff that makes me smile – the unexpected income that you forget about until a deposit that grows the more you put into it. And because it feeds my personal satisfaction, it has double the benefits.

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You can learn more about my Squidoo methods in my course:
Squidoo Quick Commissions Guide


Susanne Myers of  Daily Affiliate Tasks says:

I’ve been publishing Kindle Cookbooks for a while now and came across a neat little trick. One of my hurdles in my niche was to get my readers used to consuming kindle products (and realizing that they don’t necessarily need a kindle device to read them). To get them in the habit of downloading and reading kindle cookbooks, I started sharing a few free downloads each day on my blog. These were usually books that were on a free KDP promotion and would go back to paid versions within a few days.

Susanne Myers as Hillbilly Housewife – Books on Kindle

My readers are downloading these books and are also buying my own kindle books. Something interesting started happening. All of a sudden MY kindle books started showing up in the “Customers who bought this book also bought…” section of quite a few popular kindle cookbooks. Take a look. This is a book that I mentioned on my blog a few days ago (it was a free download at the time).

customerswhoboughtthisalso

Four of the first six recommended ebooks are mine. Of course this doesn’t happen all the time and I picked the best example I could find, but having even just one of your kindle books show up in there for a different kindle books each week can generate quite a few sales for you.

Here’s the basic strategy step by step:

1) Write and publish your kindle book.

2) Get your readers to buy it.

3) Share other free related kindle books with them.

4) Rinse and repeat.

There are lots of smart kindle marketers out there who are leveraging KDP to catapult their books to the top of categories on Amazon. Leverage their work by getting Amazon to promote your own book along with theirs.

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If you want to download some great cookbooks on the Kindle, be sure to check out:
Susanne Myers as HillBilly Housewife – Books on Kindle

PS. If you want to find free Kindle books to recommend to your list – to use Susanne's methods, click here: Free Kindle Books


Tony Shepherd of Sales Funnel Cheat Sheet says:

Hi Guys,

When Nicole posed the question ‘what's working for you in your business right now' I couldn't resist writing this guest post because at the moment my business is going through possibly the biggest (and most profitable) change it ever has.

To cut the story short, I got hit by the last two Google updates and sites that had been pretty consistent money earners vanished into the depths of page 298 of Google or thereabouts.

Traffic dried up.

Sales did too.

Luckily my business is an Octopus and made up of many parts so it was nowhere as serious as it could have been.

But it really pissed me off nonetheless.

I took a step back and applied some common sense and quite a few bottles of wine to the issue and came to the conclusion that…

…it's bloody DAFT to let a big chunk of your business rely on a third-party site, even if it IS Google.

In fact ESPECIALLY if it's Google because the buggers move the goalposts without warning and your whole traffic flow can vanich down the toilet.

The sad but true news is that Google WILL continue to update their algorithms and if the last update or the one before that didn't hit you, then the next one or the one after that WILL

So I started buying traffic and running it through a funnel system that I devised.

These ‘engines' or optimized sales funnels allow me to buy traffic for free or for pennies on the dollar because they're optimized well enough (via tracking and testing) to pay for pretty much all the traffic I buy in the form of paid solo ads.

They're self-financing if you will, which means I build profits and my list essentially for free.

Once my funnel is optimized all I need to do is keep an eye on it, and buy more solo ads (which are paid for by the upsells in the funnels)

It's working INCREDIBLY well for me and has been for quite a while now.

I'll never put my business – the business I worked hard to build – into the hands of someone who can just switch off my sales without a second thought.

So that's what's working with me.

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If you'd like to get a closer look at my sales ‘engines' you can grab a copy of ‘Sales Funnel Cheat Sheet' by clicking the link below.
-> Sales Funnel Cheat Sheet

Cheers


jeanetteJeanette S. Cates, PhD of Plan Your Online Business says:

I've just launched a site I've had on the books for over two years. It's a simple Q&A site which is something anyone can add to their business. Since I love to learn and to teach, it's a perfect way for me to keep in touch with what my readers want to know, while expanding my own horizons.

Having a great time with this!

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You can check out my new Q&A site to see how I set it up here
->  Ask Jeanette Cates


kellyKelly McCausey of Solo Smarts Podcast says:

I'm going to say that Curation is working for me as a traffic, content and relationship building strategy. I've fallen in love with curating content and not just from one angle. There are three distinct approaches to taking full advantage of the idea of curating content and I've been devoting some time every week to learning more and experimenting with it.

First, there's curating the best of the best content on your own site. Pulling in snips and linking out to what you believe your market is going to be interested in has been a real traffic booster for me. You can see my curation category on Solo Smarts here: http://www.solosmarts.com/category/solopreneurs-quickies/.

Second, there's doing what you can to encourage others to curate your best content. At a basic level, it's about getting people to click like and share. At a deeper level, it's about giving people lots of ways to republish your content. See how I've shifted my About page to encourage curation: http://www.solosmarts.com/about/. In our world, as information marketers, we welcome them doing so with an affiliate link of course.

(Special Note: If you find that people rarely ‘curate' you by liking your posts and sharing them – maybe you're not nailing great topics for your market. I've got a great little membership program that teaches you how to do just that: identify great topics that speak to your people and win reactions. It's called Topics on Target.)

Third, there's curating our favorite niche content on other sites, like BizSugar.com and InternetBillboards.net. These sites have driven traffic back to me but also helped me to make some fresh new connections, reaching into new neighborhoods in the marketing world. This has brought me some great new guests for my podcasts and invites to guest blog on sites I've never had reach with before.

There are endless opportunities to explore for this kind of curation when you think about all of the different formats you can redistribute your content in via sites like Scribd & Slideshare. Nicole, you've curated via Listly and that's a site I'd like to spend some more time on myself.

Curation takes time and I'll tell you now that you can't focus on all three areas at once and do it well. Choose one and give it your best attention for at least six weeks and measure the results through your stats. Do more of what works and drop what doesn't – then move on to tackle another side of curation

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Learn how to identify great topics that speak to your people and win reactions.
Click Here to Learn How.


louLou Bortone of Video in a Day says:

Something that's been working really well lately is posting quotes or “expert tips” on Facebook and Pinterest. However, posting text doesn't really cut it anymore, so I've been using a few handy-dandy web tools to make the text more visual and share-able.

If you put your quotes into visual tools such as Quozio.com or ReciteThis.com, they look great and are much more Facebook-friendly.

I created a bunch of quick marketing tips and turned them into “photos” with Quozio and other tools, and they tend to get shared and re-pinned a lot more than text alone. Give it a try!


(click on the image to see it full size)

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Want to learn to create Video? Check out Lou's
Video in a Day course


NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

Speaking of Sales Funnels (as Tony mentioned) one thing that's working well for me lately has been revamping my existing sales funnels and creating new funnels, as well.

For instance, my friend, Melissa Ingold, and I set up an ongoing free membership site at FreeBusinessPLR.com with an upsell into our cool new Monthly PLR Toolkits program.

It's a super simple page and I know we could totally improve it with just a bit of testing. (As always, right?) Here it is:

free-marketing-plr

Why does it work so well?

The combination of a free ongoing offer with a recurring income is always a great thing in my book. 🙂  Plus, our free members WANT to open our emails to get their monthly free PLR content. So that helps, too.

If you want to see how this profit funnel flows, just click on the image above or go to FreeBusinessPLR.com, then sign up.

We are sending traffic to this offer through social media, our own lists, affiliates and solo ads, too. I'm hoping this turns into another nice income generator for us both. 🙂

How about you? What's been working really well for you these days?

I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Warmly,
Nicole

17 Comments

  • Kelly McCausey
    Reply

    This is my fave Expert Briefs post in awhile! I’m digging these great glimpses into what smart people are doing right NOW.

    Nic your free PLR program is fantastic!

  • Shannon
    Reply

    Totally needed to share my own.

    I’ve been crowdsourcing blog posts. Basically I’ve been announcing some of my ‘Cherry Bombs’ that I am in the midst of writing on Facebook and asking for comments and ideas.

    What happens is amazing. I get lots of Facebook comments. And then I ‘cherry-pick’ (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) some of the best answers and include them in the blog post.

    I then post an update, with the blog link, as well as tagging contributors to the post. The result: lots more traffic to the blog and a ton of facebook shares.

  • Connie Ragen Green
    Reply

    This is an excellent post! I love learning from some of the sharpest minds working online today, and Nicole is one smart cookie to know how to round them up. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this one.

    Connie

  • Mary Kathan
    Reply

    Love these expert interviews!

    I have Tiffanys Squidoo guide and it has helped me increase conversions.

    I am going to try out some of these other tips – the look great.

    Thanks

    Mary Kathan

  • Ruth Martin
    Reply

    Very interesting and helpful collection of ideas here! I am still constantly testing things and tweaking things to make it better. I also tend to be a bit like Tiffany Dow, liking to move around a lot – I also like Squidoo and Hubpages for those things/products you want to write about, but they don’t fit in your blogs’ niches. I have actually found that Squidoo can pay out nicely if you do it right 🙂

  • Tiffany Dow
    Reply

    LOVE Susanne’s tip about getting her readers used to consuming Kindle books even without a Kindle. Wow – gold nugget!

    Also love the free PLR sales funnel Nicole!

    I’m loving the same thing Kelly is too – curation. Especially finding offline sources to curate from.

  • Paul Taubman
    Reply

    This is like a private little mastermind group (except it has thousands of people peeking in!)

    I may not comment all the time, but I come here a lot 😉 I always get a few nuggets of wisdom from your assembled Experts!

    Be Well.
    Paul.

  • Clyde
    Reply

    Nicole,
    I think this is a first for me. I usually find I am doing at least 1 of the things recommended in your post but today I batted a big fat zero, none.

    As far as what I am doing that seems to be working better.

    My blog has been redesigned and I am making more constant post, except for recently, while updating the blog, which seems to be helping. Still trying to get those gold nugget comments though. Guess people just need to get to know me before they will leave a comment.

    I will be implementing at least 1 of these right away.

    Thanks for always supplying us with great information,
    Clyde

  • Iris Johnson
    Reply

    Love all these tips! I have dipped and dabbed in all of them but have a very strong interest in learning more about curating content and buying solo ads. I’ve purchased WSOs on both subjects but have not taken action on the information.

    Speaking of giving … Nicole, your combination of a free ongoing offer along with a paid membership business model is exemplary. It’s definitely a great way to get your emails open and keep people on your subscriber list.

    Thanks, Nicole, for giving us the opportunity to read about what is working for successful Internet marketers. I would like to also thank each and every one of the IMers who were generous enough to share this information with your readers.

    Now, off I go to follow some of these links to learn more!

  • Helene Malmsio
    Reply

    Interesting methods shared here… already a big fan of Squidoo a’la Tiff’s teachings. Need to check out the traffic funnels to see how to work them with list building challenge we’re doing

    Thanks – a good read!

  • Michelle
    Reply

    Thanks Nicole! Tiffany just sent a email this morning about this and I had to pop over and see what all the fuss was about!

    Paul was right! It like a Mastermind group for FREE!

    Thanks for all the tips and I will be checking out some new faces, I’ve not seen before.

    I have sampled Susanne’s Kindle books, Her Jelly book Rocks! I have bought everything Tiffany sells! LOL! I started out with you Nicole and Connie.

    Great people here…Can’t wait to check out the new Idea’s. Love the funnel Idea. I don’t like that Google has so much power over us and that keeps me from really putting all my blood in at. But I sell on eBay and its the same thing.

    So my goal this year is to get my eggs in more than one basket and Check out Tony’s Funnel idea.

    Keep up the Great Work Nicole!
    Michelle

  • Sharon McPherson
    Reply

    Another great post as usual Nicole. I’ve gotten several great ideas from it.

    Kelly, although I have seen it implemented on other blogs, I must admit I had never heard of the term “curating content” before.

    This is one of the tips I’ll definitely be putting into action. Thanks!

    • Kelly McCausey
      Reply

      It is a new ‘buzz’ word and I’m usually highly resistant to anything like that – but I ‘got it’ right away and everything I’ve put into action has been positive for me.

      Good for you – show me what you end up doing!

  • Belinda Mooney
    Reply

    Great posts! Saw several ideas here I am going to be applying to my own blog. I love sharing and love it when others pass on some great ideas too. Thanks, Nicole!

    Belinda

  • Nicole
    Reply

    I love it when the comments add so much value to the original post and concepts. YOU GUYS ROCK!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to make my day. Now go make money with this stuff. 😀

  • Shaun Hoobler
    Reply

    I love to see what other people are doing in their businesses. it gives me some inspiration to see their success and some perspective to see where they struggle so I know I’m not alone. Thanks for this.

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