Podcasting Primer – How to Earn Trust, Scale Intimacy and Profit Part 2

Podcasting Primer – How to Earn Trust, Scale Intimacy and Profit

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Last month we covered why you might want to have a podcast, things to consider before you start podcasting, how to contact potential podcast guests and even what to do for your first couple of podcasts.

This month well cover how to build listener engagement; questions to ask your podcast guest; podcast music, intros, outros and editing; where to host and list your podcast; calls to action and monetizing your podcast.

Building Listener Engagement with Q and A’s

A great way to get your listeners super involved with your podcasts is to let them ask you questions, make comments or read their reviews.

People LOVE to hear their names spoken online. They’ll tune in to see if you used their question or comment. And they’ll be much more likely to share your podcast with others when their name is mentioned, too.

What happens when they share your podcast? Their friends are likely to have similar interests, so now you’ve got new subscribers. And when they ask questions, they’ll be more likely to share your podcast as well, and onward and upward it goes.

You can ask people to tag or @ you on social media when they ask questions, which can bring in more listeners as their friends tune in to see what’s happening.

This is a great way to grow your podcast audience and your social media channels, all at the same time.

Questions to Ask Your Guest

When you conduct research on your guest and their topic, you’ll be making a list of questions to ask them.

Still, it can be a daunting process when you’re new to interviewing.

What if you ask a stupid question?

What if you run out of questions?

And isn’t there a list of interview questions somewhere that you can use to get started?

There is an excellent PDF resource from Paul Hollins that covers all of this.

And it’s free.

Not only does he answer the most common podcasting interview questions – he also gives you two entire pages of the best open-ended questions you can ask almost any guest.


Podcast Music

It’s probably not a coincidence that the best podcasts have catchy musical intros. This is the first thing listeners associate with your show. Plus, it will be on every single one of your podcasts, so it’s worth it to pick great music.

If you’re on a budget, you can use a site like Free Music Archive to find free music. https://freemusicarchive.org/

Better yet, paying a small amount for professional-grade theme music is worth the investment. Audio Jungle is a good place to start your search for this. https://audiojungle.net/
Or try Epidemic Sound. https://www.epidemicsound.com

The best, and most expensive option of all is to hire someone to create your intro and outro for you. This will be a combination of music and a professional voice over. It’s not cheap, but it can sound awesome and give you the brand and professional touch you’re looking for.

Options for this are numerous in a wide variety of price ranges. Just Google, “professional podcast intro” and you’ll find a variety of sites vying for your business.

The Podcast Introduction

Podcast introductions are usually the first thing heard on your podcasts. The one exception is if you insert a few clips from the podcast itself into the very beginning to entice the listener, and then follow up with the theme music and intro.

Your intro will create anticipation and add cohesiveness to your podcast, and should include:

The name of your podcast

Your name

Possibly your location

What your podcast is about

Possibly a little bio or a couple of facts about yourself

For example:

“Podcasting from sunny south Florida, this is the Lazy Gardener Show for gardening enthusiasts who want the most garden for the least effort. Here’s your host, Susan Snowpea, a 12 time Gardening Grand Prix winner and perhaps the laziest gardener of all. So, sit back, relax, and let’s talk dirt!”

Once the professional intro is done, you’ll come on and give a quick rundown of what will happen on the show today. Think of this portion as teasers designed to catch the listeners’ interest, much like the bullet points in a sales letter.

The Podcast Outro

The outro wraps everything up with a bow and lets you bid farewell.

Ideally, your voice is first. You might quickly review what was covered or thank your guest. You might also give your listener an action item to get them started on what they learned today in your podcast. Or better yet, give them a call to action to visit your website, your guest’s website, or to pick up a free report or find you on social media.

And finally, the professional outro is played and it might go something like this:

“Thanks for listening to The Lazy Gardener Show with Susan Snowpea. If you like our show and want to know more, check out the podcast website at www.insertname.com or join our Facebook Group, The Lazy Gardener Show to discover 5 ways to double your vegetable harvest while doing less work.”

Your call to action at the end can be anything you like, and we’ll cover calls to action in more detail in just a bit.

Editing Your Podcast

Unless you’re already a knowledgeable audio editor, the very easiest way to edit your podcast is to let a professional do it for you.

“But why does it need editing? Can’t I just post it the way it is?”

Yes, of course you can make your recording and post it as is. But there are reasons you might want to consider editing.

Are you adding an intro and outro? Do you want to insert breaks in the audio that remind people of what they’re listening to and where they can subscribe to your list? Then you’ll want to do some simple editing to get this done.

Do you want to remove mistakes, umms and ahhs, silent moments when the guest is considering what to say, those times that you forget your place and so forth? Then you’ll want to edit those out to make the recording flow faster and keep it tight and interesting.

What about the sound quality – would you like to take out background sounds while also sharpening the quality of your voice? Again, that’s editing.

While it’s true that content matters most of all, it’s also true that quality of sound can make or break a podcast. You can have the best content in the world, but if it’s difficult to listen to, people might not bother.

Think of a time when you tried to watch a video online but the picture was pixelated. Did you enjoy the experience? Even if the content was great, the pixilation was probably a major distraction and a deterrent from watching anything else on that channel.

Audio is no different. A crisp, clear sound will make a mediocre podcast sound professional and a professional podcast sound amazing.

Here is a short video in which a true audiophile, Mike Russell, explains the process of cleaning up the audio on a podcast as well as adding a couple of sound effects, enhancing both voices separately, editing out the rogue umms and errs, tiding up the intros to remove awkward spaces, and a bunch of other stuff that pretty much blew my mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96TLMPtcYkk

He makes it look easy, which it is if you know how to do it.

If you don’t want to learn audio editing yourself, you can use a service to clean up your podcasts for you.

Search for “podcast editing” and you’ll find plenty of services to choose from. They do come at a cost, however.

If your budget is tight, you might compromise by using an editing tool. It won’t make you sound as good as a professional can, but it will help your podcast to sound better. And while you’re first getting started, that might be all you need.

Here are a few tools to consider:

Garageband – if you’re a Mac user, you might already have this installed on your computer. Offers both free and paid versions.

Audacity – available for Windows, macOS and Unix, completely free and open-source.

Power Sound Editor – lots of options to lay down tracks with external microphones, pull in audio clips or fragments from CD’s, DVD’s, media players or web videos. Free and paid options.

Music Maker – this one is marketed as a music creation tool, but it works for podcasts, too. Includes more than 400 sound and loop effects on the free version, paid version is available too.

Studio One – intuitive single-window interface with drag and drop editing. Free and paid options.

WavePad – full-featured audio and music editor for Windows and Mac, with simplified recording and mixing of voice and music tracks. Free and paid versions available.

Where to Host Your Podcast

You’ve got your podcast edited, but now what do you do with it?

It’s time to choose hosting to upload and distribute your podcast. Podcasting hosting websites are built to house your content so you can share it with your list as well as letting it be discovered by new listeners.

These hosting services provide ways to structure your shows into an overall series, making it easy for listeners to find a specific topic or episode by search. And they generate an RSS feed for your podcast, which you can use to share your show on various platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

Some of these platforms also generate listener data and offer assistance with monetization, too.

Keep in mind that the majority of podcast hosting services operate on a subscription model of $10 to $20 per month. There are also free alternatives, but generally you get what you pay for.

Here are a few podcasting hosting services to consider:

Podbean – for over 10 years they’ve been helping podcasters of all genres and sizes. 390,000 podcasters use their services, their customer service is highly ranked and they’re known to be super reliable. And you can integrate with Spotify, iTunes and Facebook to find new audiences.

Podiant – while most hosts have a cap on maximum server speed, Podiant offers unlimited storage and bandwidth. The basic plan is about $13 a month, with more advanced packages priced 2 to 3 times higher. And they do offer some special digital presence features such as a customizable website.

Castos – this podcast hosting service offers unlimited bandwidth and a WordPress plug-in with the subscription which makes it super easy to display all of your podcasts on your own website. Plus, there are ample analytics to help you understand which episodes are pulling in the most listeners, the demographics of your audience, the listening behavior and more. You can also boost your SEO with the set it and forget it options along with YouTube republishing and automatic podcast transcriptions.

Transistor – do you want to create multiple shows? Transistor doesn’t charge you every time you start a new podcast on the same account. Each podcast you host gets a separate dashboard, RSS feed, analytics and website, starting at $19 a month.

Anchor – this is a complete podcasting package with zero fee. The analytics aren’t as good as the others, but if you’re on a budget, you might want to start here. They’ll also help match you with sponsors if you’re interested.

Buzzsprout – this is an easy way to host, promote and track your podcast. You can reach potential listeners by listing your podcast in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more through the Buzzsprout feeds. Free for 90 days.

Where to list your podcast

You’ve got your podcast hosting, but you’re not done yet. Now you want to submit your podcast to various directories.

The host you’ve chosen will already have agreements set up with some major places to list your podcast. But going a step further to ensure you’re listed in as many places as possible is a good idea.

To do this, you can use a podcast directory service to widen your podcast distribution for you, or you can submit your podcast yourself to each directory without using a service.

Directories where you most definitely want to be listed are:

  • Acast
  • Apple Podcasts (formerly iTunes)
  • Google Play Music AND Google Podcasts
  • IHeartRadio
  • Pandora
  • Podchaser
  • Spotify
  • Stitcher
  • TuneIn

When you’ve got those covered, you might also get your podcast listed in:

  • AntennaPod
  • BeyondPod
  • Blubrry
  • Castaway 2
  • Digital Podcast
  • doubleTwist
  • Downcast
  • iCatcher
  • iPodder
  • Overcast
  • Podcast Republic
  • PodCruncher
  • Spreaker

There are more podcast directories, but these lists will be plenty to get you started.

Making Calls to Action within Your Podcast

On every single one of your podcasts – EVERY single one – you’ll want to have a call to action, preferably one that you repeat 2 to 5 times.

Your call to action is first and foremost a way to offer more value to your audience.

Decide what you want your listeners to do, and then ask them to go do it.


Have them join your email list. Offer a prime incentive for them to do this, like a book, report or something they would be willing to pay for because it’s that good.

Ask them to join your Facebook Group.

Have them listen to another podcast of yours, possibly one where you are promoting something big and wonderful.

Get them to check out your guest’s special offer. You may or may not be an affiliate for this offer, depending on the deal you struck with your guest.

Have them check out YOUR offer, whether it’s your own product or an affiliate product you are promoting.

If you want them to join your list, mention the freebie you’re offering right up front, again in the middle of the podcast and lastly at the end. The repetition does wonders for getting them to actually do it.

If your guest is going to promote something, let your audience know up front that the guest will be making a very special offer just for them at the end of the show.

If you’re promoting an affiliate product or your own product, use your judgment. It might be best to mention it a couple of times, very casually, before you do the real promotion at the end.

Generally, if your podcast is going out to people who don’t know you well, then your best option is to make them the free offer to get on your list. That way you can continue to promote to them for as long as they are on your list.

But if your podcast is going out mainly to just your subscribers, then make them a paid offer they cannot refuse.

Here’s a list of possible Calls to Action to get you started:

  • Subscribe to the podcast or leave a podcast review
  • Download a freebie to join your email list
  • Watch a Facebook Live or join a Facebook Group
  • Donate to a specific charity
  • Read a certain blog post
  • Listen to a specific podcast episode
  • Purchase your product or an affiliate product
  • Join your guest’s email list or visit your guest’s sales page
  • Pre-order a product or get on a wait list for an upcoming product
  • Register for a webinar
  • Email you with questions
  • Get a free coaching session or free consultation
  • Join a mastermind
  • Watch a video or subscribe to your YouTube channel
  • Check out your shop
  • Follow you on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc.)

9 Ways to Monetize and Profit from Your Podcast

We’ve already hinted at this, but now let’s get specific on various ways you can monetize your podcast.

Build Your Email List – regardless of what else you’re doing, hopefully you will be using your podcast to add subscribers to your email list so that you can continue to sell them products and services for as long as they stay with you.

Offer an incentive, such as a report, book, cheat sheet, email course or whatever your listeners would love to have in exchange for their email address.

Sell Affiliate Products – if you have an affiliate product that directly ties into your podcast, by all means promote it. Your goal is to help your listeners and oftentimes the best way to do that is to recommend what they need to attain their goals.

For example, if you’re teaching list building, you might recommend your favorite autoresponder or a course on how to write effective emails.

Sell Your Own Products – just like affiliate products, if you have your own product that ties in directly with the subject of the podcast, then definitely promote it on the podcast.

Sell Memberships – this could be your membership or an affiliate membership. I just want to make sure you consider selling anything that offers you recurring income because this can be super lucrative for you over the long haul.

Sell Your Consulting or Coaching Services – this can work incredibly well because you’re establishing trust and authority on the podcast, making the next logical step to offer your personal help or services to your listeners.

Team Up with Guests to Sell Their Product – I subscribe to a podcaster who does a call every Thursday to an expert in her field. And at the end of the call, they always make a special offer to listeners that is good only for the next three days. She then posts the podcast along with the link, which I’m certain is an affiliate link where she splits the profits 50/50 with the expert.

Let Listeners Thank You – unless you have a lot of listeners, this one won’t make you rich but it will put a few dollars in your pocket. Sign up with a site like Patreon.com and let listeners know they can, “Buy you a cup of coffee to say thanks” for your podcasts.

Offer Exclusive Members Only Content – offer exclusive content above and beyond your regular podcasts for monthly sponsors only. Again, sign up at Patreon.com and set up a monthly rate for your exclusive “members only” content.

Get Advertising Sponsors – You’ll need a good-sized audience for this, so this method is not likely how you’ll monetize your podcast in the beginning.

You can approach advertisers yourself – for example, if there is a product you love which is a good fit for your podcast. Or you can use a service such as Advertise Cast (which requires a minimum of 2,500 downloads per podcast episode) to match you up with a sponsor.

How much you get paid will depend on the deal you strike with your sponsor. 15 second pre-roll ads are typically $15-20 per 1,000 listens, and 60 second mid-roll ads are typically $20-25 per 1,000 listens.

If you have a smaller, highly engaged audience, then cost per acquisition can pay more. Think of it as a referral bonus. You offer an exclusive discount code or affiliate link to track how many customers the business acquires from your podcast and you are paid accordingly.

As with any other product, be sure you choose sponsors that are in line with the principles and ideals of your show.

Sell Your Own Merchandise – does your podcast have a catchy name? Do your listeners love you? Then you might consider putting your podcast logo and your tagline or a great quote on t-shirts, mugs and so forth.

Your Podcasts will Improve with Experience

If you’re nervous about getting started with podcasting because you’re afraid you’re going to be bad at it, let me put your fears to rest.

Your first few episodes likely will be bad.

And that’s okay.

There is a learning curve here, as well as a confidence curve.

And it’s going to take time to build both your skills as a podcaster as well as your confidence in what you’re doing.

It’s said that if you want to blog, you should open a throwaway blog, write a post every single day for 30 days and then delete the entire thing.

That’s because what you need at the beginning is practice, practice and practice.

Podcasting is no different.

Many podcasting professionals initially create a dozen or so throwaway podcasts just to get started and learn what they’re doing.

They’ll interview their friends, their kids, their spouses or simply talk into the mike for 20 to 40 minutes to get the feel of what they’re doing.

This is especially helpful if you’re going to be interviewing experts, since you don’t really want your very first podcast ever to be with that person you’re trying to impress with your knowledge and ability to do a professional sounding podcast.

Plus, when you do your first podcasts with the intent of never airing them to the public, you can relax and enjoy the process while also experimenting to see what works best for you.

This doesn’t need to take a lot of time, either. You can easily do your first dozen podcasts in the next 7 days and be creating your first ‘real’ podcast a week from today.

You’ll be glad you took the time to practice, and your audience will be much more likely to come back and listen to your second podcast when the first one doesn’t sound like it was made by a fifth grader practicing on his mom’s podcasting equipment.

A few more podcasting tips:

Have fun. If you’re having fun, then the person being interviewed is having fun and so are your listeners. Smile when you talk because people can hear a smile in your voice. Crack jokes if that’s your nature.

Don’t be boring. Telling stories is a wonderful thing to do as long as the story isn’t boring. Switch gears the moment you notice that either you or your interview subject is droning on. Ask listeners a question that gets them engaged and thinking before launching into your next topic.

Don’t repeat yourself endlessly. Don’t restate things 5 different ways – your listeners understood you the first time, and if they didn’t, then that’s on you, not your listeners.

I once knew someone who spoke normally in person, but on a podcast he would continually find numerous ways to say the same thing and it drove everyone crazy. He’s no longer podcasting.

Know when to be succinct and when to elaborate. If you can tell a story in 2 minutes or 20 minutes, do it in 2 minutes. But if you’re outlining the process for how to do something, go into enough detail that the listener knows what you’re talking about.

Use your best judgment and listen to feedback if people tell you that you’re going too fast or slow.

Get critiques. Pick out 3 people you trust to tell you the truth and have them listen to your first episodes. When they make suggestions on what to change, don’t get mad – just listen and take notes.

Set the notes aside for a day or two and then read them over. Are they right? Giving yourself that extra time will allow you to evaluate their feedback with a clear head.

Leave your ego at the door. This is especially useful when interviewing someone. They are your honored guest and they have taken the time to be on your show. Be appreciative and let them shine.

When you’re doing a podcast solo, it’s great to be knowledgeable and confident but don’t become a narcissistic egomaniac. Acknowledge that you don’t always have the answers, and that your opinions are just that – opinions and not the gospel truth.

When you make a mistake, acknowledge it and keep going.
You will trip over your own tongue, mispronounce words and names, say one thing when you mean another and generally goof up. Even announcers who have been in the business for decades make mistakes.

And oftentimes your audience will like you more – not less – when you acknowledge your mistake and move on. Better yet, have a laugh about it to show that you can indeed laugh at yourself. Your audience will love you for it.

Speak to one person. Speak as though you are talking to a friend sitting on the other side of the table. You will sound less formal and more human this way. Use your normal vocabulary, assuming you don’t speak like you swallowed a dictionary. Use everyday words instead of jargon, and don’t use acronyms unless you’re certain that your audience knows what they mean.

Outline your podcast ahead of time. Start with the end in mind, knowing what the purpose of this particular podcast is and what takeaways you want your listeners to have. Decide what stories, points, case studies and so forth you want to use, and in what order you’ll cover them.

One last thing, and this is important:

“Is Podcasting Saturated? Am I Too Late??”

No and No!

Imagine if in 1970 someone said that every TV show that could be created had already been created, that TV was saturated and it made no sense to make another show.

It’s crazy!

We’ve had 50 years of television since then. Some good, some bad, and a lot of it forgettable, but that’s okay.

If you have something to say, then start a podcast.

If you’re a wiz at finances and stocks and forex, start a podcast.

If you’re a personal trainer or nutritionist and you can help people with your knowledge, start a podcast.

If you’re amazing at giving great relationship advice to listeners, start a podcast.

If you have a passion for a topic but you’re still learning about it, interview the experts and learn right along with your listeners.

If you have a message – whatever that message might be – start a podcast.

Whether you’re talking about relationships, health, weight loss, money, pets, hobbies or whatever, if you have something to say, then by all means say it. Put your flag out there and let your tribe find you.

I guarantee that right now, today, someone is starting a podcast that is going to EXPLODE. They are going to get so many listeners it will be crazy and they will become known the world over.

And also right now, today, someone else is starting a podcast that might only get a few hundred or a few thousand listeners, but those listeners are going to love that podcaster and buy every product that podcaster recommends and that podcaster is going to be rich.

You can be EITHER of these two people, but it won’t happen if you don’t get busy and start your podcast now.

We’ve come to the end of our podcasting primer. You’ll find that while I’ve answered most of your questions and given you an outstanding block of knowledge to get started, there is something I forgot to tell you. I don’t know what it is but you’ll find that out for yourself. And when you do, you have two choices: Find the answer or give up. The winner will find the answer.

You don’t need to be an expert on podcasting to start podcasting. You only need to START and start NOW.

Six months from now you can have 26 or 52 or more podcasts completed, a rock solid loyal following and money in the bank. And the first step is easy – record your first podcasts and learn as you go.

And hey, I look forward to hearing your podcasts and maybe even being a guest on your show one day when you are rich and famous and having the time of your life podcasting.



Stop Writing Blogposts and Articles – Do This Instead

Stop Writing Blogposts and Articles – Do This Instead

You’re going to think I’m splitting hairs on this one.

And maybe I am.

But if you’re tired of writing articles and blog posts, I’d like to propose a mind shift that’s helped me out immensely.

Instead of writing articles, write a column.

If you’ve read newspapers and magazines, then you’ve seen columns all your life.

Ann Landers and Dear Abby and Dave Barry are all columnists. So are (or were) Erma Bombeck, Maureen Dowd, Amy Goodman, Marilyn vos Savant, Noam Chomsky, Jesse Jackson, Garrison Keillor, William Safire, Salman Rushdie, Bob Woodward and too many others to list.

When you’re writing an article, you’ve got to start from scratch to prove you know what you’re talking about. You have to be an authority or at least quote authorities. You’ve got little or no foundation to stand on because an article, by its very definition, is a stand-alone piece.

This puts pressure on you to prove yourself. Every. Single. Time. And as you’ve probably experienced, that gets really old really fast. You feel like you are standing on the street corner going, “Hey, over here, look at me!”

Who needs that?

But when you’re a columnist, you’re no longer on the street corner vying for attention with thousands of other article writers.

Instead, you’re in your office writing a personal one-to-one piece to your favorite reader.

It’s just you and the person you are talking to. They know you. They like you. And they trust you.

Plus, they look forward to reading what you have to say today.

This is a mind shift. Yes, your columns might look a lot like articles, if articles are written with the confidence of someone who KNOWS people want to read his or her words.

You can think of article writing as having to make a formal presentation to a large group of people who have barely heard of you, versus writing a column as having an intimate conversation with a trusted friend over a cup of coffee.

I can’t tell you what a difference this small shift of perspective has made in my life.

The blank screen no longer scares me. In fact, I can’t wait to sit down and write my latest idea. I have more confidence as I put words to paper. My writing is faster and more stream of consciousness because I no longer feel the hot breath of my creative writing professor breathing down my neck.

Imagine you’ve had a much-loved column in your favorite newspaper or magazine for the last decade. Imagine today you’re writing your latest column. Imagine people eagerly reading it the moment it hits the newsstands or their mailbox.

And then write.

Am I splitting hairs? Maybe. But give it a try and see what being a columnist does for you.

And to get you started, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite column topics. Pair these ideas together with your niche and start writing your next column now.

Column Ideas

News – Your personal take on the biggest news in your niche today.

Their Mistakes – What well-known person or company is making a BIG mistake? Why is it a mistake and what should be done instead? Or what are the top 3 mistakes that new people or seasoned pros are making?

Your Mistakes – What bone-headed thing have you done – past or present – and what were the consequences and lesson learned?

Rants – What is driving you absolutely batty in your niche? Why is it driving you crazy, and what should – in your opinion – be done instead?

3 Things to Avoid – What should be avoided and why?

3 Things to Do
– Who should do them and why? What’s the benefit of doing them and the consequences of not doing them?

True Stories – Any great story in your niche. Play up the drama if possible but keep the facts accurate (no embellishing.) Bonus for surprise endings or heartstrings tugged.

Steps to X – What are the steps to achieve something awesome?

Monday Morning Quarterback – If you knew then what you know now. Look back on your experience in your niche and find something that you would change if you could.

Pain – Your pain, someone else’s pain or some big problem. Has there been a resolution? Write about it. No resolution or solution yet? Find one or ask your readers for their ideas and then write a follow-up column.

Experiments – Try something such as a new method or technique, take notes and then report on what happened.

True or False – Choose something that everyone believes to be true. Investigate it and determine if it’s real or a myth.

Current Events – Take something that is happening in the world and then tie it to your niche.

Pose a Radical Question – This is a question most people have never thought of, but when you bring it up, it will spark thought and conversation. For example, why are or were things done a certain way? Or what if you combine X with Z? Or what if you take something in a whole new direction?

Secrets – Real secrets, not just things that many people already know. People LOVE secrets and they don’t have to yours. For example, relate how a real-life espionage operation from 20 years ago accidentally impacted your niche in the present in a truly unforeseen way.

Goals – Your goals, their goals, famous people’s goals. How are they achieved? How do people screw up goal setting and goal-getting?

Controversy – Decide in advance how controversial you’re willing to be. Then take a stand and watch the sparks fly.

Tips – But not just any tips. Weird tips. Little known tips. Surprising tips.

Warning Signs – What are the warning signs in your niche that something bad is about to happen? What do you do when you see these signs?

Challenge – Create a challenge for your readers. Make it easy enough that they will do it but challenging enough that it is interesting. Have them report their results to you and write about it in a follow-up column.

You’re not an article writer or a blog post writer – you’re a columnist. And I can’t wait to read what you write next.


Shocking Statistics, Idea Sex and Lucrative Questions | Thinking Outside the Box

Shocking Statistics, Idea Sex and Lucrative Questions | Thinking Outside the Box

Fortunes are made when people think out of the box and ask questions no one else is asking. What happens when you pair X with Y to make Z? Sometimes nothing happens and other times fortunes are made. Pairing two ideas together to make a third is ‘idea sex.’ I don’t know who coined the term, but I’ve heard James Altucher use it often.

The founder of Netflix had to pay Blockbuster $50 for a long overdue movie. Then he went to the gym, got on the treadmill and started thinking. His gym membership was always the same amount of money, regardless of how often or how seldom he went to the gym. Why couldn’t a movie membership work the same way? Movie membership (X) plus gym payment system (Y) equaled Netlix.

What if you combine pop culture with art? Andy Worhol asked that question and became famous.

What if you pair the keto diet with intermittent fasting? You get Speed Keto, a Clickbank program that I’ve heard is doing half a million dollars of business every month.

Sometimes it’s simply about asking the right questions:

Zip Car bought a fleet of cars and then allowed members to drive them around town. What if you had a car business like Zip Car but you didn’t own the actual cars? Uber was born.

Walt Disney was struggling. He had two movies made and reviews were awesome, but it was the depression and people weren’t going to the movies. What if you put Mickey Mouse on a watch?

They sold something like 3 million of them in the first year. And guess what? Walt Disney had to be talked into doing it by an entrepreneur who thought it was a good idea. Merchandising was born that day because someone asked, “Why not put a famous character on a watch?”

Ask yourself questions no one else is asking and you might find some surprising answers.

Where do you get ideas? Everywhere. Right now, I’m looking at Worldometer.

I was going to ask you to put on your marketer / entrepreneur hat while we review some stats, but I realized that many of them are moving too fast to pin down. I simply could not type the stat as fast as it changed, and by the time you read this they will have multiplied again anyway.

So, I’m going to simply give you the link, and then make a few observations:


Notice the world’s population and how it’s rapidly increasing. Yes, even with coronavirus, the world’s population is out of control. This means we have an ever-increasing market for certain things…

…things like food.

Notice that there are over 842 million undernourished people in the world.

There are also over 1.7 billion overweight people in the world, and 756 million obese people.

Something is wrong here. As a marketer, can we find ways to help the overweight people to eat less, and to get the food in the hands of the undernourished people at the same time?

Certainly we can sell weight loss programs. As I write this, $181 million has been spent TODAY on weight loss programs.

Perhaps if we take the $181 million per day for weight loss programs and use half that money to give food to the poor, we might be making a fantastic income while changing the world.

What if you were to start a weight loss membership site that does exactly that?

So far today as I write this, 731 million tweets have been sent, along with 247 billion emails. Imagine if you could make one tenth of one penny on every email – what might that look like? How could you make it happen?

Look at the numbers on water and energy. There are some shocking stats here – what questions can we ask that lead us to think in new, profitable and life changing ways?

Take a look at the health numbers. Health and wellness is a huge market. People need help to know how to be healthy and how to stay safe. Is there something here you can do?

The public education expenditure number for today alone is moving so fast I can’t read the last 6 digits, but so far it’s $9 billion. For. The. Day. Maybe you can make courses for children. If you’re not comfortable teaching, pair up with a teacher who is and make virtual courses that you then market. The company Teachable produces millionaires every year just from posting courses on their site.

Twice as many bicycles are being produced than cars. If you’re knowledgeable about cycling, this is a HUGE market you can tap into.

Then there’s video games. So far today $279 million has been spent on video games, while there are 801 million people with no access to safe drinking water. You could work with a video game manufacturer to donate money from every game to build wells.

Or perhaps you produce your own video games (you can hire people to make the actual games) and as each player unlocks levels in the games, money is donated for wells. The players would get the immense satisfaction that playing the games is actually helping people in the real world.

Last of all, only 937,810 new book titles have been published so far this year. Compared to a lot of the other numbers, this one seems low to me. Can you write a book? Can you write several books? By having more than one book, if one becomes a best-seller then readers will naturally want to read your other books, too.

There are all kinds of interesting stats on the Worldometer page, but this is just one website. Ideas are everywhere. Try idea sex, which again is taking two ideas to come up with something new. And ask off the wall zany questions no one else is asking and then find the answers.

As James Altucher says, finding good ideas is easy when you exercise your idea muscle. Just write down 10 new ideas every day. EVERY day. It’s not easy at first because you’re not used to thinking this way.

But keep at it, and pretty soon the ideas will be falling like rain. And in those ideas is a million dollars, or maybe a lot more. You just have to find the idea and then act on it.


15 Ordinary People Who Turned Dismal Failure into Extreme Success | You Can Too!

15 Ordinary People Who Turned Dismal Failure into Extreme Success| You Can Too!

Did you just lose your job?

Did your business just close?

Are you feeling like less than a success?

You’re not alone -and in fact, you’re in very good company.

These folks all experienced failure before reaching their ultimate success.

1: This guy dropped out of Harvard and co-owned a failed business called Traf-o-Data. Not an auspicious start. But then Bill Gates went on to build the world’s largest software company.

2: This aspiring writer received this rejection notice: “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.” His first novel was rejected by 30 different publishers, causing him to give up and throw it in the trash. His wife retrieved it and urged him to submit it yet again. Stephen King has since published more than 50 books, all worldwide bestsellers.

3: This 9-year old student was told by teachers that he was slow in the head. Then he was expelled from school for being rebellious, and Zurich Polytechnic School refused to admit him as a student. But Albert Einstein went on to revolutionize physics and win the Nobel Prize.

4: This young performer was told by his own manager, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” Fortunately, Elvis ignored the manager, believed in himself and the rest is history.

5: This young boy was told by his teachers that he was too stupid to learn anything. Then he was fired not once but twice for not being productive. But if you’ve got a light on in your room right now, you can thank Thomas Edison for not believing his critics.

6: This young man from the Bahamas was told by a casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people ‘s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” Ignoring the director, Sidney Poitier went on to become the first black actor to win the Oscar for best actor.

7: This basketball player missed more than 9,000 shots, lost almost 300 games, and 26 times he was trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. Of course, we’re talking about Michael Jordan, who scored 32,292 points in the NBA.

8: This aspiring movie creator was rejected from the University of Southern California 3 times because of his poor grades in high school. But he’s directed 51 films and won three Oscars. Steven Spielberg’s wealth is estimated to be $3 billion, and he’s now a trustee and honorary degree recipient of the university that refused to take him as a student.

9: This newscaster was publicly humiliated when she was removed from her job and demoted to host of a low-rated talk show because she was, ‘too emotional for news’. She then became so famous, she only needs one name – Oprah.

10: This baseball player struck out 1330 times, more than any other player in Major League Baseball. But Babe Ruth also hit 714 home runs and even today, every baseball fan knows his name.

11: This aspiring entertainer was told he couldn’t act, couldn’t sing, was going bald and could only dance a little. Fred Astaire used those criticisms as the fire upon which he built his colossal film, singing and dancing success.

12: This singing group was rejected for a recording contract because the label Decca Records said, “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.” EMI signed the Beatles and they became the best-selling music group of all time.

13: This young man dropped out of Oregon’s Reed College after just one semester. Then he quit his job and backpacked around India while taking psychedelic drugs. Finally, when he started a company, he accepted a salary of just $1. Yet when Steve Jobs died in 2011, he was worth $8.3 billion.

14: This 22-year old was fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” His venture called Laugh-o-Gram Studios went bankrupt. But Walt Disney went on to be nominated for 59 Academy Awards, winning 32 of them. He still holds the record for the most Oscars won by an individual.

15: This person hit hard times during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. But they persevered and went on to unparalleled success in the months and years that followed. I am, or course, referring to you, and you get to write the rest of your own story, starting right now.


How to Sell 50% More with One Check Box | Increase Your Sales

How to Sell 50% More with One Check Box | Increase Your Sales

You walk into McDonald’s and order a burger, fries and a drink. But before you check out, the cashier asks you a helpful question: “Would you like me to Supersize your meal for you?”

Well isn’t that nice of the cashier to ask that? Of course, you would like her to do that, and you might even thank her for being so thoughtful.

Congrats, you’ve just discovered how to increase the size of your orders on your website.

The most difficult part of marketing is getting the sale. But once someone has committed to making the purchase, it’s relatively easy to get them to upgrade. They’ve already decided to buy. That decision is made. Purchasing more simply reconfirms their commitment to that decision.

Plus, you’re giving them a great deal, so what’s not to love?

Your customer has added your $99 course to the cart. You ask if they would like to add 4 weeks of email coaching for just $49 more, making the total sale $148 instead of just $99.

Just to be clear, an order bump happens before someone clicks, “buy now.” It adds an item or upgrade to the shopping cart before the checkout is complete.

In contrast, an upsell happens after someone has completed the purchase. The upsell is usually on the thank you page, and it can be done with a single click so the customer doesn’t need to enter their credit card details again.

When Should You Use Order Bumps vs Upsells?

Order bumps work best when the offer is a continuation or upgrade of the current product that is about to be purchased.

For example, if you’re selling software, then the order bump might be an extended license that allows the user to own it for a lifetime rather than renewing it each year. Or it could be a set of videos that help the user to install and use the software, in case this sort of thing is new to them. Or maybe it’s resell or PLR rights to the software.

On the other hand, 1-click upsells are best when the offer is complementary to the original product.

Let’s say you sell a course on how to drive traffic using Facebook. An upsell could be another course on how to drive traffic using TikTok or Instagram.

Examples of Order Bumps

When you purchase electronics, you will almost always see an order bump for a warranty plan. For example, when you purchase an iPad you’ll be offered ‘AppleCare’ for two years of tech support and accidental damage coverage.

When you purchase from Omaha Steaks, there is an order bump for Filet Mignon at a discount.

The brand Thirty-One uses a slightly different approach in their order bump, placing it on every product page. The visitor has two choices – “add to cart” or “personalize’. They’re selling more by offering the personalization service to increase the value of each sale and they are also subconsciously making their buyers think of who they can send a personalized gift to.

The #1 Reason Why Order Bumps are so Effective

Just as your customer is about to click the buy button, they get a chance to upgrade their order to something even better.

And because the order bump is personalized to exactly what the customer wants, it can make the original offer even more compelling.

On top of that, most people are impulsive buyers. Presenting an offer upgrade just as they’re about to buy vastly increases the chance they will accept it.

Think about what happens at a new car dealership. The customer might agonize over whether to make the purchase. But once they become committed to their chosen vehicle, it’s very easy for the dealership to sell all kinds of add-ons that contribute significantly to the sales price and the customer’s satisfaction.

Once people make a decision, they will reaffirm to themselves that they have made the right decision. And taking the order bump is one more way they show themselves that they’re on the right path.

10 Order Bumps to Add to Your Offers

While this list is not comprehensive, it does give you an excellent starting point in figuring out what offers you can make to your customers in the form of order bumps.

1: An Additional, Different Format

This one is so simple – for example, if your customer is purchasing a PDF, offer them an audio version or even a physical copy in addition to the PDF.

2: Related Accessories

This should be something that enhances the function of the original product. For example, if you’re selling a course on how to approach the right people at companies in a specific niche in order to do deals, the order bump might be the contact info for 100 of these executives.

Or if you’re selling a course on something, the order bump might be a 20 page PDF on how to learn anything quickly.

3: Personal Assistance

This works especially well if you are selling courses and programs. Your order bump could be something like email support for any questions they have, group conference calls to answer questions, or a private Facebook Group.

4: Community or Partners

Again, if you are selling courses and programs, the biggest obstacle is getting your customers to take action on the product they’re purchasing. Offering them a private community they can join where they are in touch with others learning the same material can be extremely helpful. It also provides them with a way to make contacts.

And something I don’t see very often but can be even more effective is assigning accountability partners. When you pair two or more people together to stay in touch with each other and keep each other accountable, the work tends to get done at a much higher rate.

Why is this important? If your customers are not just buying, but also USING your programs and courses, they are much happier with their purchase and MUCH more likely to purchase more programs and courses from you in the future.

5: Expedited Shipping

The company I purchase supplements from offers expedited shipping for just an additional $2.99. It’s a great deal and I get it every time.

Faster shipping can mean two things: Either it gets shipped faster, or it gets shipped by a faster delivery method, such as USPS Priority Mail instead of Ground.

6: Auto-Delivery

If you sell anything that requires repeat purchases, such as foods, supplies, or supplements, you can offer monthly delivery through an order bump. This won’t increase the size of the initial order, but it will increase the number of times something is ordered.

7: Maintenance or Support

Does your product require maintenance? Upgrades? Support? Electronics and cars almost always have order bumps for extended warranties. Which of your products needs these things, too?

Warranties and protection plans are similar and also a great thing to offer as order bumps.

8: Preferred Members Group

You could create an insider’s circle or preferred members program that offers discounts, free shipping, exclusive deals and so forth. Amazon Prime is a good example of this. And many companies offer a 10% discount on all purchases made within a year of purchasing a preferred membership.

9: Upgrades

This can mean so many things. For example, if someone purchases a resell license, you can offer a PLR license as an upgrade.

Or let’s say you offer 2 or 3 different versions of your product, software or service. If they choose one of the lesser versions, on the order page you can present them with a bump up to the next level. Odds are they were on the fence anyway, so asking them if they wouldn’t like to move up one level will often get a yes, especially if you throw in some small incentive.

10: Bulk Discounts

If you’re selling tangible products, then this can work really well. Offer them 3 of the item they’re purchasing for a reduced per item unit. Or offer them the second unit for half price.

In some cases this can work with digital, too. Let’s say you have a series of videos or books. Maybe it’s a series of 5 books, each building on the other but also acting as stand-alone products. Your customer adds one book to the cart, and on the order page you offer a special deal to get all 5 books right now. Because odds are they will be back for more anyway, so why not grab them now?

Final Notes on Order Bumps

The tricky part is to keep the order bump simple while still doing your best to sell it.

1: Go for a clear and concise message that covers the big benefit of getting the order bump. Use a short headline that grabs attention. Be ultra-specific in what they’re getting. Show how it is useful to the purchase they are already making. Create a sense of urgency that this is THE time to grab the offer – not later. And if applicable, show how it is unique.

That’s a lot to fit into 2 to 4 sentences. You’ll have to play with this until you get it just right, then test it and adjust accordingly.

2: Try placing your order bump in a box outlined in a bright contrasting color, such as red or orange.

3: If the number is over 50%, make a note of what percentage of people take the order bump.

4: If there is space, insert one extremely short testimonial at the end of the order bump copy to show how awesome your customers think this order bump is.

5: Your headline can often be as simple as, “OFFER UPGRADE” in bold red letters.

6: To say yes to the offer, have your customers check a box that says something like, “Yes! Upgrade My Order”. You might highlight these words and the checkbox in pale yellow to make them stand out.

7: Using a picture in the order bump box can work well, if appropriate. For example, if the order bump is for a book, use a pic of the book cover.

8: If appropriate to your order page, try placing the order bump box directly in line with the order form itself, with a button underneath that says to ship your order now. This makes it seem a very natural part of the ordering process.

9: You might start the sales copy of your order bump with something like, “One time offer, only $12.95” in red and underlined. Test everything.

10: Keep the cost of the order bump lower than the cost of the original product, usually 50-60% lower. There are exceptions, such as if you’re offering a special deal on 3 of the item instead of just the 1 they added to cart.

11: As mentioned earlier, test. Changing the look, position and ad copy of the order bump can sometimes make a tremendous difference in conversions.

One note: Some marketers are afraid that by offering an order bump they will be chasing away sales. While I’ve found this is very seldom true, it is important that you frame your order bump in such a way that it appears to be a very good deal for your customer, and also something they can easily turn down by simply ignoring it.

If you do add an order bump and sales do decline (possible but HIGHLY unlikely) it might be that you’ve made the wrong offer. Start over with a different offer and see what happens.

Bottom Line: If you’re not already testing order bumps on all of your sales, maybe it’s time you started. Depending on the offer and the price, it’s entirely possible you could add as much as 10-50% to your bottom line simply by mastering the order bump process.


All You Need to Know About TikTok | Marketing in a Nutshell

All You Need to Know About TikTok | Marketing in a Nutshell

TikTok is growing fast – it’s been downloaded 1.5 billion times and has 500 million active users who spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the platform. 90% of active users access TikTok at least once per day. Users are overwhelmingly young, with 66% of users under the age of 30.

Yet just 4% of marketers use TikTok.


TikTok users upload videos of 15 seconds or shorter or create and share 60 second stories-type videos.

Users don’t need to follow anybody – they can simply open their app and start playing videos or search by preferred topic.

Marketing on TikTok

You’ve got three main options for marketing on TikTok:

1: Create your own channel and upload relevant videos

2: Work with influencers to reach their audience

3: Pay to advertise

You can also do a combination of any and all the above.

Hashtag Challenges

These are highly popular and a great way to engage users. Create a challenge along with an appropriate #-tag name. Users then upload videos doing the challenge.

It’s not unheard-of to get 5,000 to 10,000 submissions and 10 million engagements if this is done by a celebrity or if it really catches fire.

If you’re not a celebrity, work with an influencer to get your hashtag challenge launched.

User-Generated Content

TikTok users like the full immersive experience. They don’t want to just watch; they also want to participate.

Encourage your customers to share videos of themselves using or interacting with your products in some way to get a high buy-in.

Traditional Influencer Marketing

Find influencers that are a good match for your product and then leave it to them to create the content.

Don’t expect the content they generate to look ultra-professional. To your marketer’s eye it’s going to look downright amateurish, but originality and fun are what work best on TikTok, not high production values.

Paid Advertising

Infeed native videos are 9 to 15 seconds long and support website clicks and app downloads. Impact of video is measured by number of clicks, impressions, CTR, video views, play duration and video interactions of shares and comments.

Brand Takeovers

These are exclusive to one brand every day. Images, animated GIFs and videos can be used with embedded links connected to landing pages or challenges and hashtags within the platform.

Bottom Line: If your audience is under 30 and you have products that are a good fit for video, TikTok could be the next best place for you to go.


Shorties but Goodies | Especially if Are Still at Home

Shorties but Goodies | Especially if Are Still at Home

Stay Home… for me?

Because I don’t want to lose you, please keep in mind that the end of the stay-at-home orders doesn’t mean the pandemic is over.

It means they currently have room for you in the ICU.

So, stay home and work on your business.

How to Build a Real Business Right Now

This is for everyone who has procrastinated on building an at home business and suddenly finds they have the time and the inclination to do it…

…but the thought of creating products, building funnels and recruiting affiliates is just too much.

Step 1: Pick a small, hot niche. Weight loss for women is too big.

Weight loss for women over 50 who work from home and hate dieting and workouts might be good.

Step 2: Write your compelling story. This is YOUR story of why YOU are in this niche.

For example, when you were 55 you were diagnosed with diabetes and the doctor said you were going to die in 5 years if you didn’t change your ways. Because you were working from home and had NO motivation to workout or eat right, this stuff was HARD, but here’s what you did… and now look how far you’ve come!

Your story can also be someone else’s story – your parent, partner, sibling, best friend, whatever. But you need a compelling story of why you are spending your time in this niche. It will connect you to readers in a way nothing else can.

Step 3: Create great content to give away for FREE. In fact, give away ALL of your content. Use it to get subscribers, to engage people on social media, to get them on your blog and other people’s blogs and so forth. Give it all away. This way you have ZERO pressure to create products and funnels but you are still perceived as being the expert.

Step 4: Sell affiliate programs. Find the programs that deliver excellent value and perfectly suit your readers. These are the programs you can recommend 1000% percent to your list because you know they do what they way they do. Then use the ‘know, like and trust’ you’ve been building with your audience to promote these programs.

Step 5: Have fun with what you’re doing. If it isn’t fun then you’re not doing it right.

I don’t mean ‘Friday night get drunk’ fun, I mean the exhilarating satisfaction of putting out another piece of content that gets raves, helps someone and so forth. Find your reasons to keep doing this and review those reasons often to stay motivated and keep your content interesting and exciting.

Step 6: Optional
– create your own courses, coaching and so forth. Do this if and when you want to. If things are going well, I venture that in 6 to 12 months you will be itching to make your own product. By then you will have enough experience in your niche to know what people want, what can sell and how you will sell it. You could also purchase PLR courses which you can change and modify, and make your own, prior to creating your own course. (This method will also give you lots of ideas.)

Painting an Awesome Product Picture

The next time you’re describing your product or service to your customer, remember this example of how to paint a pretty picture of what your customer is getting:

When you store something online, where is it? In the cloud, of course. Cloud storage, cloud computing, cloud everything.

Clouds. How wonderful! And how untrue.

There is no storage place high in the fluffy white and blue sky.

It’s actually a bunch of old computer racks in a dusty warehouse in a back alley of some rundown industrial area in a country far, far away. Now that doesn’t paint a pretty picture at all, does it?

But the clouds? Now THAT you can charge money for.

Gaining the Invisible Edge

Some online marketers just naturally do far better than others. Why is that?

They get heard, they are remembered from one week to the next, they are followed socially online and they sell stuff. A LOT of stuff.

So the question is, how do they stand out from everyone else in their niche? How do they keep from looking like everyone else, and thus becoming nearly invisible like everyone else? I’ve been watching, and here are three things I’ve noticed that they all have in common and how to apply them in your own marketing.

To stand out…

1: Say something no one else is saying, but then again, don’t be a contrarian just for the sake of being a contrarian.

What is every other marketer doing or saying? And what is the opposite of that? See if you can legitimately take a firm stand in the other direction from everyone else. Make your case with studies, data, experience and anything else you have on hand. Guaranteed you’ll get noticed.

2: Differentiate your content through your personal stories. Don’t be afraid to open up. Share everything that is relevant.

Your stories are yours and yours alone. They make you who you are, and they also make you real, compelling and interesting. Use stories to illustrate your points and show the real you to earn the trust of your readers.

3: Always remember that your website, your products, your content and your message isn’t about you. I know it seems like it is, and I appear to be contradicting what I just said about being different and telling your own stories. But everything in your marketing – even your personal story – is about your customers.

When creating anything, always think of your customer sitting right in front of you. This is the person you are speaking to and the entire reason for your business to even exist.

2 Quick Questions:

If you have a 10-year goal but you only have 6 months to reach it, what would you do?

And how would you do it?


Did you know that chronic stress shrinks your brain?

Or that chronic fear compromises your immune system?

Dealing with stress and fear for entrepreneurs and online marketers is every bit as important as exercise, sleep and proper diet.

What’s in a Pandemic Name?

The next time you name a website or product, you might want to think about the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.

Bill and Melinda Gates have spent years helping to eradicate diseases in Africa. The man knows a thing or two about pandemics and about marketing.

In 2015, he gave a Ted Talk in which he told the world that the next pandemic was coming. Few people paid attention.

Fast forward to April 23rd, 2020, and Bill Gates posts an entry in his blog entitled, “The First Modern Pandemic.”

Buried near the bottom of that post – and quoted widely in the media – is a sentence in which he gives a name to this pandemic.

Before I reveal the name, let me ask you this: If you, as a marketer, were charged with ensuring people remain highly aware that another pandemic can occur at any time and that they we need to be READY for it the next time it happens, what would you do?

Would you write long blog posts and articles telling people to remember we need to be ready next time? Create YouTube videos with the same message? Send out a mailer to everyone on the planet?

Remember, Bill Gates tried the video method in 2015 with his Ted Talk. That video received millions views, and yet very little was done to get ready.

Bill Gates has apparently learned from this, and now he’s given a name to this pandemic that tells us in the clearest form possible that this is the FIRST of MORE pandemics to come.

Yes, there was a major clue in that last sentence.

Bill Gates wrote, “Melinda and I grew up learning that World War II was the defining moment of our parents’ generation. In a similar way, the COVID-19 pandemic – the first modern pandemic – will define this era. No one who lives through Pandemic I will ever forget it. And it is impossible to overstate the pain that people are feeling now and will continue to feel for years to come.”

Pandemic I.

We are living in Pandemic I.

I cannot think of a clearer, more articulate or succinct way to tell the world that this is just the first pandemic chapter. If people in the “Great War” had known at the time that a day would come when it was instead called, “World War I,” would they have done more to avoid the second world war? I’d like to think so.

Naming your product or website might not make the difference in whether people are ready for the next life-threatening event. But it can make a huge difference in how people perceive your product, what emotions and thoughts it brings forth, and ultimately whether they buy it.

To read Bill Gate’s entire essay, go here:


Kindle’s Clue on Retaining Subscribers

Amazon’s Kindle has a program called Kindle Unlimited. For $9.95 a month, you can ‘rent’ 10 Kindle books at a time. It used to be a better deal than it is now, because fewer books are available on Kindle Unlimited, but it’s still a pretty good deal if you read a lot and you don’t want to keep copies of the books you read.

Personally, I tend to buy my Kindle books so that I have access to them in the future, which is why I decided to unsubscribe from Kindle Unlimited today.

But… I didn’t unsubscribe. Amazon convinced me to remain a member, at least for another month.

How did Amazon do it?

When I clicked the unsubscribe button, it took me to a ‘special offer’ page.

The offer was for one free month of Kindle Unlimited, after which time they would again charge me the $9.95 a month.

I took the offer.

And they retained a subscriber. True, they make no money on me this month. But I’ve been procrastinating about unsubscribing, so they’re taking the gamble that true to nature, I will continue to procrastinate and remain a member for a while longer.

Do you have a subscription program? What do you offer subscribers when they want to cancel? If you’re not offering some sort of special deal, you are losing out.

You could make the same offer Kindle gave me, or you could give a special rate, such as 12 months membership for the price of 6 months.

You might even entice them with what you have planned for the membership in the coming weeks and months without offering any discount whatsoever.

Don’t let your paying membership subscribers go without some sort of offer to keep them. They are far too valuable to you and you worked too hard to get them.

3 Quick Zoom Tips

While people are getting better at Zoom meetings, there are still a few things we can do to improve the experience for everyone:

1: Don’t use your built-in microphone and speaker. They’re designed to pick up as much information as they can, which will include background noises and voices. Instead, use a wired headset, preferably with a boom mic, because it will pick up just what is in front of the mic.

2: When you are speaking, look a little to the side of your screen. When we look directly at the screen or camera, we get easily distracted by the faces and find it more difficult to formulate what we’re trying to say.

3: Be a little more dramatic and expressive. Theater actors are aware that they have to play to the back row seats, meaning they need bigger facial expressions and gestures to get their point across than if they were playing to an audience of one.

When we’re on Zoom, things like subtle eye cues, nods and chuckles might not be noticed. To give feedback to the speaker that they can see and hear, you’ll want to grin instead of smile, give a thumbs up instead of nodding and laugh instead of chuckling.

Subtlety does not come across well in online meetings, so play things up a bit and become a little more dramatic and expressive to let others know you’re paying attention and not checking your email or zoning out.

The Gene Wilder Secret to Success

Gene Wilder was a movie star, director and arguably one of the funniest people who ever lived.

During an interview, he gave this account of his start in comedy:

“I was 8 or 9 years old when my mother had a heart attack. When she came home, the doctor said, ‘Don’t ever get into an argument with your mother because you might kill her.’”

No pressure there, right?

“And the second thing he said was, ‘Try to make her laugh.’”

“I had never consciously tried to make anyone laugh in my life, but I did from then on. And I knew I was a success when she peed in her pants.”

Gene’s takeaway from the doctor was that his mother’s life depended on him being funny.

And obviously he loved his mother very much. His total commitment from that day forward to learning what was funny and how to make others laugh led to an extremely successful and lucrative career.

What are you totally committed to? What would you be willing to do if it meant saving the person you love most?

If you put this kind of commitment into your work, there’s no way you can fail.


The Latest News, Resources | For Affiliate Marketing

The Latest News, Resources | For Affiliate Marketing

Businesses are in Dire Need of Marketing Help

A hot business right now is helping brick and mortar businesses to survive and even thrive during this time.

As an online marketing expert, you have the knowledge to help them with their online presence.

And you can use a company such as SharpNet Solutions’ white label digital marketing to fulfill your orders for services like SEO, PPC, Social Media, Content and Website Design.

They’ll provide training if you need it and they will communicate with your clients as if they are your employees.

They’ll even jump on the call to help you close the sale.


How COVID-19 Has Changed Social Media Engagement

You can use this information to update your strategy and get a sense of how audiences’ priorities and interests have changed during this global pandemic.


Google Blocks 18 Million Coronavirus Emails Daily

On any given day, Google blocks up to 100 million phishing emails. Lately, as much as 20% of these have been related to coronavirus.


Google Reviews Slowly Being Released from Quarantine

Late last month, business owners, marketers and SEOs alike noticed that for some reason, Google had temporarily disabled new local reviews as well as the ability for businesses to post review responses. Those reviews and responses are now being released.



AccessAlly offers a built-in recurring subscription plugin that allows your WordPress website to process ongoing payments for memberships and online courses.


Zoom Alternatives

As video conferencing platforms stumble, Google Meet aims to capitalize.


YouTube Custom Video Tool Now Available for Free

Video creation is fast, easy and free with YouTube Video Builder.


Google’s New Podcasts Manager Tool Offers Deeper Data on Listener Behavior

It’s one step closer to the podcast analytics advertisers have been waiting for.


17 Ways PPC Can Help Your Business Survive Economic Crisis

Here are nimble, measurable, and cost-effective ways to market in challenging times.


4 Reliable Tips for Quickly Moving Inventory Online

Fortunately, there are a number of ways for brick-and-mortar stores to simplify this difficult process.


5 Ways Brands Can Reinvent Their Digital Marketing Strategy

Surefire methods any business can adapt to help them thrive during this time.


Advertisers Signal Glimmers of Optimism

Despite numerous unknowns and continued challenges, many agencies and advertisers have shifted gears for the next phase.


The Fastest Growing Product Searches

New Google ‘Rising Retail Categories’ tool exposes fast-growing product searches.

This is the first time Google says it has provided this kind of data to the public.


Facebook Releases 64-page Guide…

…for brands to connect and engage with audiences during coronavirus.


The African Alibaba?

You’re probably familiar with Alibaba and its sister sites, Taobao and Tmall. This is where you go to find products from millions of different merchants that you can then sell at a mark-up to customers through your own website or places like Amazon and eBay.

WaysToCap.com brings African merchants together with buyers in much the same way.

And because WaysToCap and their African trading partners are somewhat newer on the international trading scene, it can be easier to find good deals that will yield plenty of profit.


Podcasting Interview Cheat Sheets

This free PDF from Paul Hollins reveals several insider tips to doing interviews on your podcast as well as giving you two pages of interview questions for your guests.

Frequent podcast questions it answers include:

  • What kind of questions should I ask?
  • What if I ask something STUPID?
  • What if I RUN OUT of questions?
  • What is the ideal duration for an interview?
  • What should you ask your interview subject to provide ahead of time?
  • And how do you wrap up the interview without sounding awkward?

The two pages of questions to get you started are absolute gold and should be in every podcasters’ bag of tricks.


How Ecommerce Companies Can Continue Engaging New Customers

Even amid a global economic downturn, there are still opportunities to woo new buyers.


How Do You Compare? 2020 Email Marketing Statistics Compilation

Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights published an in-depth study on email marketing, gathering information from several email-service providers.

The average open rate, across all industries, varies from 14.79 percent (Constant Contact) to 21.33 percent (MailChimp).

The average click-through rate ranges between 2.98 percent (Get Response) to 6.99 percent (Constant Contact).

See what else he found after analyzing hundreds of millions of sends: