We’ve all heard the name before. A legendary character from dozens of books, Holmes could untangle any mystery and discover the truth. From the Hound of the Baskervilles to his battle of wits with Professor Moriarty, Sherlock was always one step ahead.
Recently I wondered what Sherlock would do if he were alive in 2011. Seeing that C.S.I. dominates the “detective” market, he might need a job. I’d like to imagine that he’d be a fairly good business consultant because he’s great at overcoming complex challenges.
With that in mind, here’s how Sherlock Holmes would solve the many “failures” Internet business owners experience on a regular basis. To make things interesting, he’s going to answer questions in the Dear Abby style.
The game is afoot…
“I’m NOT Making Money with Blogging!”
I really need to make money with my blog. I’ve tried doing a bunch of things: Affiliate marketing, Google Adsense, Amazon links and even consulting. Nothing seems to sell. People read my stuff, but they’re not buying anything!
How do I turn casual readers into paying customers?
– Penniless in Seaside Heights, NJ
It’s Elementary, My Dear Penniless
It isn’t easy to make money with blogging. There are too many “bright & shiny” objects on the Internet so it’s difficult to grab a reader’s attention and convince them to buy a product.
I imagine your content is good enough. Otherwise you wouldn’t have that many readers. The trick is to tailor the recommended products around your articles. Here are a few ways to do this:
==> Align the Product with the Market: It’s hard to make money when you offer the wrong product. You can easily increase earnings by finding out what problems readers experience and offer a solution…that generates an income for you.
Get started by polling your readers and asking a simple question. You could ask something like, “Which of the following is the biggest problem you face on a daily basis?”
Then give three choices. Odds are, the most popular response will make a great product to promote on your blog.
I recommend the WP Polls Plugin because it’s an easy tool for polling your readers. Include it in your sidebar or dedicate a blog post to this question. You’d surprised at how much you can learn by talking to your audience.
==> Offer your Own Product: The main reason people read a blog is because they like YOU and your content. Prove your authority in a market and people will want to buy anything you create.
You can easily increase blog earnings by offering a low cost report. Or even a high-ticket course.
==> Create a MWR Page: It’s hard to make money with affiliate marketing on a blog when there are too many “escape routes.” Most affiliate recommendation pages have links and images that distract the reader. You lose sales because you’re giving people too many choices.
A quality affiliate recommendation page has two options: They click the link or they don’t.
My advice is to create what’s known as a Most Wanted Response (MWR) page. This is a static HTML page that has a similar design to your blog – Without all the distractions. A MWR page is specifically designed to presell an affiliate product and to visit the site with a buying mindset.
“My Email Subscription Rates are Low!”
I get a lot of traffic to my website. People love my content and always comment on my posts. But, my subscriber numbers are horrible. Nobody wants to subscribe to my email newsletter.
I’ve heard that the money is in the list. How can I make money if I can’t get any subscribers?
Help me Sherlock, you’re my only hope!
– Ignored in Adelaide, Australia
It’s Elementary, My Dear Ignored
Email marketing is a fickle beast. People no longer get excited about subscribing to an email list because they don’t want yet another marketing offer. You have to make them overcome their natural distrust and get them to love reading your content.
Here’s a simple three-step process for doing this:
1) Offer a Top-Notch Free eBook: Without a doubt, the best way to build a list is to offer a free report. This should laser-target your core audience and be an ultra-specific solution. Do your best to make it stand out in your market…something that people would normally pay money to download.
2) Direct All Traffic to the Lead Magnet: The cornerstone of your “brand” should be this free report. Make this report part of your message as you communicate with people. Talk about their problems and offer your freebie as a solution.
A lead magnet is especially important when you’re on a site that’s not your blog. Rather than direct people to your content site, send them over to a Squeeze Page where they can download your report.
3) Test and Track Conversion Rates: The key to email marketing is a high converting squeeze page. Usually you won’t get it right in the first version. The trick is to keep testing and tweaking till you have a high opt-in rate. Use a free tool like Google Optimizer to split test this page to perfection!
Follow these three steps and you’ll dramatically increase your subscriber numbers. Just remember to set aside a little time each week to work on this aspect of your Internet business.
“I’m Not Getting Enough Web Traffic!”
I have lots to say, but no one cares! I’ve written dozens of articles, recorded a bunch of videos, and commented on a bunch of blog posts. But I can’t seem to attract anyone’s interest in my website.
The only readers I have are my mom, boyfriend, and therapist. How can I improve my traffic numbers?
– Unknown in Galway, Ireland
It’s Elementary, My Dear Unknown
Generating web traffic can be really frustrating! Sometimes it seems like nothing works.
The good news is there is a way to simplify the process of getting web traffic. I recommend following this three-step action plan:
1) Master One Traffic Source: The Internet has an abundance of traffic opportunities. And that’s why many people fail when it comes to generating traffic. It’s way too easy to get overwhelmed.
The solution? Pick one traffic source and master it. Yes, diversification is important. However this should be done when you’ve had success with one technique. So become an expert in one method, and then go after the next.
2) Implement a Content-Creation Plan: Think of web traffic like a car. It needs fuel to bring people to your site. That fuel is the content you create on other websites.
Make people interested in your “brand” by regularly posting quality information on other websites. This is what makes you stand out from the crowd. That’s why you need a content-creation plan. This is a schedule where you consistently publish articles/videos on your chosen traffic source.
The key here is commitment and consistency. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same goes for your Internet business.
3) Leverage your Web Content: Once you’ve mastered one traffic technique, leverage the content you’ve created and go after a different website.
The possibilities are endless. You can take your articles and turn them into audio. Or add slides to an audio and make a video. Or turn a series of articles into a free special report that drives traffic from a document sharing site.
Once again, the key is to master one traffic technique. Then build upon your success and go after the next. Rinse and repeat till you’ve completely dominated an entire market.
“I Can’t Find the Right Niche!”
Oh my God! I’m completely freaking out here! I want to build a successful Internet business, but I don’t know where to start.
Should I research keywords? Do I focus on a passion? Perhaps I want to go after a “proven” market?
The possibilities are endless but I can’t find a topic that really stands out.
Tell me what to do!!!
– Nicheless in Charleston, South Carolina
It’s Elementary, My Dear Nicheless
Niche research doesn’t have be difficult or cost money. To start, I’d read this post: How to Research a Niche: THE Ultimate Blueprint. Here you’ll find a 4-part process for locating that perfect market:
1) Find a topic of personal interest or passion
2) Research this market to see if there is a demand for information
3) Find problems/topics in this market and create content around it
4) Promote affiliate offers or products you’ve created
For some reason, people really freak out when it comes to researching a niche. The truth is any niche can be successful if you’re dedicated and willing to work hard.
“I am Feeling Overwhelmed”
Help. Help! HELP!!!!
This whole Internet marketing thing is SO stressful. I try to keep up with everything. But every day another “guru” comes along and says I need to do something new.
How do I succeed when there’s so much do?
– Overwhelmed in Manchester, U.K.
It’s Elementary, My Dear Overwhelmed
Repeat after me: “Screw the Gurus!”
Rhymes, doesn’t it?
An Internet marketing guru doesn’t pay your bills. In fact, most work really hard to make you spend money.
The truth is you don’t need most of what people promote. In truth, you probably already know what needs to be done with your Internet business.
On the other hand, I know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why I suggest this implementing this simple strategy:
1) Minimize your Email Intake: Become friends with the unsubscribe button. You really don’t need dozens of email newsletters in your inbox. Truthfully, most are thinly disguised sales pitches. Stick with your favorites and eliminate the rest.
2) Focus on Specific Learning: Only read articles/products that directly relate to the next skill/tactic you’re implementing. Ignore the rest. If you feel like you’re “missing out,” then put everything else into a Tickler File for future reference. But only read this information when you’re ready to take action.
3) Keep the Nose to the Grindstone: It’s easy feel overwhelmed when you lack focus. Odds are, you’re on the right path to success. The key is to laser-target the activities that make you money. And to be honest, that hot-new product Joe Guru is promoting does NOT help you earn income. You get results by taking massive action!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But you can simplify things and focus on your Internet business. Follow these three steps and you’ll eliminate the *noise* which is hindering your success.
“Nobody Reads my Content”
I’m at my wits end! I spend a lot of time creating great content. I write in-depth blog posts, tweet lots of thoughtful information, submit dozens of articles, and create lots of email messages.
But NOBODY seems to care.
Every time I write something the only response I get is the sound of crickets chirping.
How can I get people to read my stuff???
– Unloved in Biloxi, Mississippi
It’s Elementary, My Dear Unloved
Getting people to consume your content isn’t that hard. Actually all you need to do is focus on one skill – Copywriting.
People are busy. They don’t have time to read every single article. But you can get people interested in your content by having a solid headline. One that immediately grab’s their attention. A good headline forces people to stop what they’re doing and read your article.
It really doesn’t matter what type of content you’re creating. The same principles apply to articles, blog posts, Tweets, and emails. All need a headline that gets a lot of attention.
I recommend a simple solution: Create an online copywriting swipe file. This folder will contain a collection of titles/headlines that work in your market.
Get started by including samples of writing from popular figures in your niche. Simply open up a separate email account and join the email lists of people who are great copywriters. Then include the stuff you like in the copywriting swipe file.
Furthermore there are a lot of great headlines on these three sites:
My advice is to include the best headlines in your copywriting swipe file.
Finally you should track each title. For blogging, take a look at the posts that get the most views and comments. With email marketing, analyze your open rates and click-thrus. The same goes for article marketing.
Overall there are a lot of tools that can help you with headlines. The trick is to constantly analyze your content and replicate what works. So keep testing and tweaking!
Channeling YOUR Inner Sherlock Holmes
Okay, as you know Sherlock Holmes doesn’t exist. And if he did, I doubt he’d have an advice column for Internet marketers. So it’s up to YOU to figure things out whenever you experience failure.
The truth is we all have those moments where nothing seems to work. It’s a necessary part of doing business online.
Just remember that every “failure” leaves a clue about how to succeed. Don’t get frustrated. Instead, think like ole’ Sherlock. Look for clues that might not be apparent at first. Probably you’ll discover your failure can be fixed with a simple solution.
Remember: When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.Take Action. Get Results.