What Is The Right Niche For You?

When you decide that you want to start an online business, the first thing that comes to mind is often “what kind of niche market am I going to sell to?”

At first you might instantly think “the money! I want to go where the money is!”. While that’s high on the list for most marketers, it’s not the only single thing to consider when choosing the right niche for you.

There are two main things you want to consider when choosing a market before you dive right in.

And these are the 2 questions to ask yourself, (and not necessarily in this order)

1. Is there money to be made in this niche?

2. Am I passionate about working in this market?

Ok, let’s talk about the first one first, “is there any money to be made?” Of course, if you’re doing business for profit, you’ll want to get into a profitable niche rather than one that isn’t right?

Some people say that you can monetize any niche, and although that might be true to some extent, some niches are more “full of buyers” than others. You want to know which ones have the buyers so you’re not wasting your time with tire-kickers.

So how can you tell if a niche is profitable?

A good way to gauge how many people are buying is by looking at how many products are for sale and how much marketing is going on already in that niche. If you go to a related site within your potential niche and see a lot of advertising going on, then you can assume there is money being made!

Another way is to go to a popular affiliate market place such as clickbank.com and check out the latest top selling products. I say ‘latest’ because as the times change, so do popular and profitable niches/products.

Next, are you passionate about the niche you’re looking into?

Even if you find a profitable niche, you may not have the passion to give it all you have keep at it before you make your venture a success.

For example, I wouldn’t enter the “stamp collecting” niche even if it was lucrative, because I’m simply not interested in it (no offense to any stamp collectors out there).

Being an Entrepreneur, a home business owner, Internet marketer or whatever you want to call it is more than just a way to make a living, it’s a lifestyle. And it’s a lifestyle that requires hard work and dedication, just like many other “jobs”.

Luckily for us, we can choose what we want our lifestyle and “job” to be – that’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur!

Make sure you choose a niche you have a love for, something you can see yourself doing everyday.

Even when times get tough, you will still have enough drive and enthusiasm to battle through if you’re doing something you love.

Another point I might add is that it’s ideal that you have some kind of “expert” knowledge about your niche topic. Most of the time however, we are experts at what we love, even if we know it or not.

Sometimes we forget just how much we know about a certain topic because we’ve been “into it” for years. Don’t short sell yourself by thinking you don’t know enough about one type of niche.

Chances are you know 95% more than the rest of the world on the topic you have a passion for.

Stuart StirlingAnd as you know, knowledge is power and that power can be translated into great products and services you can sell for profit!

To your online success,
Stu “Sensei” Stirling

5 Reasons Why People Won’t Subscribe To Your List

Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve got a website, your auto-responder is filled with messages and you’re sending traffic, but no-one is subscribing to your list…

So, what’s the problem?

Note: If you don’t have the kind of list building system described above, you should get one…but one that converts…which I’ll show you how.

Every serious marketer is, or should be on the hunt for more subscribers.

Obviously, the more subscribers or leads you have the ability to contact, the more you can guide them down your sales funnel and turn then into paying customers.

That’s the ideal marketing system, but sometimes it’s easier said than done.

Here are some of the bigger reasons why people won’t join your list in the first place, which is the first step of the sales funnel…

1. Your ‘Bait’ is Not Juicy Enough

By bait, I mean your offer or ‘bribe’ is not desirable. This has to be the #1 killer of any list building campaign’s conversions. A lot of people think that if it’s free, everyone will want it. Not so. To get people’s attention, and their name and email it has to be something of high perceived value that they can’t get anywhere else.

For example, a free video, report or email course which reveals a little-known technique or “how to” training usually sparks interest which sucks your visitors in.

If it’s something they can actually use, like software or materials to save them time or money, it might even pull better.

2. Your Traffic Is Not Targeted

I talked about how important it is for high conversions to get targeted traffic.

1000 targeted visitors will always convert better than 1,000,000 non-targeted visitors.

3. They Don’t Know You From Adam

Credibility is so important for doing business online. If people don’t know you, then chances of them trusting you with their private contact details is slim.

The best way to get credibility is to share some proof that you are trust-able and what you have to share will actually help them.

You might share some good content with them before the need to optin. Video can be good for this, but if you don’t have video, share a short story in writing. Another great way is to get testimonials from your current subscribers/customers and show them on the optin page.

4. Your Copy Is Bland

Good copywriting is essential to pursuade your visitors to optin to your list. Copywriting is the power (or art) of selling with words. If your words are weak and uncompelling, it will show in your results.

The basic formula for a well copy written “offer” starts with a headline to attract attention, give them some teaser copy to educate them on what you have and how it will benefit them, and then explain what they have to do next to get it, also known as a “call to action”.

5. You’re Not Using A Squeeze Page

The best type of website to use for effective list building is by far a “squeeze page”.

If you’re not using a squeeze page, and using the typical “business” style website with a sidebar, banner graphics, articles and a little optin form in the corner, then don’t expect a high optin rate.

Squeeze pages work best because you are only giving your website vistor two options. Either they subscribe or they don’t.

List building is kind of like a science. There are formulas that work, and ones that don’t.

Hopefully now you have an idea on how to improve your subscriber rate, and if you’re not building a list yet, you’ll know how to do it well when you start.

To your success,

Stu “Sensei” Stirling

How To Get (Free) Instant Website Traffic

Have you ever felt the thrill and excitement of seeing traffic rush to your website or an affiliate link and sales quickly follow?

Let me tell you, having the power to direct traffic to any site you want, when you want (for free) and then seeing sales pour in is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things about running an online business.

So what is this magical method of driving traffic instantly, for free?

Well, it’s no mystery at all actually.

Instant traffic without cost is possible when you have a ‘list’.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘list building’, it’s what us marketers call the process of collecting names and emails of potential customers and emailing them with offers.

The beauty of emailing  your list is that your subscribers will get your email, potentially open it, read it and click on a link to your website or website you recommend.

The result: Instant Traffic!

And you know what happens when you mix traffic with a good offer…yep, sales!

Seriously, in the same time it takes to make your favorite bowl of instant noodles, you can actually see sales flow into your inbox or paypal or whatever!

Hopefully now you see the power of having a list that you can email.

“But hang on Stuart, I don’t have a list…how can I get traffic quickly?”

Never fear! Emailing a list is not the only way to get traffic.

There are hundreds of ways to get traffic to a website…I’m sure you already know a few ways.

You can buy it, trade it or steal it 🙂 (More on those three another day.)

But where so many marketers go wrong is that they are in too much of a hurry to make a sale and forget about building a list first.

They waste traffic by sending visitors straight to a “pitch page” without capturing it first. i.e. not building a list.

A small percentage may buy on the spot (0.1% – 2%) but the remaining 99% of that traffic is gone forever.

Don’t make that mistake!

Build a list first, it may take a little time at first, but you’ll be able to get that INSTANT traffic and sales and more of it – whenever you want it!

List building and email marketing is nothing new.

But it’s still up there with one of the most effective, cheapest (can’t beat free!) and simplest ways to send traffic in an instant to any site to promote and sell anything online.

To your success,

Stuart Stirling

Aka “Stu Sensei”

Setting Up Your Online Support Desk

If you’re selling digital products, or any product online, a support desk website is highly recommended.

I finally pulled my finger out and got a dedicated support desk set up this week after doing internet marketing and selling digital products for nearly 4 years without one.

Something I should have got around to about 3 and a half years ag0 😉

How NOT To Manage Support

Up until now, I was managing (receiving and sending) the majority of my customer support requests directly from my email inbox.

You can probably see the many problems with this.

eg. Lost emails that get either get mixed with spam and I accidentally delete them or emails that never get delivered full stop.

I sometimes had customers complain, telling me they had tried to contact me once or twice already without a response. Of course, this is not good for business.

Customer satisfaction is a top priority for me, and should be for you too if you care about your business.

Having a dedicated support desk, and not just an email address says a lot for your credibility too. When your customers see you care enough to have a quality support system in place, they feel more secure about dealing with you online.

Easy To Outsource

Another benefit for having an online support desk is that it makes outsourcing the task so easy. This is something I will be doing very soon.

I spend way too much time sending customers new download links for digital products (any marketer who uses RAP or $7 secrets script will know what it’s like). Customer support is not a task for the entrepreneur.

Out time would be MUCH better spent on developing products, writing copy and networking with other entrepreneurs – things that take us forward in our business.

Stuart Stirling Support

Best Support Desk Option

After looking around for support desk software, I finally decided on the free, open source system, OS Ticket.

It’s simple enough for even me to use, and I could install it via my cpanel’s fantastico on my website…and it’s free. Quick, easy, free – just what I wanted.

The only complaint I have about OS Ticket is that there isn’t a Knowledge base or FAQ where customers can search for and check info before submitting a ticket. But seeing as though the majority o my support demands at the moment are for new download links, FAQ’s aren’t going to help with that much.

A Domain Name Or Not?

I set up my support desk on a new domain, StuartStirlingSupport.com.

You can do this too – something like YourNameHelpDesk.com which gives a nice image and helps with your credibility. But there is always the option to create your support desk on a sub-domain or in a new directory on your existing domain. i.e. www.YourName.com/support

Either way you choose, a support desk website is going to help you avoid clutter in your inbox and give your customers a better experience.

To your success,

Stu “Sensei” Stirling

Secrets of a 56.2% Conversion Squeeze Page

It’s not a typo – the secrets of a 56.2% conversion rate squeeze page. It might sound like I’m pulling your leg, but in all honesty, this is what one of my recent squeeze pages is converting at as I type this post.

high conversion squeeze page

This kind of conversion rate is not unheard of in the IM circles, but many aspiring internet marketers would give their right leg to achieve this level of conversions from their squeeze page.

So how did I do it?

I’ve been creating squeeze pages for several years, so I have a good feeling for what works and what doesn’t. Here are a couple of secrets that I’ll let you in on.

1. An Offer They Can’t Refuse

2. The Right Traffic

No, there are no secrets about a magical headline or a super cool video that I used. In fact, there was no video and I hardly spent time writing the headline.

The main things I made sure of was to get the offer right – something of high perceived value, and then send the right traffic to it.

And by ‘right traffic’ I mean visitors that are going to know exactly what is expected of them at the website. In other words, pre-sold visitors.

These are the two ingredients of every successful internet marketing offer.

But it’s surprising how some marketers don’t pay much attention to them.

They throw up any old offer and then send rough traffic from ad blasters and wonder why they get 1% or less conversions.

In a later post, I’ll shed more light on “how to create an irresistible offer” and where to find the right “pre-sold traffic” to send to your squeeze page.

For now,  I’ll leave you to think about your own squeeze page and if the way your sending traffic is getting you the conversions you want.

To your success,

Stuart “Sensei” Stirling

Listbuilding Survey

Yesterday I asked a some of my subscribers to complete a survey about List building.

I wanted to gauge people’s awareness and interest in list building. It was a simple survey, just 7 questions. The results were pretty interesting.

I made a short video summarizing the survey questions and I also reveal the survey results.

Watch the Survey Results Video here if you haven’t seen it yet.

In short, here are some of the things I learned from the survey.

  • Many people are already building a list!
  • List building is popular
  • Video is the most popular way to learn
  • One-on-one calls are not as popular as I thought
  • People are still struggling with the basics

In the very near future, I want to put on a 3 or 4 week interactive workshop for a small group of 20 or so serious marketers who want to build a solid list of their own. I have been adding 50 – 100 subscribers a day for the last year and I’d love to show you how to do it too.

Please let me know your thoughts about the video, the survey results or about the list building workshop I plan to put on.

To your success,
Stu Sensei Stirling

How To Start A Successful Internet Business

Selling stuff via the Internet (commonly known as Internet marketing) is a great business to be in! Billions of dollars are spent online each year by consumers and that number is growing bigger every year.

Maybe you’re eager to get into the IM scene and start an Internet business for yourself, but before you jump in, there are a few things you need know about.

And these are four most important online business fundamentals you need to know, in my opinion.

– How a business works
– How to sell (receive money) and deliver a product online
– How to get web visitors to see your offer
– How to grow your business

I’m going to try to answer these 4 big questions for you to give you an outline of what an online internet marketing business is made of.

1. How A Simple Online Business Works

In my short internet marketing career since starting in 2006, I have learned a lot about what makes an online business profitable and what makes a business un-profitable.

These are the 4 main things that make up the guts of a good solid online business:

1) You need a product or service you sell
2) You need a killer sales message (USP-Unique Selling Proposition)
3) You need a way to get paid
4) You need a way to deliver the product or service to the customer

That’s basically it – a simple online business structure described in a nutshell. Pretty simple right?

Other basic principles (or ethics) to make a successful business to take note of are: The customer is always right. Customer service with a smile goes a very long way & under-promising and over-delivering on your offer goes even further.

2. How To Sell, Collect Money & Deliver Your Stuff

The engines that runs all the selling and product delivery for your business is typically a website. Unfortunately, for a lot of newcomers to the internet, setting up a website is where most get lost and give up.

Websites can be as complex as the Starship Enterprise or as basic as a bicycle in terms of functionality.

As long as it does the few basic functions of displaying your sales pitch and then collecting the money you ask for your product or service, that’s all you really need.

A sales message doesn’t have to be any amazing masterpieces to work either. A good sales letter can be nothing more than a short description of your offer with instructions on how your customer can get it.

Which brings them to the next part – an online merchant account to take orders via credit card, debit card etc. It’s not everyone’s favorite, but I recommend www.Paypal.com to manage online payments. It still is a popular choice for many online business owners.

After your customer goes through the order process, they then need to be able to download or sign up for access to your product. For this, you need is a separate “thankyou page” where your customers are forwarded to after payment.

On this thankyou page, you can have your download link if you sell downloadable products, or a form to collect their name, email, shipping address etc. if you’re selling a physical product. Services like Paypal can redirect your customer to any page you specify for you.

Luckily, there are website systems you can set up to manage this type of e-commerce website. I have been using the RAP script for quite some time with great results. It offers all the functionality I need and more to sell my digital products online with security and automation.

3. Getting Customers

Once you have your online “store front” ready to take orders, you now need people coming to your site. This flow of visitors is called TRAFFIC!

The best advice I can give for traffic generation is this: USE THE RIGHT BAIT IN THE RIGHT LAKE!

In other words, you need seek out where those people who want your product are hanging out and don’t waste your time anywhere else.

If people are searching on ebay looking for what you sell, advertise it on ebay.

If people are searching Google for what you are selling, get your website ranking high in Google with SEO (search engine optimization) and so on.

The wrong way to go about traffic generation is to buy a bunch of cold, un-targeted leads just because you think 10,000,000 random email addresses for $100 is a bargain.

Go where the right crowd for your offer is. Seek out where your TARGET market spends time online and go after them with your advertising!

4. Plan For Long Term Success

For real success, we need to be in this business for the long shot. We need to have a long term vision and plan it.

The truth is, it takes time to build a real business. If you are too worried about making money now, you might give up before you get anywhere.

Everyone starts at the beginning and works their way up. It can take more time for some – and less time for others. It’s a combination of learning and doing and being patient while doing both.

But the most important thing to do is to actually start doing what you learn. That’s why I created the Newbie Start Up Guide, so as to help beginners take the short cuts to getting up and running online with a simple internet business.

Internet marketing is a constant learning experience. For me, my long term plan is to grow my business bigger and better while learning as much as I can. I try to be constantly thinking of and creating new products and offers to fit my customers needs to help them achieve success with their online ventures too.

To achieve this, it means thinking ahead, setting goals and working towards them with the big picture in mind. That with a positive attitude and determination, it’s almost impossible to fail with your online business.

Stu Sensei