How to Turn Support Emails Into Sales

There are some times when customer support emails can be a burden. I think most businesses would like to have less customer support issues to deal with.

But most of the time, it’s unavoidable, especially when you’re generating thousands of visitors and processing dozens of sales automatically around the clock on several websites.

Some days are heavier than others….some days you just don’t want to face your inbox!

Even though you might be tempted to go the “select all > delete” route…take a second to realize that answering support emails helps you and your customer build a better relationship and can turn into sales!

You will be surprised that taking the time to answer support emails can really pay off.

Here are some reasons and benefits of being the good support emails answerer…

  • For one, your customer expects and deserves good customer service
  • Your customer will be thrilled you answered – especially if it’s you personally replying
  • Build trust with your readers on a personal basis
  • Opens up opportunities for sales!….because sometimes a support email is not what you expect

Most emails you’ll get will be when a customer has a problem with a purchase.

Either they couldn’t get to the download page or they lost the download page before they could download it all…or some other website issue.

If they have already paid and didn’t get the download, it is your responsibility to follow through on your part of the deal..no question about it.

You need to send them a new download link. That is the case when you sell your own products from your website. It’s a different story if you’re just selling products as an affiliate. (that’s one of the benefits of affiliate marketing.)

I sell a lot of my own products from my own websites and I use $7 secrets script and RAP script almost exclusively for my all my info-product sites.

I don’t know about other scripts but if you are using these 2 scripts, you’ll know all too well about your customers missing the download page. Apart from that, they are great scripts though 😉

You might be surprised but this, but one common type of email I get is from potential customers who are ready to buy but can’t for some reason!

This is usually because they are using their own affiliate link (accidentally) or the website is running slow and won’t load the order page.

Can you say -“ka-Ching”?

You can easily turn this type of support email into a sale!

This often happens with products I’m selling on www.InfoSteals.com (a RAP script powered 100% commissions market place) where I sell a lot of different ebooks and video courses about making money online.

A customer will buy one product, then sign up as an affiliate and test their link which sets their cookie on their browser and when they go to buy another product, they can’t because paypal won’t let them buy from themselves.

This is when I love to give them a new link (my affiliate link) and say “this one should work”…and it does because it overwrites the cookie.

They are happy because they can finally buy it..and I’m happy because I just got a new customer 😉

Other emails will be from readers or customers who want your advice. And this can be another chance for some easy pickings.

Usually, for any question that your readers can ask…there is a handful of products you can recommend them to buy to solve their problem. But I don’t just say “here…” and give them a link.

I like to try to answer their question as best I can and explain how if you do A and then B…you can see the result of C.

After I give that advice, I can give them links to recommended products and say…this will help you do A and this will help you do B. So it’s not an obvious sales pitch. The can see why they need to get A and B.

One more important reason to watch for customer support emails is that they can tell you when something on your site is broken (exceeded bandwidth, broken link, sometimes a typo :o) which can harm sales.

These are just some ways how answering support emails can make you a more respected and wealthier marketer.

Stu Sensei Stirling

ps. Don’t forget…simple manners like saying “thankyou for your message” or “sorry for the inconvenience” can go a long way too.

p.p.s. I use OSticket which is a free open source support desk. It made things so much more organized and easier than doing customer support from my inbox.

Why The “Internet Marketing” Niche Sucks Balls

Since I started my first online business in 2006, I have always been fanatical about list building and email marketing.

And for the main part (97%), I have been directing all my focus and energy into building my list in one niche; the “internet marketing niche” or “make money online” niche.

I was doing this fairly successfully by setting up squeeze pages, giving away free reports, selling low ticket ebooks, running free membership sites and leveraging affiliates, JV ad swaps, traffic exchanges, safelists, solo ads and giveaways to get traffic and subscribers.

The Good ‘ol Days

For a while there, I was getting sign ups and sales effortlessly. I could get 50% opt-in rates, mail out a promo and get a 10% open rate and 10% sales conversion rate.

I could get 100+ signs ups a day on auto-pilot that cost me nothing, and then make $500+ in sales from one email blast selling a $10 product. I even had a few $1000 days.

Unfortunately, those  easy “send an email and rake in the cash” days are over.

No doubt the “make money online” niche is still alive and kicking (there’s still a fortune to be made in it), but list building and email marketing in this niche is sinking quickly.

It has just about hit rock bottom.

If you’re reading this, I sincerely thank you.

It’s most likely you came here from a link in my email to you. You are one of the mere 3% of people on my lists who open and read my emails. So I thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.

If you do the math, you can work out how many subscribers of mine sent that email to the trash bin.

So why is email marketing in the IM niche on its “death bed”?

I’ll give you just a few reasons which have become clear to me as to why email marketing has died off. I’m sure there are other different factors, and if you like you can add yours or comment on these below this post.

1. List Incest

Every “MMO” marketer is ad swapping, is promoting JV giveaways, is promoting each others products, is selling products on the same forums, etc.etc.

The result is that subscribers or “prospects” that are on your list are on dozen’s of other marketers lists.. which results in the next problem.

2. Too Much Email!

Ever wake up to 144 unread emails in your inbox all from “internet marketers” trying to sell you the next best thing?

That’s what happens when you join dozens of internet marketers’ “newsletters” who are a little trigger happy on the send button.

Subscribers are sick to death of all the email.

Unless you have an EXCELLENT rapport with your subscribers and customers or you pull the world’s most miraculous, hypnotic email subject line out of your a**, your email is going straight to the trash.

And even getting your email opened these days is a feat in itself. You’d better be a John Carlton world class copywriter if you want to stand a chamce to even get your links in your email clicked on.

IM sucks

3. Too Much Pitching Of Too Much Crap

A lot of email may not be such a big problem if you’re giving away good content. But when you’re sending pitch after pitch after pitch of crappy products everyday (sometimes several times a day!) subscribers, again just get fed up with it.. especially when they buy the crap product, realize it’s crap and it leaves a bad taste in their mouth.

It’s just natural for them to begin to see any email from a “marketer” as going to be another pitch for a crap house product and boom – bin.

So my point is this.

Some marketers have ruined and continue to ruin the “mmo” market by continually committing the three things that I listed above.. and most probably they commit every abominable email marketing sin there is.

Now I hate to point the finger and call the kettle black.. I have been known to take a cheap shot sometimes. But the last thing I try to do is abuse my right to send emails to my subscribers.

And, I’m not saying everyone in this niche is ruining it. There are some marketers who I really respect and still open most of their emails.

But the sad thing is that it only takes a few rotten eggs to spoil the entire basket.

Ok, enough of the rant.

So where to from now for Stu Sensei?

As it is right now, I still make money from my subscribers and customer lists in the MMO niche even though it is considerably less than it was 12 months ago.

I could make more sales everyday if I decided to spam you and everybody on my lists with a pitch for the next best “shiny object” every day like the “gurus” do but that is the last thing I want to do.

I truly want to help people succeed online so selling you products on an entirely different topic everyday is not my bag and it doesn’t really help you either.

That only leads to confusion, information overload and an empty wallet.

It might make me a little richer for the time being, but I’d rather help you get to where you want to go and have you stick with me for the long haul.

For the past month or so, I’ve been delving into “niche marketing” and SEO. That’s why I’ve been a little quiet with my emails.

For years, I would run the other way whenever someone mentioned either one of these two terms.

I didn’t know how to do it and it seemed like too much work anyway.

But after seeing my “IM” lists’ response rate (and sales conversions) diminish before my eyes, and having started studying the workings of SEO and niche marketing, I’m seeing this route to be the future for Stu Sensei.

Why Niche SEO Marketing?

First of all, I want to steer away from the “mmo/get rich quick” niche so I want to find other niches where I can use my skills and experience to tear it up!

It was after a chat with mate and mentor James Brown in which he said “Stu, if you applied what you know about internet marketing to other niche markets, you’d totally kill it”, so that’s what I’m aiming to do.

Now that isn’t to say that I’m giving up entirely on the MMO niche.

I still want to help you succeed with internet marketing. The only major change is that what I teach you about making money online will be directly related to this new phase of “niche” marketing I’m venturing into.

And this is why I think this type of marketing style is perfect for me.. and perhaps for you too.

Search engine traffic

Is there any better quality traffic that you can target with such precision?

The whole idea of being able to target buyers with search term keywords has opened a whole new dimension to me.

I realize that if I’m targeting buyers, I don’t need to build a list. Surprise, surprise. I said it. You DON’T need to build a list.

There are some occasions where I think it would be beneficial to build a list but in most cases with this style of marketing, building a list would be a hindrance to making a sale.

Affiliate marketing

Getting paid for selling other people’s products. It’s great. I don’t need to worry about customer service, my product going stale, site maintenance… I just need to focus on driving traffic – BUYERS!

Build a niche site once, rank it and forget about it

One of the things that I’ve learned to leverage with the internet and marketing is automation.. “set and forget” types businesses. Unfortunately, the case most times in the MMO niche is that products become old extremely quickly. Another friend and great SEO marketer Dan McGonagle said to me is “it’s a flavor of the day market”.

The beauty of the niche marketing model is that once you build it, get it ranked high in Google and making sales, it will be a money maker for a considerably longer time than the next “how to make money online” ebook.

I understand about Google’s tendency to slap websites anytime they like, but there is a way to avoid them which I have studied about. That will be for another post 😉

Easy to outsource

Content, backlinks, research, site creation.. it cam all be outsourced very cheaply and easily. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough to outsource stuff for my IM biz… but I know I don’t have to look far to outsource SEO jobs. I’m hitting Fiverr up just about everyday for outsourcing small tasks.

White beach
You Can Catch Me Here In The Near Future

This is perfect because the more I can outsource, the more I can get done and the more I get done, the more coin I make.

All I can really say at this time is that I am really excited about this new phase of my internet marketing career.

I am not yet an SEO or niche marketing “expert” yet but I am learning and putting what I learn into practice.

I already have one niche blog (based on WordPress – I plan to use WP for ALL my sites I ever build again) which has already made $132.61.. and I’m competing with mostly PR3 and PR4 sites!

Nothing to write home about, but it’s enough proof for me to realize the power of this kind of marketing and to keep working with it.

Exciting days ahead, that’s for sure.

And I hope you stay on board and learn with me – and even get into it yourself if you haven’t already.

Enough of chasing dreams and selling the dream. It’s time to make our dreams come true.

Stuart StirlingTo your success,

Stu Sensei

Old Marketing Tricks That Still Work

The impact that the Internet has had on business and marketing is nothing short of amazing.

We can create and sell products to people all over the world and receive their payments in only a few moments, never having to worry about exchange rates or dealing with shady middlemen who skim a little bit off the top for themselves.

Internet marketers can earn enough to support their families and live their dreams without ever having to leave the comfort of their living rooms.

You would think that with this incredible new tool in our hands, a tool that literally changed the world, that marketing and customer relations would have changed with it.

Yet despite the blazing fast speeds and endless possibilities for online entrepreneurship, many of the same marketing techniques still work today just as well as they did back when the first caveman was trying to sell excess wooly mammoth meat to the cave next door.

If you are wondering why your current efforts are lacking, then maybe it’s time for you to wipe a little bit of the future out of your eyes and try out some of the tried and trued methods that have worked for centuries to create a buying frenzy!

big sale

Run a Sale

By far, running a “sale” is the most used marketing trick ever conceived! And with good reason.

Everyone loves getting a good deal. It’s a good feeling to get a ‘bargain’.

Giving your customers the opportunity to buy your product for a price that is lower than “everyone else” is paying makes them feel special.

Also, limiting the time that the discount is available creates a sense of urgency and makes them far more likely to hit that “Buy Now!” button.

Using this technique on your customer or subscriber mailing list or offering it only to people who have followed you on social media creates a sense of community and customer loyalty that will pay off big in the long run.

People love to feel special and part of an exclusive group, so if you’re giving them a special deal that is just for them and it’s limited by time or quantity, they won’t be able to resist.

Free Stuff

If people love getting a discount, they go absolutely bonkers for something that is free.

This is the second ‘oldest trick in the book’ when it comes to marketing.

Free is the ultimate way to start of any huge marketing campaign and funnel your prospects down into your marketing and sales sequence.

It doesn’t have to be much to get people to jump on your email list or follow you on Facebook.

Just a simple, catchy five page report or a ‘secret’ that will help them get on step closer to their goals will not put you in the poor house and will make your followers feel like you truly have their best interests in mind.

Later on when you offer them something that is NOT free, they will feel a twinge of obligation and loyalty to you because of the generous gifts you gave them in the past.

And if your free offer was good, they’ll be excited to see your paid product because it must be so much better. Just make sure it is 😉

Social Proof

Social proof simply means making sure your potential customers can see how happy your existing customers are.

If Sally sees that you have 200 loyal followers on Facebook and a long page full of realistic testimonials on your sales page then she is more likely to believe that what you are offering is something worth buying.

It’s natural for humans to want to do what others are doing. And if they see that other people can get results from using Sally’s products, they naturally think they too can get the same results.

It is very very powerful. But unfortunately, some marketers abuse this and put up fake testimonials.

Never try to fake social proof!

The Internet is full of skeptics and if you are faking reviews or buying followers then sooner or later you will be exposed.

Upsells

This one is about as old as ‘free’.

Upselling is when you already have a customer sold on your product or service and then offer something additional for an additional cost.

No doubt that you’ve seen your fair share of upsells if you’ve ever bought an ebook or a course online. Upsells are the internet marketers’ #1 favorite method to generate maximum cash.

The psychology behind upselling is that once a customer is ‘sold’ on one idea, it’s easier to persuade him or her to buy another idea. They are in the buying mode so it’s hard for them to say no to another great offer.

Of course, you’ll want to offer something related to the original offer. Mix this with scarcity or a time limit, (a-la “one time offers”) and you have a recipe for a huge intale of sales!

Bonuses

This goes along the same lines as free.. and can be just as powerful.

By adding bonuses to what you’re selling, you make the customer feel like they are getting extreme value.

Say you’re selling a “weight loss diet” course for $47 and you throw in a bonus “exercise program” that you’re selling for $47 on another website.

Does “2 for 1” ring a bell?

I’m sure you’ve seen “2 for 1” offers all around. Just about every shop in every mall in the world has put on a 2 for 2 sale.

It’s because this extra addition of free value works.

The bonuses you add can actually make the sale. But be careful, and don’t go overboard with bonuses because it can take away from the main product and actually devalue it, having the reverse effect.

The main thing is to offer the customers value. When they feel they’re getting a bargain, they simply can’t resist buying!

Stuart StirlingTo your success,

Stu Sensei Stirling

p.s. What are some of your favorite timeless marketing techniques that you have tried that have worked for you?

Online Income Blueprints Vol. 1 – Got Your Copy?

Here’s what James B. Allen’s new book “Online Income Blueprints” looks like…

James was kind enough to send me an autographed copy of his first published physical ebook which is available for sale on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle.

Online Income Blueprints Vol.1 contains interviews with 14 marketers who reveal their secrets for internet success.

I am privileged to have been asked to contribute to his book and my success story is featured second out of the 14.

I would love to be take this down the local Starbucks and devour the other stories over a grande Columbian blend but seeing as the closest Starbucks is 30 minutes away, I’ll settle for a home-brewed House blend in my cosy little home office.

After skimming the first few chapters, I’ve noticed that there is a great diversity of online business models that are explored. And the best thing is that these are real stories from real people who are living the internet dream.

If you want to live the internet dream too, this is a great little book to give you some ideas to get started with your own online business.

Check it out on Amazon (affiliate link)

To your success,
Stu “Sensei” Stirling

p.s. Congrats to James for releasing this on the market! I bet it feels awesome to hold a real book that you published in your hands.

p.p.s. I wonder if the ‘Starbucks color scheme’ on the book is a coincidence… or just maybe one too many ‘work sessions’ at your local store ingrained the colors into your mind?

Selling Digital Products VS. Selling Services

My two favorite internet business models are 1. Selling Digital Products and 2. Selling Services.

In my opinion, these are the two most profitable and relatively easy ways to make decent money online.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of both…

1. Selling Digital Product Online

I place this one first because it’s my business model of choice. If I had to start all over again with an internet business, I would sell digital downloadable products.

In case you’re wondering just what digital products are, they include PDF ebooks, software, video training, audios, graphics, website templates etc. Basically, any thing of worth in digital form that can be downloaded falls into this category.

The thing I love most about selling digital products is that if you’re the product creator, you work once and get paid over and over again.

This is different to selling a service for example where you are trading your time for dollars.

Selling digital products gives you the freedom to choose when you want to work and how much you want to work because everything can be completely automated.

Thanks to computers and websites that work on autopilot, you can take orders and deliver the download to the customer while you’re out playing golf with your friends.

You can even follow up with your customers if you put them in an autoresponder.

The down side to all this is that it takes a fair bit of work to create your own products.

You can go the affiliate marketing route where you sell someone elses product for a cut of the sale. This works well for beginners or for a cross promotion with your original product if it’s related.

2. Selling Services Online

The basic definition of selling services means that you perform a service for your client that helps them. It’s kind of like ‘freelance’ work where you get paid to perform tasks for your employer.

Some examples of services you can perform include everything from copywriting, ghost-writing (articles, ebooks, press releases etc.) graphic designing, programming all the way to consulting.

There is a lot of money in selling services online. You’ve probably heard of copywriters getting paid $50,000 to write one letter… and consultants  getting paid $10,000  a month to meet (online) with clients to discuss marketing strategies, etc.

It’s not uncommon to find professionals earning 6 and 7+ figures a year selling services online.

Apart from the potential for big pay checks, you usually get paid first too before you do any work.

In this way it beats digital downloads because there is often a big time and money investment initially in getting your digital product ready to sell.

However, there are downsides. And these cons may turn you off selling services because the terms of it aren’t for everyone.

The biggest downside I find is that it’s still like a job – trading dollars for hours. You don’t have the freedom to do as you please when you sell digital products. You have work to do that your client is waiting for.

And that brings me to another drawback – clients.

Most clients you get will be totally happy with your work because they trust your expertise and aren’t all too fussy, but on the odd occasion, you will get the client who will be very hard to please.

It’s clients like this that will almost make the deal not worth your time for the amount they paid you.

There is a way to sell services and take yourself out of the picture, and that is to have staff under you who can handle the contact with the clients and do the work. You will have to pay your staff but you will have to be the ‘manager’.

There you have it, a brief overview of the two best online business models. If you aren’t already, try them out and see which one serves you best.

It really depends on your personality and goals, and a whole lot more, but whichever you choose, give it your best shot and you can make a great living online with it.

To your online success,

Stuart “Sensei” Stirling

p.s. Which business model do you prefer? Why? I’d love to hear your comments.

“I Want To Make Money Online!”

As a teacher of Internet marketing, I get emails very frequently from subscribers and blog readers with a similar theme…

“I want to make money online. Can you help me?”

My reply is always “Yes, of course I can help you!” quickly followed by a question of my own.

“How do you want to make money?”

Imagine walking into a job recruitment agency and telling them “I want to make money!”

They will probably say, “Ok, you’ll need to get a job. What kind of job do you want to find?”

So, when you come up with the idea to start an internet business or start making money online, your first step is to think about “how” your going to go about it.

Here are a few essential questions to ask yourself that will make it easier for you to get closer to your goal of making money online.

  • What business model am I going to follow? (similar to when the job search agency asks “what job are you going to look for?”)
  • What am I going to sell?
  • How am I going to sell/market it?
  • Will I make a blog? Will I build a list? Will I create  a membership site?
  • Will I be an affiliate? Or, Will I create and sell my own product/service?

After you have a good idea of what you want to sell and how you’re going to sell it, you’re ready to move on. You can go and create your business and start marketing it.

And finally, two tips.

1. Research successful business models and borrow ideas from ones that work. There’s no point in re-inventing the wheel.

The same thing goes when you’re playing with ideas of what you want to sell.

2. It might be better to ask yourself “What do people want?” or “What are people already buying?”

It’s a million times easier to sell something they already want than trying to convince them they want it but don’t know it yet. In other words, don’t make it hard for yourself by trying to create a new market for your product/service.

Thanks for reading.

In a future post, I want to talk about and compare some of the best online business models that I’ve used and seen used with success.

Stuart Stirling

p.s. Are you still trying to find a way to make money online or have you got a firm grasp on what business model you want/have? Leave your comment below.

4 Internet Marketing Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes in business, and it’s OK, because that’s how we can improve.

All you need is to realize where you’re going wrong and learn how to fix it.

This article will show you a few mistakes I made (and still make) so you can skip them and succeed faster

4 Big Mistakes You Can Learn From

1. Not having a clear goal.

You might have heard this before…

“If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know where you get there?”

Most of us have an idea of what we want to achieve but until you actually sit down and make really targeted goals, you’ll be wandering around aimlessly.

2. Being too perfect.

Perfectionism is a big hurdle that slows progress big time!

I can be a perfectionist sometimes…but I really wish I wasn’t. Sometimes I’m stuck before I start because I’m trying to make my idea perfect.

But some of my biggest successes have been when I got an idea and ran with it. It wasn’t perfect but it was good enough.

3. Tying to do it all by yourself.

Running your online business by yourself is a big job, as you might already know.

I still do most of my work myself…but I should outsource more.

When I DO outsource, it’s a massive burden off my shoulders. I really recommend it. Even if it’s just small things like getting graphics or articles written, this is where you can really get things done.

4. Not developing skills.

An online business requires you to have computer skills, marketing skills and a whole lot more.

I found that as I learned new skills, like copywriting for example, it helped me write better ads which helped my business grow.

You still might be learning how to use your PC or to type.. and if that’s the case, learn it well!

Your computer is your tool you use to run your business, and if you don’t know how to use it, you can’t run it very well.

It’s like trying to win the F1 and not even knowing how to drive a car.

The more skills you can develop, the more help and service you can provide to your customers.

Remember though, you don’t have to learn how to use every video and photo editing software..or learn php coding… because like I mentioned above, you can outsource that kind of work.

Skills like that can be “borrowed” but skills you might want to develop as an online business owner could be marketing, networking, time management and managerial skills.

———

I hope these little pointers help you avoid some mistakes that could stop you from achieving your dreams of making a living online.

Stuart Stirling