All posts by Rich Thurman

8 Facts You Need To Know About Drop Shipping

Like with most businesses, profit margins vary when it comes to drop shipping. It will depend on the company, their fees, and the products, and can range from 5% with electronics to 100 percent when it comes to accessories. When it comes to drop shipping versus doing it yourself, you may find that you save a lot of money drop shipping when you factor time into the equation.

First, let’s go over the type of fees that a drop shipper often charges:

Monthly Memberships - Many drop shippers charge a membership fee to allow you access to the products. However, while some legitimate companies have a fee, there are those without the fee too. Let the monthly fee be a potential warning of a possible scam wholesaler before joining - but not the only warning.

Per Order Costs - Most drop shippers charge a fee each time they ship out an order to you, to help them cover the cost of shipping and packaging. This is usually a low fee of fewer than 5 dollars per item.

Monthly Minimum Fee - You may also face a charge if you don’t sell a certain dollar amount of items each month. This is where the monthly fee may come into effect before you’re up and running, but then once you are making regular sales the fee is waived if you’re selling a certain amount.

Restock Fee - Some drop shippers charge you a restocking fee if your customer returns an item. Sometimes they charge this to your customer and sometimes they charge you both a small fee for restocking.

Now, let’s look at the type of expenses and time commitment you may face if you do it yourself:

Storage Fees - You will need a place to house any items that you will sell to your customers. Depending on the size and storage requirements, this can get expensive.

Purchasing Costs - You will have to buy the merchandise first, which can be pricey to stock enough products. Then you might overbuy and have to sell at cost - or worse, be left with inventory that you can’t sell.

Packing Costs - These costs can be expensive and will go up as your business starts selling more. Tape, packaging materials and more will cost you more money than it costs through a drop shipping company due to the volume pricing they get on these supplies. Plus, you’ll need to hire help or do it yourself, which can be very expensive.

Shipping Costs - While you will pass on some of those costs to your customer, you’ll pay more for shipping from the wholesaler to you, and then from you to your customer, which can cut into your profits.

When you add in the cost of your time to do all of these things, you can clearly see that starting a drop shipping business is normally going to be less expensive and suck up less of your time than doing it yourself. Why would you bother doing it yourself when you have so many options?

GoSpiffy Review

Spiffy is a must have tool if you are serious about conversion optimization AND you use Infusionsoft.  What most people do not understand is that there is a difference between “mobile friendly” and “mobile optimized.”  The truth is that Infusionsoft order forms are only “mobile friendly,” so there are many elements that while they show up on the mobile browser, they are hard to click, see, and use.  This leads to a poor mobile experience and will hurt your conversions.

In today’s world, there are more and more people using mobile devices for everything.  Don’t believe me?  Are you using your phone to read this article right now?  If you are not, I bet you that your phone is with-in arms reach right now.  I would even bet you that your phone is with-in arms reach when you are sleeping!

What Spiffy does is actually pretty cool and Infusionsoft originally instead wasn’t even possible…in fact, a lot of people said that it wasn’t possible.  Well, what is it doing?  What Spiffy does is uses JQuery client-side scripting to re-render the entire HTML DOM so that it is mobile compliant, giving a seamless end-user experience on both desktop and mobile devices.  It’s awesome because you as the user can just WYSIWYG your order form and have it load on any device just as you want it with-out having to do any coding AND having the order page hosted by Infusionsoft so that you are compliant with all the PCI, and other merchant rules that we all have to follow.

I have tested with many different projects and every time, Spiffy has made all the difference in increasing conversions.  I use Spiffy for all my order forms and I require all my clients to use it as well.

You can check out Spiffy here:  http://gospiffy.com/tag

PlusThis Review

PlusThis is one of the most trusted and used addons for marketers. We use it extensively where at Think, Automate, Grow.  We also have all of our clients implement many of the PlusThis features in their advanced and automated marketing funnels.  Founded by two of Infusionsoft’s past executives, PlusThis is guided by innovators in the add-on space. In addition, it is rated as one of the top three Infusionsoft apps on the marketplace with over 99+ five star reviews.

Increase Conversions

You can use PlusThis to pull off clever marketing tactics from the top internet marketers without having to hire your own developer.  PlusThis lets you get more conversions with simple tools that let you…

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    Create expiring offers
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    Add a countdown timer
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    Trigger automation based on watching videos, replying to an email and more

Save Time

PlusThis allows you to automate the tedious parts of your business and save you tons of time in your marketing processes.  Some ways PlusThis helps you save time include…

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    Syncing Facebook Audiences without the need to export your lists back and forth
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    Run GoToWebinars from your CRM without juggling lists
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    Setup an evergreen launch without having to change out links or pages once they’ve expired

Save Money

With Plusthis you pay one low monthly fee for access to 50+ features and amazing free live support.  PlusThis saves you money on having to purchase a separate app for…

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    Sending SMS messages
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    Syncing Facebook Custom Audiences and Lead Ads
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    GoToWebinar Integrations
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    Countdown timers and more

What We Can Learn from Famous Branding Fails

Most marketing blunders can be traced directly to a lack of audience knowledge and forget to put them first. Audiences and customers want to know what’s in it for them and want to know that you get them. They do not want to be confused by your message and feel unheard. Here are some famous marketing blunders that we can learn from:

  • Coke versus New Coke: The audience liked regular coke, there was no complaint about the flavor and they had a large market share. New Coke is a good example of not listening to your audience and moving in your own direction without any thought. You must keep your audience in mind when you are creating any type of product.
    Coke customers were already happy.
  • Badly Named Diet Candy: In the 70s a very popular diet candy called Ayds came onto the market. Shortly after, in the early 80s, a horrible disease called AIDS was sweeping the nation. If the makers had kept their ears to the ground regarding trends in the news, they could have quietly changed their name and marketed the candy with the new name.
  • Bad Imagery: Choosing the right images for your marketing campaigns are very important. Think about what happened to The Beatles, ‘Yesterday and Today’ Album with their poor choice of cover. They got rid of the chopped up bloody dolls and switched album covers after the backlash. Again, you have to know your audience. Obviously chopped up and bloody babies is not a good image for The Beatles’ audience.  **Link to original cover – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yesterday_and_Today#/media/File:The_Beatles_-_Butcher_Cover.jpg
  • Underestimating the Creepy Factor: You’ve seen the Burger ‘King’ commercials, right?  The King comes into a person’s room, in their beds, and in otherwise private moments, and it is just wrong and creepy. The consensus for this commercial was ‘ick’ and soon the King was gone. Humor is a good thing to use, but you must understand your audience and the type of humor they have.
  • Being Insensitive to Various Groups: In the famous Snickers commercial, Mr. T. bullies and makes fun of a speed walker for his choice of exercise and literally shoots him with Snickers bars. This commercial was not funny and did not bring home the message of a yummy, filling, peanut-filled snack to give you energy. Instead, it made people angry and they did not even notice the product. Your audience is first; product placement needs to make them feel good about using it.
  • Going Too Far with a Joke:  You are likely familiar with Skittles Pox and while those commercials are funny, the first foray into “Touch the Rainbow” campaigns was not as funny. A commercial about a man who can not touch anything, including his grandson due to turning everything into Skittles is not funny. It would be funnier if non-living things turned to Skittles instead of killing people.  Death never translates well in marketing messages.
  • Using Bad Puns as Marketing: Maybe it was on purpose, maybe not, but when Disney Garden came out with Hannah Montana ‘Red Cherries,’ it did not go over too well. It is very important to ensure that your message is not made into a bad joke. This, of course, starts with knowing your audience, understanding modern meanings for words, and testing your message.

Most marketing companies do not mean to make bad puns, turn their company into a joke, or have the point of their advertisements missed altogether. But, it does happen. And as you can see, it happens to large corporations with experts who should know better. Maybe it just goes to show that you can not get to know your audience enough, or keep your ear to the ground enough, or test your messages enough.

How to Turn Picky Shoppers into Buyers

Most shoppers are picky these days. In the history of business, it has never been harder to get someone to buy from you, but when you do, it can be easy to get them to buy again, and again.  People are turned off by the hard sell and by many of the tactics used by professional sellers. But, the fact is that some of the tactics work. If they did not work, people would not do them. Here are a few tried-and-true practices you can use to turn shoppers into buyers.

 

  • Nurture the Relationship – Get them to sign up for an email list to receive news about your products and or services. This works for bricks-and-mortar businesses and digital businesses alike. People like feeling special and getting special notice of sales and events happening surrounding the products they like.
  • Automate Your Processes – Thankfully, you can put things on autopilot with the right email marketing software like Infusionsoft. These systems allow you to send people information automatically, leading them through the buying cycle with information that they long for.
  • Consider Pop-Ups – Yes, some people hate them, but the truth is they DO work. They increase sales by more than 20% in some cases. You can make beautiful pop-ups using software like ThriveThemes.com, which helps you create converting sales pages and pop-ups.
  • Retarget Website Visitors – A really useful feature of online marketing today is the ability to put a cookie on your web site that any visitors automatically receive on their computer. Then when they go to Facebook or Google, the things they left in their cart, or the things they looked at, are shown to them again.
  • Always Include a CTA – You would be surprised at how many people forget the CTA. This includes actual bricks-and-mortar stores. If a sales person does not ask for the sale, or you do not send them a reminder of what they want, you may not make the sale.
  • Incentivize Your Sales Process – Give your customers incentives to buy. The more they buy, the larger the discount. Let them have an opportunity with each purchase to win their purchase.  Give the 1000th buyer a prize!
  • Encourage Referrals – Ask current customers to recommend and refer their friends and family and earn incentives. You can do it by points, by monetary reward or any number of ways, but make sure they want to refer you and that they are real customers.
  • Add a Live Chat – When you sell high-priced items, it is a good idea to have a live chat open at least part of the day to help people with questions that they have. A live chat can push shoppers over the edge to purchasing.

Turning picky shoppers into buyers will work on all your customers and future customers. It is important to know your audience and then leave no stone unturned to make those sales effortless.

Jump Start your Business by Networking Locally

Networking is one of the cornerstone elements of a business.  In today’s world, even if you only have only an online business, you should not overlook your local market. Networking locally will likely be an amazing way to jump-start your business. It doesn’t matter whether you are selling a product or a service; there are people local to you who likely need and want what you are offering. What is more, is that it is easier to market to local people than you think.

 

  • BNIBusiness Networking International is a networking group that enables local people to get together to help refer business to each other. Usually, the way it works is that only one person representing each type of business is in each networking group. There is a steep fee for being involved, but most people who stick to it report that it is worth it.
  • Chamber of Commerce – Your local Chamber can offer you a lot more than you might think. As an owner of any type of business, there is a special need for your involvement in your chamber. You can go to business after-hours events, volunteer to help with ribbon cuttings, send out flyers to other business owners and more.
  • Niche Groups – Even locally you will find some niche groups such as local blogger clubs, network meetings and more that can help you find like-minded individuals or customers. You can even start your own niche groups.
  • MeetupMeetup is an online service that helps you meet with people locally. You can find a lot of groups and events via this service that is relevant to your local networking needs.
  • Local Mastermind Groups – Look through your local college or university to find local mastermind groups that can help you reach the next level in your business. If you are a woman, look for women-owned business networks.
  • Teach a Course – Why not start your own networking events by teaching a course to others?  You can usually rent a space relevantly inexpensively; place an advertisement in your local newspaper and via other networking groups to teach something important to local people.
  • Host a Workshop – Once you get involved, other people will ask you to host workshops with them.  Joining forces with others is always helpful and can help you get known as a local expert.
  • Sponsor an Event – There are many local events that need sponsors. This can cost a little bit of money, but having your business name as a sponsor for a major event in your town can make a huge difference in brand awareness.
  • Volunteer for a Cause – While you should not volunteer only to get your name out there, it is still a good way to add to the knowledge others have about you. Choose a cause you like without thought to sales, but only to help the local community get to know you while you do something helpful for a cause you care about.

Networking your business or online business locally can help you either get jump-started or help you get out of your comfort zone to become a well-known expert in your niche.

9 Common Email Marketing Mistakes You Are Making

Email marketing is very effective. Some people believe that email marketing is literally the most effective form of marketing that ever existed. But, you may be missing a lot of opportunities from this form of marketing if you’re not setting everything up right.  Here are 9 things that you can check right now…

  1. Untargeted List: If you’ve spent time building your list using lead bait that is not targeted and focused enough, you may have a lot of freebie seekers on your list. To clear your list, run an aggressive and targeted campaign to get them to pay attention and if they don’t, cycle them off your email list.
  2. Meaningless “From” Name: Set up a “from” name that makes sense to your email recipients. Many people use their real name, and this has proved to be one of the best choices. You can also make it personal by using a name that means something to the audience like ‘Your Life Coach’ or something that speaks to them in that way.
  3. Weak Subject Lines: Most people don’t open emails that they feel are to sales oriented. Therefore, put something in the subject line that directly tells them what’s inside, and makes them want to read more. Break up your list and test at least two different subject lines to see what works best.
  4. Poorly Worded Opening Sentence: Most people view part of your messages on the view screen of their email software. What do they see when looking? Make it interesting enough right up front so that they want to open it to read more.
  5. Lack of Personalization: Even when audiences know that personalization is automated, they still prefer it over the lack of it. Personalization increases click-through rates enormously. Make sure it is working properly. Wrongly coded personalization is worse than no personalization. Test your messages.
  6. Broken Links: Nothing is worse than having a great message, a perfect call to action, fabulous subject lines and getting people to click through… and the link is broken. That’s why testing messages before sending them out are very important for your success with email marketing.
  7. Not Using Analytics: Your email marketing software offers the ability to test much different analytics, from open rates to click-through rates, and more. Learn how to set it up to work for you so that you can use that information to improve your marketing.
  8. Emails That Are Too Long: While long blog posts are a big deal today, long emails aren’t. People get bored reading emails that don’t get to the point. Avoid emails that are much longer than 450 to 500 words.  Get to the point.
  9. Bad Formatting:  This is yet another reason to test how your emails look on a variety of systems. Make sure you check for formatting issues. Formatting that makes the email hard to read, lack of word wrapping, and unresponsive messages ALL lose clicks.

If you’re making any of these mistakes, you can start right now fixing these problems. The hardest one to fix is the proper targeting of your market, but the rest can be fixed today with just a few tweaks.

Easy Ways to Boost Sales for Quick Cash!

Sometimes you just need to make some extra cash and make it fast. You already have products and/or services that you market to your audience and there is no time to come up with something new. So, how can you boost sales for quick cash without adding anything new or doing anything time-consuming?

  • Add Complementary Services: Figure out how you can make the item even more desirable to the audience by adding a complementary service or product to the original offering. For example, if you have a services business, up the ante by adding a little extra work to the service.
  • Extend Your Demographic: While normally you want to niche down your offerings to a very specific crowd if you can offer the same items to another audience without many changes, do it now.
  • Enter a Joint Venture: Getting access to other people’s email lists and audience, is the main reason for entering into a joint venture. Get with some other people who offer complementary products or services to yours and host a webinar together.
  • Have a Limited Time Bundle Sale: Mix and match your products or services in a brand new way for a limited time. Make it something that your audience will really want and that they really need, and you’ll have a winning combination.
  • Incentivize Your Affiliates: If you have affiliates or sales partners, give them a big incentive to start selling more. A prize for selling a certain amount, or for selling the most, will encourage them to promote you even more.
  • Offer Extras to Your Existing Clients: If you have a client list, reach out to them with a special sale for only existing clients. Ask them to double their order for 1/2 off of the second order, or some other discount you can afford to offer.
  • Accept New Payment Methods: If you’re currently only offering limited payment methods, find out from your audience with a survey what other options they’d like. Sometimes just giving them a new way to pay makes all the difference.
  • Offer Payment Plans: If you have a high priced item, offer a limited time payment plan, or sign up for PayPal credit so that your customers can get what they want today without having the full amount of money.

These easy ways to boost sales for quick cash can make a huge difference in your business and your bottom line. You’ll find that you can actually give yourself a raise anytime you want to use any of these methods.  One final thought, look at reducing costs as well, check out the ins and outs of drop shipping.

How to Make Improvements in Client Interactions

Nothing is more important than ensuring that the communication you have with your clients is productive. There are many ways to communicate with a client. They encompass words and actions. Sometimes the words are spoken and sometimes they are written. But for all communication, your actions speak volumes above the words that you use. Ensure that your actions back up your words for the most effective form of communication.
Here are some tips:

  • Engage with Clients -There are numerous ways you can engage with your clients, from a private Facebook group, to open office hours, to weekly Skype calls, to answering emails quickly. The more you can engage with your clients and the more they feel that you’re open to communication, the better.
  • Show Empathy to Your Clients – Sometimes, especially when a client is complaining about something, it can be hard to be empathetic. But, you must always put yourself in your client’s shoes and look at things from their perspective in every interaction. When a client reacts badly to something, don’t respond to their poor behavior; respond to the actual problem. They’ll feel heard and it will help.
  • Ask Clients for Feedback – A great way to open up communication with your clients is to show them some of your half-finished work and ask their opinion on it. That might be scary because they might respond going in a new direction than you thought, but it can help make them more satisfied with your work.
  • Ask Questions Directly to Your Clients – Don’t be afraid to ask your clients direct questions about anything you’re working on with them. Ask them if they liked your work, how they’d improve it, and what suggestions they have for future work together.
  • Solve Their Problems – Be proactive with your clients and when you see a problem that they have that you can solve, or you know who can solve it, share that with them. Clients want their problems solved and even if they don’t take your advice, they’ll appreciate your knowledge and expertise.
  • Act as Educator -You’re an expert in your niche and your clients should view you that way in order to have a good relationship. Feel free to educate them on the area you have your expertise in. They’ll appreciate your voice as an expert.
  • Create Better Contracts – If you do have contracts with your clients, then the best way to make your communication work is to work on perfecting your contracts. When an issue comes up with one client, be sure to take that as education on how to make the contract with the next client even better.
  • Be Free with Your Opinion – The worst thing you can do is not give your client your opinion. You want to work with people who value your opinion, so be sure to give it. Always state that it”s your opinion with some facts to back it up. Make it clear that they can go in whatever direction they want, but this is your expert opinion.
  • Always Be Yourself – Don’t try to put on someone else’s personality. Only you can be you, and that’s who your clients hired. Keep being yourself always. Even if it’s scary sometimes, and even if a client might let you go due to who you are, those who stick with you will be a joy.
  • Send Them a Survey – Follow up with your clients at least yearly with a survey asking them about your work, products, and services. Having this yearly feedback will help you do better in the future with them and other clients.

Taking some time each year to review past communications with clients, analyze how you could do better, and working on improving will go far in helping you become an even bigger success.

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