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  • Want to Start Your Own Subscription Box Business?

    Tuesday, May 30, 2017 by
    Start a Subscription Box Business

    The Subscription Box Business Model 101

    Entrepreneurs have a lot of different options for business models they can take on. One that’s become especially common in recent years is offering subscription boxes.  

    How Do Subscription Boxes Work?

    Subscription box businesses offer to send their customers boxes filled with a certain type of product at set intervals. Most commonly, customers pay a set amount to receive a new box at approximately the same time each month. Different companies sometimes tweak the model a bit though. You can offer more or less frequent deliveries, or give the customer an option to pay different amounts some months than others based on what will be in the box. Recommended WordPress Hosting  

    Benefits of a Subscription Box Model

    Subscription box models are becoming more and more common for good reason. They offer some clear benefits to both business owners and customers that make them an attractive business option.     

    1. Consistent Sales

    The main benefit of a subscription box business model is its consistency. With most businesses, you hope to gain loyal customers that will buy from you again and again, but you never really know when you can expect them to make that next purchase. With subscription boxes, you usually have a pretty good idea how many customers will be making a purchase each month and for how much. You can predict your revenue for each month, quarter, and year with far more accuracy than most businesses, which allows you to make smarter decisions in how you allocate your budget throughout the year.  

    2. Committed Customers

    Building relationships with customers is an ongoing challenge for brands. Attracting customers that like your business enough to commit to purchasing on a regular basis is any business owner’s dream. Subscription box companies manage to pull that off by offering the right type of product at the right price point in the right package.  

    3. Opportunities for Personalization

    One of the benefits many subscription box companies provide is a personalized approach to the boxes. Personalization is something many companies hope to pull off, but have a hard time doing well. You need to know a lot about your customers in order to get it right and customers aren’t always prepared to be forthright with their preferences or personal information. Providing that personal information means they’re more likely to like what they get in their box each month, so customers are quicker to offer more detail. That gives subscription box companies the ability to more readily please their customers and further build a positive relationship with them with each box.  

    4. Subscription Boxes are Exciting

    All that explains why businesses love them, but what makes customers eager to make that kind of commitment to a company? There’s something exciting about the anticipation of receiving your box each month. Some companies increase that excitement by adding a surprise element – you won’t really know what you’re getting until you open the box that just appeared on your doorstep. Subscription boxes offer a convenient way to access a type of product you either like or need on a regular basis, and they’re packaged in a way that makes receiving them fun and exciting.  

    How to Make Your Subscription Box Business Work

    As with running any type of business, getting a successful subscription box business off the ground requires getting a few key elements right. If you’re considering a subscription model for your business, here are a few steps to help you make sure the work you put in pays off.  

    1. Find the right product.

    For an ongoing subscription to make sense, you have to be selling something that people are likely to want or need more of every month. There are a lot of products that simply doesn’t make sense for – no one wants to buy a new blender or smartphone every month, for instance. Try to think of items people are likely to buy with some frequency. With so many subscription box companies already out there, finding a niche that’s not already available in the space (or that’s at least underrepresented) can be important too. There are loads of subscription boxes that provide beauty products, but not as many that focus specifically on vegan products. For vegans that like the idea of a beauty subscription box, but feel left out by other options, Vegan Cuts is an obvious choice. Beauty subscription box Focusing on a niche makes it easier to cut through the competition and find a specific audience that will love what you have to offer.  

    2. Know your audience.

    This is important advice for every type of business, but subscription box businesses depend on reaching the exact right customer who will love what you’re offering enough to commit to buying it with regularity. The most successful subscription box services show this clearly in the types of boxes they offer and the way they market their businesses. Signing up for a subscription box service is almost like joining an exclusive club for people that share a particular passion or interest. The people behind BarkBox get this. The first thing you see when you visit the site is a tagline welcoming visitors into the club, in this case one for dog people. Dog subscription box The company knows their audience is made up of people who love dogs – enough to spoil and pamper theirs on a regular basis – so all their marketing is focused on reaching those people and trying to create a connection to them through their shared love of dogs.  

    3. Develop your brand.

    Figuring out your product and audience should go a long way in helping you figure out what your company will be. Now you need to figure out how to communicate what you are to the world. Determine a brand name that both sounds good and communicates what you do to define your positioning in the space. You want to be able to clearly to communicate to anyone who comes to your website what makes you unique and why your box is worth trying. Butcher Box has a name that tells you exactly what it is: a subscription box for meat. Meat subscription box The website makes the company’s positioning clear: you can get high-quality meat delivered straight to your door. Not all subscription boxes have positioning that’s this clear and straightforward, but your goal should be to give your potential customers a clear idea of what they can expect from the subscription within moments of landing on your website.  

    4. Set up a website.

    Every business needs a website. Your customers need to be able to find you on the web to learn what you do and sign up for your service. If you’d like to do some dabbling in the subscription box business model before fully committing, you can list your subscription box idea on Cratejoy. If you'd rather have your business stand on its own instead of piggy backing on another brand, then you should invest in building a website. This gives you more opportunities for communicating your brand’s specific style and positioning, and provides an online space to point your marketing back to. It also signals to potential customers that you’re serious. Having your own online real estate shows you to be a more legitimate, established business.    HostGator Website Builder  

    5. Create a marketing plan.

    The biggest hurdle any new business has to overcome is getting word out to potential customers that the business exists. To get your business on the radar of the people in your target audience, you need to develop a marketing plan. The best tactics and approach to take will depend on the audience you’re trying to reach. If you’re not already familiar with common marketing techniques, then take some time to do some research into online marketing tactics like SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and social media. You’ll probably want to hire people who specialize in each tactic you decide to try and may want to hire a marketing consultant to help you craft an overall strategy, but it helps to understand the basics of good online marketing yourself first.  

    6. Customer service is paramount.

    While marketing is important to attracting the new customers you need to get your business off the ground, customer service is the key to keeping them. Subscription models only work if your customers are consistently happy with your service month after month. Why would they continue to choose your business over and over again if anything about their experience was less than perfect? For that reason, a key part of your business plan must be ensuring that your customer service goes above and beyond. Field to Cup broadcasts upfront that they care about customer satisfaction. Tea subscription box They make it clear on their homepage that anything customers don’t like, they don’t have to pay for. They have a money back guarantee and free tea replacement anytime someone doesn’t like a tea they received. That’s not cheap for a business to offer, but it gives customers the confidence that they’ll always be satisfied with the service.  

    7. Encourage referrals.

    If you play all your cards right, your customers can become some of your best recruiters. A customer who loves your box enough to continue their subscription long term probably loves it enough to recommend it to their friends – especially if you give them a juicy incentive to do so. The snack subscription service Try the World offers customers $15 off their next order if you refer a friend to check the service out. To sweeten the deal, your friend gets a free first box to see if they like it. Food subscription box If you get enough committed customers happy to advocate for your brand, it cuts down on the amount of marketing you have to do to attract new business. For a business model that’s dependent on a good relationship with your customers, it makes sense to encourage those happy customers to help spread the word.  

    Start Your Subscription Box Business!

    The subscription box model can be a great option for many types of businesses. It encourages a closeness between the brand and customer that most business models can’t manage and gives your customers something to get excited about each time you send a new package their way. With the right approach, your subscription box business can thrive.

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  • Become an Infopreneur Using Tutorials

    Wednesday, May 17, 2017 by
    infopreneur tutorials For some people considering entrepreneurship, the best path forward is to become an infopreneur. An infopreneur business is based on selling knowledge rather than physical products; there are a number of forms an infoprenuer’s information products can take. We’ve already covered how infopreneurs can use ebooks to build their business. Now we’re going to look at how to create and use another common information format: tutorials. Tutorials usually take one of two forms:
    • An informative blog post that goes step-by-step through the process of how to do things, usually with helpful photos or screenshots.
    • A video tutorial that shows you (or someone else) going through the steps of how to do something.
    Another option to consider is using both formats for the same tutorial subject, that way your audience can choose the one that best fits their learning style. Janet at Paper + Spark does this for her tutorial on getting sales tax info from Etsy, ensuring she doesn’t alienate or lose any interested viewers based on their preferred format. Paper + Spark While each option requires a different process to create, the end result should provide the viewer with the same thing: actionable information they can use to go and do the thing you’re teaching them.   HostGator Website Builder  

    How to Use Tutorials

    In most cases, infopreneurs use tutorials more as a way to market their business rather than as an information product in and of themselves. You can use them to provide value to your audience on topics related to the subjects covered in your paid information products, like Paper + Ink does above – one of her products is an accounting spreadsheet for Etsy sellers. Accounting Spreadsheet You can use them as a way to show customers the best way to use your information products, like By Regina does for her One-Year Editorial Planner. Editorial Calendar Or you can use them as part of a course you create to sell, which By Regina talks about doing in a post on the multimedia formats to build a course with. Screencasts The point is that there’s not just one way to use tutorials to help build your infopreneur business. They probably won’t be the only information format you use, but when you’re working out a content plan for your infopreneur business, they’re one of the valuable tools you can use to build on and promote your other information products. However you choose to use your tutorials, you have to create them first. Here are the main steps you should take to get it done.  

    Step 1: Determine the tutorial topic(s) your target audience needs help with.

    The first step to creating a tutorial is the same as it is for any information product: you have to figure out the overlap between knowledge you have and information your target audience needs. If you haven’t already, this requires doing some research into who the people in your target audience are and what their needs are. Some needs can be met with informational blog posts or podcasts, but for tutorial ideas you want to pinpoint the needs that are more about doing than knowing. That could mean learning how to do something specific in a popular software program, figuring out how to build something, or learning a way to better organize a process. It shouldn’t be something that’s super easy for them to figure out on their own, and it needs to be something you can break down into specific steps. Make a list of potential ideas and then winnow it down based on relevance to your overall brand and whether or not there are already easy-to-find tutorials on the subject.  

    Step 2: Determine the best format to create your tutorial in.

    As previously mentioned, your main format options are a detailed blog post, a video, or both. For a blog post, you’ll likely want to include either screen shots or photos, based on the topic you’re covering. Screen shots are fairly simple to take, but the process varies based on the type of computer or device you’re using. Here’s a rundown of instructions for each.  As for photos, most smartphones can take decent photos that will suffice for your tutorial, but if you want to step up the quality of the images, you can research affordable cameras to use. For most video tutorials, you’ll need a good recording software that will allow you to capture your screen view, and you may want one that also makes it easy to capture video of yourself as you talk. If your tutorial is on a subject that’s not computer-based, like how to build something or sew something, then you’ll need either a camera to shoot your video with, or should do some research into how to use your smartphone to shoot videos that look high quality. No matter how you shoot your video, you’ll need to edit it as well, so look into and invest in video editing software. Note that some types of screen recording software will also include an editing component, so if you’re doing screen view-style tutorials, you can probably find one product for both recording and editing. Having the right tools to create a high-quality product is important, but if all this is sounding expensive, don’t worry too much.  For the most part, you should be able to get by with affordable products or figure out how to use those you already have when it comes to creating tutorials.  

    Step 3: Go through the process of what you’re teaching and make notes on each step.

    You know how to do the thing you’ll be teaching, but to communicate it to someone else you need to break it down into each individual step required. Sitting down to work out this step will result in the outline you can use to create your tutorial. Go through the whole process yourself and write out a note recording each thing you do. Get as specific as possible here. Even if it seems obvious to you that you have to login to the software first, don’t skip that step. If one of your viewers is doing this for the very first time, they may need to hear all those steps that seem obvious to you.  

    Step 4: Create your tutorial.

    Now that you have your outline, it’s time to turn it into your tutorial. For a blog post, this step is mostly a matter of expanding the outline in writing. You need to add a good intro and conclusion and turn your notes into clearly written, well-formatted instructions. Make sure to include your screenshots or photos at the appropriate moments in the post to illustrate what you’re saying. For video, this part includes a couple extra steps. First, you need to write your script. The script should include both the words you’ll be speaking on the recording and what you’ll be doing as you talk. Then, it’s time to record. You may find you need to record the same thing a few times to get it right, especially if this is your first time making a tutorial like this. Give yourself a few tries and remember that you’ll be able to edit out any parts that didn’t work.  

    Step 5: Edit.

    This stage is important for both written and video tutorials. With written tutorials, it’s generally faster and easier. Proofread your work at least twice and consider if it’s worth hiring a professional editor to give it an additional look. If you don’t hire an editor, ask a friend to review it to check that your instructions are clear even for someone unfamiliar with the topic at hand. Video editing is more time consuming, but the software you bought should let you cut sections and move pieces of the video around as you need to get it right. The particulars of video editing will vary based on the software you use for it, so check the tutorials and other instructional information available from the provider.  

    Step 6: Promote.

    This is the final step of any information product you create. When you take the time to put a high-quality information product together, you need to put at least a comparable amount of time into getting it in front of people or what’s the point? Work your tutorial into the larger promotion plan for your business. Share it on social media. Consider if it’s worth using paid advertising on search engines or social media sites to expand its reach. And make sure you do all the proper tagging on YouTube or on-page optimization on your website to make it easy for your potential customers to find. If your tutorial solves a problem your audience has and no one else has a helpful tutorial out there on the subject, then yours is likely to gain some real traction and help bring people to your business. By helping them, you’ll be helping to build your infopreneur brand, which is what infopreneurship is all about.
  • Become an Infopreneur Using Ebooks

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017 by
    infopreneur ebooks We’ve already covered what an infopreneur is and why it’s a form of entrepreneurship that can pay off for a lot of people. Successful infopreneurship depends on putting together information products that pack a lot of valuable information into the formats people like to consume their information in. And no matter how much content forms like videos and podcasts start to take off, people still like to read. One of the most important formats entrepreneurs have to work with in building an information-based business is the ebook. There are two ways for infopreneurs to use ebooks to build their business:
    • As a free product you offer website visitors in order to build your email list and help grow their trust in your brand.
    • As an information product you sell to make money for your business.
    Some infopreneurs use ebooks for both purposes. Chris Guillebeau offers a few free ebooks he calls manifestos that help curious people learn more about what his brand stands for. Manifestos Many of the people that start with his manifestos then go on to read one (or more) of the books he has for sale that expand on the topics he covers in his free ebooks. Another option is to use your ebooks to sell other information products. That’s one way Mirasee uses theirs. On their website, the first things you see on the homepage are a sign-up prompt for a training session they’re offering, with a trio of free ebooks available for download below. For visitors not quite ready to commit to the paid training session, they have a free option to start with that provides value in and of itself and can help them decide if Mirasee’s paid resources are for them. Mirasee And, of course, you can use other information products to help sell your ebooks. Crazy Little Projects provides sewing tutorials and project ideas as a way to help promote the brand’s ebook on learning how to sew. Crazy Little Projects Finding the right mix between the free informational products you use for promotion and the ones you sell to make money is something every infopreneur will have to figure out on their own, but for a good number of infopreneurs, ebooks will play some role in the process. Here’s what you need to know to create one. HostGator Website Builder  

    Step 1: Identify the best topic(s).

    Before you sit down to start writing, you have to determine a topic that will be worthy of the time and energy you’ll be devoting to it. It has to be something that:
    • You know a lot about (although you should be prepared to do research to learn more).
    • Fits with the infopreneur brand you’re building
    • Is a topic of interest to your target audience
    That last part will be the toughest to figure out, unless you’ve had the chance to talk to people in your target audience and get a feel for the issues and questions on their mind. For most new infopreneurs though, figuring out the right topic will involve doing some research, which brings us to step two.  

    Step 2: Do your research.

    This is a big step and it could be easy to get stuck in if you’re not careful. You may need to do a few different phases of research here. First, if you haven’t yet taken the time to do customer research and create personas, start there. You won’t know what to write for your audience until you know who your audience is. Next, you want to spend some time looking into the information that’s been put out there by other businesses and websites working in a similar information space to the one you’re in. You don’t want to put in all the work of researching, writing, and publishing an ebook, only to realize that there’s another ebook out there on the same subject by a brand with bigger reach than yours. Researching the other brands and people in the space will both provide insights into what your audience is interested in and help you identify the gaps in information that you can help fill. Finally, you need to start doing the research into the topic your ebook is on. Whatever knowledge you already have on the subject, it’s a good idea to double check and supplement it with additional sources. Browse online, buy books on the subject, or head to the library to expand your own knowledge. Then start organizing all that information into an outline that clarifies the shape your ebook will take.  

    Step 3: Get started writing (or hire a writer).

    Once your outline is complete, it’s time to dive in and start writing. If writing isn’t really your forte, it’s ok to look for a professional ghostwriter during this step. You can provide them with your outline, notes, and knowledge to turn into writing gold. Whether you write it yourself or not, you’ll likely find that it’s worth doing additional research as you go. Just don’t let the research become an excuse not to get the writing done. This step will likely take the longest of any of them, but it’s the most important part in having an ebook to release for your business.  

    Step 4: Hire an editor.

    It’s tempting to skip this step, but don’t. When your business is built on information products, every one you produce needs to be top notch. If your writing is sloppy or you let typos through, it makes you look unprofessional and makes the people reading less likely to trust you or return to your business for any additional information. Even if you hired a writer, it’s worth also hiring an editor in order to have a second set of professional eyes that know what to look for on those pages before you take the plunge of publishing.  

    Step 5: Hire a designer to turn it into a proper ebook.

    It’s crucial that the information in your ebook is high quality and well communicated, but it’s also important that it’s presented in a way that’s easy to read and looks good. Good design makes a big difference in the experience your customers will have when reading your book and you want them to come away from it finding every part of the book impressive. For that reason, it’s worth spending a little more to invest in a good designer who can help you with the formatting, overall design, and images you bring into the book.  An ebook that’s intuitively designed and visually appealing will help your readers absorb and retain the information better, and the fact of taking that extra step to make the ebook look good tells them something about your brand and professionalism. A designer can also do the important job of designing you a great book cover that will generate interest in the ebook. Book covers may not be quite as important for your average ebook as they are for the print books people browse in book stores, but they still matter and may help pique the interest of some readers who wouldn’t otherwise check the book out.  

    Step 6: Determine your pricing and promotion plan.

    This isn’t as much work as writing the ebook, but for some infopreneurs it might feel as hard. Pricing is a subject all entrepreneurs have a hard time with, and if anything, it can be trickier for information products than for goods and services. But before you can move forward, you have to make a decision. Will you be using this ebook as a marketing tool, or selling it as a product? And if the latter, how much are you going to charge? At least as importantly, how are you going to let people know your ebook exists and it’s worth their time? No matter how good you make it, writing and publishing an ebook will be worth zilch to you if you can’t get people to read it. Before you go a step further, work out a plan to promote your ebook so you can be sure to get the most out of it.  

    Step 7: Publish.

    The hardest parts are now (arguably) past. You just need to get your ebook out into the world where people can see it. You have a few ways you can do this:  

    Make it available as a PDF for download on your website.   

    If you’re using your ebook as a way to build an email list rather than selling it as a product, then this is probably your best bet.  You can also self-publish to your own website if you’ll be charging for the ebook, as long as you set up a shopping cart on your website that allows visitors to securely purchase products there from you – which is something you should go ahead and do anyway if most of your infopreneur products will be sold through your website.  

    Self-publish to distribution platforms.

    If you’re planning to sell your ebook, you want to get it on as many distribution platforms as possible to help get it in front of potential readers. The biggest player you should use is Amazon. Their Kindle Direct Publishing is fast, easy to use, and free. But they’re not the only distribution platform worth looking into, take some time to research and decide which of the following might be right for you: Keep in mind that using these distribution platforms means your readers find you somewhere other than your own website, which is the hub of your infopreneur business. If you’ll be distributing your ebook on a third-party platform (or several), then make sure you include information in the ebook that encourages readers to check out your website and brand. You don’t want them to have one interaction with you and stop. For your business to thrive, you need people to keep coming back once they find you.  

    Step 8:  Promote

    Finally, you have to get out there and do some marketing. Make use of social media to promote the book. Read up on SEO best practices to make it easier for people to find your website, and keep writing blog posts and other valuable content to help people find and learn about you. Consider if paid advertising on search engines and social media might be worth the cost to expand your reach as well. For the vast majority of infopreneurs, writing a great ebook won’t amount to much unless you put a lot of work in to getting it in front of the right people. But if you succeed, a great ebook could be the information product that puts them on the path toward a long relationship with your brand.
  • Becoming an Infopreneur

    Monday, May 15, 2017 by
    Infopreneur If you’re considering entrepreneurship, you know one of the challenges you’ll have to face is figuring out how to set your business apart. Around 3 million businesses are started each year in the United States, all vying for the attention and pocketbooks of the country’s consumers. In order to succeed, every one of those businesses has to figure out the answer to the question: why would someone choose my business? What makes it special? One path some new businesses are taking to set themselves apart and gain the trust of potential customers is becoming infopreneurs. HostGator WordPress Hosting

    What is an Infopreneur?

    An infopreneur is an entrepreneur who builds a business based on information products. Instead of selling items or services, they sell knowledge. That’s a simple definition, but infopreneurship – as with any type of entrepreneurship –involves a good amount of research, time, and work to do right. But if you have knowledge you know other people can benefit from and are willing to put the work in, becoming an infopreneur can be both profitable and fulfilling.  

    How Becoming an Infopreneur Can Pay Off

    Infopreneurship offers some key benefits in comparison to other types of entrepreneurship.  

    The overhead to get started is low.

    When you’re selling a product, you have to purchase inventory. If your business requires an office or storefront, you have to pay rent every month, along with all the supplies and furniture needed to turn those spaces into a business. An infopreneur doesn’t need to deal with any of those costs. To start an information business, you need a website, time to create information products, and marketing knowledge. You may want to hire some people to help make your information products look or sound good, like a graphic designer or editor, but that’s likely to be the most expensive part. When the financial investment required to get started is low, it keeps your risk low and makes the path to profit faster.  

    Information products usually only need to be created once and can be sold over and over again.

    Creating information products does take a lot of time and work, but once you’ve finished one, you can make money on it again and again – as many times as there are people who want to buy it. Service providers have to continually provide their services, and businesses that sell physical products have to repeatedly buy more inventory to sell.  But if you create something that’s high quality and market it well (that’s the ongoing part), you can profit off the same information product for years to come.  

    You can work from anywhere.

    When your work isn’t tied to any particular office or city, you can work anywhere that has internet. Information products can be created just as easily from a house in Idaho as from a coffee shop in Berlin. Some infopreneurs take advantage of the location independence by traveling all over the world to work, while others like the freedom of staying home and working in pajamas with a dog as their officemate. Any place where you can stay productive is a place you can run an infopreneur business from.  

    The Main Tools of the Infopreneur’s Trade

    There’s not one right path to infopreneurship, but these are some of the most common tools, resources, and product types to consider.  

    An Infopreneur’s Products

    You could share your knowledge on a street corner, but no one is likely to pay you for it. To sell your knowledge, you need to package it in a form that people will want to buy. For most infopreneurs, that means a mix of:
    • Ebooks – An ebook is a lengthy text that provides thorough information on a subject that interests your audience. Before publishing, it’s often worth hiring a graphic designer and editor to make sure your grammar is correct and the ebook looks just right.
    • Tutorials – Tutorials provide step-by-step instructions on how to do something. They’re often videos, but can also be thorough blog posts that include specific instructions and helpful screen shots.
    • Videos – Sometimes videos are tutorials, but not always. Informational videos can take on a wide array of formats including: interviews, presentations and . Just make sure they’re entertaining and packed with valuable information for your audience.
    • Webinars – Webinars are similar to videos in a lot of ways, except that they’re live and interactive. You provide a presentation of valuable information over video conferencing software and take questions as you go.
    • Podcasts – For many information consumers, podcasts are a preferred type of content due to the ability to multitask. Your busy audience can listen to the information you have to offer through headphones while going for a run, or in the car while driving.
    • Courses and Workshops – Probably the largest and most valuable information product of all, courses and workshops combine multiple information products. These are usually best for a more in-depth topic, as courses can often run a span of several weeks.  Courses are difficult to put together and do require some ongoing work helping students as you go, but they’re one of the information products you can usually charge the most for.
    Most successful infopreneurs offer some of their information products for free as a way to promote the business and build trust, then charge for the products that go more into depth or provide extra value in some way.  

    An Infopreneur’s Toolkit

    There are a few things every infopreneur will need to succeed, and a handful of other resources and products worth considering to make your infopreneur business work.

    The necessities:

    • Website – First and foremost, you need a space online where your business will live. Your website will be the cornerstone of your infopreneur business so make sure it’s well designed, you invest in reliable web hosting, and that the style and domain name reflect your brand.
    • Blog – A blog is an important tool to demonstrate knowledge to potential customers and build trust in your infopreneur brand. It’s also an invaluable tool for building your email list.
    • Email marketing software – That email list only matters if you have a means to contact your followers and keep the relationship going. For that, you need an email software like Constant Contact to keep your lists organized, create emails that look good, and track the success of each email you send.
    Those are three resources you should plan on investing in no matter what type of information products you create or what type of information you build your business on. But most infopreneurs will find they need to build up a toolkit with a few additional resources and investments, such as:
    • Distribution platforms like Amazon for ebooks, Udemy for courses, YouTube for videos, and iTunes for podcasts.
    • Products to help you produce higher quality information products, such as good microphones for recording podcasts or editing software for videos.
    • Resources needed to learn and do marketing for your business like SEO, PPC, and social media.
    • The services and products most businesses need, like a computer and accounting software.
    This post really just covers the barebones basics of creating an infopreneur business. If your interest is piqued and you think infopreneurship might be for you, check back soon for more posts that will get into the particulars of how to create and promote different types of information products.
  • How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017 by
    Optimize Google My Business Listing Tips SEO is expensive, competitive, and hard. But as a local business, you have something significant going for you: your pool of competition is much smaller than the ones national and international brands have to deal with. Your website doesn’t need to be found by everyone; you just need to be found by the people who live in your community. If you get that right, the results can be significant. Half of consumers that do a local search on their smartphone end up visiting a store they found there that same day. When people do a search in Google, they’ll see a map and a list of the top three local listings that are nearby, before they see any other results. Austin Google Search In local searches like this one, users get plenty of information on those top three choices right away - they can see both how other customers have rated each of them and exactly how far away they are. For most consumers, that’s enough information to make a decision and head out, without ever bothering to scroll further down. For local businesses, that means that while making sure your website is optimized for search engines matters, making sure that your Google My Business Listing is optimized matters at least as much. HostGator WordPress Hosting  

    1. Set up your Google Business Listing (if you haven’t yet).

    The first step is to set up (or claim) your Google My Business Listing. Go to Google’s My Business page and click “Start Now” in the upper left corner. Then fill in every relevant field that Google offers. You want to make sure the profile is as complete as possible and that every piece of information is accurate.
    Google BusinessGoogle Business Map

    2. Choose a relevant, specific category.

    The category you choose will help Google decide which searches your local listing belongs in. You have to choose from the list of available categories, you can’t create your own. If there’s not a specific category that describes what your business is, settle on a more general one that still describes it accurately. If possible though, you want to go for the most specific category available. “Grocery Store” is a more competitive term than “Gourmet Grocery Store” or “Indian Grocery Store.” The latter categories are more likely to land you in the top three for relevant searches, especially if you’re in a city with a lot of grocery stores. Google Business Category

    3. Load quality, high-resolution images.

    Photos help your listing to stand out and give potential customers a glimpse of what to expect.  Make sure you use high-quality images that make your business look good and show off your products (if you sell physical products). Consider hiring a Google approved photographer to create a 360-view virtual tour of your business for customers. According to Google, listings that have a virtual tour and photos generate twice as much interest as those without. Photography Google Business  

    4. Make sure your information matches everywhere else.

    One thing Google’s algorithm looks at to verify the legitimacy of a listing is a consistency in how it’s listed across different websites. While that seems simple enough – your address is the same each time you enter it somewhere – it’s easy for little differences to slip in. Maybe you wrote out the Road part of the street name one time, and shortened it to Rd another time, for instance. Pick a standard way to write out your address, a consistent phone number to use, and make sure all your listings match both each other and the information you provide on your website. And work on getting your website listed in as many relevant directories as possible.  

    5. Use a local number.

    In addition to keeping your phone number consistent between your different listings, it’s also important to use a phone number with a local area code. That’s one extra signal to Google that you are actually local. Make sure the number you use for your Google My Business listing is also displayed somewhere on your home page or whatever landing page you link to from your Google listing.  

    6. Avoid penalty-inducing offenses.

    Any work you do to optimize your website or local listing will be for naught if you incur a penalty. Google suspends business listings for a range of offenses. Getting suspended is stressful, confusing, and bad for business, so it’s best to avoid doing anything that puts you at risk of it. Read through Google’s guidelines for Google My Business listings so you have a full understanding of what not to do. Some of the main things to avoid are:
    • Using a URL that redirects to your website’s URL, rather than the actual URL itself.
    • Trying to awkwardly add keywords into your business name field.
    • Having multiple local listings for the same business location.
    • Using any address for your business that isn’t a physical storefront or office space where you meet with customers.
    Use common sense and don’t try to play the system or get extra listings and you’ll probably stay on the right side of Google.  

    7. Encourage reviews.

    You’ll notice that the local businesses listed in the map snippet of a local search usually have star ratings next to their name. Google wants to provide the most useful information to its users, and users want to find the nearby business that seems the best. In both cases, it benefits your business to have a high star rating. Ask your happy customers to take a few minutes to give you a review on Google. Include an encouragement on promotional materials you hand out or put up in your store. A gentle nudge or a reminder of how much it means for your business can make your loyal customers that much more likely to take the time to say a few kind words about you.  

    8. Make sure your website and content is optimized for search.

    All the usual SEO advice that helps strengthen the authority of your website in the eyes of Google matters here too.  So don’t focus on optimizing your local listing to the exclusion of optimizing your website as well. Make sure that you: A strong website that’s optimized for both your customers and search engines will be that much more likely to make it into the list of the top three in a local Google search. Local SEO takes some time and work, but the payoff can be big. You want to be easy to find when someone in your city is looking for what you sell, and Google is the best way to get in front of your customers at that exact moment. Don’t let the opportunity slip by because you didn’t take the time to properly optimize your Google My Business listing.