41 Money Management Tips I’ve Learned

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Mar 15, 2011

When I started helping people with their websites and Internet marketing strategy back in 1996, I immediately started getting occasional emails from designers and programmers wanting to know how I could possibly charge more than $10/hour for my services.

A few years later when I formed the official company, HereNextYear, Inc., I’d get a few emails a month asking, “How can you possibly be in business doing this Internet stuff as long as you have been?”

I still get those questions occasionally, but it’s interesting that more and more people are emailing me now with money management and investing related questions these days.

“Marty, do you suggest I get a ROTH IRA?”
“Marty, did you start your business with a bank loan? If so, how did you get one?”
“Marty, should I get one credit card for my business and keep increasing my limit or get more cards?”

ACK!!!! I am no certified financial planner!

Want to know a secret? I’m much better at answering questions about “selling” than I am about money.

I love to make money online, and love to share what I’ve learned with people about Internet marketing (Checkout my Web Marketing Book discussion page on facebook and click the “Like” button and then post any Internet marketing question on my wall and I will reply) but admittedly, I can’t say I’m the best money manager after I get it.

As my business has grown over the past 15 years, half of me has become more interested in becoming a better money manager and the other half has been forced into improving my money management skills.

Managing money and investing it are two things I rely on other people to help me make the right decisions. And, as you’ll see in one of the points below, is that “wealthy families ALWAYS have someone they trust to help them make financial decisions.”

So, I have three objectives for this blog post where I will:

1. Give you a slew of one-liners that I’ve learned about credit, getting business funding, and even investing in my kid’s and grandkid’s futures.

2. Introduce you to three people I completely and whole-heartedly trust with giving me suggestions about money and what to do with it.

3. Provide you with resources for you to consider that are offered by each of the three guys I’m introducing to you.

Please don’t take these points as some kind of promise that you’re going to make a million bucks next year because of it. This post isn’t about that. I’m no certified financial planner. I’m not offering you any advice that is so specific that you can go “do it” and make or lose money as a result.

I’m not trying to lure you into my financial practice either…because, haa, I don’t have one! Have I said it enough yet that I’m noooo financial planner???

Each of the people I’m introducing to you…well, yes, they each offer specific resources for you to consider and I’m going to give you links to those resources. But, I’m giving you those resources because you need to include them in your business and life plan. Simple as that.

One of those things where you should just “do it” and thank me later….

Let’s get started…

I’d like to introduce you to Darrell Hornbacher.

He started a company called Midas Financial more than 5 years ago and he’s known by literally everyone in my circle as the go-to guy for advice on credit and business funding.

He asked me a few years ago to be on his team to create a national conference to educate people about business funding + marketing.

It was so successful, we did two that year!

When the subject of credit or business loans comes up when I’m talking with a client, I practically demand they call Darrell immediately if they don’t already know about him.

A Few Money Management Tips I’ve Learned from Darrell Over the Years

Money Management Topic I: CREDIT

1. High credit card balances negatively affect credit scores more than anything. I’ve even heard of people taking on part-time jobs just to pay off their credit cards because they know how important it is to get those babies paid off!

2. Be careful of home equity lines of credit as they can destroy your credit score.

3. Paying off old “delinquent” debt actually hurts your credit score.

4. Having too much revolving debt is bad for your credit even if you pay all your bills on time.

5. Pulling your own credit report does NOT hurt your score.

6. If you have bad credit, you simply have to get someone to help you re-build your credit and improve your credit with absolute strategy and timing. Feel free to call Darrell and ask him about the credit re-building process and tell him Marty sent you. Or, you can go right to the tool that Darrell sends all his clients to Credit Builders

This resource, by the way, has helped 25,000 clients repair their credit. They have NEVER (and never is a big word) had a Better Business Bureau complaint. It’s also the ONLY credit repair company to have an A rating with the BBB! There’s even a “no-risk” promise.

So, sure, if you give their program a whirl, I’m going to get a little commission from it. But don’t let that deter your action. I’m simply referring a tool to you that was referred to me. And, that’s just smart networking.

7. Closing old unused accounts will hurt your credit score because it takes away from your history. In fact, you could get 5 points knocked off your score because your history is gone.

8. Making only minimum payments can hurt your score.

9. Delayed payments could impact your ability to get more credit, not because you’re a delinquent payer, but because you have a reputation for waiting until the last minute to pay.

10. Every time someone pulls your credit report (like a dealership if you’re buying a car), your credit score reduces by 3 points. But, if you have multiple credit inquiries within a 10-business-day period, you’ll only lose 3-5 points ONCE to cover all the reports made during that time frame. So, if you’re going to shop around for a car, be sure to do it with a 10-day period!

What should you do now that you know what Darrell has taught me about credit? I suggest you start improving your own credit with the credit building system he recommends to his own clients.

Note that if you do sign-up for this particular credit building program, I’m going to get a little cut from it. Let me know if you do sign-up and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and a muffin! But, it’s something I have to let you know about…but there’s more!

Once you have improved credit, then and only then can you start thinking about business funding. So, here are…

Ten More Crucial Money Management Tips for Getting Business Funding

Money Management Topic II: CREDIT

11. Applying for numerous credit cards over an extended period of time is a big no no to your credit score. You can get multiple credit cards…there’s just a method to it so that your credit doesn’t suffer in the process. This is the ONLY website we trust where Darrell and I send our clients to get business credit cards.

12. The loan business IS coming back. Loan makers ARE opening up. All politics aside, the stimulus bill is actually working, so this IS a good time to get a loan.

13. “Well prepared” consumers are going to get more money in their loan attempts, not just the well qualified business owners.

14. Unsecured lines of credit have come back in the past two months, but they’re not giving as much money as they did before. And, they’re now checking business credit scores where this was not nearly as common practice as before.

15. Business credit, in the near future, will be as important as your personal credit. So, be careful what you use those company credit cards for and how fast you pay them off.

16. People are being denied business loans because they don’t even have a “business credit score” because they’re running their business using personal credit credit cards.

Just a side note here: You can get a $150K loan without producing a business plan, without using your social security number, all under your EIN number. This process was invented by Donald Trump and is why his credit has stayed stellar through all the bankruptcies…because of his business credit. This is the same method I used to get $105K available for my business in about 3 weeks.

17. Choose your business wisely and think ahead to the days when you will be seeking credit and loans. Many lenders have a diverse reaction to different types of businesses.

18. Business money is available to all types of business in many different fashions beyond the traditional “bank loan” you’ve always heard about. You just have to be introduced to the right person that can help you identify which funding type is right for you.

19. The worst way to attempt to get a loan is to go into a bank by yourself without a professional at your side to represent your interests and talk the talk of the lender.

So, Darrell’s thing, obviously, is to help you get the money you need for your business so that you can have the proper resources to grow your business.

What happens when you have the money from your business growth?

I have to admit that I’ve never been much of a fan of IRA’s or the 401(k) plan. After watching so many horror stories over the past two years of people having to cash-in, or their planned retirement values have reduced by 75% or even more on some CNN reports, I’m even more skeptical.

But, let’s get beyond the discussion of what you would expect to hear from a financial planner…because, remember? I’m NOT a certified financial planner! So, I’m not going to give you any financial strategy advice here. I’n not going to tell you what stocks to pick or what company to invest in.

But, I am going to introduce you to Jim Lorigo.

Jim Lorigo is the only person I’ve ever met that is certified in every state of the U.S. to sell annuities.

That means a couple of things. He didn’t start in this business just yesterday. And, he has one serious devotion to the industry if he went through the brain damage to get certified in every state!

Anyway, Jim has two main missions in life. One is to help me keep more of my money instead of paying it all in taxes. The second is to help me pass on what I don’t spend to my family…and that should be tax free too.

So, for the next few moments, clear your mind of everything you might have heard about long-term money.

Money Management Tips I’ve Learned from Jim

Money Management Topic III: INVESTING

20. There’s a myth behind annuities where most people think they are risky and can lose money. Since annuities are a contract between you and some insurance company out there, well, I guess there could be risk if you go with an insurance company that has a low or bad rating. But if you know the right people (like Jim) who know the right annuities that are with the right insurance companies, it’s the RISK that goes out the window and not your cash.

21. There are several different types of annuities to consider and it makes a big difference whether you pick the right one or not.

22. I knew annuities are tax deferred but what I didn’t realize until recently is that there are ways to pass that money onto your family…tax free!

23. IRA’s are taxable but, like annuities, there are strategies that allow tax free money to be passed on to your family.

24. I’ve always known about the ROTH IRA but what I didn’t realize until I dug deeper was that ALL gains are tax free with the ROTH.

25. CD’s are still a viable option afterall, but only in situations where you are satisfied with low returns.

26. It’s actually pretty easy to find the highest CD rate. All you have to do is go to BankRate.com

27. You must learn how to protect your assets because we live in a country that is SUE Happy!

28. The average person needs $70,000 each YEAR to handle their long term care costs. Again, that’s AVERAGE. Do you have a spare $100,000 or 2 lying around in case something happens? I think we all need to be thinking bigger as to how much money we really need to make today and over the next few years.

29. Whatever age we are now, we should all be planning for a “lifetime income.” Annuities are the only product that can guarantee a lifetime income.

30. Building a completely “tax free” wealth is not only possible, but lots of people are doing it right now by learning how the wealthy pass on money to their families…tax free.

31. The most important tip of wealthy families I’ve learned is that they all have professionals to guide them in financial planning.

32. I shouldn’t just be thinking of leaving money for my kids but leaving money specifically for my grand children’s education by setting aside assets that I do NOT need for income.

33. Probate is best described as a legal process that takes place after someone dies.This court supervised legal process includes determining the validity of your will, gathering of your assets, paying your debts and taxes. From what I hear, probate is a long and time sucking process. Apparently there are steps you can take to reduce or even totally eliminate probate…depending on your specific situation of course. Now, I don’t need to know what those steps are today, but I know the person to go to when I do need them. Do you have that someone in your hip pocket?

34. A living trust is a legal entity that is able to own property and other assets. The trust is a legal agreement defining how assets are going to be managed and distributed. Spend the time now to get living trusts for your parents and you and your significant others because things get a lot more difficult after a person dies.

35. I’m a ways away from being 62, but I thought once someone turns that age, they immediately sign-up to get Social Security checks. I’ve learned there are a whole slew of conditions for when to start getting your Social Security. Again, know the right person to go to when it’s time to ask the questions.

Jim Lorigo is the guy to ask.

I suggest you go to LeaveMoreLegacy.com where you can sign-up to get a free mini-book that gives a better overview of his methods. And, in the event that you pick up the phone to call him for a consult, know in advance that by law I cannot receive any commission from any services sales he makes.

And, that brings me to my third introduction. The man’s name is Ned Snead. He’s 82 and lives in Texas. He told me last week that he was once considered one of the best computer programmers in the region…and that was before we all had computers on our desks!

Ned is a fascinating person. He’s currently a partner of a $40MM/year business. He sits on the board of a major railroad. He’s an inventor, a father, a grandfather, a writer, occasional speaker, and even started a Foundation. He’s just one of those guys we can all aspire to be like and live like.

You just really need to know Ned.

I asked Ned to give me…

…A Few Choice Money Management Tips from his e-book called
Prosperity-21, currently selling through Amazon’s Kindle Store on Amazon for Kindle.

Money Management Topic IV: MONEY FOR LIFE

Here were his responses:

36. If you start with a hundred of Uncle Sam’s dollars, you could lose $99.75 in four
hours at a slot machine; lose $89.50 in a month on the lottery; lose $50.00 in 12 years just to inflation.

Meaning: By not planning and allowing inflation to take its toll, you are gambling just the same as you would be in Vegas.

37. Spend less each month than you collect. Then, invest your savings where you can get it back any time you ask, where it pays more interest than inflation, where it is not affected by government’s silly policies.

Meaning: Don’t let your investment strategy be at the mercy of things you can’t control.

38. Many of the things we own actually end up owning us.

Meaning: If you overspend, you are always at the mercy of the man who is collecting on the bills.

39. You can buy a car just by signing your name, but to fill it with gas you need a working credit card, or as a last resort, some of Uncle Sam’s printed money.

Meaning: A fancy sports car is of little value to you if you don’t have the cash flow to keep it
running. Well, I guess car collectors might take issue with that statement. But, you get the idea.

40. Learn to do two things that pay well and cannot be done better or cheaper overseas.

Meaning: You will always be in high demand if you have unique skills. Continue to educate yourself.

41. A new baby can cost $200,000 in twenty years.

Meaning: Maybe we should sell our kids! Naa, just kidding. Maybe just think it through before deciding on that “new addition.”

For more great insights from someone who has truly seen it all, and lives the lifestyle we hope to have when we’re in our 80′s and beyond, checkout Ned’s book on Amazon’s Kindle Store called Prosperity-21.

Note, I do not get a commission from Amazon by recommending this book…since they stopped paying their Colorado Associates in mid-2010 (Still carrying a grudge over that one).

Money Management Tips Summary….

I’ve just introduced you to three of the most influential money masters in my circle of business. To re-cap,

If your credit needs some work, go to Credit Builders.

If you need business credit cards, go to Biz Credit Card Store.

If you want to pass on the money you have to family after you’re gone, go here:

And, for just $5, go checkout Prosperity-21.

What one liner money tips and facts can you add to this discussion?

Don’t Fall Prey to the Get Started on the Internet Ploys

Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 21, 2010

Whenever the economy goes downhill, every Internet marketing millionaire under the sun goes into hyper mode to devise the next great scheme to inspire people to get started making their millions on the Internet. I guess this product is always on the mind of Internet marketers…especially Internet marketers who make how-to Internet marketing products. But, I’m seeing even more new so-called “systems” being made available this month than the last 6 months combined.

Why? Because layoffs are still happening. People are getting more desperate than ever. And, the last holdouts, those who have scoffed the Internet for years are finally giving in, so to speak, and trying to figure out how to take the plunge and start making millions online.

The truth is, I don’t care what process or system you buy into. If you are new to the Internet, you are going to have to go through the wickets just like everyone else. You’re going to learn some things the hard way. You will attempt to learn some things on your own and get massively discouraged when things don’t quite work the way you planned…even if you follow their systems step-by-step. You’ll be scratching your head wondering why Internet marketing comes so easy to everyone but you.

You’re going to spend some money and see little or even no return. You will be tested to see if you have what it takes to persist.

How’s that for some Friday encouragement? Not very inspiring is it? Well, I’m just telling the truth. Whether you follow someone’s proven system or go it alone, nothing comes easy on the Internet or any other part of operating a business. Even the hotshots you’re getting emails from that want to tell you their stories of how they got started online and how non-technical they were and how they didn’t do any work or didn’t even have a computer…have gone through the wickets to get to where they are.

Some have made their millions faster, some slower. But all have three things in common, these are:

1. Crash and Burn – If you think every Internet marketer just came from some corporate job and one day, threw a YouTube video together in the backyard and made millions from it going viral, well think again. They’ve all had ideas that were tried but their hopes and dreams of immediate success just vanished before their very eyes. But, that didn’t stop them because they were….

2. Starving for Success – Every successful Internet marketer I know was so hungry and even starving for success that nothing stood in their way. If one thing didn’t work, they changed course and tried something else. They lived and breathed Internet marketing because making that success was more important than anything to them. The question, “How many hours of my day do I need to spend on (fill in the blank)?” NEVER entered their minds!

The crash and burn experience and their starvation for success wasn’t enough either though. They needed one more thing…

3. Charisma – You’ve seen the speakers on-stage with their jokes, stories and sales pitches that you just can’t say no to. Many Internet marketers do not have that kind of charisma, but some have charisma in what they write. Or, they have charisma in how they participate on social networks. Some simply have more of a psychological or scholastic charisma in that they have a knack for looking at statistics and predicting what kinds of promotions people online might respond to.

One of my former clients who went off on his own makes $50K a month online doing just that. No speaking gigs. No books written. Just has a knack for looking at stats and promoting affiliate products online.

So, my point is that you should beware of falling prey to the get started online pitches you’re hearing about because most of them know first-hand that most people will not have the experience, the starvation or the charisma to work through their systems and methods. But, they also know you’re not going to ask for a refund either. They’ll gladly take your money though!

If you do buy into any Internet marketing educational products, be easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t “get it” or discover it’s more work than you thought. Because any process to make a dime online will be a process and something to achieve over time. Enter into the process with that in mind and you will have peace of mind and accurate expectations.

So, What CAN You Do to Get Started On the Internet?

If you have a few bucks to spend, I suggest buying my book, Web Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. They tell me it’s on shelves in bookstores around the world. My portion is the first 190 pages or so.

Then, head over to facebook and “Like” my facebook page that I’ve setup where we discuss all kinds of different Internet marketing related topics.

If you’re really strapped for cash, you should at least sign-up to be on my main email list. When you sign-up, you’ll get immediate access to my new whitepaper that describes the 6 steps of the A.C.T.I.O.N. process, a step-by-step guide for starting online or taking your business to new levels using the Internet.

Finally, I’ll just close this blog post by saying, getting started online is no overnight process. You’re going to need to really focus on this and make the commitment to persevere for an entire year. Make it a part of your life and your lifestyle. That’s when you will start to see the rewards. Let me know if I can help along the way. Good luck!

Zakary Barron of Constant Contact Presenting Email Marketing Best Practices

Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 5, 2010

Zakary Barron is doing a great job presenting best practices of email marketing. Focus on email marketing is a great follow-up to what I was presenting to the group, which was social networking on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

Highlights include:

1. Email is not dead: Proof: Didn’t you check your email this morning?
2. What are your goals?
3. Your welcome email is gold! Include your logo, salutation, welcome sentence, privacy reinforcement
4. Keep your list current
5. Provide link so people can change their profile
6. Ask for feedback
7. Survey customers to understand interests then target messages & offerings
8. Expect 15-30 open rates for emails sent out

Zakary told me our workshop was closed off to registration at 120. We had a couple of walk-ins that we managed to squeeze in, but we’re definitely going to do this again. Zak says there were 40 on a waiting list. So if you missed it, look for another workshop day to be scheduled soon! Great job Zak!

Part 2 of 7 Numbers to Know to Grow Your Business: Sales

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 16, 2010

How many sales do you need to make the amount of money you want to have in a year? As simple as this question might be, I’ve found very few people actually have this number in the top of their minds.

If you want to take home $500,000 over the next 12 months, you either need one big sale at the end of the year, or an average of $42,000 each month, right? Of course, that’s figuring you have no costs involved.

Once you do have costs to add to the equation, the calculation gets more complicated. And, costs can fluctuate from month to month. Now managing that almost sounds too much like work, doesn’t it?

Y’know, there are a few things that I consider myself to be at least semi-skilled at doing…but accounting is not one of them! So, I’m not even going to suggest how to come up with a formula for calculating required sales to generate $500,000 net profit, by subtracting fixed and variable costs.

No, I have an accounting system to do that for me.

What I will say is that it will take more than monitoring leads to get to your number of sales needed for your desired income level. Here is a short sequence to demonstrate what I’m talking about.

1. Determine your sales goal. Let’s say you want to make $100,000 in sales next month.

2. Calculate your current conversion rates. For this example, let’s just keep it easy and say the only way you get leads and sales is through your website.

Now let’s say that for every 1000 visitors, you “convert” 2.5 of those visitors to leads. That’s a .25% conversion rate. Let’s also say you are a master seller and convert every lead that comes to you into a sale. Good job! You’re a sales machine! Again, we’re just trying to make the calculation easier for the example.

3. Use this formula to figure out how many visitors you would need to your website to acquire enough leads to get the sales you want.

(Desired Sales / Sale Price / Conversion Rate) X 100

Now, let me explain that…

The / marks signify “division,” so you have to remember your old math here and do all your divisions first and then multiply X 100.

So, if I want $100,000 in sales and my sale price is, say a $20 ebook, and I only have a conversion rate of a measly .25%, my formula would look like this:

(100,000 / 20 / .25) X 100 = 2,000,000 Visitors Needed to achieve $100,000 in sales

Now, there are only a few things you can change about this fact. You can change your price. You can change your visitation or you can change your conversion rate. In your situation, what would be easiest to change?

For most people, it’s the conversion rate. If you test a bit, it’s actually quite easy to bring a .25% conversion rate into the 1.5% or even 2% range.

Let’s look at the difference using the formula:

(100,000 / 20 / 2) X 100 = 250,000 visitors.

That’s a huge difference my friend!

Now let’s say that simple ebook is raised in price to $47. Quite possibly your conversion rate will stay the same or even go up. It’s not unusual! So, let’s continue with the example and just say:

(100,000 / 47 / 2) X 100 = 106,383

You can hopefully see how important it is to start playing with numbers when planning for the coming months and year of your business. Of course this calculation can be expanded to include suspects, prospects, leads, and sales, but I just wanted to keep this example easy.

We’re only part way through the seven though, so stay tuned until next time where I’ll reveal the third number to watch in your business.

The key to knowing how many sales you will get is knowing how many leads you need.

Part 1 of 7 Numbers to Know to Grow Your Business: Leads

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 5, 2010

How many leads did you get last month? I don’t mean visits to your website or even those that called you on the phone or submitted something to your contact us form. Those are just “suspects.” Then, if you’re lucky, some of them will turn into “prospects.” If you’re a good sales person, several of those prospects will finally turn into leads.

Now, here’s the kicker. Any idea how much money you spent to get those “leads?” How much has each lead cost you in marketing dollars to attract? If your cost is $20 per lead, can you imagine what the difference would be in your bottom line if you could reduce that number from $20 to $18 or even $15?

Over the next six of seven entries to this blog, I’m going to unveil 7 secret numbers that you need to be able to track every day, or at least every week, to assure your company is growing in a positive direction.

Once you form the habit of looking at all of these numbers combined, you will see how easy it is to use the numbers to PLAN for your future instead of always looking back on the results.

In this crazy economy, I honestly don’t know how anyone would be able to look the other way and NOT pay attention to these 7 numbers.

I’ve been in business for 15 years and in the sales arena for even more. And, I was only introduced to these 7 numbers a few weeks ago by a local guy here in Denver, Jeff Prager.

Jeff and his team run a web-based accounting system he developed.

And, contrary to other accounting systems I’ve used, the first goal above anything else with his accounting system is to keep a running total of these 7 numbers. So, literally, I can spend just 5 minutes every few days in my accounting system by running this one simple report and know all the 7 numbers I’m going to be covering in this series. Pretty cool. Anyway, let’s get back to the actual discussion about today’s topic…leads!

What is it exactly that you need to know that you can’t mentally store in your mind week after week? I mean, most of us can think, “Hmm, I think I got 10 new leads last month.

But, there’s a lot more to it than that…

There are three things you need to know about your leads, including:

1. What main sources did your leads come from? The Internet, a trade show, a magazine ad are examples of main source.

2. What “specific sources” did your leads come from? Organic search, PPC, Another website, response to a blog post on someone else’s blog, are all examples of specific lead source.

3. How would you rank the quality value of each of those leads from your source and specific source?

4. Where are they in the sales cycle? I like to rank my leads with the following:

.10 = suspect (not even really a lead yet)

.25 = prospect (someone who is actually interested and we’re talking more)

.50 = proposal is made (just waiting for questions to come in from proposal and next discussion)

.75 = proposal was accepted and the deal is probably going to happen)

.90 = proposal accepted (just waiting for the check or credit card payment, since I do everything pre-paid)

1.00 = client

0 = dead lead

99 = former client

5. How much traffic to your website do you need to get one lead?

6. How many leads to you need to get a sale

7. How much time or money do you need to spend to get those leads?

Number 6 and 7 there are sort of getting into the next part of the series, so I’ll stop there. Let’s just say that for this step, I’d like you to consider all 7 of those items as they relate to simply getting and managing leads.

Your traffic can be monitored, of course, through your Google Analytics account. The quality of the lead can be determined when you talk on the phone or receive an email. And, of course, the number of leads you need to get a sale is called a sales conversion rate. I’m going to go into more detail on those in part 2 and 3 of this series.

Sign-up for our rss feed to be notified every time a new post is added or add your email address to be sent an email every time a new post is added.

Checkout the accounting package I was telling you about earlier if you have another few moments.

Sure, it’s a product that I am promoting as one of my many affiliate products now and let it be publicly known that I will be financially compensated if you click the link and buy their product. But, I’ll tell ya, it took me evaluating this system for a MONTH before I finally was convinced to give it a shot. We’re only in our first month of using it and our sales planning time for 2010 has been cut from like, what, 30 hours or so of manual spreadsheet creating, to like minutes of clicking reports from the system.

Anyway, I don’t want to get too crazy on you about the product. Next time, I’ll cover Part 2, the second number you must be watching every day or at least every week to even HOPE to survive in business and grow.

Improve Internet Marketing Results for Your Business or Company with These 7 Tips

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Oct 29, 2009

Either have your own business or work for a company if you are reading this post. You’re beside yourself why your Internet marketing efforts have produced stagnated results. You’ve spent hours building followers on Twitter but no one seems to care about what you tweet. Your lead generation has come to a screeching halt and product sales through your shopping cart are even worse. Is this what you can expect for the remainder of the year?

No! Stop the bleeding right now.

Here are 7 tips to give some much needed chest compressions to your dying Internet presence:

1. Look at Your Website for the First Time – If you could suddenly step out of your body and become 1,000 visitors to your website, what would you “expect” to see? Does your website offer what your visitors expect? Be honest and then add the missing pieces that come into mind. Does a strong “upper right quadrant” (URQ) exist on your website? Do you top navigation buttons inspire people to take action by clicking on them? Do you provide content of value on your website that doesn’t always throw the hard sales pitch? Are you absolutely positively sure that a visitor knows exactly what they are supposed to do next after they have found what they’re looking for on your website? I’ll ask it again: Are you really sure?

Why try for 100,000 visitors a month to your website if you’re not able to convert the visitors you do get to leads or customers?

2. You Get One Click – In Steve Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think, he gives a great walk through of website usability and how websites should be constructed. Read his book, but at the same time, think to yourself “I lose 50% of my visitors every time I make them click on anything.” So, if you want to only make one change to your website, add a quote form or contact form to your most important product or services pages…and especially to any landing pages where you are running pay-per-click ads to. If you only get a single click, you want that to be a prospective customer completing a quote form and “clicking” the submit button.

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3. Purpose Your Content - Don’t just add a page to your blog or website for the heck of it. Have a direct purpose for everything you add. If you’re going for getting more pages indexed on Google, for example, find what people are searching for related to your industry or topic first, and then write your article or page to speak to those visitors. Use free tools like Google’s free keyword search tool or Word Tracker’s free search tool to find search volume for any given phrase. These tools will also act as a thesaurus to give you ideas of other related phrases people are searching for.

After all, it’s a lot easier to be hit by a car if you go out into the street! Create your content for what your visitors are searching for.

Now, you don’t always have to produce content only for Google search. This post, in fact, doesn’t have a chance in hell of getting in the top 10 search results with a giant keyword phrase “improve internet marketing” as my leader phrase. And, it’s not worth my time to go through the heroics of what it would take to make that happen. But, that’s okay, because my intention is to promote this particular post on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and a variety of other social networks where the headline itself will hopefully be intriguing enough for people to want to pay a visit. After all, Google is only 1 of more than 100 ways to get traffic to a website.

4. Expand Your Traffic Options – Once you have tested and tweaked your website to increase your conversions, evaluate all the ways to increase traffic to your website. My most downloaded white paper on my company site is called 101 Realistic Ways to Get Traffic to a Website. It’s a 30-page free download that walks you through all the traffic generators I know of. What’s better is that they’re all sorted by cost, ease of implementation, time to implement, and ROI. You can make your entire Internet marketing plan for the next two years using that single document.

5. Get More Involved – When a struggling business owner, author or speaker comes to me saying their website is not performing to their expectation, my first question is 1, how many leads or sales did you get last month. That one is easy. They usually say zero. Next I’ll ask, how much visitation did you get last month? Almost always, “I don’t know” is the answer. Knowing the answer coming next, I still ask it…”Can you make changes to your own website?” A long pause usually occurs and then I hear, “no” as the answer.

If you still have to send even minor text changes to your designer to be added to a page, right now is the time for you to take steps to change that! Joomla is a free content management system that designers like because of its design flexibility and visual editing features. Programmers prefer Drupal for its power and clean code…but you’d better have a programmer in tow if you go with that system. My personal favorite is WordPress. At the Thrive Internet Marketing Super Conference in Chicago, I’m going to show you some uses for WordPress that you might not even imagine are possible! Even if you’ve heard of WordPress before, you haven’t seen anything like this! It’s the new evolution of websites.

6. Perform Mind Magic – It seems easier to introduce this topic using those words than it is to tell it like it really is. People get all bent out of shape when I say “Spy on your competition.” So, think of it as performing mind magic instead. Truth is, in this day and age, you really need to keep up with what your competition is doing. One great tool for doing this is Keyword Spy. There you can plugin your competitors domain name and see all (well, most anyway) of the organic search phrases that come up on Google pointing to their website. You can also see if they are running Google AdWords campaigns as well as the wording they’re using in those AdWords and how much they’re spending per month.

This is by far illegal. It is simply market research. But when you use that information correctly to apply to your own website and promotions, people will think you’re performing some kind of “mind magic.” So, that’s what you want to tell them…or, risk being accused of spying!

7. Create Something Memorable – On my HereNextYear site, you’ll see my mascot. It’s a picture of a dog. It’s not my dog. It’s just a picture. The picture has a name. His name is “Action.” The idea behind Action is that I can teach you everything I’ve learned about increasing leads and sales on the Internet, but unless you’re willing to “take Action,” it’s a waste of time for both you and me.

When I present that at seminars and workshops, people simply go CRAZY! It’s a great opener and it is very sticky, meaning, it sticks in peoples’ minds for a very long time. I get calls from people months after they see me speak. They’ll say, “Marty, I don’t remember what you do, but you’re the guy with the dog, right?”

It’s memorable. It’s sticky. It sells. Action sells! Action even has his own Fan club on Facebook (which you are welcome to join here)! And, I take “Action” in everything I do and everywhere I go.

What character can you create that is related to your business that can be sticky and memorable like Action is to my business?

So, these are just a few of the things I’ll be covering in much more detail at the
Thrive Internet Super Conference in Chicago. Why not join me there on the 19th and 20th? I’m sure it will be worth your while.

If you’re just not into going to seminars anymore for fear of getting those dreeeeeaded sales pitches, well, checkout my recent blog post where I give you 101 reasons to attend a seminar. They each far outweigh any fear you may have of getting pitched.

Hope to see you there in Chicago!

7 Steps to Getting Started for New Internet Marketers

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Oct 29, 2009

Getting started on the Internet seems to most to be a hugely daunting task. But, with a few good guidelines, you will be amazed how easy and fun it really can be. Here are 7 steps to getting started for new Internet marketers:

1. Know What’s Selling Online – If nobody’s buying it and nobody’s made it yet, that most likely does not mean “opportunity” for you. So, don’t get fooled. If you want to know what people are spending their money on right now, today, one great way is to go to Amazon.com and search a category of interest. The results you get will be sorted showcasing the best selling products in that category.

2. Enjoy Being Online – If you don’t like candy, you’ll be miserable in a candy store. So, before you go putting time and effort into learning how to make money on the Internet, you must learn to enjoy sitting at a computer and typing things. Of course, I could also add-in there using your mobile device. Social media is a great way to learn to enjoy working online. Join Linkedin, join some groups and participate in some discussions. Create a Facebook profile and reconnect with friends. Start tweeting on Twitter and inspire people to “follow” you because the quality of your tweets are actually worth paying attention to. User your personal name for all of your profile account names such as Twitter.com/MartyDickinson so that people can easily find you in the future.

3. Engage Offline Networking – An online business is a lot like a traditional off-line business in that financial success in both requires “people” to buy from you eventually. Go to Meetup.com and search for a group that meets near you to discuss certain topics. I just launched a few days ago, a Meetup group of my own called “Ski With Marty,” for example. Business owners, authors, speakers, and anyone else who wants to network and get some exercise can hook up with me every Wednesday during ski season at one of our world class ski resorts here in Colorado. By the time we have our first networking event on December 2, my goal is to have 100 members in the group. Checkout Meetup.com/SkiWithMartyInColorado if you’d like to see a sample Meetup group page.

4. Love to Sell – To be successful in any business, you must adopt a deep-down belief that anything you choose to promote is not really “selling,” but more of a “recommendation” of something you’ve experienced to make other peoples’ lives better. The fastest and cheapest way to do that is to find other peoples’ products to sell, try them for yourself, and start recommending them to others. These are known as “Affiliate Products.” ClickBank.com is my favorite for finding digital, downloadable affiliate products to sell and you can often contact the product producer and request a “review copy” of their product, which is FREE of course. Their hope is that by you having the product in-hand, you will have a better understanding of the product and will give more accurate recommendations. Continuing with my example of Amazon in step 1, they of course have an affiliate program as well. But, they only pay 4% of the sale price. So, the only products worth promoting on Amazon, in my opinion, are larger ticket items (over $75).

5. Register Domain Names – Whenever I am asked “Where do I register a domain name,” I steer them to BestDomainPlace.com. That is a domain name that I registered to point to my affiliate account. When you register a domain name for promoting an affiliate product, use the URL Forwarding feature (free with BestDomainPlace.com) where a tutorial is provided. Promote your affiliate products in your social networks and whenever a related subject comes up at your in-person networking events. Last week I was talking with a parent at my kid’s school about Internet stuff and suggested she buy a domain name for her personal name at BestDomainPlace.com. Sure enough a few days later, I saw the order come in.

6. Offer Your Services – Everyone has something of value they can offer. What is the one thing that you are truly really, really good at? Connect with others on your social networks (because you enjoy doing that by this step) who are in a related area to the service you want to provide. For example, one of the services I offer is creating websites for business owners, authors and speakers. So, I went to my Linkedin profile, logged in, clicked on “Groups,” and search for “authors” then joined a group, “professional speakers” and joined a group, and then “small business” and joined a third group. Within about 60 seconds, I was connected with over 16,000 people around the country who were in my direct target audience for a service I offer. Now all I have to do is participate in the groups and offer valuable content and the contacts begin.

7. Produce a Product – If you have an idea for a product, someone else has surely produced something close. At a recent Affiliate Marketing Meetup session, a good friend and former client who went off on his own to make $40,000 a month selling affiliate products online said, “Start off small by creating your own e-book, but first buy a few of the top selling e-books for that topic and use the best parts of each to create your product.” Now, he wasn’t suggesting you just copy and paste other peoples’ books into you own. But you can use concepts of how items are presented and rewrite them with different words and different examples. And, of course, add-in your own best stuff to make the product truly unique and the best on the market. If it’s a digital, downloadable product, get it added to ClickBank.com so that other affiliate marketers will have the opportunity to sell it for you.

All of these steps and I haven’t even talked about “Starting a Website” yet. That just goes to show that there is so much you can do to get started on the Internet these days, in your spare time, on a shoestring budget. Then, when you earn a few bucks, use that income to broaden your reach…and that’s when a website, or 5, 10, 50 websites come into play.

The best time in the world to get started on the Internet is right now, today.

Why Attend a Seminar? 101 Reasons

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Oct 28, 2009

Seminars are designed to give you tons of usable content on a variety of topics. The other purpose of a seminar is to get you introduced to several experts in a short amount of time.

When you hear someone you like who is able to speak to “you” and your situation, it is only natural that you would want more from that person. You wish you could just sit side-by-side with that person and suck them dry of their knowledge and experience for the rest of the week! You want more than their measly speaking slot allowed for, right?

Hence the offer or the dreaded “sales pitch.”

Ask anyone why they don’t like going to seminars and their reply will always be the same, “I hate getting those looooong sales pitches.”

And it’s true. No one likes to get a sales pitch. But, we don’t want to be left hanging either, do we?

Think about it. If a speaker just spewed an hour or 90-minutes of straight content and then said, “Well, good luck with that. Hope I got it all out and hope you took good notes,” what would you think? You would leave frustrated and probably pretty ripped off.

A good seminar speaker will always give you tons of content you can use but yet provide a way for you to get even more.

So, expect it. Live with it! And, even get to the point where you appreciate the typical seminar format (sales pitch and all) and you will be able to see the many more benefits of attending seminars and conferences.

In case you’ve been steering clear of seminars for a while purely because you don’t want to get “sold” on something, let this be a refresher by offering 101 reasons why you should attend seminars:

  1. Learn new information from the presenters
  2. Meet new people and share experiences
  3. Brainstorm your ideas and get immediate feedback
  4. Get new product or service ideas by hearing about needs in your industry
  5. Get spin off ideas from others, meaning, you might tell someone you main idea and then they’ll suggest you create something slightly different
  6. Evaluate the latest tools and technology to help grow your business
  7. Hear the same information you might know already but from a different angle from a different speaker so that you have an even better understanding of the topic
  8. Find investors in your business
  9. Allow time for creativity by getting away from your daily routine and working “on” your business instead of “in” your business
  10. Get inspiration from success stories shared by speakers and others you meet
  11. Buy products at the best possible price that can save you time and money and are not sold in stores
  12. Surround yourself with like-minded people for engaging conversation and meeting new friends who understand you lingo
  13. Connect with joint venture hosts to potentially promote your product to thousands of people
  14. Practice your in-person networking skills
  15. Expand your social networking followers by inviting them to connect with you online
  16. Observe how the heavy-hitters in your industry use use their time at the events
  17. Get answers to your business questions and challenges
  18. Get presentation materials to take home with you for later study
  19. Learn of free resources you can try later
  20. Chance to win something if there’s a contest (I won a laptop last year!)
  21. Learn facts and statistics that will help you better undertand your market and industry
  22. Get content to use in your own presentations, without plagiarizing of course
  23. It’s a tax write-off
  24. Increase your email list by getting other peoples’ business cards and contacting them later to have THEM sign-up to be on your list
  25. Get away from your normal work environment for a few days
  26. Keep up with your competition by learning the latest strategies in your market
  27. Get one-on-one guidance from speakers
  28. Discover there’s more to know even if you think you knew it all
  29. Pride: when you find out how much you really do know, you will gain a sense of pride in yourself and you will start answering other peoples’ questions
  30. Get business because there are probably people in the audience who need your help
  31. Hear stories of what to avoid
  32. Connect with people on your list that you’ve never met in person
  33. Evaluate how events are run
  34. After hours networking
  35. Making yourself visible
  36. Learn new procedures
  37. Make a product from your notes
  38. Record interviews with experts and make a product for sale
  39. Have someone interview you for a potential product for sale
  40. Get video testimonials while you’re there
  41. Get pictures with industry experts
  42. Determine who you don’t like
  43. Settle your fears
  44. Verify a hunch you have about a topic or issue impacting your industry by hearing the views of experts
  45. Update your understanding of an older process that has new steps
  46. Troubleshoot a problem you have that can only be solved by others who would attend a similar seminar
  47. Treat yourself to a relaxing pool or massage after the seminar sessions are over
  48. Transform your mood from being at a plateau to one of new possibilities
  49. Teach others what you know about your topic as a break-out presenter or just as part of the audience helping those around you
  50. Systematize a process you’ve only known pieces and parts of
  51. Receive large volumes of usable content within a compressed amount of time
  52. Satisfy your urge to be on the cutting edge
  53. Restore confidence in yourself that you are in the right industry and that your perseverance to succeed is worth while
  54. Recognize areas of opportunity that your business could be taking advantage of instead of being content with stagnation
  55. Realign your priorities so that your work time is better spent going forward
  56. Question the knowledge of experts in a public forum
  57. Purchase helpful products and services that you otherwise would not even know existed
  58. Plan a new direction and kill an old one once you find out how dead your old market really is
  59. Praise a mentor in person who’s virtual products, newsletters, or articles have helped you somehow
  60. Demo a software product to key industry influencers to get their opinions
  61. Overcome the fear of mixing and mingling with people you don’t know
  62. Volunteer to help so that you get to meet the event staff on a higher level
  63. Experience how some people make a lot of money in a short time
  64. Model after your favorite speaker’s presentation skills
  65. Acquire continuing education credit
  66. Meditate after hours on the influx of information you’ve just learned
  67. Locate vendors who support people in your business
  68. Launch a product of your own to a targeted audience by spreading the word and passing out flyers one-by-one
  69. Investigate a new law impacting your industry by seeking the opinions of experts
  70. Imagine the possibilities if you were to implement even 10% of what you learned at the seminar
  71. Identify key players that you need to become more acquainted with over the years
  72. Find contractors for hire or even be introduced to support staff that might be looking for a job you may be providing
  73. Formulate a new business venture if you run into just the right person
  74. Finalize business as you can recommend to a prospect that they meet you at the seminar
  75. Facilitate a dinner or be a co-sponsor for the open bar and get public recognition at the event
  76. Exhibit a booth to get direct traffic from your target audience
  77. Eliminate doubt by seeing a speaker live before you decide to hire them
  78. Diagnose problem areas in your business because a speaker went through the same problem
  79. Disprove a roadblock that’s been preventing you from meeting your goals
  80. Conceptualize a new business
  81. Compare your success with others you meet
  82. Accelerate your skills faster than reading a book in most cases
  83. Believe there is hope for success
  84. See a culture in another city or country
  85. Assemble a group of people you’ve been talking to by phone or email to conduct a coordinated book or product launch
  86. Calculate your operating budget for the upcoming year based on the new strategies you’ve learned
  87. Confront someone who has been badmouthing you in the social networks and resolve the complaint (peacefully)
  88. Build traffic to your website by passing out your business cards and giving people a reason to contact you
  89. Critique the work, ideas, websites of others because it’s not all about you
  90. Earn money by making a sale to someone who needs what you offer
  91. Make money by promoting an affiliate product to someone when the opportunity comes up in conversation
  92. Extract the true secrets of trends or processes from industry experts when you talk to them one-on-one
  93. Generate interest and intrigue about a new product you offer or are coming out with soon
  94. Observe audience reaction to the topics presented so you can see what your market is really interested in
  95. Separate yourself from family so that you can focus on business
  96. Test headlines, book titles, product names to get peoples’ reactions and suggestions
  97. Implement a new technique you’ve learned after the seminar session and ask questions about it the next day
  98. Reconnect with old friends you made at previous seminars
  99. Solidify the bond between you and your clients as you invite them to attend the event together
  100. Recruit speakers to present at your own seminar, conference, tele-seminar or webinar
  101. Because it’s fun

To get to or remain at the top of your game, you should plan on attending 4 seminars or conferences each year. Minimum 2. More than 10 and I would say you’re probably overdoing it, unless of course, your main business is getting connected with conference speakers or joint venture partners.

Carefully evaluate how your business fits in with seminar attendance and then start looking for the conferences to attend. I’m alerted every time a seminar, conference, workshop, tele-seminar or webinar is announced on the web thanks to Google Alerts. You should do the same so that you can pick wisely.

And, if you happen to see a guy running around in a black shirt with a HereNextYear logo on the shirt, be sure to say hi…because it’s me!

Think and Grow Rich Free Ebook Download

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Aug 1, 2009

I was looking for a new book to read and on my wife’s dresser was a stack of books. One of them was Think and Grow Rich. I’ve read it many years ago and of course saw the movie, “The Secret,” which Napoleon Hill’s original teachings inspired of course, but I thought I’d take another read through.

Y’know? It was like I had never read the book before! If you’ve never read Think and Grow Rich, make it your next read. In fact, I even found a free pdf download of it. So, you have no excuse now. Read it! And, you’ve already read it but it’s been a while, read it again. You have no excuse. You don’t have to go to the bookstore. You don’t have to pay for it. Just click the link and start reading.

Why Your Goal Should be to Get 2000 Followers on Twitter

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Apr 21, 2009

If you don’t already have 2000 people following you on Twitter, that should be your primary focus until you have exceeded the 2000 mark. Get there as fast as possible now so that you don’t have to worry about it later. Why is this so important?

For almost everyone I’ve met or talked to about Twitter that has less than 500 followers, the entire process seems like such a waste of time for them. But, something changes when you get to 1000 followers. You begin to see Twitter in a different light; one that offers the true potential everyone is always talking about.

If you have less than 2000 Twitter followers, take the challenge right now to develop a plan for getting 2000 and more followers on Twitter.