Friday, March 30, 2007

Five Ways to Make Your Home Business Advertising Work Harder

One of the sharpest minds in the direct response marketing business is fond of advising potential advertisers that creativity is not a positive virtue for an advertising copywriter. Whether it is a print, on-line or broadcast ad, the worst response experts say people should give is to think an ad was exceptionally creative. Instead, the person should respond by wanting to buy the product.

Here are five ideas advertising writers may use to help make their home business ad copy more effective.

1. Proof. Let people know how good your home business product or service is by offering proof that it stacks up better than its competition, or that it has met or exceeded certain tests or specifications. When stating numbers, such as how much faster one medicine works when compared with another, round numbers are less effective. Therefore, try to use uneven numbers like 23.7% rather than round numbers like 25% and your message will be more believable.

2. Identification. Do not be afraid to let people know who you are, where you are located and what you think and feel. Rather than appearing to hide behind a post office box number, tell people that your office is located at 1234 Elm Street in the red brick Smith Building, which was constructed in 1916. This not only makes you seem more interesting, but also more believable and trustworthy.

3. Guarantee. People will always be more willing to buy from you if they trust you will refund their purchase price if they are not satisfied. Yes, you may have to incur some expenses paying for refunds, but your increased sales will more than make up the difference.

4. Accessibility. Similar to identification, it always is best to be easy to reach, so do not omit your contact information from your ads, especially ads in print and on-line messages. Whether it is your phone number, Internet URL, email address or all three, make sure they are correct and working properly before you publish the ad. For example, if you are publishing a toll-free number that only works from the USA, if you also include your regular telephone number with area code, potential customers from other countries may also buy from you.

5. One more thing. Every sales letter for your home business should have a PS following the signature. This part of the letter will most likely be read more closely than some other parts, so utilize it to reinforce your most important point, or offer an extra bonus to motivate the reader to act immediately.

By making sure your advertising message has met the above five criteria, you will ensure the next ad you write will help make your cash register ring even more loudly.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Set Goals to Achieve Success In Your Home Business

Despite your best intentions, you will never achieve the success you are looking for if you never set goals for yourself and your home business.

Ask yourself, "What goals have I written down for myself and my business?"

Most people never set goals for themselves or their business. One day leads to another and the days continue to disappear without success. How can you get to where you want to be if you never know where you are going?

The biggest roadblock to goal setting is YOU. Setting goals require you actually to write down your dreams and put a date of accomplishment to them. Do not get in the habit of working your business without goals. This leads to apathy and an empty checking account.

Goals are the lifeblood of your business. Statistics have proven over and over that small businesses fail within the first five years. You do not want to become a statistic, you want to become a success.

How do you become successful at setting goals?

The first step you should do is to write down your dreams. What dreams do you have for your life and your home bawsed business? Write them down. When would you like to achieve these dreams? Put a date of accomplishment to your dreams. Get a pad of paper and start writing. Be bold and write them all down. Your dreams are now your goals.

You now have goals with deadlines. Your first step is accomplished.

Your goals will either be short term or long term. In order for your goals to become a reality you will be required to take steps that will ultimately lead to accomplishment. Look at your list. What actions will you need to take to reach your goals? Write those steps down on your pad of paper.

You now know what steps are required to achieve your goals.

Remember that steps are not huge, but small. Daily steps toward your goals will bring you to the accomplishment of your goals.

Armed with your list of goals and the steps required to achieve them, you can now start each day as a challenge to accomplish those goals. But wait, there is something else you need to be aware of.

"Where did my day go?"

Have you ever reached the end of the day exhausted and asked yourself that question? You look at your goals and realize that you did not accomplish one step toward them.

"Time Wasters" are everywhere. Time wasters have their own agenda: to stop you from achieving your goals. Do not let them win. To achieve your goals you must learn to recognize your "time wasters".

Keep a log for every hour of your day for an entire month. Write everything down that you do. It is easier if you break your day up into fifteen-minute increments. Do this for one month and you will be able to identify your "time wasters". Use the information to learn how to better use your time. The better you get at effectively using your time, the better you will become at achieving your goals.

Success doesn't happen to the uninvolved. Success happens to those who are persistent in reaching their goals. Review your goals daily and modify them as needed.

You should never be without goals. Dream and make goals to reach those dreams. Keep your goals before you. Continue to add goals to you life. Your passion will keep you focused as you accomplish each step toward your goals. Dare to be successful.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

How Joining A Forum Can Be Beneficial To Your Home-Based Business

Online forums are a fantastic reminder of the influence the internet has had on society. Using forums to connect with your home business market is a natural progression.

Forums are online communities where individuals can discuss topics ranging from fly fishing to breast feeding to internet business. Discussions are conducted by posting notes to the forum. A single discussion is called a 'thread' and most forums have several - even hundreds - of threads going at any time.

What is truly remarkable about the use of forums is the personal quality of the discussions. Read some of the posts on forums such as ivillage.com and you'll soon see that the members become more like neighbors (and even friends) than strangers connected only by the keyboard and monitor in front of them.

Where brick and mortar businesses used to prosper based on their involvement in the community - online businesses now have a neighborhood all their own - online forums.

How can participating in a forum help YOUR home-based business?

NETWORKING:

Online forums are a fantastic place to connect with others who are knowledgeable about your business. You probably cater to the same audience and share a common interest. If your businesses compliment one another you might just find a highly profitable partnership or joint venture.

Even if you don't find a working relationship you may find the referrals or discussions highly beneficial.

TRAFFIC BUILDING:

Along with the referrals you may get when you've developed a trusted online presence with other members of the forum, you are also likely to attract targeted visitors to your home business website.

If the forum permits you to post a signature (your website URL) onto the posts then you can be sure that some of the members and quite likely some of the 'lurkers' (people who view but don't post) will come check out your site.

EDUCATION:

Using the forums wisely can open you up to a great education. Whether it is from fellow entrepreneurs in your field or experts and other posters - you are participating in an 'inner circle' type discussion that may open your eyes to new developments and opportunities in your business.

ADDICTIVE:

The only downside is the highly addictive atmosphere. With members posting from all over the world it can be difficult to reign in your viewing time on forums.

On the flip side, other members are hopefully as interested in what you have to say and you may quickly develop a reputation as a reliable source for information.

Be very cautious to follow forum rules. Never spam a forum - your aim should be to participate in a conversation, not interrupt it. Have fun and watch your home based business grow!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How To Target Your Internet Advertising For Your Home Business Niche

So you got your home based business website up and running. You hired an excellent web designer to craft a perfect home page and satellite pages that will really draw in the visitors and inspire them to buy. You have a beautiful catalog of products with detailed descriptions. You have a section dedicated to the services you provide with praises from past customers. And you have the best online shopping cart service out there so that you customers can buy from you with no hassles and next day shipping. That's great! Now where are your customers?

Driving traffic to your home business website is a much discussed and much misunderstood venture. There are a million theories out there that claim to drive tons of new visitors to your site daily. There are services that say they will increase your traffic by an enormous percentage if you will only pay them their small fee over a period of fifty years. There are so-called experts who will place your pages on all the best search engines on the net. They claim that with this kind of blanket exposure, your traffic numbers will explode within days.

But the only sure-fire way to draw productive traffic to your home business website is through targeted marketing. The important word to notice here is "productive." You can draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to your site every year by hosting a giveaway of some kind. Services that search the internet for freebies will have people clicking a link to your site like crazy. But these people are not there to buy anything from you ... quite the opposite. They are empty clicks. There is nothing productive about this kind of traffic. People looking for free stuff will rarely make you any kind of money. And that's what you're after, right?

So target your marketing to the people who really want to buy what you have to offer. How? Start by trying these basic steps...

* Hire an experienced copywriter. The copy that is on your site makes a world of difference in the sales you garner from the internet. Most important to targeted marketing are the keywords found in your title and the metatags in the website's code. An experienced copywriter will know how to determine the most effective keywords and place them strategically in your site's copy. If you cannot afford a copywriter, do some research and talk to your web designer about inserting metatags.

* You can enroll in pay per click search engines. Obviously, google.com is one of these, but most of the most popular keywords are already taken. If you can think of some original phrases that people use to search for your products or services, you can post your ad next to the text that comes up when people search for that phrase. Every time someone clicks on your ad to go to your site, you pay google.com a nominal fee.

* Submit articles to free ezine sites. This is especially helpful if you are a service provider. You can write, or hire someone to write, an article for you about your area of expertise. Give some free tips, offer your experience, and be accessible in the text. Then at the bottom of the article, you get a link to your home based business website advertising your services. Every time someone publishes your article in their ezine or newsletter, they must use your web address at the bottom.

These are just a few of the many ways to ensure you get "productive" traffic. Empty clicks are just that ... empty... and your wallet will stay that way, too!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Did You Get All Your Home Business Tax Deductions This Year?

In any home business you definitely have more tax advantages than if you were self-employed. The tax advantages become substantial when you consider how you can improve the profitability of your home business by declaring all of the deductions you are entitled to.

You may be missing some very important deductions. You must itemize your deductions for your home business operation on a separate schedule just as you would for your personal deductions. Knowing which deductions you are entitled to can save your home business hundreds of dollars a year.

Here is some background information on how your income tax amount is arrived at by the IRS.

The U.S. taxation code states that almost all income is subject to federal income tax. The way that you, as the owner of your home business, arrive at the final amount of income tax is as follows:

Gross Income - (All Expenses + Miscellaneous Deductions + Depreciation on Assets) = Taxable Income.

Taxable Income X (Your Tax Rate) = Income tax for the fiscal year.

Here is a quick definition of the terms in the above taxation equation:

Gross Income = The total of all income for the year after the cost of the inventory has been paid for.

Expenses = All costs of doing business during the fiscal tax year. Examples include payroll, materials, supplies and interest on business loans, etc. To find out if an expense qualifies as a legitimate business expense, consult your accountant or the IRS.

Depreciation = This is the way of spreading out the deductibility of an asset over a period of more than one year.

The IRS has certain different depreciation schedules for different business property. This is done for assets like real estate, equipment and other assets with a long economic life. This method of taxation write-off has certain advantages. Be sure to talk to your accountant regarding proper depreciation rules. These rules are subject to change by the Congress and the IRS.

Miscellaneous Deductions:

This is an often misunderstood and overlooked way to save a lot of money on taxes. Remember that these types of expenses must be totaled up and declared on a separate schedule of your income tax forms.

Always track your expenses and be sure to save at least one copy of every deduction. You will be asked for proof of every transaction that is declared as a deduction if you are audited by the IRS!

Here is a list of some of the things you can deduct from your income taxes:

Business related expenses include:

1. Air fares
2. Auto expenses
3. Books and Magazines
4. Educational Expenses
5. Home Office Space* + a portion of utilities, telephone, and maintenance costs
6. Office Furniture
7. Cleaning Expenses
8. Meals with Business Clients
9. Laundry Expenses (When Traveling)
10. Advertising
11. Impairment-related Expenses
12. Licenses and Regulatory Fees

* If you own your home you must use the IRS depreciation rules to determine this deduction. If you rent you may also deduct a portion of your rent.

Check IRS Publication 535 to find out if you can deduct any or all of the above.

As you can see there are many deductions that are allowable for your home business. The best way to get more information on tax deductions and related information on income taxes is to go online to www.irs.gov. There you will find a helpful search engine containing thousands of government publications that you can research and print out if you need to.

Now you have a good idea of the deductions you are entitled to take. So do your research, keep track of your expenses and take all of the deductions you can for maximum profit every year.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

How to Advertise Using Safelists for Your Home Business?

As one who is operating a home-based business, your whole business is basically whittled down to one thing. That one thing is to get as many people as possible to your site in order to make sales.

If your home business is based on you promoting an affiiate product, you have no need to worry about writing ad copy, creating a new product, finding a niche or any of the other mundane tasks that go into product creation because they have already been done for you.

On the surface this seems like a no brainer. Easy money!

The problems arise when you stop to consider how many other affiliates in the same home business niche you are in are out there with the same goal in mind. What goal is this? Promoting the exact same product as you are with the exact same promotional material.

If you have been into internet marketing for any time at all you most likely have looked into many of the free advertising avenues available today. Safelists and traffic exchanges are probably the most prevalent of these.

Personally, I like to use safelists as a list building tool because they are populated with internet marketers. My target audience. I like the new lists that are credit based because it requires anyone wishing to use the list to advertise to actually view the site to get enough credits to mail their own ads.

Now think about this for one minute. How many times have you clicked on a link from a safelist and been taken to the exact page that you have seen ten times already that day?

Come on people! Do you really believe that if someone out there sees the same site over and over again that they will eventually break down and buy, join, opt-in or whatever else your cookie cutter affiliate page is trying to accomplish?

No!

If I see one of those pages after the first time I simply go back to checking my email and wait for the timer to reach zero so I can just close the browser.

On the other hand if I see a good page, with compelling copy, that is giving away a free report I am much more likely to read what the site has to say and give my name and email address to get the report.

Most of these marketers also will have their autoresponder set up to lead to a one time offer after capturing their prospects information. This is an awesome money making tactic.

Now that marketer has my name and email address and they can send me more offers for the same product or other related products. Most likely they will have a few messages already in the queue to go out at intervals of two to three days.

This is how to use a safelist effectively for your home based business. As your own list building tool. The people who opt-in to your list have showed themselves to be interested in your offer. They have set themselves apart from the crowd.

The money is in the list.

Use safelists wisely and they can still be effective affiliate marketing tools.