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If you’re an author, speaker, consultant or any other type of information marketer, It’s always tough knowing exactly where to start.
Which tools should you use and why? Should you use this one or that one, or the LATEST and greatest (or so “they” claim)?
First off, let’s define the terms. When I use the word TOOLS, I’m talking about the various systems and software choices you select to help market and sell your information products.
Here is the list of things you need and WHY you need them.
I’ll start by assuming that you know what your niche is. You might also have some idea of some of the other products (other than your book) that you’ll be creating.
(If you use the suggested resources below, you’ll be able to ask me questions about HOW to do things. You’ll also be able to find tutorials from my good friend Dave Hamilton (aka the WebMarketingMagician). I’m not DEMANDING that you use what I suggest, but it will make it INFINITELY easier for me to help you in the future if you do. Use other products, services and tools and you may get a very BLANK stare from me when you ask me a question.)
Your Computer Hardware: What to Get
I hate to sound like one of THOSE people, but most authors, speakers and consultants should be using a MAC. Why? Because you don’t have to spend all your time figuring out how to use the technology. Instead, you can concentrate on HOW to use the technology.
If you do go for a MAC, I HIGHLY recommend that you purchase a one-to-one training package from the store. The package can ONLY be bought at the time you buy a new computer. For around $100 it allows you to go in once a weekc and get an hour’s worth of training on any topic you choose.
As someone who markets and sells information, you’ll want to start by learning the basics of the computer system itself. After that, you’ll want to learn how to use ITunes and Garageband for your audio material and soon thereafter, IMovie for your videos.
Which MAC to buy? This depends. If you are going to do a LOT of video editing, you’ll want to get one of the ones with more power and more storage. Talk to the folks at the Apple Store, they can help you! A lot will depend on your budget.
Domain Name Reservation
Reserving domain names is where you need to start. Let me start by telling you that I own more than 600 domain names. YES, I am in a 12-Step program for this affliction!
Many people pay FAR too little attention to the domain names that they reserve. Yes, you MUST have your own name .com reserved. While you’re at it, you should probably reserve the .org and .net extension of your name as well. NOT mandatory, but not a bad idea. For most domains, all you’ll need is the.com extension.
What if YOURNAME.com is taken? Then reserve something clever like THEYOURNAME.com. When it’s up and running, this domain name will be where your brochure site sits. It’s your “catch all” site. In my case, it’s where I put my blog. So FredGleeck.com/blog is where my blog resides.
If your name can easily be misspelled like mine, reserve the misspellings as well. If you do all of this domain reserving at UltraCheapDomains.com (I get a quarter or so for everyone you do – full disclosure), you can get them as cheaply as possible.
Every product that I sell has it’s own domain name. YOU should do the same. It will cost you less than $10 a year for each domain you own and hosting costs will remain the same regardless of how many domains you have.
Hosting: Where Your Domain SITS
After you reserve your domain name with UltraCheapDomains, you’ll want to “point” that domain name to your hosting company. I use CoolHostingTool.com. This is my affiliate link for a company called BlueHost. You won’t get charged ANY additional dollars for using my link, but I will get paid. If you don’t use my link then NO ONE gets a commission and that would be a small tragedy in my opinion! lol
The nice thing about hosting there is that you can put an UNLIMITED number of sites for one flat fee. If you follow my philosophy and do as I suggest, you’ll end up with quite a number of domain names and sites. I HIGHLY recommend that you use a hosting company that has the UNLIMITED feature. It will save you money in the end.
If you need help on exactly HOW to “point” your domain name from UltraCheapDomains to your account at CoolHostingTool, I’ll be putting up a video to show you how to do that shortly. It’s easy if you know how to do it. Even as a non-techie, MAC user, I could figure it out fairly quickly.
Your Website Itself: Site Creation Software
Now that you’ve done your PREP WORK, putting up your actual sites comes next. You’ll have 3 basic sites you’ll need to create. Don’t worry, given the system I’ll suggest, it won’t be THAT much work!
All of these sites should be set up as WordPress sites.
The only people who should NOT use WordPress for their sites are those who are able to program and update the sites themselves. And THAT AIN’T ME! And it probably ain’t you either!
So in this case, do what the HERD is doing, use WordPress. Your cost? ZERO. Not a bad choice given that most of this stuff sets you back a few bucks. WordPress needs to be installed on your site. Luckily, if you’re using CoolHostingTool, it’s a one step operation.
IF you DO choose WordPress you’ll find a huge number of what are called PLUG-INS that can improve and enhance your site. Some that are VERY inexpensive and many of them are free.
Be careful when you get going. Some people go plug-in crazy. Unfortunately, some plug-ins are NOT compatible. When this happens, your entire site can go down. Instead, add them one at a time and read about potential “conflicts” before you add another one.
Back to your THREE SITES.
The first site you’ll need is your authority site. Sometimes called a “brochure” site. For me, that site is FredGleeck.com. For you, use YOURNAME.com or the closest thing you can get to it given what I told you above. WordPress has a LOT of free themes for your WordPress sites allowing you to create a unique look.
Google the term “wordpress themes” and look at all the stuff that comes up. You’ll be amazed at what you find, both free and paid.
The next site you’ll need to learn how to create is your SQUEEZE PAGE SITE. This is a site that has one mission and one mission only. To capture someone’s name. To SQUEEZE their name and email out of them.
For this, you’ll want to get a program called CoolWPTool.com. Once again, an affiliate link for one of the PAID WordPress themes you’ll probably want to invest in. Check out their videos that show you what you can do. Given what this particular plug-in does, the prices is ridiculously low. This kind of stuff used to cost thousands of dollars with webmaster! YIKES!
The third and final type of site is a sales letter site. This site is dedicated to getting someone to BUY something when they go there. If you don’t make the sale, then you try and get them to give you their email address as a fall back.
I like to have a separate SITE (not just a separate PAGE) for every individual product and service I sell. Is this 1000% necessary? Probably not. BUT, here’s how I see it. If you can occupy a few more spots on the vast sea of the internet, the more likely it is you’ll be found.
Back Office System Software
There are some vital functions that every website needs to be able to do/perform.
Auto-Responders: set it up once and it does it forever
Shopping Cart: Take orders and process payments
Affiliate System: Get others to sell your products and give them commissions
Ad-Trackers: Find out where your leads and sales are coming from
Customer Database: Maintain a list of prospects and buyers
Spit Testing System: Test two options to see which one pulls better results
Ezine Creator: Create and send out regular ezines quickly and easily
Upsell Module: Get people to buy more once they place an order
Email “blast” System: Send out an email that goes to any/all groups on your list
Any system you use must have all of these components.
I use and recommend WebMarketingMagic.com. The reason is that it does everything you need/want under one roof. YES, there are individual pieces of the software you need to run your back-office that are somewhat better from other providers, but this system is a GREAT all-in-one solution. Particularly for the LESS tech-savvy.
(Full Disclosure: YES, I DO get a piece of the action if you use this software. However, I would still recommend it even if I didn’t. It’s the “right” choice unless you are a tech wizard.)
You now have a very good list of things to do to get you started. Follow the prescribed items in the order I’ve given them to you. Make sure and ask any questions here so that I can clear them up for everyone!!
Also, if you need training on software of any kind, I suggest you check out Lynda.com. They have great training tools for a ton of different software products.