Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Carrie: I’m Carrie Lauth, and for the next hour we’re going to be talking about starting an internet business, and more specifically, starting a business offering products and services for the natural family market. We’re going to try to cover as many of the questions that some of you have submitted, and although we may not get to every individual one as we only have about an hour, by the time we’re through tonight we will have touched on the top questions that most people ask, and basically these would be 3 topics: Getting started, which includes researching your business idea, finding products to sell, Number two, marketing your business online- how to get traffic to your website, where to find customers, how to get leads, things like that. And then thirdly, we’re going to address some of the confidence issues, like how to get rid of fear and take that leap and launch your website once you’ve done your homework. So let’s get started by introducing our panel of experts here. Would you ladies go ahead and tell us your names and your website and a little about your business? You want to go first Diana? Diana: Sure, this is Diana Walker and my website is www.Diana2.com, and I chose that site before I really understood very much about search engine optimization, which you all will learn about on this call, and my business is Sunrider Chinese herbal foods, and I love learning more and also being a part of Carrie’s little group that she helps mentor. Kari: My name’s Kari St Louis and I have 3 websites: www.HealthyFamilyTalkRadio.com , www.MapleCreekNaturals.com , and www.DiaperCakeGifts.com , which is a gift website for babies. And basically Healthy Family Talk Radio and Maple Creek Naturals is for the natural parent niche market, and I like to talk about natural living. Ok great, Jen, you want to go ahead? Jen: Yes I’m Jennifer Houck and I own www.AttachmentMoms.com , basically a website where I express my parenting views on attachment parenting, such as cloth diapering, breastfeeding, cosleeping, and definitely not all attachment parents do all those, it’s just basic parenting tools that come to your mind but it’s views that I like to share with other people to see if they want to approach that type of parenting style. Carrie: Ok awesome so obviously we all have slightly different types of businesses but we kind of cater to the same market. So let’s go ahead and get started with some of these questions about launching an internet based business. This is one that I receive a lot: How do you find legitimate businesses? Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar And when I get this question I’m assuming that the person is talk about how to find Direct Sales and Network Marketing businesses, so Diana would you like to address that? How do you go about finding legitimate business opportunities if you are looking for that? Diana: I would suggest something like the Direct Sales Association, because every company that is listed with www.DSA.org is scrutinized by them and you can’t belong unless you are very legitimate company, so that would be my first suggestion. And also of course through friends and even online where you get to know people who you form a relationship with or you see them on there and you enjoy what they have to say, and you can do your own research also online. But it helps when you get to know people who are already successful in a certain business, and that’s the way I got involved with the direct sales company that I’m with, Sunrider herb foods. I’ve noticed that other people sort of flounder when they’re looking online, and those are a couple of suggestions. Carrie: Yeah, great I was going to suggest that too www.dsa.org, it’s a great resource, and I was just searching around there the other day and they have a function where you can search for different products. For instance, if you were really into aromatherapy you could search for companies that offer aromatherapy products, so that’s a really neat thing if you have a passion about one specific niche. And another thing that I like to talk with Moms about is that if you’re nervous about joining a business opportunity then certainly search around and research and you can look at the Better Business Bureau, but some people have kind of forgotten that they can create their own opportunity, that they can take the existing body of knowledge that they have around a subject or, some product that they love or what have you, and start a business, an affiliate marketing business for instance which we’re going to talk about a little bit later so do one of you ladies want to comment about that, taking a product that you are already interested in and designing a website around that? Jen: Definitely Carrie, such as I have a friend that I’m talking to…she just started doing baby slings and baby aprons, and she is doing that on eBay which I know eBay’s a good place to start your product with, but she’s just losing so much potential other customers if she would just get a website name, and start directing people to that when she hands out her business cards, doing offline marketing. I guess she just doesn’t understand so I’m trying to tell her step by step, it’s just such a big market out there that you can get into that you can start your product, and I know eBay is a good thing, but definitely get a website up and start your branding out there and get your name out to everybody. Carrie: Right that’s a great point. Just today I was talking with a distributor with Natural Family Boutique, and that’s a wonderful company, a direct sales company. And we were talking about how some people are start selling their products on eBay, but the problem is that they haven’t set up a way to keep in contact with those customers so for many of us who buy on eBay we go on there and we search and we buy the product and that's it, and I know personally I never go back and check the sellers and see what they’re offering again, so they’re losing potentially future sales by not establishing that relationship, Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar having their own website that they can capture my email address and keep marketing to me later on. So that is very important. This is a big question and it is asked in a hundred different ways but it’s the same question: How much money does it take to start an internet business? What’s been you guy’s experience with that? Jen: A lot of people probably think it takes big chunks of money but actually if you have $20 you can get your business started with a web domain name and then cheap hosting if you get hosting from Dayana for $14.95 a year. So just start out small like that you don’t have to serve the whole world your first month, just start small and each month as you’re getting more sales you can spend more money in your marketing field. Carrie: You know I think one of the reasons that people have this idea that it’s very expensive to get a website up and running is because they may be thinking it’s necessary to always hire a website designer, which is certainly something that a lot of people do, because they’re not interested in learning how to design their own site, however I know that a few of us maybe all of us, have at least one of our sites that we’ve built ourselves, using tools like “What you see is what you get “ html editors. Diana: I just wanted to say that in the year 2000 I spent $1500 to get a designer to design my site, and then I realized I had no... it was just like an online brochure, I had no way of sending people there, of keeping in contact with them…and so it took me until a year and a half ago to find an Easy Website Builder, which is what you’re talking about now, and that’s how I created my Diana2.com. It was so easy, and it’s just a matter of people being able to find these kinds of things. Carrie: Right, I didn’t even know that such a thing existed when I first got my little site online, and it was fun learning how to use it, and there are some that are better than others, I know Diana you use Internet Based Family and I’ve used them to build several sites. Diana: Yeah, I love them. Carrie: Yeah it’s very easy, if you can design a Word document or like an email, a fancy email, you can build a nice looking site. Kari: I just recently realized that I can design… if you know html and you have Frontpage you can pretty much do your own, and my first website designer was $500. Carrie: And that’s low. Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Kari: I didn’t know that. Diana: Yeah Kari: I didn’t know I could do Frontpage. I think a lot of new Moms out there wanting to start businesses, that’s something that holds them up. Carrie: Yeah, the technologically phobic like myself. But that’s an easy problem to overcome. Ok so we mentioned Dayana host which is $15 a year, getting a domain name for about $8 a year and one of the things absolutely essential is some type of newsletter management system, a mailing list manager, for instance, Aweber. There are a couple others: Email Aces. Now Aweber is about $20 a month and you have unlimited newsletters and auto responders, and then Email Aces is about $8 a month and I think there are some limitations but just starting out it’s very reasonable. So that’s just not a whole lot of money at all. Another thing about the Internet Based Family builder is that it includes your ecommerce stuff, like an integrated payment processor, shopping cart, that kind of thing, that would be important for someone who has physical products or digital products that they’re selling. Ok here’s a similar kind of a question, How do you go about choosing products to sell? So how did you guys do that, how did you decide what kind of products you’re going to offer, or is that what you started with, did you kind of start by picking who you wanted to sell to and then the product came later? Kari: How I made my choice on MapleCreekNaturals.com is I sell herbs for kids, and I use the products myself, and I know the company, I know the integrity, I know the business, and so when I was researching on what products to sell I did kind of interview the company about if they dropshipped, their whole sales percentage versus retail, I did research. And if you do an internet search online for natural products, if you’re interested in selling natural products, just research the company, call the president; call the owner, that’s what I did. Carrie: I was thinking just today, about the home schooling market and how there are so many little niches that exist inside that one theme. For instance, someone could market to parents of home schooling preschoolers, they could market to home schooling youngsters, the first few grades, they could market to middleschoolers, they could market to home schooling teens, there’s the unschooling market, the eclectic home school family , there’s the Charlotte Mason home school, the let’s see, what are some of the other ones, the Classical home school so even in that one niche there’s all these multiples little niches that exist. So I know a lot of us kind of started by having a target market in mind, and when I say target market I mean who do you want to sell to? Do you want to sell to gardeners who Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar are arthritic? Do you want to sell to women who like high line, organic skin care? So if you’re just starting out you might want to choose a target market with interests that are similar to you own, that way you can understand their needs and what it is that they want to buy, and then once you have that target market firmly in mind, you can think about what problems those people have, and what products or services or information can help them solve those problems. And from there you can just keep digging to find out what you can offer those people. And one easy way… go ahead… Kari: I think target market… that a lot of people miss too…trying to figure out what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it, target market is the most important aspect of your business. Carrie: Because after you figure that out, then everything else gets easier. You know what to sell, you know what to say to those people, and you know a lot of people have started out with this idea and it works extremely well, they just design a simple, one page mini site and all it has on it is a simple opt in form. Where people can give you their name and email address, they also call it a flycatcher page, and you can let your subscribers just ask you questions about what they’re interested in. For instance that’s how we did this call, people gave me their email and name, and I gave them the opportunity to ask questions, now we’re answering those questions, using that idea, you could turn around and create a product out of that to sell. For instance, if you are a home schooling parent, and you’ve raised 6 kids and they’re all in their 30s now, you have an incredible body of knowledge there that you can capitalize on. So you could set up a one page site and you could say “What is your top question about home schooling kids?” And give all of those people that ask you a question and then answer the questions. And turn it into an ebook to sell. People would pay for that information. Ok here’s another good question, and this is along the lines of money. How much does it cost to build a business? How much money do I need to have each month to build my business and make it a success? To me that’s kind of a slightly different question than how much it costs to get started. So we mentioned purchasing a domain name, and website hosting, and a newsletter management system, but as far as like the success of someone’s endeavor, what are some of the tools that you guys would recommend that they invest in on a monthly basis? Especially after the first few months… to really make their business a success? Jen: Sometimes when customers come to your website, you want to be more personal to them. Have a personal warm approach, so a lot of people are using Audio Acrobat.com now to have audio, where you can direct people when they land on your site, you can talk to them and say “Now this section, you can see this, …” Audio is a big thing you can do with your website now. Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Diana: How much does that cost per month? I haven’t signed up yet, but that’s definitely on my list. Carrie: It’s $19.95 a month and you can host unlimited audios on that, like for instance I’m using my Audio Acrobat account right now to record this call, so I’m going to be able to offer that to people who come to the NaturalMomBusinessGuide website and for one reason or another they have not decided to make a commitment and purchase the product, I’m going to make this recording available to them to they can get some good information, but yeah that’s a great way to connect with your website visitor. It’s so easy for a person to click on a website and within seconds, click right back out. But if you’re using audio properly to help your customer use your product or direct them through your website, give them some helpful information and helpful tips it can certainly improve their experience and make you more sales. Now, it just so happens that all of us are members of a coaching and mentoring program called Mom Masterminds. So that’s something that we all invest in on a monthly basis, do you guys want to comment on that, how that has helped you in your online business success? Diana: I wouldn’t be where I am… I spent 5 years trying to get known on the internet, and now in one year… well less than a year really, I found that I was in the search engines, and everything, all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. And then the support, the incredible community of other like minded moms… and I think that women have a different approach in general to marketing on the internet, and I had a couple of male coaches, and I learned a lot from them, but they didn’t understand the fact that at that time I couldn’t afford two computers, I had one computer and my son would come, and would be playing games on it, and then I’d be on it. And also I have to make meals and do all the things that Moms do… and my coach had a secretary, and a wife, and an office, and here I was in just different circumstances and I found that he didn’t understand. When I came to Mom Masterminds I hear other women who were breastfeeding while they were typing on the computer, and you just hear the real thing of how we live as Moms and we’re able to earn an income online, it’s just amazing to me. Carrie: yeah, what every Mom needs is a wife, I’ve said that so many times. But you’re right, we really do market differently, and if we’re marketing to other women then we need to speak to them in a way that they can respond. I heard somebody else jumping in right when Diana was about to say something… Jen: That was me, I was going to say definitely networking with Mom Masterminds and getting to know other people that’s in a similar business, internet marketing and promoting your products, definitely helped me because I was trying to learn it all by myself the first three months that I wasn’t getting anywhere, I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t even know was SEO was, and it just helps so much for people to help guide me, and not making you feel like you’re stupid and can’t do it, they were there… sort of like cheering you on, saying “yes you can do it and we’re here to help you” and that’s the good thing about starting your own business, is that you don’t want to go at it alone. You want people helping you and guiding you. They don’ t be scared and just stop, Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar because there are a lot of people that get into starting their business and they get way over their head and don’t know where they’re going, and have nobody to mentor them and help them along. So I definitely, definitely, definitely say Mom Masterminds is the way to go for a networking group. Carrie: Absolutely, for all the reasons that you mentioned and more. I know one of the things that I have really, really appreciated about Mom Masterminds is the fact that you have a built in group of possible joint venture partners, I know a lot of us, or all of us, probably…before we joined Mom Masterminds, went to some of the business networking forums and trying to establish relationships and meet potential link exchange partners and potential joint venture partners and affiliates for our product, etc. It’s a little bit more difficult. You have a lot of people coming in and leaving, posting once and never coming back, they’re just there to try to get a quick hit to their website, but with MM you have a group of really serious, dedicated women in different levels in their work at home journey, some are just starting out, and some are making a six figure income on a very part time basis, so there is a variety. But what we all have in common is that we’re very serious about our businesses, so that is so refreshing. And we all have at least one project that we’re working on together, not including this one. So it’s a very powerful thing, what we can accomplish together. And that kind of goes along with this other really awesome question that I got, which was: How do I get support and assistance during this process? I have ideas, but don’t know how to set it all up. So MM would be a beautiful thing for someone like that. There’s also some business coaching that is available. I know Kelly McCausey for instance, offers business coaching, she’s wonderful. And there are others. If you have ideas then you’re way ahead of many people who get started who don’t’ really have an idea to build on, so you just need to get started! I know for myself personally, when I look back at some of the things I did a couple of years ago It’s a little embarrassing because you learn so much! And it’s ok to get started and make mistakes, everybody has done that. Jen: I was going to say too if you can’t afford MM at first, there’s a lot of business forums you can go on like Alice Seba’s www.Internetbasedmoms.com Carrie: Yes that is a wonderful forum, one of my favorites. And just to mention another one, www.Selfstartersweeklytips.com is great, there are a lot of very serious minded business people there, and that’s owned by Lynn Terry who’s also a work at home Mom. Ok here’s a good question, I think a lot of people secretly wonder this and maybe don’t ask it: Can anyone really make an honest living online? Anybody want to address that one? Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Jen: Oh, definitely. I didn’t think I could when I first started saying at home after I had my first daughter in 2003 and now here it is 3 years later, and I’m making an income online. So anybody that has a computer can definitely make a living online. Carrie: Yes. For me the key word in that statement is an honest living. I think many people have the notion that there’s a lot of scams online, and there are certainly some of those, however, if you just kind of apply a common sense test to most things, you can weed out 99% of the scams. If you’re offering a legitimate product for sale or a legitimate service that people want and need and they’re looking for and that makes their lives easier or happier or whatever, then you’re providing a service and you are making an honest living. People are looking for products that others are selling, they’re looking for services and they’re looking for information, and if you can provide it and earn an income, then that’s the perfectly legitimate and honest way to earn money. Diana: I think that’s a really good question because I’m always surprised at the scams that come up, but I think when you put the test is that you are getting legitimate products and or services, whereas some of these things that come up, you buy in to them. There’s this one a few weeks ago that someone told me about, and I said well what are you getting for the $3000 that you invest? And this was online. They don’t get anything, so it was very easy to see through it right away, but you do have to ask questions and there will be lots of offers out there that are not legitimate. But, always question it. That’s the key. Carrie: Absolutely. Ask questions, get more information. And if someone isn’t willing to give you a lot of information, then… run! Click that little red X in the right top corner of your screen, and get outta there. Ok here’s a great question: I don’t have a product, how do you start a business without a product? Jen: Start promoting other people’s products. Carrie: Yea! That’s exactly what I was going to say. And what’s in it for you to promote somebody else’s product? Jen: Right. Because that’s how my attachmentmoms.com got started, I was promoting other people’s products. But once you promote other people’s products, you’re getting a kick back as part of their sales. Carrie: Right . Do you want to explain a little bit more about how that works, because you’re referring to affiliate marketing, and a lot of people on this call may not be really familiar with what that means and how it works. Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Jen: A lot of products that you can find online... if you like that certain product, I’m going to say for instance, baby slings because that’s one of the products I’m promoting right now. Usually if you check at the bottom of their website you’ll see “affiliates click here”. And what you do is you sign up as an affiliate of theirs, and they will give you a banner or certain text to apply to it, and you just put that on your website. And when somebody buys through your link then you get a certain commission. Most of the time the commission runs from 20-60% is about the highest I’m promoting right now. Carrie: Right… ok awesome, that’s one of my favorite things to talk about because it is very inexpensive to launch an affiliate marketing business. If you’re going to develop your own product then you’re looking at potentially quite a chunk of investment. If you’re making your own physical product like skin care or cloth diapers, whatever it might be. But with affiliate marketing, the product is already developed so you don’t have to be any kind of genius creative entrepreneur person, because I know I’m not the creative type and if I had to rely on my creative genius then I’d starve, but anyway… there’s a lot of great products out there that exist, and it’s pretty simple to find them, and we’re going to talk about that a little bit more later, but another option would be direct sales. If you find a product that you love and there’s a company that offers that product through direct sales program, that would be another way. And a lot of the companies have some restrictions on how you can do business online, and I would encourage you to find out what those are. Some give you more leeway than others, but if you have a personal experience with the product and you have a passion for that, then that would be a great place to start. You want to talk about that a little bit Diana? Diana: I sure do because this was my biggest question when I started marketing Sunrider on the internet, because there are some restrictions, but I learned how you can word things, and you don’t have to necessarily use the company name. They are becoming more lenient, so I’m able to use it more often, but the thing is just to find your target market, and then talk about it from your heart. If there is something that you really love, a product that you find. And marketing over the internet is sort of a pioneering experience but I have found other Moms who are doing it with different products, and that just encourages me along the way, I’m now starting to have 5 to 10 people signing up from my newsletter because I established myself as an expert in my health field because that has been my passion for years, and ten I give them very quality information in my newsletter and then they are interested, some of them.. in the products that I recommend. And so it’s all about the relationship. And if you find a direct sales company that you like, and that you find that there is a demand for, then it’s really pretty simple. Carrie: And I’m really excited that there are a lot more direct sales companies that are popping up that have natural products, natural parenting products. I was talking with a Natural Family boutique distributor and they have wooden toys, positive discipline and breastfeeding and gentle parenting books, they have organic clothing, there are companies with organic skin care, aromatherapy, herbs, all sorts of things and so there’s definitely a lot of room there. This is another question kind of similar. We talked about how to choose a product to sell, and by starting with a target market. This one asks: Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar What are some good business ideas? And I’m going to address that a little bit because I added a new section to the Natural Mom Business Guide, with a ton of business ideas. And everything from A-Z that I could think of that I had researched, and I don’t provide any guarantee about how profitable that particular idea would be, it’s more of a brainstorming tool. But again going back to that target market if you think about who you want to sell to, then coming up with a business idea will be much easier. Do any of you have any thoughts on how to choose your website topic or theme or your niche? Jen: I would agree with you Carrie, sit down before you actually buy a website domain or hosting, just sit down with a piece of paper and draw little circles and put in each of those circles what you love, what you love to do in life, and branch out from ideas right there and just try to pick your niche. And then after you pick your niche then I would say go and try to find the domain name… that brand… for your niche name. Kari: I would say also to first of all brainstorm with yourself and figure out what you’re drawn to, what you’re passionate about, what you enjoy reading about. And figure out what you can do with that, and figure out your target market and figure out your product. Carrie: And one of the advantages I see with starting with something you know about is, since you’ll be writing at least some of your website copy, I mean you can hire someone to do copywriting for you and to write your product description or your sales copy, it’s helpful if you write at least some of it on your own to keep your costs down. And if its something that you’re already interested in, then it will be natural for you to be able to write about it. Especially later as you start writing articles to market your site, and we’re going to talk about that in a few minutes. But there’s probably a word of caution that’s appropriate because many people make the mistake of thinking “do what you love and the money will follow” and there’s certainly a lot of truth in that but how do you go about researching to see whether your idea could be a profitable business? What did you guys do? Kari: Look at other websites, see what they’re doing. I started signing up for newsletters and seeing how they’re promoting their business and how they’re doing it. Carrie: That’s an awesome tip Diana: And also keyword research helps… if you see that people are searching on certain terms on a daily and monthly basis, say they’re searching for green tea or candles or scented or natural candles, so if you see that there’s 300 searches for that a month, it may be a good business. But then you have to also learn how to check whether there is a lot of Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar competition too. There may be a lot of sites servicing that particular niche but if you can bring something special to it, then it could be the area that you should go into. Carrie: Right, exactly. And we’re going to talk about later, how to differentiate yourself from the competition. But more about keyword research for a second, there’s a resource that a lot of us use called Wordtracker.com. There is a paid version that will give you more expansive results, it works out to be about $7.80 because it’s 8 pounds but it’s around 7 dollars and you can research your brains out for 24 hours. I would recommend the paid version if you’re really fleshing out a business concept, it’s just a few dollars. You can go on there and using that tool, you can search around your key idea. For instance let’s say you wanted to promote baby massage techniques and you’re thinking of writing an ebook of baby massage tips and techniques, you can go search and see what are people wanting to know about baby massage? And you can also tell whether they’re looking for products, which is important, or if they’re only looking for free information. If you see a whole lot of freebie type searches, like “free printable chore list” or “free budgeting tip” or whatever, and there’s no “baby massage book” or “baby massage oil” “baby massage lotion”… that would indicate an interest in a product. So you need some of those that indicate not jus a freebie seeker. And you can still earn money from the freebie seekers, by offering good content and monetizing your website for instance with Google AdSense, which just requires someone to click on that Google ad and you can earn some revenue from that. But in order for you to really have a profitable business at some point you’re going to have to sell some kind of product. So, some other ideas that have worked for a lot of people are: Take a look at your local bookstore, look in the magazine section, and if you find a magazine devoted to your topic, it’s likely that a lot of people are willing to spend money in that niche. For instance, you can look at Mothering magazine, or Home schooling Today or the Old Schoolhouse, or some of the crafting magazines, or Organic lifestyle kind of magazines. And you can see what products are being advertised in there, because it’s very expensive to advertise in a national magazine, so if that company can afford to advertise in there, then there must be enough sales being made that they can afford that advertisement. Did you guys do any research like that, offline research to identify some profitable business ideas? Kari: I did… I did something similar to what you’re saying about looking through magazines and then I looked around at other websites, and did it that way too. Carrie: Kari I will ask you this too because you mentioned finding a dropshipper to provide some of your products for one of your websites. This is another question: How do I find dropshippers that will ship directly to my customers? Kari: You know, a lot of businesses don’t advertise that they dropship. You have to personally ask them, and a lot of them do…but they need to be asked, they don’t advertise it on their site for some reason, I’m not really sure why…probably because Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar people sending tons of email asking questions? So if you find a product that you’re interested in, you can email the company and ask them if they dropship. I really suggest dropshipping over stocking, because once you stock, you have it, and you have to hope that you sell it, and if you don’t sell it you either have to use it up or give it away. So there are companies out there that will dropship to certain businesses on a favor basis. They want to look at your website, see what you’re about, how professional are you, and some of them even bend over backwards and dropship for you. Carrie: Wow, I didn’t know that, that’s great. I had heard of some of these companies like Worldwide Brands where you can search and find a lot of different products that dropship, a lot of people who are doing eBay are utilizing places like that, but that’s really helpful information. Another thing that people can do and it’s so simple, is just to go to your favorite search engine, Google.com or what have you, and just search for “xyz product + dropship” and just see what comes up, and start your research that way. Ok we’ve spent a lot of time on getting started probably because a lot of questions revolve around that but let’s talk about marketing your new website for a moment. Many people who start, especially moms, are kind of low on funds, they don’t have a ton of money to market their site. What are some of the best ways to drive traffic to a website that don’t cost a lot of money? Here’s one question: How do you get listed in search engines when you’re on a limited budget? Well first of all, it doesn’t take any money at all to be listed in a search engine, and a couple of you have mentioned search engine optimization, that’s not something that we can really go into detail on a call like this, but it’s an absolutely free way of getting search engine traffic, and there’s basically only two things that go under search engine optimization, there’s some things that are called “on the page” factors, which means how you design your website, and there’s “off the page” factors which include things like getting links from other websites. I go into a lot of detail about this in the Natural Mom Business Guide. I’ve got a printable checklist that you can go through and tick off every item to be sure you’ve done everything right when you design a new page for your website, as well as an audio that teaches more about it. And in addition to search engine optimization, there’s article marketing. Do one of you want to comment about that? Jen: I learned about article marketing first from Mom Masterminds but it’s another free way to get traffic, and once you put out one article you’re getting traffic from that one article two, three, four, five… years down the road, because people are picking up your articles and placing it on their websites, so you’re getting free traffic from people who go to those websites and read your article, your link to your website is at the bottom of that article as a resource. And even an article I first did when I first started online, I was Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar checking my stats yesterday, and that first article is still sending me traffic today and that blew my mind, because you’re not paying nothing for that traffic! Carrie: Exactly! Another beautiful thing about article marketing is that it establishes you as an expert in your chosen field. You can become the “go to gal” about that topic, and it’s sad but it’s true that I see this as being a huge thing that a lot of work at home Moms who are targeting the natural Mom market are forgetting… have you guys noticed that too? Kari: Yeah, I have. Diana: Oh exactly, myself included! I’ve only done a few, but it’s so exciting to see them there, I just haven’t gotten around to doing more, but it’s a wonderful feeling to see that people are coming to your site because they’re read your article, and I definitely intend to more of it, and you’re right, because there’s a real need, because you can tell the difference with somebody who writes about a topic they really care about and somebody that just puts an article out that’s just trying to get their name out there, and so if you have something to offer and you put your bio at the end of it, it’s a terrific way when people are impressed with what you’ve said, myself included… like if I see somebody’s article and I like what I’ve read, I’m definitely going to click on their link and find out, look at their website. Carrie: Absolutely. It’s funny, I had a couple of articles that were picked up by the Dr. Laura.com website, and I get traffic every single day to this one website that is linked from her site, it’s a very high traffic site, and like Jen said, I wrote this article years ago, it was one of the first articles I ever wrote when I came online. And I still get traffic every single day to that website from that one article. So it’s a very powerful thing, and this is something that so many of the natural wahms are forgetting to do, perhaps they don’t’ really know about it, but for a lot of us we’re a little bit nervous about writing our first article, so how did you overcome that? Thinking oh I don’t know what to write about, what would I ever write about? Diana: I took Nicole and Kelly’s easy article marketing course and that gave me more confidence. Carrie: Yea! And incidentally I told everybody that there were going to be some free gifts for everyone on this call and one of the things I’m giving away is a free report, it’s several pages long but it has tips from that easy article marketing course, so I’ll announce that so you can go pick that up at the end. And here’s a great question that goes along with this: How would I compete with all the other sites, there’s so many of them? That would one way, I would say, if you are delving into the natural family market, natural living, I know personally when I go out looking for content about a specific thing to add to my websites, sometimes I have a hard time finding free reprint articles around Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar that thing, like maybe it’s cloth diapers, and I want to add some cloth diaper articles to a website. I may only find a couple on a particular free reprint directory. And I’m thinking but there are hundreds of websites out there that sell cloth diapers! Where are all the articles?! So that would be one way. Kari: I have noticed that too… especially for attachment moms, I’m having to write my own or use yours Carrie! Because there’s not a lot out there, and I guess we really need to break into that market right now. Carrie: Yeah, so we’ve got to spread the word to these moms about article marketing, because it’s absolutely free and it can get you potentially much traffic and expert status, which is another way to compete with the other sites. Do something a little differently… do something a little better. You may have identical products, but if you offer superior customer support, or you have a fantastic monthly email newsletter that you send out with all of these great tips, then you’re going to differentiate yourself from the other websites. Really, all the other sites are not your competition. It’s the people who are doing the right things that are your competition. Kari: Right. Carrie: And that’s only a small percentage of the websites that exist. Ok, here is an interesting question: How do I drum up a marketing niche for something that is not common practice nor seen as necessary? The example this person gave was infant massage. Well, my answer to that is, I don’t see that as a niche that needs to be drummed up, I believe that is a huge niche! Because when I go to the bookstore I see several books that are written about infant massage, so I think that is a great niche. Kari: Me too. Carrie: And like we talked about if there is no interest in a topic, then you probably shouldn’t start a business around it anyway. But if you have that niche in mind and there’s probably a market for it if you have done your research, and another place to find out would be to search the email news groups, for instance www.Yahoogroups.com . If you can find a bunch of email groups devoted to a topic, likely there’s a huge audience for that. If there’s a bunch of people getting together and talking about that via email, and looking for support about that topic, then likely, they’re willing to by products around that, there’s enough of an interest in it. Kari: And there’s also a niche within a niche. With baby massage you can really hone in tighter with: relieve a colicky baby with infant massage, or relieve a baby’s earache with infant massage, massaging the neck or the ears. Kind of narrowing in tighter, what infant massage can do… how you can benefit from it. Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Carrie: While you were talking I thought of infant massage for a special needs child. So definitely dig in deeper and see what sub-genre exists inside of that. Here’s an interesting question: What do you think about using a blog as opposed to a website for promoting your business? I actually commented on this on my FAQ site, but first of all it’s kind of necessary to tell what the difference is between a blog and a website. Traditionally a blog has been used as a relationship builder. It’s not static like a website is, it’s more interactive, people can leave comments, typically a blog page is smaller, maybe a paragraph or two, instead of a full website page. And the way that it’s archived chronologically, it’s a little bit of a different feel. However, a lot of people are using blog software to build a website. Blogging software is very easy to use, for instance, www.Blogger.com which is the Google blog software which they host on their site, that’s a great way to get your feet wet with testing out a new niche, because it’s very easy to use, very simple, it’s totally self explanatory, a lot of people have just bought a domain name and forwarded it to their blogger blogspace, and tested out a new niche and see if they make some money with it. What do you guys think about that: using blogs to market your website, either instead of a site or in addition to a site? Kari: I think it’s a great way to get started, that’s how HealthyFamilyTalkRadio got started, was a website was too big of a picture for me, and it was very overwhelming, and I was really scared of it, so I consulted with Kelly McCausey, and we talked about just starting a blog. It was simple and easy, and I warmed up to it and then I went full content. So I think a blog is a great way to get started, to get your feet wet and see how you like being on the internet, and go from there. Carrie: Now most people who are avid blog readers like myself they’re kind of accustomed to a chatty conversational style, and so that was a perfect fit for HealthyFamilyTalkRadio, because you’re not coming on with this hard sales pitch, it’s more information, wonderful information and it’s free, and if a person is going to sell a product, they might be better off with a regular website. A lot of us are using a blog in addition to a regular website to build that relationship with our website visitor. A person can’t come to your website and add content to your site. But with a blog they can leave comments, you can answer their comments, they can ask questions and it’s a little bit more of a conversation really. Jen: And you’re starting a relationship with them, gaining their confidence in your area, becoming the expert. They’re more likely to trust you if they see what your writing style is, what you’re writing about through the week. Carrie: Right. And along the lines of using a blog, here’s a question from a distributor who is a Mia Bella natural gourmet candles, and she’s a sales rep for In the Raw organic bath and soy candles. She says that she started her own blog to talk about all things natural , and she’s using affiliate links on it and was wondering if we could discuss that. I Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar don’t really know specifically what her question is but I was thinking that it’s perfectly ok to monetize a blog with affiliate links if you’re providing great information to your visitor. For instance if someone is interested in your products, for instance they’re interested in soy candles and organic bath products, their may be some things that they’re also interested in that your company doesn’t offer. For instance you may have read a great book about how to make your own salt scrubs… you picked up this great book and you could do a book review on your blog and link to that book on Amazon.com and earn a little commission. Or maybe you found an ebook that has a higher commission- 50% and it has ideas for homemade skin care products. So it kind of goes back to the target market, figuring out what it is that they’re interested in. What do you guys think about using affiliate products on your blog? Kari: I think it’s a good idea. You can help to build rapport with your readers, your readers can trust you. It takes them a while to trust before they actually purchase too. So I think it’s a great thing to do. Diana: I think as long as you have tried or used the product or read the ebook… for me I don’t like to promote anything that I haven’t personally tried. Carrie: Yeah, that is a great policy to have. It can kind of protect your reputation. Diana: There are some things that you could promote, especially if you use Google AdSense, those things are not going to be things that you’ve tried, but they will still be within the topic that you’re discussing. Carrie: Ok, here are a couple of questions that are similar, under the topic of Joint Ventures. How can I find moms who are also running natural businesses to sell my book as affiliates? Well I can answer this because launching the Natural Mom Business Guide, I’m having a crash course in recruiting Joint Venture and affiliates… and one thing that I did, well a couple things. Number one, I went to people who I knew, who I had an existing relationship with, people who trusted me. And I let them review my product. I wanted them to feel good about recommending it, and if it was crap, and they didn’t feel congruous recommending it or they wouldn’t recommend it at all, that wouldn’t be very effective so I allowed them to review it. So that might be an idea for this person. Send them a free copy of it and say “You know I respect your opinion, we’ve had dealings in the past, and I have always liked the way you…” have a sincere something that you can say about them. And let them review it and mention your affiliate program. Another thing you can do, if you don’t know a lot of existing women in business, is just to use your trusty Google search. Go and find other webmasters who reach your target market, and again, if you find someone who has a huge mailing list and huge traffic to Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar their site, you definitely want to show them respect and give them a free copy of your product. What have you guys done in that arena of getting other people to joint venture with, whether to sell your product as an affiliate or other ways of joint venturing? Diana: Well I think the www.naturallywahms.com , which you’re all part of too, has been very successful. We got together and said we all wanted to blog about natural life, being a natural mom and it’s just worked out, and working at home at the same time. It’s very free and easy, it’s not a huge time commitment, and we can each blog a little bit…a couple times a week. And I’ve found traffic that’s come from there, people have liked what I’ve put in. And I enjoy reading other people’s posts, and that’s become a wonderful joint venture that I wouldn’t have even known about a couple months ago. It just sort of happened, it came just from creating relationships and being trusted by each other. Carrie: Absolutely- that relationship and trust is very important. And another place to look would be some of the networking forums, like InternetBasedMoms and Mom Masterminds that we mentioned, and try to make that relationship, that initial contact a friendship first. Instead of just “come join my affiliate program, and here’s the link”. Kind of like… what can I do for YOU, how can I promote YOU and your website? And here’s what I have to offer as well. Try to make a personal connection, and don’t be overly eager. Don’t be selfish in other words. Diana: Right. Carrie: And you mentioned the community blogs. Kelly McCausey recently hosted in her Hot Seminar Series, a show about community blogs and how those can be, and I was one of the people that she interviewed because I’m doing 3 community blogs right now. I’ll be sure to put a link in there to that so that they can go and listen. Diana: That’s a great idea. Carrie: Well it takes some of the pressure off you to provide all the content, and the blog just grows so fast… like www.naturallywahms.com , it is growing much faster than we could grow our individual blog. Diana: That’s right. Carrie: So all that traffic collectively is helping us individually. Diana: Exactly! Carrie: Ok here’s a question that would fall under the category of marketing and selling. Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar I have an ebook on how to use baby slings, and even though I’m getting lots of opt- ins for my free ecourse, noone is taking up my offers to buy my book in my autoresponder sequence. Help! Well first of all I would find out what is the deliverability of your emails. You might have a lot of people on your mailing list, but if they’re not getting your emails, it’s all for not. So if you’re using something like Yahoogroups, or maybe one of the free Bravenet type of mailing list managers, a lot of your email may not be actually getting to your customers or your website visitors, so make sure that you’re using a very reputable newsletter management system. I know a couple of us use Aweber, and it’s excellent for deliverability. Another thing that you might want to look into is getting some copywriting help. I know for me personally, thinking about copywriting and selling kind of used to be a dirty word for me, but then I had to come to the realization that copywriting is really providing a service. If you can match up a person to something that will make their life better, then you’re really doing them a favor. And if your ebook is on how to use baby slings, I could’ve used that 8 years ago when I was first learning how to use a baby sling. I could certainly have used that! It would have been helpful to me, it would have helped my life… everything. So don’t be afraid to SELL and to promote yourself. So take a look at those emails that are going out in your autoresponder, are you really asking for the sale, are you trying to close that sale? Kari: Right. Carrie: Do you guys have any more tips for this question? Kari: I have seen a few free ebooks that offer, they’re trying to sell something but they’re not really trying to close in on the sale, I think that’s really important, and that’s also where Mom Masterminds can also be very helpful for someone trying to promote something free and closing in on a sale. I think that getting advice from other people and getting a professional review of what you wrote, and tips and ideas is a real good thing. Carrie: Yes absolutely having another person with fresh eyes go in and read your sales copy. Kari: You have to invest into your business to succeed. Carrie: Yes, absolutely. Here’s another really specific question, I love those: How exactly does Google AdSense work for advertising and is it effective? Can it work when you have a small limited budget of say, $50 a month? I think what this person is asking is Google Adwords effective, pay per click marketing. AdSense refers to the ads that show up on your site that you get paid when other people click, but I think she’s talking about Google AdWords which means you placing ads via Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Google, and pay per click advertising. So… who of you have used AdWords and was it effective, and what was your budget like? Kari: I am using AdWords and just testing it out so I can’t really comment on that, I’m learning as I’m going. Carrie: Well I think the bottom line is to learn more about pay per click marketing before you jump into it because a lot of people have said :”Well I tried that and lost a ton of money” and then I’ve heard other people say “I tried it, I love it and I’m having a campaign forever now.” I have delved into AdWords a little bit and I do find that it’s very effective; I’ve gotten some traffic to a couple of different sites that way. One of the things that you should do it make sure you have designed a page, a landing page for your ad. In other words, don’t send the person to your homepage. They’re going to get lost, and what you want to do is lead them down the path to the action that you want them to take. You want it to be completely idiot proof, so in other words, if your goals with your AdWords campaign is to make a sale, make sure that you design an unique page that that click will land on, that get them to opt in or to make that sale, and don’t just send them to your homepage, which has links to all the hundreds of pages in your website Or, if you are just trying to get the opt in to your newsletter, build your subscriber base, make sure that again, there’s no other options on that page. If it’s just a simple opt in, they have to opt in. Either to get that free report or to opt in and ask a question or what have you. But absolutely it can work on a small budget of $50 a month. That’s an awesome budget for AdWords. And here’s kind of a broad question, and we’ve touched on it a little bit, but.. how do I get people to my website? How do your website visitors find you guys? Jen: Under the search engine optimization mostly. That’s pretty much how about 75% of my visitors come, but probably the other 25% I’d have to say through article marketing and word of mouth. Kari: I would have to say through blogging and pinging. When your blog is pinged…I get a lot of traffic when I blog about a new subject. Carrie: So is your blog set up so that it automatically pings or do you have to go in and do it manually? Kari: Yeah it automatically pings. Kelly set it up for me. Carrie: Oh yeah, and for some of you that may sound like Greek, but there’s a great resource that we have all gone through called Blogging Starter Pack and it was put together by this wonderful very tech savvy work at home Mom named Lynette Chandler and I’ll make sure there’s a link in the transcripts to that because it’s wonderful to explain how to set up a blog, how to market your blog, pinging… you don’t have to be technologically savvy to be a blogger. I have several blogs and I absolutely adore blogging, but I’m a technophobe. Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Ok so we mentioned Search Engine Optimization which is free traffic and article marketing which is free traffic and blogging and pinging which is free traffic, what are some other ways people find you? Diana: On forums. I know that some people say that posting on forums can take too much time, and waste time, on the public forums. So I guess if it’s specifically around your topic sometimes it can bring people to your site. Carrie: You know I remember probably the first ebook that I ever read about internet marketing mentioned as one of the top ten tips that all the gurus do, and that is strategic networking at message forums. Diana: Ok, that’s good! Carrie: Yeah it’s something that all the gurus do, and the reason that they do it is because it is effective, and not only will you get traffic but you can provide helpful information to other forums readers and establish yourself as an expert. And there is a definitely a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and I go into this in detail in the Natural Moms Business Guide, but I’ll just share a couple of things. Number 1, the mistake that I see a lot of moms making in our market, is they go to a forum and they immediately try to sell. And that’s really a mistake. The goal should be to get to know the forum, get a feel for the community, and to offer something of value first. So for instance, let’s say I’m a Mia Bella distributor, I might put together a little 5 page report on “How to make your candles last twice as long”. Evidently these candle people know all about these little candle tips, like how to hug a candle. I don’t know how to hug a candle, but evidently that’s something that candle lovers do! Or the way that they trim the wick and the way they blow the candles out and the way they store them, they can make them last twice as long. If you’re into candles, you wanna know that. So I might have a link on my signature in my profile at the message forum that says: “Want to spend half as much on candles? Click here for a free report.” Or “Want to make your candles last twice as long? Click here for this free report” and I’m going to get people who are going to be getting that free report from me. And so I’ve given some helpful information first and established myself as an expert, and I’m not out to get that quick sale, and potentially get myself in trouble with some of the forum administrators and just kind of look cheap. There’s definitely a right and wrong way to go about it. What are some of the things you guys have done specifically on message forums that have gotten you website traffic or sales or customers? Jen: In most of the message boards you have a signature where you can put your signature there, and you can just write a little short blurb that will catch people’s attention to get them to click on your website. Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Kari: I’ve gone extreme sometimes. I got a lot of sign ups on my newsletter on a message board. In my signature line I said “You’re not signed up on my newsletter yet? Are you stupid?” I was being silly, you know, but I got sign ups off it. Carrie: I’m sure that caught people’s attention! Kari: Be creative. Carrie: That’s right. Ok well we’re going to be winding down here in just a couple of minutes but I hope that you guys have all gotten some helpful information and if you didn’t submit a question, you can still do so and I’m going to be answer as many as I can and adding them to an FAQ site, I’ll give you that link later. And if you did answer a question and it wasn’t specifically read here, I hope that you got at least a general idea of some of the basic principles in internet marketing. And the page where you go and get your free stuff... http://NaturalMomBusinessGuide.com/freegifts.html Thank you so much for joining us tonight, our panel of experts here and everyone else, and we wish you success in whatever you decide to get involved in, and if you guys just want to say one quick thing to help people overcome their fear of getting started and to take that leap, as we say goodnight, that’d be awesome. Diana: I would encourage everybody to get the Business Guide, and that will give you an outline and give you an idea of how it’s possible. Each one of us had our fears, I know I did, and I still do sometimes! But just jump in and get the support that you can and use Carrie and use all of us as mentors and just do it! Jen: I agree with Diana, just don’t be scared, don’t be afraid and if you are having a hard time coming up with money like I said at the beginning of the call, if you have just $20, if you need to have a yard sale or sell some stuff on eBay, if you could just get $20 you can get your foot stepping into the right business online. Kari: I agree with Diana and Jen. I’ve sold stuff on eBay so I could make money so I could start my own business, so I’ve been exactly where all of the newbies are right now. And it’s ok to be afraid, just have confidence in yourself. I know you can do it, Carrie knows you can do it, Jen and Diana we all know you can do it. I have faith in you and believe in you. Jen: That’s right Carrie. Carrie: Well awesome and thanks again ladies for joining me. Thank you…Have a great night. Bye. Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission. Natural Mom Business Guide Q & A Teleseminar Resources Mentioned On The Call Getting Started- Researching and Target Market Direct Sales Association – find a legitimate Direct Sales company Better Business Bureau – research businesses Wordtracker - keyword research tool Yahoogroups – for researching your target market and their needs Setting Up Your Website and Newsletter Dayana – Cheap reliable web hosting and domain names Internet Based Family Easy Website Builder - includes monthly hosting, integrated shopping cart, message board, 500 stock photos, newsletter management, and much more. Has a 7 day free trial. Frontpage – Microsoft’s “What you see is what you get” html editor Aweber - unlimited autoresponders and mailing list manager Email Aces – inexpensive newsletter management Minisites – Build a one page “mini site” to gather leads or research your target market Audio Acrobat- host unlimited audios, record conference calls and more Coaching and Mentoring Mom Masterminds Work at home Mom Mentoring and Coaching Kelly McCausey – Website design start up package and business coaching Carrie’s FAQ site – your questions about internet business answered Marketing and Copywriting Easy Article Marketing- learn to market your site with articles Blogger- Google’s free blogging software Blogging Starter Pack – How to use a blog to set your business on fire Hot Summer Seminar Series with Kelly McCausey- community blogs Copywriting Help – How to sell more and still be a nice person …And of course the Natural Mom Business Guide! Copyright 2006 Natural Mom Business Guide, All Rights Reserved. You may not sell this document, however you may freely share it without prior permission.