Online Business – Valuable Marketing Lessons From American Idol

The television show American Idol is once again roaring through yet another blockbuster season on Fox Network. Are there marketing lessons buried within the weekly contest that draws millions of television viewers every week? Yes! The same strategies that creates stars on American Idol can help YOU create some star power for your own online business.

Differentiate Yourself - Simon Cowell is often heard telling American Idol contestants that their performance was “totally forgettable.” Well, since American Idol is about more than just vocals – making yourself memorable comes from being talented, original, fresh and contemporary.

The only way to stay alive in the competition is to consistently deliver what the American Idol fans want… week after week. You need to stand out from the pack and stay there. Even as a viewer – when someone asks who was the best on last night’s American Idol, it doesn’t say much for the show when there isn’t a performance that jumps out at you. Often times people are talking more about which performances were down right awful.

Differentiating yourself by showcasing your best gifts and strengths is how you will make yourself memorable – whether you are a contestant on dol or marketing yourself online. Your website, your tagline, your email signature and resource box for your articles should all work hard to make your business “memorable.”

Play on Your Strengths – So many American Idol contestants try to be sign songs that are out of their range and beyond their talent. It is better to stick with what you know you do well and showcase the best YOU. More often than not, you will hear the judges talk about a song being “pitchy” or “screaming” the lyrics.

Showcase Your Talent – Choosing songs that dramatically show your gifts is a much smarter move than picking a song that is a stretch for your voice, your rhythm or energy level. The same holds true for marketing strategies. Know your gifts and strengths then make them SHINE.

Be Coachable – When Simon Cowell tells a contestant on American Idol that their performance was a “disaster” you can hear the crowd come alive with hisses and boos. Viewers at home may even get their own hackles up and rant to anyone that will listen to just how mean the judges are on American Idol. For most of us, being faced with such blatant criticism makes us cringe BUT just like the athlete pushed by a coach – we learn. We learn to improve our game so to speak. If everyone around us told us what a great job we do when in fact, we are lousy – we will be end up like those American Idol wannabees that show up for auditions only to find out – we can’t carry a note!

It really doesn’t matter if you are trying to become the next American Idol or make a living online from home – when you get advice or suggestions from others that know more than you, listen. You don’t have to give up a piece of yourself in order to learn from others. Stop listen, think it over and take their advice to heart. Be open to learning from others – see things from those more experienced than you.

Take Risks- Each week, at least one Idol judge will say “you played it too safe” with that performance. If you have ever watched the auditions, you may have noticed people sing one song that isn’t well received then ask if they can sing another choice then end up being a contestant. It’s all about risk. Unless you are willing to risk looking foolish, you will rarely experience great moments. That is how life works. Until you are willing to ask that girl out or sing a song for the American Idol judges – you will never know if or when the answer will be YES.

For those that love to hate American Idol, remember – the contestants that perform each week might still be in their hometown’s simply dreaming of singing their hearts out on the Big Stage BUT instead they took the leap and made it this far in the competition. They are living their dream and giving it their best shot.

For those of us that run a home business or market online – we are pursuing our own entrepreneurial dreams. The marketing lessons learned from American Idol just might get you showcasing your own talents and passions in a brighter spotlight.

Eliminate the Tax Nightmare of Your Network Marketing Business and Claim Every Legal Deduction

If you’re like me your network marketing business is your “bread-and-butter” homebased business. And as a home-based business owner you want to be able to optimize in every area, including at tax time.

I use to dread tax time. Getting together receipts, mileage logs, figuring commissions received. Tax time meant a nightmare of headaches, wasted time and huge paper trails. All because I was so unorganized and unprepared that it took staying up til 2 and 3am in the morning for several nights just to organize all of my income and expense records and get them ready for filing.

Just imagine taking a 20 plus hours from your business just so you can put together your tax information!! And to top it off, everything was in such a mess when I did get my records together I still didn’t know if I was claiming every deduction allowed to me a home-based business owner. What if I missed something that could’ve put an extra $500 or or more back in my refund check?

After some years of doing this, I realized there had to be a better way. I decided it was time to be proactive when it came to my network marketing business. I figured I’d purchase one of those personal finance software packages like Microsoft Money or Quicken. Not only was the software expensive but I soon found out it did not meet the needs of my network marketing business.

A network marketer needs software that:

* easily keeps track of business expenses and deductions

* easily keeps track of several types of commission structures

* is easy to understand and specifically designed and pre-set up for the homebased business

* guides your through the steps to claim every allowable deduction you are entitled to

* keeps you from overpaying Uncle Sam

* allows you to easily track and record your business mileage

* show you your monthly, quarterly and yearly earnings

* creates a report that is ” accountant-ready”

Most network marketers leave $5-10,000 sitting on the table! You don’t have to be one of them give yourself an instant $5000 raise (even if you’ve never been successful at network marketing or your largest check was $6.95)

There is software available that is inexpensive, easy to use and that ends the tax time nightmare. Isn’t it time you finally claimed EVERY deduction you are legally entitled to and STOP overpaying Uncle Sam?

Internet Home Business Network Marketing

Are you in the market for an internet home business? Are you tired of driving to work and being a slave to the office? Try owning your own internet home based business through network marketing. Network marketing companies offer individuals the unique opportunity to own and operate their own internet home business right in their own home. They allow you to set your own hours and build and grow your home business online at your own rate. With most internet home based network marketing opportunities, there is minimal start up rates and once you’ve paid for your beginner’s kit, you are an internet home business owner. Where else could you own your own internet home business for less than $1000? Most are even cheaper than that, significantly cheaper. Many internet home based marketing businesses out there range in what type of service they provide. From Cosmetics to vitamins to long-distance plans, chances are there is a product out there just waiting for you to sell. You want to make sure you’ve tried the product and are a believer in it before signing on to sell. It’s easier to sell a product when you truly believe in it. The potential customer will also ask questions and it’s best if you have experience with the product and can answer those questions honestly from experience. So you’ve bought into the business are ready to go, now what? Find out what exact internet home opportunities are available to you.

Most internet home business opportunities with network marketing offer a product to sell. You will want to learn about the percentages of commissions the company pays on retail sales. If you have a certain amount of money you need to make per week or month, then compute the amount of product you’ll need to move/sell in order to earn that amount. For example, if you need to make $120.00 per week and you earn a 30% commission then you need to sell $400.00 in retail sales. Now, most internet home based marketing businesses not only offer you the opportunity to earn money through commissions but they offer you the opportunity to earn money through the commissions of others. That’s right, you can earn money off of what someone else sells. Isn’t that wonderful? If you believe enough in your internet home business (and chances are if you’re working it, you do) then you can earn a percentage off of what someone else sells simply by sharing that same opportunity you have with someone else. If that person signs up with the company, they become your recruit and you can earn money from their sales. It doesn’t just stop there, however, you can earn money off of their recruits and their recruit’s recruits as well. So, with network marketing, the sky is the limit and you are the astronaut.

Home Business and Internet Business-How to Integrate the Two

Internet business is such a wonderful thing, especially since there is an element of automation that you can add into it. It is so nice when someone buys something when you are sleeping and the money is in your account the next morning!

I am assuming that your home business has an internet element. People find you online. They buy from you online. But perhaps you don’t think enough about the potential of the online business because you have offline business, local business, too.

It is so easy to simply add on an internet element to your home business and begin adding in some automation to the money you make with your regular business. Imagine that if you set appointments in your home business – imagine if you could have people set their own appointments online! Imagine if people could buy from you online, instead of calling you!

But what if you knew there was an entire market, an entire world out there, just waiting to develop a relationship with someone from who they could purchase things they need, someone with whom they could do business.

Now, I am not saying to take out the personal element all together, just experiment with some automation to your business.

And it is easy to think that that business, that personal business, is easiest developed offline. That is, of course, where you meet most people with whom you talk and relate.

And when you merge both the home business and the internet business – and it can be done – you can make more money with less effort.

Real Estate Leads 101:A System For Success

When dealing with real estate leads and converting leads to clients, there are three important questions to ask yourself:

1. How are you getting real estate leads?

2. How are you following up with your real estate leads?

3. Are you using a system for effective follow up?

How to Get Real Estate Leads

For questions 2 and 3 to even be an issue, you first have to figure out a way to GET real estate leads. You can’t follow up with something you don’t have! There are several traditional ways for real estate agents to collect real estate leads in their pipeline. One way is the direct marketing approach – basically you send out a whole lot of newsletters, fliers, and postcards with your contact information to homes in the neighborhood you’re farming for real estate leads. If you start getting calls and emails, you’ve started building your own pipeline.

A second way of getting real estate leads is to network and ask past clients for referrals. As a real estate agent, you should always be talking to be people in the outside world, letting them know what you do, handing off business cards. Whether you’re at a sports event, a dinner party or you’re child’s school play, there are plenty of opportunities to build real estate leads. Never be afraid to call on old clients for referrals either – if you did your job right,t hey should be more than happy to send friends and family your way.

A third way to get real estate leads is through internet marketing. In this case, I mean building your own website with contact pages as well as subscribing to some kind of online lead generation service. By doing both, you can both harness your own real estate leads and also get plenty of leads from an outside source.

My advice? Go with all three. A good mix of direct mailings, networking, and internet marketing should have your pipeline a mile long with real estate leads. Keep in mind though that you will have to spend a little money to get all those leads!

Following up with Real Estate Leads

Without follow up, your real estate leads will be leads forever, never clients. Following up simply means to increase the effectiveness or success of something with further action. Following up with real estate leads can involve phone calls, emails, direct mailings, dropping by the property, etc. Basically, use any means necessary (within reason) to make contact with your real estate leads to determine what you can do for them. It may take 2 weeks of follow up to convert a lead, it may take 2 months, it may even take 3 years, but as long as you are consistent and persistent with follow up tactics, you can convert your real estate leads into clients.

One thing to keep in mind with follow up is that you should always have a reason to be contacting your real estate leads. Don’t give them to much information in one mailing, or else you use up your reason for contacting them at a later date. Instead, send them pieces of useful information regularly over extended periods of time. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be directly relating to home buying or selling – you can send them information about their community they may not know, the schools, job opportunities in an area you know they were thinking about moving to, the standings for the little league championship their son was in, etc. The information you’re sending your real estate leads should be a individualized for each lead.

Are you going to convert all your real estate leads? No. Do you need to convert them all? No. Should you still TRY to convert them all? Always! Most people will need a real estate agent at some stage in their life, so you might as well be the agent right there to help them out, answer any questions and keep them informed with useful information.

Employing a System for Follow Up

A system is simply any formulated, regular or special method or plan of a procedure for obtaining an objective. In the case of real estate, your objective is to convert real estate leads to clients through follow up. Your system of follow up is simply an organized, efficient and general procedure to get in contact with your leads.

Without some sort of system of following up with your real estate leads, it’s very easy to waste precious time because of disorganization. Having a system is the most effective way to streamline your follow up so you still have time to actually list and sell your clients’ homes! After all, with hundreds of real estate leads to constantly follow up with, when are you supposed to have time for listing presentations, settlement, advertising homes for sale, etc?

By having your own organized plan of follow up, you can dedicate certain hours in your day to your follow up of real estate leads. There are services out there that “sell” follow up systems to real estate agents, but they’re really not necessary for everybody. If you’re already disciplined and organized, there’s no reason you can’t formulate your own system of follow up, like designing several email templates, dedicating a certain amount of time each day to phone calls and creating an easy to access, track and monitor database of your real estate leads which includes all the important contact information needed to get in touch with them.

A system can be something as simple as creating a schedule for yourself and then rigidly adhering to that schedule. Having a systematic approach to following up with your real estate leads is the best way to maximize your conversion rate and minimize time spent following up.