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Jobless and Searching for Meaning, Millennials Flock to Mom and Dad’s House

Jobless and Searching for Meaning, Millennials Flock to Mom and Dad’s House

Millennials, more so than previous generations, have been forced to move home with their parents as they struggle with unemployment and job satisfaction, according to a new study.

Sixteen percent of millennials who have started their careers live at home due to financial hardship, and another 12 percent have moved home at least once in the past for the same reason, according to a new study by salary data company PayScale and consulting firm Millennial Branding. By comparison, only 8 percent of Gen Xers and 3 percent of baby boomers report having moved home in the past as a result of financial problems.

“Professionally and dating-wise, it really delays growing up,” says Millennial Branding founder Dan Schawbel.

However, with the U.S. unemployment rate at 7.2 percent and millennial unemployment estimated at 15.9 percent, many young Americans do not have any other options. Median pay for millennials is $40,700, compared to $55,100 for Gen Xers and $56,400 for baby boomers.

The study defines millennials as those born between 1982 and 2002, and Gen Xers as those born between 1965 and 1981. Baby boomers are identified as those born between 1946 and 1964.

The 4 Elements of an Irresistible Offer

The 4 Elements of an Irresistible Offer

“Retailers have shot themselves in the foot, there are so many offers and sales all the time, people are conditioned to wait to get a deal,” says Beth Smith, owner of Smith Browning Direct, Inc., a Flagstaff, Ariz.-based direct marketing consulting firm.

She was one of many speakers at the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference this week in Chicago.

“Offers are bait,” Smith explains, and the businesses that succeed package the bait in a way that’s attractive to consumers. Smith shared four key components of an irresistible offer, and highlighted several direct marketing campaigns that successfully implemented these strategies.

1. Package the bait.
Businesses should be prepared to communicate their unique selling proposition –what distinguishes them from the competition. “What do you have that’s new, different or better than what others have?” Smith asks.

For example, earlier this month, airline Jet Blue announced it would allow family members to pool their miles at no additional cost. And last year, T-Mobile in the Netherlands entered the competitive music service business by offering a number of playlists for different occasions, such as the “Run Till You Drop” playlist for runners and “Time for Another Drink” playlist during happy hour. By “packaging the bait” and making it easy for consumers to try the service, the campaign netted trial numbers at 700 percent over their target and paid conversions at 12 percent over their target.

 

2. Mention the savings.
If you’re going to offer volume discounts for a service, such as $9.99/month or $99/year, always do the math and include the actual savings on the ad, Smith says. This lets the customer see the actual benefit. Businesses should also consider the long-term effect of offering discounts on sales, Smith says. For example, does the customer make a repeat purchase? Does the discount cannibalize full-priced sales? In other words, are you simply shifting the timing of the purchase?

3. Throw in an incentive.
Incentives can give consumers an opportunity to try something with low risk, or offer a “free gift with purchase” that appeals to the target audience for a product. For example, tax preparer H&R Block offers a free “Second Look” review, where tax specialists review a tax return to find deductions that may have been missed. This type of offer makes customers say, “I’d be crazy to ignore this,” Smith says. Premiums or gifts that enhance a product or service, are popular as well. Just be careful that the gift doesn’t overshadow the product. Smith suggests watching to see which programs businesses repeat; they’ll repeat what’s worked for them.

4. Create a sense of urgency.
A free trial or low-risk commitment offer is another way to get consumers to act, Smith says. Last summer, eBay offered consumers the chance to sell one item on its mobile platform for free over a three-day period. And Boost Mobile’s retention strategy gives customers a $5 reduction in their bill every six months for on-time payment.

Businesses may set deadlines or limits to encourage consumers to get off the fence and act, Smith says. For example, online retailer eBags has a “Steal of the Day” offer with a limited number of bags available. The site also shows the remaining quantity available, as well as a message to “Hurry, there are X people shopping now.” Smith says this gets consumers asking, “What am I going to miss out on if I don’t respond?” If you’re going to run a limited time offer, Smith suggests providing an end date, between two and four weeks.

7 Ways Solopreneurs Can Turn a One-time Webinar Into a Content Goldmine

7 Ways Solopreneurs Can Turn a One-time Webinar Into a Content Goldmine

Webinars are a powerful and affordable way all “solopreneurs” can leverage their time to share a powerful message with their audience. One reason is that webinars provide an opportunity to speak directly with your audience and clients worldwide in real time. Another is the great opportunity they provide to spotlight your expertise, informally pitch and promote your product or service and potentially gain new clients.

Webinars are also fairly easy to mount, given the variety of platforms out there, like the popular applications GoToWebinarWebinarJam and SpreeCast. With all the bottom-line business and sales implications of a webinar, the marketing potential a well-produced webinar offers might be missed.

One more thing: You probably already know to record your webinar for playback to any registrants unable to attend the live version. But are you leveraging the goldmine of content marketing creation you can garner from the video?

Here are seven simple ways every solopreneur can turn a one-time webinar into a content goldmine.

1. Consider gate-keeping.

Before you automatically provide a recorded video link of your webinar to registrants who missed it, consider a few alternatives. First, think carefully before allowing and advertising a free recap link ahead of time; if you do this, there’s less incentive for people to attend the live event.

Some critics will argue that you’ve already gotten what you want — viewers’ registration info — and that with everyone’s busy schedule, it’s hard for people to attend webinars live. But while, yes, you now have them as prospects in your database, your real leads will make the time to attend live. So, by seeing who attended live and who did not, you’ll distinguish who is a prospect vs. a warm lead.

Utilizing CRM platforms like Infusionsoft or Marketo that offer common webinar service plugins, you can segment and follow up with your leads for the chance at a better sales conversion opportunity without offering anyone the video recap. You could alternately offer the video recap on a landing page for those who missed it, but only after they register to download it or exchange their contact information for it.

That’s a gate-keeping method that, again, will allow you to find out who is a prospect and who is a warmer lead. Utilizing your webinar for content marketing and contact segmentation will help you get the most from your efforts. To find out if your content is valuable enough to work with a gate-keeping strategy, check out this helpful infographic from HubSpot.

2. Make your recordings available for your membership.

Another option for your webinar recordings is to make them available only to your membership base, behind a login dashboard. If your business or site supports membership programs, offering recordings can be a great “members-only” perk you can advertise and utilize. Members will still be required to register, but by doing so will be guaranteed access to the video posted after the webinar event and have the convenience of viewing the content afterward.

The only caveat here is to ensure that your webinar is packed with the right kind of valuable content to truly enhance a member’s experience. Your webinars should never be straight sales pitches; this rule becomes particularly critical if you’re offering video recaps only to members, who won’t appreciate or find value in a membership program that offers only sales-pitch videos.

 

3. Utilize SlideShare.

You can quickly and easily curate the slides of your webinar presentation into a simple, elegant SlideShare presentation. By offering a cohesive sample of your webinar content to the SlideShare audience, you can share your expertise without giving away the entire presentation, create residual traffic and views to your site through the SlideShare platform and leverage the time you spent creating a valuable presentation.

Again, the name of the game here is value. Even as you scale down your full presentation from the webinar into a SlideShare presentation draft, the content still needs to be meaningful, valuable and well presented. Don’t think of this as a receptacle for your old sales-pitch decks or you’ll find a backlash against, or outright ban of, your presentations.

4. Segment for socials.

Whether you have video-editing skills, or you hire a freelancer, for a relatively cheap and easy investment you can break out your webinar into content-packed short segments, give them individual title pages and provide them to your social media followers in short, action-packed video chunks that get the most traction out of your video.

Obviously, if you choose this tactic, you won’t be able to gate-keep your video as explained in Step one, but this can be a great opportunity to segment your large webinar into bite-size content with distinct titles and calls to action that will play well on social media.

5. Transcribe to transform.

White papers are an important part of a healthy content-marketing mix, but they can take a substantial amount of time to create if you aren’t careful. One great trick with a webinar is to have the video transcribed by a professional service, then move in to quickly and efficiently parse that transcription down to a great source of content for a white paper.

Services like Speechpad will transcribe your video for as little as one dollar a minute. Once you have your white paper outline, you can find and hire a graphic designer for a baseline price of just $5 on Fivrr, to add visual design to your transcribed outline of content. Then, voila! You have yourself a great white paper for an affordable cost.

6. Create brilliant Q&A graphics

Don’t leave question-and-answer segments off the list of content sources. Utilize your video transcript’s Q&A session to create some simple and effective graphics you can use as blog post images or social media posts. Take a question and distill the answer from the webinar recording into a single sentence, or simple, short takeaway. You can then provide that copy to a graphic designer, like the one you found on Fivrr, to make a single image.

For example, a “buy local” nonprofit program in Alaska transformed a question about why it was important to buy local into a simple image that shared key stats and demos about the impact of local purchasing decisions. You can use this same tactic for highlighting a great quote from the transcription. Quotes, questions and answers that are presented in a visual way are much more compelling to view and much more sharable, helping you to create a viral aspect to your webinar, too.

7. Make questions into topics.

Now that you have segmented all your questions and answers from the transcript, you can turn that content into blog posts or article topics. Utilize the question itself to be the topic or to formulate a related topic title. Then lean on the great content already in the answer from the transcripts, to formulate the basis of a response that you can add to for a unique piece of content.

By having already extracted the outline and bones of a great article from your webinar transcript, you’ll only have to add a minimum amount of time and effort to fill in some additional information, to round out a great piece of content. Do this for the majority of your questions generated during the Q&A session, and you should have anywhere from three to five solid posts at your fingertips.

7 Hacks to a 5-Figure Webinar

7 Hacks to a 5-Figure Webinar

Online trainings are a simple and low cost way to grow your audience and revenue, but only if you do them right.

My team and I are looking for ways not just to replace the income we’re going to lose when my speaking business grinds to a halt in the second quarter due to my pregnancy, but actually grow and exceed our current revenue curve. Webinars (or online training sessions or seminars) are by far the most promising.

Webinars rock because you can use the Internet to reach a large number of quality prospects. Choosing a single topic to dive into allows you to grow your list of prospects by introducing your concept to folks who might not have realized you’re a solution to their problem. And for those who understand the value of what you offer, a good webinar can be a chance to deepen their understanding and relationship with your company, leading to more and bigger sales.

Of course, anyone who’s ever gotten a GoToWebinar account knows that running a successful webinar isn’t as easy as some of the industry’s heavy hitters make it look. So to shorten my learning curve, I reached out to Amy Porterfield, a social-media strategist and online marketer who has built a multi-million-dollar empire in less than a decade using webinars.

I chose Porterfield because I’ve loved her blog and podcast for years and have actually bought several of her paid programs off her webinars, so I can personally attest to her skill at selling online. She has my credit-card number.

1. Live is better than automated (at least at first).

Everyone who’s making five figures or more off webinars agrees that live webinars (where you show up live and interact with your audience) always outperform pre-recorded or automated ones.

“When you’re first starting out, you need to do them live so you can test them and make sure your trainings are converting the way you need them to,” Porterfield says. “It gives you a chance to listen to your audience and test things.”

2. The fill-up formula.

Though webinars are certainly a quick cash machine once you have a big email list, those of us who are starting smaller need to plan 30 days ahead.

Porterfield recommends creating a bunch of free content using whatever channels you already have: blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, etc., about your webinar and its promise. Then, at the end of each piece of free content, present your audience with an opportunity to register for your webinar (or be notified when you open registration).

She also believes that for those with small lists and small budgets, Facebook ads are the solution. They’re inexpensive as ads go, but require a fair bit of tweaking and testing. Drive free social-media traffic to that free content you’ve created and boost sign ups with paid ads on whatever social platform your target audience is most active (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, etc.), but if you had to choose just one, Facebook is the way to go.

3. Warm up your audience before the webinar.

Generally speaking, only 20 percent of those who register for your webinar will attend live. These folks are also the ones most likely to buy. To keep attendance high, Porterfield recommends sending out three to five emails in the week leading up to the webinar (she only starts promoting the webinar actively about seven days out).

When our team at Baby Got Booked previously dabbled in webinars, we used Ryan Deiss’s email campaign templates (included in his course The Machine) and customized the heck out of them. It worked beautifully. We had a 50 percent attendance rate and even before the webinar, folks were writing us back with questions and excited comments.

4. Keep engagement high during the webinar.

On her podcast, Porterfield interviewed Tim Paige of Leadpages (who’s currently in the running for a Guinness World Record for the most number of webinars conducted in a 12-month period). One of his hacks to big revenue from webinars is to answer questions and engage with your audience throughout your live webinars instead of only during the Q&A section at the end.

Porterfield adds that you should always aim to stay online until each attendees’ questions are answered (instead of busily jumping off right on the dot when the session is supposed to end). The folks who still have questions are the ones who might be on the fence and just need some clarification.

5. The money is in the post-webinar follow up.

If only 20 percent of those who registered for the training show up, there are plenty of potential sales still on the table. Porterfield recommends starting an email series with an invitation to watch a limited time replay.

“Always specify that the replay is going away, because if there’s no deadline, people don’t make the time to watch,” she says.

Follow up with four to five emails over the next seven days with testimonials, results and responses to common objections. Dive deep into the program and present it as an opportunity to do business with you.

6. The cart close.

Always have a “cart close” date after which people will no longer be able to purchase your program at the discounted rate or have access to the special bonuses. This is their last chance to get an amazing deal.

7. It’s time to automate.

Only after you’re closing between 2 to 10 percent of sales, depending on your price point and industry, you’re ready to record that presentation and automate it. At this point, it’s time to use Infusionsoft or whatever you use for email marketing and customer-relationship management to build out a series of campaigns and automate the entire funnel.

This is a whole post unto itself, but well worth the effort, according to several Internet marketers who are making five and six figures from doing it. Porterfield recommends Easywebinar.com for your recorded webinars. There’s also EverWebinar, which seems to be the other heavy hitter in this space.

Finally, lean back, sip a (virgin) mojito and watch the cash roll in.

Have you hosted webinars successfully? We’d love to hear your tips on making them work in the comments section below.

Tips for Hosting Webinars that Rock

Tips for Hosting Webinars that Rock

Are you looking to grow your business? Want to build deeper connections with existing customers? Maybe you’d like to give your business a higher profile?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider hosting a Webinar. You may have a blog, but connecting with customers and prospects live online can take your relationship to a whole new level.

Over the past year, I’ve used live events extensively to grow my business mentoring other freelance writers. I currently produce at least four a month. Not only are people paying to learn what I have to offer them, when I look at who my raving fans are on Twitter and other social media platforms, they are usually people who’ve attended one of my events.

I’ve tried out a lot of different Webinar platforms, ranging in price from free platforms such as Anymeeting and Join.me to mid-priced VOIP-only GVO Conference, to top-of-the-line providers WebEx and GoToWebinar. Each platform has its attractions and drawbacks, but I have found none are 100 percent reliable. I often see top experts and presenters who work on the pricey platforms rescheduling or providing encore presentations after the technology just plain refused to work.

There is a technical hump to get over, but it’s worth it. Hearing your voice — and if you do video streaming, seeing your face — builds trust and allows you to be more responsive by answering questions immediately. Further, by offering prospects a quick hit of training live online, they may pay for future sessions, too.

Here are my tips for producing your own Webinars:

1. Do the training. Whatever platform you choose, see what they offer in terms of videos or a training  manual, and go through every scrap of it. Check the specs and make sure your computers and microphones will work with your chosen platform.

2. Record a practice. Arrange to do a separate practice session with your presenters, and record it. Play it back and listen to how you sound. Consider writing a script or at least talking points so you have something to refer to as you present.

3. Have a co-presenter. Collaborating on live events with service partners is the way to go. You get another business to promote your event, double the expertise you offer your audience — and now someone can be talking or responding to chat questions while you’re frantically trying to fix whatever might be going technically wrong.

4. Go slow. Remember The King’s Speech? The slower you talk, the more authoritative you sound. Don’t rush or talk over other speakers. The presentation software tends to lag, so if you go too fast your audience may miss what you were trying to show them.

5. Stay calm when things go wrong. Run on the assumption that some issue will arise — someone’s screen will freeze, they won’t be able to hear, the slideshow won’t work, the entry or exit chimes won’t turn off, or your co-presenter’s computer will fry mid-presentation (these have all happened to me). Take a minute to try to resolve it, but if you can’t, apologize and move on. Otherwise, you risk losing the rest of your audience. If it’s really a disaster, offer a freebie item or recording of the event on email later, or schedule an encore.

6. Don’t try to do too much. My first one-hour Webinar covered 40 points. It was pretty frantic trying to get through it all. By contrast, I’ve seen fantastic events where just five points get covered. Remember, the point of most live events is to get participants to buy something from you after the event. Give them a small taste of what you have to offer and leave them wanting more.

7. Leave lots of time for Q&A. The number-one reason people come to live events is to get their questions answered. Too many Webinars run long and cut out the question time, which leaves participants unhappy, so keep an eye on the clock. Leave at least 10 minutes for questions in a one-hour presentation — 20 minutes is even better.

What are your questions about presenting Webinars? Leave a comment and I’ll try to answer below.

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