Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Advertising

A Great Marketing Lesson from Chanel

chanel_experience.jpg

Last week, I was close to running out of foundation and knew there was no way I’d be able to get to Nordstrom’s before it was gone.  As an avid online shopper, I have no idea why I insist on going to a department store to buy my makeup, but it’s just something I’ve always done. I Googled the exact color and name of my foundation (which is made by Chanel) to see which online stores might be offering the best deals. After a 30-second turbo search I gave up trying to read through all the fine print and just placed an order on Chanel’s main website. At checkout, a surprise gift was offered — what a nice touch! “Which of our samples would you like to try?”  I placed the order and then promptly forgot all about my purchase. That is, until two days later when a chic-looking white box appeared at my doorstep bearing the iconic Chanel logo. They had upgraded my ground shipping at no extra charge. Things just got better from there. Inside the white box was another box — the kind that might contain a $1500 pair of sunglasses or a  $10,000 watch. For an instant I thought someone had sent me a gift — surely Chanel wouldn’t go to this much trouble for a $60 foundation? Oh yes, they would. Inside the box, my foundation was beautifully gift-wrapped. A black silk-like drawstring purse held my three complimentary samples (they certainly weren’t tossed into the box as an afterthought). And my receipt was neatly and tastefully tucked inside a black cardstock envelope, carefully placed underneath the gift box. Chanel had indeed succeeded at creating an extraordinary experience for me, the client. Even for something as insignificant as a purchase of foundation. And that’s what makes them Chanel — one of the most premier and highly sought-after luxury brands in the world. Do you consider your business a “luxury” experience? If you want to command higher prices and attract the most affluent patients in your business, then creating an extraordinary experience for your clients is critical. While I see many business owners who have worked hard to deliver their clients a wonderful experience (eg the Porsche dealership who picks up your car for service and drops it back afterwards) nowadays you have to go the extra mile. It's expected. Just what constitutes the extra mile? Every year the bar gets raised higher as consumers demand more (if you want a great resource on this read the Middle Class Millionaire - it is excellent.) For example we used to be impressed with cars that had GPS's in them. Now that's all but standard. How about the grocery store who offers to have your groceries carried out, or even delivered, (eyes roll). So yesterday.

The point is this. If like Chanel, you can deliver an extraordinary experience at all price points in your business (and not just the premium ones), your clients will never go anywhere else. It';s time to get thinking about what would make an extraordinary experience in your business!  

 

How to Super Charge Your Marketing By Going Against the Grain

"Brand is the 'f' word of marketing. People swear by it, no one quite understands its significance and everybody would like to think they do it more often than they do" - Mark di Soma, Audacity Group In marketing your business, if you’re like most solopreneurs, you’ve probably been lead to believe that the key to successful marketing is building a strong brand. The success of companies like Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart, branding giants of our time make this a very logical assumption to make.  Unfortunately this assumption is lethal for small business owners.

What is brand advertising anyway?

In its simplest form, brand advertising is image-based advertising.

You push an image, a tagline, a slogan out to the marketplace in the belief it will attract new people to your business.

Your competitive edge is building a stronger brand presence in your marketplace than the guy down the street.

The only problem with small business owners doing brand advertising is that you don’t have the mega million dollar marketing budget that’s required to even make a “brand splash" in your market place.  Nor do you likely have the 10, 15 or 25 years it takes to really build brand awareness.

The job of your marketing is actually very simple. It has only one objective. Get you sales today.

Brand advertising is an extremely inefficient and deadly slow way for you to make sales now. It places you at the mercy of your buyers buying schedule – they’ll only buy from you when they’re good and ready (if they ever are, assuming of course they remember you and your brand!).

Instead, the far more powerful and cost efficient way to advertise is direct response advertising.  Which is the exact opposite of brand advertising.  Direct response advertising compels your audience to take immediate action, today, now.  It’s the kind of advertising that’s been around for hundreds of years–ever since the traveling medicine man rolled his wagon into town and handed out flyers offering a special discount on his miracle cure for baldness elixir.

By using direct response advertising you also remove the guess work from your advertising because you know, down to the penny, how effective an ad is and how much money it brought you.  With brand advertising there is no way to measure effectiveness except by guessing (by the way, the lack of accountability is why ad agencies love brand advertising so much!).

So how do you stop brand advertising and switch to direct response?

I have a 32 point checklist I use when writing direct response ad copy, but here are two of the most important elements to include in a direct response ad.

1) Include a compelling offer in every piece of ad copy you write.

What carrot can you offer prospects that is so enticing, so bold, and so darn delicious that it will cause them to leap out of their La-Z-Boy arm chair, kick the cat out of the way, grab their coat, brave a sub zero snow storm, and drive with bald tires to go buy the thing you’re selling?

Remember, your offer shouldn’t be good.  It should be great.  Something like "Place an order by Noon and get free shipping," qualifies only as good because it's likely that your competitors offer the same thing!

2)  Use a strong headline that arouses curiosity and answers that age old marketing question: "What’s in it for me?"

Using great headlines in your ad are everything! One of the best headlines of all time is “A little mistake that cost a farmer $3,000 a year."  Imagine you were a farmer back in the 1930s and your annual income was only $9,000.  Wouldn’t this be an ad you’d want to read?

Direct response marketing is your own secret weapon to turbo charge your response rates, make more money and attract prospects to you like bees to a honey pot.  It’s a much smarter way to run a business than marketing by chasing your prospects and hoping that when they feel ready to buy, they’ll somehow remember your brand.

The Worst Marketing Mistake You Can Make In Your Business

When I made the switch from escaping my corporate job to becoming a freelance copywriter, one of the things I was most excited about was building my brand. I’d had come up with a snappy name for my business (Blazing Copy), created a cool tagline and I’d hired someone to create a logo.  Actually I agonized over the logo because I wanted it to be just perfect... it was after all going to be my brand which was what was going to attract clients to me.

Right?

Maybe you’ve thought the same thing in your business.  All you need to do to get more clients is to get your brand “out there” more.  Build a stronger, better brand than your competition so that way, anytime anyone thinks of needing what you sell – they think of you.

Sounds perfect in theory.  This is, after all, what big businesses all do to get big.  They advertise and build their brand.

Unfortunately as a marketing strategy for Solopreneurs, this brand-driven marketing strategy is fatally flawed, and is responsible for more business failures than any other one thing.

I’m about to shave about 10 years off your marketing learning curve and teach you something that I never learned getting a degree in marketing….

Using brand advertising or “position type” advertising is the single worst way for Solopreneurs to market their business.  It's ridiculously costly, inefficient and most importantly – IT DOESN’T WORK.

Why? Many reasons actually.  Here are the main ones:

1)    Building brand recognition is a marketing strategy used by big BIG companies who have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on their advertising.  It's taken companies like Apple, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton billions of dollars to build brand recognition and 30 - 100 years to get any kind of brand recognition.  You don’t have the luxury of having either millions of dollars or 30 years to start making real sales.

2)    Brand advertising is an extremely inefficient way to market a business which doesn’t necessarily result in an increase in sales.  It doesn’t even work for a lot of the BIG companies who do it (Ford was spending more than 20 million advertising on American Idol, meantime it was hemorrhaging red ink; Circuit City had a recognizable brand, so did Borders and Linens n’ Things).

3)    Brand advertising is NOT trackable.  If you’re putting brand ads out there, you have NO idea if they’re actually driving people to your business.  If they are working you don’t know, so how can you replicate the ads and get more out there?  And if they’re not working, then you’ve no idea either.  You might as well be flushing your hard earned marketing dollars down the toilet.  (Side note: this is why ad agencies are such BIG fans of brand advertising – as it's not trackable they can’t be held accountable for results either!  They’ll take the credit if sales go up (even though this is may very well be caused by something else, and they’ll point the finger elsewhere when their brand campaigns bomb).

4)    Brand advertising puts you at the mercy of your target market.  THEY get to decide when they’ll buy from you, which might be a month from now.  It might be a year from now.  This doesn’t help you any – you’ve got bills to pay, a family to feed and a business to run now.  You need sales NOW.  Today.

So let’s recap why doing brand based marketing for your business is a really bad idea.

Using your brand to try and market you business is a bad idea because it takes millions of dollars to make any impact in your market, it’s an extremely slow way to build a business (brand building takes decades), it's like playing blind archery with your marketing money because you’ve no idea if those ads are even working, and it doesn’t necessarily result in an increase in sales.  It also gives all the power to your target market, they get to decide when they’ll buy from you, instead of you being able to call the shots and compel them to take action, immediately.

So how then should you market your business?

Simply with one objective: to market in a way that enables you to make sales TODAY.  Right now.  Use marketing that is trackable so you can immediately measure ROI and know if it's a smart use of your marketing budget, AND market in such a way that compels your prospects to take immediate action.

This is what’s known as Direct Response Marketing.  It’s the ugly sister of advertising because it’s ridiculously effective, 100% trackable and it's only measure of effectiveness is how much money it brings in. Not how pretty, cool or creative the ad was.

Imagine that.  Marketing that really works to attract new clients and gets them to take action when you want them to act (and not when they feel like it).

Next week I’ll share with you inside secrets as to how you can quickly and easily start transforming all your marketing into Direct Response marketing.

Stay tuned!

An Irish Toilet Education

So as a marketing nut, I'll confess I have a hard time switching my brain "off." Even when, well, I should be focusing on other things (we won't go there - my little brother would say this would be a great opportunity to share some toilet humor!).

Ahem. Where was I?

That's right. I was in Ireland recently. Belfast to be exact. I had wandered into this very swanky, high end homeware store - kind of shabby chic meets ultra cool hipster with very good design taste. It was the kind of place that you walk into and you pretty much want to buy everything in sight.

Anyhow - I was with my daughter (who's 1 1/2), and suffice it to say that after about 30 seconds of looking around we had to make an urgent beeline for the rest rooms, pronto at the back of the store .

We hacked our way through the crowd (if you missed my blog post about the ridiculously insane shopping experience at the post Christmas Irish sales you can read it here) and...stood in line.

Now I always say to my coaching students, you just never quite know where you're going to pick up a great marketing education. Admittedly, a toilet wall isn't usually what springs to mind.

But there plastered all around us were these fabulous old magazine ads selling beauty products. As a professional copywriter, one of the our little industry secrets is that the very best way to sell to people today is to go back to the great ads from the old days to swipe great ideas from.

You see, for all our fandangled new widgets, people are people are people. And the way they were sold to in the 30s works exactly the same way as selling to someone in 2012.  We all still buy stuff based on the same 17 psychological triggers that are hard wired into our DNA.

So, take a walk in the past, check out this cool ad, and let me know what you think. Look how incredibly powerful the headline and subheading are - its genius.

Now its your turn. Go back to your own advertising and see how you can transfer some of that magic copy to use in your own headline ...

The One Little Word That Doubled the Income of a Major Company Overnight

As you know, I write a LOT of copy. From sales letters, to websites, to emails, to postcards; you name it, I've written it. This story demonstrates why you should NEVER underestimate the power words can make to someone’s business, why it’s essential that you carefully choose the words you use to advertise, and why the craft of copywriting, for those who know what they’re doing, pays so well. Here’s the story: A new ad exec had been hired to work on the account of a large company selling shampoo. Now, the marketing of shampoo isn’t a particularly exciting endeavor, but nevertheless, this young guy was excited to have been assigned such a large account. He brainstormed many different marketing ideas with the company to no avail. The company was conservative and family owned – management didn’t like to step outside the box much (in fact at all). Undeterred, the young man persisted. He was looking for the golden needle that he could convince them would explode sales. One day, while in the shower, washing his hair – it suddenly hit him. The one word that, added to a shampoo bottle, would double the company’s sales overnight. The one little word that would mean bottles of shampoo would now last only half as long. Can you guess what it was?

As Mark Twain famously said, “The difference between the right word and any word is like the difference between lightning and lightning bug.”

The one little word was added to the shampoo’s directions for use: lather, rinse, repeat.

Keep an eye out for my upcoming incredible CD of the Month Club and a very special offer – My Gurus, Geniuses and Giants Club (3G Club). Each month I’ll be interviewing a trailblazer of our time, behind closed doors – people that ordinarily you’d never ever have access to – multi-millionaires, billionaires, and trailblazers of our time. Extraordinary men and women who have made their mark on the world by stumbling, tripping, even free falling sometimes, but who’ve picked themselves up and triumphed. Hear their real stories, unvarnished, first hand. Pick up just one little idea from these business superstars that could transform your business overnight (just like one little word did for the shampoo business). My 3G Club is launching January 2012 – stay tuned for details or visit www.TheClientStampede.com.

To your extraordinary marketing success!

Julie

Looking For Value In All The Wrong Places ...

If I was to conduct a straw poll of 100 different businesses and asked them just this one simple question: “What’s the one thing you have that’s of MOST value in your business?, what do you think the responses would likely be? Here’s what I think they’d be:

“Well, DUH – its in our super-fandangled-whiz-bang new product we’ve just released”

“It’s in our amazing customer service – our customers love us and refer us like crazy”

“it’s our incredible service”

“Our single biggest assest is that we have THE best storefront location in the city”

“My staff is my single biggest asset”

“Its our amazing technology”

The list goes on and on…you get the idea.

But here’s the thing. ALL of them would be wrong.

Unless, of course they made this one simple statement: ”It’s in our customer list – we’ve got full customer information for ALL our customers – name, address, mailing address, physical address, phone numbers, buying history, referral history …”

Most business owners mistakenly place high value on the physical or service aspects of their business – their location, factory, equipment, products or services. But all that is just “stuff”. Its easily replaced and easily duplicated.

The real value in your business is with your customers.

If you have a great customer list, then you, quite literally have at your fingertips the ability to create your own income on demand. Releasing a new product? Zaap! Send an email to your list with a great offer before you go to bed at night and cha-ching – you’re got money in your account when you wake up. Found a great product that your customers could really benefit from? Send an offer to your list and earn a commission off the sales.

If you’re not zealously collecting the names and contact details of not just your customers, but all your prospects too (especially your prospects) – you’re letting a HUGE amount of money slip through your fingers.

Stop the hemorrhaging and make this your number one priority starting today…

PS if you haven’t ordered yourself a FREE copy of my audio CD: 10 Secret strategies to get more clients, make more money, turn customers into raving fans and give more back in the new economy – you’re nuts. It’s a $97 value, yours FREE! Just visit my website at www.TheClientStampede.com and use promo code GetYerSpursOn at checkout.

16 examples of irresistible offers to light your prospects pants on fire

The strength of a great sales letter really boils down to how irresistible your offer is.  Matching the right offer with your target market is often the one little hinge that can open BIG doors.  In my Client Stampede Ultimate Marketing Home Study Tool Kit I provide my exact magic formulas for how to craft an irresistible offer - here's 16  irresistible offers  out of my list of 47 in my Ultimate Marketing Toolkit you can easily "swipe and deploy" for use in your own business:

  1. Free information report, starter kit, demo, sample etc
  2. FREE with absolutely no strings attached
  3. Free trial converts to monthly billing or payment of product after X days – (Pay nothing now)
  4. Free Shipping
  5. Hold your check
  6. Time deadline
  7. Limited number of units available
  8. Bonus overload – stacked bonuses
  9. Early bird bonus tied to a specific response date
  10. Silly premium – mousepad, cartoon, t-shirt, coffee mug
  11. Mystery gift
  12. Basic/deluxe or good/better/best
  13. Accept payment on multiple credit cards
  14. Easy pay options (monthly payments)
  15. The more you buy the more you save – tiered discount based on amount purchased
  16. Different pricing based on customers promise of action (e.g. for testimonial or referral)

7 Easy Steps To Writing A Darn Good Sales Letter

You've gotta love the power of a great sales letter.  It's THE best leverage of your time and is like having your very own army-sized sales force, pounding the pavements for you, perfectly delivering your marketing message every time for less than a cup of coffee.  They never call in sick, never go on vacation, never ask for a pay raise and they'll work tirelessly around the clock for you 24/7, 365 days of the year. So here are 7 expert secrets to writing an extremely effective sales letter.

Secret #1  Create an attention driven headline that specifically speaks to your target market, arouses curiosity and answers the question in your prospects mind "what's in this for me?".  For example: "Using a Lawyer May Be Dangerous To Your Wealth" "For the Woman Who Looks Older Than She Is" "Former Hairdresser Earns $8000 a Month As A Real Estate Specialist" "How To Double Your Income in 60 Days Or Less"

Secret #2 Open your letter with a personalized salutation (the more PERSONAL you make your letter look and sound, the higher your response rate will be).  If you can't address it to the person directly (eg Dear John, or Dear Mrs McDonald), try using one of these salutations: Dear Friend Dear Neighbor Dear Fellow _______er <i.e. Golfer> Dear Colleague, Dear Reader Dear Frustrated Tax Payer Dear Valued Customer

Secret #3 Use a powerful "letter opener".  The first couple of sentences of your sales letter have to be really compelling to "hook" your prospects and get them to read the rest of the letter.  Consider these: Here’s you chance to... In looking over our records I noticed that you... Will do me a favor? Will you try this experiment? Here’s an amazing opportunity! I’m writing to.. Congratulations! Could you use an extra $500 a week? Frankly,I’m puzzled... I couldn’t wait to write to you.

Secret #4: Talk about Benefits, NOT just features in your sales copy.  Understanding the difference between benefits and features is critical for the success of your sales letter.  A feature is fact driven, a benefit is more of an emotional connection.  This difference is extremely important because people BUY ON EMOTION, THEN JUSTIFY WITH LOGIC!!!  For example a feature is this drill has 27 different drill speeds.  The benefit is that you can get your work done in half the time which means you get to spend more time relaxing on the couch, watching your favorite sport.

Secret #5 Use Subheadings, bold font, itallics, and underlining to create a "double readership path" Everyone reads sales letters differently.  Some people will read every word, others will skim read every paragraph, and still others will just read the headline, the opening paragraph and then maybe the PS at the end of the letter.  That's why you need to make sure the most persuasive and important messages in your sales letter are made to jump out at the reader and create a "double readership path"..

Secret #6 Make sure your sales letter contains an irresistible offer and a deadline to respond by (remember this offer should be bold, it should be different to anything your competition offers, and compelling enough to light your prospects' pants on fire).  Here are some examples of irresistible offers:

  1. FREE with absolutely no strings attached
  2. Free trial converts to monthly billing or payment of product after X days – (Pay nothing now)
  3. Free Shipping
  4. Hold your check
  5. Bonus overload – stacked bonuses
  6. Early bird bonus tied to a specific response date
  7. Silly premium – mousepad, cartoon, t-shirt, coffee mug
  8. Mystery gift
  9. Easy pay options (monthly payments)
  10. The more you buy the more you save – tiered discount based on amount purchased

Secret # 6 Include a bold reverse risk guarantee.  This is a very powerful copywriting technique to make it easier for your prospects to say YES than no.  Here's an example:

"You’re fully protected by our iron-clad money-back guarantee: If you decide that your <name> membership and <publication> aren’t for you, just let us know at any time during your membership period. We’ll send you a prompt 100% refund – every penny you paid. That’s a full refund, not partial or pro-rated. All the issues and the bonuses are yours to keep – even if you cancel. Could any offer be fairer than that?"

Secret #7  Use a powerful close to make your prospects whip out their credit cards

The way you close your sales letter is very important - it will determine whether your prospect puts your sales letter down to "think about it" or is moved to tale immediate action.  Here are some great examples:

"The next move is up to you. I’ve shown you that the <name of your product> is as risk-free as an offer can come. You and I both know that if you’ve read this far in the letter, you’re seriously interested in improving your business and personal income. All that’s left to do now is take action and call the number below to place your order".

"You really can’t afford not to invest in this course! Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to move on this incredible opportunity?  So what are you waiting for? Drop the enclosed card in the mail today."

That's it!  Follow these 7 simple steps and your sales letter will be MILES ahead of anything your competition is using!!!!

 

The 2 Secret Reasons Why We Buy

In this month’s Gold Nugget I want to take you back to a fundamental marketing principal – the two real reasons why any of us buy anything.  Understanding this is like unlocking the key to the vault. Once you understand the real reason why someone is buying your product or service, you can carefully tailor your words – your sales copy, your sales pitches, your in-person appointments – to resonate with your prospect at an even deeper level, quietly speaking to their “secret need.” Here are the only 2 reasons why we buy: 1) We buy a solution to our problem and/or 2) We buy to get transference of feeling.  I think the first reason is obvious, the second reason less so.  How many times have you rushed to buy something because without realizing it, the actual act of making the purchase, rather than the thing itself, is what makes you feel great?  I’m guilty as charged.  For example, one of my private clients www.NourishMD.com specializes in helping moms find safe, natural alternatives to kid’s health problems, they’re also strong advocates of the REAL food movement.  Just searching their website makes me feel like I’m a better mom, and when I reach for my credit card and buy their homeopathic flu remedy or a bottle of probiotics for River, subconsciously I’m already congratulating myself for being a “caring, health-conscious mother for my child.”  It’s not that I don’t want what I’m buying – of course I do – but the instant gratification I secretly want is the transference of feeling.  That feeling is addictive. How many times have you gone out and bought something that made you feel instantly better, instantly happier or self-assured only to quickly forget about it and “rediscover” it weeks or months later, by which time it feels like a bit of an anti-climax?

Ok, so now you’re armed with this “insider” knowledge about your prospects.  What are you going to do with it to help them and to help you?

The Kardashian "Mother Lode" - How Chris Jenner Created The Kardashian Juggernaut

Love 'em or hate 'em, reality tv stars, The Kardashians and Kardashian Inc. are branding powerhouses to be reckoned with. Last year they earned $65 million – more than Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock and Angelina Jolie combined. This year their estimated earnings are set to top more than $100 million. From fragrances and paid endorsements to designer duds and a “destination Kardashian” at the Mirage in Las Vegas (which houses every product the family endorses). “We’ll take Kim in a bikini and put her on a beach towel,” mother Kris Jenner says. “So you would be laying on a Kardashian at the pool.” The hotel itself will be a Kardashian shrine: room keys will bear their image, each of the 4,338 rooms will house Kardashian-branded water in the minibars, Kim’s fragrance on the vanity; oh, and Kim and the girls will be vamping on a dozen of the new slot machines. Really? You can lay on a Kardashian by the poolside and this is their mom speaking? (Actually it was Kris’s idea).

The mother and “Momager” behind the Kardashian powerhouse, Kris Jenner, may be many things – bossy, controlling, nosy, obsessed with personal lubricant to name a few, but when it comes to monetizing her family’s reality TV fame in inventive and controversial ways, the woman can’t be beat.

And, just like the inventor of Silly Bandz, the success she’s created for her family hasn’t been overnight either – it’s been many, many years in the making. A former airline hostess, she started back in the early 90s selling exercise equipment via an informercial she wrote and produced with gold medalist hubby Bruce Jenner.......... (continued below).

Kris met husband Jenner on a blind date - at the time he was doing  a little motivational speaking, a few public appearances but mostly playing a whole lot of golf.  Kris recognized an opportunity when she saw one and began overseeing his speaking engagements and management deals.

By 1994, Kris and Bruce launched a line of stair-climbing fitness equipment via a self-produced infomercial, “Super Fit With Bruce Jenner,” in which they both appeared. The ad was a success, running 2,000 times a month in 17 countries, however in 1995 and 1997,Kris added 2 more daughters to the clan and her show biz career took a 10-year hiatus.

In February of 2007, inspired by the Success of Sharon Osbourne and the Ozzy Osbourne Show, Kris independently produced a presentation tape of a reality show following her family and had begun shopping it to different production companies.  It was about this time that Kim Kardashian sat her Mom down and told her that a sex tape she'd made with her boyfriend had been sold to an adult film distributor and was going on sale at the end of the month.  If there was ever a time to turn lemons into lemonade, this was it.  Kris hired a spin doctor to handle the public outcry. Vivid, the adult film distributor ended up having to pay Kim a reported $5 million for the sex tape and the tape itself went on to become one of Vivid’s best-selling DVDs in 10 years — putting the Kardashians squarely on the map. In 2006 Kris signed a deal with Ryan Seacrest Productions to follow her family on a new reality tv series - Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

“My job", said Kris "is trying to take my kids’ 15 minutes and turn it into 30.”

Looks like she hit the ball out of the park on that one ...

Got QR Code Fever Or Wondering How You Can Use QR Codes In Your Marketing?

QR Codes have lovers and haters.  The haters say its just another fad.  The lovers are using QR codes and laughing all the way to the bank. You be the judge.

Here's my view - it's new technology, it's a fast-growing technology, and if your target market has smart phones and are somewhat tech savvy then I think its great to find another media to connect with them that's low or no cost. Plus QR codes are a great customer involvement device and provide another call to action you can use in your marketing to get prospects to buy.

Here’s my favorite QR Code creator (some elements are free, others cost a bit): http://www.QRStuff.com

Here's a list of QR Code readers / decoders / scanning apps for iPhones, Androids and more: http://www.qrstuff.com/qr_phone_software.html

And most importantly, here are some examples of how you can use QR codes in your marketing to make more sales

  1. Business Cards Put a code on your business card containing all of your contact information and give them an irresistible offer
  2. Put a QR code On A T-Shirt Send them to a great landing page with a free introductory offer or low cost offer with big savings
  3. Use a QR Code as a "get more info" option If you have a physical store, put a QR code on products which when they scan it gives them additional info.  If you don't then you can use QR codes in your service menu or product menu to keep it uncluttered.  List just the main points of each product and service offering in your menu and then give them a QR code they can scan to get more info
  4. Put It On Your Website's "Contact Us Page" People take a picture of your page on the screen, put you in their contact list
  5. Put It On Your Instruction Sheet People scan it to get step-by-step instructions on how to use a product or service, or get directed to a video where you give them step by step instructions
  6. Use QR codes In Print Ads People scan to be taken to a specific landing page on your website
  7. Put It On A Campaign Sign, or a Poster Take people directly to your website - preferably a squeeze page so you can incentivize them to "opt in" and give you their info
  8. Put It On A For-Sale Sign Take them to a website with video and information about the item being sold - for example a house, a car, a boat.  You could even post this on a bulletin board.
  9. Use a QR code to Put It On Your Luggage Ok so it won't get you customers but it'll save you a lot of grief if your luggage ever gets lost…
  10. Send a Tweet Scanning it sends out a tweet
  11. Do A Location Login Put on every table and the walls of your restaurant, does a foursquare login or a Facebook location login
  12. Add To Your LinkedIn Page Passes your contact information or website
  13. Call Us To Place Your Order Scan dials their phone
  14. Send a Teaser Postcard Send a QR code to a potential client, which takes them to your website
  15. Put It On Your Conference NameTag Contact information or website
  16. Put A Backsell On Your Invoice Taking them to a landing page making a special offer to upsell them
  17. Paypal Buy Link Scanning takes them to Paypal to buy your item
  18. Promote An Event Scanning the QR code puts it on their calendar
  19. Announce Your Free Wifi Scanning logs them into your wifi account
  20. Put It In Your Powerpoint Presentation Build your list by sending them to a special bonus offer if they sign up!

What other ideas do you have for using QR codes?  Share them by posting a comment...

Got Rejected? Buck Up And Read This ...

As Super Entrepreneur Kathy Ireland recently told me "I love it when people tell me no, because then I say 'well great, now at least we're talking!' ." If you're feeling a little down and out because of a little rejection, then buck up, toughen up, and most importantly don't give up,  because you're in great company:

The Vice President of Columbia told this actor that he was never going to make it in the business. This actor went on anyway to enjoy an acting career that so far spans 4 decades, has been ranked #1 in the Top 100 Movie Stars Of All Time, and today is still the third highest grossing U.S. domestic box-office star.  The actor? - Harrison Ford

This author’s first book was rejected by 12 publishing houses and sixteen agents. The author? John Grisham.

This band was turned down by a recording company who told them "We don't like their sound and guitar music is on the way out." They were talking about the Beatles

A chubby child, this boy was told by a music teacher "as a composer he is hopeless" - Beethoven

This well known person was fired from a newspaper because he "lacked imagination and had no original ideas" - Walt Disney

This author was told by Publishers that "anthologies didn't sell" and his book was "too positive" .  He was rejected a total of 140 times. The book? Chicken Soup for the Soul. It now has 65 different titles and has sold over 80 million copies all over the world.

Feeling better?  Ok good - now go out there and make that sale :)

7 Tips To Writing Emails That Won’t Get Deleted

Most people scan their inbox with their finger hovering over the delete button.  Here are 7 easy tips to ensure your email actually gets read.

  1. Start with a compelling, curiosity arousing Subject Line Your subject line is THE most important part of your whole email.  Keep it short – I always recommend about 7-10 words max, try and include a benefit or arouse curiosity: e.g.  The One Simple Sales Mistake That’s Costing You Thousands Double your income? Use this marketing secret 3 Secret Tips To Recession Proof Your Business
  2. Personalize the email Most people write mass emails like, well mass emails – not personal communications written to an individual.  One of the biggest turn offs when opening an email is getting a broadcast message.  When writing your email – even if it is being sent to thousands, make sure it sounds like a friendly conversation you’d have with them over a cup of coffee.
  3. Avoid delete worthy words like “passion”, “thrilling”, “state of the art”, “leading edge”.  These words have been used to death and have become completely meaningless
  4. Make your email a compelling read.  I often get asked how long an email should be.  Simply it should be as long as it needs to tell your story or get your message out.  Anyone who tells you the shorter the better clearly doesn’t understand the power of good copy.   If someone is reading a good email, just like a good book they’ll be devouring every word and won’t be able to put it down.  The old sales adage “the more you tell the more you sell” is so true – but it’s gotta be interesting to read.
  5. Keep it simple.  Forget slick email templates and fancy headers.  Hands down the emails that pull the best response are the ones that look just like they’re composed as a personal email – from you to me.  Plain black font (no multi colors).  And don’t add more than one attachment.
  6. Talk about benefits not features.  A feature is our lamp contains 6 different dim settings.  The benefit is this: you won’t strain your eyes from harsh light enabling you to read for longer periods of time.
  7. Always include clear instructions for a call to action.  The simpler the better e.g. just click here to have our widget rush mailed to you, or call my personal cellphone directly and … etc.

 

The BIGGEST Pulling Sales Letter Of All Time

This sales letter, written by one of the greatest yet least known copywriters of all time (Martin Conroy), was first launched for the Wall Street Journal in 1974. It's known in insider expert copywriter circles as the "Two Young Men" letter and still today is the single largest pulling sales letter of all time (it's raked in more than 1 billion in subscription revenues for the WSJ).

This sales letter has been successfully used as WSJ's control piece for the last 18 years, combining a compelling offer, a reverse risk guarantee,  and very well crafted sales copy that tells a story.  This sales letter can be mailed just about anytime to a qualified list and it's a sure winner to pull in response profitably year after year.

Your DIRECT RESPONSE “MUST HAVE” Laundry Checklist For ALL Your Marketing

In the last post I discussed the vital importance of scrapping traditional/brand based advertising for your business.  Instead, I talked about the importance of shifting all your marketing and advertising to direct response marketing. What’s direct response marketing again?

In its simplest form, direct response marketing is advertising that ALWAYS contains a special offer with a deadline.  It’s advertising that has the objective of motivating prospects to take action immediately.  Direct response marketing directly sells a product or service by containing an irresistible offer – it doesn’t just talk about what you sell with no reason to take action now.

Using direct response marketing, you can tell within a day or a week of running an ad exactly how effective it was. You can tweak successful ads to try and make them more successful, and scrap the dud ads that aren’t pulling a response. No more guesswork. This way, every one of your marketing dollars can be ruthlessly tracked and held accountable.

For examples of direct response marketing think of home shopping channels like QVC, or catalog marketers like J Peterman, and Cabela’s.  It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in – whether you offer legal services or sell tires for a living – direct response marketing WILL work for your business.  In fact it’s the missing ingredient required for a major marketing break through.

As promised in the last post, here are the essential ingredients you must include in your marketing to ensure it’s a direct response advert, not a brand/traditional advert:

An irresistible offer or offers

  1. A deadline for response
  2. Clear instructions on what they need to do to respond (e.g. To place your order call our customer service department at xxx-xxx-xxxx or fax your order to...etc.)
  3. A bold guarantee that reverses the risk for your prospects
  4. Strong sales copy that talks about benefits, not features (e.g. Feature: This drill has 21 different speeds.  Benefit: You can get your work done in half the time)
  5. Testimonials from customers that overcome your prospect’s main objections
  6. Follow up.  Don’t just mail one piece or send out one letter – use ideally a three-step follow up process

I go into more detail about each of these steps in the Client Stampede Ultimate Home Study Kit and show you exactly how to apply these to your business, including done-for-you templates that you can “swipe and deploy” to use in your own business.

The information contained in this blog post is pure gold!  Many, many fortunes have been made based on applying just these 7 principals! These principals will work for you too!

Print out this blog post and pin it to the wall so you can refer to this information often!

Why Doing Brand Advertising/Traditional Advertising is Certain Death for Small Business Owners

One of the biggest mistakes a small business can make in their marketing is to copy the way big businesses advertise. I remember when I started my first business at 17 – the part I was most excited about was coming up with the logo, the tagline and the “brand” of my business, thinking that was what was going to get me sales.

I figured that if I built enough brand awareness in my market then people would be persuaded to purchase my products when they were ready to buy.   After all, that’s how Nike, Coca Cola, Farmers Insurance, and Wal-Mart advertised…

There was just one small problem with my grand plan.  The difference between these big guys and my small business was…a couple of (hundred) million dollars in advertising budget!

In my experience, copying big business brand advertising is the #1 reason so many small businesses end up going belly up.  Not only do small businesses not have the marketing budget to build brand, but the marketing agenda of a small business owner is far different than that of a big business owner.

Here’s the marketing & advertising agenda that most big businesses follow:

  1. Appease the Board of Directors
  2. Look good to Wall Street
  3. Look good in the media
  4. Build brand
  5. Intimidate the competition
  6. Win some advertising awards
  7. Sell something

As a small business, your marketing and advertising agenda is much more simple:

  1. Sell something.  NOW.

The whole point of spending money on marketing is to make money.  Ideally for every dollar you spend on your marketing you want at least two dollars back.

If you do brand advertising you have no way to measure if your advertising is effective.  You hope it’s effective, you pray it’ll bring you sales, but ultimately, it’s a wild stab in the dark because you really don’t know which advertising is really bringing in customers.

Using guesswork for your marketing is no way to run a business.

You need to scrap brand advertising (I also call it traditional advertising) for good.  Instead you need to get your business on a strict diet of direct response advertising.  

Building brand should be a nice by-product of making sales – it should never be the objective of your marketing.  Making sales is.

What is direct response advertising?

In its simplest form, direct response advertising is advertising that ALWAYS contains a special offer with a deadline.  It’s advertising that has the objective of motivating prospects to take action immediately so you can tell within a day or a week of running an ad exactly how effective it was.  You can then tweak successful ads to try and make them more successful and scrap the dud ads that aren’t pulling a response. No more guesswork.

The best book I’ve found on direct response advertising is: No BS Direct Marketing by Dan Kennedy.  I highly recommend you grab a copy and immerse yourself in it.  It’s an easy and entertaining read and will be worth many, many thousands of dollars to your business.

So how can you shift from traditional, brand based advertising to direct response advertising?  

At the very minimum, include an irresistible offer to your prospects, impose a deadline for them to respond, and tell them clearly how to respond (e.g. To order your copy just call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx).  Make sure NO advertising leaves your office without containing these three essential ingredients.

In the next post I’ll be giving you a laundry “checklist” of the other essential ingredients your direct response marketing must contain for maximum effectiveness. But by adding an irresistible offer, a deadline, and clear instructions on how to respond to all of your marketing – you’ll be off to a great start!

Why Artists Are Starving

This last weekend I was at the Ann Arbor art fair, which is a pretty big deal in this part of the country. Hundreds of artists from all over the country sell their wares over a 4-day event downtown. The streets are closed to traffic and visitors flock to the event in the thousands. Unfortunately, the art fair ended up being held during the hottest week in recent history. Every artist I spoke to told me that this art fair was the worst one ever – many having attended for the last 10, 15, even 20 years. Weather aside, I made some very interesting marketing observations as to why these artists were REALLY experiencing slow sales, and none of it had anything to do with the weather.

  1. Very, very few of the artists greeted me when I came to look at their art. Most were sitting off at the back of the tent, fanning themselves with a newspaper or junk magazine, looking decidedly bored and frustrated. They didn’t get that people want to buy things from people. People want to hear stories; to understand how or why something is made. This is a HUGE mistake that, almost without exception, every artist I saw made.
  2. Very, very few people had any marketing collateral to give away – a few did have postcards, but there was nothing on them enticing to me to follow up with them. No irresistible offer - just pretty pictures; which doesn’t exactly get people rushing to the phone to place an order.
  3. I bought a couple of things including a pair of sterling silver earrings from a local metalsmith. NO ONE asked me for my contact information – not even for an email address. This is a giant mistake and shows that these artists have the mistaken idea that you get a customer to make a sale, instead of making a sale to get a customer. No matter how bad the weather, how poor the crowds, if any of these artists had been collecting contact details of past customers, they could have held a special pre-event show with special incentives next year for those VIP customers. After the art fair they could do a follow up “thank you” direct mail campaign to sell even more of their wares.

Instead the artists were 100% reliant on generating enough foot traffic and interest over the event not just to break even, but to actually turn a profit. I’m told that renting one of these booths cost in the thousands of dollars. Many artists schlepped their art, display cases and panels from as far away as California. No wonder they’re starving.

Three secret copywriting formulas to make price irrelevant

As price is usually the #1 objection to overcome when composing a sales letter, so it helps to have an arsenal of time tested tools at your disposal to get your prospects fixated on something other than price! Here are 3 very powerful copywriting formulas that will help you to achieve just that.  These formulas are easy to understand and they’re very adaptable to any business.

1.    The Problem-Agitate-Solve formula

This is one of my favorite copywriting formulas of all time because it focuses on our extreme need as humans to move away from pain.  It's also one of the copywriting formulas that I use most often and may be the most surefire one ever invented. The first step is to define your customer’s problem.  You may be writing about a problem they know they have, or one they don’t know they have.  Either way it doesn’t matter because a great sales letter avoids assuming knowledge on the part of their prospect.  So you set forth the problem in clear, straight forward terms.  E.g. if you were writing about a tax reduction course for small business owners you could write:

As a small business owner, you're already the government's #1 target.  Just when you feel you're starting to get ahead the government intervenes and slams you with a new form to fill out, a new regulation to follow. It's one thing after another. And now you're going to have to pay higher taxes with their new tax reform bill. Just what you needed - unless you discover a few secrets used by some of the “big players” to escape through little known loopholes that are 100% legal.

Once the problem is clearly established then it’s time to agitate.  We want to whip them into a frenzy and make the problem larger than life.

Here’s an example from a sales letter promoting a pair of shoes:

“ if you insist on wearing just any old pair of ordinary shoes, here’s what you can look forward to in your golden years…sunken arches…extraordinary backpain…terrible discomfort in golf shoes…pain lifting grandchildren…you’ll be asking your friends to slow down just so you can catch up!”

Then once your prospect has broken into a sweat, pacing the room thinking “this pain has got to stop”, you present them with the solution – your product or service!

2.    Telling The Future

Everyone is fascinated with predictions of the future.   Give your prospects your predictions for the future, and relate these to your product or service. It's a great distraction from price and makes your sales letter very memorable and "news worthy".

Faith Popcorn has built her entire business using this copywriting formula.

 3.    The Winners/Losers comparison

This basic sales pitch goes something like this (from Earl Nightingale's "the Strangest Secret"):

“take any 100 people in America today at the age of 25 and follow them until they’re 65.  Here’s what you’ll find – only 1 will be rich, 4 will be financially independent and the other 95 will be broke – dependent on the government, social security, friends and relative to provide them with life’s basic necessities.  That’s 5% successful, 95% unsuccessful”.

This same basic comparison has been used to sell everything from insurance to dental plans, to multi-level marketing. Whatever it is you’re selling – it’s the path that the 5% successful choose, not the 95% the unsuccessful choose!

These 3 copywriting formulas can be used or their own or combined, even in the same sales letter or presentation. They work great in print and sales copy and work equally as well in face-to-face-selling. One or all 3 of them will work great for your business - go ahead and try it!

How to use “Power Phrases” to effortlessly sell your prospects without sounding like a used car salesman.

Words are the most powerful weapons we have.  Your ability to write copy that connects, resonates and persuades your prospects to buy from you, will ultimately determine the size of your bank account. As Mark Twain says “The difference between the right word and almost the right word, is the difference between lightning and lightning bug”.

Now of course you can hire a copywriter to write your sales copy for you.  You may decide that’s the fastest path to get where you’re going.  Or you may decide to write it yourself. Either way I strongly urge you to study and learn how to write great copy.  It’s one of the 3 smartest investments you can make in your business.

In the meantime, here is a quick short cut or what I call “power phrases”.

Here are some examples of power phrases – these are ones to enhance your company’s image:

Who you buy from can be just as important as what you buy

We offer the most comprehensive _________ in the industry

We make life easier …

We offer practical, low cost solutions…

We’re familiar with every nuance of …..

Day after day we …..

Our total commitment to ….

We recognize the realities of ….

We don’t play games with …..

Despite what you may have heard ….

What’s our formula for success?

It’s our job to …

We offer the added advantage of ….

Here are some power phrases to justify a high price:

The ____ you receive will be worth many times the price

Treat yourself to a ______

Why pay $ ____ for a _____ when for a few dollars more you could have a ______

Allow yourself a little indulgence

Not as expensive as you think

A practical luxury

The Rolls Royce of _____

The Harvard of _________

Flagrantly expensive and worth every penny, ______ identifies you as ________

Here are some power phrases that convey security and peace of mind:

You’ll never have to take chances with …

Rest easy.

Never again will you have to …..

You won’t lose any more sleep over …..

Protects your valuable ……

Avoid embarrassing mistakes….

Gives you the assurance of …...

Incorporate some of these power phrases into your marketing and see what a difference it makes!

Lessons from a cab driver, a birthday cake and the new experience economy

In my last gold nugget I talked about how we’re entering unchartered territory.  The old economy – the way things used to be – is never coming back (in case you missed I reposted it on my blog - just look a couple of posts back) What does this mean for entrepreneurs and small business owners everywhere?  It means that we all have to adapt to the new rules of the new economy so we can thrive and prosper. Or else face imminent extinction.

This new economy could also be called the “experience” economy.  The best way for me to explain this to you is by showing you the evolution of the birthday cake.

Back in the day Moms used to make birthday cakes from scratch, mixing real eggs, flour, sugar, butter together.  It all cost mere dimes.  As we moved to a goods based economy, mom’s then paid a buck or two to Betty Crocker for premixed ingredients.  Later when the service economy grabbed hold, busy parents ordered cakes from bakeries or the grocery store which at $15, $20 cost ten times as much as packaged ingredients.  Now as time starved parents, many of us don’t make a cake or even throw a party.  Instead at $150 or more we outsource the whole thing to The Discovery Zone, the RainForest Café or some other business that’ll stage a memorable event for the kids and often throws the cake in for free.

Welcome to the emerging experience economy.

There’s a BIG difference between services and experiences.  If you ever watched any rerun’s of the old tv show Taxi – you might remember Iggy, a somewhat deplorable but fun loving cab driver who decided he was going to be the best cab driver in the world.  He served sandwiches, soda, conducted personalized tours of the city and even sang Frank Sinatra showtunes.

By engaging his customers in an actual experience, he created something else completely different from an ordinary cab ride.  One that was far more valuable and memorable, which he could charge more for.

If airlines did a better job of creating an actual memorable experience for their customers, more passengers would shop in their in-seat pocket catalogs for momentos from their flight.

So – what can you do in your business to differentiate yourself from the pack and create an actual memorable experience for your customers? That’s your homework for the week.  

Have a great week!

Julie