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

Business Building

A Clinical Marketing Lesson From a Smoking Doctor and Maya Angelou

Smoking Doctors

Smoking Doctors

Take a look at this great old vintage ad I found on the internet. My how times have changed — and advertising along with it!

But some things haven’t changed in advertising, namely, the same basic human desires need to be fulfilled today just as much as they did 50 or even 150 years ago: better health, improved appearance, praise from others, social advancement…

The great late writer Maya Angelou, who passed away this week, had this great quote to say which applies to your business marketing as much as it does to our lives:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Really effective marketing evokes feeling. It’s not just about getting your name out there, but getting your prospective clients or customers to feel something that then propels them to take action — a desire to look better for their daughter’s wedding, a desire NOT to look like their mother did when she was their age.

Would this cigarette ad have evoked feeling back in the 50s when it ran? Absolutely. Actually it was one of Camel’s most successful ad campaigns. It’s a statement about class, about sophistication. It speaks to that innermost desire we all have to win other people’s approval. It evokes feeling.

The worst way to market your business is to use marketing that doesn’t evoke feeling, that’s simply fact-based. People don’t buy based on facts. We buy based on feelings and then justify with facts (if you don’t believe me then just look at all the luxury cars on the road — cars get us from A to B — if we all bought based on facts we’d likely all be driving inexpensive Hondas). People won’t choose your business necessarily because your qualifications are superior to your colleagues. They’ll certainly use your qualifications as a justification once they’ve made a decision, but they’re far more likely to decide based on the softer stuff — how you come across on your website and whether you seem like a nice person who genuinely cares.

The worst kind of marketing you can use in your business is the kind that makes a person feel nothing. It’s boring. It’s dry. It’s…well, easy to ignore.

On your drive home tonight and over the weekend, start paying attention to the ads you see, and think about what kind of emotion they evoke. But most especially, pay attention to the things that you buy and ask yourself, “What really made me buy it?” You might be surprised at the answer.

How to Create Viral Videos Worth Sharing

Not so long ago, a friend shared a link with me on Facebook.

The video recording quality was grainy. The audio was out of sync with the video. The props were cheap. The film set was non-existent. The result?

A viral video that was viewed almost 40 million times, and shared 23 million times, in 12 months. When I shared this video to my wall, I immediately got two responses — one that said, “Wow, I wish I was their client.

Unfortunately, there was no chance of that happening (since the video maker was a dental practice in London, South Carolina and my wishful friend lived in northern Michigan). But the video maker had achieved the holy grail — a viral video that doesn’t just entertain, but ATTRACTS NEW CLIENTS.

So, what was so magical about a video for a dental practice? I mean, seriously. Is there a less sexy business? Few businesses create such a uniform groan from their patients when it’s time for your appointment. Big companies spend hundreds of millions creating videos that they hope will have a tenth of the social engagement that this video had. So how did they do it?

1. Use lots of humor. Self-deprecating is always good (as long as it is in good taste), but other good uses of humor include showing familiar things in a humorous light.  Remember the e-Trade baby? That set of hilarious viral videos was first launched eight years ago, and still remains the most effective ad campaign in its history.

viral_video_marketing.png

2. Keep the videos short. And entertaining. There’s a reason Instagram limits its videos to 60 seconds or less. Effective viral videos need to be fast and furious. The second they lose their humor, or momentum, the audience is lost.

3. Be as human as possible. The days of slick corporate ads are long gone. People want to feel real connections with the business they buy from and the products they use. My dental video example couldn’t be less polished and less “unprofessional”.  Yet it’s wildly successful. Why? Because the dentist is being “real”. If you are familiar with my Client Stampede marketing, then you will know that creating personality-infused marketing is at the heart of every uber-successful ad campaign.

So to recap on the formula for viral video success. You don’t need expensive camera equipment.  Or professional lighting. Or fancy video editing. Or special costumes, in order to make a viral video, viral.  As with any marketing for your business, it’s all about the message. What are you saying, in a funny, entertaining way, that resonates deeply with the audience?

 

(Oh and the dental video I’ve been referring to? You can view it here:

 

 

How a Painted Moose Can Help Your Marketing (Seriously)

Last week I was consulting with a client in Salt Lake City. I love the mountains, and I especially love mountain towns (I spent a lot of time in Squaw Valley, CA, as a student). I’ve never been to Park City, so after the consult day with my client was wrapped up, I grabbed my rental car and took a sunset drive through the winding canyon toward Kimball Junction and Park City. The area of Park City is deceptively big – big enough to have a Wal-Mart, all the major fast food stores and its own shopping mall. But it’s old town Park City that has all the charm (and hosts the Sundance Film Festival every year). Right before I got to Main Street I saw on my right hand side something that absolutely demanded my attention. It refused to be ignored.

Here’s what it was: a statue of a moose. OK, nothing remarkable about that, especially in these parts.

But here’s what made it stand out – it was painted GOLD and had an assortment of hand-painted dogs on it – some wearing bandanas, some not. Right next to a red fire hydrant. Outside a busy store.

Huh? As a dog lover, an art lover and a marketing nut I had to pull over to take a closer look. The store the moose belonged to had won. In an extremely colorful, frenetically busy mountain town with eye candy everywhere, this moose stuck out like a sore thumb. And now, almost a week later I’m writing about it to you in this blog post.

How a Painted Mooose can Help Your Marketing

How a Painted Mooose can Help Your Marketing

Your marketing has to be just like this moose. Different. Eye-catching. Innovative. It’s about taking something familiar and breathing new life into it.

Let’s say you’re a physician who specializes in aesthetic medicine and you’re doing a promotion for non-invasive body contouring, like Venus Freeze or Cool Sculpting. You don’t have to look very far in your own market to see that your competition is running practically the exact same ads as you are. The ones, most likely that the company who invented the technology provided you with. Sure, those stock ads are better than nothing, but the problem is that people have seen them all before. It’s just a plain looking moose sculpture, and it makes you blend perfectly into your surroundings.

Your marketing has to stand out. Don’t look to your competition to copy their ads. Look outside your profession at completely different industries for examples of great marketing. Great marketing is...great marketing, no matter where you see it. What stopped you in your tracks? Who have you bought from recently? How can you use these ideas to market your business?

5 Simple Ways To Build An EXTRAORDINARY Business

When I was a kid I was terrified of chickens. Don’t ask me why. It seems completely ridiculous and it made me the butt of many family jokes (especially from my two brothers). Fast forward a few decades and fortunately I’ve managed to curb my chicken phobia, but they do have a funny way of cropping up in my life. I was recently hunting for some great imagery to explain the concept of what it meant to be extraordinary...and here’s a picture I found of …an extraordinary chicken!

And then I got to thinking about the similarity between chickens and how most people run their business.

If you’ve ever watched chickens run around in a yard – they pretty much stick together in clusters. They scratch the ground looking for worms in the same spots. They lay their eggs in the same places. And they all pretty much look the same. It's hard to tell them apart.

But if you saw a chicken who looked like that extraordinary chicken – you’d likely want to take pictures of it, tell all your friends, post it on Facebook, show it to your kids. In fact, you and your family might keep talking about that extraordinary chicken for years, simply because it was so memorable and so different.

And that’s how you want to make your business.

By doing what everyone else is doing, copying the way your competitors are all marketing, offering the same things they’re offering – you’re just another plain old chicken in the barn yard. It's harder than ever to get people to notice you (which is why you might be finding marketing so frustrating).

I strongly believe that if you’re going to run a business – you may as well make it an extraordinary one. One that people can’t help telling everyone else about and creates an army of raving fans.

Its not nearly as hard as it sounds, mostly because people have been let down so often we all have pretty low expectations.

So in brief, here’s why you’d want to make your business an extraordinary one: 1) It’s easy. People’s expectations are so low it doesn’t take much to make your business really stand out from the crowd.

2) It’s the ultimate competitive advantage. Chances are better than average your competitors are either dropping the ball or delivering ordinary service. If you really take care of your clients, they will never ever look anywhere else and will send you tons of referrals

3) You can charge higher prices. Its very crowded at the bottom of the market, but few businesses know how they can raise their price. Making your business an extraordinary one is an easy way.

So how do you make your business extraordinary? Just follow these 5 easy steps:

1) Keep your promises. So simple, but few do it. Do what you say you’re going to do.

2) Build a brand that looks nothing like your competitors. Something that’s so memorable, as soon as people see it they know it's from your business. For example every month I write a marketing newsletter for my private clients that arrives by snail mail. As soon as they open their mailbox they know its from me – it’s the only piece of mail they receive in a plastic bag and it has a very distinctive rustic modern look to it.

3) Abandon boring marketing (puh-lease). If an honest reading of your marketing materials or your website makes your eyeballs dry up, then just imagine how your prospects must feel. Remember you can’t bore your prospects into doing business with you – you can only interest them. Your marketing needs to be written so compellingly that it keeps them glued to their seat and then lights their pants on fire to call you. Your marketing needs to be extraordinary – look different, feel different, read different.

4) Take great care of the customers you already have. So many businesses are laser focused on getting new sales, when in reality they have an untapped goldmine in their own customer list. I see this time and time again when I consult with new private clients. Remember it’s 5 times easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to try and convert a new one. But its not just about selling. Its about really caring about your customers and their success. It’s the doctor that calls his patient after hours to see how they’re feeling. It’s the vet who remembers Fido’s 10th birthday and sends an oversized Milk Bone. It’s the financial advisor who sends his elderly widowed clients a bunch of flowers on Valentine’s day.

5) Marketing is everything! There’s no point having an extraordinary business if no one knows about it! Educate your clients about what makes your business extraordinary. Send out press releases. Start a monthly newsletter. Run a themed offer of the month to all your prospects and valued clients. Profile outstanding staff going the extra mile. Send new customer welcome kits and let people know what a great decision they’ve made in choosing you.

Do these 5 simple things to make your business extraordinary and you’ll never have to scratch for worms or be mistaken for a plain barnyard chicken ever again!

Little Hinges Open Big Doors

Once upon a time (in 1960) there were two brothers who desperately wanted to go to college.  Their parents were broke, so the boys figured that the only way they were going to be able to swing it – was by working a couple of jobs. The boys wound up working for a struggling pizza company, which despite its prized location close to a college campus, still couldn’t turn a profit.  The boys offered to buy out the stressed out owner – the deal secured by a $75 down payment and the remaining $500 they scrimped and scrounged as a loan from family and friends.  Eight months later the more studious of the two brothers decided he wanted to spend more time hitting the books and less time flipping pizza dough.

Client Stampede Volkswagon
Client Stampede Volkswagon

Meantime the other brother loved the pizza business and wanted little to do with his studies – so they traded: full ownership of the pizza business to brother Tom in return for his cherry red Volkswagen beetle.  Like most business owners, Tom was working crazy hours – struggling as the previous business owner was, to run the business profitably.  There was a lot of competition on campus for food, and more pizza stores than you could shake a stick at. Times were tough.

Wracking his brain to come up with a marketing message that would draw people in was no easy task.

He certainly didn’t have the best tasting pizza.  It was good, but not exactly what you’d classify as a taste bud symphony.

He couldn’t claim that his sauce recipe was Mama’s own secret – direct from their tiny village in Sicily and fiercely guarded by his family for 5 generations.

After many sleepless nights he finally had it.  Excited beyond words he rushed to work the next day to test it out.

The results were astounding.  Response rates to his ads quadrupled almost immediately.  Media requests started pouring in.  Their phone system blew up and more help had to be hired immediately in all positions.

Here is his marketing message that changed everything and resulted in the world’s largest pizza chain – 10,000 franchised stores in more than 70 countries.  The company of course is Dominos Pizza:

Fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.

That’s it.  How could a marketing message so simple be such a game changer in an overcrowded market?

For that exact reason.  It’s overcrowded.  As very few businesses have a really great, extremely clear marketing message – the ones that do really stand out.

Why is having the right marketing message so important for your business?

Well, because everything, and I mean everything – hinges off of it:

- Whether someone decides to stay or leave your website in that first 3 seconds - The way the media perceives your business - The way you perceive your business and the value you bring to your customers - The process your prospects go through in their mind to decide whether they want to pull out their checkbooks or not.

Whenever I accept a new private client, one of the first projects I work on is nailing down their marketing message – identifying a gap in their market and then crafting the right wording that will help drive a truck right through it.  Once this exercise is complete it’s not unusual for campaign response rates to double or even triple, for site traffic to spike, or to attract media attention (instead of having to chase it).

Little hinges open big doors.

The uncomfortable truth is that unless you have the right marketing message – any marketing you’re doing is going to yield a small fraction of the results that it would otherwise do.

Take a look at this photo I took at the bottom of my yard.   Does your marketing message make your business the red poppy in your industry, or are you really just another green leaf?

Client Stampede Garden
Client Stampede Garden

How To Make Selling To Your Prospects Effortless (Without Feeling Like An Icky Used Car Salesman)

Do you love owning your own business but when it comes time to actually getting people to buy from you – you feel about as comfortable as a Rich Arab Sheikh riding the subway? Maybe you have lots of people who “like” you.

You’ve got stacks of business cards from people you’ve met at networking events.

You’ve even got a pretty large number of people who’ve told you they’re interested in what you’ve got to offer.

But here’s where you come a bit unplugged.

You hate selling.

You don’t want to be seen as someone pushy.

You think to yourself…”well, I don’t need to sell to them because they’ll buy when they’re good and ready to…

Actually they won’t.

Most people won’t buy from you if you leave them to their own timeframes, no matter how much they like you.

Why?  Because we all procrastinate.

I agree that selling the traditional way is icky, sticky work.

In fact it’s revolting.

Who wants to feel like they’re pushing products on people, who likely are backing away just as fast as we’re moving towards them. If any part of my work involved this kind of selling I would likely be off living on a ranch somewhere shoveling horse poop for a living.

The good news is that with this new economy we’re in – the old way of selling is OUT, OUT, OUT (though many are still teaching it).

And the new way of selling?  It isn’t actually “selling” at all.  It’s SERVING and it’s got a whole different emphasis and a brand new set of rules to follow which are essential for survival in these unprecedented times.

Here are 3 easy steps to doing it:

1.    Start off by asking yourself?  Is the world a better place because of the work that you do?  If the answer is yes (as it must be or you need to do something else), then you’re making people’s lives better.  So it follows that if you don’t offer your products and services to people you’re actually doing them a disservice.  They NEED YOU.  Great businesses are hard to find.  People need to know about what you do and how you can help them solve their problem.  This isn’t selling, it’s serving.  Make the mindset shift on this one and you’ll never ever “sell” another day in your life. 2.    Always begin a new relationship by offering VALUE first.  Educate your prospects about your services.  Develop a rapport with them and give them such an incredible experience that the next logical step will be for them to ask YOU “what’s next?  How do I buy from you?” 3.    Listen first, then speak.  The old way of selling is about speaking first – pushing your products to prospects.  There’s no two way conversation.  There’s no listening to  what their needs are and then offering a solution.  Always start with their needs first – not yours.

Follow these 3 easy steps the next time you find yourself in a “sales” situation and you’ll be amazed at how effortless and easy the whole process becomes!

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!

How to Turn Mud Into Chocolate Mud Pies ...

"When written in Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters - one represents danger and the other represents opportunity"  ~John F. Kennedy, address, 12 April 1959 Nearly a month ago a small tornado ripped through the sleepy town of Dexter, MI.  As with most tornados, it arrived with little warning and plowed a path of destruction that stretched over 10 miles, upending trees, houses and the lives of the people who live and work there.

Dexter also happens to be the city just north west of where I live.

And its where I keep my horse.

By nothing short of a miracle, the tornado missed the barn by less than ¼ of a mile.  The night the tornado unleashed its fury I got a text from the barn manager to say that despite the 135 mph winds, all people, animals and property were safe.

I happen to believe in miracles, and that was certainly one of them!

The next morning I yanked on my boots, hopped in my car and headed out there to double check on my horse.

As I approached the little town, the first sight of damage I saw was that it looked like someone had emptied 100 dumpsters worth of trash onto the branches of trees.  The damage got worse as I drove on.  It looked like a war zone and I felt like as if I was part of some kind of horror movie set on a Hollywood backlot.

King Kong had stepped on a car wash building and squashed it flat as a pancake.

A restaurant had its whole top floor ripped off.

Cars were overturned or wedged into the side of buildings.  Homes destroyed beyond recognition.

A somber parade of more than 30 huge landscaping trucks shuddered past me to begin the mammoth clean up task.

As I sat in the traffic jam, I felt sick to my stomach thinking about the local business owners.  Dexter has a thriving small business community, but how many would have planned  for this kind of catastrophic event?  Very few was my guess.  Most would have woken up that day thinking it was just going to be a regular, old Thursday.   Now, in one foul swoop their incomes had been severed, their homes damaged, and they had no idea when they’d next receive another paycheck ….

Except for one little business, that is.….

Which just so happens to be my favorite little coffee hut out there.

As I approached the lot where the coffee hut was located,  I noticed that unlike the rest of Dexter (which understandably was in a total state of shock and mourning), the place was a hive of activity.  The vibe, very upbeat.   Everywhere I looked there were people – in cars, out of cars, directing traffic, talking to each other…there was laughter even - police officers, landscaping crews, rescue crews, locals, volunteers…

In fact, you could say the place was rocking.

I also noticed that everyone seemed to be drinking coffee!

Turns out the little hut had survived the tornado but had no power or water.

That would have been enough to keep most businesses shut.

Not this little business.

The owner had brought in a mobile truck complete with generator, a portable espresso machine and a cash register. And someone had been up baking carrot cake muffins that were being handed out left, right and center.  Extra staff had been called in to help, and they were taking, and making coffee orders like crazy.

Never mind that the parking lot was strewn with debris, or had huge potholes which a mini could get lost in.  The staff were running around, taking orders, bringing coffees, boosting morale.

Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!

On one day I’m sure that little business made more money in a 24 hour period then it did the whole month prior.

That takes some “hootzpah, and some fierce bulldog determination to succeed no matter what.  I don’t know that owner, he isn’t part of any of my coaching groups at the Client Stampede, but I’m going to seek him out to hopefully interview him on how to thrive despite mountain sized obstacles

Reminds me of another favorite quote of mine…

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of equal or greater opportunity" - Napolean Hill

Press on ...

Earlier this week I was on a coaching call with one of my Platinum members, and she was having a vent session. You know, one of those horrible "this is all just too hard I think I should just give up, I'm not really cut out to do this"..kind of vent session.

I've certainly had them and I bet you have too.

When I was a kid, my Mom used to call these outbursts "haircuts". All we'd have to say to her is "Mom - I need to have a haircut - can you listen for a sec?". And we'd let it all hang out, moan, whine and complain...and within 5 minutes, usually felt a lot better.

Vent sessions are important. No - they're critical for your success.

Being a solopreneur can be lonely and terribly isolating...there you are banging away at your key board, with just your dog at your feet...and an empty coffee mug on your desk. Its essential you have an outlet - someone you can trust your innermost fears to, who's not going to freak out (like your husband who just saw the credit card bill and is wondering if this "marketing stuff really works!")

That's the power of having a good coach.

Someone who can help you walk through your fears, realign your path, and keep you moving exactly where you need to go.

I heard someone once say that you can never put a price on having someone in your life who believes in you more than you believe in yourself...

I saw the power of this when I was 15 years old in high school. My Mom's best friend also happened to be the vice principal of my high school and the head of the math department...

Now math has NEVER been my strong suit. But when I was 15, the vice principal took my Mom aside one day and told her that I didn't have a hope of passing my math exam that year. And of course, my now very worried Mom, told me...

Thing is...she was probably right.

Except that that wasn't what I wanted to hear..and I'm a Capricorn (goat) ...so, if you want me to do something...just tell me it can't be done and I'll find a path to get there!

That year I got a math coach and met with her religiously twice a week. For me that was akin to having to get a root canal on a regular basis

...algebra, statistics, fractions YECH!!!

There were times I'd show up to those coaching sessions in floods of tears because I just didn't "get" it. My coach would quietly listen, and when I'd finished throwing my pity party and having a vent session, she'd say to me quietly "alright...now where were we.."

That year I passed my math exam with 76% - a personal triumph of epidemic proportions! But if my coach hadn't believed in me...or had told me that it was unlikely I'd pass and I should just "stick to art"...I would never, ever had known what I was capable of.

What about you?

What problem are you grappling with at the moment that makes you just want to scream? Is it bad enough to make you question whether you should throw in the towel and just go get a desk job working for someone else?

Never, NEVER, Never Give Up!!!

You were given your dreams for a purpose. The fact that your goal is to make $100K, $200K, $500K, or to work less without sacrificing income so you can spend more time with your family...I believe these are your God given desires.

You've got them for a reason. Its your job to grace the world with your own form of beauty - no one else offers what you do, in the way that you do.

This week's ezine is all about the power of perseverance.

I want to give you a giant helping of inspiration to help you push through whatever you might be struggling with right now. (Keep this ezine in a safe place so you can reread it when you need to!)

Winston Churchill famously once said "never,never, never give up."

There's another saying I love - an old Japanese proverb that says "fall done 7 times get up 8."

But by far, one of my favorite quotes of all time is the one Erin Brokovich carried around in her pocket in a letter her Dad wrote.

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

To your massive abundance and success!

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!!!!

 

How a Cow Shaped Rubber Band Sparked a Fashion Revolution and Made a Fortune

This month, while trawling for interesting information to share with you in Marketing Dynamite, I stumbled on an interesting article in Inc magazine called “How I Did It.” It was about a guy named Robert Croak who in 2006 started a national fashion frenzy by introducing colorful shaped rubber bands called Silly Bandz. At their peak in 2008, his little company was selling more than 1 million packs of Silly Bandz a week and people were driving to its offices from Alabama, Indiana, and Kentucky because his phone lines were jammed up with orders. In Inc, Croak talks about being so overwhelmed with shipments at one stage that the company ran an ad on Facebook saying:  “if anyone was looking for work, they’d hire them on the spot – with a line down the street, and a full warehouse, they started packing shipments on tables on the sidewalk.”  Croak goes on to say “Silly Bandz put me in a category of wealth that most people have never imagined, and everybody wants to look at me and say ‘that guy got lucky,’ when in reality it took me 20 years to get where I am today.”

I tell you this story because all too often we assume that an overnight success is just that – luck, when rarely luck has anything to do with it. It’s the culmination of invisible years of multiple failures, bulldog tenacity, sweat, massive risk, a steadfast goal and belief in yourself.

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 :)

What to do with your customers who’ve gone MIA

Guess the top 4 reasons customers don’t return to a business (hint: price isn’t one of them). #4 Bad service #3 Bad product #2 They found someone else

And #1 They FORGOT!

That’s right, the number 1 reason people don’t return to your business is because you just weren’t top of mind when it was time for them to purchase again.  Are you shocked that price doesn’t even feature in the top 4 reasons?  Most of us automatically think that if customers don’t return it must have been because we were too expensive, when actually it’s just because we didn’t do a great job with our marketing by reminding them that we’re here.  The great news is that it can be easily fixed!

Here are 2 key questions for you:

In your business how often do you want customers to buy from you again?

When do you consider a customer to be lost?

If you’re a real estate agent, you might want repeat business every 5 years.  If you own a grocery store it might be once every 7 days.  Figure this out and then set up a lost customer sequence to trigger as soon as they don’t return. The most effective is a 3-step sequential direct mail campaign that’s highly personalized. A very distant second is the same via email campaign (but anything is better than nothing).

Here’s the secret to getting them back: unless you specifically invite your lost customers to return to you, most won’t because they’re too embarrassed!  You need to warmly invite them back.  Remember that a customer who’s already done business with you is at least 5 times easier for you to sell to than a new customer.  So make every customer count! Woo the lost sheep back with an irresistible offer and a deadline. Make them feel they’ve been greatly missed and welcome them back to the fold with open arms! If they don’t respond to the first campaign, schedule another in 3 months with a different offer!

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.