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

Entrepreneur

How To Tell If You’re An Entrepreneur (Or Not)

If you thought (like I used to), – that being an entrepreneur was just another word for being a small business owner, then listen up. To paraphrase Mark Twain, they’re about as similar as lightning and lightning bugs.

A small business owner opens a jewelry store. He works hard. He makes money. But 10 years down the line, his business pretty much looks exactly the same as it did in those first few years. He’s grown, sure. But it’s still the same jewelry business.

Now, take that same store and have it run by an entrepreneur. In 10 years time you likely won’t even recognize the original business because of all the different revenue steams he’ll have spun off, new businesses he’ll have begun, and markets he’ll have expanded into.

For starters, he’s probably bought the building his store is located in. He has leveraged that investment to cherry pick the best commercial real estate in town and is now leasing to other business owners (real estate).

Then he developed an exclusive line of jewelry which caters to boomer women. That line is now being sold at exclusive cocktail parties and has spawned a business of selling jewelry franchises to other boomer women who like to throw parties. Now he’s just getting warmed up.

He also built a huge cult-like following online for his personal line of jewelry, started his own internet version of the QVC channel, and launched a complimentary anti-aging makeup product line that is now being sold at the jewelry parties.

Meantime, he’s busy cooking up deals to sell exclusive golf apparel to active women and is looking at expanding and offering adventure trips of a lifetime to far flung bucket list places for the same demographic. But that’s not all. This dynamo entrepreneur also runs a highly successful information marketing company – he’s coach to multiple high paying mastermind groups and has created products teaching other jewelers to do just what he’s done…

Make your head spin? Think it’s impossible? I’ve had multiple clients who have accomplished all this and more in just two short years.

So how do you tell whether you’re an entrepreneur or not? Well, everyone had to start somewhere.

Here’s how to know if you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur (…and yes, being an entrepreneur is a learned skill, so if you’re not there yet start taking notes):

  1. An entrepreneur is not married to any one type of business. If you ask the typical small business owner what he or she does, you’ll likely hear “I’m an attorney,” “I’m a dentist” or “I own a restaurant.” Entrepreneurs think expansively and don’t put themselves inside any one box. Their strength is their ability to see an opportunity and make it a reality. Our world is changing faster than ever, so flexibility and agility in business is critical. As one of my mentors once said, “If you’re trying to be in the same business 5 years from now, you’ll likely be out of business.”
  2. Entrepreneurs create and make money from their ideas. They’re typically lousy managers, or manage people at their own extreme discomfort. That’s why they often start, develop, and sell businesses, and then move on. The skill set to start and build a highly successful business is a very different skill set than managing a highly successful business. That’s also why you’ll see lots of entrepreneurs hire CEOs – so the CEO can take over and run the business for them while they’re busy exploring the next big opportunity.
  3. Entrepreneurs understand that the real business they’re in is the sales and marketing business. No matter the widget sold, or service peddled – entrepreneurs understand their business success thrives or dies on the strength of their marketing and sales. That’s their real business.
  4. Entrepreneurs are systems driven. They understand the secret to success is in implementing systems to leverage time, increase efficiencies, reduce costs and automate processes. At the top of this list is investment in a marketing system that automatically delivers an endless supply of high quality prospects through the door, converts them to paying customers, and keeps them as raving fans for life.
  5. Entrepreneurs are never out of school. They are insatiable learners, heavily investing in their own education, attending seminars, boot camps, business coaching programs, and mastermind groups. Adventurers of life, entrepreneurs are endlessly curious, can pack more into a week than most people get done a year and are always looking for mentors, guides and teachers to show them the short cuts…

How to Bulletproof Yourself From the Arrows of Other People's Criticism

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. – Bill Crosby One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is that it’s a path chosen by very few.  According to the Webster dictionary, here’s the definition of what an entrepreneur is:

A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerableinitiative and risk.

It takes real guts to run your own business and it’s not for the faint of heart (which is why we’re such a passionate bunch about what we do!).  Perhaps you’ve been told by a well meaning aunt that your timing is terrible for running your own business in this economy and you should give up and go find a nice job working for someone else.  Ouch.

Or how about a cranky customer who’s had a bad morning and shows up to your appointment with nothing but critical things to say.  Or that one bad Yelp review someone, (you don’t even remember who) posted.

Others may take a swipe at you for no other reason than they have a PhD in complaining and you happen to be their target for the day.

Having said that, when someone says something that makes you want to go hide under the sheets – here’s what to do:

1)    Once you’ve calmed down, try to take an objective look at what’s being said to see if there’s a kernel of truth in it.  This is a lot easier said than done.  If something does have an element of truth about it, be grateful.  The delivery of the message might have sucked but you got the message and that’s what counts.  Then have a think about what (if anything) needs to be changed – which I usually do after taking a long walk with the dogs. On the other hand, if it’s just a plain old complaint or criticism from someone who doesn’t agree with what you’re doing or the way that you’re doing things – I suggest letting yourself grieve for the wound, but not for too long.

Set the timer.

Half an hour is plenty long to throw a pity party.  Then take the complaint and shred it or burn it to get rid of the negativity – hold you head high and move on. (NOTE: be careful obviously setting anything afire and I recommend you do this only in your fireplace!).

2)    Someone criticized you?  Great!!!  Give yourself a big pat on the back.  Receiving criticism is actually a sign of success!  It means you’re doing something, you’re being someone. You’re choosing not to live in the box of other people’s expectations and be small. “To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” ­– Elbert Hubbard

3)    When someone criticizes you, remember that it’s actually more about them than you.  How many people do you know who would love to be doing what you’re doing right now… taking bold, brave steps to create a beautiful life for yourself and your family?  Making sure you’ll never be in the position of an employer telling you what to do or pulling the financial rug out from under you.  Many of your critics may themselves be frustrated entrepreneurs, miserable in their jobs, working for people they don’t like.  And it’s easier to take a pot shot at someone else in an effort to justify his or her own decisions than to actually buck up and make a change.

4)    Keep a RAH-RAH file handy to give yourself a confidence boost when you feel you need it.  A RAH-RAH file contains all of the nice comments, and testimonials that anyone has ever said about you – your Mom, your best friend, your favorite client – whoever. Protecting your confidence is a top priority, and the best way to stop a negative comment grabbing a hold of you and injuring your confidence – is to remind yourself that you are smart, talented, loved and great at what you do.

5)    Keep your goals and your personal vision of what you want to achieve front and center.  It’s easy to let a negative comment derail you.  That’s when it’s great to remind yourself what your bigger purpose is and where you’re going.  I keep my purpose pinned to the wall and refer to it often – especially when I need to regroup and refocus.

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.

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 ...

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!

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!

My 5 favorite applications to grow & manage your business

#1 This is a no-brainer. Google Apps for Business is simply fantastic! Create your own branded email account for business (powered by Gmail), share documents, calendar events, etc. Have total administrative control over the accounts and create as many users as you want with different user rights and privileges. Google Apps also supports tons of additional applications that you can install in a click.

#2 Freshbooks We love this app. FreshBooks lets you build your own branded billing system that you can connect with PayPal or your own Payment Gateway (Authorize.net, Beanstream, etc…). With FreshBooks you can also manage your expenses, add users and generate detailed reports of you earnings, expenses and clients. You’ll love this application even more when tax season rocks around again...

#3 Shoeboxed - amazingly convenient receipt management Hate managing paper receipts? Shoeboxed is what you need. Once you sign up, you can install their iPhone app that lets you “scan” & digitize your receipts. The app then sends the receipt electronically to your ShoeBoxed account. They also provide you with a personal email address that you can forward your online receipts to. Fantastic for keeping track of all your receipts and extracting reports at the end of the year for tax reports.

#4 Highrise - the foolproof way to capture and nurture every lead

Great Lead & Customer Management for Small Businesses - you can store every conversation, email, call, meeting, document, and deal you’ve ever had with a contact. You’ll always know who you talked to, what was said, and when to follow-up next. You can also create additional users, delegate tasks and much more.

#5 Constant Contacts

I've used a lot of different companies over the years to manage my email marketing and constant contacts is still my favorite company. Email Marketing is still the most powerful form of Online Marketing when done properly. Constant Contacts is user-friendly, powerful & cheap - you can schedule events, create auto-responder campaigns, and create opt-in boxes for your website with just a couple of clicks.

How do you know if you've got a really good idea? Use the "well I'll be damned test"!

Wilson Harrell - a great businessman and entrepreneur had an excellent way of testing for a new product, service or idea.  He called it the "well, I'll be damned test".  You take your new idea and run it past at least 20 different people (none of which are related to you or friends with you), to see how they'd react.  If they didn't say "well, I'll be damned" or "heck why didn't I think of that?" then you haven't got a winner. If it looks like you do have a winner, the next question to ask is "well how much would you be prepared to pay for that?", and  "If you could buy it at that price would you definitely buy it or maybe buy it?",  "why?", "how would you use it", "where would you want to buy it from?" "is this an idea you might be interested in investing in?", "why?".  These loosely held focus groups are extremely valuable and can save you a lot of time, money and stress when thinking about bringing something new to the marketplace.

 

How you deal with failure will determine whether you ever get the chance to deal with success, or not

One of my favorite quotes is a Japanese proverb that says "fall down seven times, get up eight times". One of the biggest obstacles to our success as business owners is how we choose to deal with our failures.  When I started out in business I was chasing a ghost - a perfect model of a successful business that I somehow, some way needed to find and replicate.  Any deviations from this perfect model were a failure which I was to reprimanded for so that I could quickly brush myself off to get back on "the path".  Too many failures and I began to feel a failure myself.

Thankfully I've learned through painful trial and error that that isn't how it works.

The best explanation I've heard of how success works is that we're like an auto-guided missile.  We set off with a very clear goal - a destination in mind.  But as we get into our journey, we need to make course corrections as we go - a little to the left, a little to the right.  Sometimes a lot to the right.  And the path we end up charting is never the one we could have planned for ourselves anyway.  It's a far richer learning experience, with even greater opportunities than we could have conceived of when we started. How quickly you can recover from a failure will determine how successful you'll become.  I now teach my coaching students about the power of "failing forward".  Failures are great - as long as they don't stop us moving towards our goal.  Think of your path as an obstacle course - like a line of poles  that show dogs weave in and out of - yes you're going to hit some poles - a lot of poles on your journey.

But the goal isn't perfection - it's progress.