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

lead generation

The Best Little Restaurant You'll Never Eat At

This past weekend I ate a restaurant that had a “C health-sanitation rating. A long electrical cord hung from a light bulb in the ceiling. The blinds, half broken, did their best to keep out the sun’s rays. The tables, made of formica looked like something straight out of Granny’s kitchen, the mis-matched wooden chairs had surely been rescued from the Salvation Army’s give-away pile. The floor – large grey linoleum tiles that were cracked and faded - had certainly seen better days. The walls covered with yellowing newspaper cut-outs and old horse posters really made you feel like you were walking back in time 40 years. And the menu (don’t expect any at the table), was scribbled on a white piece of paper in sharpie and scotch-taped on the wall.  

Yet the place was packed, wall to wall on a Sunday morning – the atmosphere electric and excited as horse-people from practically every discipline tucked into freshly cooked bacon, Southern-style grits and a stack of French Toast so high it was difficult to see across the table. The owners, who work 7 days a week, welcome you with a smile that is worth driving three hundred miles to receive as they peek out from amongst their piles of dirty dishes, grease smattered walls and happy chaos of a kitchen.

This place is an institution for horse people. It has been for the last 30 years. In a world that is over-sanitized, over-modernized and over-sensationalized, this little restaurant is a happy antidote. It has succeeded despite the odds, not because it’s the best place to eat breakfast in town (it isn’t). But because they treat people the best. They remember your name. They ask you about family. There’s no air of pretention. But make no mistake – the success of this business is no happy accident.  This family understands perfectly their target market and what they need:  a good, hearty breakfast served fast – with a sense of belonging.  

track kitchen.jpg

That brings us to your business.  How well do you understand your target market and what their needs are? If you stripped away “all the bells and whistles”, would your business still be successful because of the experience you deliver?

Step 7 of the Client Stampede Formula is – deliver an extraordinary experience.  This little track kitchen has this nailed, so much so that if the health authorities tried to shut them down there would probably be a revolt at the licensing authority. 

How can you engender that kind of loyalty and culture in your clients?  

It’s food for thought!

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!!!!

 

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.

 

Why Artists Are Starving

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

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

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

The Sloppy Sales Guys In My Neighborhood

Over the last 6 weeks I’ve had 3 separate tradespeople come to my door trying to sell me construction upgrades, lawn fertilizer and a new roof.  Over the summer so far, that’s brought the total amount to probably 10 cold calls. Unlike most people I LOVE standing at the front door and hearing their sales pitch.  I like watching their body language, I eagerly outstretch my hand for their sales collateral, and I listen intently to their “close”.

Unfortunately though I’m always left very disappointed.  Their sales pitches are usually rambling and sound over rehearsed.  I’ve yet to hear one that contains an irresistible offer or a reason to make me want to whip out my check book right then. None have referred to a guarantee, and frankly their sales collateral (if they even have any) is just awful.  And follow up direct mail?  None.

All 3 of these companies are great examples of organizations still trying to use the old economy rules in the new economy.  Sloppy salesmanship was acceptable in the past because back then it was more about being in the right place at the right time.  The heedy spending days of the property boom meant cash was flowing and you only needed to offer a service scarcely adequate to make a good living.

Not any more.

As consumers we hold all the purchasing power again and we know it.  Companies who want to separate us from our hard earned cash MUST woo us, persuade us and give us an incredible offer to make us take action. While the 3 different companies who dispatched sales people to my house had invested in uniforms, name tags and their staff actually taking the time to do cold calling – they choked on the stuff that really matters.  The actual sales presentation, the sales collateral and the direct mail correspondence afterwards.

At bare minimum the sales collateral they left me with should have radiated with benefits and contained a limited time, irresistible offer that also contained a risk free, full satisfaction guarantee.  And if I still failed to call to take them up on that offer, I should have been mailed 2 follow up pieces containing a second offer.  And then I should have been added to their mailing list so that when I am ready to “grow a lawn as rich and thick as nature’s own shag carpet”, I’ll know exactly who to call.

How To Use A Stealth Social Media Tool To Spy On Your Mailing List Subscribers

I recently stumbled across a fantastic tool that I want to share with you that answers that multi-million dollar question - how can I leverage social media to grow my business? (actually it's one of the top 3 questions I get asked by my clients all the time). The impact this one little tool could have on your business is monumental.  Are you ready for it?

The tool is called Flowtown and here's why it's incredible:

On Flowtown you upload an email or your entire email list.  FT  then trots off to all the major social networks and finds those people for you.  You'll be able to see WHO those people are and exactly what they're talking about.

That in itself is of huge value to your business.  But FT does a lot more than that.

(drum roll please)...

FT will then spider your lists to show you who your major influencers are, which of those people have others following them and how many followers they have.

Wow.  Imagine if you knew the top 5% of the most influential people on your list.  How would you treat them differently?  What kinds of relationships could you start up if you contacted them directly?

FT also enables you to hook a little script onto your opt-in forms, so when people opt in to hear from you - you'll be notified immediately when people of influence have joined your list.

The impact this one little tool could have on your business is monumental.  Just think about your mailing list for a second.  How much do you really know about the people on it?

If your mailing list is a bit, ahem, neglected - if you're missing major chunks of information about your prospects or customers, then not only can FT fill in the gaps, but you can know more about the people on it than you ever imagined.  And, almost in the blink of an eye you can know who the most valuable people are on it.

What takes most businesses years to figure out (if they ever actually do), you can know immediately.

So then you can treat these major influencers very very differently.  You can create special offers just for them - do whatever it takes to turn them into raving fans of your business, reach out to them for JV opportunities, ask them to become trusted advisers in your business and get their feedback on new products or services you're about to launch...  the possibilities are endless!