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

marketing

Flying KFC & How To Get More Clients

KFC
KFC

Where I grew up in New Zealand, there’s a pretty large population of Samoans.  In fact, I think there are more Samoans living in New Zealand than on the actual island of Samoa itself.  In case you’re not familiar with its whereabouts, Samoa is a gorgeous Pacific Island nestled almost halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand.  Think pristine white beaches, glistening azure waters and people so friendly their smiles could light up the whole island. But here’s the thing.  Samoan people are, as far as national averages go, known to be very much on the large side.  In fact, Samoans share the highest heart disease and diabetes rates in the world.  They love their food.  As an example, let me tell you about Samoans and KFC.  They especially love their KFC.  The only problem is… there’s no KFC in Samoa (at least there wasn’t the last time I checked).  So it’s very common, almost mandatory in fact, for a native Samoan to board their flight from New Zealand to head back home armed with the biggest bucket of chicken Colonel Sanders sells and to have pots of mashed potatoes and coleslaw tucked into their coat pockets.  In fact, if you’re planning your winter escape from New Zealand to Samoa, then also plan on the smell of fried chicken wafting through the cabin for the solid 3.5 of your journey.

For the last 15 or so years the airlines flying to Samoa have turned a bit of a blind eye to all this KFC trafficking.  It has helped filled their planes, their customers are (mostly) happy and everyone wins.  Until now that is.  With tightening airline margins and fierce competition, practically every airline today is duking it out for survival.

When I worked for an airline that flew in the area, we used to get a steady stream of complaints in the legal department, but it wasn’t about the smell of KFC saturating the air on the Samoan flights, as one might think.  It was instead from passengers mashed into a corner, forced to sit next to someone who was so big their fat rolls took up their own seat and two others.  That’s not fun for anyone – the poor person who has to fit their frame into those seats, or their neighbor who can’t even squeeze by to use the rest room.

Well, Samoan Airlines has decided they’re going to fix the problem once and for all.  They are not outlawing KFC on board, but they are charging passengers based on their weight.  That’s right.  If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, or a few hundred extra, you pay more.  A LOT more.  If you miss a few dinners and go on a water diet you just might be able to swing a flight to paradise for mere pennies on the dollar.

As you can imagine, people are in a complete uproar over this.

“It’s discriminatory, it’s racist and it’s a breach of civil liberties,” says one side.  On the other side of the fence, those who run the business and are trying to keep a struggling airline alive say it’s the ultimate “user pays model” and the only way to ensure a “level playing field.”

Apr MD for ezine
Apr MD for ezine

Hmmm.  What do you think?  I think it’s a bold move that makes great sense from a pure business perspective, but makes terrible sense from a customer service perspective.  The majority of Samoan Airline customers are… Samoans.  I suspect they will vote with their feet and take their dollars (and their KFC) elsewhere.  In which case, the top brass might want to take a read of my article from last month’s edition of my paper and ink private client newsletter, Marketing Dynamite:21 Utterly Ingenious Ways To Get More Clients.”  I got so many positive comments about it I thought I would share it again.

How To Talk to Women (And Why Your Marketing Has To)

Recently, I spoke to a group of business owners about how men and women make buying decisions very differently. I told this kind-of-funny story about the couple shopping for a BMW 540i: After months of research, this particular couple finally found their dream car. Striding into the dealership they knew within a few short hours they’d be leaving with 3,000 pounds of fine German steel.

The husband jumped behind the wheel, the salesman rode shotgun. They talked torque and performance engineering. So far, so good. The test drive was going fantastically. But then the wife, sitting in the back, noticed something that really bothered her. It seemed so trivial, but the more she thought about it the more it bugged her. So, wincing inwardly at the scorning that was likely going to come from the front seat, she asked the sales person, “So, what’s up with the cup holders?”

The salesperson shot her a pitiful stare. “They’re right there.”

“Yes,” she replied, “but they’re so tiny. And those claws look flimsy. There’s no way they’d actually hold a coffee mug.”

Deathly silence from the front seat. Her husband did his best to keep a straight face.

“Well, that’s because Europeans don’t eat or drink in their cars,” the salesman retorted curtly.

“Yes, but I do,” the wife insisted. “And so do my kids.”

Another irritated look from the salesman, “Well, you could just hold your drinks between your legs.”

Game over.

The salesman went home that day with only moths in his wallet. And the husband and wife team went home without their new car, although theirs was only a temporary set back.

After doing some research online, they found the pathetic cup holders were a common complaint of many BMW owners. The answer was to buy an attachment to fix the problem. Happy to have a solution to their problem, the husband and wife team went back to a different dealership and this time, came home with their new Beamer.

You’re not alone if you’re reading this thinking that it sounds pretty stupid that a $50,000 deal could be blown because of some flimsy cup holders. But the car salesman made the very common (and very costly) mistake of assuming that the woman didn’t have any say in the buying decision. According to the most recent statistics, not only do most women influence 80% of all car purchases, they also buy the majority of cars (including trucks).

Welcome to the New Economy my friend. There are two sexes in the human race and only one of them does most of the shopping.

Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases

91% of new homes 66% computers 92% vacations 80% healthcare decisions 89% bank accounts 93% food 90% insurance, investments and retirement accounts

(Percentages of women that participate in decisions affecting their household’s retirement and investment accounts.)

Women also are the biggest online consumers. 22% of women shop online at least once a day.

Source: Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather

But, here’s the rub.

Most marketing is aimed squarely at the male consumer, even though it’s women who make most of the buying decisions. Even for products considered traditionally for men like deodorant, men’s clothing, and yes, even your 6.6L V8 turbo-diesel Duramax truck.

As a marketer, here’s what’s most important for you to realize: women make buying decisions very differently from men. Women prefer practical benefits to features. They don’t care how many settings a freezer has – they want to know if it’s big enough to store frozen pizza. Men on the other hand, tend to love features.

Women are story driven. They want to feel a connection, empathy, with the company they are buying from. Telling the story of a business or a product becomes a very powerful sales tool. Men on the other hand, are more influenced by facts and figures. Give me the info and I’ll make the decision. Women want to know who you are first and foremost before deciding whether they’ll buy from you. Stories are also very powerful when selling to men, but typically to demonstrate outcome.

For women, it’s much more about the relationship. Does what you’re offering work for the kids? The rest of the family?

These are just a couple of critical differences you need to take into account when you’re creating your marketing. More and more big companies are realizing who holds the purse strings and are scrambling to change their marketing, and their businesses, to accommodate it. Lexus offers free massages while your car is being serviced, and a local rescue repair team in case of breakdown. Ryland Homes completely changed their floor model so the back yard could be viewed from the kitchen and all living spaces.

Final Takeaway

Marketing to women is not about excluding men. It’s about gaining a deeper understanding of your target market and, specifically, how to make your marketing message strike a chord and spur action from a prospect, whether they’re XX or XY chromosome.

Avoid marketing strategy that relies on clichés or stereotypes. A direct mail piece in a pink envelope won’t win you new female customers. Ad campaigns that speak exclusively to men will alienate women, and vice versa. Aim instead for gender-neutral design and packaging like Apple’s. Steer clear of insults, don’t oversimplify consumer preferences, and avoid generalizations about your customers.

Increasing your market share involves designing marketing pieces that appeal to both sexes. Set out to create a marketing campaign that speaks to both men and women.

The Rocking Boat Pizza Marketing Strategy

One of the most critical commonalities of successful people boils down to one simple thing. Innovation. My favorite example of innovation is Tom Monahan of Domino’s Pizza. I have a lot of stories about Tom - you may have already heard some of them, as he's become a bit of a legend in the marketing world and has done an amazing job inspiring the same outlook and tenacity in his franchisees. But here's my favorite Domino's story:

There was a guy who bought a Domino’s franchise and decided to open his pizza place at a resort area near a lake. Unfortunately there were a few problems.

Now, the first problem was with his market area. He had chosen a hot vacation spot that was jumping in the summer, but virtually dead in the winter. So for 6 months of the year, it was crammed full of people, but come winter, the place virtually became a ghost town.

The second problem was discovered shortly after he opened. You remember Domino's guarantee? (Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less?). Well, unfortunately, there was no way that he could deliver the pizza in thirty minutes or less consistently because it was a big lake and the houses were stretched all the way around. Trying to do it in a car was impossible.

Marketing Strategy #1: He needed to navigate the shortest route between the two points. Thinking hard about his dilemma, the guy decided he'd just have to deliver the pizza by boat because every house was right on the lake and had a little dock. And so he became the first Domino’s franchisee to deliver pizza by boat.

The next problem he discovered was that boats don’t exactly stay stable like a vehicle does. And so the pizza was getting there in 30 minutes but it was all squished to one side of the box and stuck to the lid. Kind of disgusting, as well as being the exact opposite of what they advertise.

So do you know what he did?

Marketing Strategy #2: He went straight back to the Domino's HQ and asked for a little help. The Domino’s engineers got together and invented a device solely for his use, no other reason. They invented a device that holds the pizza in the boat, keeps it hot and stable regardless of what the boat does underneath it. (I guess it must somehow involve a gyroscope).

But this guy wasn't out of the woods yet. The next problem he had was that at night, unlike the lighted road and lighted address, the docks and the lake were very dark.

Marketing Strategy #3: Now his delivery guys were getting lost out there in the lake with the now upright, unsquished, hot pizza. So the Domino's franchisee decided to put lights and dock numbers on everybody’s dock at his own expense.  Now when people ordered their pizza they could just give their dock number and the guy in the boat could get there.

That sure is a lot of innovation to make a pizza business work. But here’s the up shot. That franchisee, in a six-month period of time, out grossed two-thirds of what Domino’s franchisees do all year long. On an annualized basis, he out grossed all 2,999 other Domino’s franchisees last year - delivering pizza by boat, on his lake.

His ability and willingness to innovate and think out-of-the-box in his marketing strategy demonstrates a very important characteristic of all highly successful entrepreneurs. Just like that great quote says, “Within every adversity lies the seeds of equal or greater opportunity!” (Napolean Hill).

Marketing Strategies Target, Costco and Starbucks Don’t Want You To Know

A couple of weeks back I stopped at a local gift store in my town. You know the kind of store – racks of greeting cards, knick-knacks, stamps, gag gifts for retiring employees…. faded wallpaper and well worn carpet. As I was standing at the counter I noticed a For Sale sign. This little business has been a permanent fixture in my town for about 35 years. Intrigued I asked the owner – a woman in her late 50s, why they were selling (this was a proudly run, family owned business for more than 3 decades).

Here’s what she told me.

“We just can’t compete with the big guys anymore… they’ve undercut our prices and we can’t match them,” she said with a shake of her head.

Wow.

Hearing that made me sad.

Not because they were being forced to sell (although it always makes me sad to see a business close its doors).

Not because they hadn't come up with a marketing plan to fix their problem.

But because here was a family who spent the last 35 years of their lives building a business who’s entire marketing strategy was based entirely around price.

I guess no one told this lady that she was actually sitting on the village goldmine.

Here’s why:

People don’t want cheap stuff. They want value.

People don’t want to buy from big nameless, faceless companies.

They want to buy from people.

And not just any people, but people who care about them and their needs.

That little business likely had incredible relationships with its customers. But the problem was they didn't know how to leverage those relationships with their marketing strategy.

Instead, they relied on word of mouth, goodwill and people remembering who they were.

In this new economythat kind of marketing strategy doesn't cut it anymore.

Here are a few marketing tips of things they could, (and should) have done in a big way:

Marketing Strategy #1 They could have run monthly campaigns to people having birthdays suggesting fun themes and invites, or graduating gifts ideas sent to proud parents every May with a personalized looking letter that says “Wow! Can’t believe “little Suzy” is graduating this year – here are some ideas to help celebrate!”

Marketing Strategy #2 They could have positioned themselves as the neighborhood party planners, sending fun promotion and marketing ideas to local businesses, to help them get more clients and be successful.

Marketing Strategy #3 They could have done some joint venture marketing with local schools, creating a sponsorship opportunity for parents (e.g. buy your back to school supplies from us and we’ll give money back to your school). This is a great marketing strategy for any business where school aged parents and kids fit the target market.

Three big lessons from all this:

  • Never, ever base your value proposition around having the cheapest prices. It’s the weakest, most vulnerable marketing strategy there is (and attracts the worst kinds of customers – a.k.a problem children).
  • You have to keep marketing to your customers to give them a reason to keep coming back. How often? Far more often that you think. Remember as David Ogilvy says you’re not marketing to a standing army – you’re marketing to a moving parade. People are moving in and out of your business all the time.
  • If you’re not marketing to your customers then someone else is. ABM (Always Be Marketing). They have to buy from someone, so make sure it’s from you!

How To Get Your Direct Mail Opened By Biz Execs

Copywriting Tips From The Couch - By Bear the Rottie -Chief Co-Squirrel Hunter and Head Copywriter at

The Client Stampede

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I’m gonna talk some nuts and bolts with you today about direct mail – Tips on how to mail your direct mail sequence to Executives and Business owners, and get them to actually open it.

Now because these guys are super busy and everyone wants a piece of em', you have to be extra careful about how you mail to them. They’re successful and they like dealing with successful people too. But don’t forget that you’ll usually have a bunch of “little dogs” you have to win over first before your letter will get passed to the big dog (like the mail guy, the top gun secretary and the annoying brown noser who lurks around the "c suites" ).

So here are a few insider tips:

1) Make your direct mail piece look like it’s a private letter – something that the secretary wouldn’t dare open, if her life depended on it. Pink envelope, smells good, cute stamp – that kind of thing.

2) Create a direct mailing piece that’s so cute and brag worthy, any assistant will take it and show it to everyone in the office first before handing it to the boss. This is when you need to let your creativity shine e.g. we did a mailing that was written by a “church mouse”, sent in a box (a cute stuffed mouse) with a wedge of cheese and a great sales letter. Beats receiving boring old UPS packages all day long.

3) Go “upper crust.” Top notch stationery (with a watermark preferably). Great quality letterhead that feels heavy to the touch with direct mail. And incorporate prestige appeals in your sales letter like “superior”, “ownership preferred,” “exclusive,” “worthwhile.” Including little plastic membership cards work well in this kind of mailing too.

Well, gotta go bark at a squirrel.

Later!

Your Marketing Message - It Ain't About You!

Your marketing message is one leg of a three-legged stool that also includes the right market and media, and it’s the fundamental building block to building a successful marketing system.  It’s also the secret sauce that quite literally could make or break your business.  Domino’s Pizza built a multi-million dollar empire on the strength of their marketing message – it was just 7 words long. What’s your marketing message?

In my work as a copywriter and coach, I critique hundreds of ads and sales letters every year.  One of the most common mistakes I find is that… most businesses focus the message on themselves.

Having a marketing message that’s all about you - your accomplishments and your success comes off as hollow bragging.  It doesn’t create a compelling marketing message to make your prospects want to leap out of their La-Z-Boy and go flying to the phone to call you. It doesn’t build rapport. And it doesn’t answer that age-old marketing acid test: what’s in it for me?  Newsflash: to get your marketing noticed by the right people and connect with your prospects, you have to make your marketing all about them, not you.

Now don’t worry.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about your success and accomplishments.

It’s all in the way you do it. Good copywriting repositions your experience and success in a way that servestheprospect and makes them feel so connected to you that it’s like you’re reading their mind.  That couldn’t be more opposite to the way most people market their businesses – which is usually about pushing a message out to the market that’s all about them.

Also, never give prospects or customers a reason to say, “So what?” Sentences like “I’ve been in business for 20 years,” or “We care about our customers,” can lead to the “So what?” response.  You have to link the dots and tell your customers why that’s important to them.

I recently got a card from a Gold Stampede Member who, after purchasing my Ultimate Marketing Homestudy Toolkit, changed his marketing message from the “we’ve got” to the “you get” approach. He also rephrased all of those harsh sounding sales words in his sales letter (he now uses “agreement” instead of “contract,” and “invest” instead of “buy.” These words can be found on my list of 23 Most Persuasive Word Subs). He told me his leads increased and his closing ratio jumped from 35 percent to 56 percent with those changes.

By taking a client centered approach to your marketing, you’ll also stand out from your competition, who most likely don’t do much else in their marketing other than talk about themselves. Don’t believe me? Dust off a copy of the Yellow Pages and see for yourself (doctors, attorneys, nutritionists, real estate agents, plumbers, life coaches… you name it – ME based marketing is everywhere!)

5 Easy Steps to Turn a Bad Yelp Review into a Marketing Tool

Online Review sites like Yelp are great to help consumers make informed decisions about who they give their money to. And they’re also an amazing marketing tool, giving small local businesses a chance to gain word-of-mouth momentum no ad money can buy. But because this review service is a wide open platform for expression by anyone, it also also means any grumpy customer can slam your business, affecting your reputation and damaging your sales. The good news is you’re not powerless.  You can do something about getting a negative review... and, for reasons I'll reveal in a second, getting a negative review can actually be a big blessing in disguise – BOOSTING your sales – provided you handle it the right way. So, if you’ve had a cranky customer slam you on Yelp, here are 5 steps to get them back on your side and win over even more customers in the process…

1) Get Active About Regularly Reviewing Your Profile Don’t just wait for a friend to give you a heads up or stumble upon a nasty Yelp review. Schedule time regularly to look at not just your Yelp profile, but also those of your competitors, to get a general idea of what your customers’ experience is. Some disgruntled customers might give an unnecessarily bad review that is hurtful or unhelpful, and those can be addressed. But one oft-overlooked advantage of patrolling your profile is that you can use it as (mostly) unbiased and free market research. If you have consistent compliments or complaints about one aspect of your business, you can identify areas you need improvement in or get an idea of what it is that your customers are really enjoying. Plus, your presence will show that you are genuinely interested in your customers’ feedback, which helps strengthen your relationship.

2) Dig Underneath The Complaint When you come upon a negative review, take a moment to consider what is really prompting it — there is often a seed of truth in  complaints. Yelp is defintiely plagued by anonymous trolls venting about things out of your control, and you can look at the reviewer’s profile history to determine whether or not you should attempt to remedy their grievance, but do take the time to weigh each complaint equally and look for an opportunity to resolve the issue. No matter whether you think a negative review is justified or not, I recommend you post a response to it. If you don’t – it’s also sending a message to your future customers that perhaps you don’t take client care so seriously.

3) Send a Private Message If the complaint looks like it has legs (ie: there’s a genuine grievance here and not a Yelp troll just moaning about things outside your control), direct message the reviewer first. Apologize and acknowledge their complaint (don’t try to make excuses), let them know you value their feedback and business, and offer a specific way to make it up to them. Also provide a direct contact number and let them know you’d be happy to help them personally, now and in the future. This personal gesture creates accountability that they may have not felt earlier. Even if they don’t respond, you can know you put forth the effort.

4) Always Post a Public Response If the reviewer was unresponsive to your personal message, leave a public response — not a rebuttal — letting them know you appreciate their feedback, are sorry for their experience, and that you sent them a message with your contact details and would be glad to talk to them to resolve the issue. Even if the customer doesn’t change their mind, this lets everyone know you value their feedback. But don’t ever request a reviewer to change their review (in a public or private message). Happy customers who are active Yelpers will often amend their reviews for you.

5) Go Get More Reviews To Help “Bury” The Bad One The best way to up your rating (and combat those negative customers) is to get more reviews. Let all your customers know you encourage and welcome their feedback. You can advertise in-store and on your website that you offer special discounts or incentives for customers who can show proof of a review — though, again, do not request positive reviews. This shows you are actively interested in two-way communication with your customers — and that’s customer service gold.

How To Attract Clients By Leveraging Your Most Powerful Marketing Asset – YOU!

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia As a small business owner, the temptation for many of us is to pretend that we’re bigger than we really are.  We live in a world where bigger is better – bigger houses, bigger cars, bigger bank accounts… so of course it makes sense for us to assume that people only want to do business with bigger companies – not the one person consulting firm, the solo freelance web designer or home-based business coach.  This is simply not true.  There is incredible power in being “an army of one,” and I’m going to encourage you to celebrate your business size, not hide it.

Here are two pieces of very valuable client attraction advice for you:

1)    Resist the urge to make yourself look bigger than you really are.  Bigger is NOT always better (in fact, nowadays in business, bigger is rarely better – the service gets worse, it gets harder and harder to speak to a real person at the end of the line, and we lose all sense of connection with the company we’re working with). At the end of the day people want to do business with people – REAL people, not some big faceless, impersonal company who makes them feel like just another number or another sales statistic.

2)    Don’t lose your own voice in your marketing.  Marketing is nothing more than a way of connecting with people.  Your voice, your authenticity, what YOU bring to the table to help your customers solve their problems isthemostvaluableassetyouhave.  Don’t be tempted to neuter the language down to sound like it’s being written from a larger business, from no person in particular, or from someone who’s not really you.

No one else does exactly what you do – the way that you do it.  Your own special uniqueness is what helps set you apart from everyone else out there.  Don’t hide this.  Bring it forth and shine a giant spotlight on it.  Shout it from the rooftops so that you will attract clients who mirror those same qualities and values as you and who will be an honor to work with.

This kind of marketing is what I call Personality Infused Marketing™  and it forms the basis of The Ultimate Marketing Homestudy Toolkit - Personality Infused Marketing™ is an immensely powerful way to connect with your audience, a more meaningful and authentic way to attract and serve your clients, and a happier, more stress free way to run your business.

Once you give yourself permission to be authentic with your marketing, you will be amazed at the difference it makes to your life and to the lives of the people you serve.

Marketing: How to Beat the Pricing Bugaboo

Pricing is a very sticky topic among just about every solo business owner I know. That’s because when we started our businesses, we had no idea what to charge, but we were told that there are market “norms” – amounts that people will, and won’t, pay for things.

So we take a peek at what our competition is charging – we charge the same, or most commonly, we charge less than the competition, to make our prices look competitive.

There are a couple of major flaws with this strategy…

First, if we let the market dictate the prices we charge and how we charge them – then we’re effectively letting other people set our income.

I once did some consulting work for a printing company that told me they couldn’t change their prices because there were industry guidelines that “set” their prices!  Huh?!

You’re the entrepreneur!

You’re the captain of your own ship!

One of the GREATEST things about working for ourselves is that we don’t have to play by anyone else’s rules.  There’s no boss breathing down our necks watching how long our lunch hour is, or deciding if we deserve a pay raise.

Now we get to make the rules including what we think the value of our services are. Lesson 1: don’t let anyone else tell you how you should “price” your services and determine your income.

Here’s the second problem. Most people only know one way to market their business – based on price.  Being the cheapest in your marketplace is a very dangerous, a very stressful and very unstable position for your business to be in.  Here’s why:

1)    Because someone more desperate and more hungry than you can ALWAYS undercut your prices.  Having a value proposition that you’re the cheapest has never worked long term for any business (perhaps with the exception of Wal-Mart, who has become the1000 pound gorilla of “cheapness”).  Cheapness is a recipe for disaster.

If you’ve marketed your business as being the lowest cost and suddenly your competitor gets behind on their mortgage payment, gets desperate and offers even lower prices – you’re in big trouble.  You’ve either got to keep undercutting your prices – working more for less – to maintain the integrity of your value proposition.  Or you have to find a better, different way of marketing your business fast!

2)    Secondly, people who shop at the bottom end of the market are the worst kinds of clients to have anyway.  They’re typically high maintenance, high drama, folk who don’t appreciate you or your value.  And they’re always trying to beat you down on price.  Let other people serve those clients – not you!

I was at Tractor Supply the other day and saw a landscaping truck with this slogan on the side – “We won’t be undersold.  We guarantee to beat anyone’s price.”

It was obvious to me that this guy had seen some big company (probably Wal-Mart) use this kind of marketing strategy.  And he probably thought it made great sense for him to do the same, without realizing the horrible trap he was falling into.  It’s not his fault – no one likely showed him how to market his business any better way.

Now here’s a really big secret.

Not everyone buys on price.

In fact not even the majority of people buy on price.

That’s why you can drive through the ghetto and see some of the biggest TVs you’ve ever laid eyes on.  It’s also why we have so many stores that aren’t the $2 store.

But here’s the rub.

In order to not get caught serving the bottom end of the market, you have to provide compelling reasons why your customers should never buy on price, and why your services are so much better. 

Because if you don’t do this, people will always default to deciding on price.   You need to convince them to do otherwise. We’re all hard wired that way.

This is not easy to do, which is why so many business owners struggle with their marketing.  And it’s why I spent almost a third of my Ultimate Marketing Toolkit on explaining how to create real value for your customers and get them to happily pay you more money, even at prices much higher than your competition.

Your success boils down to these two simple things: Having great marketing and creating real value for your customers.  When you have both these things working for you seamlessly in your business, then truly, the sky is the limit!

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

Pocket Money

Here's my last story to share with you about my Irish Christmas vacation..well maybe my last, I just might have one more up my sleeve... So there I was.  In blustery, butt freezing Belfast.  Out braving the cold and the throngs of mad post-Christmas shoppers.

The wind was relentless, my cheeks were bright red (even redder than usual) and the sky had just opened up, pummeling me with pea sized pieces of ice.

So.... I did what any sane person would do.  I gritted my teeth, stayed my course and made a beeline through the now icy streets.  I had  my target fixed firmly in my sights while people all around me were bailing left right and center into the nearest pub.

I hurdled around the corner and charged through the doors of my destination - a mega sized department store called Marks & Spencer. Fighting my way through the throng of frenzied, wet and hail assaulted shoppers I made my way to the kids clothing area.

I did manage to find what I was looking for - a cool sweater for my daughter (one with patchwork elbows made of ridiculously soft Irish wool).

Then, as I was lining up to pay, my eye caught sight of something which can only be termed as sheer marketing brilliance.

It was a sign strategically placed to catch the attention of anyone under 3ft tall, right next to where "Mum" would be forced to stand in line for the next 10 minutes at check out.

Here's all the sign said.

"Pocket Money" (that's Irish speak for Allowance),

Beneath it was a series of little bins with at least 35 different ways to separate kids from their precious weekly allowance with all kinds of useless colorful trinkets.

Absolutely brilliant marketing.  Here's why.

First of all the sign specifically targets kids to buy stuff using THEIR OWN MONEY. The sign is not meant for adults to read, it wasn't even at our height.

Secondly the sign is located in the area most Moms and kids visit - in the kids clothing section.  Most kids HATE clothes shopping and get dragged there under duress.  This little marketing ploy was the perfect diversion to keep the kids out of their "Mum's" hair and make a sale at the same time.

And thirdly, the location of the sign was strategically placed to catch little eyes while they were rolling theirs, bored senseless and being forced to wait in line.

This kind of marketing brilliance is called niche marketing - and if you're not doing it in your business, that's why you don't have an extra zero at the end of your income....yet!

(For those of you who are smart enough to have already invested in a copy of my Client Stampede Ultimate Homestudy Toolkit - don't worry the easy niche marketing magic formulas I give you in there are bullet proof...just plug and play and you're on your way!)

As the rich happily say "there are riches in niches!"

A Dose Of Thursday Inspiration And A Life Changing Strategy For Your Marketing

We’re already nearly half way through January, so here’s a little inspiration if your New Year’s resolutions are wearing thin, or you’re struggling with a big problem in your business right now (like not getting enough clients)… When JK Rowling (Harry Potter inventor) wrote her first book, she was so poor she couldn’t even afford to have photocopies made of the transcript.  So she typed out 3 entire copies of the manuscript to mail to potential agents.

Good ol’ blue eyes, Frank Sinatra was dumped TWICE by a record label.  Lady Gaga was told she wasn’t talented enough by her first record company. They fired her, too.

Whether you are fans of these three artists or not, just imagine what they would have deprived the world of if they’d quit.  If they’d said, “This business is too hard, I’m gonna go drive taxis instead…"

Now back to you and what all this has to do with your business.

I’m assuming that what you do in your business really DOES help others.  You’re only selling a product or service you truly believe in…right?

Ok, good.

And just one more thing I need to check with you: people NEED what you’re selling too, right?

Alright, phew.  I just wanted to check you weren’t scrambling around trying to find a market to “sell your thing to” – there’s already a hungry market out there.

Well in that case, GET OUT THERE AND MARKET YOUR BUSINESS.  You don’t owe it to yourself – you owe it to the hundreds, possibly thousands of future raving fans who are desperate to find someone like you to do business with. They’ve been searching for you for a LONG time.

Many of my private copywriting clients say exactly that.  “We’re SO glad we found you!”  That’s because I remove a huge stress from their shoulders, I take the guess work out of their advertising, I do exactly what I say I’ll do, and I get them real, measurable results.

Just think about it for a second.

That one realization that you OWE IT TO OTHERS TO TELL THEM ABOUT HOW GREAT YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE IS - changes EVERYTHING about the way you approach your business.

If your future customers don’t know about you, their lives are going to be a lot harder.  They NEED you.  They’re looking for you.  And they’re looking to you for ways to make their lives easier.

It also means that you’re now approaching your marketing from a giving mentality instead of a taking mentality… and that’s one of the BIG secrets to attracting more customers.

So now I’ve helped you change the way you think about marketing and selling your business.  You’re not doing it from the perspective that it’s an activity you have to do in order to make a bunch of money (although that’s exactly the happy by-product of what we do).  It’s about looking for ways to help others, and telling enough people about the great work you do.

One of my mentors Zig Ziglar once said “you will get everything in life if you will only help enough others get what they want in life.”

So true.

Now get out there and tell others about how you can help them!

My Irish Vacation

Wow, it's great to be back to a Michigan winter.  Really!  I never thought I'd EVER say that, except that the weather in Ireland was about 100 times worse!  Wet, cold, dark, miserable, with icy winds whipping your face straight off the Atlantic.  Just look at how many layers of clothing I had to wear just to go out shopping (and I can hardly see out of my hood!). Lucky that the Irish are so warm and welcoming because the weather sure isn't.  Maybe that explains why family life revolves around the local taverns that are always brimming with laughter, guinness (of course), and some of the most incredible fiddle playing, singing and Irish dancing I've ever seen!  The whole reason for going to Ireland was to catch up with my older brother Dale and his family, who live in Belfast.  He's got 3 kids of his own now who range in age from 1 to 6 and are delightful little characters with thick Irish accents and a naughty streak.  I sat on a whoppee cushion about 10 times, got pelted with "Nerf Bullets," and helped make a gingerbread train for Santa to hopefully "cancel out any naughtyness" during the year!  I also suffered 4 humiliating defeats playing tabletop football with my 4 year old nephew...!

I was last in Ireland 2 1/2 years ago - it's a country I love visiting, and this time around I was curious to see how things had changed. Particularly in regards to how the recession had impacted the area.  The reports I had read lumped the Irish economy alongside other EU economies that are in the toilet (like Greece).  Were there going to be stores borded up and lots of "going out of business" signs?  Would there be people begging on the streets?  Lots of vacant commercial buildings and houses?

What I was about to discover astounded me...

In Belfast, the post Christmas sales have always been legendary.  With the recession going on, I thought that the post Christmas shopping experience would be a little more sane, a lot less hectic, and far less busy.  So when my sister-in-law suggested we "hit the shops," I thought it was a great idea as I'm not usually one to brave big crowds.  With the economy, surely most people would be staying home - right? Afterall, in a country whose economy has been likened to that of the great depression, how many people would be out spending their hard earned dollars...not many, right?

WRONG.

Oh my goodness...

It was total madness.  There were crowds clamboring to the stores like I have NEVER EVER SEEN IN ANY ECONOMY.  People were lining up outside some of the high end department stores, braving that terrible weather, just for the chance to buy a $200 sweater at 25% off!  These people were NOT strapped for cash, and what blew me away is how well dressed everyone was - designer duds everywhere, expensive baby strollers...if there was a recession going on, the people shopping in downtown Belfast surely hadn't been told about it!!!

In one store I went to (that I wish I owned shares in) - there was quite literally a MOVING HIGHWAY of people in and out, all hustling to buy and then moving onto the next deal.  I stood in the same spot by the door for maybe 5 minutes and watched throngs of people push past me in search of bargains.  The store is a high end clothing and homeware store where basic throw rugs sell for the equivilent of $175 USD!  To put things in perspective, in Northern Ireland the currency is British pounds, which is a lot stronger than our US dollar, and dollar for dollar things are much more expensive in Belfast than what we pay over here.  Yet I watched in amazement as people dropped huge sums of money on purses, suits, coats, linens...hundreds and hundreds and very often thousands of pounds!

After I recovered from my initial shock, I realized with a grin the significance of what I was witnessing.  Actions speak a lot louder than words...WHAT RECESSION?  These people were thriving!  Businesses were thriving!

So here's the BIG LESSON:  Just like you've heard me say so many times before...be very careful what you read and who you listen to and whatever you do.... "DON'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU READ IN MASS MEDIA." Scare mongering is the real business they're in.  It's bad news, not good news, that sells newspapers and magazines.  Despite what you might hear there are many businesses thriving (including mine :) and there is MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY TO PROSPER EVERYWHERE!

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not denying that there's a recession going on.  I know times are tough for many right now.  There's no doubt that shrinkage has happened and will continue to happen for those industries and businesses who refuse to adapt and keep operating under the rules of the old economy. But YOU won't be one of them -  providing you run your business according to the new rules of the new economy.   (If you're not yet familiar with the new rules of the new economy then drop everything right now and order a copy of my audio CD "How to thrive in the new economy" - (worth $97, it's yours for just $2) - it's your blueprint for success in the coming year.

And speaking of this year - take heart that things aren't nearly as bad as they seem. In fact many businesses will continue to quietly thrive, racking up record profits.  There's NO reason why your business can't be one of them.

So set your goals HIGH for this year.  Work tirelessly to deliver even greater value to your customers. Refuse to read anything negative and only listen to those of us who are getting on and making things happen.  And stay tuned, I've got some REALLY exciting things happening to help you build your business quickly and easily, that you're just going to love.

Warm regards,

Julie

The 2 Secret Reasons Why We Buy

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

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

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 ...

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!

Ode to David Ogilvy

One of the Most Brilliant Advertisers of All Time – This cantankerous and controversial old Scotsman would have turned 100 this year.

Best Ogilvy Quotes:

“Good copy can't be written with tongue in cheek, written just for a living. You've got to believe in the product."

 “If it doesn't sell, it isn't creative.”

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

“In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”

“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine."

“Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving.”

“Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.”

“I don't know the rules of grammar... If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.”

“If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.”

Recommended Reading: “Ogilvy On Advertising” by David Ogilvy – he’s funny, insightful and a brilliant writer and copywriter.

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.

Who You Sell To Is More Important Than What You Sell

When most people decide to start a business, they figure out what they want to sell first, and then once they’ve developed the product, widget or service, they try and figure out who to sell it to. Actually this is backwards.

The best, most surefire way to success is to start with the WHO first, not the WHAT. Otherwise you may have gone to all the trouble of developing and investing in a new product or service which no one actually needs, or wants to buy.

To successfully sell a product you need a starving market. That’s why it always makes sense to identify the starving market first. You need to get to know them, figure out what problems they have that you can solve - and then go develop your product and service to specifically meet that need.

Note also that there is a big difference between a product we all know we need versus one we actually want to buy. It’s a much harder pitch to sell a product that’s needed instead of wanted. Obviously the sweet spot is a product that’s both needed and wanted.

For example, we know that we need to see our dentist at least once a year for a check up and cleaning. You’ll have to work a lot harder in your sales copy to get a prospect to schedule the appointment because it's a service they know they need, but don't necessarily want.

Compare this to an offer for professional teeth whitening that’s sent to a list of 30 and 40 something year olds who are single, smoke and drink coffee.

That’s a much easier sale to make.

In starting with the WHO first and not the WHAT, you'll be saving yourself a LOT of time, money and effort. You won't be investing in a product that you might think is the best thing since sliced bread, but your market doesn't!