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

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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

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

We offer the most comprehensive _________ in the industry

We make life easier …

We offer practical, low cost solutions…

We’re familiar with every nuance of …..

Day after day we …..

Our total commitment to ….

We recognize the realities of ….

We don’t play games with …..

Despite what you may have heard ….

What’s our formula for success?

It’s our job to …

We offer the added advantage of ….

Here are some power phrases to justify a high price:

The ____ you receive will be worth many times the price

Treat yourself to a ______

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

Allow yourself a little indulgence

Not as expensive as you think

A practical luxury

The Rolls Royce of _____

The Harvard of _________

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

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

You’ll never have to take chances with …

Rest easy.

Never again will you have to …..

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

Protects your valuable ……

Avoid embarrassing mistakes….

Gives you the assurance of …...

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

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.

 

It's Crowded Down There - Why You Should NEVER Be The Cheapest In Your Market

The internet is fantastic for many things, but what it's doing at a pace faster than the speed of light is turning all purchasing decisions into a commodity. The price wars are fierce and the competition ruthless. Whenever I buy something online (which nowadays happens far more frequently than me actually walking into a brick and mortar store), I always do a search to see if I can get it cheaper anywhere else. And then I do a second search looking for promo codes and discount coupons. Not only is the competition fierce for online e-tailers, but now brick and mortar retailers have been pulled into the game too. It's all thanks to the smart phone.

Need a new tv? Walk into Best Buy and do your market research - fiddle with the remote, check out the quality of the high def screen. But before you reach for your wallet and make the sales person's day, you probably do a quick search on your phone to see if there's anywhere else you can get your tv cheaper. Turns out it's available at Costco for $150 less, and at Amazon.com for $125 less. So you turn on your heel - sale lost for Best Buy, and now your biggest deicision is whether you can be bothered actually going through the hassle of driving to Costco and loading and unloading your new tv, or whether you'll just press the buy now button on Amazon and have it shipped straight to your door in 24 hours.

Yes retailers are in for a giant shake up - we've barely even scratched the surface.

So this is all very interesting but what does it mean for your business?

The lesson is this - unless you give a customer a real reason for product or service differentiation, then they will always base their purchase decision on price. Don't ever be the business that offers the cheapest services - your competitive advantage will be extinguished in the blink of the eye because you can always be beaten on price. Instead build your competitive advantage by offering extraordinary service and value added services - things that will enable you to command a higher price (and also attract a far better quality of customer also). This is where your thinking should be at...