April 30, 2007
Not too long ago my wife and I were listening to an audio presentation from a business owner. He was discussing how to market your business, and he kept making a very interesting statement…
He said, “I work 7 days a week, but I’m not a workaholic.”
I found this quite entertaining…and started counting the number of times he said this. For me, working weekends would be an absolute nightmare (and I prefer taking Friday through Sunday off almost every week).
I lost count after he made that same statement the seventh time. Sounds like he was trying to convince someone…maybe himself, his wife, or the people listening?
Are you a workaholic in denial also?
Tim Ferris posted a very interesting blog article this morning…
Along with the posting, he has a quick tool you can play with to determine your “Lifestyle Quotient.” Just how much vacation time are you taking compared the amount of hours you’re working?
It’s interesting to see where you LQ ends up when you really take the time to look at it.
April 25, 2007
Here are 10 simple Internet Marketing Rules to Live by. Print them. Post them to your desk. Use them everyday.
1. Invest Small When Starting Anything New.
Always invest small when starting out. It’s possible any ad you run may lose money. Always keep your risks and investment small whenever you’re starting a new type of advertising. Even if you had that top level copywriter write your ad, not everything they write will be a home run. It may need a few changes to produce the results you want. The market you’re advertising to may not be perfect. There is no such thing as a “Sure Thing.”
2. Test Everthing.
Only one expert is right, and it’s not me. It’s your own personal test results. Test headlines. Test the length of your ad copy. Test audio and video on your sales page. Test a squeeze page before visitors get to the sales site. Constantly run 2 ads on Adwords for every ad group. Test a “try before you buy” offer. Test telephone follow-up. Quit blindly following gurus and test everything!
3. Be Unique.
Don’t ever be a me-too business. Take a look at everyone in your marketplace. What is different about you from them? Here’s a quick exercise. Write down all the benefits someone gets from your product or service. Now cross off all the benefits they can also get from other people’s products and services. What’s left? If nothing is left, you may need to rethink or modify what you offer to provide something unique in your marketplace.
4. Target Your Ads Only to Buyers.
You’ve chosen your niche, but do you write your ads to all your visitors. No. You will never achieve a 100% buying rate. Much more common is 1%…and 10% is extremely high (possible at times with strong follow-up). This means at least 90% of your website visitors are NOT your target audience even though they came to your site. You’re not writing to them. It doesn’t matter if those people like what you write at all. You’re writing only to the BUYERS…that 1 to 10% of your unique visitors who will take action.
5. Develop a Backend From the Beginning.
You should already have a basic idea or outline for your next offer before your first one is done. If your first product is an ebook or CD, what will you offer next? You may start your backend by offering joint venture deals and affiliate offers from others. The money is any business comes from repeat purchases and backend sales. In fact, I’d never want to be in any business where I HAD to make money from one product. It destroys your marketing ability. If your competitor can break even or even lose money on their advertising, how can you compete if you have to make a living off the same offer?
6. Your Network Determines Your Net Worth
First heard that expression from Mark Victor Hansen. Strategic Alliances, social networking, referrals, viral marketing, etc. are the key to building your business online. Going it alone is a recipe for failure. In most businesses, affiliates make up 50% to 75% of sales. Incoming links from other sites is the key to search engine optimization. Find ways to serve the other top players in your niche. Network. Mastermind. Grow together…even with competitors.
7. Don’t Restrict Your Business to Internet Only.
You’re not an Internet business. You’re an Internet based business. Develop your business model with both Internet and offline strategies. Follow-up on customer by phone. Here’s a quick tip – call people who just purchased from you to thank them for their order and also offer them something else at a discount price right now (I’ve seen people increase profits by 40% from that alone). Send direct mail to your customers. Rent a targeted mailing list and send postcards to drive people to sign-up for your list. Use offline publicity and networking to generate leads.
8. Build your Relationship with Your Lists.
Yes, I said “lists,” not “list.” Concentrate on educating your list members…both with good content and about your products/services. Use online follow-up methods such as email and be willing to use direct mail. Send thank you cards to JV partners and customers. Run a teleconference where you meet with your customers or prospects. Create a blog. Put a face on your company and let them get to know you as a person.
9. Focus on Your Gifts.
Focus your time and attention on what you’re best at. There’s dozens of ways to market your site. Concentrate on the ones that most fit with your style and skillset. If you hate writing, then don’t use writing as your primary advertising method. Or hire out the writing. Figure out what skills you have…and focus on those. Outsource the rest to others. If you try to force yourself to be just like “Guru #1,” it’s simply going to be an exercise in frustration. You’re unique. Build a unique business suited to you.
10. Plan for the Long Haul.
I’m sure you’ve been told about instant riches overnight. Quit trying for that. And quit trying to jump on the “new thing.” Pick a business and work on it. Yes, I said work…that dirty four letter word so many people hate. Things might no go right when you first start. You might have to modify a few elements of your presentation. You might have to change your product. To be successful in this business requires you have a backbone and stick to it even when things don’t go your way! Develop at least a one year plan with daily actions to push you to success. You’ll make modifications along the way, but at least you have a basic roadmap of where you’re going.
April 24, 2007
There are dozens of ways to generate traffic to your website…affiliate programs, PPC, viral marketing, contests, free giveaways, links, seo, etc. I’ve seen people succeed with all the above, but which one will you focus on? Trying to do all of them at once is an exercise in frustration because they each have their own little unique variations and themes.
I have clients using all different methods as we always try to find the perfect strategy for them based on their products and their own unique gifts (yes, that’s right…the method that’s right for one person may not be the right one for you).
One of these methods that several clients focus on is publicity. When you get publicity for your business, you also generate the “halo” effect. You’re given instant credibility. Nobody fully trusts your advertising, but many accept whatever their trusted media source tells them. So when they feature you, you’re immediately changed from just an advertiser to a respected resource and expert.
Often the best way to generate publicity is through direct contact with the media source. Call them on the phone and pitch your story (or mail them, email, and fax). Yet you can go a little further in your media contact as well. For example, here are three ways to contact them media you can use in your promotions.
Note: None of the below are affiliate links…
Send Online Press Releases:
They distribute your press release online and they’ll even edit it for seo if you pay for that “deluxe” option. Not only do you have the opportunity for media pickup, you’ll also be featured through online sites for additional traffic. The key here is to produce an extremely well written press release.
Have Reporters Contact You
Reporters are looking for experts to help them with their stories and PRleads puts you in touch with them. Whenever a lead matches your profile, they let you know about it…and you get to contact the reporter directly.
Be Featured on Radio Shows
Want to get your first radio shows without having to contact the media directly? Advertise in the Radio-TV Interview Report. They’ll even help you write your ad as part of their package deal.
April 23, 2007
I read of collection of blogs every work morning (on weekends I often don’t even turn on a computer). One of those blog is Shel Horowitz’s Principled Profit.
Anyone who promotes good ethical marketing is definitely someone I enjoy reading…and I found his post this morning very interesting.
This weekend I had just been reading other similar stories about how some of our injured troops were being treated by the government. Irregardless of what political affiliation you may be (Shel and I are obviously from different groups), this is definitely not supporting the troops…It’s sick treatment of people who give their lives to protect their country.
It seems that as soon as they’re not of use to the military anymore, they toss them aside. I’ve had a few “friends” like that in the past. When they need you, they act like best friends. When you don’t give them what they want, they’re nowhere to be seen anymore.
Some joint venture partners act the same way. They go for a quick buck…and their “friends” are only those who can do the most for them. Instead of going for long-term relationships, they want a quick promotion. Instead of finding ways they can help you, they’re always looking for another way you can help them.
When you’re soliciting joint ventures, think about what you can do for those you’re contacting first. Do they need content? Do they need help with something? What can you do for them to build the relationship…and how can you continue working with them? Success in business is about developing long-term relationships with your customers, clients, and your partners. It’s not about that one quick promotion.
April 19, 2007
“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”
Do you cut corners in your products and services? Or do you make the honest effort to do it right even when no one is looking? You can’t expect perfection as that is an impossible goal for the imperfect people we are. The question is simply if you have done your best. Do you do the job right even if your customer or client may never know the difference?
Marketing with Integrity is about loving your customer. Develop a relationship with them. Advise them. Help them. Offer them products and services which will help them. Protect them from those who would take advantage of them. It isn’t about being the cheapest in the market, although you could make that your unique selling position.
It is really caring about the results your customers get from your products. If good service and quality require higher prices, then you’ll have to charge higher prices. Base your business on really helping solve your customer’s problems.
That shouldnâ€™t just be a buzz phrase. Make it the truth to you and your business.
Employ educational selling. Tell your customers the whole story if necessary. Give them reasons why they should buy from you. Promote the benefits of your product or service. Have ads which tell a story of how your product has helped other customers and clients. Just make sure it is a true story!
Being honest doesnâ€™t mean being boring.
It also doesnâ€™t mean being bland. You can still have exciting benefit rich ad copy and true stories to sell you products. You have to use good salesmanship to bring in buyers. Just donâ€™t use salesmanship as an excuse for lying or dishonesty.
If you truly love your customers, you wonâ€™t deceive them or trick them into buying something they shouldnâ€™t. You wonâ€™t tell them this is the best price when it isnâ€™t. You wonâ€™t make up fake stories to sell more items. You will do everything you can to help them make a right buying decision. You will give them all the information they need to make a wise decision.
You will show them how well your product will help their lives. Do your best to produce or find the absolute best product or service for your customerâ€™s wants and needs. Tell them how your product will improve their lives. Use examples. Tell true stories.
Paint a picture of the results they can achieve through the product. Once someone buys, nurture and continue to care about them. Support and reinforce their buying decision by how you contact them. Then offer them other products and services which will benefit their lives. Donâ€™t use integrity as an excuse to keep your products hidden and not show the full benefits of them to your customers.
Youâ€™re hurting your customers if you keep good quality products hidden from them!
April 18, 2007
“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Have you discovered your lifeâ€™s purpose or are you just trying to make a living? A big issue Iâ€™ve seen in many businesses has been the desire to make a lot of money â€“ and nothing else matters. People give up their families for money. They give up their children for money. They give up their health for money. They give up their integrity for money. In a race for the almighty dollar they lose everything thatâ€™s valuable in their life.
If youâ€™re true to yourself first, then you can be true to others. What is your passion and purpose? What is really important to you? If you get honest with yourself, you wonâ€™t answer that question as money. Money is simply a tool. It wonâ€™t make you happy or fulfilled in your life. It isnâ€™t the answer youâ€™re looking for. Money just enables you to accomplish more and be more comfortable in life.
Spend a few moments and ask yourself this question.
What is it you really want in life?
Your first instinct may be to say you want a mansion, fancy cars, or security. But is that answer really being true to yourself? That is the answer society has given you. That is the answer advertising has promoted to you. That is the answer Hollywood has told you. But is that your real answer from your heart?
How much would you sell your children for? How much would you sell your spouse for? You may have said $20, but thatâ€™s not your real answer!
You may not have the relationship you wish you had with them today, but you can create it. You can make it more valuable than it is right now. How much would you sell your health for? If you had the choice of being a millionaire and never having to work again, would you take it if it meant you also would have a body filled with pain and spend the rest of your life in a hospital? Is money worth that much to you? I doubt it.
Let me ask you a few more questions.
How much is your integrity worth to you?
At what point would you be willing to sell out your friends, your employers, or your customers? At what point is it worth lying to make sale? When is it OK to stretch the truth or tell a â€œlittle white lieâ€ to get more customers? How much of your integrity is for sale â€“ and just how cheap do you come?
People sell everything weâ€™ve discussed above for money every day. They sell their wives and children. They donâ€™t do it in one transaction, but they do it every day when they choose to ignore their family to spend more time at work. They sell their health. They work multiple jobs or severe overtime without giving their minds or bodies a day to relax. Eventually they pay for the stress in their bodies through sickness and disease.
They sell their integrity to make the deal. Car dealers may tell you â€œThis is the absolute lowest price, and Iâ€™m losing money on the deal.â€ Then you find out someone else paid less than you. Another word for that is LYING. There is even a recent book that recommends making up stories about your business to sell more, whether the stories are true or not.
In fact, whenever you use the word, â€œmarketing,â€ many people immediately think of lying and dishonesty. We as a society now expect marketers and sales people to lie to us. That is how common it has become. It is much more rare when you find a business which doesnâ€™t exaggerate the truth.
What Is Integrity
What does the word integrity mean to you? If you asked 10 different people, youâ€™d likely end up with 10 different answers. If you asked the CEOâ€™s of major companies who have been exposed in high profile scandals, they probably would have spoken of their great company integrity. In todayâ€™s corporate environment, integrity is simply an advertising buzzword that gives way to accounting tricks, useless mission statements, and false advertising.
Websterâ€™s Dictionary gives three definitions for the word integrity:
1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.
3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.
It is a steadfast adherence to a â€œstrictâ€ moral and ethical code. Most people in business no longer live by a strict moral and ethical code. In ethics classes today, you will be taught ethics are subjective. Theyâ€™re not strict ethics.
Theyâ€™re based on your own opinion of whatâ€™s right or wrong â€“ and many peopleâ€™s opinions have been warped by what theyâ€™ve seen done by others. Company CEOs who are led away in handcuffs for bilking the public out of billions quite likely see their actions as ethical by todayâ€™s definitions of the word.
The definition of integrity says this strict moral and ethical code is adhered to steadfastly. This means your moral and ethical code doesnâ€™t change based on what goes on around you. Integrity definitely doesnâ€™t include â€œsituational ethics.â€ It is based on being steadfast in all situations. Whether you steal $10 or ten million, youâ€™re still a thief. Whether you steal from little old ladies or oversized wealthy corporations, you still donâ€™t have integrity.
Notice the other two definitions of integrity most people donâ€™t discuss or even realize. Integrity includes both soundness and completeness. It is the state of being true to yourself. Youâ€™re not divided in your mind or your heart. Youâ€™re not doing something just to make money if it doesnâ€™t agree with your life purpose.
The completeness also signifies youâ€™re balanced in your life. If you have a billion dollars, but are out-of-shape, lonely, and miserable, you are not complete. Youâ€™ve traded the â€œcompletenessâ€ of your life for something worth so much less.
Integrity and Internet Marketing
You may be asking by now what integrity has to do with Internet marketing? It has everything to do with it. Society and business has become a world of lies and â€œspinningâ€ the truth. It is time for business people who are honest to speak out in the world. If you truly run your business with Integrity, you’ll eventually stick out like a sore thumb. You might not make the most money immediately, but you will make money.
The reason so many companies turn to lies is because the short term profits from lying can be better. Hyped ads, exaggerations, fake stories, and lack of customer service can all earn money fast. If your goal is simply to make as much money as you can as quickly as possible without thinking about anyone except yourself, then scamming people works.
Scam artists make money. That shouldnâ€™t be denied. If youâ€™re willing to say or do anything for profit, youâ€™ll make a profit. Write hype filled ads. Ignore refund requests. Make â€œeasyâ€ money at the expense of your customers. Youâ€™ll pay a high fee in your personal life and your long-term future (and possibly risk prison). Youâ€™ve sold your integrity for profit.
If your goal is to earn long-term profits and be fulfilled in life, there is no match for integrity. The hype filled ad copy may produce more immediate sales, but customers gained through truthful advertising will stay with you long-term. What good does a sales letter that earns $4 per visitor do if the customers all hate your guts later? Wouldnâ€™t you be better off with the ad earning $3 per visitor where the customers keep coming back for more?
Letâ€™s say you own an email list. Another business person offers you $500 per customer to promote their $1,000 product to your list. You KNOW at least 50 of your customers will buy. This will equal $25,000 this week to your business. Letâ€™s add to this information that you also know the product isnâ€™t very good.
Youâ€™ve seen $20 books that are worth more. Will you take advantage of the trust you have with your customers for the quick buck? People do it every day. People with integrity wonâ€™t do it. Integrity means your long-term relationship with a customer is worth more than this immediate profit.
The above is an excerpt from “Internet Integrity: The Truth About How ANY Business Can Increase Profits Online” By Terry Dean available at your local bookstore or through Amazon.com. Click here to pick it up at Amazon…
April 16, 2007
Last week I told you about my hard drive crash in “Always Back Up Your Hard Drive.”
It was a problem with the hard drive itself…and it had to be replaced. Nothing was saved off of it. The sad part is this HP laptop is only 3 months old. When Julie called HP customer service, it was a miserable experience. They kept her on hold for close to an hour. Once she finally got someone she couldn’t understand them because their accent was so strong.
What was most noticeable was they told us it would take them 7 business days to send a recovery disk and new hard drive. SEVEN days! She of course through a fit on them, but they said there was anything they could do about it.
What’s interesting is the next day we received the Fedex notice that they did ship it one day mail. Yet, you don’t really put that mark in their favor because we just wonder if they did that because she got so angry with them…not because they care about customer service.
Their “customer service” is very noticeable to me because it’s such a stark contrast to when I had a problem with my Dell laptop in the past. They were fast at answering, did everything to make us happy, gave us extra gifts, and created an experience we remembered. It’s my own mistake for buying from another company after that…and Dell will be getting all future laptop orders.
Yet this article is about why my “disaster” was good news…
Besides making me much more careful about backing things up (only a few files weren’t backed up or on another computer here), it also is making my business more profitable. I had been dragging my feet about outsourcing a few things that I needed to hand off including including incoming email from a couple of domains.
The problem made me take action and hand this off.
You only own a business when it operates without you.
If you have to be there, you just own a job.
I’m definitely not perfect (just ask my wife). So I needed to “coach” myself this week in handing off projects and other work to assistants to do. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of “doing” instead of delegating. This week became another wake up call to notice where I hadn’t been honest with myself about building a business that works without me in those areas.
So even though it was a major nuisance, the hard drive disaster was profitable.
April 15, 2007
If not, what’s stopping you?
It’s a great starting point for anyone in their Internet business. The basis of the book is to always run your business with integrity without taking ethical shortcuts. It can be done, and it’s a lot more fun than doing business any other way.
Take a look at James Brausch’s recent review of the book here…
If you’d like to know how to get started in an online business, or how to improve the results of your current business, this is the book to pick up…
Not only does it cover step-by-step systems for copywriting, traffic generation, and more…it has two very special chapters. The first one covers how any local business can use the internet to increase their profits…without all the mumbo-jumbo and tech speak you’re so used to seeing.
Another chapter covers how someone can start their own brand new business online…even if you only have a budget of $100.
You can pick up your copy today at Amazon.com for only $19.95 by clicking here…
April 12, 2007
I always have a stack of books to read on my bookshelf. Right now, it numbers a dozen deep, but just yesterday one book came in from Amazon and I picked it up immediately. It jumped right over the waiting list.
It’s called “They Like Jesus But Not the Church” by Dan Kimball.
The first chapter starts off with a story of when he went to a local gym. He was assigned an instrutor to help show him around. During the course of their conversation she asked him what he did for a living. He’s the pastor of a church. To which she responded, “No ##$&& way you’re a pastor. I don’t believe you.”
It took him several minutes to convince her that he really was a pastor. He wasn’t anything like her impression of what a Christian was…and she felt all pastors were creepy. When asked if she knew any other pastors, she responded she didn’t. Her knowledge was simply from the stories she read, what’s on TV, and street preachers.
All throughout the book are stories of people Dan spoke with about Jesus and the church. The basic principle he found was that people will tell you they like Jesus…but they don’t like the church. The love Jesus shows is attractive, but Christians and the church are seen as negative and judgemental.
The church has become irrelevant in the minds of many 20 and 30 year olds. When I personally visit many churches, you can see the average age of the attendees continually going up. You just don’t see any new younger members who weren’t raised in the church.
What I liked best about Dan’s book is that he doesn’t just cover the problem and the opinions people shared with him. He always shares possible solutions of how to bridge the gap of Christianity and the world today…AND he does it without wimping out on the Bible and the truth.
You can also find Dan Kimball’s blog posting about this new book over at http://www.dankimball.com/vintage_faith/2007/02/they_like_jesus.html
April 11, 2007
I coach business owners in all types of industries…including Internet based business, real estate agents, chiropractors, authors, speakers, etc. No one wants to believe it, but marketing is all these businesses is very similar.
My “lead” coaching offer is http://www.mymarketingcheckup.com. The online business assessment is included with this package, and business owners are often shocked just how much value they get out of the assessment even before they speak with me.
It asks them question after question that pinpoints mistakes and areas they can improve immediately for increased profits. Then, when we get on the phone together…we create a simple step-by-step plan for action and success.
During these calls…I often find a few very well placed questions to be the key…
One of these questions is two part, “Where and How do your perfect target customers make their buying decisions?”
Of course, this question means you have to know who your perfect target customer is, but that’s a subject for another post.
So let me ask you the questions…
Where does your perfect target customer make their buying decisions?
How do they make their buying decisions?
These are important questions. If 90% of your target market makes their buying decision based on referrals, quit wasting your time running Adwords advertising…or any type of other advertising. If 70% of their decisions are based on media reviews, you know it’s time to work harder on PR.
How are they currently buying from you?
How are they buying from your competitors?
What is the most influential key to their buying decision?
One of my absolute favorite questions is, “How can I cost effectively get my offer in front of a group of hungry customers?”
I call this “plug-in profits.” For example, my books are listed on Amazon…because that’s one of the places people like to buy books. They already have traffic built in. They already have people searching for books. Ebay is another site like this. They already have traffic, and you can tap into their traffic very low cost.
Who else already sells to my customers? Do they have a list? What can I uniquely offer the list owner and the list members? Which one is easier…to build a site that generates a ton of traffic or JV with someone who already has the traffic. Of course, you should be working on your site, but that takes time. You can generate profits right now, today, by finding a way to tap into traffic that already exists.
It may be a product JV where you give them 75% of the profits from the first sale. It could also be something much more simple. You might write them an exclusive expert article they feature in their newsletter or on their site.
Even general “article submissions” are based on this principle…tapping into lists and traffic that already exist.
Perhaps you give them your product to include as a bonus with their offer. I’ve been on both sides of this type of transaction…where I freely allow another marketer to include my ebook with their offer and where I’ve included someone else’s product in my offer.
You don’t get any profits upfront, but you’re putting your value in the hands of a perfect target customer (make sure they qualify before you set-up the deal).
You can generate plug-in profits off the Internet as well. Have someone send out a mailing to their clients to recommend your product or service. Speak for an upcoming event (where someone else puts people in a room to hear you). Do a teleconference for someone’s list. Negotiate for free or discount coupons to be given out at the sales desk where your target customers visit.
For example, a new gym promoted themselves by allowing a local nutrition store to give away a free one month membership to their buying customers. Who else could model this? The massage therapist, chiropractor, etc. could follow suit to the same audience.
Who right now has your target customers buying from them? How can you make them an irresistible offer? I’ve dealt in industries where it’s not legal to pay a referral fee. That doesn’t matter. There is always another way to get something done. Do a cross mailing…where they mail their customers about you and you mail yours about them. Include something free you normally sell that they can use as an incentive to sell more to their customers.
There are so many variations on this theme…
It all comes down to three simple questions.
1. Who is already reaching my perfect target customer?
2. How can I be of service and make a unique irresistible offer to the vendor?
3. What would be irresistible to their clients to “try out” what I offer?