From a Sale to An Experience

May 29, 2008

Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that people can’t resist telling others about you.”

Does that quote apply to your business? Does your business do things so well that people can’t resist telling others about you?

What I’ve found is you want to change the basic attitude of selling. You’re not just generating a sale. You’re creating an emotional and memorable experience for your clients.

Let’s look at it from the Disney perspective. When you go to Disney World, you’re not just buying a ticket to a theme park. You’re buying memories. They do everything they can to create the “Disney Experience.”

Not only do they do this at their theme parks, but they also make every effort to combine that same experience into their hotels, restaurants, and stores. The more they can move you into the same emotional state of mind you’re in at the theme park or through their movies, the more they can get you to spend with them. Underpromise and overdeliver (promise something on Thursday and get it done on Wednesday).

Almost every industry is now being turned into a commodity. Customers call around to get “the best deal.” Companies specialize in having the lowest prices. Take a look again at the Disney experience. Do they have the cheapest prices? They’re not even close to being the cheapest.

Do you visit Orlando and call around to see which theme park is the most cost effective? Do you go to the Disney store looking for a bargain? No…you don’t. You pay the prices they ask…and for decades their business has endeavored to provide the same experience to one generation after another.

You have a choice. You can be a commodity or you can become unique…and a business that has raving fans for your service. If you do business exactly like everyone else, you can expect the same results as everyone else. If you take additional steps and create raving fans, then you can expect to excel in your market.

What can you begin doing right now in your business to turn what you do from a commodity into an experience? What can you do that will cause your clients to want to immediately tell someone else about you?

You can’t expect to create raving fans for your business if you simply do what is expected of you. In most industries, you won’t create raving fans from simply providing great customer service. Although most companies don’t really provide great customer service anymore, just having great service isn’t going to be enough.

You have to do something or a series of things that makes people want to talk about you. They had an experience with you they simply didn’t expect.

What will that experience be in your business? Again, take time to think back to people you’ve given your own personal business to. Who has stood out in your mind as someone you wanted to tell others about?

Sometimes it might be something as simple as a handshake or a smile. Other times, it might be a simple gesture they make such as a gift while you’re waiting or a discount when they did something wrong. What can you build into your system to always “Wow” your clients with your service?

An automotive place tells their mechanics to always look for something small they can fix for free on any automobile they check. Then they put a note on the invoice about what was fixed for free. A service business sends out a small free gift the day after they meet with any client. The dentist or doctor has a courtesy call done later on in the day to make sure their patient is OK.

The real estate agent takes the time with every new home owner to show them important elements of the home such as the gas or electric meter. Then they prepare a map with listings for the nearby stores, churches, and schools…along with their phone numbers. A car dealer sends monthly thank you cards to all their clients. The hotel provides some in room gift for free (chocolate on pillow – courtesy call, etc.).

After service, do a follow-up call to find out how things went for their client. Ask simple questions such as, “Is there anyway we could make your experience even better?” The concept behind this call is to have your clients themselves giving you ideas about how to better create the buying experience with your company.

One children’s dentist even redesigned his whole office to appeal to his little customers. This included lowering the room behind the counter to put his staff near eye level for the children, offering gifts to children who get good grades, and providing a picture of the dentist to the children.

What can you do to make doing business with you an experience?

Cutting Through the Internet Marketing Noise

May 26, 2008

If you want to succeed in an internet business, you have to find a way to cut through the noise.

Every day you’ll be told about another big secret you can’t afford to ignore. Whether it’s the brand new product launch or the world changing social media application, someone is bound to tell you why you have to get involved in this NOW. If you don’t, you’ll miss out forever.

Of course this creates a couple of big problems. It’s easy to get into information overload and information paralysis. You’re so busy listening to all the new techniques that you don’t have time to take daily action on your business.

Or you get distracted from your proven business model.

Every week there is a new product launch going on. The hype gets totally insane in some instances where you have 50 or 100 people sending out emails about why this is the holy grail of online marketing that you’ve been missing.

Some beginners spend $30,000 or more on all these product launches before they figure it out. It’s not about how much information you know. It’s about how much information you actually apply and use in your business.

Even if you don’t buy any of these products, you still may find yourself getting distracted by whatever secrets they’re currently promising.

I can always tell there is another big launch going on because at least a few of my coaching clients either ask me if they should buy it or they ask me about techniques mentioned in the launched.

One of the most recent launches is Stompernet.

I didn’t receive a single email promoting it. Why? I’ve unsubscribed from every list that follows the herd and promotes every new product that comes down the pipe. I know they’re happening because I haven’t been able to convince all my coaching clients to unsubscribe from all those lists yet.

Rick Butts posted an article last week called, “Unsubscribe From Whomever Emailed You Stompernet.”

I agree entirely. I should also add this isn’t saying anything bad about Stompernet. I’m not a member and never have been a member. They might be an incredible program or they might not. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t need 20 emails about it.

And for most product launches the promoter promote the product sight unseen.

I promote other people’s products at times when I feel they’re valuable and useful to you. What I don’t do is promote products to win any affiliate contest (a normal product launch method). I also won’t promote a product I haven’t personally seen and been impressed by.

Being “impressed” is the key word here. The product can’t just be OK. It has to impress me in some way and make me say, “Wow, this is excellent.”

Just think of how much noise you could cut out today if you followed Rick Butt’s advice above. Cut those 20 newsletters you’re receiving down to 5 or less.

I hope mine is one of the few you keep, but even if I don’t make the cut with you that’s OK. It’s going to benefit you immediately to cut all the dead weight in your mailbox.

Step one to cutting the noise is to unsubscribe from every list that isn’t regularly sending you value.

Step two is to quit getting distracted by all the technology and every new thing.

For example, you’ve probably seen the rash of all the recommendations of why you HAVE TO get started with Twitter now. It’s the next big thing. Of course the problem with Twitter is it will distract you from everything else you should be doing.

Always remember this.

Everything has an opportunity cost.

Whatever time you spend using Twitter or anything else will use time that could be used somewhere else in your business.

What are the absolute highest profit activities in your business? Make sure you’re focused on those first and then testing anything else afterwards. If it doesn’t match up to the time spent doing it, either outsource it or ignore it.

Mark Butler posted earlier this month about how “Twitter is Stupid.

I signed up with a Twitter account and for now have to agree. Does this mean I won’t use it in the future? No. It only means I’m not wasting any time with it right now as I have other activities that are a much better use of my time.

To cut through the noise requires FOCUS.

Focus on what is already working for you. Focus your time on the highest profit actions. Do what you do best.

There are so many opportunities online you can’t possibly do them all. And you shouldn’t waste your time or attention on all of them either.

Quality Website Traffic

May 22, 2008

The two most common questions business owners ask about the internet are:

1. How do I get more traffic to my site?
2. How do I get more people on my list?

Very few of them ask a much more specific question…”How do I get quality buyers to my site and on my list?”

Which list is more valuable to you: a list of 10,000 untargeted subscribers or 500 buyers of one of your products?
I know which one I’d pick.

If you want a successful promotion, here are 3 key elements:

1. Audience
2. Offer
3. Copy

And while I’ve spent a lot of time lately talking about 3, the copywriting, most experts would agree it’s the least important of those 3. The audience for your offer is the most important element. A great offer to the right audience with poor copy will outproduce world class copy to the wrong audience. Of course, it’s best when you get all 3 lined up.

So let’s talk about the audience a little.

Rule #1: You always find a market for a product before you create the product.
Rule #2: You make sure the audience is easy to target for your advertising.

Here are some of the ways my sites generate traffic in order of how high quality the traffic is.

#1 – Your Own List

This is the best type of traffic to send to your site. Your customer lists (people who have given you money at some time) are the most valuable lists followed by those who’ve subscribed to your free lists to hear regular information from you. That’s why I focus so much on building the list here. Notice the name and email address box to the top right of the blog. If this is one of your first three visits, you also see a subscribe box at the top of every single post. If you go to any of my sales pages, you’re likely to see a popover box asking for your name and email. Do you get the hint here? My whole course on Email Mastery deals just with building your list and marketing to that list.

#2 – JV Partners

This is the second best type of visitor. It’s also the best way to build your list #1 (but that’s a topic for another post). Who already has your audience in the market? How can you make them an offer they can’t refuse? Sometimes they’re most interested in who can pay them the most. Other times it’s because they want to give their customers a special deal. For example on a recent product offer, I let 5 JV partners send out an email to their list during my preliminary special before the price went up.

Did they partner so they could get the most money? Not from the way I know them. They partnered because they knew the product was good and wanted their subscribers to have a chance at the special.

#3 – Offline Leads

Offline lead generation hasn’t been a majority priority lately, but the leads you generate are excellent. This would include speaking at seminars (some of the best customers), renting lists to mail postcards to, advertising in magazines, etc. You’re going to spend more for leads you generate off the Internet (either in money or time), but you can expand into a lot more advertising here.

#4 – Affiliates

Often I setup my JV partners as affiliates (when they’re promoting a product), but now I’m talking about more general affiliates. I go after the JV partners because they have lists or they have access to a large audience in another way (blogs for example). If you have an open affiliate program you also have affiliates you don’t know who sign up and promote the product. As a blog reader, you can signup for my affiliate program here…

I’ve had times where one of my JV partners promoted, and then customers from their list signed up as affiliates to promote as well. It takes on a little bit of a viral effect. As affiliates keep promoting, others find out about the offer and promote as well.

#5 – Bloggers

While some bloggers may be joint venture partners at times (#2), the majority of them simply link over when you provide great content they feel their audience would learn from. These links are some of the best incoming links you can get, especially from high traffic blogs. Write great content and link to other blogs. Many of those incoming links will build naturally from these other bloggers. And they generate some good quality traffic.

#6 – Search Engines

The traffic coming here from the search engines has been increasing every single month. You write for your human audience first, but you also consider the search engines. You’ve probably noticed some of my post titles are targeting search engine phrases. Because of the nature of blogs, you’re able to generate incoming links easier and get those top rankings.

Here’s an interesting note. It’s not any single search phrase that drives a majority of search engine traffic. The majority of my search engine traffic comes from a large variety of over 1,000 search terms that each send a small number of visitors (sometimes only 1 or 2). For the last 30 days, Google Analytics reports 1,587 different search phrases were used.

#7 – PPC

Targeted pay-per-click advertising is very effective (Google, Yahoo, and MSN). The key here is the landing page. I found it wasn’t profitable to send PPC visitors directly to any page on this blog (even one specifically created for them). There are just too many pages and links around. My favorite option is to go with a squeeze page to get he email address or a low cost product offer (under $20) to get them to become buyers. Be careful here and make your advertising very targeted.

#8 – Content Submission

I submit articles, press releases, etc. Many people write guest blog posts for others as well. All of this is a form of content submission. You produce content in exchange for traffic. This method can generate a lot of very targeted traffic for you, but you’ll notice I didn’t refer to it as Free. That content takes time to create or you need team members to create it for you. Or you could run an intern program like I do as well.

#9 – Social Bookmarking

After testing I’m basically at the point where I look at social bookmarking sites as incoming links for the search engines (#5) and ways to find more bloggers to link to your content (#4). The direct traffic generated from most social bookmarking sites has very little direct response. They subscribe in lower numbers, purchase less often, and don’t click on ads. Stumbleupon has been the best of these sites, so you’ll still see my content recommended there regularly. I don’t spend a lot of time on any of these sites now.

#10 – Low Quality Paid Traffic

There are a lot of ways you can generate low quality paid traffic. For example I advertised on Stumble for 5 cents per visitor (very low quality). You can use co-registrations to build your lists. Understand that low quality doesn’t always mean unprofitable. It’s quite possible to profit with co-registration leads because of their volume and low cost. But don’t count them at the same level as leads you generate yourself. Keep them on a different list. The math is totally different off these leads (if you’re averaging $1 per month per subscriber you may only do 10 cents per subscriber or less with coregs).

Note: I didn’t cover referrals (when a client or peer recommends you), but those would easily fit in and often be more qualified than the JV traffic sent to your site. I’ll cover referrals in another article.

Two Products In Two Days

May 19, 2008

I’m here in Las Vegas today with my friend Fred Gleeck. I came in yesterday and had fun around Vegas. I love some of the hiking areas around here such as the Red Rock Canyon (the photo at the bottom from a previous trip here).

If you don’t know Fred, he has been developing information products for niches for 17+ years. He’s created close to 500 products for himself and his clients. And he’s generated close to $10 million dollars from the sales of these products.

As you might expect, he knows quite a bit about creating and selling information products.

What am I doing at his house?

We’re creating two new information products…2 new products in 2 days.

As you know I highly recommend you become a prolific product developer.

How long did it take you to create your last product?

Beginners often have one non-completed project after another because they take too long to finish their first project. They lose interest. And they go in another direction before the first project is ever done.

If that describes you, break the cycle now. Once you start a project, finish the project. Get it out there and tested. If it produces, expand on it. If it fails, test some other options with it. But let the market tell you instead of quitting half way through! Even the more experienced marketers fall into this trap.

Too often we go for perfection instead of producing a good product we can add to later.

Is that an excuse to put out garbage? NO! I didn’t say put out any old thing to your customers. I know there may be some product experts who tell you to do this, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

Do the best job you can on the product, but don’t wait for perfection. It never comes. There will always be something you can improve. That’s why software always has a 1.0 version, 2.0, 2.5, etc. on down the list. They’re working to improve it based on the feedback they get from their customers.

I’ve never put out a perfect product. I don’t sell any perfect products. They don’t exist. Perfection isn’t possible because all products are made by people, and we’re all flawed. The products are right for some people, but they’re never right for everyone.

How are Fred and I doing 2 products in 2 days?

Today Fred interviews me about 35 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Internet Results. He will be asking me about all the little secrets I share with my coaching clients to help them boost their traffic, conversion, and sales. The intent is to share tips you can use immediately to improve your results online.

Day two I’m interviewing Fred about…you guessed it…how to create a million dollars or more in information marketing profits even when you’re not an expert. Since Fred has done hundreds of interview products like this, he is the perfect expert to reveal his entire system.

He’s sharing how to choose the right experts, what equipment to use for professional interviews, how to come up with the right questions, being comfortable during the interview, how to package it, and how to earn multiple streams of income from every interview.

All in all, he’s sharing how you can use interviewing to:

- Create Products Using Other People’s Information
- Sell Them Using Other People’s Lists
- Build Lifelong Relationships and JVs

For each of these interviews, we put together a simple interview outline. I’m likely to have them transcribed as well to provide customers with both a written and audio option. A bonus or two will likely be added to each. Yet, each of the primary products is being done in 1 day.

You might be expecting me to offer you these products for sale here. Nope. I could offer a pre-order option for them, but that’s not the point of this post.

I’m sharing this information with you because I don’t just want to tell you what to do. Instead, I’m sharing with you what I’m doing. You’re seeing an X-ray of what is going on inside my own business. In addition to these two products, I have a plan for several more upcoming projects that are based off of interviews as well.

Why don’t you challenge yourself to put together a new product within the next 7 days?

If you’re not an expert on the subject, find one to interview. If you are an expert, use Camtasia Studio to record your computer screen or a Powerpoint presentation. Get your first product up and running. It won’t be perfect. It may or may not become a big seller. But it gives you the experience of being a product developer.

And you’re then ahead of 99% of the other internet marketers who are still “just starting out.”

Red Rock

Quick Money From Your Internet Skills

May 15, 2008

Often I don’t talk a lot about making fast or quick money online. A lot of the strategies we cover build up slowly over time. For example, growing a list takes time (building a relationship with that list takes even longer). Establishing a successful blog takes time. Creating strong joint venture relationships take time.

Building an internet business takes time. It’s not done overnight.

Recently a coaching client asked me how he could make some money quickly. What was my response?

I told him to go to some local businesses in his area and offer to help them with their websites and lead generation. Even if you’ve only been studying my blog over the past few months you are light years ahead of the majority of people in your area.

You’re in the top 99% of people in your knowledge of how the internet operates. Those business owners in your area don’t know jack about websites, the Internet, or even what they’re missing out on every day right now.

Who is going to tell them the truth about how to generate leads from the Internet? Do you think the Yellow Pages representative is preaching about the wonderful opportunities the Internet presents (and how they can get more leads for less online than through the Yellow Pages)? No I don’t think so.

What about the website designers? No offense intended for any of my readers who are designers, but the majority of designers are clueless about the purpose of a website. There are some great designers out there who do know the importance of lead generation, but they’re the minority. The ones reading this blog I’m sure would be a part of that minority or they would have left in disgust long ago.

The majority of website designers think it is all about the artistic elements. They’ll charge that local business owner $5,000 to $10,000 and hand them a beautiful looking site that doesn’t get the job done. It doesn’t produce leads who are ready to do business with them.

You’ve been learning about the Internet. You know this is where business really takes place. And you’re learning how to generate traffic, convert visitors into leads and sales, and even how to use more advanced strategies like video. You also know “70% of U.S. households now use the Internet as an information source when shopping locally for products and services…” (Source: The Kelsey Group)

For a long-term Lifestyle business I recommend creating your own products that can make money for you even while you’re sleeping.

But what about that quick cash while you’re building the long-term business?

Get out there in your local area and use the skills you’re developing to help local business owners. Words like autoresponders, HTML, multivariate testing, blogs, etc. are like an alien language to them. You can be the expert in your market.

Not only can you become their expert, but they desperately NEED your help.

Design a lead generation site for them. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

You could even set them up a WordPress (blog) site using a theme such as the Revolution Real Estate one by Brian Gardner. With a little coaching from you, they’ll be able to edit their own website through blogging software.

Put together some content and articles for them to get started (some search engine juice). Get a few incoming links to their site and watch how easy it is get them a good position on the local search engine results.

How much could you charge for something like this? If you’re just starting out, you might go for $1,500 to $2,500. Then you’d raise your price as you get more experience and testimonials from the business owners you’ve helped. It takes a lot of $10 ebooks to equal that fee.

How would you get your first few clients? Print up some business cards. And simply talk to some of the small mom and pop businesses you already regularly go to in your area. Hands out a few of your cards to your friends who may know some business owners (in other words ask for a few referrals from others you know).

Join the local business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and network with the business owners who are soon to be your clients.

If you’re up for it, offer to do a 20 to 30 minute presentation for to groups in your area. They’re always needing speakers. You could put together a simple speech on how any business can generate low cost, high quality leads from the Internet.

It’s a lot easier than you think, because most readers are going to compare themselves to the experts. They’ll say, “Well I don’t know as much as ______.”

So what? If you’ve been paying attention, you know a whole lot more than those in your local area. You could even take a few of those articles you created that get lost in article directories online and submit them as articles to your local newspaper.

Quit worrying about everything you don’t know. I don’t know it all either or else I wouldn’t have to test. Start concentrating on what you do know and use it to profit.

If you want to know more about the importance of Internet marketing for local businesses, check this out…

I call it Next Generation Marketing Magic. It’s a package I put together with Sharon Odom Fling, author of “How to Promote Your Local Business on the Internet.” And not only does it cover how to promote any local business online, it also talks about creating your own local lead generation business.

Goal Setting Worksheets

May 12, 2008

As you know, doing business online isn’t just about the money. It’s about the lifestyle.

But how can you create the Internet Lifestyle you really want if you’ve never sat down to think about what you want?

When you go on vacation, you had better figure out where you want to go before you take off driving, or who knows where you’ll end up.

From coaching entrepreneurs, I can tell you where some of them end up in their business journey. All they know when they start out is they want to make a lot of money, and they do that alright. But in the process they build a business monster that sucks up all their time, destroys their health, and costs them relationships with their family. They got their goal, but lost other more important things in the process.

You need to decide what it is you really want. Some people will say, “I just want to make $20,000 a month…”

Is that all? You don’t care how much time it takes you to do that each month? You don’t care what you have to do to accomplish it?

If you take a long hard look at this goal, I doubt it’s that you really just want to have $20,000 worth of green paper sitting there every month. It’s what you can buy with the money that attracts you.

Money is just a tool to get to the real goal.

Quit looking at the number. Dig a little deeper and find your real goal.

Even if you were to say I want to make a million dollars a year, I doubt it’s the million green pieces of paper motivating you. It’s the lifestyle and the emotional way you’d feel about yourself that you’re after. It’s the recognition you’d feel from others.

So let’s get clear on our goals. What is it you’re really after?

One of the books I’ve really enjoyed recently was Timothy Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Work Week.” A primary discussion in his book is about “Lifestyle Design.” On his site, he has a section about figuring out the cost of your ideal lifestyle. In his book and on his site he talks quite a bit about mini-retirements and building a lifestyle you love.

That’s why I always talk about the Internet Lifestyle as well. It’s not just about the money. It’s about the lifestyle.

I’m including a series of worksheets in this posts you can use to create your Internet Lifestyle plan. These were originally developed by Paul Myers and I purchased rights to them some time back. They’re yours as my gift to you.

Download the goal setting worksheets here in PDF form…

Let me help you go through each of the worksheets quickly…

Goals Brainstorming: Describe your perfect lifestyle throughout this series of questions. Don’t think about cost right now. Don’t worry about money when filling out this sheet whatsoever. You can come back and figure out the money later (and the amount will likely change in the future). You’re creating your perfect lifestyle as if ANYTHING and EVERYTHING were possible. What do you really want?

Things to Get Rid Of: These are also called tolerations. What are you tolerating in your life right now that you’d like to get rid of? Many times I’ve found these much more motivating to me than “goals.” What is causing you pain, worry, or additional stress in your life? Why will your life be better without this? These could be as simple as you’re tolerating a chair that’s causing you back pain or they could be vital to your health such as tolerating a 70 hour work week. These are the things you want to eliminate, and when you plan to do so.

Inventory Skills: Make a list of everything you’re good at. Often we only look at our weaknesses and never look at our giftings and strengths. If you have trouble coming up with all your skills, contact a friend, family, or co-worker to help you out with some ideas. It might take you a few days to remember everything you’ve accomplished and all the skills you really have. Don’t cop-out on me on this assignment. You have skills you’ve taken for granted!

Inventory Interests: Write down all the subjects you’re interested in. What do you enjoy learning more about? What grabs your attention whenever you hear about it? Write it all down.

Inventory Activities: List all your normal activities in your business and personal life. Why? We’re going to find activities you enjoy and ones you don’t enjoy. We’re also going to find some potential topics you hadn’t considered to help you grow your Internet Lifestyle Retirement System. If you need to, just start listing your activities for the past week…and then continue on back through the years (you may need a few more pieces of paper).

Inventory Character Traits: Describe your character traits – your strengths and your weaknesses. Are you creative? Are you a good manager? Are you impatient? List them all here as we want to build the right business for you, not anyone else.

I Really Enjoy: Write down the three things you enjoy the most and could do all day long. No matter how long you did them, you’d never get bored. What are they? If we design a business for you that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life (you’ll have fun every day). Don’t worry about how you would turn that into a business at the moment. Just write down your three things.

Step-By-Step: Now let’s take one of your primary goals and make a step-by-step plan to get there. And as I’m always harping on with my clients, start at the end and work backwards. So what is the last step to getting to that goal. Then what happens before that…again and again until you get back to today.

Taking the Step: Now let’s focus on the first step to reaching your goal. You just work backwards from your primary goal. Now we’re starting at step one and we’re figuring out what we need to do to accomplish this step on the way to our goal.

Art of Persuasion

May 8, 2008

Recently I made this statement…

“If there was one skill you could learn that would almost guarantee the success of your Internet business, it would be copywriting.”

Ryan Healy picked up on that statement and wrote a very interesting post over on his blog at:
http://www.ryanhealy.com/skill-of-copywriting/

His post is basically stating that copywriting is one element in the larger skill of communication. For example, in your business, in addition to writing copy for a website, you may also communicate your business ideas with partners. You might network at meetings. You will use communication in other forms other than just written.

Ryan says, “It’s my belief that communication is the most important skill you could ever learn.”

I don’t know if I can 100% agree that communication is the most important skill, because coming up with the original idea of course is on the same level. Creating outstanding products that customers naturally want to tell others about is also important.

But we can easily agree communication is one of the most important skills in your business.

Let’s even take it one step further. Persuasive communication is one of the most important skills you would ever learn in your business.

You have to persuade people to clicks on your ads.
You persuade them to sign up for your list.
You persuade them to read your emails and blog.
You persuade them to read your sales copy.
You persuade them to buy your product.
You persuade JV partners to promote you.

And it continues down the list. If you can’t persuade others, your business is dead in the water.

That’s what the May Monthly Mentor Club newsletter is all about: persuasive communication in all its forms.

It’s interesting how closely the different forms of marketing cross each other.

For example, I studied a $3,000 course on public speaking (I bartered a seat at a workshop for it). The big theme of the course was to create your speech almost exactly like a sales letter. You start with an attention grabbing headline. You tell the emotionally grabbing story. You provide proof that you know what you’re talking about.

And right on down the list until you finish with a close and guarantee on your offer. The course was a little too aggressive sales oriented for me as I like to educate and teach during any live presentations…and NOT do a one hour sales pitch.

But the course itself was teaching you how to do a one hour or longer sales presentation that looked like you were educating the prospect.

I couldn’t follow their system because I really do want to give value in any spoken presentation, but the core of the course shows that speaking persuasion runs right along the lines of written persuasion.

Those same copywriting skills can be applied to all the other forms of persuasion as well. And those books on how to be a successful sales person apply to your written copywriting.

Copywriting is salesmanship in print. If your goal of a speech is to sell a product, then your speech is salesmanship. If that speech is designed to educate, you’ll still have to use your skills of persuasion to influence the students to take action on what you taught them.

Here’s something to think about. We always seem to think about persuasion when it comes to selling. What about persuading others to do what’s right for them even when you’re not in a sales situation?

Isn’t that what school teachers and pastors should be doing? They can’t just provide information, as information alone won’t be valued. They have to persuade their listeners to take action on that information.

Yet most of them have never studied persuasion skills. Is it any wonder why we have so many problems with education?

As a business person, studying persuasion is an essential tool. This could be in the form of materials on person-to-person selling, copywriting, speaking, or even psychology. It doesn’t matter as they’re all after the same goal – persuading others.

This post is an excerpt from May’s Monthly Mentor Club which will be sent out Friday morning, May 9th. The full print issue contains information on how to learn top persuasion skills, website layouts, preparing to write copy for the web, how to write sales copy online, and more. Subscribe to it today if you’re not already a member…

21 Free Software Resources

May 5, 2008

Here are 21 free software resources to help you run your internet business. In some cases you’ll find free resources do as good of a job or better than the paid programs, but that is not always the case. For example I do prefer Dreamweaver to Kompozer or any of the free design programs. I also like Fireworks more than Gimp, but that could be because I’ve played with it so long.

Other programs such as Google’s Analytics and WordPress beat any paid solution you can find. So check each item out and decide for yourself if it’s worth what it costs (even Freehas a cost in its learning curve and any opportunity it may cost you against other programs).

Free Software #1: OpenOffice
http://www.openoffice.org

This is similar to Microsoft Office. It contains a word processor, database program, spreadsheet, presentation program, and drawing software. It can handle many of the tasks you need in your business and it can even open up Office documents.

Free Software #2: PrimoPDF
http://www.primopdf.com

PDF is the most recommended format for eBooks, and here’s how you create them for free. Actually if you do your homework, you can find several free PDF creating programs out there, but no need to list more than one here.

Free Software #3: Gimp
http://www.gimp.org

Edit graphics, photos, and more for Free. This is another free source program that often beats the paid solutions available. For free materials on how to use the program, go to:
http://www.gimp-savvy.com

Free Software #4: Gimpshop
http://plasticbugs.com/?page_id=294

This is a free add-on to make Gimp operate more like Photoshop. Many of the menus and other elements are very similar to Photoshop, so this becomes a nice alternative.

Free Software #5: Audacity
http://audacity.sourceforge.net

I’ve now used this program for 2 years. I love it…and recommend it as a very good solution for editing your audio files either for online use or for CDs you develop.

Free Software #5: CamStudio
http://www.swftools.com/tools-details.php?tool=8162413051

Record audio and video from your screen directly to flash. No question about it. I prefer Camtasia Studio over this free version as it has many more features, but Camtasia Studio also costs $300 after your trial is over. If that’s out of your budget, here’s your alternative.

Free Software #6: PowerBullet
http://www.powerbullet.com

Create slideshows, auto-running presentations, and more. Very nice finished product. You can output the finished presentation as Flash or executable. The executable format is nice for tutorials and software documentation.

Free Software #7: Gmail
http://www.gmail.com

A lot of people love Outlook or Eudora, and I was a diehard Eudora user for years. I now prefer Gmail. You can have it pick up email from all your addresses and set to reply from each address. My favorite part…since it’s web based I can use one computer at home and my laptop when I’m traveling without transferring anything over.

Free Software #8: Free Article Submission Software
http://www.uniquearticlemarketing.com

Steven Lohrenz modified the open source program phplist to develop a very nice article marketing solution. Build a list of publishers and then use this software to submit unique articles to each one. Plus you can set and forget your article submission for weeks at a time with its scheduling. It’s a little tough to install, but a very good program.

Free Software #9: Kompozer
http://kompozer.net

Kompozer is the more up-to-date version of the open source web design software Nvu. Create an attractive, professional-looking web site without needing to know HTML or web coding. I prefer Dreamweaver as I’ve used it for years, but this is a free program to help you get started.

Free Software #10: FileZilla
http://sourceforge.net/projects/filezilla/

Open source FTP client for Window’s computers. You’ll need this for uploading and downloading files, pages, videos, PDFs, and more to your website.

Free Software #11: Article Dashboard
http://www.articledashboard.com/download.htm

Run your own free article directory with this software. Let other submit their articles and content to your site. Very well done software and it’s free although you do have to sign up for their list.

Free Software #12: WordPress
http://www.wordpress.org

This is the most common software for running a blog. That’s what I’m using on this site and recommend to you. I don’t need to go over why you need a blog again here, do I?

Free Software #13: phpBB
http://www.phpbb.com

Easy to install discussion board/forum software. Many web hosts such the one I recommend make it a one click install. Build an even stronger community around your site with a forum.

Free Software #14: Teleconference Calls
http://www.totallyfreeconferencecalls.com

Not really software, but it belongs on this list anyway. Set-up your own conference call line with unlimited usage for up to 99 lines for free. Instant Conference is another company that does this for up to 150 lines.

Free Software #15: Skype
http://www.skype.com

I love Skype. In fact my primary business number on several of my sites is a Skype In number. This means I can have it accessed from anywhere in the world. I also use Skype to talk to my phone clients from around the world. And I’ve even been using it for several phone interviews. Try it out if you haven’t already.

Free Software #16: Survey Monkey

You probably noticed I ran a survey using this software on the blog a few weeks ago. You can run a small survey of up to 100 responses with a free account. If you’re going over 100 responses, it’s $19.95 a month. Definitely worth it to survey your prospects and customers to find out what they really want.

Free Software #17: Google Analytics
http://www.google.com/analytics/

Google Analytics is installed on almost all of my websites (and it should be on all of them). Simply add their code to the bottom of each of your pages and watch them track everything for your site. You can even set “goals” for your site such as subscriptions or sales by adding the code to your thank you pages. Check on your conversion rates from your traffic this way. This is the basics of tracking your traffic at your site. Install it now.

Free Software #18: Google Optimizer
http://services.google.com/websiteoptimizer/

This is the 3rd tool from Google on the list. Anyone who has a Google Adwords account has access to this free split testing or multivariate testing solution. Set-up multiple test options such as your headline, photo, intro paragraph, price, and guarantee. Then let their optimizer test your page and put together the best performing page for you.

Free Software #19: eFax
https://www.efax.com/en/efax/twa/signupFree?rqcp=1

I don’t use a fax very often. Those are one of those old tools or something people used to use before email I think. But once in a while I need to fax something out like a contract or a client wants to fax me over something. My fax number is from eFax. You can fax and receive faxes right from your computer.

Free Software #20: osTicket
http://osticket.com

Set up your own support ticket system to handle any customer inquiries. Email is unreliable and a little harder for a team to track. There are several free support ticket options available. osTicket is one of the good ones.

Free Software #21: AVG
http://free.grisoft.com/

This is virus protection software. If you work online a lot, you will be exposed to viruses. Protect your computer with their free version or their paid version. I’ve found their software puts a lighter load on your processing power than most of the other options out there.

7 Step Easy Writing System

May 1, 2008

You or someone who works with you will have to write.

No matter how much you may dislike the idea of writing, someone will have to write for your company sooner or later. You can either do it yourself, or hire someone else to do it. There are writing specialists you can hire, but you’re better off being able to write at least some of the content yourself.

I’ve covered this system before on this blog, but it’s vital to your online career. That’s why it’s worth a review now. Follow this system for writing. And if I convince you of nothing else, QUIT editing while you write. Write first. Edit later.

The good news is you can follow this system. If someone like me who hated English could learn how to write for the web, then you can do it too. Most people like to talk, but they’re terrified of writing. You may tense up the moment the word writing is used.

I want to change your mindset. Don’t think of it as writing. Think of it as talking on paper. Write just as if you were talking to your best friend. And don’t worry if you make a mistake!

You will make mistakes. That’s why the first copy of anything written is called a rough draft. It’s rough. It has bad grammar. It has spelling mistakes. It doesn’t make perfect sense. You’ll edit it later. The key is to sit down and write it in the first place. That’s the hard part.

You can do it…if you just think of writing as talking. Just let it come up as the words come in your head. It takes practice, and you’ll also find yourself editing a lot at first. But you have to get started somewhere. Here’s my simple seven step writing system…

Step One – Choose a Hot Topic.

If you’ve been doing your homework up till now, you’ve studied a lot of the problems in your client’s lives. Your article can easily be a solution to one of those problems. If you find a lot of clients are asking the same questions when they first come to you, write answers to those questions.

Another good tool is to keep your eyes on the news and what everyone is writing about. What is the big news of the day? What is really getting people talking? Take note and participate in the ongoing discussion with your own article.

Step Two – Silence the Ghosts.

When you first sit down to write you’ll hear your 5th grade teacher Mrs. Sourpuss in your head screaming at you. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, participles, OH MY! You’ll remember the misery of high school book reports…along with the poor grades you had on them.

You’ll hear someone in your past telling you why you’ll never be able to write. You’ll recall the day someone made fun of something you wrote. Tell everyone in your head to shut up and leave you alone. It’s time to write.

Step Three – Create an Enticing Title.

The title of your article is your headline. It has to reach out and grab people’s attention. It has to force them to want more. One of my favorite title formulas is, “7 Ways to Benefit…” This is where you tell your reader you’re giving them steps to accomplish whatever benefit they want.

Here are some examples: “7 Ways to Generate More Traffic Instantly,” “3 Insider Secrets to Saving Money On Taxes,” and “5 Steps to Building Your Own Birdhouse.”

Step Four – Outline it.

It doesn’t have to be a perfect outline. Just research the subject and make a few notes on a spare sheet of paper. Or put them on index cards. The point is to find and record the main information you want to use. Write down 3 steps, or 7 steps, or whatever basic outline you want to use.

When you do your writing, just look back on your notes and make sure to include all the important information.

Step Five – Write like you talk.

Sit down and write as quickly as you can. Don’t think over your words. Don’t go back and edit your mistakes. Just write. The reason most people never write is because they’re so concerned about mistakes they never do anything. Forget about it!

Like Nike says, “Just do it.” Write just like you’re talking to a friend. Spill it out. Don’t wait. Don’t go back and read what you’ve written. Just go…and finish writing on the subject as quick as possible.

Step Six- Take a break.

You’ve earned it. Take a break from your work and do something else. Go to a movie. Spend time with your family. This period could last 1 hour to 3 weeks…whatever you have time for. Work on a different project in between.

You’re letting your mind rest on the subject so you can come back to your work with renewed enthusiasm. Plus, you’ll come up with ideas during this period about what you forgot to say.

Step Seven – Edit it.

Read through it line by line. Edit it for grammar and use your spell check. Add in extra notes where needed. Delete lines where you simply repeat yourself needlessly. Hand it to a friend and have them read it to you out loud. Look for every place they stumble. Fix it until it is a nice flowing river. If it sounds like “writing,” then edit it. Keep working on it until it sounds like conversation. Make it simple, easy to understand, and useful.

This is the one time you get to talk…and go back to make sure you say the right words. This is where you take many of your rambling thoughts on the rough draft and polish them into diamonds.

Brandable eBook Note: I promised I would have my new ebook ready for branding, “Live the Internet Lifestyle…Retire Young and Wealthy.” You can sign up as an affiliate and brand this new ebook along with “10 Key Strategies to Earn More, Work Less, and Enjoy Life” by clicking here…