October 29, 2009
Have you ever noticed that it seems everyone wants to go along with the crowd?
Someone decides to make a break from the routine. They step out and become an entrepreneur. But many of those who have taken the first step…they overcame their initial fears of starting their own business…they still go back into the routine. They simply follow along and do exactly like others.
For example, you’ve probably noticed that in the internet marketing space the majority of people sound the same. They make the same overarching promises. They promote the exact same items – often all at the exact same time. In fact, many of them even use the exact SAME email.
I recently did an affiliate promotion, I was given an affiliate email to send out. In the email it talked about my “good friendship” with the author. The first thought in my head was, Hmmm, I’ve only spoke to him once on the phone. I wouldn’t call that a good friendship. Sorry. So that had to change.
What About Content?
Then I noticed there wasn’t any content in the email. That had to change. I don’t like sending very many emails or blog posts that don’t include content. Even if you don’t take advantage of my offer, you still walk away with value and with ideas for your business you didn’t have before.
Things weren’t worded in the email the way I would have done it. So change again. Basically I rewrote almost everything (except the title of the product and the author) before sending it out.
It had to not just be from me. It had to be me. My name was in the from address so I had to feel what was written was from me. Nothing else was worth sending.
And that’s a key principle to those who are successful and those who aren’t. I’ve been doing this for more than a decade now and I’ve seen people from both sides – those who are successful and those who aren’t.
Sometimes both those groups do very similar activities. They might both focus on building a blog and list for example. Yet one achieves success much faster than the other.
Often the difference comes back to them simply injecting their personality and style into everything you do. They put themselves OUT THERE on the line.
That’s Not Always Easy
I know how hard that is at times. The internet is a cold place. If you put your personality and style out there, you’ll find thousands of people who want to “judge” you for it. Some won’t like you. Some will even tell you how much they can’t stand your very existence. And you have to develop that thick skin to keep moving…and keep building your audience.
That’s it. You’re building YOUR audience – the ones who like you and like your style. It’s not going to include everyone, not even everyone in your chosen market. You’ll build a core group that wants what you share and wants to do business with you.
And that’s what makes the difference. Are you building your core audience today…or are simply going along with the flow?
How Lee Did it
One of the “names” that seemed to fly up out of nowhere is my friend Lee McIntyre (I do consider him a friend as we’ve chatted multiple times). He has even posted a testimonial for me here about a coaching call I did with him.
Why did he succeed faster than almost anyone I’ve seen? He didn’t just join the crowd. Instead he did things his own way. He showed personality and his style. He got out there and did what it took quickly.
He developed his unique systems for building a list and profiting from it.
That’s right. Instead of focusing just on building a “free list” like so many others have advised, he zeroed in on building a smaller list of paid customers and targeted followers. That’s why even when his list only numbered 603 subscribers he was outselling lists of tens of thousands.
When he shared his list building methods with other marketers, some of them were outright shocked of what could be done even with a TINY little list.
To share with others what he did and why it worked so well, he did a step-by-step webinar training called the “Super List Building System.”
Because I believe in this product and it’s value, I licensed it from him.
This full DVD training course shares how to build a super responsive list without spending even a penny in advertising, why small lists can out earn lists of tens of thousands, and how to build powerful relationships with your subscribers to where they’re eagerly awaiting your next email.
Should you copy everything Lee does exactly? Nope. You should use his system, but apply YOUR personality and style to it. The world isn’t looking for another Lee McIntyre. One is enough of them. But they are looking for the REAL YOU.
That’s what you should be looking for in a course like this…the opportunity to find a system to follow that ALLOWS the real you to stand up and be noticed…no matter where you are today.
October 26, 2009
Do you have fun at work?
If not, you must not be doing it right!
Glenn Livingston recently posted to his blog about why he felt the Work/Play attitude was a wrong way to look at things.
Of course I agree. I have a LOT of fun in my business, but I also had a few disagreements with his original post. So we emailed back and forth for several days about them.
We decided to get on the phone with each other and discuss what we felt the work/life balance meant to each of us….to you.
Would you like to…
- Have more fun while working
- Discover several fun and easy brainstorming exercises
- Find a few new techniques for improving your website conversions
- Learn how your personality affects your online business style
- Improve your business while enjoying your life.
If so, this 48 minute mp3 audio is exactly what you’re looking for. And it’s FREE.
We mention our sites in the audio, but don’t do any direct promotions. It’s simply here to help you have more fun at work.
Please note there is a clicking sound at the very beginning. That goes away pretty quickly (in about 20 to 25 seconds)…and we really start digging into the material after a few minutes.
Click the little play button below to play the audio or right click below and choose “Save Target As’ or “Save File As” depending on your browser.Terry-Glenn-Work-Play.mp3
You’ll notice that both click and I were having fun while doing the audio. It’s a very free form discussion.
Here are a few of the resources we talked about on the audio.
October 22, 2009
Sometimes the best way to brainstorm is by going in reverse. Instead of stressing yourself out trying to figure out the solution to the problem, have fun coming up with ways to make the problem MUCH WORSE than it already is.
You’ll learn more about how this strategy works Monday when I post a free audio Glenn Livingston and I did together on How to Have WAY More Fun in Your Internet Business.
Since we’re always talking about how to make more money, let’s turn it in reverse and have a little fun coming up with ways to lose money from our websites.
If your goal is to make money (like most readers), maybe you should make sure you’re not following any of these tips (because a few of them are rather common).
Strategy #1: Buy EVERYTHNG you can get your hands on about internet marketing but don’t put any of it into action.
With all the product launches going on every week, I’m sure you could easily spend $50,000 over the next year doing this. As long as you make sure not to apply anything (even better if you don’t actually read it), then it’s a guaranteed way to lose money. Doesn’t get much better than that when your goal is to lose money online.
Strategy #2: Spend a majority of your time in the social networks.
Since social media people are often the hardest people to sell to, spend a majority of your time here to make sure your business isn’t profitable. They can generate a LOT of traffic to your site which doesn’t click on ads and doesn’t buy products. And isn’t that really your goal when you want to burn money?
Strategy #3: Subscribe to EVERY single email list you come across.
You want to make sure you’re getting tons of offers every single day…especially if strategy #1 and #2 aren’t emptying your bank account quick enough. You’ll be teased and tempted with all the missing “secrets” keeping you from being successful online. Especially make sure to stay on all those lists that ONLY sell products and never offer any content whatsoever.
Strategy #4: Choose a tiny micro-niche market where there aren’t ANY competitors.
If there are competitors there, it means someone must be making money. And we don’t want that. So make sure to narrow your niche down to the point where you have zero competition – no one at all is competing against you. Because if you do this, it virtually guarantees you a market where no one else has ever made a profit.
Strategy #5: If your market does have competition, make sure to do everything exactly like them.
Obviously every competitor in the market knows more than you. So you should simply parrot exactly what they’re doing and saying. Don’t start any arguments or stir up any controversy. If you make yourself EXACTLY like them, then people won’t be able to tell the difference…and they’ll have no reason whatsoever to listen to you or buy from you. And that’s the goal, right?
Strategy #6: Buy the most expensive, highest traffic keyword phrase in your market on Adwords and send them directly to your home page.
Most of the time the highest traffic keyword is NOT the keyword targeting specific buyers. It’s just people looking for initial information. So if you go for it right from the beginning, you can be almost assured to lose money. And to guarantee you lose money, send all those visitors to a general home page on your site. The less specific about what they’re searching for, the better it is for making them leave quickly.
Strategy #7: Jump on EVERY brand new traffic scheme immediately.
You’ve probably heard how you have to jump on new traffic techniques immediately. Look for these “loopholes” constantly and always take advantage of them. Avoid any long-term proven traffic methods (like seo, PPC, affiliates, etc.). Whatever is the newest and most hyped solution must be the best!
Strategy #8: Build dozens of different sites all at the same time.
What if one site doesn’t work? Create dozens of them…all at one time. That way you’ll have multiple streams of income…even if you do lose your sanity in the process. By building your market wide you only have time to do the minimum for each site…and won’t ever be burdened by profitable steps like backend products for each market.
Strategy #9: Copy the big product launch sales letters exactly for your market.
Since they’re using them, they must work…even though they have tons of other pieces coming before the sales letter. You’re heard of a swipe file. Make sure to put all these sales letters intended for current “hyped up” customers into your swipe file instead of what the big mailers send out by direct mail (where they spends months working on the copy with the top guns competing with each other).
Strategy #10: Join a Mastermind group of people who just sit and around and complain about what doesn’t work.
Sometimes these are commonly referred to as online forums, but other times they can be a local business group. Mastermind has been proven to help people make more money. So to make sure it helps you lose money, only join groups where people don’t have successful experience in the topic. That should help. And then follow the most common opinion that everyone votes on…instead of listening for any golden nuggets that do appear at times.
There you have it….10 ways to make sure you lose money online. If you’re currently doing any of these, you’re going the right direction for that goal. If you want to turn it around and make money online, figure out how to eliminate these from your “Internet plan.”
October 19, 2009
The number one key to success online is focus. Are you focusing on achieving your goals while eliminating all the distractions online (there are many shiny objects to pull your attention away)?
But the real question is what are your goals? And to get deeper into the heart of the matter…
What Does Success Mean To You Personally?
Here’s the funny thing. We could have several dozen people comment…and the likelihood is success would mean something a little different to each person reading this.
Does success mean earning a million dollars a year?
Does success mean owning your home debt-free and a large RV where you can travel the country?
Perhaps success means you can travel to two dozen countries this year?
Maybe success is earning enough to pay your simple bills while you get to spend time home schooling your children?
Maybe success is having time to spend down at the homeless shelter helping out because your bills are already taken care of?
Or perhaps success is simply being able to do a job you love and are good at?
Maybe it means working a few hours each day to finance your free time of hobbies and other interests.
So What is Success to You Personally?
That’s the first question you have to answer. Because unless you know where you’re going, how could ever plan to get there?
Let me give you an example of a mistake in coaching others I’ve made at times in the past in regards to this.
One of my personal definitions of success is to have work outsourced and have NO in-house staff. I don’t want in-house staff. Period. Because that is a portion of my priority for success, at first I translated that same qualification to others when coaching them. I was wrong.
I found several clients DEFINITELY want in-house staff. They love staff that works in a office with them. One of their definitions of success is a fast growing company with team members working together in an office environment. If I tried to enforce my definition of success on them, it would cause them emotional pain.
What good is it to build your business around someone else’s definition of success…including mine?
One aspect I’ve found is that:
Success is not a destination. It’s a journey.
Your definition of success will change in the future.
For me in the very beginning of my online business, success was simply defined as GETTING OUT OF DEBT and being able to pay my bills (all my jobs up until that point didn’t even pay enough to make a living).
As you can expect, my goals and my definition of success has expanded since then.
My next definition success became, “Creating enough passive income to pay all my monthly bills without having to work.”
Then…it expanded to, “Creating passive income streams WHILE ENJOYING the work I do.”
Then it moved onto, “Creating low hassle income streams while helping others create Internet lifestyles and enjoying the work I’m good at doing.”
Notice how in none of those really mention a specific amount of money. Obviously my definition of success includes having more than enough for myself and to give to others, but I FOCUS more on how the money is generated than I do on the overall amount. Am I having fun while doing it is more of the key now. For example, coming to me and saying, “I have a way you can make an extra $25,000…” doesn’t even catch my attention (partly because everyone tries that pitch). But if you came to me and said, “Here’s a way you can have even more fun in your business…” you have my attention.
In addition, I added in that balance in the rest of my life is just as important. This includes relationships, exercise, playing with my dogs, eating healthy (somewhat healthy, OK maybe just healthier :). It includes finding and following my purpose/calling from God.
In the beginning, I just desperately wanted to be able to pay my bills. That was a VERY STRONG motivator. Creditors calling you all the time can do that…give you a sense of desperation. Working 12 hours a day – even if I hated every minute of it – was OK. If that was what was required, fine. But that motivation eventually went away BECAUSE circumstances changed.
How do you stay motivated? You expand on your definition of success.
Your own personal definition of success grows over time…and it is more than just one simple answer. It incorporates your entire lifestyle.
Once you DEFINE success, now you can start building your plan for moving towards it…following your journey of success.
No wonder so many people are “lost in internet business.” They’re trying to make a journey without knowing where they’re going. I’ve learned enough from working with clients now that I have to find out what their definition of success is…and what they really want. If you try to build the business based off a model and plan they don’t enjoy, they’ll never have the dedication and committment necessary to see it through.
With every business decision…ask yourself, “Does this fit with my lifestyle goals?”
So the big question is what does success mean to you? Feel free to post in the comments about this…and your opinions on the subject. If everyone were to post their definition of success, we’re likely to see dozens of different answers (and they’d all be right answers for the individual who posted them).
October 15, 2009
The big news lately for anyone who owns a business are all the new rules the FTC which will be in effect December 1st, 2009.
Posts about it are ALL over the place. No point in linking to all of them. Do a quick search for “FTC and Bloggers” and you’ll be overwhelmed with posts.
You might have even heard it was the end of online marketing…the end of affiliate marketing…or the end of blogging.
Everyone has been yelling, “The sky is falling.”
The good news is that’s not true. It’s not the end of the world. The bad news is that you might have a few changes to your sites.
Here is another PDF the FTC has published showing example testimonial scenarios.
Mike Young has published a PDF you can download for free here called, “How to Comply With the New FTC Compensation Guidelines.”
I’m not a lawyer…don’t play one on TV…and should be completely ignored when it comes to any legal issue.
What is causing the biggest issues and frustration for everyone involved is that the FTC seems to have purposely left everything as unclear as humanly possible. It’s so unclear in a few places that only the government could have created it. The example testimonial scenarios they released later makes a little more sense than the original.
This is likely so they have strong ammunition to go after whoever they want without regards to what’s ethical or not. They simply don’t like to lose.
I think the basic idea behind this is good. Get rid of the scammy fake blogs that are just there to promote garbage. Get rid of those overhyped testimonials from endorsers who may have never even used the product. Force people to honestly say when they’re making money from something instead of keeping it hidden.
Who could disagree with any of that? It’s the application that leaves some to be desired.
Because of this confusion, you even see many of the big internet gurus telling you to eliminate all testimonials – just remove them all.
Here are a few key points that may affect you.
October 13, 2009
To me, being an entrepreneur is about more than just the money.
It has to be! If your whole existence is about making enough money to support your lifestyle, that’s a very dreary life indeed.
Being an entrepreneur is about using everything you are to enrich those around you while living a life you love.
And someone who finds themselves in that position doesn’t want a “four hour work week.” Why would you only want to work four hours a week if you enjoy what you do?
When I first started online, YES, it was about the money. There was no question about that. I couldn’t make a living delivering pizzas or signing people up for credit cards in front of a store. It just wasn’t happening. Each month we went deeper in debt.
In fact I hated the very word “work.” It was what you did to just barely scrape by to get enough money to have fun. But today things have changed quite a bit. I do have a few of those “passive automated income streams” everyone talks about. And I definitely live below my means.
So why keep working, expanding, and growing in business?
It’s simple. You find work that is ALSO FUN. Without meaningful work, you will experience a feeling of “something lacking” in your life. In some cases, you can’t quite put your finger on it. It just feels like there is something missing.
On the other side of the fence, when you find yourself putting in too many hours doing things you don’t enjoy, you quickly burn out. In fact, I’ve found it possible to burn out on something you enjoy by doing it too much (I’ve had that happen both in work and in hobbies).
So there is also a point of balance in your life. Let’s see how long your marriage and family last if you all you do is work (and your health for that matter if sleep and eating habits are sacrificed).
A big key here is to find work you enjoy…that you have to pull yourself away from. Instead of dreading work, you look forward to it and love it.
The recent recommendations I’ve made for Steve Little’s PerfectBizFinder program can help you with this…
If you were like me and hated ALL the work you did before becoming an entrepreneur, how do you go about finding work you love and your life purpose?
Here are a few ideas and exercises that may help you.
#1 – Write your obituary.
I first heard this one back in college. Plan your obituary for decades in the future (be optimistic here). What accomplishments will you have made? What will you be known for? How will you be remembered? Keep it light hearted as you write this (don’t discourage yourself). It should be a fun exercise, because you’re going to the end result. Then you can work back from that point. If you’ve accomplish such-and-such by the time you die, what steps lead you up to that point? What should you be doing now?
#2 – What would you do if you could not fail?
If there was no chance of failure, and no one could stand in your way…what would you be doing? I like this question because it’s often our fears that hold us back from becoming who we really want. EVERYONE has problems with self-esteem in some area of their life. Where is fear holding you back? Open up a word processor and start writing about this. You may write several dozen versions of this before you come to the real bottom line (there is a lot of junk on the service from other people’s opinions, desires, etc.).
#3 – Who are you heroes and who would you most like to meet?
Who are your heroes? Who do you look up to? Why? What have they accomplished that you identify with? What did they overcome? What connection is there between them and your life purpose? You’ll often find there is some connection (although not always directly) between what they’ve accomplished and what you want to do. And remember, your heroes don’t have to be famous. They could be someone who influenced you in life. What common values do your heroes and you share?
#4 – What do you LOVE to do?
What do you love to do? When you’re doing this activity, time just seems to fly by. You’re in the zone where you time has no meaning to you. In business, you may find this only happens with a few very specific activities. How can we focus more of your time doing that (and outsource the rest)? In fact, I’ve found that most people LOVE certain elements of what they do already. Part of the entrepreneurial process is discovering those and finding ways to spend more time there.
#5 – What is your true purpose in life?
Open up your word processing program again. Ask yourself that question. What is your true purpose in life? Answer it. Then answer it again. Refine your answer. Just like a copywriter may write several dozen or several HUNDRED headlines to find the attention grabber, follow the same strategy here. Keep answering the question until you feel the connection…till it hits you emotionally. You will “feel it” when you’ve hit something that connects with you.
What to Do About It
Once you find your purpose, what can you do about it? While some people are able to accomplish this through their job, the majority find they have to become an entrepreneur to really let their gifts shine. Find a business model that allows you to focus on this. Then build a team you can delegate or outsource to for all the activities which don’t suit you and your gifts.
It’s not just about the money. It’s about building a lifestyle you love. And that’s not accomplished simply by working as little as possible. It’s about discovering who you are…and how you can best build sellable value for others.
The links above are to an affiliate program for the PerfectBizFinder manual and monthly membership site.
October 8, 2009
A couple days ago I posted a message introducing you to Steve Little and his Entrepreneurial Strengths Survey.
Did you take it?
Wasn’t it impressive how accurate the results were?
When I took the survey, it revealed strengths that took me 5+ years to learn in my online business. If only I had something like this available to me when I started!
For example, you’ve probably heard about how being an extrovert is required for being an entrepreneur. I’m most definitely NOT one! I’m an introvert and proud of it.
Trying to FORCE myself to become an extrovert like some people suggest was frustrating me to no end. Hearing all the advantages extroverts have was always painful also. Instead I’ve learned to focus on the advantages introverts have.
I apply good listening skills to coach clients. Instead of working in large groups, I prefer private clients or small groups. I also enjoy working alone in my office on writing, creating videos, etc.
It took me years to realize my personality had advantages to take advantage of and let shine.
In Steve’s Survey, he goes into 6 core entrepreneurial compentencies. The extrovert/introvert is simply the first one. You may be surprised like I was when I first took the test.
I scored totally opposite of what most people consider to be an “entrepreneurial skillset” in several areas. Yet each of these areas has presented very specific advantages I’ve learned to use over the years.
Let his survey help you find and apply your strengths instead of taking as long as I did.
I have a copy of my full report printed out on my desk. I’d be interested in seeing your results also (and how you feel your entrepreneur personality affects your business). Feel free to share your results here.
I also want you to know that this survey is not even the half of what Steve has to offer you.
He is a 40 year veteran entrepreneur and he has made it his mission to help as many people as possible become successful entrepreneurs by finding and creating their perfect business.
Take a couple minutes right now and take the survey.
Once you complete it, Steve will send you your customized 24 page report detailing all of your strengths and weaknesses (also free)
He will then continue to teach you valuable lessons in being a successful entrepreneur like:
- The difference between being an entrepreneur vs. proprietor
- How to find out if you are a Lifestyle Guru or a Growth Maven
- The 11 Golden Rules to running a successful business
- How to master what he calls “The Value Principle”
- How to discover your Entrepreneurial DNA®
- Plus much much more.
Be sure to let me know what you think.
Note: The above links are affiliate links to his free survey. After you take the survey you will also be offered his ebook and membership site (but no purchase is required to receive full survey results).
October 6, 2009
As you know, I’ve been talking a lot lately about finding the perfect business model for YOU personally.
Recently I met a millionaire entrepreneur named Steve Little. After speaking to him for only a few minutes, I knew his message was right in line with what I’ve been seeing with the results of my clients.
He has created an fantastic survey which tells you all about your individual entrepreneurial strengths.
Then he teaches you how to leverage those strengths into the success you desire with a series of 20 excellent video lessons.
And he’s made what it all available to you for free.
Go check it out. It only takes a minute to get your survey results but the insight you get is invaluable.
Let me know what you think.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to start a business right now or you’re already in business, you’ve got to hear what he has to say.
Please note: The above is an affiliate link to the free survey and the course he also makes available.
October 5, 2009
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you KNOW that a good portion of your income comes in during specials or sales.
As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to be in business to know that. Just watch the retail industry and how even minor holidays become major events.
Every weekend seems reason for a new sale. Obviously this is because these events are working. And they work online as well.
The below article was originally written for my offline business owner training guide. That’s why you see the references to restaurants, stores, etc. BUT these same pricinples apply to online business owners as well. Sometimes it’s to your advantage to LOOK OUTSIDE your industry for ideas of what’s working.
Big breakthroughs aren’t usually something totally brand new. They’re little variations created as a marketing strategy is moved from one industry to another.
This is one of those posts you will want to print out and keep on your desk whenever you need more special offer ideas.
Another one of my posts covered the 3 Rules of Making Offers. Combine that one along with the ideas from this one.
Here are 15 ideas to get you started in creating your special offers. The key principle to any offer is to give your customers/clients a benefit for taking action now.
What can they get right now which they don’t normally receive at your business?
Remember, it is never about you. It is about your customers/clients. Everyone is tuned into one radio station, “What’s in it for me?”
Offer #1 – Free Giveaways
FREE is one of the most powerful words in marketing. It makes people’s ears stand at attention. In Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” he lists reciprocity as one of the key influencing factors. This simply means that when someone gives a gift, the receiver feels the need to give back to the giver. It’s hard-wired into our system. If someone gives you a Christmas card or a present, you feel a need to give back to them. This is also the reason why many charities send you address labels in their request for donations (this method has been tested and proven to increase gift giving).
The restaurant can offer a free lunch to a new customer. The optometrist can offer a free eye exam. The health club can offer a free 1 month membership. The chiropractor can offer a free first visit with x-rays. The dentist can offer free teeth
whitening. All of these offers can be totally free with no purchase required. Nothing beats the word free when applied to generating new customers. That $5 free lunch doesn’t cost much when you compare it to the restaurant with the $500+ Lifetime Value.
All you have to do is specify it is for new customers only to give you a try. The restaurant that just opens up could launch quickly by giving out the free coupons to business owners in their area as a gift to all their employees. The health club
can give their free 1 month memberships to the health food stores and sports clothing stores as free giveaways to all their clients. A consultant, lawyer, or accountant could give a free 30 minute consultation as a gift to all the customers/clients of a noncompeting business in an endorsed mailing or Christmas gift. A house cleaning service could promote themselves by giving away a free house cleaning as a mother’s day present idea (in card and gift shops, florists, and publicity).
Offer #2 – Sales
This is the “normal” offer for most businesses. You place items on sale or run your 30% off President’s Day sale. The sale has become the normal way of buying for retail businesses. Every single holiday elicits numerous sales. The newspaper is filled with sales for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, President’s Day, etc. There is a reason why businesses have sales for every possible event. They work. People love buying at a discount. Collect the newspapers on Thanksgiving for the day after Thanksgiving sales.
You’ll see all kinds of tactics to get people in the stores. There are huge discounts, door prizes, free gifts, etc. Everyone is competing for the biggest shopping day of the year. A good percentage of coupons are also of this type. They may give $10 off or a 20% discount until a certain date. This type of discount can be used in almost any business. You receive a discounted price or percentage off the product you’re selling. A “sale” I’ve personally loved to do is to offer a discount on one of my more expensive products whenever someone purchases a lower cost item from me. For example, if someone purchases a $97 item, I may send them a $97 discount off a $497 item if they purchase within 30 days. In essence, they get the first item free for upgrading to the larger purchase.
Offer #3 – Private Sales
This is a variation on the sale, but it is only offered to a specific segment of customers. It takes the “exclusivity” motivator into account. Customer appreciation sales are common. You can send out a direct mail letter, postcard, email, or even phone call to your current customers. You alert them to a special sale good only for current clients. It may be a special on your website or something offered over the phone only. It could be a special they need to come into your office to receive on a specific date or dates. This is a good way to activate previous customers and to increase the Lifetime Value of your clients. Everyone likes to receive exclusive deals and to be made to feel special.
This can also be used when you’re marketing to a specific group of new customers. You could make an offer to all the employees of a business that works next door by contacting the business owner. You could run an offer that is only good for members of a specific group (senior citizens, college students, Lion’s club members, etc.). Many endorsement deals where another business endorses your products or services make use of some private type of sales. For example, you could have the business promoting you send out a letter for a special discount. Anyone who comes into your store must bring the letter and hand it discretely to the sales associate because no one else receives this private sale price.
Offer #4 – Free Trials
Let’s say salesperson A offers you a $1,000 vacuum cleaner. He tells you it will be easier to use, reduce your workload, and last at least 10 years or more. All you have to do is act now and you’ll get it for $500. Salesperson B offers you the same vacuum, BUT on a trial basis. He’ll leave the vacuum with you for free for the next 30 days. You try it out. You use it whenever you want. In 30 days he’ll return to give you the opportunity to keep the vacuum and make monthly payments or he’ll pick it up and take it with him. If you decide it isn’t for you, you don’t owe a penny. There’s no obligation to purchase. Which offer is more enticing?
With mail order offers, this type of trial offer has been proven to triple sales in many markets. This works extremely well for products people use regularly and won’t want to live without once they’re used to it. It gives your prospect zero risk and allows you to use the puppy dog close. “You don’t have to decide today. Try it out free the next 30 days. If it isn’t everything I say it is, just send it back. You owe nothing. If you decide it does benefit, benefit, benefit…just keep it and simply pay this price.”
Offer #5 – Two For One
This is another common type of sale you see in grocery stores, but it has much greater application than this. In retail it is simply buy this product, get one free. In other applications it can be used to double your customer base. The health club can run a buy one membership, get another one free to get two clients in the door. The restaurant can follow the same principle since no one likes to eat alone anyway. Magazines offer a free subscription for your friend when you buy one. Seminars often earn the same or greater profits from purchases at the meeting, so they can run a bring-a-friend free promotion. The more people at the conference, the more they’ll make in back of the room sales.
This tactic is also used to increase the volume of sales. Buy four and get one free. Nobody might ever want to buy four of something, but the bonus one convinces them to go all out and increase the overall sale value. You may test this type of upsell offer for your business. Whenever someone purchases one bottle of whatever, offer them a free bonus one if they upgrade to a purchase of three.
Offer #6 – Better Terms
We’ve been trained to think in terms of monthly payments. You pay for your house in monthly payments. You pay for your car in monthly payments. In many cases, people don’t even think in overall price anymore. They simply think about the low monthly payments and how much they can afford. Many businesses simply take this low monthly payment road as part of their primary marketing offer. You can find sales with no interest for a year. There are low interest rate sales.
The business consultant can offer a pay as you profit monthly plan. The real estate agent can find the best mortgage brokers for lower interest rates for their clients (they wouldn’t earn anything from this but they’d increase the number of clients who could buy). Any retail store could offer a store credit card plan. The plumber could offer a payment plan for those who don’t have the money for an emergency service. Many lawyers offer contingency deals where you pay only when you win.
Offer #7 – Bonuses
Make an offer with special bonuses. For example, in the newsletter business you often “sell” the bonuses. A monthly newsletter may offer a set of training CDs as the offer for subscribing now. In the majority of cases, they’ll even put more attention on the free gifts than they do on the subscription itself. People want results now, and newsletters are products you receive overtime. So bonuses you can receive instantly work extremely well in this market. Sports Illustrated is one of the most well known magazines who does the bonus offer. They “sell” you on whatever bonuses you get with your paid subscription. It may be a special swimsuit issue, a phone, a DVD, a jacket, etc.
Whatever the bonuses are at the time, you’ll notice them in the offer they make. You’ll notice that when you purchased this course it came with a multitude of bonuses. You received bonus reports on copywriting, joint ventures, headline writing, and more. In fact, you should have noticed the value of the bonuses exceeded the price of the product itself. That was done on purpose and every one of the bonuses really does cost that much when sold separately. A service business can offer a set of other services along with the main service people purchase. For example, if someone purchases an hour of time from an accountant, they could give them a free tax savings CD or CD set. The printer could find and purchase resale rights to a copywriting course and offer that with a certain volume of orders from local businesses. The dry cleaner could offer free delivery and pickup for a certain size order.
You often see the bonus offer used in retail and restaurants as well. The pizza restaurant may offer a free 2 liter with delivery orders. Another restaurant may run a special coupon in the paper for a free dessert when you buy an entrée. A retail store may offer a free dust buster with a vacuum. A make-up purchase may come with a free carrying bag. The men’s body spray has a bonus shaving lotion with it (notice on this one that they’re also getting you to try another product). No matter what business you’re in, there is a way to run a special offer with some type of related bonus.
Offer #8 – Package Deals
This is related to the free bonus but comes at it from a different direction. The make-up counter may put together a package with all different items in it for a discount price. You get A, B, and C for only $50 instead of the individual total price of $75.
Automobile manufacturers put many of their most popular options together in package deals (such as off-road packages consisting of larger tires, chassis modifications, etc.). The restaurant may offer a complete meal for two including appetizer, entrée, dessert, and roses all for one price during Valentine’s Day. They could even make a “deluxe” larger offer at the same time to include the previous dinner plus a limo ride (through a joint venture deal with a limo company).
The basic and deluxe package deals can be applied to a lot of business offers. A vacation company could offer basic vacation packages with no frills. Then they offer the deluxe version including hotel upgrades, dinner at nice restaurants, etc. The electronics business could offer a home theater system package including surround sound, subwoofer, amplifiers, and TV (or projector system). They could also offer the deluxe version which includes high quality items across the board. The gym could package a membership, personal training sessions, and nutritional supplements together in both a basic and deluxe version.
Package deals also make great upsells. If someone just wants to purchase an entrée, you could tell them about your discounted three course meal package deal. The garage offering oil changes could offer a package of other routine maintenance items as an upsell. The pet store could offer a deal on dog food, treats, flea medicine, and toys all as a discounted package upsell. Any service business could figure out how to combine several services together to make their upsell package.
Offer #9 – Continuity Programs
Too many companies allow their business to be based off one-time sales. Look carefully at whatever you offer and figure out a way to build a continuity plan. The tree trimmer may get hired to do one service, but after doing the service they could offer their 4 times per year plan including the one today in the rate. My furnace and air conditioning company offers me a twice a year plan where they come in and service the furnace in the fall and the central air in the spring. A large number of mail order businesses offer autoship until cancelled programs.
The garage could offer oil changes 4 times a year for a discounted continuity rate. The nail salon or stylist could offer a yearly discounted plan for their services. Even the young person who has a summer job of mowing yards could offer a seasonal plan for every service. In each of these plans, you’re doing the customer a benefit. They’re getting a discount rate for buying the larger service program and they’re also using your services on the regular schedule they need. You benefit because you’ve locked-in business in advance. What way can you build some type of continuity plan into your business?
Offer #10 – Guarantees
You should find ways to build guarantees into every offer you make. The more risk-free you make your offer for your prospects, the easier it is to generate new business. If whatever you sell doesn’t work for your clients, they should have a way of getting it fixed of getting their money back. Risk reversal should be a part of your bottom line way of doing business. You can also take guarantees even further and make a special offer based simply off your guarantee.
The accountant could run an offer to guarantee savings on a tax return, or your money back (it then costs you NOT to use them). A company offering any type of business service could give businesses a call and offer a “try-us-out deal.” If the company doesn’t save money or make more money than with their current vendor, they owe nothing. The copywriter or business consultant could guarantee results by charging a small fee and then taking the majority of their income through a percentage of increased profits.
This could even be used outside of owning a business. Want a promotion in your job? Offer to work at the higher level position at your current salary for the next month. If you enjoy the new job and your employees see the good work you do, your salary can then be raised to that level. If either you or your employees don’t feel you’re right for the position, you can go back to your old job. As a business owner, don’t you wish you received that offer?
Offer #11 – Contests
Your offer could be based off a contest. Since you don’t want to be involved in running a lottery, this should be used on your free offers (consult with a lawyer for the legalities for contests). You can collect names for your new email list by offering a monthly prize. Restaurants collect business cards for a free dinner. Vacation and timeshare companies give away cars for people to sign-up to receive more information. Is there any reason why your business isn’t collecting names, addresses, business cards, etc. to build your opt-in email and customer lists?
On the Internet, you can run contests for people who sign-up through your opt-in email form. At your physical business you could ask for people to come in and drop off their information to enter your contest (getting them into your place of business). If you’re running a contest with very nice prizes, you can even use publicity to promote it for free around the area or in your niche market. Another idea is to have a “testimonial” contest where people tell you the results they’ve achieved from using your products/services in the past.
Offer #12 – Charity
You could run an offer based on giving to charity. All your proceeds from a certain sale may go to charity. Ten percent of all your proceeds may go to a specific charity. You could even have customers pick one of several charities for 10% of their proceeds to go to (for example, a Christian bookstore could offer to give 10% to different churches in the area). If you wanted to generate new customers/clients and were willing to give up all the profits on the front-end, you could offer your product to charities for free for them to sell by phone, in letters, or by door-to-door marketing. They keep all the money, but you generate a new customer. You can donate products/services to the charity auction to generate new clients.
A good example of this is a marketing plan used by Bill Philips of EAS who sells sports supplements. He wrote a book called, “Body for Life,” and all proceeds from the book were given to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The book gave you the complete workout plan he used and then told you about his Body-for-Life contest where you get your body in shape in 12 weeks or less (they had other time frames as well). Everyone would submit before and after pictures along with an essay on their results. The contest was sponsored by EAS offering multiple products to help you achieve results faster (to win the contest and the prizes). This whole plan combines both charities marketing with contest marketing. It even generates “testimonials” through the essay and pictures sent in. It shows you how you can combine multiple offers in one plan.
Offer #13 – Events
Hold a special event as your offer. Get people into your bookstore through a book signing or a special author presentation. The Mercedes dealership could have a fashion show in their office. The restaurant could have a “sports” night with a popular sports hero. The website could run a teleseminar, webinar, or live conference for their memberships to meet a celebrity in the industry or simply to network with each other. The clothing store could have a fashion show or a clothing consultant to help their customers choose their garments.
Combine the charity offer with an event and hold an event at your place of business to promote through publicity. You could offer free advice on whatever business you do at a charity event. A real estate agent can offer advice on improving home values. The chiropractor could offer advice on taking care of your back. The massage therapist could give free massages. You’ll generate leads while helping out a charity at an event such as this.
Offer #14 – Limited Availability
The big offer you make may simply be how limited in availability something is. The consultant may only be able to take five new clients. The professional speaker may only have a few available dates left. It’s built into our natures to want what we can’t have. If you have loads of free time available to take on numerous new clients, no one wants you. If you can only take on a few new clients and are booked solid, everyone wants you. Part of your offer in any service business may simply be that you don’t work with everyone. You’re extremely selective and pick-and-choose your clients.
Disney has marketed many of their videos by offering them for a short time and then pulling them off the market for decades. If you don’t get them now, you won’t get them for a long time. The collectibles market is built off this principle. There is only a limited amount of this, so it must be expensive. Everyone wants it, but we’re only making a very limited number. Automobile makers design limited editions of their regular models. Toy manufacturers have found it successful to design a more upscale limited edition of some of their lines (some even create extremely expensive versions for the publicity to sell the regular versions also).
Your offer could be about how “exclusive” something is. You may create a membership for your best customers only. Maybe your top 100 customers received preferred status and seating at your restaurant. Your “gold” members may be the only ones who get special notices and offers in the mail. Your “platinum” dental members could be those that get immediate emergency service no matter what. People love to be appreciated and they love to be a member in an exclusive club that doesn’t allow just anyone.
Offer #15 – Free or Low Cost Information Product
This is one of my favorite offers for lead generation in service businesses of any type. You create a report, CD, or DVD on a subject of interest to your target market. For example, the real estate agent does a report on, “How to get Top Dollar for your Home in Today’s Market,” for sellers and a, “How to Find Home Bargains in Today’s Market,” for buyers. The account does a report on, “7 Ways to Save Money on Taxes That the IRS Isn’t Telling You.” The window installer offers a report, “How to Save 30% or More On Heating Bills This Winter.” The plumber does the report, “How to Keep Your Pipes From Freezing in the Cold Winter Months.”
You then offer your report free in your advertising, in your Yellow page ads, on your website, and through free publicity. Your goal is to brand yourself as the expert on your market. It also puts you in an entirely different light from all your competitors. They’re simply out there trying to get money from the prospects, but you’re educating them. You’re helping them. You’re taking the role of an advisor instead of a salesperson. You’ll learn quite a bit more about this subject as we’ll cover it more in depth later on.
The accountant, lawyer, advertising agent, and business coach could have a special free or low cost seminar on how to improve the profits of your business while saving money on taxes and legal fees. You can send out press releases and do media interviews about your free information product. You could speak on the subject at local events. Everyone wants to deal with the expert, and you’ll also notice experts get to charge the premium prices.
October 1, 2009
Today I need to ask for your help.
Has any of the information on this blog, my product, or my coaching benefited you and your business?
If so, could I ask you to do something for me?
I’m testing a new feedback system which you can see below.
If you can say I have helped you in your business, please post below. Please be as specific as possible.
It can be for this blog, for a specific product, for my print newsletter, or for my coaching services.
After you post, it will also give you the opportunity to leave a voice message. You can leave your phone number (it’s optional) and the system will automatically call you on your phone almost instantly. After it calls you, simply record your message for us to use.
If you have a photo you’d like to add, you can also upload this.
As you may have guessed already, I’m testing out a new feedback generation system…
Any testimonials given will be reviewed first and may be used on the sales pages for those products or here on this blog.