Tips on Credit Card, Credit Card Debt, Credit Card Application and anything related tocredit cards.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sex and Charisma - How to Write Copy that Uses it to Increase Your Sales

Picture this ...

One summer Sunday afternoon, four guys in their thirties were relaxing with a few beers watching the cricket at the local pub. They were having a great time "downing scooners", yelling out their own play-by-play commentary of the televised proceedings.

When the cricket match stopped for lunch, two beautiful, blonde, promotions girls walked into the bar. They walked up to the guys and the most scantily clad of the two leant over them and said, "Hi fellas. Having a great time?", with a big smile and a flirtatious look. "Would any of you like to buy a can of the new X brand Bourbon?"

Six sets of eyes popped out of their owner's heads and you could hear them all saying, "Yep. Yep. I'll 'ave one." (I've cleaned up the language a little).

After the girls had gone and all of the "ogling" had finished, one of the blokes said to the others, "Anyone want my bourbon? I hate the stuff."

The responses from around the table were ...

"Nahh mate! Can't stomach it either. It's rubbish."

"Nahh, not me either."

"Nope. I'll stick with me beer."

Now, why did six guys each buy a can of Bourbon when they each knew they didn't like the drink?

... because they were attracted to the person selling it.

I'm sure you've seen or been in similar situations before ... when you have bought a product or service simply because you liked the person selling it NOT because it was the best product for your needs.

It's true, sex sells every day of the week and so does charisma.

Have you ever been to a party and seen a certain person walk into the room and the whole crowd stops and takes notice?

Someone who owns the room. Someone who is captivating to listen to. Captivating to watch.

Someone who radiates this aura of power yet approachability and at the same time appears to be really "into you".

Everyone likes this person. You know the type of person I'm talking about.

Now - imagine that person is YOU as seen through the words you write on a page. Your copy exudes charisma.

Charisma is something that works really well in copy.

If you can make your copy so charismatic that your reader thinks of you as their new best friend, how many extra responses do you think your marketing material will produce? A lot.

With direct response copy YOU as the writer have the power to seduce your audience so they want to buy YOU and not just the product.

I'm sure you have seen charismatic or "sexy" businesses that draw in customers like ants to a breadcrumb.

You know the ones ... the businesses that have an intoxicating brand.

Virgin Blue and most of the Virgin companies have a sexy image. Many people want to be Virgin customers just because they love the Virgin brand. The product itself (in many cases) isn't that special. They're buying the cheeky, adventurous Virgin image.

How to Add Charisma to Your Copy

In the last lesson, we talked about how some sales occur purely because of the great level of rapport between the salesperson and the consumer (or in the case of the Bourbon ... sexual attraction).

Obviously, this only happens in some sales situations. In most situations, a combination of both happen ... the consumer buys the benefits of the product as well as the relationship with the salesperson.
In this lesson, you will discover why that is and how you can apply these secrets in your writing.

It's about building rapport on paper.

With that, I'd like to introduce you to the teachings of a man who has done more to influence the way we communicate tha anyone on the face of the planet. He was the father of the self-help movement. In fact, an industry began as a result of his efforts.

The man I'm talking about is Dale Carnegie, the author of the immortal book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

Through his public speaking and self-confidence seminars, Dale Carnegie taught people the art of getting people to like them ... the art of communicating in a way that gets heard ... of building rapport and showing respect for others.

Master these principles and use them in your copy and you will have your reader's undivided attention.

Here is an example of just some of Dale Carnegie's teachings as listed in his book (and yes, it's another "must read").

Six Ways to Make People Like You

Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.

Principle 2: Smile.

Principle 3: Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person's interests.

Principle 6: Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

Source: "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie, Chancellor Press

They make sense, don't they?

Pull away our masks and you will find that underneath it all, we are all the same. We all want the same thing.

After all, we want to know that we matter. We all want to be happy. And we all want to be loved.

As a copywriter, if you can show people that they do matter ... that you do care; you will have won a friend. Simple as that.

For dozens more articles on copywriting and a free copy of Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins go to

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Let the Litigation Begin

Any time a news bulletin begins by quoting lawyers, you know it cannot be good news.

Hence the most predictable event of 2007 began with Microsoft shysters rattling their Monte Blanc sabers with naked threats of suing Open Source vendors for usurping Microsoft patents. Horatio Gutierrez, Microsoft's vice-president of intellectual property and licensing initiated legal blackmail by opining "The alternatives to licensing are alternatives that aren't very attractive for anyone."

That was as subtle as a Russian invasion.

Microsoft contends that various Open Source solutions employ 235 of their patents. No Open Source Sacred Cows are omitted, with Microsoft citing Linux, Open Office, and various email programs as illegal interlopers. Microsoft even claims the Linux "user interface" has improperly leveraged Microsoft IP (Now, but "user interface" do they mean Gnome or KDE? They can't possibly mean X-Windows that proceeded MS Windows by a considerable period of time.)

A recurring theme in Microsoft's veiled threats is eerily similar to the now near defunct SCO -- bombastic claims are not being public vetted. Microsoft is very closed lip about what specific patents are allegedly being violated and how. SCO tried this tactic against IBM and is facing delisting, bankruptcy, and a permanent mention in the Software Scoundrel's Hall of Fame, just below Microsoft current position therein.

Larry Augustin, a former Silicon Strategies Marketing client via his VA Software days, doesn't buy the threat either. He recently blogged "If Microsoft believes that free and open-source software violates any of their patents, let them put those patents forward now, in the light of day." Fat chance Larry.

And herein lies the backbone of Microsoft's move and recent Novell bed matting: There is good chance that Microsoft's claims would be difficult to prosecute, and in doing so would give the Open Source community the information they need to fix any alleged violations. SCO faced the same conundrum. The difference is that SCO was tiny and poor compared to IBM, the giant whose shins they chose to kick. Microsoft is huge compared to Linux market share leader Red Hat. IBM stood firm, Red Hat likely would not. Thus bluffing and blackmail are more tenable tactics for Microsoft than actual litigation and revealing their hand to those who could remove the source of the threat by changing the code in Linux and Open Office.

If that was not enough chess for you, take into account that blackmail and litigation may be the only tools available to Microsoft. No vendor of GPL-based Open Source can pay royalties to Microsoft for the patents. GPL is fairly explicit about this saying that payment of royalties of verboten, with the only recourse being that you must stop distributing Open Source at all ("If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all." ). Imaging Red Hat losing in court, and having to get our of the Linux distro biz.

This puts Microsoft in a tough spot. Drive Open Source vendors into court and they may well drive them out of business without killing Open Source itself. The revenue stream goes away but the market share threat remains. Linux would not die, but the means of distribution and support would change. It would be like nailing Jell-O to the wall, and very unprofitable. Thus Microsoft seeks to tap into Open Source revenues by making their enemies their partners.

There is a useful old adage that says "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." Microsoft is in effect trying to make their competitors their partners, and extract money from them at the same time. If this sounds a bit like a neighborhood mob protection racket, then you are not alone.

The troubling part is not that Microsoft is acting like a schoolyard bully and rifling for other vendor's milk money. It is that they are executing their eternal "embrace and extend" process through forced and polygamous marriages. Since Open Source vendors cannot pay royalties, they must enter into partnerships to avoid litigation and being forced by GPL to exit the distribution business. Terms of these partnerships are set to ensure Microsoft's place in the data center, and to allow Microsoft to influence new features in vendor distributions. Since the main distributors also are the primary maintainers of Open Source stacks, there will be considerable pressure to include impure elements into future releases, and possibly make Open Source even more vulnerable.

The Open Source community was already taking action, with changes to the still-born GPL3 license. Fearful of the Microsoft/Novell pact, they sought to make life even harder on Open Source distributors with tweaks that would prevent such partnerships in the future, by enforcing a "blanket indemnity" for all users and partners. This in effect would force make Microsoft offer open-ended indemnity to their customers who used partnered Open Source products. Slick move guys!

The business lesson herein is that force works, but only if the target is direct (such as the when Verizon went directly after Vonage's jugular) and your foe cannot easily change the either the rules of the game (GPL3) or the source of conflict (Open Source code). Microsoft will bluster, bully, and maybe even send one of it's stockpiled attorneys for a little face time with Red Hat. But in the long run (and it is the long run that counts) they will be out maneuvered. Marketing requires building on something real, and thus far there is little real behind Microsoft's meanness.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 28, 2007

Differentiation Can Be a Niche Market

I remember starting may career in the late 1970's with an automotive jobber selling car parts. I enjoyed the job more for the discount on parts to work on my 1973 Camaro which was my money pit at the time. A money pit that I was very okay with...what a great looking and sounding car with the chrome side pipes that provided my peers with a great parking lot show at night spitting fire with every quick gear change. Ahh, the days of our youth. The jobber I worked for at the time was a family owned business and they were very successful for 25 years and most of the money they made went back to the family. I was just an employee but that was okay because of my Camaro.

Looking back on this company today, 30 years later, I remembered something unique and special about this two store operation, they had parts for cars that nobody else had. So many times I spoke to customers over the counter who travelled miles to our store for the rare part for that rare car that no one else had. Or because they knew from experience that no one else would have the part they started with us first. This small but successful automotive aftermarket parts business built a reputation on having in stock, sometimes with an inch of dust on it, the part you just can't get anywhere else. The company was known as Radex Automotive and at the time Radex was the jobber to beat. Even the big brand competitors could not take their market away because of customer loyalty. Radex found that their differentiation was the hard to find part. There was no science as to what unique part to stock, they just did it from 25 years of parts business experience and they were very good at it.

The question I have for you is; What are you doing to make your business unique or different or rare amongst your competition? Let me know your Unique Selling Point Proposition and how you are getting the word out to your prospects and customers?

Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Marketing Performance Measurement with Better Metrics

With the intensive development of communications there appeared a great many diverse definitions of marketing. Whatever the definition marketing is regarded the unique function of business. At present no successful business is possible without effective marketing.

One of the corner-stones of business Philip Kotler defines marketing as human activity directed at satisfying needs and wants through exchange processes. The marketing activities commonly include market research, new product development, product life cycle management, pricing, channel management and promotion.

Two most conspicuous goals of marketing are the acquisition of new customers and the retention of the existing ones. Consequently, the effectiveness of marketing can be quantified and measured in numbers of new customers and new products purchased by the existing ones. Apart from this, there are aspects of marketing effectiveness that cannot be quantified. For instance, the status of a company, its ability to stay at the forefront of the customer's mind are also considered the benchmarks for testing marketing success.

In today's fast moving competitive business world measuring marketing performance is crucial to set future business goals, monitor progress, assess effectiveness and align objectives and tactics. To help businesses thrive marketers utilize analytical data to evaluate, recommend, implement and measure marketing initiatives, which can propel the marketing value of the business.

Marketing success is measured by certain performance metrics, which provide insights into better performance management. Some factors within the marketing framework contribute to enhancing performance management. They include aligning activities and resources with strategies and goals, linking marketing performance to financial performance, establishing and maintaining marketing team accountability, integrating and optimizing cross-functional spending, and improving the efficiency of marketing activities.

Many marketing system analysts argue that marketing performance is inherently ambiguous because it is difficult to say what is measured. Without well-defined performance metrics it is problematic to answer the question how the marketers calculate the value of a marketing campaign.

Marketing performance metrics differ depending on whether the aim is to evaluate performance for consumer or business to business companies. To diagnose the performance of both marketing communications such metrics as media effects analysis, integrated marketing communications tracking and customer satisfaction tracking are often employed. Other cutting-edge marketing performance metrics are brand equity and customer equity analyses.

However, depending on the situation different companies can focus on different types of metrics. Thus, efficiency metrics are aimed at describing the cost to execute marketing projects or campaigns, i.e. staff hours per project and cycle time per project. Program metrics are employed to measure effectiveness by comparing the costs and results. Brand metrics are used to measure attitudes related to a product by means of surveys. The knowledge of the brand, preferences for the brand, purchase intentions and product satisfaction enable marketers to predict future purchases. Customer value metrics help to estimate future sales by individual customers and customer segments. Segment results are of special importance because customers from different spheres of business, demographic groups and other categories tend to behave differently. The principle measures here are retention and purchase rate, which are derived from historical data.

It is essential to consider different metrics when building a system for marketing performance measurement.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, May 25, 2007

Encouraging Repeat Business- More Smart Marketing Strategies for Restaurant Owners

Encouraging Repeat Business through Loyal Rewards: More Smart Marketing Strategies for Local Restaurant Owners

There are few things restaurateurs find more satisfying than watching their tables fill up with familiar faces. Repeat customers, the kind that keep coming back for birthdays, anniversaries, or just to grab a quick bite on a Friday night, are crucial for the success of any restaurant. According to global management experts Bain & Co., repeat customers spend 67% more than do new customers. Thus, it is not only personally satisfying to see familiar faces return to your restaurant, but financially rewarding as well.

But how do you turn a new customer into a repeat one? While ensuring that your customers receive the highest level of service and the best food possible are crucial elements to encouraging repeat business, there are strategies that can help you to proactively build relationships with customers and increase the likelihood that new customers will become regular ones.

Previously, I discussed how smart marketing campaigns that target new movers can help restaurateurs to expand their customer base by reaching out to new residents. While inviting a new resident into your business is always a step forward, getting them to return should be your ultimate goal. Here's how you can do just that:

1. Restaurant owners should encourage their employees to approach each interaction with a new customer as a job interview. Hosts and servers should be friendly, well-dressed, and helpful. Explain to your employees that this type of behavior not only increases the chance that the customer will leave a good tip, but also that the individual will return to tip again in the future. Each time a new customer enters your establishment you are auditioning for their business in the future—and the effects of a negative first impression are very hard to break.

2. After the customer has finished his meal and is waiting for the check, ask that he provide an email address for future correspondence. Explain that your restaurant occasionally offers specials and free meals to its most valued customers, and that you would like to include his email on the restaurant's list. Most likely he and other customers will provide their email addresses, allowing you to create a database of information about your customers.

3. Use this database to distribute special offers to past customers and drive business to your front door on slower days. For example, if your restaurant is booming on the weekends but typically sees little business Tuesday nights, send out an email on Tuesday morning to your customers inviting them to redeem a gift certificate for a free appetizer or entrée. Explain that the offer is only valid for that Tuesday evening, and encourage your customers to stop by and redeem the gift. Suddenly, your restaurant will begin to fill up with customers who might have previously had dinner at home on a Tuesday night. With a few simple emails, you have turned a slow night into a busy one by reaching out to your customers and giving them a reason to visit you again.

The goal of the above strategy, which I call a Loyal Rewards program, is to create "top of mind awareness"—to keep your business clearly positioned in the forefront of your customers' minds. While you, as a restaurant owner, may forlornly pine after your customers during slow business nights, your customers will likely not think of you or your business unless prompted by an email, advertisement, or special occasion. In fact, they may always think of your restaurant as their "Friday night" bistro, for example, unless you give them a reason—a Loyal Reward—to visit you Tuesday night as well as on Friday. Thus, you should make it your goal as a successful entrepreneur to casually remind them of the great time they had the last time they visited your establishment, and invite them to repeat the experience with a special offer. By doing so, you are encouraging repeat business by reaching out to customers who you know already enjoy your services.

The bottom line is this: Loyal Rewards programs work both ways. Your customers are rewarded by showing their loyalty to you, and your business reaps the benefits of staying loyal to its past customers. It's a win-win situation!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Newbie Networking

I can't tell you how many times I have chatted with a business owner who is just learning to network or who has just joined a networking organization. Usually they call me because someone has said to them, "You need to find out how to network properly." This comment is typically in response to the method that the unschooled person (newbie)is using when they think they are networking.

First, let's get one thing straight. Networking is the business tool that is used to develop relationships. Relationships are the foundation from which business springs. Networking is not selling a product or service; this is where, for many, the confusion begins.

To the newbie I will often explain that the best way to develop a strong relationship is to help others. Emphatically they say, "But I am going to help them. My ____________ is going to make them __________! In other words, the newbie thinks that "helping" is encouraging their target to their purchase their offering. They couldn't be more wrong.

When standing nose-to-nose with this new person, buying something is probably the last thing the business person wants to do. This is especially true if there is a high level of confidence needed to purchase the offering. Trust and confidence take time to develop. Instead, the newbie needs to ask questions and listen, attempting to find out what the person in front of them is trying to accomplish. In fact, the conversation might not even focus on the newbie or their product at all. Instead, the newbie's sole offering at that moment might just be their undivided attention. And even if that is all they can give at this point in their career - that's a huge start.

As the newbie develops into a better networker, they will begin to realize how to help others - really help - rather than just trying to sell their wares. They might know someone to introduce to the business person or they might want to invite them to a meeting they are planning to attend. What they may not realize is that the person opposite them is listening to their needs too. Because the newbie is not selling, the business person does not have to be defensive. They will have their ears open as to how the newbie can be helped. In time they may, or may not, want to make a purchase. But if not, they probably will be willing to help connect their new, and now better known associate with others who actually do need and want the product.

As time and relationships evolve, the newbie will no longer be just that. Instead, they will become accomplished networker. Others will be sent to them for networking education. The whole circle will continue to grow until the network become stronger than the individuals. Products and services will be sold, but now – thanks to this new outlook - it will be someone else helping to sell those products or services rather than the former newbie having to do it all.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Top 10 Reasons You Don't Have Any Clients (And How to Change That)

Go ahead and blame the economy if you want to, but if you truly want to know why you don't have any clients, I'm happy to tell you (and even happier to tell you what to do about it). Or perhaps you're thinking that if only you had more of a budget for advertising, you'd be in the money?

Let's be honest: Stupider people with less to offer the world than you have made successes of their small businesses, so if you don't have any clients, what needs "fixing" is you, your attitudes or your behaviors, not your ad budget. But don't worry! I'm not one of those "think yourself to success" people; I believe that doing, even a little, is better (and more effective) than sitting around just wishing.

So if you really want to know why you don't have any clients, take a look at this list to see if anything sounds (uncomfortably) familiar, and then start thinking about what you can do about it:

Reason #1: You haven't got a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Before you start sputtering that indeed you DO have a clear vision, riddle me this: How many clients do you have in your vision? What hours do you work? What problems do you help your clients solve? How did you get these clients? What does success look like to you? Is it a number of clients, an income level, or something else? Well? If you don't know the details, you haven't got the vision, so what you need to do is...

Solution #1: Create a vision of success for yourself (and by create, I mean write it down!). Be as specific as possible. One of the easiest and most compelling ways to do this is to choose a day in the near future (say six to twelve months from now), and describe in vivid detail what's going on in your business and life. Frame the statement in the present tense as if it were already true, using these questions as a guide: What day is it? What time is it? Where are you? What are you doing? What specific goals did you reach? What happened as a result of reaching those goals? How do you feel?

Just remember to ground your vision in reality. If you haven't got a single client, please don't sabotage yourself by envisioning a multi-million-dollar business within six months. Make it real, make it reasonable, and make it worth your while to achieve. See it, feel it, and then go for it!

Reason #2: You haven't got a written plan. How will you know if you're on the right track if you have only a fuzzy idea of where you're going? Once you've written it all down, you can start making choices about how to spend your time and energy to get what you want. But until you do that, you're just stumbling around in the dark, and any successes you may have are pure dumb luck. So unless you're feeling very lucky, if you want to make a success of your small business, you must...

Solution #2: Document your plans. Don't tell me that you're keeping it all in your head; that's just an excuse for not doing your due diligence, and you know it. Write it ALL down, including what service(s) you offer, who needs it, what packages you've got, how you plan to market your business, what your goals are (in terms of both income and number of clients or whatever makes sense for your business), when you're going to do whatever it is you do to market your business, and so on. If you need some help, take a look at my web site for an easy and very basic marketing plan, or if that's too overwhelming, then start by answering my Top 10 Marketing Questions. You CAN do it, and you'll thank me for it, I promise!

Reason #3: You don't (or can't) clearly articulate your value to your clients. Can you distill the essence of your value to a particular and specific customer base in seven to nine words? I can, and let me tell you, it works wonders! Let me be blunt: Nobody cares about your title (coach, consultant, king of the world), your process (facilitating, coaching, teaching, empowering), or your education (CC, MBA, PhD, Harvard or Hogwart's School of Witchcraft & Wizardry). All your clients truly care about is what you can do for them, or more specifically, what benefit they will receive as a result of working with you. What that means is that you need to...

Solution #3: Create an absolutely killer "elevator" speech. An elevator speech is a short sentence that distills the value of your services and benefit your clients get when working with you. It answers the question "what do you do?" which is really "what CAN you do for ME?" Add your name, your title if you want, and you've got a great introduction. To create your own killer elevator speech, download my Killer Elevator Speech tool.

Reason #4: You don't have the support you need to get where you want to go. Doing all this on your own is more than tough--it's overwhelming! Having a group of people PLUS one partner or buddy who are/is familiar with and supportive of your goals enough to offer regular support, ideas, and feedback helps keep your energy and momentum up, and provides you with the strength you might need when the going gets tough. Doing it all alone doesn't make you a hero, so why don't you...

Solution #4: Get a coach, and join or create a group of people who are in the same situation (building a business) as you. You've got tons of options here; either join an existing group, or start your own. You can work with a coach, or find a buddy who will provide reciprocal coaching. Not many rules to this solution, except that the support must be consistent and regular (ideally, every week for the first six months of your start up or business building process).

Reason #5: You don't truly believe you can do it, so you're not "ready" for clients. If you feel that you're not really ready, you're not, so stop whining and go back to sitting on the sidelines. But unless you're practicing a trade that requires a specific license that you haven't got, chances are that there are people out there who are willing to accept your level of expertise, no matter how new you are to the business. And the best way to get experience is by doing. So quit making excuses, and find those people! You may have to...

Solution #5: Work for free. If you're truly so insecure that you feel shy about charging for your services, offer to perform your services for free until you've got some experience, positive feedback and confidence. And don't stop with one or two free clients; get as many as you can. Just one caveat: Set a limit on the free deal, either in number of hours or weeks/months of service. If you've provided adequate value, at least some of your free clients will turn into paying clients, and you'll have proven your value to yourself.

Reason #6: You're not focused on your goals and doing the work. Maybe you've got your vision and plans documented, but you haven't looked at them in weeks (months?) and you don't recall off the top of your head exactly what your marketing tactics are. This is not good (but you knew that, right)? What you need to do is...

Solution #6: Focus and act! Constant attention to your goals helps keep your eyes on the prize and the finish line in view. Remember, the greatest threat to progress is inertia. Keep your goals visible (in a notebook on your desk, posted by your computer, etc.) and do at least one task that is designed to move you toward your goal (this would be one of your marketing tactics) every day (yes, I really mean every day!), not just when you feel like it. Your progress may be slow, but the good news is that a slow and steady accumulation of small tasks will eventually get you where you want to be.

Reason #7: You don't know who your best client would be. If you're still stuck in that rookie trap of thinking that "everyone in the world" would want your service, it's time for a dose of reality. The bottom line is that if you can't identify the person who would benefit the most from your service, then you may never get a clientele worth having. The best cure for that is to...

Solution #7: Create a profile of your best client. Start by asking yourself this question: Who would benefit most from my services, and why? You want to know the age, gender, income level, interests and other defining characteristics so that you can find and speak directly to that person in your marketing efforts. If you've got a good idea who your best client is, but you're not sure, then interview a dozen or so people who fit the profile you've developed, and find out from them what their greatest concerns and needs are regarding your product or service. If you still haven't got enough information, then keep asking questions until you get some answers, or consider working with a coach or buddy to tease out the information.

Reason #8: You've tried a bunch of things, but nothing seems to work. Maybe you tried a postcard, but that didn't work as well as you had hoped. Or you put up a web site, but nobody's visiting, or if they are, they're not calling you. Or perhaps you ran an ad once, but nothing much came of it. Knock knock! Who's there? Reality calling! You're not handing out free $100 bills, you're marketing, so that means you've got to...

Solution #8: Give your plans time to work. If you're going to do something only once, you'd best be sure that that the offer is so compelling that people will break down your door to get it. What works best in the long run is repetition and consistency. If you think a tactic is good, then give it three months or so before you abandon it. Did you know that most people do not respond until they've seen a message at least seven times, and that most ads require 27 (yes, 27!) impressions before they are acted upon? You will be bored with your marketing long before your clients are, so when you make good plans, stick with them until they stop working, and don't dump them before they start!

Reason #9: You don't ask for the business. You expect people to ask you to work for them, but that's not the way it works, pumpkin. Most people aren't mind readers, so your potential clients won't know that you want to work with them unless you say so. I know you don't want to hear this, but what you need to do is...

Solution #9: Ask for the business. Remember back in the olden days when you were a young jobseeker? What was the one thing that you were told to do at the end of the interview? That's right, express your interest in the job, and if you were bold enough, ask for the job. It worked for me back then, and it still does today. Let it work for you, too.

Reason #10: You're letting fears get in your way. If this is true of you, you certainly have my sympathy. Anything new can be intimidating and scary, but please believe me when I say that once you start doing what you need to do, you'll be too busy to remember to be fearful. If your fears become overwhelming, perhaps it's time to consider the services of a mental health professional. But if those fears are just fears of the unknown, all you need to do is...

Solution #10: Get over yourself. You are neither the first nor the last person to start a small business, so stop thinking about your poor little baby self and start thinking about all those people (clients) whose lives you are going to enrich with your wonderful products or services. When you start focusing on your clients rather than your own petty fears, your business will take a quantum leap forward, and you'll feel a bit sheepish when you remember what a scaredy cat you were when you first started.

Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach, is a successful Vancouver, WA-based entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and Certified Professional Coach. Through coaching, classes and workshops, Ronnie helps small businesses attract more clients. For free marketing resources and valuable marketing tools, visit her web site at, or email her at

Top 10 Reasons You Don't Have Any Clients (And How to Change That) © 2003 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.

Labels: , ,

Monday, May 21, 2007

Using Promotional Gifts in Conjunction with an Ad Campaign

Promotional gifts might have been designed to go hand in hand with advertising campaigns and there are great reasons why this combined approach are a sure success for your business. Here are ten reasons why promotional gifts and items make great additions to any business advertising campaign.

1. Everyone loves a freebie. No two ways about it – everyone loves to get something for nothing. When you give away a promotional gift, you're increasing your stock of good will. After all, you're giving something away. This automatically gives out a positive signal that you must be good people!

2. Promotional gifts are the perfect way to increase your brand awareness. The purpose of an advertising campaign is to get your name and your product out there. Choosing promotional gifts that are meant to be used makes your product name more noticeable.

3. The right match between your product and promotional gifts can create an indelible link. Want to equate your product with fun? Brand the logo on a yo-yo or Frisbee and see how much fun it builds.

4. Two-part promotional gifts encourage people to try your product. Launching a new business? Use a two part promotional gift to bring people to your grand opening. Send out part of the gift in a targeted mailing with an invitation to pick up the rest of the gift at your grand opening.

5. Use promotional gifts to build your company's image. Lend your company name (and some financing help) to public service promotions that you support. When you involve your company in public awareness advertising campaigns, you garner the best publicity available. Donate items branded with your company's name to campaigns to educate the public about causes that are important, and you'll be putting your company in an excellent light.

6. Useful promotional gifts keep your name in front of your customers. By sending out gifts that will be used every day, you make sure that your brand name is right there in front of your customers' eyes and on their minds when they're ready to buy.

7. The clever use of promotional gifts can create a buzz about your product. Be cute and clever, or work with a creative consultant who is both. A professional in the promotional items fields can suggest ways that promotional gifts can get your company noticed.

8. The gift adds longevity to your advertising campaign. Imprint your message on a mouse pad, a set of coasters or a key chain, and your campaign slogan will be remembered long after the adverts have stopped airing.

9. Customers who get free promotional gifts are more likely to buy and return to buy again.

10. Promotional gifts extend your advertising campaign's legs. When you use promotional gifts imprinted with your ad slogan or your company's logo, you increase the number of people who see it by the number of times that the recipient uses your gift.

Keying the promotional gifts you choose to your advertising campaigns makes sense. If you're looking for creative ways to use promotional items in your advertising campaigns, check out the leading suppliers on the internet and talk to one of their skilled professionals for ideas.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Promotional Products + Direct Mail = Responses

We receive so much advertising today, through the mail, e-mail, the Internet, television, radio, and billboards. We learn to tune certain messages out and choose carefully what we open out of our mailboxes. Many pieces of mail are sent straight to the garbage without a second look. As a marketing professional whose job is to grasp customer attention and generate responses from direct mail strategies, this can be a challenging task. However, there are some possibilities that should not be overlooked. Promotional products can make the difference. It's true. It has been proven- by leading experts in the field of market research. When a company includes promotional items along with direct mail sales letters, response rates increase dramatically. Consider the following:

1. Mailed promotional gifts solidify your business' name in the minds of prospective clients. They remember you. When children need back-to-school clothing, recipients are more likely to remember you based on the inflatable ball that you mailed. Similarly, when the heating and air conditioning needs repair, that customized refrigerator magnet you sent serves as a reminder of your company. The need to search the yellow pages or ask around the neighborhood for names is eliminated when the public already has some exposure to your name. Direct mail paired with promotional products enhances the memory of customers.

2. The combination of pieces creates feelings of gratitude in the customer. The studies indicate that when individuals receive an item of value, it fosters a sense of obligation. When customers open your packages to find gifts that they appreciate, they lean toward choosing you over the competitors based on the initial contact and favor.

3. Promotional products create curiosity. When recipients check their mailboxes and discover odd-shaped packaging or envelopes that obviously contain something of mystery, the wheels in their minds begin turning. In the beginning they may have few intentions of responding to your offer. Nevertheless, the mystery contained in the packaging can be too much for people to resist. Upon discovering your item, the chances that they will connect with your company increase magically.

4. Moreover, free gift items contribute to an element of suspense. One effective technique involves sending a series of packages at various intervals each containing a unique and thoughtful item corresponding to the time sensitive opportunity. After the first one has been opened and examined, it can be hard to resist subsequent arrivals. People want to know what is coming next. They begin to anticipate and look forward to the following direct mail pieces. Of course, this greatly affects their relationship to your business and its image.

While so many benefits exist, consider that there are ways to assist the ease of the intended outcome. Safeguard your efforts by checking in with some of the following ideas. You obviously want to see the fruits of your labor, and taking time to review the following suggestions can work to your advantage.

- Contact the local post office. Certain promotional gifts, though small, have the potential to puncture thin packaging. Ask about the appropriate methods of sending such items.

- Know the consequences of using oddly shaped containers. While tubes and oversized boxes are eye catching and can inspire curiosity, they can be an inconvenience if they force the recipient to travel to pick them up. If a package fails to fit into a mailbox and the mail carrier leaves the notice indicating failure of delivery, the customer could become dismayed. They may be disappointed after traveling to pick the mail and finding the direct mail piece. This could be detrimental to your wishes of facilitating customer goodwill.

- Create professional packaging. Use computerized labels, standard envelopes, and avoid handwritten addresses or sloppy appearances. If you want your mail to be taken seriously, it must be presented with care. In addition to looking respectable, it should not stir any feelings of uneasiness or discomfort among recipients.

- Doing some basic demographic research could be beneficial. If you are taking the time to customize an item and pay for the shipping, make it worth your while. Include something of quality to impress the prospective clients. It need not be expensive or large. However, a creative or thematic approach works well. Be sure that your graphic work appears professionally done.

Becoming aware of what does and doesn't work saves you trouble, time, and resources. These basic principles and gentle warnings should be of assistance to your direct mail campaign. Competitive businesses know that including promotional items seriously influences the response rates of sales letters.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, May 18, 2007

Free Ways To Find New Targeted Prospects

Finding new customers and business builders is the most important aspect of your business.
It can be very frustrating and expensive to spend time on advertising campaigns that don't work.

You want to get your desired message out in the marketplace to find new customers and business partners. So what is effective marketing?

This involves finding a targeted audience who is looking for what you have to offer,
and attracts them to you through a carefully designed system.

The most effective way to market your business is to generate your own leads and
attract the right people to you.

Marketing your business doesn't have to cost hundreds of dollars. In fact, surprisingly, some
of the best methods don't cost anything at all!

One of the best free ways to effectively market is to start blogging.

This is the process of setting up a blog of your own and posting good material on it.
The recommendation is to post daily so the search engines will find it more quickly.

A blog is a website that is like an online journal, or diary for or any material you write about.
You can post articles, pictures, links, etc. on it whenever you want and
keep adding new material as you wish.
Best of all, you do not need any technical skills to set it up. So it is very easy to do.

How you use it and what you have on it is most important. The biggest benefit of using a blog for marketing, is that search engines pick up more information and keywords from blogs than they do for most actual websites.

Make sure that you provide good, educational material for people on your blog, and have
all your information relevant to your main objective.

To start your own blog for free, go here:

Secondly, another no cost effective way to market is to find discussion forums and
post regularly. You can find dozens of forums using google for MLM, network
marketing, or interests you may have regarding pets, books, and others.

Forums particularly for marketing are a great place to share ideas and give marketing tips
to others. The more you contribute to discussions and add something that can really
benefit others, the more credibility you have and it increases your chances that someone
will want to find out what it is you are doing. People are looking for leaders and you want
to be seen as one and as someone who can help others reach their goals. Many people who
visit networking forums are often looking for a business, so you have your target audience.

One more free option, is to set up a page (also called a "lens") at
There are many features too numerous to mention here, and you can find tutorials which will

help you get your site looking as you want it to.
You can add videos too, and these are great marketing tools! It's your own page on their server.
Then once you have your page set up as you like it look for groups to join that you have an
interest in.

Fill in as many relevant 'tags' or keywords in your site as you can, which will increase visitors
to your page. Make sure they relate to your business/product and choose words that are popular.

In conclusion, it should be noted that these methods won't produce a lot of traffic overnight, but they are effective over time and in the case of Squidoo, once your page is set up your work is basically done there, join some groups and check out and comment on other lens and you should start getting traffic there very quickly.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How to Choose Effective Business Advertising Gifts

Advertising business gifts offer a tried and true method of publicizing your business. Little tokens of appreciation given to clients, promotional items offered as an incentive to try a new product and trinkets that advertise your name are all part of the broader spectrum of advertising business gifts. They range from plastic key rings that cost a few cents each to elegant pen sets and even embossed laptop computers and cases. Choosing effective business advertising gifts is an art that requires you to evaluate a number of different factors.

What is the purpose of the gift?

Companies use advertising business gifts for many reasons, but most of them fall into one of four categories:

- to increase name or brand recognition

- to show appreciation for trade

- to increase sales by enticing customers to buy

- to acknowledge an achievement

Knowing why you are giving out an advertising business gift is the first step to choosing an appropriate promotional item (or appropriate items) to be used.

Who is the gift meant for?

Again, there are specific targets for advertising business gifts, and the recipients of your gift will also dictate the type of gift that you should be giving. The most common target recipients for advertising business gifts are:

- prospective customers

- existing customers

- employees

- executives of associate companies

Where and how will the gifts be distributed?

Your advertising business gifts may be distributed in many different ways, but the most common ways and places to distribute advertising business gifts are:

- by direct mail (marketing promotions)

- with a delivered order (thank you gifts to existing customers)

- at a trade show or other event (to existing and prospective customers)

- personally (at sales meetings or on appointments)

- as a handout in store or on premises (special events marketing)

The way that your gift is given can greatly influence its reception and impact. A sales representative for your company might keep a supply of good quality imprinted pens with him so that he can hand one to a customer about to sign a contract, then tell him to keep the pen. You might put a jar of inexpensive rulers imprinted with your company name at the till in your hardware shop, or hand out imprinted key rings at a public event on the green. A direct marketing campaign may involve mailing your advertising gift in an eye-catching package along with a coupon for your services as an enticement to try your firm.

No matter what or how, though, there are two rules of thumb to keep in mind when choosing appropriate and effective advertising business gifts.

1. Choose items that are of some value to your target audience. A gift that is used will give your business more exposure than one that is tossed in the trash or in a junk drawer.

2. Choose items that are associated with your business. A hardware or paint store might give out rulers or imprinted measuring tapes. A coffee shop might give away custom printed travel mugs.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chiropractic Marketing - A 'Must-Know' Lesson For Chiropractors From Bill Gates

Bill was once quoted as saying something along the lines of,
"Microsoft has had lots of competitors over the years. It's a
good thing we have museums to record those moments in history."

Ouch. Not a good thing to think about if you were one of those
competitors, that's for sure.

But, you certainly don't need to be a competitor of Microsoft to
feel the sting of business competition.

With the quantity of chiropractors in practice today, and the
quantity of new doctors coming into the profession every year,
I'm sure you'd agree, it's a pretty darn crowded and competitive
chiropractic marketplace out there.

The number of shrinking incomes and struggling doctors, certainly
confirms that.

So, how do you go about being on the winning side... the success
side... of chiropractic business competition, instead of on the
losing, struggling side?

2 ways...



Let's talk about differentiation first.

In order to excel in a crowded profession, you must be able to
show prospective patients and active patients what makes you and
chiropractic care in your office different from what every other
doctor or chiropractic office is offering.

Mainly, you must offer patients benefits and unique value they
can't get from one of the other local doctors competing with

And, if you really want to protect your practice and income from
current competition and any future competition, you must learn
how to position your chiropractic practice uniquely in the mind
of consumers.

In other words, you've got to learn how, through your marketing,
to have prospective chiropractic patients view your chiropractic
practice compared to others, as if comparing apples to oranges.

This only happens when you take proactive action to create that
differentiated, unique positioning through your patient
acquisition and retention methods.

And, here's where your practice metrics come in...

Plain and simple, the only way to rapidly grow a chiropractic
practice (and sustain it) is to understand and manage your key
practice metrics (measurements/numbers).

Just like acquiring wealth and becoming financially free is all
about properly managing and measuring certain numbers (i.e. your
bank balance, your income, your expenses, etc.). The same applies
to your chiropractic success.

Sadly, most chiropractic schools never teach this concept to
graduating docs.

New chiropractors then go into an insanely competitive
marketplace, with tons of practicing chiropractors, struggle to
build their practices, and end up tremendously frustrated.

Can you blame them?

I certainly can't.

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Marketing for Real Estate - Why Do I Need To Use The Internet To Market My Real Estate Business?

We are now well into the new millennium. Marketing for small businesses has changed drastically over the past five to ten years. It is now necessary to market to both your current and potential clients through both online and offline means.

The idea is to increase your visibility. There are tens of thousands of realtors across the country. Depending upon where you live there are most likely hundreds or thousands of realtors competing for business in your neighborhood. You must rise above the crowd so that clients can find out who you are and how you can help them solve their problem. The very best way to do this is to leverage the power of the internet in your real estate business.

We live in a global economy. Someone who is planning on moving into your neighborhood, maybe even next door to you, may be presently living half way around the world. You know that you would be the best person to help them find the house that is available, negotiate the deal, complete the transaction, and help them get moved in. You also know that you could do this within the next six to eight weeks. But how will that person find you and figure out that you are the one who can best help them? Through the power of the Internet.

Offline marketing is still useful. If you currently send out postcards when you have a new listing or make a sale I would encourage you to continue that practice. There are many people who like the idea of receiving something personal from you. But, tell the truth, do you personally write or even address those cards that are sent out? If they are prepared and sent out by a bulk mail facility you have lost the personal touch anyway. Direct mailings are also very expensive. If your company is helping to defray some of the costs it may fit within your marketing budget, but you may still want to look at reaching people through the Internet. The mailing cost there is still zero.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 12, 2007

How To Show Appreciation To Your Clients Without Breaking Your Budget

Let's face it. We know that our clients and customers like to fee appreciated by us. Yet, how many times do we neglect to seize an opportunity to show appreciation to our clients and customers? And how many times do we use the excuse that we do not have money in our budget to do something special for them? What a non-strategic thinking and short-sighted view that thinking presents. What about the life time value of our clients and customers? Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach is letting you know that you do not have to spend a significant amount of money to show appreciation to your clients and customers and see a good return on your investment from increased satisfaction and loyalty.

So, what are some of the ways you can exhibit appreciation to your clients and customers without breaking your budget? Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach offers the following ten (10) positive and proactive actions to do show that appreciation without significant costs.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #1: Say and send a thank you.
The more personalized the thank you the better. My most preferred method is a handwritten thank you.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #2: Provide rapid response to complaints. You have an opportunity to turn complaints into compliments and increase the client and customer loyalty in a major way.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #3: Empower employees to make your clients and customers feel special. This should include customer service training to make sure the employees are equipped to ensure a positive experience for the client or customer with each interaction.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #4: Ask your clients and customers what they think. Ask them their opinions and feedback n your services and products. Develop a specific customer feedback program and make them feel special to be selected to participate.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #5: Develop and implement some form of customer loyalty reward system. This could be a gift, a discount or some other token of appreciation to reinforce your appreciation for their business.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #6: Support your client and customer businesses. This could be in the form of a personal referral to and/or recommendation of their business from you.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #7: Provide a convenient source of information about your business and its products and services for your clients and customers. This can be facilitated by making it easy for your clients and customers to find information through your company website.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #8: Use a company newsletter to regularly communicate with your clients and customers and with their permission, include something about your clients and customers.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #9: Develop and implement a customer relationship management system. Use this system to send greetings at holidays and special occasions with a personalized message. And avoid a sales pitch in these contacts.

Positive & Proactive Appreciation Action #10: Take away any frustrations of doing business with your company. Ask your clients and customers what you can do to make it easier to do business with you and them review the best suggestions to implement.

Your strategic thinking business coach encourages you to fully realize the benefits of business coaching to help you provide positive and proactive appreciation to your clients and customers without breaking your budget. If you would like to learn more about how a strategic thinking business coach can facilitate and guide you in that endeavor, please contact Glenn Ebersole today through his website at or by email at

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 10, 2007

15 Steps to Networking Success - First Contact to First Meeting

Not many people really like networking. What should you talk about? How much should you talk? What questions should you ask? What's the best way to cement the relationship?

Well you're in luck! It's easier than you think. Just follow these 15 steps...

  • Ask the potential contact what they do.
  • Listen carefully to their description of their job or company and pay attention for anything that suggests they are having difficulty with their business.
  • Summarize what they just said back to them. Comment on something that you find interesting.
  • Ask a question related to their business; give them a chance to teach you something.
  • Thank them and ask for a business card.
  • Do not talk about yourself or your business.
  • When they ask about you or what you do, give them a succinct memorable answer that you have prepared ahead of time and memorized.
  • Give the contact a business card when they ask for one.
  • Thank them and tell them that it was interesting conversation.
  • But that's not all -- you've got to follow up or your great first impression will be forgotten by the second cup of coffee the next day.

  • Send an email the next day -- keep it short.
  • Mention something you thought was interesting from the conversation.
  • Either ask an open-ended question or give them a link or referral to something that they might find useful -- create a relationship of obligation; either of them to you or of you to them -- something that legitimizes your correspondence and keeps it going. Remember, people like to help others. If you ask the contact for some information that gives you a reason to repay them later and that means continuing the relationship.
  • Wait for them to follow up, when they do, suggest a meeting in person to learn more about their business.
  • Before you call, send an email specifying what day and what time you will call.
  • Call to confirm the meeting.
  • First contact to first meeting in 15 easy steps -- now go out there and start networking!

    Labels: , , , , , , , ,

    Wednesday, May 09, 2007

    Strategic Tips For Contacting Prospects From Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach

    Every day presents new opportunity to contact prospects. Are you prepared to make those contacts every day? Do you have a strategic action plan in place to help ensure the most effective prospecting possible? Strategic thinking marketers have gained an understanding of what is possible for them and their business through effective prospecting. A strategic thinking marketer is always looking for new ideas and tips for becoming more effective with their prospecting efforts. A growing number of these successful strategic marketers have business coaches are reaping the benefits of prospecting tips from their business coaches. Here are some of the most effective tips regarding contacting your prospects, according to Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach.

    Tip #1: When calling a prospect, DO NOT start your telephone conversation with that tired opening statement of "How are you today?" This will almost always raise a red flag and put the prospect on the defensive because it signals "telemarketer." A more acceptable, mannerly and professional start is to introduce yourself and state why you are calling.

    Tip #2: AVOID asking your prospect, "Are You Busy?" in your opening statement. It is much more professional to state the purpose of your call right away. In addition, it could be appropriate to state your respect for their time and give an estimate of the time you would like to share with them on the phone. If you meet resistance to the amount of time or timing of the call, then it is proper to ask for them to give you a more appropriate time to call them.

    Tip #3: DO NOT act like you know the person and are a close friend when you have never met them. Again, this is very detectable as being phony and also signals a "telemarketer" or some other unprofessional sales person.

    Tip #4: DO share the name of a referral in your opening on the telephone, if this is how your phone contact was initiated. A trusted referral name will almost always put the contact at ease or at least much less defensive.

    Tip #5: DO include some benefits into your opening on the telephone call. This is your opportunity to use your USP – Unique Selling Proposition, your 30 second elevator speech, etc. The more specific you make this, the better.

    Tip #6: PREPARE mentally and be enthusiastic and positive. Smile while you are talking to the prospect. Yes, I know the person cannot see your smile, but believe me, they will know you are smiling.

    Tip #7: SMILE while you are talking to the prospect. Yes, I know the person cannot see your smile, but believe me, they will know you are smiling.

    Tip #8: BE PREPARED before you pick up the telephone to call your prospects. Rehearse your opening.

    Tip #9: BE HONEST. If the prospect asks you a question and you do not know the answer, tell them you do not know and that you will get back to them on their question.

    Tip #10: ALWAYS say thank you to the prospect for sharing time on the telephone with you.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Monday, May 07, 2007

    Reviewing Your Networking Schedule

    I think most of us are pretty sold on the idea of extending our networks. Knowing more people gives you a greater opportunity to be of service. Like many other marketing activities, networking requires an investment – of your money, your time and your commitment. So before paying again for another year's membership, take a moment to analyse whether this investment has given you the return you expected.

    Firstly, did you commit fully to the network over the last year. Did you go to meetings regularly, make an effort to meet new people, and then keep in touch with them afterwards? Did you join a committee or become involved in the management of the group?

    If you haven't made the grade by participating fully in a network, then you shouldn't expect a big return. Your decision on whether to stay with this particular network should revolve around whether you plan to put in 100% effort for the next 12 months.

    However, if you can say - hand on heart - that you invested the right amount of time, then the question really does become about what you got out of it.

    Here's a list of things to consider:

     How many new contacts did you make that you would feel comfortable contacting?

     How much new business did you get as a result of being part of the network?

     How valuable was the content of the events you attended? What did you learn that has helped you or your business?

     How much did you enjoy mixing with the other members?

     How much time did you invest with each network?

     What was the total cost of being with the network for the last 12 months?

     How relevant was the network to the type of business you run?

    When you start to articulate some of these things, it will quickly become clear whether you should stay or move on from each group.

    Networking is one of my key marketing activities (along with writing…), so I make sure I review my success with various networks on a regular basis. I have recently decided not to rejoin one of my networks, but to substitute it with involvement in 2 industry bodies.

    And don't be afraid to quit a network if it isn't working for you (providing you've put the effort in to making it work of course), or if your business changes and other things become more relevant.

    Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

    Sunday, May 06, 2007

    Building and Growing Your E-mail Marketing List - Top 4 E-mail Marketing Software Programs

    Email marketing is a very effective way to grow your business and send out a company newsletter or updates. Sending e-mail is less expensive than most other forms of contact. E-mail marketing has demonstrated to be flourishing for those that do it correctly.

    Now that you have decided to do email marketing, just how do you go about getting your e-mail list. Do you grow or build your list or should you go out and buy a list.

    The quick and easy thing to do, would be just to go out and buy a list and have an instant list of e-mails all ready to go. Sounds easy, but I would avoid this method. There are plenty of people ready and willing to sell you a list of e-mails. These folks that sell e-mail list, will tell you that you are the only person that is getting this e-mail and it is guaranteed to be opt-in or even double opt-in. Don't believe it. Good list are hard to get and unless you know for certain the person responding is expecting an e-mail from you, don't buy it.

    I hope I have made the first method clear, don't buy a list. Now there can be other methods to using an existing list, such as renting a list. The main thing to understand here, you never get to see the email, the list owner is sending an email for you. You basicly pay a rental fee for using the list. The owner will send your information out for a fee on your behalf.

    How to Build your own list?

    There are many proven methods to building your own list. It does take work and patience in this process.

    1. PPC – Paid search advertising is a method where you place an online ad in Google, MSN or Yahoo for example. As people click your ad, they can sign up to receive more information. This can be an expensive method. You can use some type of free item or giveaway to invite your guest to sign up. For example, you could give a free E-book, discount, how to information, trial offer etc… to someone that as a reward for responding.

    2. Newsletter – If you already have an existing product and website, you should be using some type of newsletter signup on every page on your site. The key goal here, is to make it very visible and easy to signup. Look at this as long term project. It takes time to build a list and it also depends on how many visitors you have to your website. Get started now on this and over time, you will build a large list.

    3. Discounts and Coupons – Offer a coupon or some type of price discount for those that signup on your existing website. Develop a special list of customers that want to know when the next discount or new product is available.

    4. Business Cards – Hand out business cards to everyone you meet. Let them know about your website. Promote yourself in your daily life. We sometimes think that you have to make all your contacts on the internet, but why not use what you are doing on a daily basis to build contacts. Place a note on your card that they can sign up for more information and if they mention a special word, they can get a discount.

    Once you get the list built or at least in the process of building, you are going to want to have a specialized e-mail marketing software to make all this happen. Do not be sending e-mails from your Outlook Express or personal e-mail system.

    Here is a list of the best e-mail marketing software programs.

    1. Atomic Mail Sender

    2. GroupMail

    3. MaxBulk Mailer

    4. Mass Mailer

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Friday, May 04, 2007

    Weird Things Get Attention

    Try This Now

    Take a good look around and make a list of all the objects you can see that are blue. Take your time, there is no hurry.

    Got your list? You've probably got between five and fifteen objects. Now shut your eyes and think of all the red things you saw when making the list. The weird thing is that you will be able to think of one or two objects but if look around now, you will see just as many red things as blue things.

    The human brain is an amazing filter and will ignore anything it doesn't consider important. This is why when looking for blue objects, you ignored the red. This is very useful for the brain as it can focus on the important thing but it is a nightmare for advertisers and sellers. Unless the customer is already looking for you, they are not going notice you. In order to beat human nature, weird things need to happen.

    I Blame Saber-Toothed Tigers

    Caveman Gog is walking through the forest back towards the cave. Its been a long, fruitless day hunting antelope and he is tired. Too busy worrying about how he will attract a mate if he can't catch any food he doesn't notice the tiger until its too late.

    Gog's brother, Zog, is also walking back through the jungle, empty handed. Suddenly he stops in his tracks, fully alert. His brain has just noticed a weird thing, something odd and out of place. A patch of shadow that isn't right. Carefully he raises his spear and throws it into the shadow. A tiger stumbles out of the undergrowth, the spear in its neck, and it falls dead at Zog's feet. That night Zog had a lot of fun showing off his new tiger skin rug to all the cavegirls.

    Modern humans are descended from those cavemen who could spot the unusual because the unusual killed those who didn't. We may live in a generally safe, hi-tech world but our brains are very similar to those of our cavemen ancestors. Our brains are tuned to pick up the unusual or weird things around us.

    Try To Kill Your Customers

    For your advert or product to stand out, you need to trigger the "Warning! Weird Thing Alert' part of brain that allowed Zog to spot the tiger. I'm not suggesting that you dress up in a tiger suit and pounce on people as they take their lunch in the park but this is the effect you want. Your customer's undivided attention.

    The seller's biggest enemy is not their competition but desensitization. This is the process that trains the brain to ignore things that were once new. If you walk into a room with a weird aroma it will seem overpowering at first but after five minutes in the room you will forget it entirely. This is desensitization and its happening all the time.

    Drowning Not Waving

    How many adverts have you seen today on TV, in the paper, on the internet? Hundreds probably. So many that we have become desensitized to anything that looks like an advert. Big companies can spend tens of millions of dollars coming up with striking visual images, quirky names and big stars to get our attention but how can the small guy do it? How can you trigger that 'weird things' part of the customer brain and still be run a serious business or get a important message across?

    You don't have to be zany or do weird things. The secret is to see what you have learnt to ignore. Start by looking at where you going to be. If you are shop, look at all the store fronts in the area. If you are planning an print advert, look at all the adverts in the magazine or paper. Make a list of what they have in common. Their shape, their layouts, the words, the fonts and colors they use. Now compare them all.

    What you are looking for is not the differences but the similarities because this is the forest where a weird thing can stand out. You want to be a tiger in the forest, not a tree. If everyone else's sign is square, use a round one. If other adverts have long product descriptions, keep yours to three words or less in a font 72 points high. Being different is the first step in making sale.

    Attention Is Only The Start

    Leaping out of trees whilst dressed in a tiger suit will get you attention but it won't make you a sale unless you are selling tiger suits. How you get people's attention has to fit with the product you are selling because it is just one ingredient in the recipe. But like adding mentos to diet coke, throwing a few weird things into the recipe can produce something special.


    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    Creating Awareness Using Charity Badges

    One ideal way to raise awareness and money for any charity - whether it's a company, association, club, group or school - is through the sale of badges. Many charities, both national and regional, regularly use badges to publicise their good work and boost their insufficient funds.

    As non-profit organisations, charities are dependent on various sources of income such as bequests as well as raising money through events and the sale of charity merchandise. With approximately 170,000 registered main charities in England and Wales competing for donations, the most successful charities are usually the ones that have become experts in self-promotion.

    Whether donations are collected by volunteers in the street or indirectly on the counters of banks, building societies, supermarkets, shops and libraries, the trend these days is to offer a small item in return.

    Charity badges are perfect for this as they are relatively low cost but enduring.

    Unlike disposable items like stickers, badges are often kept on coats or stuck onto bags for several days or even weeks. This means the charity benefits from repeated exposure without any further outlay. Available in almost any shape, size and colour, it is possible to be quite creative with a badge. Tailor-made to meet specific requirements, most charity badges incorporate a name, logo and individual design with many charities instantly recognisable from their badge because their logo is so well known. As a marketing tool designed to create awareness, the use of charity badges is very successful and also extremely cost effective.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    Fighting the Perception of Commodity

    How do you find your value proposition when everything you do and everything you sell seems to border on being a commodity because everybody is trying to do the same thing to create competitive advantage?

    "Oh, but we're different. We sell our World Class Service."

    Right ……………………….

    How many distributors do you know that don't say they have world class service. Many say that servicing the customer is their core competency. If they truly do have world class service, service is not their core competency it's what they are doing to create and maintain that level of service that is their true core competency.

    That being said, finding your value propositions in the midst of identifying your core competence can become quite difficult. A widget is a widget no matter where you buy it. Isn't it? Why should the customer pay more to buy it from you? That's the critical question. What value do you provide that makes your widget different, your company different, you personally different? If the answer to those questions solve a problem for your customer, create opportunity for profit for your customer or provides improved efficiencies then you may have found your value proposition.

    Put some real thought into what you are actually doing for your customers. A fellow NSA colleague likes to say "Kodak doesn't sell film – they sell magic moments and BMW doesn't sell cars – you buy a "Driving Experience". You need to think about your business and what you really do for your customers in those terms.

    The Commodity Perception

    If you can't separate features and benefits from the real value you create for your customers, you will not overcome the "Commodity Perception". Remember, if you can't overcome the commodity perception, then price becomes the major determining factor your customer will use in his buying decision. On the other hand, if you can identify your real value propositions and make them clear to your customers by providing solutions, price is rarely an issue.

    Value added must become not only a common term but it must become engrained in your sales culture. Every decision you make should consider the question WIIFMC? (What's in it for my customer)
    Take a good look at your own business and at your competitors. What do you offer that adds value to what you sell? Ideally, it will be added value that your competitors cannot easily duplicate in their own offerings, and it will not add to the cost of the basic product or service. It will be based on your true core competencies.

    What is a Core Competency?

    This is one of the more confusing terms used in wholesale distribution today. The reason it is confusing is simply because it is very difficult to really identify exactly what your company's core competency is. If you don't struggle with that, congratulations, you are in the minority.

    A core competency is something that a company can do exceptionally well and that meets the following three conditions specified by Hamel and Prahalad (1990):

    1. It provides customer benefits and is valued by the customer

    2. It is hard and expensive for competitors to imitate

    3. It can be leveraged widely across many products and markets.

    A core competency can take various forms, including technical/subject matter know how, a reliable process, and/or close relationships with customers and suppliers (Mascarenhas et al. 1998). It may also include product development or culture such as employee dedication. It can include tribal knowledge.

    Coyne, Hall, and Clifford (1997) proposed that "a core competence is a combination of complementary skills and knowledge bases embedded in a group or team that results in the ability to execute one or more critical processes to a world class standard." So—does your skill, knowledge, system, relationships or process represent your core competencies?

    The answer to this question lies in the results produced by that process, that structure, that technology or those skills and relationship equity. The product or service must be perceived to be superior to the competition by the customer – not you.

    The difference between "Core Competency and Value Proposition" simply stated is that your core competency is what creates your value proposition and your value proposition is what creates your competitive advantage.

    "Perceived value drives customer expectations and performance value drives customer satisfaction."

    It may require a bit of thought and effort on your part to identify your core competencies and develop value-added relationships for your customers, but it will create competitive advantage in your market. It may eventually mean the difference between keeping and losing valued customers when someone inevitably offers to sell a product like yours at a lower price, but without added value.
    How Do We Sell Our Value Proposition?

    • Separate selling from problem solving

    • Take all of your industry experience and knowledge to understand the customers need

    • Present alternative solutions—define your value propositions in terms of WIIFTC and let the customer decide

    • Apply your knowledge and experience to the customer's pain as if it was your company.

    Value can be added through process, technical support, design assistance, inventory management, cost effectiveness, training and leveraging your core competencies. However, to create real competitive advantage you must have a sales force that understands and executes best practices that focus on profitable growth and increased market share. That does not mean that every sales person has to be a super star but it does mean that your sales people have to understand value added, your value propositions and be able to teach the customer the difference between price and cost. Answer the following questions as thought stimulators.

    1. Can you educate the difference between price vs. cost? What makes the low price –high cost?

    2. How committed are you to your industry?

    3. How well do you know your customers objectives

    4. How adept are you at identifying pain

    5. Are you more concerned with your employer's success than their own? Your customer's success?

    6. How well do you accept personal responsibility for failures?

    7. Do you know the five largest customers of their five largest customers?

    8. What are the 3 largest sources of pain in their lives?

    9. What are your customers' key profit and growth drivers?

    10. What are you doing with that knowledge?

    11. How would the customer describe your efforts to improve their business?

    Discuss these questions with your sales manager in a brain storming session or during one on one coaching sessions and you may uncover opportunity for improved results.

    E-mail if you would like a copy of the characteristics of the professional sales person and other sales tips.

    Labels: , , , , ,