Tuesday, April 26, 2005

When is it Enough?

Recently I facilitated an Internet marketing training class in Salt Lake City. The attendees have all been on my email distribution list for a period of time.

Most people have heard someone needs to see your name 7 – 8 times before they make a buying decision. Curious as to how many times each had received a message from me via email I conducted a quick survey.

The group average was 15 times. I tend to believe 15 is closer to the average for most people who are selling something than what we were traditionally led to believe. Especially if the purchase is with someone who has been marketing to us on the Internet.

Think about your own buying habits when it comes to the Net. Do you visit someone's sight several times before pulling out your credit card? Do you need to get multiple communications from the person or company before the decision is made? Do you find you have more choices today than ever before and therefore you are extremely well informed when the time comes to buy?

If you answered yes, you are not alone. If it takes you a while to make a decision, you are not alone. This is equally true for your customers. If you are selling something on the net the sales cycle might be longer than you think.

Are you doing all you can to keep your name fresh in your markets mind? Are you creating value for those you want to have as customers? Are you a resource before you are a vendor? If not, now is the time to begin.

Sign up for your free Street Smarts Tips at www.streetsmartsmarketing.com

Excellent article on corporate blogging

Came across this article and thought you would find it beneficial.



Monday, April 25, 2005

My newest web page

Please check out my newest webpage. Information on my book Message of Hope.


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Here's Your Copy Writing Formula for Internet Sales

By Loren Beckart

Once you have created an internet sales page that works, then you have a template you can use again and again, customizing the basic formula to any product in your line. The key is to be sure to include all the elements of an effective sales page, and use a 'formula' that has been tested and is known to work.

If you are hiring a copy writer or writing the copy yourself, here is a checklist of the essential elements to help you organize and plan your next internet sales page.

Headlines: There can be up to three parts to the headline. First, there is the pre-headline, which is a note to attract your target market, letting them know you have something for them in particular. Second, is the main headline, which describes the big benefit of whatever you're offering. The main headline should be in large font, and nothing elsewhere on the page should be larger or distract from it. Third, is a post-headline, which is only necessary if you need to clarify or elaborate upon the main headline.

The story: This is an emotional grabber that pulls the
visitor into the copy so you can present your product and
make your offer. It should be benefit driven, showing the reader how they could feel or their life could be better if they owned the product.

Credibility: This is a particularly important aspect of on- line sales. The visitor needs assurance that both you and the product are for real. Give your contact information, including an address. No one will come to your door, and if someone does call, that's good, because you gain insight when talking with clients. Also for credibility, include some results-based testimonials about your service or product, and give the full name of the testifier. Giving only first names is suspicious. If possible, explain results of product tests or quote favorable third-party reviews. And if you have credentials or expertise related to the offer, include it. Throughout the sales copy use real and specific numbers rather than approximations.

Benefits of the product or service: Using bullet format, because bullets are easy to scan, itemize all the benefits (not the features). Put them in order of priority. It is better to have too many than too few because it often takes just a single benefit to inspire a prospect to purchase, but every prospect has their unique hot button.

Features and/or specifications: This is where you specifically tell the visitor exactly what they are getting. Here is where you give details about the product.

Bonuses. Always include something extra, and make sure it has value - that it could be something people would order the product just to get the bonus. Tell the specific dollar value so you can use that information in the value build- up, or close.

Value build-up: Be explicit about the reasons the price of the product is a good value. Make comparisons to other similar products that are more expensive with less gained. Offer a guarantee if at all possible. Anticipate and counter objections. Create a sense of scarcity. That is to say, give a deadline, explain why they need to act now, and keep your deadline real. Help the visitor feel the pain of not ordering~ exactly what won't change or get better unless they have your product.

Ordering: Imagine that this is the first time your new client has ever ordered online, and hold their hand through the process by making your instructions absurdly clear at each step. Also, offer purchasing options, the most common being a secure on-line credit card page, but also Pay Pal and instructions for calling in an order or sending a check, (although this will actually happen rarely). Most importantly, remember to ask for the order in the first place by saying, "Order Now."

Post Script: In effect, this is a one-paragraph summary of your sales page, including a repetition of the most important parts. Also, ask a final time for the order.

Now that you have this list of essentials, search online for good examples. You won't copy another sales page of course, not even a line, but using good models will inspire you to write your own killer copy!

Loren Beckart is Marketing VP for http://www.ClickTracs.com, a company that specializes in delivering highly targeted traffic to your website. For information, visit:

The Gold is in the Opt-in ListBy

by Kathleen Gage

When I consult with small and home based business owners, more times than not one of the greatest concerns they have is how to increase reach to a targeted market while keeping costs down. Hands down, effectively using the power of the Internet is the cornerstone to achieving this outcome. More times than not, companies are not using their Internet presence as effectively as they can.

I often see a company that has a website that looks great from a design perspective, yet from a marketing and sales perspective the site is not working. Many people are under the mistaken belief that if a potential customer or client visits their site they will be so impressed they will automatically return time and again. Fact is, this is not what happens in the real world of the Internet. Chances are within minutes most visitors have forgotten sites they looked at unless there was something that encouraged them to remember.

People remember based on the value you create and a problem being solved. They also remember by you keeping your name and company fresh in their mind.

One way to do this is to offer visitors the opportunity to opt in to your mailing list. If people have taken the time to visit your site, you need to encourage them to leave their contact information. You do this by offering them something that is incredibly valuable that they sign up for.

It’s incredible how many companies, large and small, miss the opportunity to encourage visitors to sign up for something. It is in the signing up you will build a mailing list that is worth more than its weight in gold.

Most people are so overloaded with information that if you don’t immediately solve a problem for them they are not going to be interested in signing up for anything. Additionally, once they sign up if your information does not continue to solve their problem they will want off your list.
In today’s world of Internet marketing, your job is to look for ways to continually offer value while increasing your distribution list.

Specific Strategies to Increase Your Distribution ListIf you are in the retail industry, every time someone comes to your store, simply ask them if you can add them to your distribution list to keep them updated on specials, events, and unique offers. In most cases if they are attracted to your store, they will gladly give you their information. Make sure to get their email address.
If you have a current mailing list of clients, conduct a survey and offer an incentive for people to respond. Direct them to your site where they fill out a survey and perhaps receive a free report or eBook.

If you do any type of presentations as a part of your job, collect contact information from the attendees. Send a follow-up message within 48 hours inviting them to sign up for your Ezine.
Use your email signature file to encourage people to sign up for an incentive on your website. Put the web link right in your signature.

Put a sign-up box on every page of your site. Many websites have a sign-up on the main page but have not put one up on other pages of their site. Fact is, a web search for a specific product or service can take people anywhere on your site, not just the main page. Make it easy for them to sign-up for something from every page.

Write and distribute articles online with a strong byline at the end of the article. A byline is simply an information piece that is usually a few sentences in length. In the byline direct readers back to your website for something of value.

Offer a free report from your site. Make sure it is compelling enough for people to want to sign up.

Offer free eBooks to encourage people to leave their contact information in order to download the file.

Opt-in lists are one of the most powerful marketing tools you have in your online and offline marketing. Complemented by a good Ezine, website, consistent focus on driving traffic to your site and gaining visibility, the potential for growing your business is unlimited.

Kathleen Gage is a keynote speaker, author and business advisor specializing in marketing and promotions. Access Gage’s’s FREE eBook Street Smarts Marketing On the Internet at http://www.streetsmartsmarketing.com/free-ebook.htm

Friday, April 08, 2005

7 Marketing Lessons I Learned From the Muscleheads at Gold's Gym

by Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen"

Can I share a secret with you?
I love working out. In fact, several years ago I considered a career in fitness. I modeled for Reebok and Ironman magazine, made it to the final round for hosting a fitness TV show, and I moonlit as an aerobics instructor and personal trainer for several years while I figured out how to get out of my day job in publishing.

Now that I make a great living online as The E-zine Queen, I still make time for my health. And I'm lucky to live close to the most famous gym in the world: Gold's Gym at Venice Beach, California. On a daily basis, I'm surrounded by bodybuilding legends like Lou Ferrigno and various men named "Gunther," athletes like Kobe Bryant and Lisa Leslie, and celebs like The Rock. The place is an absolute circus, and I enjoy the entertainment factor.

When I first joined Gold's two years ago, I didn't pay much attention to the "muscleheads" - the professional bodybuilders. But I've come to realize they can teach us a lot about marketing and business success. Here are 7 lessons we can all learn from.

1. Hang around people whom you want to be like.
Bodybuilders and aspiring bodybuilders from all over the area come to the Venice Gold's because it's the home of bodybuilding. I know a few bodybuilders who drive almost an hour just to work out there. Sure, they could exercise at their neighborhood Bally's, but instead they make the trip to their Mecca every day through the arduous Los Angeles traffic.

Why? They know that when you hang around people who are doing what you want to do, you automatically have a much greater chance of success. The furious energy at Gold's is undeniable as soon as you walk in the door. You're surrounded by world-class competitors, gold medalists, and celebrities. It's not only motivating and inspiring, but there's a wealth of knowledge surrounding you as well.

Who are YOU hanging around? (Think about it.)

2. Consistency is the key for long-term success.
Bodybuilders know that a body is built over a long term. And even if they take some time off, they'll bounce back quickly because of all the training they've done over the years. It's called "muscle memory" - your body remembers your shape and snaps back into place.

In the same way, our clients and customers have "marketing memory." That is, as long as we're in front of them on a regular basis, they'll remember who we are - even if we take a break. (And there's no better way to stay in front of them than publishing an e-zine!)

3. Ups and downs are a part of the process.
Bodybuilders know that success comes in cycles. It's physically damaging for them to try to be on "full force" more than a few times every year. They know their limits, and they push them, but they don't break them.
Marketing has cycles as well. You can hit it hard for a while, then ease back for a bit. Don't worry when there's a "down." Just make sure to immediately follow it with an "up". Get back on your marketing schedule or mix it up and do something different.

4. Hard work is part of the game.
Bodybuilders don't wake up and say, "I don't feel like working out today." They just do it. It becomes part of their schedule, part of their life. And that ensures their success.

How many of us secretly wish our success would be handed to us on a silver platter? I'm all about attracting success on whatever level we can, but hey, let's realize there is work involved. The solution is to make the hard work FUN by doing what you love to do and delegating what you don't.

5. Model others who are already doing what you want to do.
Bodybuilders don't try to invent their own training programs from scratch. They look at what the top competitors are doing, and they do the same thing. From weightlifting to cardio to diet, they've got it down to a precise formula.
Don't reinvent the wheel when there are others who are already racing along. Find other business owners who are doing what you want to do, and model them. Important: Don't model ones who are doing it half-assed. Model the best, the ones who are experiencing the immense success that you dream of!

6. Find a mentor or coach for faster results.
I don't know of any champion who got to where he/she did alone. Every bodybuilding competitor hires a trainer or a coach who has been there before and can walk them through every step of the way. Does this cost them a lot of money? You bet. But they don't look at what it costs. They look at what it's WORTH. They're fast forwarding their success, and that is priceless.

I know many entrepreneurs who have wasted thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars on websites, programs, and training that got them nowhere or pointed them in the wrong direction. Don't make that mistake - I've been there. Stop struggling and invest in someone to show you the way - the right way - the first time.

7. Show off what you've got!You can be sure the bodybuilding gurus at Gold's aren't meek about their successes. They show off their hard work with outfits that emphasize their assets. (Oh, the stories I could tell you about some of the costumes there! Lace catsuit, anyone?)

Even if you don't have it all (yet), show off what you DO have. Strut your best stuff and toot your own horn. You're doing the world a disservice if you don't let us all know what you and your business can offer.

© 2004-2005 Alexandria K. Brown
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this blurb with it: Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," is creator of the award-winning 'Boost Business With Your Own E-zine' system. To learn more about this step-by-step program, and to sign up for her FREE how-to articles and FREE audio class, visit www.EzineQueen.com

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How to use Auto-responders to Boost Web Sales

By Loren Beckart

A web site with no traffic is not a business asset; it’s a liability. The cost in money and time to create and maintain a web site is just the beginning. There is the further investment of resources to get traffic. With the goal of profitability in mind, the central question a web site owner must address is how to maximize the value of visitors once you get them to visit the site. One important element of the strategy is to make use of an auto-responder.

A brief definition of an auto-responder: by email, an auto-responder sends an immediate reply when a person buys something online, sends to a specified email address, or fills out a website form. The content of the auto-response message could be information, an electronic receipt, an e-course, and so forth. When people go online, they are often searching for information, and auto-responders gratify them with instant delivery of material they’ve requested.

What makes an auto-responder such an effective marketing tool is that when prospects make requests for information and give their email address, that allows you to send follow-up emails.

How do auto-responders enable you to follow up with prospects? If you have properly set up opt-in plus an auto-responder series, you aren’t personally involved in follow up. The auto-responder contacts the prospect with the initial reply and beyond, becoming in effect your constantly at work, automated sales force. All you have to do is set it up one time. Write the follow up messages, program the intervals at which you want your messages sent, then the auto-responder set-up works for you again and again on auto-pilot.

What is the best content to present in an auto-responder series? Each set-up would contain messages relating to the initial request for information made by the prospect. Example: a visitor at a site about dieting fills out a form requesting a special report (a page or two in length) describing some effective foods and food combinations that inhibit blood sugar from turning into fat. The prospect gives their email address to receive the report, and the auto-responder tied to the form sends the fr~ee information immediately. Furthermore, the visitor learned at the site that in addition to the special report, they will receive further weight loss suggestions and encouragement in a series over the next few days or weeks, whatever time frame is suitable for the type of products in question.

How are sales boosted by an e-course or auto-responder series? The email component of online marketing is very important, and sending only one email message to your prospects is simply not sufficient. Conventional wisdom about marketing in any area is that the majority of people don’t take action on a new advertising message unless it has been put before them from five to seven times. They need repetition, and any business that hasn’t got a system for timely and consistent follow up from five to seven times is losing money.

What is the recommended ratio of information and marketing in the auto-responder series? Always keep in mind that the visitor isn’t interested in your objectives. They only want to know what is in it for them. They’ve given their email address mainly because they want to get information, not so they can read your advertisements. So give them what they want: accurate and useful information on a particular subject. Earn their trust. Then, you can tell about how your products and services could benefit them. Keep the ratio of information to marketing at a maximum of 75% to 25%. If you don’t give good content, prospects won’t keep opening the emails in your series. Make it a win-win. They get good information and you get a well qualified prospect thanks to your auto-responder messages.