Friday, December 23, 2011

80/20 Marketing: The $10-Million Case Study

80/20 Marketing is based on the 80/20 Rule, aka the Pareto Principle: in life -- and in your marketing -- only a few things matter. Most things don't.

About 20% of what you do to promote your business produces 80% of your profits, give or take. Most things you do to promote your business are a waste of time and money.

Don't believe me?

Look at your calendar for last week. How many hours of effort produced real profits?

I'll wait ...

Okay. You're probably peeved right now, but relax. There's a $10-million silver lining to all this.

Because, if 80% of what you're doing to promote your business is a waste of time and money, that means you have plenty of time and money to redeploy into the high-value, 20% activities that are already producing the bulk of your profits.

In other words, you can boost your profits fairly rapidly -- and predictably -- by doing more of what really makes you money in the time you now waste doing what doesn't.

Want to see a $10-million example of this?

Look at Plenty of Fish, the renegade Canadian dating web site first profiled by Inc. magazine in 2009.

The sub-headline to the story tells you all you need to know about his 80/20 success:

"Markus Frind works one hour a day and brings in $10 million a year. How does he do it? He keeps things simple."




The entire story is well worth your read, but here are the highlights and takeaway lessons you can use:
Five years ago, [Frind] started Plenty of Fish with no money, no plan, and scant knowledge of how to build a Web business. Today, according to the research firm Hitwise, his creation is the largest dating website in the U.S. and quite possibly the world.

Until 2007, Frind had a staff of exactly zero. Today, he employs just three customer service workers, who check for spam and delete nude images from the Plenty of Fish website while Frind handles everything else.
Bottom line: by doing only the vital few things that make him money, Markus Frind can ignore the trivial many things that don’t.

And make no mistake -- those trivial 80% matters are clamoring non-stop for his attention (and yours):
Frind is aware of his site's flaws but isn't eager to fix them. "There's no point in making trivial adjustments," he says. Frind's approach -- and the reason he spends so little time actually working -- is to do no harm.
Frind's 80/20 Marketing success puts him at the top of the food chain, where he can look down and laugh at Groupon, Yahoo, and other complex, labor-intensive businesses that don’t throw off a fraction of the profit per employee that his elegant little operation does.

His success formula is simple. Do what makes you money. Drop or delegate the rest.

So, what makes money for Frind and Plenty of Fish?

Here are 3 of the biggest keys to his 80/20 Marketing success ...

1) Get noticed

"Frind knew little about search-engine optimization or online advertising, but he was a quick study. From March to November 2003, his site expanded from 40 members to 10,000."

The more people who found Plenty of Fish in Google, the more he profited from the ads running on his site. More users attracted more advertisers, in a virtuous circle that caused his profits to skyrocket.

Question: What are you doing today to REALLY get your business noticed?


2) Deliver an outstanding user experience

In a 2006 interview with Web Publishing, Frind says:

"I suppose that the biggest issue has always been performance, In order handle 14-15 million pageviews a day on 4 servers you have to constantly tweak the database, as execution paths etc change as the database grows and load increases."

How do you know you're delivering an experience people want? Test.

"There is no magic bullet, but you should always test new designs or new text etc to get the result that you want. You will never have the worst design and never the best, but through testing you can always improve."

Get that? The more dates his site found for users, the more users found his site -- through word of mouth and media coverage.

That means you need to test your web pages, phone scripts, emails -- everything you do or say to prospects and clients.

Question: What are you testing today?


3) Keep things simple

According to the Inc. interview:
Amazingly, Frind has set up his company so that doing everything else amounts to doing almost nothing at all. "I usually accomplish everything in the first hour," he says, before pausing for a moment to think this over. "Actually, in the first 10 or 15 minutes."

Frind has kept his staff small by design--he has only three employees, who handle customer service--and he personally works only about an hour a day.

In another 2006 interview with the Affiliate Blog, Frind said: "As humans one of our biggest weaknesses is becoming obsessed with what is not important. We spend 90% of our time on that little 5% -- and that is why so many of us fail."


Lean is lovely. You can build a business that satisfies clients and pays you back handsomely. But only if you're willing to say No to at least 80% of the possible demands on your time and money, especially in marketing.

Question: What can you stop doing today, to simplify your business?


You can do this. Perhaps not to the extent Markus Frind has, but you can boost your profits today by ruthlessly cutting out the trivial demands on your time and marketing dollars, and replacing them with what really works.

Of course, you can't know what works until you examine your QuickBooks reports, client database, or other data.

That's an advantage Frind had. He's a software programmer first and a marketer second. By obsessively focusing on his numbers -- web visitors per day, the sources of those visits, the performance of his database, etc. -- he instinctively did more of what made him money.

Good news: You don't have to be a techno whiz or get 1 million visits to your web site to make 80/20 Marketing work.

Let's say you're an insurance agent, for example ...

Find out which clients make you the most profit (the 20%) and which don't (the 80%).

Double up on whatever you did to find the vital 20% of your clients. Advertise where you advertised, network where you networked, say what you said, etc.

Meanwhile, ignore or delegate the 80% of clients who demand the bulk of your time and energy, yet deliver only a fraction of your overall profits. Whatever you did to get these clients, stop doing that.

By doing this, you free up time, money, and energy to devote to cloning the vital few 20% of clients who really matter. You do this by delivering an outstanding experience (to delight them and stimulate referrals) and by keeping things simple (to further delight clients and to preserve your own time and energy).

I did all of this on a smaller scale than Frind in 2005, when I created a $2.1-million revenue stream for my own one-man business. And I show people how to copy that 80/20 Marketing story here.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Everything I Know About Creativity

Have you seen this book?

It's called, Everything Obama Knows About The Economy ...


... and it's 150 pages of blank text.

Get it?

Apparently, a lot of people got it.

Because, at the time of this writing, Everything Obama Knows About The Economy is getting a pantload of media attention -- and it's sold out on Amazon.

Now. Admit it. Love Obama or loathe him, don't you wish you had thought of this idea first?

Well, the "author," Jimmy Moncrief, didn't.

It turns out that this clever idea of selling a blank book is simply a new take on an old idea, dating back at least to 1995 ...


... when Everything Men Know About Women was published.

It, too, is an empty book.

And these two books illustrate everything I know about creativity, which is this: There are no really new ideas. Only new combinations of old ideas.

The blank book itself is, after all, just a "written" version of that kindergarten prank, the empty gift box.

So, when it comes to creating new ideas for your business, don't rack your brain too hard. Instead, look around for new combinations of old ideas.

Here are 3 examples that I've written about elsewhere:

1. Drive-thru windows at a restaurant
Introduced by In ‘n’ Out Burger, in 1948.

Where did the idea originate? The City Center Bank, Kansas City, MO, opened the first drive-thru window in 1928. By borrowing an old idea from banking, In ‘n’ Out Burger produced a breakthrough in fast food.

2. Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant
Founded by Nolan Bushnell in 1977.

Where did the idea of combining video games and food originate? Before opening a restaurant, Nolan Bushnell founded another company in 1972 -- Atari. So he didn't have far to look for inspiration.

3. Lady Jane’s Haircuts for Men
Founded in 2004, Lady Jane’s employs attractive female stylists to cut hair, surrounded by sports memorabilia on the walls and ESPN on plasma screen TVs.

I can’t prove it, but I'll bet you a haircut that Lady Jane’s is a new combination of two older ideas: Great Clips and Hooters.

What do you think?

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Do 75% More Profits Look Like?

Here's a calendar representing a typical 5-day work week ...


There are nickels on 4 days: Monday through Thursday. That represents how 4/5 (or 80%) of your marketing efforts produces about 20% of your profits (based on the 80/20 Marketing principles I wrote about here).

There are 8 dimes on one day: Friday. That represents how 1/5 (or 20%) of your marketing efforts produce a full 80% of your profits.

So, how do you get 75% more profits, from the same time worked each week?

I'm glad you asked. You do this ...


Replace just one day of low-value 80% marketing efforts with one day of high-value 20% efforts.

When you do, you can go from 100% to 175% of profits -- a 75% gain. Do the math. We've replaced 5% of efforts (and profits) with an 80% portion, in only 1/5 of the workweek.

Exactly how you do this is the focus of my new 80/20 Marketing UnCoaching program ...

... but in a nutshell, you stop managing your time and start investing it.

Specifically, you can enjoy a 75% jump in profits -- or better -- by doing 4 things:
  1. Find the vital 20% of your marketing efforts
  2. Find the trivial 80%
  3. Engage in 80/20 Substitution (trade low- for high-value efforts)
  4. Analyze and improve
If it's not sold out or expired, you can learn more about 80/20 Marketing here.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

How to Grow a Business Faster, Smarter

Wondering how to grow a business?

Strange, but true: Most things in business (and life!) don't matter.

Based on the 80/20 Rule and my own experience, only a few of your clients, marketing methods, products or services really mean anything.

Example: Only about 20% of your marketing methods (networking at trade shows? client referrals?) really work -- they produce about 80% of your profits.

The other 80% (networking at the Chamber of Commerce? social media?) don't work so well. They produce about 20% of your profits.

If the Vital 20% of your marketing efforts produces 80% of results, that's a 4x output.

And if the Trivial 80% of your marketing produces 20% of your results, that's a 1/4 output.

As a result, your Vital 20% is 16x more powerful than your Trivial 80%.

That means there's an easy route to dramatically higher profits staring you in the face: Spend more time, money, and effort on the 20% of your marketing that produces 80% of your profits.

And don't say, "I don't have time for more marketing" ... because you DO have time.

Remember? About 16 of every 20 hours you spend on marketing this week -- 80% -- are largely a waste of time.

All you need to do is determine your Vital 20% and your Trivial 80%, then move time and money from the 80% to your 20%.

And don't say, "Sounds good in theory. What about in practice?" ... because I used 80/20 Marketing to produce a $2.1-million breakthrough in my own business. More on that story here.

Fact: If you have any clients and revenue at all, you must be doing something right. Do more of it tomorrow in the time you're wasting on other things today, and you win.

As the year draws to close, it's the perfect time to analyze your your QuickBooks files and client database, to find out EXACTLY what's making you money.

Stop wondering how to grow a business. The numbers don't lie and the answers are there, if you look for them.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sampling is Sweet, Smart to Build Your Business

Do you offer samples in your business?

If not, why not?

There's no easier way to get people to try what you're selling than to give a small part of it away.

If you're any good at what you do, you can always turn a percentage of "sample prospects" into sales.

Whereas, you can't turn any percentage of 0 prospects into any sales :-)

At left is a case in point: the Ho Ho Mint Moca ...

While writing at my favorite Caribou Coffee shop, a clerk brought me a tiny sample of this yummy moca, which I would not have ordered otherwise.

A good sample, like this one, is irresistible.

Examples of free samples you can offer:
  • a teleseminar or series of blog posts to "sample" your coaching program
  • mow one front or back yard free to "sample" your lawn service
  • offer the first chapter free to "sample" your ebook
You get the idea.

Sampling is how King Gillette built a shaving empire -- give away the razors, sell the blades.

Sampling is how Angry Birds built a base of millions of prospects who later shelled out more than $350 million, $.99 at a time, for the paid version.

Sampling is one way Debbi Fields built her Mrs. Fields Cookies business.

Sampling is worth sampling as a way to build your business.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

80/20 Marketing: Fun with Numbers

Are you familiar with the 80/20 Rule, also known as the Law of the Vital Few, and the Pareto Principle?

It holds that roughly 80% of results come from 20% of causes. In almost every area of life (and business), a small input produces a very large output.

The ratio is rarely 80/20 exactly -- it may be 92/8 … 78/22 … 85/15 -- but it is always disproportionate.

According to Wikipedia:
Business-management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; he developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.
It's a spooky natural law that always works, but doesn't make any logical sense.

Examples:
  • about 20% of your clothes get worn 80% of the time
  • about 20% of your carpet gets 80% of the foot traffic
  • and about 20% of bugs cause 80% of software crashes (at Microsoft, anyway)

On and on it goes -- a large majority of results comes from a small minority of causes, in a ratio of about 80/20. In any business, including yours, about:
  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your profits come from 20% of your marketing activities
That last figure is important.

Because, if 20% of your marketing produces 80% of your profits, then 80% of your promotional efforts produce only 20% of your profits. In other words, 4/5 of your efforts are largely a waste of time.

Yikes.

Therefore, there's an easy route to dramatically higher profits: Spend more time, money, and effort on your most effective marketing methods -- the 20% of your marketing that's producing 80% of profits.

Imagine if you could double up on your vital few 20% marketing efforts. You would get 160% of your current revenue. But ...where do you find the extra time, money, and effort to do this?

In a word, replace.

Simply replace some of the time, money, and effort you're spending on low-value 80% marketing with high-value 20% marketing.

Example: Let's say you spend 10 hours a week marketing your business, and 40 hours a week in operations. (Yes, that's 50 hours a week -- most entrepreneurs I know work at least that much.)

And let's say that, after careful analysis, you find that only 2 of 10 hours spent marketing -- 20% -- are highly profitable. Turns out, those 2 high-value hours are spent attending a single weekly networking meeting, where you get 80% of your business.

The remaining 8 hours a week you devote to marketing are on low-value (for you) activities like Twitter, writing articles for ezines, and answering email.

So, try this: "Steal" 2 of those low-value 8 hours and replace them with high-value networking.

How?
  • find one more valuable networking group ... 
  • spend an extra 2 hours being useful to the people in your current networking group ... 
  • start your own networking group
Whatever you decide, any time, money, or effort you can redeploy from low- to high-value activities is like an investment that's almost guaranteed to deliver higher profits from the same hours worked each week.

Try it for yourself and see.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rapid-Response Marketing Example

You may remember that I wrote about my Rapid-Response Marketing Kit -- the 2 stamped thank-you notes I carry with me everywhere, so I can thank prospects and clients at a moment's notice.


Mailing thank-you notes has been a secret weapon of mine for years. They work like a force multiplier, making any sales pitch by phone or email at least twice as effective, in my experience.

Turns out, I'm not alone.

A super-successful client of mine, Gaye Lindfors, carries around her own version of a Rapid-Response Marketing Kit. She sent me this photo below ...


Gaye says: "I keep it on the front seat of my car. If I’m early to a meeting, waiting for an appointment, or want to write a quick note after a meeting while the energy is fresh,  I pull out a note card and make a connection with someone, rather than checking my emails."

Why do I put so much stock in mailing thank-you notes? And how can they work like secret weapons?

As marketing author Harry Beckwith writes: "Handwritten thank-you notes feel like gifts because you took the time to find the paper and envelope, write the note, affix the stamp, and gift-wrap your note in its package."

A handwritten thank-you note is a heartfelt gift. And gifts are good. They separate you from the hordes of impersonal competitors who are chasing the same prospects as you.

Whatever you mail to prospects (to get them as clients) and clients (to keep them as clients), mailing a "thank you" is better than emailing ... nor sending nothing.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tom Peters Wants You to Stop Lying to Yourself

Tom Peters said: "The calendar never lies. You can claim something is your priority, but if your calendar doesn't reflect it, you're lying to yourself."

Here's my corollary: QuickBooks never lies. You can claim something is making you money, but if your QuickBooks reports don't reflect it, you're lying to yourself.

Implication? Stop lying to yourself. Find out what's really making you money.

Here's how: Look at QuickBooks or your customer database. Ask yourself two questions:

1) What's working really well?
  • What 1-3 marketing methods are producing the bulk of your new clients?
  • What 1-3 clients (or client types) are producing the bulk of your profits?
  • What 1-3 products or services are producing the bulk of your profits?

2) What's working unexpectedly well?
  • What 1-3 marketing methods are delivering more sales, more easily or profitably than expected?
  • What 1-3 clients (or client types) are easier and more profitable to serve than expected?
  • What 1-3 products or services are easier and more profitable to sell/produce/deliver than expected?

Size doesn't matter here -- you're looking for potential breakthroughs:

And this question is potentially more valuable than question 1) -- it helped me uncover a $54/month revenue stream that exploded into $54,000 a month.

If you're like most business owners, you won't take the time to answer these two questions.

Look around. Most business owners are struggling. What does that tell you?

More importantly, why not take a hard look at your numbers to see what they tell you?

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Rapid-Response Marketing Kit

After you meet with a prospect who wants a price quote from you, how do you respond?

Do you send a project summary (never a "quote," "proposal" or other commodity language!) within 24 hours?

If so, you probably send that information by email, right?

Well, here's a way to quickly and easily close more sales: Mail a thank-you note RIGHT AWAY, even before sending any marketing literature by email.

Thank-you notes in the mail have been my secret weapon for years. They work like a force multiplier, making any sales pitch by phone or email doubly effective (in my experience).

But ... mailing a thank-you note to prospects is easier said than done. You're busy. You may forget. And who has time to look for a stamp?

That's why I always carry not one but two thank-you notes in my satchel, ready to address and mail at a moment's notice. The photo above was taken "in the field" at Caribou Coffee, where I met a prospect.

I call this my Rapid-Response Marketing Kit.

My accountant calls it money in the bank.

You can call it whatever you want -- but do give it a try.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

How's That Strategy Working For You?

Question: How concise and memorable is your business strategy?

What? You don't have a strategy? Then you have a hobby, not a business. But I digress ...

Why is it important for your strategy to be concise and memorable? Because long-winded strategies are short on motivation. And you can't executive a strategy you can't remember.

When judging your strategy, here's a test: Can it fit on your business card?

Before you scoff, take a look at this strategy, on the back of Alan Mulally's business card (autographed copy below). He's CEO of Ford Motor Co. -- maybe you've heard of them?


And maybe you've heard of Mulally's results: Since taking over as CEO in 2006, he turned an annual loss of $17 billion into $2.7 billion profit by 2009 and $8.3 billion profit in 2010.

So you might want to pay attention to his strategy.

Here it is ...

ONE TEAM
People working together as a lean, global enterprise for automotive leadership, as measured by:
 

Customer, Employee, Dealer, Investor, Supplier, Union/Council, and Community Satisfaction

ONE PLAN
  • Aggressively restructure to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix
  • Accelerate development of new products our customers want and value
  • Finance our plan and improve our balance sheet
  • Work together effectively as one team

ONE GOAL
An exciting viable Ford delivering profitable growth for all.


Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here

Friday, October 28, 2011

Are You Consumptive or Productive?

Look at your calender.

How much time do you spend consuming vs. producing? The ratio determines -- without fail -- how happy and successful you are.

Consuming activities are passive. They include:
  • reading email, 
  • watching TV, 
  • surfing to non-productive web sites, and 
  • answering unexpected phone calls.

Producing activities are proactive. They include:
  • developing marketing promotions, 
  • calling your top 3 clients, 
  • creating new products, 
  • adding new keywords to your Google AdWords account, and 
  • negotiating joint-venture deals.

After consuming, you feel ... empty, guilty, small.

After producing, you feel ... full, happy, big.

Weird, isn't it?

But wait. There's more ....

Here are definitions of two related words: productive and consumptive, courtesy of reference.com:

productive
1. having the power of producing; generative; creative: a productive effort.
2. producing readily or abundantly; fertile: a productive vineyard.


consumptive
1. tending to consume; destructive; wasteful.
2. pertaining to consumption by use.
3. Pathology.
   a. pertaining to or of the nature of consumption.
   b. disposed to or affected with consumption.

Consumption, for those of you too young to remember, used to include these meanings:
a. tuberculosis of the lungs.
b. progressive wasting of the body.


So, how much of your day today was consumptive vs. productive?

You and I have probably never met, but I'll bet it was about 80/20, consumption/production.

Flip that ratio, and change your life.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Secrets to Success: 6 Minutes with David Frey

What do I do when I'm out of time or ideas for a blog post?

Interview a very smart person, shut up, and let them talk.

Lucky you -- the smart person I found is my old friend, David Frey.

After picking him up at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport yesterday (he's in town for a speech), I whipped out the FlipVideo and asked him:

"What's the secret to your success?"

David's answers are worth 6 minutes of your time, I think you'll agree ...



Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Is This Card More Valuable Than a Honus Wagner?

Is this card worth more money than a rare, old Honus Wagner baseball card?

You be the judge ...


I'd wager that the aluminum business card above, a gift I received from Harvey Mackay, is worth more than a $2.35-million Honus Wagner baseball card.

It's simple math, really ...

Harvey told me he handed out his innovative card in the late '60s and early '70s. That means:
  • if Harvey's card started conversations that helped him open just 2 new accounts per year from 1968 to 1972 (10 new accounts total) ...
  • and each account stayed with Mackay Envelope for 5 years ...
  • and each account bought an average of $50,000 a year from Harvey ...
  • the total lifetime value of those 10 accounts would be $2.5 million.

Sort of makes you look at your business card a bit differently, doesn't it?

More importantly, it makes you want to invest a little more time and money in designing a business card that stands out from the crowd.

Because, if you play your card right, it could turn out to be more valuable than ...

... a $2.35-million Honus Wagner card.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thank-You Marketing Fumble

File this under: Great idea, so-so execution.

Below is the thank-you note I got in the mail from Uline after placing my first order with them.

Let me say that their service was 100% professional, FAST, friendly, and fair-priced. I will remain a client of them for a long time.

Having said that, the thank-you note falls short of reinforcing the friendly, professional image I had of them in one important way.

Now, look at the note. What did they do wrong?


Answer: This was sent by a machine.

"WE APPRECIATE YOU AS A CUSTOMER." (Really? Why not address me by name, then?)

There's no evidence that a human ever touched this, except for the Rolodex card, which has my customer number handwritten.

And that's an opportunity lost for Uline. Because, if a human wrote my customer number by hand, they could have taken another 5 seconds and signed their name or added a personal message.

Don't tell me that's not possible for a big company. Here's an example of a handwritten thank-you note from GoToMeeting.

Am I quibbling here?

Perhaps. Maybe I should be thrilled to get a thank-you note in the mail from any vendor, since it only happens about twice a year. (Do you smell an opportunity?)

But for Uline (or you!) to mail an impersonal thank-you note is like taking the football down to the goal line ... and fumbling. It's disappointing.

(Again, do you smell an opportunity?)

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Kaizen Marketing and Your Online Advertising

Kaizen Marketing is the continuous improvement of your most valuable activity -- creating and keeping customers.

The first step in the process is discovery.

Because you can't improve what you don't measure -- and you can't measure what you don't know -- you must know where your money is coming from.

And here's a corollary: To improve your online marketing, you must first know where your traffic is coming from.

With Google Analytics, that's pretty easy. Just check your stats.

When you do, you'll find data like that in the following graphic:


See the search term in blue? Two people visited my site after typing market my business into Google.

Looking through my pay-per-click (PPC) ads, I noticed that I wasn't bidding on that keyword combination in on MSN AdCenter. So I added the words market my business to my paid search ads.

A few days later, I found the following results from my ads on MSN AdCenter:



See that? Six people clicked on my ad after typing market my business into a search on Yahoo and/or Bing. And two of those visitors to my site became conversions at a cost of $1.32 -- they downloaded and are now building their businesses using my Free Report.

What should you do now? Three things:

1) Discover where natural search traffic to your web site is coming from by looking at your Google Analytics or web server logs to find the keywords people use to find your site.

2) Bid on those keywords in your paid-search accounts in Google AdWords or MSN AdCenter.

3) Rinse. Repeat. Profit.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Beyond Networking: Being Useful

Hate networking?

So do I.

I dread networking events, which is why I attend so few.

Will I waste my time again? Will I have to fake a smile for 3 hours? Will I get cornered by some guy with bad breath who wants to recruit me into his MLM scheme?

Notice how often "I" appears above. I, I, I -- pretty self-conscious, isn't it?

That's because networking makes us self-conscious. It's like being back in 9th grade with a zit on your nose, on picture day. Maybe that's why we dislike networking so much.

Is it any wonder, then, that you and I don't network as often or as well as the experts tell us to?

That's why you might want to try something different to build your business.

Instead of networking with other people ... try being useful to other people.

I first learned of this idea in 2009, as a client in Dan Sullivan's Strategic Coach program.

According to Sullivan, if you can bring confidence and clarity to people in your network, by researching their needs and then offering something useful -- product news, information about their customers, access to your contacts, expertise, etc. -- people will make time to talk to you.

Because they will see you as an oasis in today's desert of awful economic news.

As a result, people will take your calls, read your emails, meet you for coffee ... and be more likely to do business with you -- or send business to you.

The difference between networking and being useful is like night and day. Or work and play.

Networking is a bothersome chore -- you wish you were someplace else while doing it. Work.

Being useful is fun and easy -- you forget yourself while doing it. Play.

Try being useful to other people for just one week and see where it leads you.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2 Questions that Build Your Business Without Fail

What's the easiest way to build your business?

Do more of what works and less of what doesn't.

How do you know the difference?

Ask the only people who matter -- your clients.

Specifically, anytime anybody buys anything from you, ask them these two questions:

1) Where did you find out about us?

The answers will tell you which of your business-building efforts are actually ... building your business. Is it referrals? Your Google Adwords? A business card you handed them 6 months ago?

Whatever attracted this client is working. So, spend more time and money DOING it.


2) Why did you decide to do business with us?

The answers will tell you what you (or someone else) said or did to cause your client to open their wallet. Was it your money-back guarantee? The many testimonials on your web site? Your membership in the Better Business Bureau? Over the years, clients have given me each of those answers.

Whatever sold this client is working. So, spend more time and money SAYING it.

Building your business can't get much simpler than this: Do more of what works and less of what doesn't.

Best part: You never have to guess. Your clients will tell you exactly what to do and say. But only if you ask.

You will get better and more profitable every time you ask these two questions -- and act on the answers:

  1. Where did you find out about us?
  2. Why did you decide to do business with us?

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Harvey Mackay Reviews "21 Quick Ways to Get More Clients"




I've been sitting on this letter from Harvey Mackay for 2 months, trying to figure out how to blog about his nice comments about my new book, "21 Quick Ways to Get More Clients."

Still can't think of anything witty, so I'll just share the letter with you ...

Harvey's always been one of my heroes, so this means a lot. Thanks, Harvey!


Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Formula for Success? Add, Add, Add

In an interview with The Information Marketing Association, author, coach, and entrepreneur Lee Milteer offers a simple way to build your business.

After creating her "Millionaire Mindset" program, Milteer did something important: She didn't stop.

Instead, she kept creating and improving her program, through the simple power of ... addition. Milteer explains:
"The program has changed dramatically since the first version. In fact, one of the questions I ask myself every single month is 'What can I do to add to the program to give my clients more benefits?' Some months I do not come up with anything new, but there are other months when I have a brainstorm and think, 'Oh I can do this for them, or I can interview this person, or I can add a transcript, or I can add calls, or I can add more reports or I can add, I can add, I can add.'"
By asking yourself that same question every week -- What can I add? -- you can create tremendous value for your clients and your business.

Just like compound interest, which has been called "the 8th Wonder of the World," adding value to your products and services every month is NOT sexy.

It is NOT high-tech.

It will NOT help you get rich quick.

But it can help you get rich sure.

So, what can YOU add this week?

One more thing: I just created a new Cheat Sheet that reveals 4 ways to "force" Amazon to build your business, at NO cost. Click To Download Now

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Find Time to Work On Your Business

As I've written before, there are (at least) 3 small ways to boost your business in only 15 minutes a day:

1) Pick up the phone and call your #1 client. Ask how they're doing and what they're working on. Then ask if you can be of service somehow. They will tell you how to help or say, "No, thanks." Either way, they will be blown away by your generosity.

2) Mail a copy of a helpful article (magazine or newspaper) to your top 3 clients. Include a handwritten message with each that says, "Saw this and thought of you." Sign it.

3) Call to interview your last happy client. Ask how are they using your product or service, exactly? What has changed for the better, exactly? How much more time or money do they have as a result, exactly? Then ask if you can transcribe their comments to use in a "mini case study" on your web site or newsletter.

But, incredible as it may seem, some people just can't find time to work on their business instead of in it.

So, here's a proven way to recover at least 15 minutes of "lost" time in your daily schedule: Cut back on email.

And here's my story to illustrate ...

Back in 2004, I tracked how I spent each day, logging my time in 15-min. increments, as an attorney does.

What I found was shocking: I spent 6 hours per week reading and responding to email.

Not so much, you say?

Six hours add up -- to 24 hours per month ... 288 hours in a 50-week year ... 36 FULL WORKING DAYS per year.

Unacceptable.

So I resolved to check email once an hour instead of every 15 minutes (or anytime I got bored).

Yes, withdrawal was painful (there's no methadone equivalent for this). But my productivity soared.

So I took it a step further: I limited checking email to only 4 times a day. Then I cut back again. And again.

Now, I check email only twice a day, most days: at about 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

As a result, I spend only about 3 hours a week on email.

That's a 50% productivity gain -- an extra 18 working days recovered every year.

How do I handle urgent problems by email? There are none. Anyone with a "hair on fire" emergency that I must solve also knows my cell phone number and calls it.

How do I handle regular problems by email? They wait until 10:00 AM or 4:00 PM.

Yes, it really is that simple. Do this:

1) Block off time on your calendar to read and respond to email. I suggest 3-4 blocks of 20-30 minutes at first, so you can wean yourself and stay sane. You will still save at least 15 minutes per day in "transition time" shuttling back and forth from email to other activities.

2) Delay checking email until late morning, if possible. This closes the door to letting other people hijack your morning, which is the rudder for the rest of the day (according to my mentor, Brian Tracy).

Do these two things each day and you will save enough time to make small, profitable improvements in your business.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Can Your Headline Do This?

Here's the best headline I've seen for a book since How to Win Friends and Influence People ...


It stopped me in my tracks at Barnes & Nobel last Friday night. I had to open the book and look for the answer.

Who was that killer president?

First, a word about headlines and their importance. That word is ALL.

As in, headlines are ALL-IMPORTANT to the success of any web page, postcard, sales letter, print ad, or email you write.

The goal of your headline? To stop your prospect in his/her tracks and force them to read the rest of your promotion.

In the case of, Which President Killed A Man? mission accomplished. It's a terrific headline that compels interaction.

You'll know you've got a good headline when readers say or think the following:
  • "Tell me more!"
  • "How do you do that?"
  • "Oh, what do you mean?"
So ... which president killed a man?

The president who shot a man in a duel, after being accused in print of bigamy and reneging on a bet was ... Andrew Jackson.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Force Your Business to Improve - Kaizen with Teeth

How can you turn small steps into big profits?

Let your clients tell you where you're screwing up.

Here's what I mean ...

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, offers this story worth emulating:

Consider, for example, Granite Rock Company, a small construction-materials outfit that won the Baldrige award in 1992. The company espouses continuous improvement in customer satisfaction.

They tell their customers, "If there’s anything about an order you don’t like, simply don’t pay us for it. Deduct that amount from the invoice and send us a check for the balance."

They call it shortpay; I call it a thorn in the laurel or a mechanism with teeth. While many successful organizations rest on their laurels, Granite Rock does the opposite. They devised a system that makes it difficult if not impossible to become complacent about continuously improving customer satisfaction.


A mechanism with teeth -- what a great visual.

By telling customers NOT TO PAY for anything they don't like, Granite Rock finds out FAST where it's under-performing, so they can fix the problem FAST.

Personally, I'm jealous. Although I work without a safety net, too, by offering an unconditional money-back guarantee on my copywriting, Granite Rock's "shortpay" invoice concept is way sexier.

If you send out invoices (I don't, or I would borrow this idea yesterday), why not test this out on a small scale, and see what kind of results you get?

If you're any good at what you do, a shortpay invoice will pleasantly blow away your clients ... not to mention the referrals you'll get. Because an outstanding product or service is often the best form of marketing.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Last 30 Seconds

At a seminar in Minneapolis last year, Seth Godin said: "People judge their entire colonoscopy experience based on what they remember from the last 30 seconds."

If you can envision a colonoscopy, I think you will agree with Seth.

Now, envision your business.

No matter what you do, it's exactly like a colonoscopy.

Let me explain ...

A few years ago, I took my car in for an oil change. The service guys did a great job -- it was fast, friendly, and the price was right.

Below is a picture that represents my experience up to that point ...


They finished and brought my car around. I got in and found a big, fresh stain on the passenger seat.

I motioned the technician over asked him: "Hey, can you tell me what this is about?"

He looked at the stain and said, "Oh, yeah," like he'd just remembered. "You shouldn't put a can of STP in your glove box in the summer. It can overheat and burst open. I guess that's what happened."

I said, "Well, did it levitate out of the glove box and hover over the seat before exploding?"

He had no answer, of course. One of his guys must have been going through my glove box -- why, I don't know -- and spilled the STP can on the seat.

No apology, no attempt to fix it. They thought I would drive away and not notice.

So, based on the last 30 seconds of my experience, here is my lasting mental picture of that company ...


How many people do you think I told about this? EVERYONE.

I made it my hobby for the next 6 weeks to tell any English speaker within 3 feet: "You don't want to go to Hick & Brothers Auto Shop because they'll screw you over!"

Now, think: What are the last 30 seconds of your clients' experience with you?

It it:

  • a phone call?
  • an email?
  • a letter or box in the mail?
  • your technician wiping his feet and closing the door on the way out?

Whatever those last 30 seconds are, they pretty much define:

  1. what your clients think about you
  2. what your clients say about you

Worth obsessing about, no?

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Leap Not Taken

Henry Ford said a lot of smart things.

One of them was this: "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do."

Now. Take a look at your recent accomplishments.

Are the BIG things you're going to do actually getting done?

If not, you might get more accomplished by thinking small.

Example: One referral given today beats 10 that you're going to give later this week.

Or: One prospect you call today beats 25 prospects who might call you, after your web site gets overhauled next week/month/year.

Or: One thank-you note you write and mail to a client today beats that book you're going to write next month/year/decade.

Many small steps taken will build your business -- and your revenue -- faster than one giant leap not taken.

This is all Kaizen Marketing by another name, by the way.

Small steps taken will build your reputation -- and revenue -- faster than a giant leap not taken.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing

Monday, September 26, 2011

Temper Tantrum or Learning Opportunity?

Saturday morning my wife called from the school where she teaches, asking me to bring her cell phone, which she had forgotten. It was essential for the lesson she was teaching.

Not being a dummy, I said, "Sure, honey."

Before getting in the car, I had two options:

Option #1: I could have viewed this 25-minute roundtrip drive as a huge inconvenience, wrecking my plans to liesurely read the newspaper over coffee. I probably would have arrived at her school in a foul mood and put my wife in a foul mood, making for a rotten rest of the morning for both of us.

Option #2: I could have viewed the unplanned errand as an opportunity to listen to an old Brian Tracy audio, "Executive Time Management," that I found the other day in the back of my closet. With 25 minutes of drive time, I could listen to half the audio and absorb a few lessons.

I chose Option #2.

And I'm glad.

Not only did I avoid wrecking my morning and my wife's with a temper tantrum, I learned something extremely valuable from Brian's audio -- something I might have never discovered otherwise.

Specifically, Brian's explanation of a PERT chart (see below) gave me a crucial insight that will help me finish a project that's been languishing for 3 weeks.

PERT Chart example

It's no exaggeration to say I may have reclaimed 2-4 weeks of effort and more than $20,000 in revenue, all based on one insight from an audio I would have otherwise not listened to had I not had to make an unplanned drive to school to bring my wife her cell phone.

What made the difference between temper tantrum (Option #1) and learning opportunity (Option #2)?

Attitude.

Instead of seeing the chore that dropped into my lap as an interruption, I saw it as a chance to learn something. And it made my morning infinitely more productive than reading the newspaper.

(Also, it led to this blog post, which is nice.)

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing
 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Cure for the Common Business Card?



In a world of flat paper business cards, this stands out like a ... big pill bottle full of M&Ms.

Because that's what it is.

It's the un-business card that doubles as a clever keepsake from Sue Guggenberger at The eBill Group. Her company does billing, bookkeeping, and cash flow management for physicians in the Twin Cities and beyond.

No, you can't put this in your wallet or file it with the other 373 business cards in your drawer, but that's the point. This is impossible to ignore or stack anything on. It has to sit on top of your desk or on a shelf by itself.

It literally stands out.

Keep Sue in mind if you're a busy doctor who wants to streamline your practice.

And keep her un-business card in mind if you want an alternative to the typical, dull-as-dishwater business card.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Want More Referrals? Try Giving One. You May Forget to Stop

If you own or manage a business and want more referrals, it pays to do two things:
  1. Do your job very well
  2. Give referrals
I can't help you with 1.

But I can help you give more referrals to your vendors, non-competitors, friends, community leaders, and of course, clients.

That way, you'll get more referrals in return.

I know what you're thinking: Giving referrals is hard.

It's a hassle. It takes too much time. You have to give 5 or 6 referrals before you get any back. Etc.

But here's a way to give more referrals -- and earn more in return -- simply by giving one referral.

It's based on a passage from the excellent book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life, by Robert Maurer. On pages 96-97, Maurer writes:

Many years ago, I heard a very famous pain expert give a lecture to a large audience. Although pain cannot always by managed with medications and other medical interventions, mental techniques like meditation can significantly reduce the suffering of those who hurt. This pain expert encouraged each of his listeners to go home and meditate for one minute a day. Quite surprised, I went up to him after the talk and asked him why he thought one minute of meditation would possibly do anyone any good. In a patient tone of voice, he asked me how long meditation techniques had been around.

"Two or three thousand years," I said.

"That's right," he told me. "So there's a very good chance that the people in this audience have heard of it before now. Those who like the idea have already found a teacher or a book and are doing it. For the rest of the people in this audience, meditation is the worst idea they ever heard of. I'd rather they go home and meditate for one minute than not meditate for thirty minutes. They might like it. They may forget to stop."

Wise advice, don't you think?

If you've ever struggled to do 20 pushups, try two sets of 10, or 4 sets of 5. Half the battle in finishing is starting. That's why slicing up an unsavory task can work -- any big project is easier, one small step at a time.

Now, here's the deal with referrals: You've already heard that giving them is a great way to get them.

If you like the idea, you're probably doing it already.

If not, why don't you give out just one referral today? It's better than not giving out 30 referrals. You might like it. You may forget to stop.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing

Monday, September 19, 2011

Marketing Success by the Numbers

A big misconception about successful marketing (in general) and copywriting (in particular) is that it's all about creativity.

Not so.

Marketing -- defined as finding, getting, and keeping customers -- is really a numbers game.

Know your numbers and you can play the game to win. Don't, and you won't.

Here are two examples of numbers to know:

1) What is your lifetime customer value (LCV)? In other words, how much does an average customer spend with you over their entire buying lifetime?

When you know this number, you know how much you can afford to invest in customer acquisition (i.e., how much you can "buy" customers for and still profit).

2) What are your conversion rates? In other words, what percentage of people turn into customers after seeing your ad, visiting your web site, or hearing your networking pitch?

When you know this number, you know what's working, so you can do more of it. You can also fix or stop doing what's not working.

The point to all this? When you know your numbers, you can make intelligent decisions about how to spend your limited time and money.

When you don't know your numbers, you are flying blind. And you will crash, eventually.

Here's another example, which will resonate with you if you market a professional service ...

Three weeks ago, I sent 2 project quotes to prospective clients. One week later, I received 2 checks from those quotes (100% closing rate).

Two weeks ago, I sent one project quote to one prospective client. Last week, I received one check from that quote (100% closing rate).

By the numbers, there are two lessons here:

1) My 100% conversion rate either means I'm a good salesman or my prices are too low. So I'm raising rates on my copywriting services ASAP to see if profits go up, even if my conversion rate takes a hit.

2) You can bet I'm sending out more than two project quotes this week! The numbers are very clear: More project quotes = more paychecks for me. How's that for motivation?

Sidebar: I never call my quotes "quotes," or "bids," or "estimates," and neither should you. Why get lumped in with everyone else? If you do, you're competing on price -- a loser's game.

Instead, when a prospect asks for a price quote, send them an "Outline of Services," a "Project Description," or some other term of your own creation. This helps put your business in a category of one, where there's no competition.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Small Step Toward Bigger Profits

Here's more about Kaizen Marketing, the continuous improvement of your most valuable activity -- creating and keeping customers.

To recap: The first, simple step in the Kaizen Marketing process is discovery.

Because you can't improve what you don't measure -- and you can't measure what you don't know -- you must know, clearly, where your money is coming from.

Here's a case study from James Dunworth on ProBlogger that illustrates this perfectly ...

By systematically discovering where his income came from, Dunworth got a 56% jump in revenue from a $15 investment and about an hour of work.

How did he do it?

1) He linked Google Analytics to his Google AdSense account. This showed him exactly which clicks on his web site were producing AdSense revenue. In his words, "The results were astounding."

2) He discovered that, of the 800 pages on his web site, 70% of the revenue was generated from just 3 pages (a perfect illustration of the 80/20 Rule).

3) He hired a freelancer to create an ad and displayed it prominently his web site, presumably on one of those 3 high-value web pages. Cost for the ad? Just $15!?

4) Within the month, his AdSense revenue rose from $533 to $832 (that's a 56% increase).

Here's a graphic to show how his revenue jumped:



The moral of the story?

Big profits often lurk in small areas. But you'll never know unless you look. Carefully. Painstakingly. Look.

Now. Know this: You do NOT need to hook up Google Analytics to your web site to enjoy a 56% jump in revenue.

You don't even need a web site.

All you need do is open QuickBooks or call your bookkeeper. Get a report for the top 5 sources of revenue for your business. And study it carefully for surprising insights you can exploit, as Dunworth did.

I promise you this: No matter what you think your top 5 revenue streams are, you won't be 100% accurate. And you may find results that are "astounding," as Dunworth did.

As I wrote previously, this search for unexploited revenue streams led me on a Kaizen Marketing odyssey that ultimately put $2.1 million in the bank.

But you can't improve or exploit what you don't know. So start looking at where your revenues are coming from. That's the first small step toward bigger profits.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Zig, Zagat, and the $125-Million Payday

"You can have everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want" - Zig Ziglar

While the unofficial Google motto may be "Don't be evil," Zig's words are their real recipe for success.

To whit, Google has been spanking Yahoo for years simply because Google helps more people get what they want.

And you can, too. Read on to learn how ...

First, Exhibit A: Carol Bartz, the latest CEO firing at Yahoo.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

It's a simple rule of any market. The more information that is created, the more the value is reduced. And despite attempts to woo spending with bigger, bolder and more targeted ads, services that help consumers navigate that content, namely search, remain the big money makers online.

"People tell me that content is king, but that is not true at all," says Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategy and innovation officer at Vivaki, the digital-media unit of Publicis Groupe SA. "Most people make money pointing to content, not creating, curating or collecting content."

Summary: Yahoo did not help enough people get what they wanted. So Yahoo did not get what they wanted. And Bartz got booted.

Now, Exhibit B: Zagat, the restaurant review service that sprang from humble beginnings 30 years ago. Google bought it for a reported $125 million.

According to The New York Times:

People are “wondering where they should go, where they should spend their time, so to be able to offer accurate information is important, and that’s why we’ve been getting focused on reviews,” said Google VP Marissa Mayer.

Summary: Zagat helped many people get what they wanted. So Zagat got what they wanted. Specifically, the founders, Nina and Tim Zagat, got a $125-million payday (more or less) and can now have everything they want in life.

Now, you may not get bought by Google. But you can still have everything you want ... if you help enough people get what they want.

Start with the most important people in your business life: Your clients.

What do they want? And how are you helping them get it?

By the way, this is a much broader question than, "What can I sell my clients?"

The real question is: "What can I help my clients get?"

Answer it enough times for enough clients, and they will help you get everything you want in life. Just as Zig said -- and Zagat proved.


You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Want to Improve Your Business? Do This First

"The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer." - Peter Drucker

Exactly right, of course.

Even with $500 million in funding ... nifty new technology ... without customers, your business dies. Just ask Solyndra.

If customers are the lifeblood of your business, then marketing -- creating and keeping customers -- is the heart of your business.

Business is marketing. Marketing is your business.

So, anything you can do to improve your marketing is a good thing.

That's why I'm writing a lot these days about Kaizen Marketing, the continuous improvement of your most valuable activity -- creating and keeping customers.

Here's the first, simple step in the Kaizen Marketing process: Discovery.

Specifically, you can't improve what you don't measure. And you can't measure what you don't know. That means you must dig into your records and discover where the money is coming from.

Do this: Open QuickBooks or call your accounting person. Get a report for the top 5 sources of revenue for your business over:
  • this quarter
  • last quarter
  • this year
  • last year and 
  • 2-5 years prior

I promise you this: No matter what you think your top 5 revenue streams are, you won't be 100% accurate.

Because Quicken, like your calendar, never lies.

But your instincts and hunches about what makes your business money are almost always fuzzy.

So make this a first step in the Kaizen Marketing process, which I will explain in the coming weeks.

Discover what your top 5 sources of revenue are. That's half the battle in improving them -- and growing your business inevitably, one small step at a time.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The $2.1-Million 80/20 Marketing Accident


Here's a story I've never told anyone before ...

Six years ago, I accidentally created a business that put $2,159,342.40 in my bank account.

How did I do it?

By focusing the vast majority of my marketing efforts on the vital few activities that made the most profits.

After I made this 80/20 shift in thinking (which I explain below), revenue surged, like this ...

Specifically, revenue jumped from $1,109 in May 2005 to $7,808 in July ...

... to $51,856 in September 2005 and kept climbing to $110,945 one year later, in September 2006.

More than $2,159,342 flooded into my business in 5 years, before all was said and done.

Here are 5 years of revenue totals from this project:
  •     $244,504.16    (2005)
  •     $640,471.97    (2006)
  •     $618,848.09    (2007)
  •     $465,132.78    (2008)
  •     $166,109.56    (2009)
Where did this money come from?

I promoted programs for companies that paid a couple bucks for every lead I sent to their web site using Google AdWords.

I can't be more specific than that, but I can tell you the bulk of that $2.1 million came from a single Google AdWords ad that I honed, improved, polished, perfected, and rolled out to multiple markets in North America.

Google will come to my house and stick my dog's head down the toilet if I tell you any more ...

... but I can tell you about the process that helped me make a $2.1-million killing.

I combined the 80/20 Rule with Marketing 101 to create a new concept (new for me, anyway) that you can use, too.

I call it 80/20 Marketing.

Because you should already understand Marketing 101, let's define the 80/20 Rule.

You may also know it as the Pareto Principle, named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the property in Italy was owned by 20% of the people.

Stated differently, 20% of causes account for about 80% results, and 80% of causes produce about 20% of results. The world is unbalanced and unequal -- predictably so.

The 80/20 Rule is a spooky natural law that doesn’t make any logical sense:
  •     20% of clouds produce 80% of rain ...
  •     20% of U.S. states produce 80% of home foreclosures, and ...
  •     you wear 20% of your shirts 80% of the time (especially if you're a guy!)
Note: The ratio is rarely 80/20 exactly -- it may be 72/17 ... 88/11 ... 75/6 ... etc. But the numbers are always unbalanced.

In any business, including yours, about:
  •     80% of sales come from 20% of products or services
  •     80% of complaints come from 20% of customers
  •     80% of profits come from 20% of marketing activities
This last area is important -- marketing.

Because marketing is one of the vital few things you do that really matters in business -- it's a 20% Activity that produces outsized results.

One day, in May 2005, I thought: "What if I were to apply the 80/20 Rule to marketing, and do only those things that really made me money, dropping, delegating, or streamlining the rest? What would happen?"

More than $2.1 million happened, that's what.

Let me share one of the success secrets I found after months of trial and error ....

In a word, it's replacement.

You see, after I uncovered certain elements of my marketing that were producing small, but disproportionately large profits, I replaced 80% activities (the majority of marketing that was largely a waste of time) with 20% activities (those few things that produced disproportionately big results).

In the months that followed, I turned my business upside down and devoted EVERY WAKING HOUR to writing, testing, and improving the Google AdWords ads that produced unexpectedly high revenue. (Important: You do NOT need to use Google Adwords or even know what they are to profit from this idea -- you simply need to find just one small, repeatable success to exploit fully.)

Some days I worked 12 hours and had nothing to show. Other days, a 15-minute effort added $25 a day in revenue. Smart, focused work produced small, continuous, profitable improvements.

Now. You may think: "Where do I find time for another marketing system?" or "I'm not the boss -- I can't change our business model to do this."

Both excuses are invalid. Because you have plenty of time -- you're just misusing 80% of it. And 80/20 Marketing works for any business model, by refining and ramping up whatever success you're having now.

Here are just two of the many ways I found time to devote to engage in 80/20 Marketing:
  1.  closed down an entire business (it was time-intensive and no longer fun).
  2.  stopped checking email more than once a day (a game-changer that freed up 2-3 hours daily).
Results were fast in coming ...

I increased annual revenue from this project by 10 TIMES, from $24,587 in 2004, to $244,504 in 2005. Then I TRIPLED IT, to $640,471 in 2006. The rest is history.

I now teach a 4-week course on 80/20 Marketing that is changing lives for entrepreneurs.

Whether or not an extra $2.1 million in high-net revenue excites you, the principles of 80/20 Marketing should.

Simply put, most of what you do to market your business doesn't matter. Only a few things do. Do more of them, and your life can improve dramatically, rapidly, and predictably.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Brilliant Benefits of Tea


Look at those labels.

That's as good a job of selling as you'll see in any supermarket, with a lesson you can apply to any business.

The lesson? Features tell, benefits sell.

Which means, to sell more of anything, put benefits first and features second.

Unfortunately, about 95% of people in business get this backwards.

But not the Republic of Tea.They've done a brilliant job of boiling the features of each tea down into benefits:
  • get some zzz's
  • get maternal
  • get wellness
  • get happy
  • get relaxed
  • get smart
These headlines fairly leap off the shelves, compared to the dull, standard labels on other teas.

So ... how do you turn features into benefits? Bad news: You have to think. Hard.

Here are the ingredients to get happy tea that the copywriter on this project had to digest:

Organic Rooibos, Lemon Balm, Lemon Myrtle (Bachousia citriodora), St. John's Wort, Rhodiola Extract. Other Ingredients: Natural Peach Flavor

An ordinary tea maker simply labels their product as "St. John's Wort." You've seen dozens of those. And one tea-maker's "St. John's Wort" is completely interchangeable with another's, because there is NO benefit to that name -- it's just a feature.

But Republic of Tea created their own category of one by labeling their "St. John's Wort" with its main benefit: mood enhancement. In a word, HAPPY.

Thus, get happy tea.

Simple. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Now. Look at your business. What features are you trying (without luck) to sell to clients? Take a cue from Republic of Tea and start selling benefits instead.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How to Make Clients Stick to You

You know that I preach writing and mailing thank-you letters to anyone who matters in your business life: clients, prospects, vendors, and referral partners, to name a few.

In his excellent book, You, Inc., Harry Beckwith writes: "Handwritten thank-you notes feel like gifts because you took the time to find the paper and envelope, write the note, affix the stamp, and gift-wrap your note in its package."

Well, here's a terrific twist on thank-you notes as "gifts," borrowed from one of my marketing heroes, Joe Polish.

It's called a "stick letter."

First, recall one of the reasons you mail thank-you notes to clients: To make them feel good about doing business with you. Because, if ignored, a client can quickly come down with a case of buyer's remorse.

Especially in today's economy, your clients may question their purchase and think:

  • Did I pay too much? 
  • Should I have shopped around more?
  • Do I really need that?
  • Is that product/service really worth the money?
  • Did I make a mistake?
  • Etc. -- all of it bad


So here's a Big Question: How do you eliminate or minimize buyer's remorse and possible refunds?

The answer, according to Joe Polish (and my own experience) is to send a "stick letter."

A stick letter is simply a letter to make the sale "stick." In other words, ensure that the buyer of your product or service is happy enough to keep and use it.

Best part: For a tiny investment of time and money, you can not only reduce refunds, you can delight your clients, and stimulate referrals. That's a triple play.

What does a stick letter look like?

I'm glad you asked. Here's an example of what I mail to my copywriting clients ...



Here's what that stick letter says:

As you can see, I've attached a $1 bill to this letter.

It's my way of getting your FULL attention as I say, "Thank you!" once more for your business ...

... and it represents the first of many dollars you can expect to receive from the web pages, emails, and other materials I write for you.

Here's to a long and prosperous relationship!

Kevin Donlin

By the way, the dollar bill is called a "grabber" in direct-mail parlance. It's an attention grabber that forces the recipient to read the letter and find out why you sent them money.

Mailing a stick letter to clients within 3-5 business days of their purchase -- even the same day -- is one of the best ways I know to reduce or eliminate refunds, ensure happy clients, and build your business. Win-win-win.

There's really only one way to do this wrong: Mail a fake letter. Fake as in you don't mean what you say. Clients can smell fakery like a dead skunk, so don't write a single word in any stick letter that you don't mean 100%.

And, if attaching a dollar bill offends your sensibilities, attach something else ... like a gift certificate good for an "emergency consultation" or some surprise extra service.

Meanwhile, the potential upside of sending a stick letter -- in terms of client delight, follow-on sales, and referrals -- is HUGE.

Sure, you've probably never heard of anyone in your industry doing anything like this. And that's exactly why you should try it.

Bio: Kevin Donlin can help you grow your business and enjoy the breakthrough results your hard work deserves. If you're interested in boosting your revenues and profits, please click here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

4 Ways to Grow Your Business. How Many Are You Missing?

Here are four ways to grow your business (if you know more, let me know):

  1. Get More Clients
  2. Get Clients to Spend More
  3. Get Clients to Buy More Often
  4. Get Clients to Refer Others

How do you do it? Here's a short list (if you know more, let me know):


1) Get More Clients
  • advertise more (roll a successful promotion out to another medium)
  • advertise better (test continually)
  • get publicity (use a service like www.PRLeads.com)
  • make more-appealing offers (study copywriting)
  • use more testimonials from clients (duh!)
  • close more sales (use a script, for example)
  • use a unique selling proposition, U.S.P. (Why should I buy from you?)
  • use a money-back guarantee (to remove risk)


2) Get Clients to Spend More
  • offer a cross-sell ("Would you like fries with that?")
  • offer an upsell ("Would you like to supersize that?")
  • offer a third option (a "good," "better," and "best" value)
  • raise your prices (just 2% can make a big impact on profits)
  • bundle products/services (package 2-3 items at an overall savings)


3) Get Clients to Buy More Often
  • hold a client appreciation sale (people love to buy and to belong to a group; this does both)
  • send a newsletter (with 90% helpful info and 10% special promotions)
  • do a joint-venture promotion and share revenue (who said clients had to buy your stuff?)
  • create continuity (a monthly coaching service or "preferred" status for a monthly fee)


4) Get Clients to Refer Others
  • say "Thank you" after every sale (to get clients talking about you)
  • follow up after the sale to ensure satisfaction (and get clients talking about you)
  • educate clients to help them get better results, by seminar/webinar/teleseminar (and get clients talking about you)
  • give extra care and attention to your top referrers (to encourage more of what's already working)

How many of these are you failing to use? Pick an idea from the list above. Do it this week.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing

Friday, September 2, 2011

Are You Selfish?

Every time I analyze a bad week in business, the root cause is nearly always selfish behavior -- my own.

Sometimes I catch myself peeking at the Tigers' scores on MLB.com or checking Facebook at work, for example. Or I may not give as much as I could to clients (in terms of time and attention) or prospects (in terms of being helpful).

By contrast, looking back on a good week, I invariably find I was generous with my time and effort, to clients and prospects alike. They reciprocated by buying more of my services and referring me to others.

Now. Look back at the week just past.

Was it bad or good for you?

Were you selfish or generous?

Good news: If you aren't happy with how you did, you now know what to do.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing