Friday, July 29, 2011

Email Marketing Success Story

Claude is a client of mine who owns a successful tutoring service in Eden Prairie, MN.

He's building his business using a series of 5 emails I created for him  to send out to prospects.

Here's a sample of Claude's results:

I signed up one customer last week for 25 hours after sending the first two emails in the series. It is  a good thing that I followed up with a phone call as the emails had gone into the customer’s junk email. He was embarrassed but grateful that I took the time to call. He was a an easy acquisition. The emails did play a part in the process.

Another lady has promised to give me an answer about transferring her two daughters from a competitor. She called back two days after the first email. She is looking at 100 hours. If she signs up that is a home run.

The email templates definitely played a role in acquiring these two customers. It is so much easier to respond on a timely basis using the templates. Being a slow typist it would take me an hour to draft an equivalent email. And of course I do not have the outstanding writing skills that you do.

There are two Big Lessons here:

1) You must follow up systematically with prospects by email.

For Claude, I wrote a series of emails that he sends out, in order, to every prospect. It's the same sales message every time. He doesn't have to wing it or wonder what to write. It's done for him.

As you can see above, these emails are paying him back -- big time -- in sales he otherwise might have lost.

When it comes to send your follow-up emails, there are two ways to do it ...

  1. Manually, as Claude does. This can work with your average sale is pretty high and it's worth the 20-30 minutes a day it takes to systematically send out emails to all prospects in your funnel.
  2. Automatically, using an autoresponder service like Aweber (which I use and recommend). This is more technically involved, but it's the same principle: Once a prospect gives you permission to contact them, they should get a series of automatic emails to educate and convert them into clients.

Now, here's a second Big Lesson from Claude's success story ...

2) Use the phone.

Because the best email in the world won't help you if it ends up in your prospect's spam folder.

So, if you charge more than, say, $20 for what you do, and you have the prospect's phone number, call them at least once during your follow-up process.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Heart of Your Marketing is This

The headline on this banner stopped me cold: "Discover how our clients turn $17 into $100,000"

It was hanging above a booth at a marketing conference. I was compelled to walk over, talk to the guy at the booth, and find out more.

The heart of any marketing effort is the headline.

And the goal of any headline is simple: To stop your prospects cold, so you can warm them up with the rest of your presentation.

In this case, mission accomplished.

Important: There are 4 kinds of headlines, each of which has the same mission -- to grab your prospects by the lapels and force them to pay attention ...

1) Print Headline
That's the example above. The first, big, attention-getting words on any banner (offline or online) or print advertisement (in publications or on Web pages that resemble print publications). If it doesn't attract your prospects' attention, they pass you by.

2) Email Headline
The subject line in your email. If it doesn't immediately intrigue prospects, they won't read your email.

3) Sales Letter
The first words in any printed sales letter you mail with a stamp. If your opening salutation (Dear Kevin) and first sentence don't grab readers, they won't read your sales letter.

4) Phone/Radio
The first words out of your mouth when speaking to a prospect by phone or via a radio ad. If you don't engage prospects with your first 1-2 sentences, they tune you out.

Do you see the consequences here? 

If your headlines don't attract attention -- whether online or offline -- your prospects ignore you, and your efforts are wasted. Failure is costly.

Solution: Put as much time and effort into creating your headline as you do creating the rest of your ad.

You read that right -- if you spend 3 hours writing the ad itself, devote another 3 hours to researching and writing headlines.

Because, if your headlines don't work, your ads can't work.

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Strangle Clients for Fun and Money

According to Investopedia, a strangle is "an options strategy where the investor holds a position in both a call and put with different strike prices but with the same maturity and underlying asset."

In other words, a strangle position lets you make money whether the price goes up or down, like buying and selling the same stock.

It's a contradictory idea that savvy investors use to make money.


What contradictory ideas could you explore to make money in your business?

For example: How could you buy and sell your clients?

Well, you could "buy" clients by offering cash bounties to anyone who sends you a new client. I've done it for nearly 15 years.

And you could "sell" clients by doing joint ventures. Find a business you trust, one that offers something useful that you don't provide. Then, endorse that business to your clients in exchange for a share of revenue. I've done this for years, too.

Don't get me wrong. It is NOT okay (or legal) to "sell" your clients' personal data or "sell them out" by endorsing a piece of crap just to make a buck.

However, there's no limit to your success when you "buy" and "sell" clients effectively. It lets you enjoy both sides of the equation, just like a "strangle" in stock options.

What other contradictory ideas could you explore? What can you:

  • give away and charge for?
  • build and take down?
  • repair and replace?

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

3M Marketing -- Better than the 4 Ps?

I've never been a big fan of the 4 Ps of the marketing mix: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.


I'm naturally suspicious of any marketing theory that's taught in colleges and followed by big, dumb corporations.

Instead, I follow a simpler marketing formula, tailor-made for small businesses and solopreneurs.

I call the formula The 3 Ms: Market, Message, and Mechanism.

Here they are, in order of importance ...

Market = To whom are you selling?

Your best market is the people who know you, trust you, and want your business to success -- your clients, past and present.

As copywriting legend Gary Halbert once said, if you're selling hamburgers, you don't want the best beef or the lowest prices ... you want a starving crowd. That's your ideal market.

Message = What do you say or write?

The most important parts of any marketing message are:

  • the headline (of the ad) or first sentence (of the email or sales letter)
  • the offer (what you give people in exchange for their money)

Here's how to budget your time when creating a message: If I spend 6 hours on a 3-page email promotion, about 2 hours are research, 2 hours are devising an offer and headline, and 2 hours are actual copywriting.

Mechanism = How will you deliver this marketing message to your market?

Here are example delivery mechanisms: email, direct mail, seminars, phone calls, webinars, print ads, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

When you map out on paper these 3 Ms -- Market, Message, and Mechanism -- then assign deadlines and budgets, you'll have a clear plan for selling more of your product or service. Try it.

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Google AdWords Expert Tip: Which Ad is Best?

Here's a Google AdWords writing question I answered from a small business owner, which could apply to your business.

Read it and reap ...

Question: Please let me know which potential Google AdWords ad is better for my business ( If you feel one of these 3 won't get a high click-thru, we are open to your suggestion. Thanks!

Option 1
Retail Marketing Experts
Short on staff & too much on your
plate? Let us manage your marketing

Option 2
Want to sell to Retail?
Learn step-by-step procedures to
get your product ideas into retail

Option 3
Retail Marketing Experts
Create awareness for your products
Free quote and proposal!

Answer: After writing more than $314,054 in Google AdWords ads over the years, I can tell you the answer is: It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter what I think, or anyone thinks.

The best Google AdWords ad is the one that brings you the most net profits. That winning ad will deliver your most-profitable combination of:

  • clicks on your ad
  • visits to your web site
  • sales

Problem: You can NEVER know this in advance.

Solution: The market will tell you the right answer, with 100% accuracy. All you have to do is test.

First, track all the actions connected with your AdWords ad (using Google Analytics), then start testing different combinations of headlines, body copy, and domains (in that order).

Let me put some ideas where my mouth is. Here are examples of AdWords elements for you to test ...

How to Sell to Retailers
How to Sell via Retail
How to Sell by Retail
You Can Sell by Retail
Retail Secrets Revealed

Got a Product to Sell by Retail?
Tap Our 20+ Yrs of Experience Now

Stop the Frustration! If You Have
a Product to Retail, We Can Help


Now, here's an example AdWords ad I predict will do better than any of your original 3 choices:

Retail Secrets Revealed
Got a Product to Sell by Retail?
Tap Our 20+ Yrs of Experience Now

... but remember: You can't put predictions in the bank. Only dollars. And you get those dollars by TESTING exhaustively until you get the results you seek.

I hope this helps!

FYI, as my schedule permits, I do write Google AdWords for clients in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and across North America.

Buying one hour of my time for $195 will give you at least 20 different Google AdWords ads to test -- that's enough to produce a slew of new sales for you.

And if you don't love the results, you pay nothing.

To learn more about this Google AdWords writing service, contact me today.

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

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Hitchhiker's Guide to a Unique Selling Proposition

Just like your first kiss, you never forget your first unique selling proposition (USP).

Mine was in June 1988, in England.

The nice lady at the youth hostel in London told me it would be easy to hitch a ride north on the M1. "Just walk out to the motorway entrance with a sign that says, 'STUDENT.' Drivers pick them up first."

Obediently, I wrote STUDENT in black magic marker on a piece of cardboard, took a cab to the M1 entrance, and ... found a line of about 10 other hitchhikers waiting for rides -- all holding signs that said "STUDENT."

"How long have you been here?" I asked the guy in front of me.

"About 20 minutes," he said. "I wager it'll take an hour for everyone ahead of us to get picked up."

"Oh, $%^@," I thought.

Then, inspiration struck.

I took out my magic marker, wrote "AMERICAN" on my sign, and held it up high.

I kid you not -- within 2 minutes, a car drove past the 10 STUDENTS and stopped right in front of me, the only AMERICAN STUDENT.

"Where to?" the driver asked.

"Birmingham," I replied.

"Hop in!"

If dirty looks were knives, I would have been stabbed 50+ times by the other hitchhikers as I threw my rucksack in the boot of the car.

The lesson?

You can market like everyone else in your industry and wait for clients to pick you from a lineup of sameness ... or you can find a way to stand out. A strong USP does that for you.

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

Friday, July 15, 2011

In a Category of One, Price Means Nothing

Here's an ad for a golf vacation that's worth your attention ...

The headline is intriguing: "What Do You Get The Man Who Has Everything?"

The body copy? Well, it reads like a Creative Writing essay ("crumbling waves"? "briny inhales"?) ....

But the offer is hard to mess up -- a two-day stay and four rounds of golf at legendary Pebble Beach.

For Father's Day, if your dad or husband loves golf -- and money is no object -- this offer can't be beat.

Notice the price? There isn't one.

That's because ... this offer can't be beat. It's in a category of one, so price means nothing.

Here are some other "categories of one," where price means nothing:

  • a gallon of gas (if you've run out on the way to a job interview)
  • a ticket to Game 7 of the World Series (if you're a Cubs fan and the Cubs are playing)
  • a bottle of water (if you're stranded in the Gobi Desert)

What do all these "priceless" offers have in common? Timing.

Golf at Pebble Beach is always a nice gift for the man who loves golf, but irresistibly so if you give it on Father's Day. The great gift becomes priceless.

Timing can vault your product or service into its own category of one, where price means nothing -- and money is no object.

Now. How will you use this idea?

There's more where this came from in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Create a USP by Explaining What You Do

If you sell a service, here's a shortlist of how you can set yourself apart from the competition:
  • Who - Who is your target client? Who are you? Whom do you donate 5% of profits to?
  • What - What do you do? What don't you do?
  • When - When are your office hours? When will you meet clients?
  • Where - Where is your office? Where will you meet clients?
  • Why - Why do you do what you do? Why did you open your business?
  • How - How fast/slow/expensively/cheaply/high-tech/low-tech do you do what you do?
None of these is trivial. Each has the makings of a unique selling proposition, or USP.

Your USP is the answer to the question in your prospect's mind: "Why should I give my money to you and not some other business?"

To illustrate, let's pick where from the list above.

You might not think twice about where you work. But at the Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott law firm in Chicago, their office includes a basketball court, which delights clients -- and sets their firm apart.

According an interview with managing partner, Sidney N. (Skip) Herman, in Forbes magazine:
We call the basketball court the Forum, like the one in ancient Rome where people would come to exchange ideas. We have 10-foot whiteboards, movable tables and chairs and network connectors built into the floor. We can sweep it all away at any minute to pick up a game of basketball.

Clients travel here all the way from New York and Los Angeles. They eye that basketball all day and finally someone rolls the ball that's been sitting in the corner. They smile. They take a shot. Pretty soon we're scrambling to protect the laptops and overhead projectors! Next time they come, they come without the tie.
Do clients travel from either coast to visit your office?

I'm not saying that a basketball court is a marketing panacea. But ... if your USP is strong enough (and your services good enough), you can attract clients like kids to a playground.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Creative Ignorance -- a Good Thing?

You can't say a lot of good about ignorance.

Except when you're trying to solve a problem.

Example: Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone -- because he didn't know any better.

Alexander Graham Bell
Here's the story ...

In 1863, a German inventor, Hermann von Helmholtz, wrote a paper: "On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music."

Bell, reading a bad translation of the German, thought Von Helmholtz had invented a way to send vowel sounds over an electric wire.

But Von Helmholtz had only developed a theory, not a device.

So Bell pressed on -- blissfully ignorant -- with his own painstaking experiments to transmit human speech by wire.

He later said, according to Wikipedia, "I thought that Helmhotz had done it ... and that my failure was due only to my ignorance of electricity. It was a valuable blunder ... If I had been able to read German in those days, I might never have commenced my experiments!"

Now. What's considered "hard" or even "impossible" in your business?

How would you do solve that problem if you didn't know any better?

Write down the first 3-5 ideas that come to mind. And prepare to be surprised at the insights you get.

Note well: "creative ignorance" may not help you invent anything as earth-shattering as the telephone.

But, if you break an "impossible" problem into smaller parts, and attack each one as if you knew you couldn't fail ... you might just set your marketplace on its ear.

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

Monday, July 11, 2011

How to Double Your Income - Brian Tracy's Advice

One of my favorite teachers of sales, marketing, and personal development ideas is Brian Tracy.

He helped me double my income -- twice -- in less than 6 months back in 2005. I've been a huge fan ever since (can you blame me?)

If you own or manage a service business and want to double your income, here's what Brian suggests on page 53 of his excellent book, Goals -

Double the amount of time that you spend face to face with qualified prospects. The most direct way to increase your sales has always been the same: Spend more time with better prospects. If you don't upgrade your skills or change anything else about what you are doing, but you double the number of minutes that you spend face to face with prospects each day, yuo will probably double your sales income.

I have found this to be absolutely true every time I've tried it.

Of course, the question on every entrepreneur's mind is this: "I'm already super busy. How do I find time to double the number of minutes I spend with prospects?"

Here's the answer that works every time: Stop checking email so often.

Without knowing anything about you, I would bet dinner for 2 at Red Lobster that you check email about every hour or so. Stop it.

Instead, check email only twice a day: once at mid-morning, about 10:00 or 11:00 AM, and again in the late afternoon, about 4:00 PM.

By not checking email 5-10 times a day, you'll save at least an hour, and probably two or three.

When you spend less time on useless activity, you free up more time for productivity. And among the most-productive things you can do is spend more time with qualified prospects.

Best part: Making yourself more productive -- and profitable -- this way is 100% under your control.

Meanwhile, if you want to put an end to "feast or famine" syndrome in your business, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. Grab your free copy now, while they last.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You? A Business Genius?

I took time over the long Fourth of July weekend to re-read parts of Will and Ariel Durant's majestic "The Renaissance," especially the section on Leonardo da Vinci.

Like many folks, I admire genius.

And I wonder: What makes one man or woman surpass the rest of us in music, art, sports, or ... business?

Here's a partial description of Leonardo's temperament that may hold a clue. According to the Durants:

In order to draw well he studied all things in nature with curiosity, patience, and care; science and art, so remarkably united in his mind, had there one origin -- detailed observation.

But indeed he was interested in everything.

The bold emphases, on "detailed observation" and "interested in everything," are mine.

Now. Two questions about you and your business:

1) What do you carefully observe each day?

2) What are you intensely interested in?

The answers will, I think, tell much about how likely you are to succeed in your business.

If you carefully observing most of what you do, with intense interest, you likely have enough internal drive to power through the obstacles that derail your competitors.

If, however, you find yourself daydreaming or wishing you were elsewhere each day, you should outsource those tasks that keep you from your passion.

Or ... is the secret to "genius" no secret at all?

Speaking for those of us who failed math and can't draw, I prefer this quote from Leonardo's rival, Michelangelo: "If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thank-You Marketing Postcard

I write and speak all the time about what I call "Thank-You Marketing."

It's a simple concept: By writing and mailing thank-you notes to prospects, clients, and vendors, you make them happy to hear from you next time. Which makes them more receptive to your marketing messages ...

... just like holding hands makes the object of your desire more receptive to a kiss.

Occasionally, I get flak from people who snark, "Mail a thank-you note? You're kidding right? That's no secret."

I never said it was a secret. But ... are you doing it?

The reply I usually get is, "I don't have time to write and mail thank-you notes."

That's no excuse at all, of course. The same people who can't find 2 minutes to personally thank a valued client or referral partner by mail, can always find 20 minutes to check Facebook, 60 minutes for leisurely lunches, and 2-4 hours for TV every night.

But I digress.

And I am all about saving time whenever possible.

So ... if you can't spare 2 minutes to write a thank-you card, surely you can find 60 seconds to write a postcard.

Here's an example: a "thank you" postcard that came in the mail today, from a spa that my wife sent me to last week ...

On the front, after thanking me for my business, they offer me a $10 credit for referring my friends. Good idea.

But they get points off for the weasel words ("Restrictions may apply") and for limiting(!) my referrals ("One per customer"). Still, this is better than nothing.

On the back, there's a nice message from Alex, my masseuse ...

Total time to write a 19-word message, address this, and affix a stamp: 60 seconds or less.

The potential ROI: Very great.

Whether you use standard thank-you notes or custom-printed postcards, the only way to know if "Thank-You Marketing" can work in your business is not to say, "I know that," but to actually 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.

Friday, July 1, 2011

3 Kaizen Marketing Questions

Today is the first day of Q3 2011.

Feeling reflective?

Here are 3 kaizen questions to help build your business in the coming quarter -- and beyond ...

1) What's working? (Do more of that.)

2) What's not? (Do less or none of that.)

3) What's next? (Plan to do more of what's working and less of what's not.)

If you're interested, I've written here and here about Kaizen 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.