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Too much information

January 30th, 2017 No comments

I’ve have a few relatives who like to talk about their miserable health. The latest injury, the side effects of last year’s whatsectomy, their inflammations and parasites, all the foods they can’t eat anymore.

Somewhere in my thirties I realized they’re doing this to make me feel better. Compared to them, my age-related ailments are nothing.

This is the best kind of pain relief. You start with gory, graphic, visceral images. Exploding bodies. Dwarves riddled with parasites. Followed by the immediate relief that none of it will happen to you.

But the pain doesn’t have to be physical pain. Most people have a gut-level reaction to things like audits and foreclosures.

There’s the pain of mold and termites eating the studs in your house. Your mainframe crashing for three hours on an important day. The pain of divorce, rejection, growing old without utilizing your best talents to improve the world.

 

What Business Are You In? Pain Relief

The good news: You’re probably in the business of relieving one or more of these gut-wrenching pains. Better yet, you relieve the fear of these plagues before they ever become a reality.

For example, Chellie Campbell, a onetime financial planner, changed her destiny forever when she started to describe her service as “Financial Stress Reduction.”

Keep your message both visceral and simple. And that means curing yourself of a crippling illness: TMI.

Too much information. Believe me, I battle with this too. But today’s about you, not me.

You see, you might be suffering TMI if your website is full of things your prospects don’t want or need to know. But there’s a cure. All you have to do is focus on their fears and pain, and your cure for their pain.

Robert Cialdini touches upon this in a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It’s one of the books I’m studying intensively this year.

Cialdini talks about the Law of Contrast. If someone is afraid they’ll have to pay $1,000 to fix their garage door, they’ll be thrilled when someone offers to do it for $600, even if they could have gotten it done for $300.

Likewise, if you go to the emergency room with severe pain in your chest, the doctor who informs you that it’s acid reflux is going to seem like a hero.

What is the worst thing that can happen to your prospect if they don’t do business with you? Paint them a vivid picture of the consequences. Let the fear worm its way into their guts. Drive their adrenaline and cortisol to levels usually reserved for bungee jumpers about to take the plunge.

Then show them exactly how you’ll protect their data or their home. Tell them about all the wonderful things you can do to keep their life or their business from falling apart. Take away their pain and their fear.

What business are you in? Don’t answer that with too much information. Tell me about the pain you relieve.

In fact, tell me in the comments below.

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Categories: copywriting, Tactics Tags:

4 Unusual Marketing Hacks to Attract More B2B Clients

August 23rd, 2016 No comments

B2B marketingB2B is different.

If you convince the right decision-maker that you can improve their company’s profits without compromising their integrity, you’ll almost always make the sale. If you can’t convince them, you haven’t got a prayer.

This is why B2B leaders publish white papers, join associations, and attend conferences. You should already be using most of the tactics listed below. But let’s look at how you can tweak each of these tools so they sell like crazy.

 

Your First Tweak: The private VIP webinar

You might publicize your webinars online. Maybe you send an email invitation to everyone on your list. But if you want to attract your ideal clients, you need to drill down a bit.

Who are the top 10 companies you wish were your clients?

Come up with a solution to a problem these clients are dealing with. Invite the CEO and the president. Send them a personal email, and give them a call if you can. If you have any contacts who might be influential in one of your “target” companies, reach out to them, too. Be sure that everyone you invite knows this is a VIP webinar, tailored specifically for them.

Maybe only 5 people will show up, but they will be key decision-makers.

 

Tweak Number Two: Publish a targeted case study

This is not your father’s white paper. You’re not going to describe how to deal with a common issue in your industry. Instead, select a specific problem that one or more of your clients are facing.

A typical white paper would provide good advice on how you could solve that very problem. Your case study will do something more.  You’ll give the specific details of how you already solved the problem for someone else.

This tactic has the added benefit of social proof. Like a testimonial, it shows that other people have used your solution with good results.

 

The Third B2B Tweak: Proactively send your best white papers and case studies to target clients

Don’t be like everybody else. Most companies have an opt-in form on their website where visitors can leave their email and download the free PDF. This is a proven tactic, but there’s a way to take it further.

Target the companies you want to do business with. Print out your case study on good quality paper and send it by FedEx to the President, CEO, or other specific leader. If you send out just 10 of these a month, and they prove relevant to the recipient, this tactic will pay for itself a hundredfold or more.

While you’re at it, there’s a proactive way to send a digital copy of your case studies. Post them on LinkedIn and send a LinkedIn message to your target recipients. Announce it to your groups, if relevant. In the end, you’ll touch your target clients three times: Once with the group announcement, once in the LinkedIn message, and once when they receive a hard copy through FedEx.

While your competitors continue to passively offer white papers on their website, your company will be doing acrobatic spins and dives on the radar screens of your dream clients.

 

Tweak Four: Build a deliberate referral system

You know the value of a good referral. Yet how often do you ask for one? Are you systematic about it?

Consider the benefits of consistently asking for referrals whenever you close a sale, complete a project, deliver a solution. Almost every transaction gives you at least one opportunity to ask for a referral. Develop a specific email and/or sales script for each of these situations.

While we’re on the topic, what about asking all those contacts who don’t necessarily do a transaction with you each month? Come up with a monthly email that actively asks for referrals.

You could be blatant about it, and offer a discount or other ethical bribe. You could be more subtle, tell a story, and tie the story into a request for referrals. Maybe even hold a contest.

As another part of your referral system (something I wish I did more often), give referrals to your clients. If they’re getting new business from your efforts, they’re even more likely to return the favor.

 

You don’t have to make sweeping changes to get dramatic results

It takes time, money and other resources to create a new level of product or service that can set you apart from your competition. And sometimes it can be an uphill battle to get clients to adopt your innovation.

But there’s always room for innovation in your marketing. New marketing tactics can set you apart without requiring any significant change in your operations.

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Categories: marketing, Tactics Tags: ,

Be the First to Dominate New Markets: Gary Vaynerchuck and Instagram’s shiny new toy

August 10th, 2016 No comments

instagram_storiesInstagram has a shiny new toy.

It’s called Instagram Stories. The new feature lets you link together pictures and videos in a slideshow format.

At first I was so excited about it that I poured olive oil in my coffee. But once the caffeine kicked in, I realized that your stories only last for 24 hours.

I decided it’s not worth the time and resources to build an asset that’s only going to last a day. Maybe for a special campaign dedicated to my followers, but on Instagram I just don’t have that many followers.

The Social Media Blues

In general I’ve been feeling a lot of angst over social media these days. Blog posts and YouTube videos can accumulate followers over the course of several months and years, but is it worth sending out a tweet with a half-life of 20 minutes? Or even a Facebook post that nobody’s going to see after a day or two?

Then I saw a Gary Vaynerchuck speech that made me rethink my strategy. (If you don’t mind his frequent use of the F– word, this 37-minute speech is worth watching). Gary turned his parents’ mom-and-pop liquor store it into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

There was bleeding along the way. In the 1990s, he attempted to sell wine on the internet. (If you’re under 35, you’ll have to listen to Vaynerchuck’s expletive-riddled speech to appreciate the gravity of this.) He may have built one of the world’s first shopping carts.

The website cost him $15,000 and only generated $800 in sales the first year.

But as the internet picked up traction, Vaynerchuck was already established. He was a pioneer, and he’ll tell you that pioneers always win.

In The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (a must-read for every entrepreneur), the very first rule is to be the first at something. Being first is the “unique” part of a “unique sales proposition” (USP).

Eventually another company will come along and do it better, faster, and cheaper. But you’ll still be ahead if your company name is synonymous with the thing you did first.

This brings me back to Vaynerchuck. Whenever there’s a new platform, software, or any other means of sharing a message with an audience, Gary Vaynerchuck will stay up all night to figure it out. (You can almost hear in his voice that he probably gets too much caffeine and not enough sleep.)

In a podcast last May, he talked about Snapchat being the next big thing, and all the great things that would happen to a person who carved out their territory on Snapchat before anyone else was doing it. He said similar things about Instagram, and that was long before they unveiled Instagram Stories.

Maybe he’ll be right. But remember his early ecommerce experiment cost the family business over $14,000 the first year. He also talks spending 41 sleepless nights trying to figure out a platform I’ve never heard about. His whole point is that he’ll be right about some of these platforms.

What I’m trying to do is hand you a treasure map. Here there be monsters. If you’ve got the energy to play around with the scores of new platforms that pop up every year, you’ll probably lose both sleep and money in large amounts. social_media_map

But you could also strike it rich before the end of your career.



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Do you need new ideas? Try these tools

August 2nd, 2016 No comments

marketing_innovationInnovate or stagnate. That’s the brutal reality we live in.

I follow James Altucher’s advice religiously, and every morning I write 10 new ideas. Most of them are crap. The rest are usually related to things I’m already doing, so there’s only marginal benefit to implementing a new idea.

To paraphrase Altucher, someday you may have to sprint 100 yards to escape the velociraptor. If you’ve been sprinting every day for the past year, you’ll be a lot faster when the time comes. The goal, as Altucher will tell you, is to give your idea muscle a daily workout. Then, when you really need ideas, you can deliver.

I agree with this, but in practice I keep getting stuck on the same kinds of ideas. I’m essentially a teacher, salesman, and writer who likes to travel. Virtually all my ideas end up coming back to teaching, selling, writing, and travel.

In contrast, James Altucher spends much of his life talking to interesting, successful people from every field imaginable, and he also reads for hours every day. If you want to get the most out of your 10 ideas, you have to expand your horizons.

A Whack to the Side of the Head

Fortunately I’ve found two great tools that make it easy to come up with new ideas and banish stagnation forever. The first is Roger Von Oech’s “Creative Whack Pack.” It’s basically a deck of cards.

Before we move on, let’s say really quickly that you can probably come up with a lot of ways to use a deck of cards. Matt Furey made an entire workout system based on cards. Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt created a movement with their Oblique Strategies.

Each of Von Oech’s cards has a quick tip or question, followed by a cartoon and a story. They’re designed to get you thinking. This morning I picked up a card that said, “See the obvious” and had a picture of a mouse hiding in a cat’s ear.

The story underneath almost doesn’t need telling. No cat would ever think to check its own ear for mice. If you’re a mouse, that’s the obvious place to hide, right? The card asks, “What resources and solutions are right in front of you?”

social_media_obviousMore than half of this morning’s ideas came from that card. No need to reinvent the wheel. I have a lot of valuable, under-used assets already.

I pick out a random card each week, keep it visible on a shelf in my office, and ponder it whenever I feel stuck or I need another whack to the side of the head.

The other tool I use is Twitter.

I spend a lot more time reading tweets than tweeting. This is where ideas come from. There are two ways to get them.

First, just look at what’s trending. If there’s something big that’s related to your life, you’ll definitely have something to say about it. Probably more than you can say in 140 characters. This could become your next blog post or video.

Better yet, if you have the solution to a problem that’s trending, you may have just figured out how to make your next million and save the world in the process. Good job!

But more often than not, the trending hashtags are all about the Kardashians, the Trumps, and Beethoven. That’s when you need to dig a little deeper.

Search your own hashtags. Hashtag keywords related to your industry, your passions, or news that’s relevant to you. If you spend just 10 minutes doing this you’ll almost always find something.

Dromaeosaurid parade by durbed

By Durbed [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia

Don’t ever forget about that velociraptor!

Six months ago I had to outrun a velociraptor. I left my biology teaching job and had to figure out how to make a living. But I had almost a year of Altucher’s “daily practice” under my belt.

I sat down and wrote 10 ideas for generating income. Almost immediately, I knew that everything would be OK. I could figure things out.

The first project took months of hard work to implement, but now it’s producing a steady income for my wife and I. The second idea is starting to bear fruit, and I’ll test the others over the next 6-12 months. Meanwhile, I’m still coming up with 10 more every day.

This brings me to one last tool that you already know about. Your very own brain. You may be surprised to find how creative you really are.



Resources for this post:

Oblique Strategies: http://www.rtqe.net/ObliqueStrategies/OSintro.html (Highlight some of the pages to see the hidden text!)

James Altucher’s most important post ever: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2011/02/how-to-be-the-luckiest-guy-on-the-planet-in-4-easy-steps/

Creative Whack Pack (this is an affiliate link):

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6 Hacks to Upgrade Your Presence on Twitter

July 14th, 2016 No comments

There is a reason Twitter’s revenue is almost 11 times what it was six years ago.

According to StatisticBrain.com, 135,000 new users sign up for Twitter every day. (See the end of this article for sources) There are 190 million unique visitors to Twitter.com each month, but that doesn’t begin to give you the full picture. Most followers use the Twitter app from their phone, and don’t even bother going to the website.

It’s not a question of how much business you can gain with an active Twitter presence. Twitter is considered a source of news for 63% of users, so the real question is: how much business will you lose if you’re not active on Twitter?

1. Tweet your posts and product launches

If you have a useful, informative post you should promote it. You’re being followed by fans who are interested in what you say. Some of them are probably buyers for your latest product, so a new product launch is newsworthy.

Use hashtags that are already trending to make sure your post gets the largest possible number of views. (Use hashtags.org or similar service to find trending hashtags)

Invite your fans to tweet and retweet your articles and blog posts

Expanded Ramblings did a survey and found that 38.6% of users will tweet links to blogs and other content that they enjoyed. Make it easy for your fans to do this.

I like to use “Click-to-Tweet” by Cheeky Apps: https://wordpress.org/plugins/easy-click-to-tweet-by-cheeky-apps/

You just have to come up with a tweetable sentence, less than 140 spaces. They do the rest.

2. Make personal contact with an important influencer

When I was a teacher, I Tweeted each of the founders of the Minerva Project, asking them how I could best prepare my students for the future. I got a reply within 5 minutes.

Leaders and celebrities are surprisingly easy to reach through Twitter, especially in business, publishing, and academia. Since it’s quick and painless, they will often respond directly if your Tweet is about something close to their heart.

Try it. You might get personal advice from your favorite guru. You could end up with a great story to tell. Maybe you’ll make a new friend.

3. Follow hashtags related to problems that your business solves

Imagine if several users post the same question or problem, and you personally respond with the solution. You’ll gain a number of followers, goodwill, and probably a new client or two.

If a subject is trending in your area of expertise, you know what to do. If the trend isn’t readily apparent, you could do searches for hashtags relevant to your business: #refi, #ServerMeltdown, #CaliforniaTaxLaws, for example. If you find one with a lot of recent posts, jump in and show off your knowledge.

4. Get ideas for new products, services, or content

James Altucher wants you to write 10 new ideas every day. It’s as important as brushing your teeth. I’ve been doing this for a while, but the ideas are limited to what’s already in my head.

Twitter gives you a constant feed of other people’s thoughts and news. Spend 10 minutes a day following the stream, asking yourself, “How would I help this person? How can I use this? Why does this make me angry? How would this affect my clients? What could my business do about this?”

When you have such a rich mountain of raw material, you’ll surprise yourself with the ideas you get for new inventions, blog posts, products, screenplays, and knock-knock jokes.

 

5. Test the response and reaction to your ideas

Before you spend a lot of time and money on a new idea, run it through your Twitter feed. Your followers might just ignore it, and then you know you have to express your idea in a different way or junk the whole thing. (Or maybe just tweet on a different day or time)

If your idea sparks controversy, you know you’ve found something you can work with. If you get a lot of enthusiastic encouragement, hearts, and retweets, then you know your idea will be popular.

I used to use adwords to test out new ideas. Twitter is faster, and you can’t beat the price!

 

6. Get it done faster and effortlessly

Twitter is not a quick fix. It takes time and effort. But I can get you started. This month I’m offering a bundle of social media services for a low, introductory price. It also comes with a money-back guarantee.

You’ll get ten Tweets that are relevant to your company and optimized to be seen. You’ll also get templates and a calendar so you can keep on tweeting into the future with or without my help. I’ll integrate your tweets with your blog, YouTube channel, Facebook page and more.

Twitter is just a small part of the entire package. You’ll also get content for blogs, YouTube, and Facebook. And if you’re not happy with the final product, you’ve got a month to ask for a full 100% no-questions-asked refund.

Just click on over to this link: http://wp.me/pxhzF-4h

 



Sources:

By The Numbers: 170+ Amazing Twitter Statistics

 

Twitter Statistics

 

 

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Categories: Social Media, Tactics, Twitter Tags:

What happens when I’m selfish and antisocial?

May 10th, 2016 No comments

There is a powerful way to start your morning. I learned about this technique, called priming, from Tony Robbins. But he didn’t mention one of the biggest benefits of priming.

In psychology, priming refers to the effect that a current thought or image will have on future thoughts and images.

For example, if I start talking about the color yellow, and a long narrow fruit, and potassium, I’ve just increased the odds that if I ask you to name a healthy snack you’ll say “banana.”

Tony Robbins takes this phenomenon and shows a way to use it to your advantage. You give your mind images that are related to the outcomes you want to have for the day, and images that will slowly change your mind and body in desirable ways over time.

When I tried priming, I was surprised by a result I hadn’t expected. Here’s the process, so you can understand.

Priming your mind for an awesome day

In a nutshell, you spend the first three minutes feeling gratitude. It’s good to be outside, where you can feel the wind on your face and maybe the grass, sand, or mud between your toes. If you’ve never done this before, these first three minutes alone will change your day and eventually change your life.

But that’s not the biggest part.

The next three minutes are spent sending love and blessings to all the people in your life, and especially the people you’re going to interact with today. You think about them and what they want or need. You think about how you’re going to help them, how much love you’re going to send their way, how blessed they are and how blessed you are to know them.

Finally, for the last three minutes you think about three big goals for the day. Picture them done, and imagine how you’ll feel once you’ve accomplished these goals. If you can really feel this success, you’ll get excited to go out and hit your goals.

Connecting with Other People

When I first read about this practice, I was willing to try it out. I didn’t expect the power of the second step. You see, we are social animals and when you send out blessings to other people you’re really blessing yourself. Here’s what happens.

You’ll start thinking about someone you know, and immediately you’ll think about everyone you know through that one person. Pretty soon you’re sending love and blessings to an extended family, not to mention everyone in your network of clients, colleagues, teachers, vendors, mentors, employees and the list goes on.

This has a profound effect. You’ll start to feel like you’re a river or a fountain, gushing magic blessings on everyone. It’s a huge boost that makes step three, your goals, seem both way more important and far easier to achieve.

Tapping into a New Power

Even if you spend just a second sending blessings to one person, you’ll start to feel like they’re on your team. They have your back. Or at least, they’re cheering for you. When you do that for three minutes, you’ll have a large audience of backers, cheering you on. You start the day stepping up with the whole stadium chanting your name and wishing you well.

Not only that, but you change your focus from what you want to accomplish for yourself to how you can help others.

I’ve always taken time to set goals and visualize success. I don’t usually reach them all, maybe because I’m selfish and antisocial.

I never dedicated a lot of time to gratitude, except when things really were going unexpectedly well. And I never put other people first. What a big mistake!

When you deliberately put other people’s needs above your own, your mindset brings you more happiness than you can ever get from your own empty victories. In fact, you actually become more likely to succeed and accomplish your personal goals and achievements.

How I’ll put you first

I want to put your business, your goals, ahead of my own. This is why I’ve lowered my rates, and why I now offer a money-back guarantee. I’ll visualize you in the morning, your success, and helping you will be one of the big goals I’ll imagine achieving.

When I help you, it will ripple out and boost our economy. Ultimately we’ll multiply the number of people you can help and touch with your blessings.

I am a fountainhead of prosperity, and I’m here to serve you and enrich your life.



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A new type of content that breaks all the rules

February 13th, 2016 No comments

If you don’t know Bill Bonner, he’s an extremely successful business owner and investor. Probably a quarter of a million subscribers read his financial advice, including me.

Funny thing, he likes to brag about his worst investment ever, something that is costing him every year and possibly adding grey hairs to his already wizened head.

There's a story behind this, if you can find it

There’s a story behind this, if you can find it

Several years ago, he “invested” in a large tract of land in rural Argentina. He mentions it in practically every blog post, email, and newsletter. It takes hours to reach the land from anywhere, on roads that are barely passable in fair weather and reduced to mud when it rains. He talks about ungrateful tenants who not only don’t pay their rent but expect him, as a rich gringo, to pay for their healthcare, their children’s education, and sometimes their groceries.

The thing is, he loves his losing proposition and it’s fun to read about it. It probably intrigues curious readers and ultimately wins him more paying subscribers.

This brings me to a big bold marketing tool. I call it the “Tangential Post.”

Sometimes it’s useful to go off on a tangent. You don’t always have to talk about your business.

Most of the time, your clients only care about the value you can deliver for them. The trouble is, you have competitors who are probably capable of delivering value, too. That’s why it’s so helpful if your clients feel like they know you.

So if you have a blog, Twitter, a YouTube channel, a newsletter, or any other media for staying in touch with your market, go off on a tangent every now and then. Post something that’s not directly related to your business or what you can do for your clients.

If nothing else, you’ll have a little bit of fun. Share something interesting about yourself and your life. A picture of your dog. The story of how your son scored the winning goal.

Almost everyone loves dogs, kids, and a good story.

If you do something really unusual, like chariot racing or buying farmland in a foreign country, you could put this in, too.

This will be a breath of fresh air, and you might create something popular that gets shared around a lot.

Pretty soon I’m going to go off on a tangent, and tell you why I haven’t posted anything new on this blog for more than a year. It’s a long story that will probably piss a few people off. It made me angry as it happened.

But this isn’t about me. Go Tweet or blog or post something personal and interesting. Go off on a tangent, before I do.

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