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All you need are these 3 things to build a client magnet

July 27th, 2016 No comments

social-media-marketingIn late 2001 I picked up a book that changed my life.

The Well-Fed Writer was written by an accomplished salesman, and the front cover promised “Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in 6 Months or Less.”

The cover offers a clear benefit, financial self-sufficiency. Who doesn’t want this?

But we all expect to get there eventually. It’s called retirement. Some day 89 years from now when my arthritic fingers can’t hold a phone and I dribble half-chewed bagel crumbs at the networking breakfast, I’ll be able to break the piggy bank and cash in on that 10% of my income that’s been compounding away all these years.

I’m not looking forward to it. So why would I want to read a book about financial self-sufficiency?

This book cover also provides a number: 6 months. The number adds credibility and appeal to the benefit. You could be financially self-sufficient this year! That’s a different story.

I’ll buy your book, and 6 months from now I’d better be working from a laptop in southern Italy, with a saucer of green olives on the table and a shot of grappa in my espresso. (It didn’t turn out exactly like that, but I was close)

Benefits and numbers. That’s all you need to attract buyers. But you still need to tell them what to do, or all their enthusiasm will go to waste. Click Here. Buy Now. Enter your best email. Call this number.

Want a few examples?

  • 5 essential tools every blogger should use (a Tweet with a link)
  • Learn public speaking in 3 days. Call this number.
  • When you fill out the form below, we’ll send you our best practices checklist, which cut our operating costs by 17% last year

Here’s mine: Build a lasting presence on all the major social media sites for less than $500.

So, to sum it all up, here are three things you need for a quick, hard-hitting message that will work as a headline, title, or Tweet:

  1. A benefit
  2. A number
  3. A call to action
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Rule the Tube: 7 Useful (and slightly badass) ways to crush it on YouTube

July 20th, 2016 No comments

YouTube_video_managementFour billion a day. That’s how many YouTube videos are viewed every 24 hours. (Sources cited below)

That should be almost enough reason to be in on the YouTube game. But that’s not all. Google owns YouTube. YouTube videos consistently come get high page rankings, and 70% of adults have watched videos or listened to music on YouTube.

You probably have some video content somewhere in your business. I’ve talked about ways to use your videos here. Today I want to give you 7 tricks that will help you make the most of your videos, and dominate YouTube.

1. Use “Headlines” as your video titles

Your title should make viewers want to see the video. The secret to writing a magnetic title is the same as writing a headline. Magazine writers have known how to do this for decades–their livelihood depended on getting viewers to read their articles.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just look at the headlines of any popular magazine at the grocery store and use them as templates. Copyblogger calls this the “Cosmo Technique.” Here’s what I swiped for this post: “12 Brilliant (and Slightly Badass) Ways to ____________________.”

2. Infuse your YouTube videos with frequent visual change

The human eye naturally flicks around. If there is movement and change in your video, you can hold your viewer’s attention longer. If you have a person speaking for more than a few seconds, change the angle of the camera-show the speaker from the front, slightly to the side, up close, from a distance.

If you’re using still photos, try zooming in and out, use varying transitions, and try to change images frequently.

3. Emphasize your core message in every video

I always help my clients come up with one to five key points that are at the core of their business. Every bit of content you produce should include a core message. Your flagship video should emphasize the core above everything else.

Here’s why. Your tweets have a half life of less than an hour. But viewers may still see your video years from now. You’re going to spend a lot of resources to make it, so you should focus on timeless concepts to get the most value.

4. Include unique tags to protect yourself from tag parasites

One of the infuriating things about marketing on YouTube is that when someone watches your video, YouTube will recommend other videos. Often these are your competitor’s videos. I suspect there are “tag parasites” who take advantage of popular, well-made videos by using the same tags to promote their own shoddy work.

If you’ve got multiple videos, you can tag them so they recommend your other videos. I have a is two-step secret to doing this. First, have your company name as a tag in every video you produce. Second, spell your entire company name backwards and use this as a tag in every video as well.

YouTube-social_media_marketing5. Make use of Keywords

You’ve probably done some keyword analysis for your business. Your keywords are just as important for YouTube as they are for your web pages. Make use of keywords in your transcript (see tip #7 below) as well as in your tags and in the video description. SEO applies to your videos just as much as to your website.

6. Include urls in the video, and links in the description

When you first create the video, make sure your company and your website are clearly identified in the video itself (usually at the end). At the very least, have your URL pasted across the screen and have your company name and logo in a prominent place. This will save you if someone embeds your video on another website without the links and description on YouTube.

Once you’ve done this, you should also have some live links. In the description section, the first thing you should have is a link to the page you would like viewers to visit.

You can also annotate the video to have links right in on the screen, although viewers can easily disable these. If you’re going to do this, make sure they don’t cover up any critical elements of the video.

7. Include the entire video transcript in description underneath

By putting the full video transcript in the description section, you get some extra SEO juice out of keywords. This also enables YouTube to put closed captions in your video for the hearing impaired. You’ll get good karma, more views, and an all-around advantage for your efforts.

In fact, fill your description section with explanations, links, key words, and a call to action. Most users just post the video with a few sentences underneath.

 

In 2014 I made 148 videos, most of them for a private homeschooling company. Filming is fun and easy, and the technical work can easily be outsourced if you don’t want to do it yourself.

The great thing about making YouTube videos is the snowballing effect. The more videos you post, the more impact each individual video can have.

Your homework is to make your first video and post it. Just get started if you haven’t already. YouTube is the new press release.



Sources:

By the Numbers: 125+ Amazing YouTube Statistics

http://www.statista.com/statistics/291018/us-users-who-use-youtube-to-watch-or-listen-to-music/

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What should you do with social media?

July 22nd, 2010 No comments

Last week 4 companies contacted me about writing/setting up blogs, FaceBook, and Twitter. This topic is hot, and it’s definitely hit mainstream. Here’s my take on everything you need to know about social media.

Be cool

First off,  a few things to keep in mind.

Social media is cheap, but it demands a lot of time to do it right. Have a plan, approach it with discipline, and be sure the time you spend is worthwhile. Some of your efforts will never get you anywhere. Know who you’re trying to reach, and be sure to entertain and enlighten them or they’ll stop following you.

Twitter’s not so big with the up-and-coming generation, the Millennials.

I happen to know a bit about this, because for the past tow years I’ve been working with a client who is all about marketing to Millennials.  Early last year we co-authored a white paper on social media, which involved interviewing people in their late teens and early twenties–some of them hadn’t even heard of Twitter yet, many of them didn’t like it for some very specific reasons.

Twitter, I think, has the most potential with very close communities. The businesses that use it successfully are the ones with super-eager customers–they want to know the location of a lunchwagon, they’re eager to hear the latest news or research, the company CEO has celebrity status or the product is inherently interesting.

In other words, if your business is full of frequent news that your clients sincerely want to know about, you should Twitter. But if you’re just going to Tweet about what you had for lunch, you won’t get much business from your efforts.

Marketing your face on FaceBook

FaceBook seems to be the best keep-in-touch option for social media. The only people who see your FaceBook are the ones you choose who also choose you. The biggest challenge with FaceBook is that there’s not really a way to separate clients and prospects from friends and family. Here’s what I suggest.

First, get a fan page for your business. This will let you truly devote the page to business, but the downside is a lack of easy visibility. Unless you’re selling something cool that people like to talk about, your fan page won’t get a lot of traffic on its own. But you can fix that.

Post lots of good, interesting, valuable content and then cross promote it via Twitter, blogs, and your regular FaceBook page.

The second strategy is more “soft” but it’s a lot of fun, and ultimately more productive. Use FaceBook and all your other social media to promote yourself, and build your brand. As prospects get to know your personality, they’ll be more inclined to do business with you. As friends and family get to know your business, they’ll be better sources of referrals.

Business becomes pleasure, and pleasure becomes business

This “personal branding” is probably the best part of social media. Whatever business you’re in now, you won’t be doing it for the rest of your life.  But once you’ve build a strong network of friends, family, fellow skydivers and homeschoolers–your network goes with you.

One of the best resources on this is the book Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuck.

You’re not just a salesman/consultant/CPA/coach. You’re a multidimensional person with many talents and passions, and so are all your prospective clients. Social media lets you put all of your personality into your marketing.

Use social media to make friends, build relationships, find markets and invest time in future clients–maybe the distant future. Today’s posts are like a bond that matures in 10 years (well, maybe not that long). You never know who might be listening, who might be useful.

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Business owners: Choose the copywriter you want to write a FREE direct mail campaign for your business

April 3rd, 2010 No comments

Warning: You best ideas are being stolen from you as soon as you implement them online. Anytime you come up with something new and clever, and it works, thousands of Internet-surfing competitors are going to swipe and deploy it. Online, innovation has an expiration date.

One of the best things you can do is figure out ways to market invisibly, doing things that your competitors can’t see.

That’s yet another reason to use direct mail. When you deliver your best marketing content straight to the people you’re trying to reach, none of your competitors will see it. They may notice that you’re beating them, getting more business, stealing market share, but they have no idea how or why.

If you’ve heard people say, “direct mail doesn’t work,” I’m about to prove to you that it does. Not only that, but I’m going to get you a bargain on a powerful campaign.

Here’s how it works. I’m having a contest. A group of ambitious, talented writers will take a look at your business and propose a direct mail campaign. You simply pick the best campaign and implement it. I’ll pre-screen the contestants  so you only have to deal with the best.

I only ask a few things from you. First, you should sincerely intend to use the campaign in the near future, and you should have a way to measure the response (I’ll help you with this). This way, the writer will at least have a solid sample for his/her portfolio with quantifiable results.

Second, your business should be on a growth trajectory that will create a need for future copywriting. I want you to build a relationship with your copywriter. If she makes you rich and famous, you should have the resources and the ambition to engage her again in the future. In fact, you’d be a fool and a loser if you didn’t.

This is meant to be a 3-way, win-win-win scenario.

  • You get an invaluable professional service for free
  • The writer gets a stronger portfolio and excellent prospects for future work
  • I get to add a talented, proven writer to my stable, someone to whom I can outsource work in the future

Drop me an email or leave a comment below if you’re interested.

The rest of this is for copywriters (I know a lot of you read my blogs and newsletters).

If you’re interested in doing this, it tells me two things. First, you’re ambitious and energetic (good). Second, since you’re willing to work for free you’re probably not getting all the work you want (not necessarily bad).

Send me an email about your writing career. Maybe you just finished the AWAI course (or the pricier DMA version), you read Peter Bowerman or something happened that convinced you to take the plunge and go into business for yourself .

Anyway, send me an email about you, your writing, your life. (HINT #1: The subject line is basically a headline. Write a good one or I might delete you unread) Experience and training are important, but not critical. I assume most of the contestants are going to be relative newbies. Your email will show off your copywriting skills, and this is far more important than just sending me a digital resume.

Finally, the disclaimer. I’m doing this because I’m planning to strictly limit the amount of copywriting I take on in the future. I’d rather strategize, plan, and delegate. This means I’m very eager to build good relationships with good writers who will hopefully work for me and my clients.

But there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get any paid work out of this. I know from personal experience that writing for free is usually just that and never anything more, even when people have the very best of intentions. I wouldn’t enter this contest, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

So what will it be? Are we on? Go for it, if you dare.

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This copywriter is in a new location!

March 4th, 2010 No comments

Okay, I know you’re dying to get your next marketing campaign off the ground, and you need some help with the content. I just relocated, so be sure to call me at 213-675-6377.

The email is still the same as before.

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Try this if you’re feeling overwhelmed by social media

October 6th, 2009 No comments

Several years ago, a clothing retailer in Baltimore figured out how to save his family-owned store from the big giants like Wal-Mart that were moving into the neighborhood. What did he do?

He wrote a letter. By hand. He wrote it on a yellow legal pad, embellished it with circles and asterisks, underlined key sentences for more emphasis, and drew in some cute little coupons.

Then he ran off a few hundred photocopies, on the same yellow legal pad paper, and sent them to his best customers.

Marketing under the radar

This funky letter did the trick. Loyal customers flocked into his store the following weekend, and his immediate cash-flow problems were solved.

After that he instructed his employees to gather the name and address of everyone who bought anything in his store. Now he regularly sends out interesting, creative mail to his list–not just for the holidays and new seasons, but practically every month. At least.

His business is thriving, even did well during the past 12 months when so many businesses have been hurting.

His name is Bill Glazer, and you can look up his book on Amazon, Outrageous Advertising, if you want to read more about how he did it and see a copy of the fateful yellow letter. But there’s another point I want to make.

We’re in the digital age, and you should be putting some effort into making Twitter, FaceBook, websites and email work for you. But you’re a fool if that’s all you do. Here’s why.

Everyone gets mail, and at the very least they have to physically handle it in some manner before it ends up in the recycle pile. I can’t think of a better way to come in under the radar, and get right up in front of potential clients while everyone else is fighting for attention in cyberspace.

Get this right one time, and you’re set for the rest of the year

If you can come up with an eye-catching, creative mailing, you’re going to reach your prospects in a way that many of your competitors aren’t even trying to do.

And the beauty of it is that you only have to do it once. You don’t need to post a Tweet every half hour and spend your evenings on FaceBook. You don’t need to come up with a new blog post every day. Once you have a proven mailing campaign, you can tweak it a little and send it out month after month, possibly for years.

Now I’d like to introduce you to the man who can help you.

My friend Gonzalo Tapia runs A Plus Mailing, a family business that has been around for more than a quarter of a century. Gonzalo’s company has survived multiple recessions, and he’s helped other businesses do well when the economy wasn’t.

Gonzalo knows his stuff, from how to do a mailing that gets results to saving a few bucks on printing and postage. And now he’s put together a special guide so you can be direct-mail savvy, too.

You can’t find this anywhere on the Internet today, but we might give you a free copy. If you ask nicely.

There’s a good chance you’ll be able to get the guide from his website in the future, but in the meantime Gonzalo is doing me (and you!) a great favor. He’s giving me permission to offer a draft of his book to select friends and readers.

This isn’t something you can just download off a website. This is strictly a friends and family deal. It won’t cost you anything for now, but you have to ask for it. Call me or send an email with “direct mail guide” in the subject line if you want a copy.

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4 secrets to inspired web content and follow-up that get explosive results

June 22nd, 2009 1 comment

This is the economic stimulus you’ve been waiting for. I’ve been thinking and thinking about how I can offer you a FREE version of the workbook and templates I’m putting together for “do-it-yourself” copywriting. I’ve decide just to go for it, tell you how I would do it, and then you can set up your own marketing campaign.

So, here it is:

Getting Your Money’s Worth: 4 Secrets to Inspired Web Content and Follow-up that get Explosive Results in any Economy

This powerful little booklet is based on the 37-Minute Marketing Campaign that I offer my clients. You won’t be able to do it on your own in just 37 minutes, but you will learn some of my best secrets, including:

  • 3 essential elements your website must have!
  • The heavy-lifting power tool that drives conversion
  • Million-dollar advertising on a hundred-dollar budget
  • The single, most important element that can destroy your advertising efforts if you get it wrong

…and much more!

I’ve pulled out all the stops this time. I hope you’ll download this, work it, use every step again and again as customers beat down the door to do business with you.

To download your copy, simply fill out the form:








Name
Email
Company
Phone
Address1
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Never forget that you’re an expert

June 4th, 2009 1 comment

I was about to give up on this.

For the last few weeks I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an e-book on bike rides around Los Angeles and selling it on my bike blog.

But when I went out on my favorite local ride, thinking about this more and more, I decided that most of the people I could reach probably already knew the routes better than me.

Then a spandex-covered, gloved and helmeted, racing-fit biker in a yellow jersey pulled up next to me on a pricey carbon frame decked out with halogen lights and a GPS odometer and clock.

We talked shop for a while. He was from the neighborhood, and was out on an after-work ride. From his outfit and his talk I knew this was the ideal customer, and I assumed by his garb that he already had a lot more knowledge and expertise than me.

But when I told him I was doing the “Mission Triangle” that roughly goes from my home in Silverlake to the San Gabriel Mission, across to San Fernando and back home, he asked a lot of questions about the route. He wanted to know the distances involved, the difficulty of the ride, and so on.

Clearly I had something to teach him.

You’re smarter than you think you are. If you spend time and effort studying (or better yet, doing) just about anything at all, you’re going to acquire knowledge that others don’t have.

In the information age, your most valuable resource is–well, information. You can set yourself up as an expert by posting a good blog, publishing a newsletter, giving out (or selling) ebooks, or best of all, writing a book.

In our information-heavy age, people are used to finding what they need, and almost nobody falls for the cheesy commercials that drew money from our grandparents’ wallets. You have to build trust and authority, and the best way to do this is by sharing your knowledge.

All you have to do is get over your terminal modesty and remember that you do have knowledge worth sharing.

I can say that for the past two years at least, all the really good clients I’ve acquired came to me because of the copywriting tips and marketing ideas I’ve shared in my newsletter and on my blog.

In those rare times when business has gotten a little slow, I’ve always just responded by giving away ideas for free, telling people what I was doing to get more work and urging them to do the same, sharing stories, posting more tips… and always the work has come back.

There was a time when I told myself, “My clients are successful business people. I don’t need to share this with them. Surely they already know.”

I though about that as I huffed and puffed alongside my fellow roadie, whose far superior rig (and probably better conditioning) made me struggle to keep up.

“Where are you headed now?” he asked.

I told him the street name, and he shook his head. “Never heard of it.”

The next left turn, there it was. I turned away down the street a local biker had never heard of. As I said goodbye, he asked me, “You ever thought of writing a guidebook?”

You know more than you think you do.

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When marketing isn’t urgent, will you do it?

May 20th, 2009 No comments

This is a picture of my “to do list” a year ago:

copywriter market list

I followed a suggestion by time management expert Lee Milteer, who recommends you divide a bulletin board into columns for each project, goal, or problem you’re working on. Fill the board with notecards and post-its for your ideas and tasks, and tack up any relevant articles, pictures, or other material.

Right away, a lot of the clutter I was carrying around in my head went up on the wall. But my, how these things accumulate!

Soon the bulletin board became a dumping ground for anything I didn’t want to deal with right away.

When things got too cluttered, I made a commitment to go through one column every week. I was surprised to find that many tasks had become irrelevant. Either I had already taken care of them, or I had replaced them with something bigger and better.

If it’s important but not urgent, will it ever get done?

Imagine the joy of prying out all those thumb tacks and popping bags of paper scraps into the recycle bin. But the real benefit came from finding gems in my to do list.

They were action items that are important, but not urgent. These are the tasks that Steven Covey puts in “Quadrant II” in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Things like marketing, learning new skills that will help you become more successful, efforts that will grow your business but aren’t necessary to maintain it.

Ultimately, these are the things that will transform your life. But since they’re not a part of our daily routine, and never a part of the fires we put out all the time, most people never do them.

How this will affect your marketing

If you don’t go out and promote yourself today, there probably won’t be any immediate consequences. If you don’t do it tomorrow, you’ll feel just fine. But if you neglect it until the pipeline of future business dries up, you’ll be in trouble.

Sales and marketing are never urgent but always critical. Make time for them, and if necessary use this system.

Put all your ideas, concerns, and “to do” items up on the wall. Then just let them sit there for a while. It’s like compost for the garden of your life. You’ll feel calmer for having addressed them, and your mind will be more focused on the present.

Later, when you’re ready, take down the litter and return it to the earth from whence it came. But pick out the diamonds in the pile, and make time in your schedule (no matter how little) to work on them.

If none of your marketing tasks are on your diamond list, I’m going to send you a big bag of compost in the mail!

One more thing before we both get back to work. Once you’ve scheduled your important, non-urgent tasks, keep the commitments you make to yourself as firmly and unfailingly as you keep your word to other people.

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How your passions can save the economy

February 10th, 2009 No comments

Last month I started learning Enbukan Battojutsu (a style of Japanese sword drawing) from a local master.  He also happens to be a physics professor, so he’s not teaching this class for the money.  He charges us a pittance, and we meet twice a week in a park, where we get to whack and slice at each other with wooden swords.

Our instructor talks almost nonstop during these lessons, jumping from specific techniques to comments about the design and structure of the sword to short lectures on Japanese history, language and culture. His excitement is contagious, and this class is clearly a passion far more than a “job” or even a profession.

But in his own small way, he’s stimulating the economy.

My girlfriend and I have made repeated trips to a local martial arts store to buy swords, tabi (the traditional shoes), various robes and belts and all the other uniforms and equipment necessary to practice the art. I’ve spent nearly $100 on books this past month, and Johana has probably spent even more.

These are small cash infusions that aren’t going to save the economy by themselves, but multiply it by dozens of other students who want to learn this art, and you have a potential handful of jobs saved or created. Especially when you consider how little it takes to make a difference.

All over the county, I suspect, there are managers and business owners crunching the numbers and saying, “If I don’ t make at least x dollars this week, I’ll have to let two people go.” In cases like this, one customer spending $50 might ensure that somebody else has a job next week.

If you’ve got something you’re passionate about, this is a good time to share it. People need inspiration and escape right now. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to sail, or take a bike tour, or brew your own beer, this is a good time to get started.

It’s one of the most helpful and painless things you can do.

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