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Posts Tagged ‘marketing tactics’

How to use copywriting to reduce your costs and lower your risk

June 19th, 2010 No comments

Response Magazine often talks about a low-cost way to test your infomercial, before you spend a fortune on DirectTV.

They suggest running a long radio spot with the same or similar script that you plan to use for your infomercial. Many long-copy radio spots have been successfully morphed into high-yielding infomercials. And if your radio spot bombs, you can change the script or the concept before you’ve spent a fortune on TV advertising.

But even a simple radio ad will cost your company thousands of dollars but the priciple is useful no matter how small your advertising budget may be: It’s better to discover a failing campaign before you when the costs are low.

Since copy is the backbone of every ad campaign, along with a solid offer, you’re best off testing your copy and your offer as cheaply as possible. If it’s successful, you can invest more money to get your message out there on the expensive media.

Start with a sales letter, and make 2 slightly different versions so you can compare the response.  Maybe change the headline, or they layout, the “p.s.” at the end or the call to action.

Mail each one directly to 100 or 1,000 of your most likely prospects. Send out the different versions as an email to everyone on your list. Post them on your blog, and link a few relevant Google ads to the pages.

Track your results, and find out what works This is the time to tweak and test your message. Copy is the foundation of every effort. Once you’ve got it right, then you can re-apply it–with amplified results, over other media such as radio and TV.

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Marketing wealth: So many ways, so little time!

December 1st, 2009 1 comment

The biggest marketing opportunity of the year is about to fall through the roof and land in your coffee. Most marketers won’t notice it, though, because they’ve got their sights locked on to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season in general.

But the real opportunity comes in January. Businesses start off with fresh budgets. Consumers wipe the slate and cover it with New Year’s resolutions.  Kids have pockets full of gift cards and spending money, while many adults are looking forward to an income tax refund in the near future.

You have a vast treasure trove of people eager to learn, to earn, to lose (weight), to gain, to change their lives–and they have the energy and the means to make it happen.

Best of all,  your competitors are asleep, gorged on eggnog and holiday sales. That’s the time to strike.

Now is the time to plan your January campaigns, if you haven’t done it already. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Look around for other people and businesses who compliment what you do. You can bring each other new business for additional profit. If you’re a personal trainer, work with a chiropractor and a masseuse. If you sell a product, look for professionals who could sell your product to their clients.
  • Write a letter to prospective clients, personally inviting them to better health, higher earnings, simplicity, or whatever benefits your business delivers
  • Publish an informational how-to that deals with an issue your clients are concerned about, which you know how to resolve. This doesn’t have to be an ebook or a white paper. You can hold a teleseminar, a webinar, a live workshop, a podcast, or a video.
  • Create premium versions of the information above, which you can sell for an additional source of revenue

These are old, time-tested tools. They’ll uncover opportunities for you where you thought there were none. Start using them now, and get the jump on a prosperous 2010.

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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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3 kinds of businesses that will succeed in 2009

January 3rd, 2009 No comments
By the time you read this, I’ll be camping in the desert. A few months ago I would have thought of this as a terrible strategic mistake, but I learned something so shockingly useful, it’s almost impossible to worry about anything.

I had an aggressive New Year’s marketing plan all set to go, as soon as I finished up the work for my clients. It turns out a lot of them needed me for their own New Year’s plans, and they wanted to get the tax write-offs for 2008.

So I’ve been chained to the computer these last 2 weeks. I even worked a few hours on the 25th and most of the day on the 31st.

Then I caught the flu, (even now I’m coughing and sneezing as I write this) and it slowed me down a little. On the first day of 2009, I was in front of the computer bright and early with a mug of green tea, eager to keep all my promises and get to work on my own marketing campaign.

On Friday my printer broke down. Funny noises and protruding metal parts. I wish I’d filmed it for YouTube. I finished all the work my clients needed, but still no marketing, a dead printer, and I had promised myself and Johana that we’d get out of LA on Saturday.

Maybe I’m being irresponsible, but I’m not worried. I’ve got more campaigns planned out for Valentines, Saint Patrick’s, and a lot of other holidays that will keep me going all year. Not to mention I’m still harvesting the fruits of my Halloween and Thanksgiving campaigns.

That in itself should give you two useful lessons: First, continuous marketing will bring you continuous clients. Second, connect your marketing to whatever is already on your prospect’s mind.

Holidays give you an easy way to do that. News and current events work, too (and right now the economy and the new president offer you–ironically–two gold mines).

In fact, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to always start writing copy from the thoughts and feelings that are already in the target’s head.

But here I’ve ranted for ten paragraphs, and I haven’t even gotten to my main point. I still have a fever and my brain cells are overheated, but anyway…

I can relax and enjoy a few days of camping because I’ve figured out the three kinds of people who are going to rule 2009, and how I’ll be like them. If you can embody the traits of all three of these heroes, get ready for a prosperous year!

But I’m not going to delve into it here, because another resolution was to devote more energy to friends, relationships, and travel. I still need to pack so Johanna and I can meet up with some old friends in Joshua tree, so I’ll leave you with a special link:

http://www.jacobbear.com/3heroes.html

Here you can learn all about the 3 heroes of 2009. Chances are you’re one of them, or maybe even all three.

Well, that’s it. I’ll be gone until January 8th, so if you want to shoot me an email about anything it’ll be a few days before I can get back to you.

Take care, and get off to a great start. You’re a hero.

Jacob

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Escaping the Starbucks Marketing Trap

December 1st, 2007 No comments

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You meet someone at a Big Networking Event.

There’s a chance to do business with them.

If you’re like most people, you swap business cards, and a few days later you invite them to Starbucks for a sales pitch—I mean, a double latte.

This is an “offer.” You ask the other party for something, and you offer to give them something in return.

Give me 30 minutes of your time and I’ll show you how I can:

*solve one of your biggest problems
*fulfill one of your greatest dreams
*spill hot steaming chai down the front of your shirt.

The trouble with this approach is that your time is valuable.

If you make an appointment with every single person who might be a possible client, your entire marketing plan is limited to 24 hours a day.

Plus you haven’t qualified the prospect to see how interested and eligible they really are.

Unless you happen to meet a financially independent millionaire (and there are lots of them at networking events), people with the free time to hang around in coffee shops don’t usually make good clients.

But what can you do instead?

Offer something other than your time, at least at the beginning. Ideally you’ll have something that nobody in their right mind would want unless they need your service.

That’s why the best thing you can offer is free information, especially if it addresses some critical pain or desire your prospects have. I assume you have a fairly sophisticated business that takes time to explain. You’re not just selling lemonade.

You know more about your field than your client does. You’re an expert, and the real buyers sincerely want you to share some of your knowledge.

That’s the idea behind a “free consultation,” which is what all your competitors are offering.

Be different than your competitors.

Make your suspect demonstrate their interest by signing up for a newsletter, going to a seminar, or reading a report or white paper.

The format is simple. You meet that potentially interested networking warrior.

Instead of immediately seeking caffeine, you say to them, “It sounds like you might be able to benefit from a degrommetization. Check out my website. There’s a free guide on the homepage telling you the top sixteen ways to save money by getting rid of distracting grommets.”

On your homepage there’s a special opt-in form where anyone concerned about the side effects of grommets can download the free guide you mentioned.

(Ahah! An offer!)

If they follow through, you now know you’ve got a qualified prospect who is desperately trying to rid their life of grommets. They’re in your database, so now you can send letters, email, or phone calls as you slowly educate them on the benefits of degrommetization.

If they continue to express an interest, then you can make an appointment. (Coffee time!)

If you don’t want to put together written content, there are other ways to present your free information.

Reserve a large table at a local restaurant at lunch on the first Tuesday of every month for a presentation.

Now you tell your new networking friend (and scores of others) that in two weeks you’re giving a free seminar on degrommetization. After a month of serious promoting, you should be able to draw a nice-sized group. You give your presentation not to one potential suspect but to five or ten prospects who are sincerely interested.

Not only that, but you help your restaurant buddy get more business. He might even reward you with a free coffee.

You can do this with a teleconference as well. Or a webinar. The point is, your offer of free information, whether it’s written, audio, or live, sets you apart as an expert.

You’ll save days of time, and automatically screen out the tire kickers who are just out for a free blended mocha.

To get ahead in business, you have to stand out from the competition. You have to do something different. You have to be bold.

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