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Posts Tagged ‘opportunity’

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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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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It only takes 10,000 hours

August 25th, 2009 1 comment

Here’s a question you should ask yourself: If you could be really, really good at one thing, what would it be?

Over the years I keep hearing a little factoid cited by a lot of different people–you need to spend 10,000 hours doing something before you get really good at it.

This used to leave me dismayed. If you spend 3 hours a day, say, studying a language or playing a guitar, you’ll need close to a decade to master it. But there’s a bright side to this.

You probably spend way more than 3 hours a day on some things. You probably spend 6-8 hours or more selling, strategizing, tinkering and inventing, counseling, chiropracting or whatever else you do to earn an income.

When I lived in Italy, I lived with Italian roommates, and dated an Italian woman who didn’t (or wouldn’t) speak English. I read books and magazines during the 45-minute commute to work each day, and usually managed to squeeze in another hour or so of studying Italian. Around my 3rd year there, I was practically bilingual, I had dreams in Italian, and all kinds of opportunities were open to me in teaching, tourism, and sales.

Now take it to the next level. Your clients pay you because you spend hours doing something that they’ve only dabbled in, at best.

You can become a master by deliberately ramping up your hours on one particular skill. There are lots of realtors, but suppose you spend a few extra hours a day studying old buildings or a historical district. If you’re managing an IT company, you could become a master at a specific type of programming.

Likewise, 10,000 hours of selling is an investment that will pay you back ten thousand times in almost any industry or career.

And there’s one more aspect to this. Most people actually don’t reach the 10,000 hour level until late in their career, if at all. You could play a decent golf game after just 2,000 hours, but 10,000 hours is the Tiger Woods level. If you had to spend 10,000 hours mastering something, what would you want it to be?

Outside of your career, progress is slow, but not impossible. I put in about half an hour a day drawing and cutting with the katana. I’m not going to become a great swordsman anytime soon. But when most people are getting old and crackly, I’ll be like Gandalf.

Meanwhile, I’ll just keep writing for 8-9 hours a day, and maybe I’ll be able to retire a little sooner and have more time to practice.

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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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Do this now to prepare for 2009

November 20th, 2008 No comments

If you’re in southern California, and the fires have affected your home, you’re in my prayers. If anyone wants to help the relief efforts, click here.

Many people are seeing the end of 2008 with a heavy heart.  But it’s time to think about next year. January is always a time of optimism and renewal. People let go of their worries and troubles, and get excited about how they’ll do better.

Gym memberships go up, and new years resolutions can be a goldmine for hypnotherapists, yoga instructors, and personal trainers.

Likewise, businesses have a fresh ledger for a new tax year. The departments of larger companies are looking at how to spend the new budget.

The easiest time to sell
No matter who you are or what business you’re in, January can be a bonanza. January is the month that people buy the fulfillment of plans, dreams, and hope. If you’re like most business owners, you’ll send out Holiday Greeting cards in December, and maybe do some advertising in January.

This year I want you to do something different.

Strike the iron while it’s glowing red hot. No matter what the economic reality they face, most of your prospects will be ready to let go of the pain of 2008 and start over with a clean slate.

They’ll at least do this psychologically, even if they realistically can’t escape from the damage of the 4th quarter. They’re looking for new opportunity in January. You need to be there for them, as frequently, vocally, boldly, shamelessly, even recklessly as possible.

Don’t offer a discount. Offer something creative and inspiring. Whatever your product or service, what you’re really selling in January is hope and optimism and the giddy thrill of radical improvement. Reflect this in your marketing at the beginning of the year.

Start planning and thinking about it now.

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