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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

3 simple steps to build your most important asset

September 19th, 2017 No comments

Suddenly,  thousands of people (now almost ten thousand) were liking me on social media.

All it took was a touch of misguided energy and a few frivolous comments during my lunch break.

In the last post, I told you the whole story. I also showed you two ways you could become famous on a social media channel. If you missed it, you can read all about it here.

But there’s a drawback to fame, especially for the social media fame that’s so easy to acquire:

Most of your followers, the people who give you upvotes and likes on social media, will never be customers for the products and services you offer.

Lucky for you, there’s a better way. There’s a great asset that you can build, which will bring wealth and predictability to your business. If you are an artist, this is the secret to gaining 1000 true fans, and more.

Let’s make this simple. Suppose you run a coffee shop. There are at least three different kinds of customers who will walk through your doors:

  1. The regulars. These are the people who come in at the same time each day or each week, and order the same thing. If you know enough about your regulars, you can make a fairly accurate prediction of how much revenue you’ll earn, at minimum, every month.
  2. The fans. These people aren’t regular, but they know you’re in business and they like your coffee. When they happen to be in the neighborhood and they want to grab a bite to eat, your coffee shop will be one of their first choices. If they happen to hear that you’re offering a special, or hosting a poetry slam or some live music, there’s a good chance they will show up.
  3. The foot traffic. They are in the neighborhood. But they may not know you exist, or if they do, they don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other. If they happen to walk by while they’re thinking of coffee, you might get their business.

Most businesses focus their marketing efforts on building more foot traffic. But I know my readers are more sophisticated than that.

Your marketing strategy should be obvious. Turn the foot traffic into fans. Turn the fans into regulars. There are a lot of ways you can do this. Start a Facebook page and encourage every customer to join. Ask them to follow you on Twitter, and then tweet photos of your delicious food and drink every day. Get ratings and reviews on Yelp and other sites.

Whatever business you’re in, you’ve probably started doing something like this. But there’s a limit to how effective you will be. Almost nobody will find you on Yelp unless they are actively searching. Facebook posts and tweets have a very short half-life.

And what happens when Google changes their algorithm, Facebook changes their policy, or your fans and followers shift their attention to a new social media platform you know nothing about?

Your influence can drop to zero overnight. And it might take weeks or months to recover.

 

Bulletproof marketing secrets from the Bold Words Cafe

Lucky for you, there’s another way. Let’s go back to my favorite coffee shop, Bold Words Cafe, and see what they do.

When you go into the Bold Words cafe, the smiling barista is going to offer you a few extra goodies. Now, don’t confuse this with some kind of loyalty or incentive program. You’ll be missing the whole point.

Bold Words Cafe (BWC) might offer you a special stamp card, where your 10th drink is free. They’ll give you a VIP invitation to all of their live music and comedy events, maybe even a free download of some of the highlights from their best shows. They’ll let you in on their “secret menu” and regularly give you special coupons and deals.

All they ask in return is your email, so they can send you all the information, news, and links. All the cashiers and baristas are trained to do this. They keep making offers, and try to get the email of every single person who comes through the door.

Even if you’re just foot traffic, there might be something in the bundle of goodies that appeals to you. If you’re a fan, you’ll almost certainly be interested in the offer. If you’re a regular, then this is a no-brainer.

Now look what happens. BWC has your email and your name, at minimum. And you gave it to them because they offered you something that you want.

In other words, everyone on that email list has an interest or desire for something provided by the business. It’s a solid gold list of prospects.

This is why you should build an email list for your business. But don’t just take my word for it.

Corey Dilley, the Marketing Manager at Unbounce.com, says “Email marketing consistently generates 80-90% of our landing page traffic when we launch a new campaign, piece of content or product feature.”

Noah Kagan, founder of the 7-figure business AppSumo.com, states that “90% of our revenue comes from emails”

In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing delivers an average 4300% Return On Investment in the U.S.

If Google crashed tomorrow, Facebook declared a moratorium all commercial activity, and Twitter was taken over by communists, you could still keep promoting your business, getting back $43 for every dollar you spent, just by using your list. It could be the end of the world as we know it, and you would feel fine.

 

Do these three simple things and watch your own list grow!

Let’s leave the Bold Words Cafe, and see how a list could work in your business.

If you’re using any kind of social media, you can simplify things by thinking of it as “foot traffic.” Your upvotes, followers, and “likes” represent one person getting exposed to you one time.

At a bare minimum, you should give these viewers a way to sign up for an email list. Here’s a fast way to do it:

  1. Put a prominent email sign-up on your website.
  2. Make sure all of your social media profiles include a link to your website.
  3. Add all your existing customers, past and present, to your list.

If you do just these three things, your list will start to grow. That should be enough to keep you busy this week.

In the next few weeks, I’ll give you some ideas on how to create incentives to get more prospects to join your list. You’ll get some ideas on what kind of emails to send out to your list. I’ll even hand you the blueprint for a sophisticated system that automatically attracts and signs up new prospects for your list.

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How to get 9,700+ upvotes on Quora

September 12th, 2017 No comments

Do you want to be famous?

Today I’m going to show you how.

It’s not as hard as you think. I attracted thousands of fans this year by just talking about pizza. I’ll tell you how you can gain celebrity status just as easily.

Pretty soon, you’ll get thousands of likes for every one of your posts. Your followers will explode. Parents will offer up their children for marriage. You can brag to your friends, and buy them all pizza to celebrate your glory.

But I’ll also show you why the wrong kind of fame is worthless.

In fact, today is just a prelude to a bigger, longer message. Today I will show you how to be famous. But over the next few weeks I’m going to show you what you should be doing instead.

By the end of the month you’re going to know all about the most important asset you can have, whether you’re an artist or a business owner. When you hear what happened to me, you’ll understand.

 

How I became a celebrity by writing about pizza

My road to fame started when someone on Quora asked , “What will happen to me if I only eat pizza?”

I shouldn’t have been wasting my lunchtime on Quora, but I couldn’t resist. (If you lived in Italy for three years, ate pizza every day and had nothing to show for it but a half-written book, what would you do?)

I gave my answer here. I thought I was done.

But within three weeks I had thousands of upvotes and hundreds of new followers. A few people even blamed me for the spread of diabetes, obesity and arthritis.

As I write this, I have over nine thousand upvotes and 1.1 million views, with more than 10,300 views this month alone.

You’re asking, “How does he do it? How does a guy with a laptop in El Sereno command the attention of a million Quora users just by writing about the pizza he ate twelve years ago?”

Today I’m going to tell you two ways to get famous.

 

This is how superstars in every field separate themselves from mere mortals

Italians talk affectionately about all things American being esagerato. The size of our cars, the number of those cars that crash or blow up in our movies, the ridiculous posturing of our politicians, and especially our appetites. The first secret to fame is exaggeration.

When I answered the Quora question, I might have exaggerated a little bit.

During my Italy years, it was normal to grab a slice of pizza at some point in the day. On Quora I might have said that I made a meal out of it every single day. I might have also implied that the only other things I consumed were espresso, wine, and gelato.

I wasn’t exaggerating the truth all that much, but it was enough to make me extremely popular.

Listen, I’m not saying you should sacrifice your honesty and integrity for fame. In particular, don’t ever lie about your products, their features, and what they or you can do. Don’t lie to your clients. Don’t lie to your spouse/partner/significant other.

But outside of business and personal relationships, you should be stretching the truth into fantastic shapes and positions like you’re taking it to a session of advanced Bikram yoga.

Watch any stand-up comedian and see what they do. They take ordinary, everyday stories and blow them up until you can’t help laughing. They exaggerate.

We can even take this a step further. Look at the most successful athletes, celebrities, and artists you can think of. They’re larger than life! At least in one facet of their life, they do something that makes other people whisper and point, shake their heads, chuckle, cringe, and secretly admire them.

Most of my one million viewers don’t officially approve of merrily traipsing around the Italian countryside, devouring stacks of pizza Margherita washed down with enormous jugs of aglianico wine, and finishing off with an affogato di cafe while watching the sunset. But it stands out.

Find something you can overdo, something you can exaggerate, and you’ll stand out too.

 

What does everybody want?

Another way to become famous is to tell people something which is both unexpected and something they want to hear.

All I did was make the case that pizza is good for you.

Of course it depends on what you put on the pizza, but nobody wants to cloud the good news with such trivia! Better just to add pizza to the list of comforts and vices we used to think were bad but it turns out they’re good for us:

Wine
Chocolate
Coffee
Beer
Sleep
Red meat
Marijuana
Sunlight
And now… Pizza!

As a one-time high school health teacher, I need to remind you that everything listed above is still bad for your health if you’re exposed to the wrong kind, the wrong quality, or too much.

And let’s face it, if your favorite vice is on that list, you’re probably abusing it. Don’t let my plug for exaggeration become your excuse.

But you’re not here to read disclaimers. You want to know all about fame. So look for ways you can give counterintuitive advice that will be good news for your prospects.

  • If you’re a financial planner, tell them why they should take longer vacations and eat out more
  • If you’re a fitness coach, discuss the importance and benefits of rest
  • If you’re a real estate agent, explain the benefits of paying off a mortgage as slowly as possible
  • If you’re a lawyer, describe an interesting loophole that can save your clients a lot of expense and grief

Now, let’s sum up what we know so far:

1)To become famous, exaggerate something. Put a visible aspect of your life into overdrive.

2)Tell the masses something that’s both hard to believe and something they will be happy to hear. (Dr. Oz had me at “Coffee is good for you”)

Now go on out there and do something to earn your fame! I want to watch you commit atrocities on YouTube. I want health freaks to name a new diet after you. I look forward to hearing anxious whispers about you coming from dark, smoke-filled rooms.

Most of all, I’m eager to see the masses stampede to do business with you, driven by your fame. They don’t even remember that you have competition. How could anyone compete with you?

 

What are you going to do about all those fans?

I told you I was also going to explain why fame is a waste of your time, so here we go.

I’ve got hundreds of thousands of Quora views, and thousands of upvotes and followers. But how many of my Quora fans need a copywriter? How many of them want to buy a book about biking across southern Italy and becoming the architect of your own fate?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. You can be famous if you want to be, but how many of those adoring folks are really viable prospects? And how will you even find them?

I’ve got an answer to that, too. Do this one thing (if you’re not doing it already) and you could multiply your profits and your effectiveness tenfold, according to some very reliable sources.

Next week, I’ll tell you what to do about that elephant in the room. I’ll show you how to harness and magnify the power of your new-found fame.

I’m going to give you the most important asset you can have, whether you’re an artist or a business owner.

If you want fame, and more importantly if you want customers and clients, you need to get this next thing right. If you subscribe in the space below, I’ll make sure you don’t miss it.

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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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Kickstart Your Social Media for $497. Money-Back Guaranteed.

June 9th, 2016 No comments

Nobody looks at the Yellow Pages anymore.

If you want your business to thrive, you’ve got to maintain a strong presence on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites.

For $497 I’ll build you a personal content management system that gets your business into all the major social media, where everyone can see it. If you don’t like the work I do for you, for the next 30 days I’ll promptly refund every penny you paid, no questions asked.

So what exactly do you get?

  • A 30-minute brainstorming session to uncover the hidden potential in your business. We’ll find the qualities that will make you stand out and attract the best clients and customers
  • Fresh, original content posted on WordPress, FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. This new content comes straight out of our brainstorming. It’s tailored to sell your services and products, but it is also material your market will actually want to watch, read, and see. We can easily fit it with the online marketing you’ve already done, or I can set everything up for you if you’re starting from scratch.
  • A flagship Youtube video. Google owns Youtube, and those search engines love Youtube videos. We’ll make a video that promotes your core message, embed it on your website, post it on your Facebook page and promote it through Twitter and Instagram. You could potentially reach thousands of viewers.
  • A Facebook Page that really works. There are two common mistakes that prevent your FaceBook page from turning heads and attracting real clients who want to do business with you. If you don’t already have a Facebook page for your business, we’ll set it up right the first time. If you’ve already got one, we’ll level up your Facebook mojo with new posts and videos that increase “likes,” and leave visitors eager to come back and learn more from you
  • A personalized, easy to follow marketing plan with templates and ideas so you can continue to produce new content in the future.

If you’re unhappy with this service for any reason, for 30 days after we finish I’ll refund your money, all 49,700 pennies of it, no questions asked.

How do we start?

If you’re interested, call or text me or fill out the contact form below. We’ll set up a 30-minute session by phone or Skype, where I’ll ask you 14 questions.

Usually that’s enough to know whether we can work together. There may be a few follow-up questions but usually after the first conversation I’ll have 2-5 key points that will be the basis for most of your social media.

Over the next few days I’ll write up your core content, which tells your story and puts your business in the best possible light. Once you’ve approved this basic content, I’ll have everything I need. My team and I will get to work on your video, and soon your story will light up all the major social media platforms.social_media-marketing-deal-expires-August

All you need to do to get started is text 213-453-1327 or fill out the contact form below:

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Introducing a new breed of entrepreneurial educators

August 1st, 2013 No comments

It’s been years since I’ve posted anything on this site. Literally. It’s a brave new world, and I’ll try to be quick about what I’ve been doing and why you should care.

We’re slowly emerging from the second worst economic period in our nation’s history. You can point your fingers where you will–blame the bankers, the Fed, the mortgage brokers–but ultimately this whole thing happened because we let it happen.

Some people should have known better. Most people didn’t, and that’s a brutal condemnation of our culture, our educational institutions, and what we’re teaching kids about business and economics. Masses of consumers bought houses they couldn’t afford, ran up debts they couldn’t pay.

Sure, the banks and the government made it easy to do this. Sure, some unscrupulous sales people encouraged everybody. But if most Americans had been smarter with their money, the crisis of 2008 could have been largely averted.

I’m on a mission to make Americans smarter.

In 2010 I turned down a project from an old and trusted client (and believe me, I really needed the money) in order to teach biology at a pilot school in one of the poorest neighborhoods in L.A.

I very quickly saw that virtually nobody in our public school system knows about marketing, how to start and run a business, how to sell anything (including your own services). “Entrepreneur” may as well be a French word. None of my students or colleagues knew what it means.

Last year I enrolled in an intensive, accelerated teaching credential program. I am now fully authorized to teach science. As soon as I get a teaching job I’m going to teach biotechnology. And self-direction. How to argue for your ideas and, more importantly, how to sell them.

There are others like me. Education is going through a revolution, and when we finally change the way people learn and the skills they develop, it will change society. There are entrepreneur teachers out there, not many of us but it’s a growing movement. You won’t find an organization (at least not that I’m aware of) but you’ll find us one by one on LinkedIn, Edmodo, and brave little blogs like this one.

I’m on the faculty for an online, entrepreneurial educational program called the Ron Paul Curriculum. I’m not fully aligned politically with RPC and the people running it, but what they’re trying to accomplish is important and inspiring. I’m honored and excited and grateful to be a part of it.

We need to teach the future Generations about self-direction, personal responsibility and empowerment. This is orders of magnitude more important than standardized tests.

Becoming a teacher is the toughest marketing job I’ve ever taken on. I have to win the hearts and minds of students and their parents. I have to sell my ideas to administrators. I’ll be doing some things no other teacher has ever done, using every marketing tool I’ve got in my arsenal, and of course constantly learning.

I don’t know what my “day job” is going to be a month from now. Even if I’m not in a classroom, even if I’m managing the social media for some new startup, I’ll still be teaching in one way or another. I’ve got my own new website in addition to the Ron Paul curriculum.

On some level, marketers have always been teachers. Now teachers have to be marketers. And entrepreneurs. I’m going to help them all find a way. I’m going to create outstanding learning opportunities for students, parents, and teachers around the world.

If you want to follow along on the adventure, check back here from time to time, or subscribe to Bold Words. I’ll soon be resurrecting that venerable publication, and I’ve got some surprises in store that will curl your ears.

 

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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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Marketers beware: Google’s SideWiki may vandalize your website!

October 21st, 2009 1 comment

Google’s internal motto is “Don’t be evil.” But the company recently launched a program that gives anyone–including your most unethical competitors–the power to essentially vandalize your website.

Google’s new application, SideWiki, creates a sidebar on your website where anyone can register and leave a comment. You’ll have no power to moderate this.

This opens your site to all kinds of abuse. Your site could become riddled with vulgar, meaningless comments. Competitors can offer your products at a lower cost, and post their affiliate links.

Sylvie Fortin did an excellent post about SideWiki on the Marketers Board. You’ll have to scroll down past a bit of advertising, but here’s the link:

http://www.marketersboard.com/google-sidewiki-controversy/

Her post includes some real-world examples of perverted and vulgar comments, sleazy spam with affiliate links, and even Nazi propaganda.

What can you do about this? There are three tactics that come to mind right now:

1. Enough pressure on Google might eventually get them to kill the program or give you some say in what gets posted on your website.
2. You could Flood your own website with worthless, inane, spammy comments so that visitors ignore the sidebar altogether
3. Maybe it’s time to aggressively seek testimonials, and invite your best clients to flood SideWiki with kind words on your site.

Aside from all that, it’s important to keep SideWiki, along with all social media, in perspective. It all comes down to strategy.

For example, I spend a good hour or two a day on blogs, FaceBook, Twitter and such, but ultimately I get the best results from good old fashioned, time-proven marketing principles. Like being consistent, sending the right message to the right people for the right impact.

Nobody in business can ignore what happens on the Internet. But it’s just as dangerous, naive, and lazy to disregard all of the tools that can promote your business offline as well.

Here’s the good news. You’re not alone in figuring out how to make sense of this. If you want some help, or just a chance to bounce some ideas around, I’m offering free teleconference strategy sessions on a first-come, first-served basis.

All you have to do is call or shoot me an email and I’ll put you on the schedule. There’s no charge and no obligation for these calls, but I’ve only got a couple hours a week to do this.

I’m already booked through the end of October, but I can still do a few of these in November, if you can beat the crowds.

That’s it for now. Be sure and check out Sylvie Fortin’s post on SideWiki. Here’s the link again:

http://www.marketersboard.com/google-sidewiki-controversy/

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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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Barking cats and marketing string theory

June 27th, 2009 1 comment

This is red, the neighborhood cat.copywriter cat Last week he showed up on my porch with a huge infected gash across his face. The veterinarian drained the wound and sewed him up, and now I need to keep him inside while he heals.

He’s a fiercely independent outdoor cat, and I’m afraid he’s already bored with my silly words and amateur YouTube videos. So I gave him a toy on the end of the sting. He ignored the toy, but almost instantly fell in love with the string.

Your clients may do this from time to time, so it’s important to understand what your “string” really is.

One of the books that made my shortlist for best marketing books of 2008 was Waiting for Your Cat to Bark. There’s nothing really new or earth-shaking in the book, but they presented an important concept in a creative way: Your prospect is a cat, but you might be treating her like a dog.

In other words, if the way you’re selling and presenting doesn’t fit the needs and personality of your client, then buying is actually against their nature. It’s like expecting a cat to bark. Or selling them the toy when what they really want is the string it’s tied to.

Your job is to find the string in your business, and dangle it in front of the right cats. I had a weird experience with this last month.

Towards the end of May, I started making offers to a fresh list of prospects in a new industry. When I wrote about sales and marketing, very few of them seemed interested. But as soon as I describe copywriting in connection with social media, and suggested things like rewriting their case studies and press releases as blog posts, they were all ears.

I had assumed the social media aspect was a given, something that would automatically go with any writing I did for them. But really, this was the string that got the cat’s attention.

So how do you find the string? I stumbled on it by accident, but there are questions you should be asking yourself.

First, what are all the benefits of doing business with you? You should have an exhaustive list, and even get a little bit creative. Then look at that list and find the benefits you haven’t really stressed in your marketing. Test these out, and if your clients pounce, you know you’ve found your string.

Red is supposed to get his stitches out in a week. I’ll let you know if he starts barking.

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