Newbie freelance copywriter MP recently asked me for feedback on his new website.

When I told him what to do, he defended the very things I said did not work on his site my telling me, “Well, my son thinks I should try it this way.”

When I asked, he shared that his son is 28-years-old. I have been a freelance copywriter for 7 years longer than his son has lived.

“Who do you think knows more about marketing freelance copywriting services—me or your son?” I asked MP, who of course said it is me.

By the way, this scenario happens multiple times each month and it is the primary reason why I do not offer mentoring or coaching services.

It is also why I am close to shutting down the free help I so readily give to copywriters, Internet marketers, and other entrepreneurs online.

My question to MP, if he is reading this, and to others who ask for free advice and then argue when they get it, is this: Why would you ask my opinion, which normally sells for $500 an hour, and then, when I am nice enough to give it free, instead of thanking me, start to argue with me?

Presumably, you asked because you correctly recognize that I know more about the topic than you do—why else would you ask me in the first place?

The reason I know a bit more than you is not because I am smarter, but because I have more experience.

A rule of thumb to which of course there are numerous exceptions says that those with more experience in X know more about it than those with little or no experience, right?

Louis CK has a wise and amusing take on this notion.

MP’s son is a kid and not a copywriter. MP knows that I have been a successful copywriter for 35 years. So why would he turn to MP Jr. for a second opinion on my advice?

Here is the possible explanation: In over 3 decades of helping people, I have learned that many people who say they want advice actually want something else: they want confirmation of what they already believe.

As long as your advice is in line with what they already are doing or want to do, they thank you.

But if your advice is in opposition to their belief or plan, they argue and defend their position.

Here’s why I told MP to ignore MP Jr. and listen to me only…

If MP was a paying client, I would be willing to entertain the debate for my $500 an hour rate.

After all, my clients are paying me a lot of money, are gambling a lot more money on their marketing, and want to be confident they are taking the right path.

But if you are not paying me for my time, and I am generous enough to give some of it away to you, I am going to want to keep it short for obvious reasons: I have a lot of other things I could be doing in that time instead, all of which make me money.

Fair? Reasonable?

To me, yes. And to MP, who thanked me, fair to him too.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

The Power Of Free

Posted September 21st, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

It has been proven time and time again that the word “free” turns more prospects into customers—for example, offering a free bonus gift when the prospect buys. If you are building a list or simply want a prospect to take a first action, offering a valuable free report is often highly successful. Note: Dick Benson wrote this in 1991 and it is every bit as true today.

Source: Richard Benson, “Secrets of Successful Direct Mail”, Passport Books

3 ways to get more clients with better follow-up.

Posted September 18th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

Business coach Mara Glazer says everyone in a client-based service business should spend 15 minutes a day doing the following 3 activities:

1. Pick up the phone, and call someone you met at an event but haven’t connected with offline quite yet.

2. Call an old lead that never turned into a client to see how they are progressing (or not progressing) without you.

3. Call someone you maybe never met before but that you’ve wanted to work with.

“I know for many it’s uncomfortable, but it works,” says Mara. Her advice: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, pick up that phone, and finally follow-up so you can start watching your client enrollment (and the number in your bank account) begin to rise.

Source: Mara Glazer, Working Moms Only, 4/10/14

According to my colleague Brian Kurtz, Boardroom founder Marty Edelston had 4 core principles for business and life success:

1. He outworked everyone.

2. He had insatiable curiosity.

3. He surrounded himself with people smarter than himself whenever and wherever possible.

4. He always thought about what he could do for you first.

Follow your passion…NOT!

Posted September 16th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

According to an article in Psychology Today, following your passion when choosing a career or business often leads to the poorhouse.

That’s because most people’s passions lie in mostly creative outlets (e.g., writing), worthy causes (e.g., the environment), entertainment (e.g., movies), or glitz (e.g., decorating).

As a result, the number of people pursuing these interests is overwhelming, so many companies in these areas pay employees poorly, and entrepreneurs in these niches are pressured to lower prices because of too many competitors.

Source: Psychology Today, 8/14, 9. 46.

In my last essay, I complained about an association that asked me to speak for free. They would not cover my expenses. And the worst offense: they even wanted me to pay to attend my own talk!

Although most of my subscribers agreed that this was a raw deal, a couple of you suggested I could make it pay off by selling my services, my books, or both during my talk.

Well, this doesn’t work for me, because I will not, under any circumstances, pitch my products or services from the platform.

Yes, I am aware many speakers make a lot of money selling their books, CDs, and coaching programs from the platform or “BOR”—back of the room.

I do not condemn them or say it is wrong. Indeed, BOR selling is a time-honored method of income generation for professional speakers. There are books and training on how to do it. But it is not for me and never will be.

There are a few reasons. The first is that, for me, it has a sleazy feel. I know it is a legitimate method of revenue generation for speakers. But to me personally, it is distasteful…and in 35 years of speaking I have never done it, not even once.

Second, and worse, your audience has paid to be there. So they have a right to expect that if they paid to attend your hour session, every one of the 60 minutes is dedicated to you delivering the content you promised—and plenty of it.

You are there to educate the audience on how to do a task or improve their mastery of a skill—and not convince them to hire you for consulting or coaching or to buy your tapes.

The only ‘selling’ takes place when the meeting coordinator reads your 1-minute bio right before you go on stage. The bio explains why you are a credible speaker on the topic, and by extension, makes the audience want to know more about what you can do for them.

I intensely dislike it when speakers take 5 or 10 minutes out of their hour talk to deliver a rehearsed, canned pitch on buying their products, with special offer packages that are good only that day.

My informal surveys show that half the audience is OK with this. But to the other half, it demeans you and causes them to lose respect for you. Who wants that?

The worst offenders are “pitch fests”—events where sponsors actually take a cut of the speaker’s product sales from the day.

To maximize their profits, these event producers pressure speakers (it has happened to me, and of course I refused to participate) to sell expensive packages of books, info-products, coaching, and other services while on stage…and to push them hard.

As a result, many speakers push the product throughout the talk, and in doing so hold back valuable tips, telling the audience instead “this is in my book”. In some of these events, virtually the entire presentation is a thinly disguised sales pitch.

This is the cesspool of professional speaking. To be fair, many embrace and profit from it. And to them I say: You can have it. But if you are a meeting planner, please let me know in advance so I neither speak at nor attend your event.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

Is being asked to speak at a meeting without pay a nice compliment and a great promotional opportunity or a terribly demeaning insult?

Recently, LH, an executive with a marketing association of which I am a member, invited me to speak for free at an upcoming national conference.

That’s OK; many associations, LH’s included, do not pay speakers if those same speakers are also vendors who want to sell their services to the membership.

But here’s the insult: not only did LH not want to pay me to speak, which I expected and accept …and not only did he refuse to pay my travel expenses (mostly air fare and lodging), which surprised me…but he also expected me to pay to attend the very conference at which he wanted me to speak for free!

I replied, “I appreciate your consideration but I must let you know that it is disrespectful not to pay your speakers’ expenses, much less ask them to pay to attend, especially when you’re charging more than $100 for attendees. I would have liked to participate but under these circumstances I simply cannot afford to.”

A few years ago, my friend GB and I wrote a book and as a result were asked to speak at a dinner meeting of a local ad club.

When we got there, the meeting planner asked us for $45 each for our dinners.

“Uh-uh,” said GB firmly. “You invite someone to speak, you don’t ask them for money.” The meeting planner backed off and we did not pay. But it was awkward.

If you get asked to speak for free, should you accept? Here are my guidelines to handling this situation to your advantage:

1. Make sure the audience in fact consists of people who are your potential clients. Otherwise, you are largely wasting your time.

2. Avoid speaking dates conflicting with important events such as the World Series. Otherwise, attendance at your speaking gig could be minimal, resulting in no business for you.

3. Don’t give the audience a sales pitch for your services. Instead, deliver the most useful and interesting advice and tips you can in your talk.

4. Write out a brief bio saying who you are and what you do, and give it to the meeting host to read when she introduces you.

5. Ask them if they are willing to video your presentation and give you a copy for your use. Then post the video on your site and to YouTube, or sell it as an info-product.

6. If it is a local meeting, don’t nickel and dime about expenses. Spring for the parking. For a national or other out-of-town meeting, the association should pay all your expenses—air fare, hotel, meals, ground transportation. And you should be allowed to attend the entire event, or if not at least the entire day of your talk, for free.

7. Even though you are not getting paid in cash, ask for compensation in other forms such as a free ad in the organization’s newsletter or free use of their mailing list.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

If you are a small business owner or self-employed professional, the most important thing for you to understanding about setting a marketing budget is that all money spent on marketing should be “risk capital”.

By “risk capital”, I mean money you can afford to lose without it keeping you up at night…money you do not need to pay the mortgage…money that, if you lose it all, it won’t hurt you financially or have a big negative impact on your life.

Marketing is like the stock market and gambling in this way: you can make money, but you can also lose money.

In all three endeavors, there is no guarantee you will make money.

In fact it is quite possible in all three areas (though least likely in marketing) to lose all of your money—every penny—and people do from time to time.

A case in point is SH, an energy consultant. I recommended that he do a small e-mail marketing campaign to generate leads with a free report offer.

He found a “cheap” e-list from a source I considered questionable (cheap lists virtually never work) and, despite my advice, rented the cheap list. As I expected, it generated zero results.

Then SH was hesitant to try again with a list I considered legitimate, because the reputable list broker I sent him to quoted him $1,500.

Though a fair price, the 15 hundred bucks for sending 5,000 e-mails was more than SH was willing to risk.

Did I have any alternatives? My answer to SH was as follows: “I do have a number of ideas, but here is the problem: they all cost money.

“List brokers, copywriters, ad agencies, and others want to generate leads for you and can.

“But, they cannot work for free. You have to have some cash to play, just like at the casino or the Dow. The odds are better in marketing. But they are not 100%.”

Action step: if you are a business start-up or cash-strapped solopreneur, determine and write down the maximum dollar amount of money you are willing and comfortable to risk on marketing.

Then go from there. Perry Marshall, the pay-per-click guru, advises small marketers that they can test Google AdWords for as little as $100 a day.

And it costs nothing to write an article on your area of expertise for a blog or your local newspaper or a trade journal, if you do the work yourself.

My parting observation: Do you need both time and money to be successful in marketing? No. But you do need at least one of them.

If you have no money, you use “sweat equity” and do all the work yourself. If you have no time but you are flush, spend some of that money and hire others to do the marketing for you.

And if you have neither time nor money? Then you can’t do marketing for your product or service until you find one or the other. Sorry.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

In my last essay, I mentioned that in the early 1980s, I worked for David Koch as advertising manager of his equipment manufacturing company Koch Engineering in NYC.

At Koch Engineering, the company was innovative in a couple of its B2B marketing tactics. I take no credit for either. The guys came up with them long before I got there.

The first winning Koch marketing method was the tactic of demonstration.

Old-time sidewalk peddlers were masters at demonstration and knew its value. Contemporary versions of these sales masters can be found in department stores showing how to prepare dip or make soda.

So too modern marketers who use infomercials to demonstrate products ranging from juicers and household cleaners to exercise videos and equipment.

Well, at Koch Engineering, we sold “tower internals”—objects placed inside refinery towers to enhance the distillation of petroleum into heating oil, jet fuel, kerosene, gasoline, and other hydrocarbon products.

One of our biggest selling internals was a “tray”—a metal disk with openings and moving parts that sat inside the cylindrical tower.

Most of our competitors, in their trade show booths, laid the components out on table tops for prospects to examine.

Koch did something light years ahead of this: we built a scaled-down model of an oil refinery—the tower was about five feet high—with our trays installed inside.

The model was made of transparent plastic so you could see the trays in operation. Instead of petroleum, we ran water through it. The result: prospects could see the liquid bubbling on and running across the tray surface. Very cool.

The model itself, and the running water and noise of the pump, got an order of magnitude more attention than the internals would attract just sitting on a tabletop.

The second winning Koch marketing method, also used to sell trays, was content marketing.

Kids, don’t believe the content marketing evangelists who pretend this is a big new idea. We were doing it at Koch in the 1970s.

We offered in our advertising a free “tray design manual”. It was packed with tables, charts, graphs, technical information, and guidelines that showed engineers how to specify the right trays for their process.

There were no PDF downloads back then. The tray design manual, spiral bound and with fold-out diagrams, was an expensive book to produce.

But it gave the customer valuable information that benefited our marketing in 4 ways.

First, by offering the free manual—valuable content—instead of just an ordinary product brochure—sales copy—we greatly increased the leads generated by our ads in magazines read by engineers.

Second, the manual educated the prospect on how to specify and buy trays, so that they would be more inclined to buy Koch trays vs. other manufacturers’ trays (the design specifications in the manual were specifically for our trays, not other brands).

Third, giving away the manual positioned Koch Engineering as the experts in enhancing distillation in oil refinery towers. We were the guys who “wrote the book” on tray design.

Fourth, based on the principle of reciprocity—which is that when you give something valuable to people, they feel obliged to reciprocate in some way—it made the recipient slightly more inclined to favor us with his business.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

A Marketing Secret From David Koch by Bob Bly

Posted August 8th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

I recently read a fascinating new book, “The Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty”.

The book is particularly of interest to me, because in the early 1980s, I worked for David Koch as advertising manager of his equipment manufacturing company Koch Engineering in NYC. It was my second job out of college after a year with Westinghouse in Baltimore.

Koch Engineering was headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, but David preferred Manhattan, so he had a small satellite office in NYC and that’s where I worked.

One day, we had a meeting to review the preliminary design of a new 40-foot trade show booth, which for us, was a big deal.

As you might expect, everyone had a different opinion. Some liked it. Some hated it. Some said it was too white. Some said it was too tall. And the room buzzed with argument.

Finally, David silenced us by asking in his powerful baritone voice, “Do you know what a moose is?” (David is six-foot-five and has an imposing physical presence.)

We were silent. Had he gone nuts? What the heck was he talking about?

A second later, he answered his own question: “A moose is a cow designed by committee.”

We all got the point and quickly approved the design in front of us, which as ad manager I was responsible for.

Today, this issue comes up all the time. If you are a marketer or business owner, should you solicit an opinion about the new billboard or magazine ad your agency has just presented a design for from everyone and his brother?

Or should you make the decision alone, or perhaps with a little feedback from one or two trusted advisors, whether your spouse or your sales manager?

Recently, a client I wrote for showed my copy to, it seemed, more people than there were on the Titanic.

I asked him why he felt the need to do so.

He said that the more opinions you get, the better, because everyone’s opinion is valid.

But is everyone’s opinion valid?

Aren’t some people more qualified to comment on a website for a CPA firm or an ad for an industrial mixer than others?

I do not play golf. Is my opinion of your new golf club ad as valid as yours, or Tiger Woods’?

Here are the people whose opinions on copy I value most: my client, who is typically the marketing person for the product, her top subject matter expert, who is typically the product manager, editor, or publisher, or maybe a design engineer or formulating chemist, and her compliance officer, who can tell us whether our copy is legal.

Beyond that, the more people you involve in the copy review process, the greater your risk of violating David Koch’s advice and creating a moose when what you want is a cow.

By the way, David has become a controversial and famous figure in the decades since I worked for him.

I can tell you that he is an extremely smart engineer and businessman. He was also a good boss and a nice guy. Bottom line: I always liked the guy.

When I went to work for him, he was running for vice president of the United States on the libertarian ticket with Ed Clark.

One of David’s product managers, MM, whom I directly reported to, told me David really didn’t want to be VP of the USA all that much. He wanted to support the libertarian party. And as a candidate, a loophole in the election law allowed him to contribute an unlimited amount of money to the campaign.

At Koch Engineering, the company was innovative in several of its B2B marketing tactics, which I will tell you about in my next essay. They don’t think of themselves as marketing guys. But they were actually pretty good at it.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

Creating and selling a workbook, either at the back of the room in public seminars, or up-front to the corporate client for onsite training, is a great way to increase your speaking or training fee.

Workbooks are easier to write than books because there is less content and more white space. For workshops, workbooks add tremendous value for participants while also making your job as workshop leader easier.

What to include in your workbooks: Supporting text to explain exercises, fill in the blanks, easy questions, worksheets, spreadsheets, thoughtful discussion questions that the reader can answer, plenty of white space for writing.

Source: Stephanie Chandler, “The Notification Book Marketing Plan,” Authority Publishing

A Little-Known Key To Direct Mail Success

Posted July 7th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

Marketers argue over what aspect of direct mail—copy, graphics, list, or offer—is most critical. But, according to DM guru Craig Simpson, they often overlook another important factor of DM success: choosing the right direct mail format for your product and your market.

For example, if you are selling joint pain supplements, the most successful type of format for that product category is the magalog. But how can you find out the best format for your product, offer, and market?

Find the biggest direct mail company in your niche and see what they are mailing, advises Simpson. If you don’t know who the biggest is, contact a list broker and ask. In financial
publishing, for instance, the biggest direct mailer is Agora, so you should use the same formats they do.

It’s easy to get any company’s mailings: Just buy one of their products and you will soon start getting most if not all their mailings.

Fancy earning royalties?

Posted July 5th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

Michael Jackson’s estate collects royalties every time a Beatles song plays on the radio (he bought the rights years ago).

But Paul McCartney—now a billionaire—does nothing and collects even more on the 3,000 song rights from other artists that he owns.

Even boxer George Foreman does better doing nothing than he did fighting in the ring, thanks to the $137 million royalty checks he gets for lending his name to a grill.

Royalties are almost as old as commerce itself, but still work just as well in the modern world.

With today’s technologies, it makes it even easier as an investor can keep track of exactly the amount of his royalties day or night.

It is very rare that something comes along which follows the old royalties method to the tee and which is both affordable to you and me.

Ben Shaffer is changing all of that.

In fact, when he told me about this, I could hardly believe it.

He is a well-known expert online, but yet wants to involve a group of people working together in order crowdfund a new startup and earn royalties together.

It’s an extremely credible idea and one that I am pretty sure you will want to be part of.

Learn more about it here.

The Saddest Marketing Advice Ever by Bob Bly

Posted July 1st, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

Subscriber BH writes: “The saddest marketing advice I ever got was when I was a marketing director at a major insurance company.

“My boss told me, ‘BH, your problem is you want the advertising to be effective. The company just wants to love it and be involved.

“‘We try to make it effective, but in the end, if everyone loves it, it is successful for the department and nothing else matters. That gets us more money and more chances to get to the effective stuff.'”

Similarly, Miles, the evil owner of an ad agency on the old TV show 30-Something, told his copywriter Michael (and I am paraphrasing): “The TV commercial isn’t supposed to sell the product. A few ads in a trade magazine will do that. It is supposed to make the client feel happy when all his friends tell him how much they like the commercial.”

You may laugh at these extreme examples, but in fact, most of us are guilty of this crime at one point or another: creating and approving a marketing campaign because we like it…and liking it because it is funny, creative, clever, entertaining, or aesthetically pleasing.

Look, I like funny things. I can appreciate creativity. Louis CK is my favorite comic, and he is clever and entertaining. I like Whistler’s Mother because it is aesthetically pleasing.

But those are not the goals of marketing. The only goal should be selling.

Some marketing communications work in whole or even in part because they are funny, creative, clever, entertaining, or eye-catching.

Many more work for other reasons that have nothing to do with the above and possess none of these attributes.

In fact, veteran direct mail marketers know that “ugly” design often outsells beautifully produced, slick, glossy mailings.

A good judge of marketing only evaluates marketing by whether it will sell. “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative,” said David Ogilvy.

Conversely, a good judge of marketing must overcome his human impulse to favor things that are funny, creative, clever, entertaining, or pretty…and in fact, must ignore these preferences in evaluating and approving marketing.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

Responding to a recent article I published on branding vs. direct marketing, the great direct marketer Drayton Bird e-mailed me the following: “My friend the late Professor Andrew Ehrenberg knew more than anyone I know about what makes a brand. Ogilvy said Andrew had the finest mind in marketing.

“Professor Ehrenberg concluded that the strongest brands are generally the ones with the most customers.

“And how do the customers come about? Somebody sells to them.”

So branding is built through selling. And no one knows more about selling in print or online than direct marketers.

So we are the real brand builders, thank you, not general ad agencies, branding agencies, or social media consultants!

According to Drayton, there are several things Dr. Ehrenberg found out about branding after about 30 years of research with his colleagues:

1. Strong brands are, on average, the ones that have the most customers.

2. A strong brand can charge higher prices.

3. People will stay with a strong brand longer.

4. People are less likely to stray when a strong brand puts prices up.

5. People forgive a strong brand its mistakes.

Adds Drayton: “The truth is, Bob, that marketing is a business that likes to think it is a profession, but is actually less of a discipline than plumbing: full of drivel about magnetic this, magic that, NLP the others. All tripe.”

This short video shows why you can ignore 95% of the marketing drivel from ad agency and branding types that Drayton is referring to.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

Starting A New Business

Posted June 24th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

There are many reasons why people branch out on their own. Whether it’s because they want to be their own boss or have come up with a fantastic new business concept, there are a number of things to think about first.

Starting a business takes a huge amount of planning, a lot of commitment and plenty of motivation. Some of the very first considerations are as follows:

What will the business specialize in?

Most businesses start with an idea. In order to advance beyond a vague concept however, it will be necessary to develop it into something realistic and marketable. This may take a significant amount of research. There is support available to help entrepreneurs to develop their business concepts. For example, the National Enterprise Network can connect new enterprises with local services.

Where will it operate from?

This will depend upon the type of business and the number of partners or employees involved. It may be necessary to find a suitable business premise, but some startups begin in the founder’s home. This significantly reduces the initial financial outlay but does require very careful thought. For example, is a home office the right sort of space to meet with prospective or current clients? Many business startups begin life from home and graduate to an office space once the business is established. A good compromise is to find a meeting room city, or to hire a day office for face-to-face contact with clients.

How many employees will be needed to make the concept work?

Again the answer to this question will be dependent upon the type and size of the business. However, even sole traders are likely to need to work closely with other partners, suppliers and distributors. It will be important to develop a close relationship with these people and they must be trustworthy and reliable. Write a list of potential partners and suppliers and take some time to get to know them and the level of service they can offer.

Will there need to be financial support in place?

Constructing a solid business plan will help with answering this question. While some new business ideas will require considerable financial investment, others may rely on almost none at all. Either way it will be important to have a good advisor when it comes to the financial side of the business. Complex issues, such as those involving tax and business legislation may require enlisting the help of a solicitor or accountant. There are organisations on hand who can offer further advice, such as Gov.UK, the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) and the Federation of Small Business.

How long until the business becomes profitable?

It goes without saying that all startups will have different measures of profitability. In terms of a time frame, the rule of thumb says that the first year will see an entrepreneur reinvest any profit back into the company, the second year may see them drawing a small salary and the third and subsequent years will see this salary steadily increasing. The reality will actually reflect a number of other factors, such as initial startup costs, the economic outlook and of course, the success of the products or services being offered.

One of my readers, WC, is among other things proprietor of a small book publishing company.

He was lecturing me how I could make more money writing books for his small publishing company, because they give authors a deep discount—more than mainstream publishers—on copies of their books they buy from WC.

When I told him that this had little appeal to me as I do not sell books—and instead let Amazon and bookstores do that for me—he seemed shocked, asking how I made any money as an author.

I replied, “I can tell from our back and forth correspondence that you have absolutely NO idea what my business model is and are locked into the old paradigm of book authors making money from book sales.”

“The short answer,” I told WC, “is this: writing books has over the last 32 years generated hundreds of copywriting assignments, consulting, and speaking gigs.

“I write books to become the in-demand guru and sell my professional services for a decent wage without cold calling or advertising.

“Neither advances nor royalties are key or critical, though I have been paid advances as high as $50,000 to write a book and earn tens of thousands of dollars a year in royalties.”

The formula that shows how to make money as an author today is TBR = A + R + OI.

TBR is total book revenues: the total amount of money you make as a result of writing the book.

A is your advances and R is your royalties. But for me A and R are not as I said critical.

The bulk of my money from book writing is OI which is “other income”.

By writing a book, you can accelerate your career success and skyrocket your status and earnings in your chosen field or profession.

Shortly after quitting my corporate job in early 1982, I got called by a large NYC utility for an interview about a big technical writing job.

When he asked if I had a resume or brochure, I instead handed him a copy of my newly published book “The Elements of Technical Writing,” the author’s copies of which McGraw-Hill had sent me just days before.

He took one look and hired me on the spot, commenting, “I had other writers I was going to interview, but I don’t have to do that now.”

Because when it came to technical writing, to him I was the guy who wrote the book on it. And the guy who “wrote the book on it” is the guy clients want to hire.

A few years after the technical writing book, I wrote a specialized marketing book, titled Business-to-Business Direct Marketing, for a small publisher, NTC Business Books.

My advance was only $6,000, and my wife asked me why I was wasting my time with it.

Fast forward 6 months: The book has just been published. I get a call from DM, a marketing director at a Fortune 500 software company.

They are looking for a keynote speaker at their annual marketing conference. “I am looking at 5 top experts in B2B marketing,” he explains, and then, almost haughtily, challenges me by saying, “Tell me why you are any different and better than them.”

Instead of becoming a dancing monkey, I reply, “Let me FedEx you a copy of my new book on B2B marketing. If you like it, hire me. If not, don’t.” End of conversation.

I overnight the book. Three days later, I have a speaking contract. After the talk, he soon gives me a contract to write copy for them.

And that’s how I make money from my books without big advances or being on the NY Times best-seller list.

When this happened, veteran marketer Jeffrey Lant stressed to me the value of writing a book in promoting one’s products or services, telling me something I have never forgotten: “A book is a brochure that will never be thrown away.”

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

This world is in the era, where anything and everything can be done through Internet. So is the case with Internet banking. Each and everything done through Internet banking is actually a blessing to almost all business application. Organizations have all adopted to the new way of banking transactions which saves and serves time. Let’s have a look at how the net banking helps business application.

Convenience

Let’s begin with the obvious one. In today’s speedy world, it’s not easy for business people to remember each and everything while occupying deeply in the business. Internet banking provides the convenience for any kind of transaction even after the banking hours. With the business hours ranging from 9am to 6pm, sometimes it makes it difficult for a business person to get to the bank physically. There comes the advantage of Online Internet Banking, providing a 24 hour service to the client. Internet Banking is open for a business transaction and is accessible to the client from anywhere as long as he/she has access to Internet connection. Apart from periods of website maintenance, services are available 24 hours a day and 365 days round the year. In a scenario where Internet connection is unavailable the bank provides a 24/7 customer support via telephones.

No Question Of Queue

Another advantage of Internet banking which provides high support to the hectic business schedule people is avoidance of queue. Previously when there was no Internet banking, people had to stand in queue for hours to get their transactions done. This was actually time consuming to the business owners and also most of their time was consumed by the bank. The bank used to take a whole day or two, of the business people to complete a transaction. This directly hit the productivity of the business and at times two days of waiting time in bank was a big deal for the business men. But the innovation of Internet banking made everything under the control of finger tips. Business men no longer had to be in waiting lines nor did they had to lend their valuable time to the bank.

Ease Of Use

Many kinds of transactions can be done through Internet banking these days, For example, paying mobile bills, electricity bills or any other kind of bill payments. And after each payment, you also get an SMS from the bank about the balance of money which you own in your account. You do not have to carry a passbook or your account details with you in handy. Instead everything is available to through online transaction. Online banking helps you to keep track of your money much easier because your account information is available anytime online. You just have to simply login to your account and your details are on the screen. There is no question of waiting for the bank to open, having to visit an ATM, or calling a time consuming customer service number to get the same information. You can save transportation charge and avoid visiting ATMs with the invention of online banking.

Mobility And Security

Internet banking provides an ID and password to its user. This unique ID and password is only shared with the customers and hence there is no chance of a second person to know the code, unless and until the customer shares it. It is with these ID and password the customers have to deal with their transactions in future. Mobile banking is really an innovative way to handle Internet banking. Most businessmen rely on mobile Internet banking for its accessibility. Business men are likely to commit many business transactions every day and they need to keep their account information updated. Many online banks offer the convenience of checking your account information from your cell phone. You can check your balance by SMS or receive alerts when money is withdrawn or a check clears. In many ways online banking provides an enhanced experience than a physical bank branch.

These are some of the important roles played by Internet Banking in the field of business. Online Banking has become a norm for many bank transactions and most people rely on it because it mainly saves time. Internet banking completely eradicates physical movement to financial places and thus helps business men to stick on to a place in their hectic programs. And thus Internet banking is a great innovative element in the business application providing all sorts of help under the finger tips.

Harvey Hammond helps students with writing dissertation reviews and dissertation writing help. His skill and expertise are always used to write articles such as ‘Role of Net Banking in the Business Application’.

Recently, subscriber KK wrote and asked me how she could succeed as a freelance writer.

More specifically, she wanted to know whether she could have it all, meaning have fun and enjoy writing as well as get paid a lot of money for her writing.

Often, the two are in conflict.

For instance, direct marketing master Mark Ford has built a multi-million-dollar fortune, largely from copywriting—both his own writing as well as from the copy of those copywriters he has trained and mentored.

He is also a serious and talented poet, with a hardcover book of his poetry published. Yet I suspect he makes very little money as a poet, though of course, I could be wrong and he will no doubt let me know if I am.

He has also written numerous short stories, and again I suspect he doesn’t make much money from fiction. I know I don’t.

The fact is: some kinds of writing—and copywriting heads the list—pay handsomely and can earn you a comfortable six-figure staff or freelance income.

Other kinds of writing, which include newspaper reporting, magazine writing, blogging, poetry, short story writing, pay anywhere from mediocre to zilch.

The conflict writers have is that often copywriting and other commercial assignments are profitable, but not what they dream of. I have said before that no one grows up dreaming they will write the Great American Annual Report.

The writing that people consider fun and creative, and that they want to do—the novels, the poetry—they usually can’t come close to making a living from.

My solution for them is: the 80/20 rule.

I recommend to writers: devote 80% of your time to serious money-making projects like copywriting assignments or whatever else is your money-maker.

That gives you two benefits: (1) you make a great living and enjoy all the benefits that go along with that—financial security, material comfort, freedom from money worries…

…you can live in a nice house, drive a nice car, travel, dine in good restaurants, send your kids to college…

…but (2) you also make that terrific living while doing something you at least find palatable—writing—instead of something that would make you miserable and bore you to tears, like being an insurance agent, dentist, or accountant.

Then, you spend the rest of your work time—about 20%—doing writing that is pure joy for you; e.g., poetry, movie scripts, your blog…without worrying whether you make a dime from it, because of your income from the other 80% of your writing, you don’t have to!

That way, you do not feel your creative impulses or desire for self-expression are stifled.

Yet you spend virtually all your time doing a core activity you like writing, some commercial, some creative or artistic, while earning a very good living at it.

There are 2 extra perks that can sometimes arise from application of the 80/20 formula to your writing career.

The first perk is that you, like me, discover that you actually like—or even love—copywriting or whatever other kind of writing you do to pay the bills.

I love copywriting so much that I actually would rather write a sales letter than a short story, although I do both!

In other words, the writing you initially went into just for the money you may come to actually enjoy beyond your wildest dreams, which is the case with me and direct response copywriting, which as I said I love.

The second perk is that you may find the 20% of your writing, which you do for pure pleasure actually becoming profitable for you.

For instance, I have not gotten rich off writing books but every year I add tens of thousands of dollars in advances and royalties to my income from book writing.

And a lot of writers have made a lot more money with their ‘hobby’ writing than I have, like Tom Clancy, who originally wrote his novels at night after putting in a hard day in his office as an insurance agent.

I close with this Scottish proverb quoted by David Ogilvy in his writing: “Be happy while you’re living for you’re a long time dead.”

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

How many of your promotions should you expect to be winners?

A lot of businesspeople have the unrealistic expectation that every promotion they do should make money.

But in fact, that virtually never happens to anyone.

Marketing superstar Mark Ford recently told me, “A true DM entrepreneur would know he doesn’t need copy to work every time—60% is enough to build an empire.”

That means if six out of ten of your promotions make money—and conversely, if four out of ten bomb—you can become rich beyond the dreams of avarice. That’s a marketing “batting average” of around 0.600.

It’s similar to baseball, where if you can get three hits for every ten times at bat, the ball club will pay you a seven-figure annual salary, even if you whiff the other seven times.

In particular, many businesspeople will try a particular type of marketing—like postcards or e-mail—one time, and if they aren’t successful with their first campaign, immediately conclude that form of marketing does not work and never try it again. Very foolhardy.

The problem for small companies is that they have so little money they cannot afford the “hit” of a failed marketing campaign.

The solution is to test on a small scale with a limited budget. If the test works, roll out to a larger list or a bigger ad. If the test fails, cut your losses, retool, and try something else.

For instance, a dentist asked me to write a sales letter selling a training video for dentists. His plan was to rent a list of 100,000 or so dentists and mail my letter to the entire list.

I told him this was foolish, and that instead, he should rent and mail to just 5,000 names on the list. If it worked, then he could roll out to the next 25,000 to 50,000 or so.

With mailing lists, the rule of thumb is that your roll out should not exceed ten times the size of the test.

The same notion of testing small applies to advertising, where the motives of the publisher conflict with what’s good for us as advertisers.

If for instance you want to advertise in an online newsletter in a particular industry, the ad rep will try to sell you on committing to six insertions, telling you it’s the best deal because you get a volume discount.

The only problem is that if the first ad bombs, the next five are going to do even worse, so committing to a lot of ads up front is counterproductive.

Instead you should buy a small ad for one-time insertion. Only if that test ad works should you then consider bigger and more frequent ads.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.


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