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Turn Your Passion Into A Lucrative Business

Posted February 17th, 2015 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, I am sure you’ve heard all the buzz going around about Anik Singal’s new “soon-to-be-best-seller” book called “Circle of Profit“.

In the book, Anik shows you exactly how to take what you’re passionate about, and turn it into a very lucrative online business. It’s way easier than you think.

You can get the physical version shipped to your house, or for the next couple of days, you can download it for free. Grab it now before it’s too late.

5 tips on presenting price in your copy

Posted February 14th, 2015 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

1. When a product is on sale, prominently show the price. Use dollars, not percentages. Percentages aren’t easily calculated in the mind—or worse, they are miscalculated in the mind and you risk losing a sale.

2. Incrementally break down the price. Show it as the cost per day, cost per use, or some other practical way to reveal increments of the price. Example: an annual subscription to an online database selling for $99 gives you “unlimited, 24×7 access for only 27 cents a day.”

3. Compare the price to an everyday item, such a cup of coffee, a postage stamp, or lunch at a diner.

4. Compare to your competition. If you have a price advantage, show it. If you don’t, then compare at a different level that includes longer product life, more convenience, or other benefits.

5. Position the price presentation as a cost of not buying now. In other words, show how the price could increase in the future, or the loss that can happen by waiting. This positioning also creates urgency.

Source: Gary Hennerberg, Today@TargetMarketing, 1/21/15

Why the Internet hasn’t killed print catalogs yet

Posted February 12th, 2015 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

I often say the death of direct mail has been greatly exaggerated, and here’s more proof: according to management consulting firm Kurt Salmon, 11.9 billion print catalogs were mailed in the U.S. in 2014.

Reason: while many consumers order online for convenience or go to a retail location to get the product right away, they enjoy thumbing through catalogs to look at products and get ideas. In addition, receiving a catalog reminds them of the availability of a product or the existence of a merchant they otherwise would have never remembered.

Source: Talon Newsletter, 1/15, p. 3

Best colors for components of DM packages

Posted February 9th, 2015 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

A traditional direct mail package has multiple components including an outer envelope, sales letter, brochure, lift note, and reply element.

When you are selling a high-end professional service to a sophisticated audience, and want to convey an image of professionalism, all components should be printed on the same color paper stock; cream, ivory, and white are the top three choices here.

When you are selling mail order merchandise to consumers, especially middle America, make each element in the package colorful and a different color; e.g., a Kraft envelope, white letter, four-color brochure, lift note on robin’s egg blue stock, order form on canary yellow. Reason: it makes each element pop visually, compelling the recipient to handle and look at all of them.

Looking at Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs as examples of high standards, it is irrefutable that great presentation skills coupled with slides designed for easy reading can make a great impact on an audience and bring a message across in a most effective and clear manner, therefore a great presentation incorporates equal parts of excellent content, smooth delivery, and a great design.

When it comes to visual design, there are always some common flaws that show up in presentation decks. Read the following 4 tips to creating better presentation slides.

Tip 1: Use consistent colours

Colour is a powerful tool to evoke emotions. The right colour can help motivate readers. Studies show that colour usage can increase interest and improve learning comprehension. While we may use two distinctive colours on the same slide, it can create a dichotomy and upset a clear interpretation on the part of viewers. In that sense, two colours in the same colour range are suggested for use. For example, for two charts appearing on the same slide, you can use one colour in different shades to present the ideas (i.e. dark green, light green). The only time you should use different colours is when you want to show how your contributions are significantly higher than other parties or highlight a significant data point to display on your charts (contrasting purposes).

Tip 2: Use visuals to enhance comprehension

Photographic images or bold, arresting visuals help the audience connect with the slide at a more emotional level. As compelling images can turn a good deck into a great deck, it can also turn a bland textual slide into one that your audience can’t help but pay attention to and remember easily.

Tip 3: Use videos when appropriate

Use videos where appropriate in relation to the content. Video clips promote active cognitive processing, which is the natural way people study. You can play video clips within the presentation file without ever leaving the application. In fact, using a video clip not only illustrates your point better, it also serves as a change of pace thereby increasing the interest of your audience.

Tip 4: Compare data in a clear form

Presenters are usually guilty of including too much data in their charts. There are several methods to display data in graphic form; just remember to keep it simple. In general, tables are good for the comparisons of quantitative data. However, tables can lack impact on a visceral level and display that information in a less dramatic or emotional way. If you want to show how your contributions are significantly higher than two other parties, for example, it would be best to show that in the form of a bar chart. Therefore, try to compare the data in a clear form to allow viewers see the difference at a glance.

If you present often in your work, this article hopefully serves as a reminder and refreshment. For new presenters, use these tips as a guide to improve and perform better for your future presentation sessions.

One of the biggest mistakes that causes businesses to fail is the merchants ultimately failing to meet the demands and expectations of customers. In other words, the merchants do not know who their customers are. Even if they have great products or services, if they fail to align what they offer with what their customers want, they are simply barking up the wrong tree.

No customers, no business, no sales. It is as simple as that. Therefore it is important to define the type of prospects to target. Instead of spending important advertising dollars on drawing in the wrong set of prospects, construct a customer profile based on the majority of your customers and concentrated around their needs and wants. By creating a buyer persona and nailing down your customers’ needs, lifestyles and even apprehensions, you will have the capacity to think of a ready answer to address your customers’ challenges. By placing ourselves in the shoes of our prospects, we can better pre-empt their purchasing decision.

There are 5 ways you can research your buyer persona:

1) Online Retrieval Of Demographics Data

The process is pretty instantaneous and all you need to do is input product keywords or URLs of other people’s websites that are similar to your business (or your competitors’) into AdWords Display Planner. These are the steps:

a) Go to
b) Click “Tools”, “Display Planner”
c) Select “Show only estimates for my targeting criteria”.
d) Enter a URL or product keyword
e) Click “Get estimates”.

You get a results display that looks like below:


But as you can see, the data is very limited to age, gender and device usage.

Alexa is another website that can provide demographics intelligence but unless you upgrade, you are just as much limited to gender, education and browsing location data.


2) Interview Your Prospects And Customers (Pre-Sales)

This is surely one of the most effective way to get a sense of the majority demographic of your customers, but you need to ask the right questions. Here is a sample list:

How old are they?
What is their gender?
Where do they live?
What is their job?
What is their education level?
How do they prefer to stay contactable?
What is their ethnic background?
How much do they earn?
What is their marital status?
How do they spend their free time?
Which newspaper, books or magazines do they read?
What is their favorite TV channel?
What are their hopes and dreams?
What do they wear?
What are their political and religious views?
What are their biggest fears? What keeps them awake at 3am?
What makes them happy?
What frustrates them?
What do they find most relaxing?
What do they talk about with their friends?
Which appeals to them more: function or aesthetic?
What are their hobbies or interests?
What are their attitudes towards certain issues?

You can organize focus groups, walk-in sessions, on-site visits, or make phone calls to conduct interviews. You can also publish the questions in a web page through which visitors can submit their answers collated in an email sent to you.


3) Surveys (Post-Sales)

Conduct surveys to get feedback from customers about their purchases. It could be an immediate, short post-sales survey about the checkout experience, ot a survey that occurs one month after purchase to gauge user experience. The answers your customers give you can reveal much about how and what they think, and could be surprisingly quite apart from pre-sales answers in terms of scope or alignment. Sometimes customers may use the occasion to inquire about other products/services. All these information can make you consider if the major customer demographic is thinking along the same line, and whether you need to tweak your marketing strategies based on the survey answers.

Popular online survey tools include Foresee, Qualaroo, SurveyMonkey and WebEngage.


4) Look At Past Purchases

Supposed you have a range of products or services. Over a period of time, it becomes apparent to you that some offers sell better than others. Your sales results can tell you what the marketplace needs most, therefore you can reconsider your marketing strategies to target the most in-demand customer segment of the marketplace.


5) Social Media Engagement

Social media puts you on the frontline of direct communication with prospects and customers. By monitoring and observing what they say about your industry and products/services, you gain first-hand insights into their expectations. It is also a great time to resolve any issues or complaints that they may have. Doing so in a prompt manner not only reflects that there is real customer support that cares, but also your pursuit towards customer satisfaction.

Also investigate online forums and Q&A sites like Quora. These sites are great resources for problem solving. By researching for solutions, you can better understand how to help your own prospects and position your products/services in a way that shows you really know your customers’ problems.

Customer research is a long-drawn process and it is never-ending because the marketplace keeps changing. However, the benefits of targeting the right customers are enormous. For one thing, repeat sales from old-time customers are easy to get. A high level of customer loyalty exists because your ability to know customers inside out will make them feel they are well attended to. They will even evangelize and refer new customers to you, thereby exponentially growing your business.

Good business does not start with a great product or service, or great know-how or a high efficiency in daily operations. It is simply knowing your customers like they are your friends, and it is a great untold secret to sales riches.

Nelson Tan is an Inbound Marketing consultant at iSmart Communications, an integrated marketing communications agency serving the Asia-Pacific region.

An unfortunate tendency I increasingly see in many business owners—and incredibly, in many copywriters—is an almost pathological avoidance, loathing, and even fear of selling.

This has been fostered by two myths that need to be dealt with.

The first, originally perpetuated by the clueless authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto, is that marketing is conversation.

I was discussing this with a successful salesman. He told me, “Each week my sales manager asks me how many sales I made.

“If I told him, ‘No sales, but I had a lot of good conversations,’ I’d soon become unemployed.”

The second myth is that content marketing and social media have made copywriting, traditional marketing, advertising, and selling obsolete.

Listen, I am a fan of content marketing and have been doing it for more than 3 decades.

Content is great for building both credibility and buyer interest.

But content is woefully inadequate for closing sales. For that, you need powerful copy or a skilled salesperson.

I think the reason so many young businesspeople buy into these two myths is that having conversations or writing content is safe, easy, and comfortable.

(Writing good content…content with real value…is actually hard. But the vast majority of the content published online today is crap cobbled together from a quick Google search on the topic of the article and it takes little skill to throw together.)

But selling—whether face-to-face, on the phone, or in copywriting—is gritty, hard work that fewer and fewer people seem willing or have the skill to do.

Both direct response copywriters and salespeople have their sales results measured down to the penny. There’s nowhere to hide. Your success or failure is out in the open for all to see.

Cluetrain-style salespeople and content writers live in a cozy, safe world where they are not held accountable for results.

Once in a while, I think that would make life easy. But mostly, to me it would be boring, unchallenging, and unsatisfying.

Social media is another area where many (not all) practitioners seem not to be held accountable for sales results.

They brag about having friends, followers, and connections. But getting those seems a lot easier than getting orders, which is what salespeople and copywriters do.

Maybe I’m jealous of marketers, writers, social media mavens, and salespeople who don’t have to make the cash register ring.

Or maybe I am contemptuous of them.

I dunno: Which do you think it is?

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”.

By now, you have likely seen “Buy Now”, “Order Now” or “Download Now” call-to-action buttons on landing pages and sales pages. Have you seen a “Book Now” button yet?

I’m telling you it is the next big thing!

You can help business owners by giving away these buttons for FREE! Even treat this free giveaway as part of your affiliate marketing business.

But first let me give you a big picture of the context…

What do all local service-based businesses have in common?

My guess is that 99% of them, at least the small- to medium-sized ones, wish they had a better Internet presence.

A lot of them look at the big corporate-based service businesses and envy their marketing capabilities. Those businesses have:

– Online Scheduling
– Good Search Engine Rank
– A Clear Sales Funnel
– Automated Service E-mail Responses
– SMS Notification

Now here is what I have to say: You could be the consultant that helps local serviced-based businesses get all of those things FOR FREE.

You can provide a valuable marketing solution to every local service-based business for FREE that will help them compete with the big boys and increase profits…simply by giving away these “Book Now” buttons.

At the same time, the market for online booking is lucrative because consumers want to search, book, and even pay for services online.

If you give 1000 of these buttons to business owners and close a fraction of them, you are going to see incredible growth this year.

These buttons are the door to a local marketing funnel so effective that clients are already closed before they talk to business owners, and there’s no challenging sales process, visiting the office, etc. Biz owners simply activate their accounts and you profit, so you can offer this service to any business in any country around the world from your home.

Give away these “Book Now” buttons and you’ll be ahead of the curve. You are going to be the one consultant that offers to solve business owners’ online sales challenges for free.

Sound Too Good To Be True? See the software in action here.

My subscriber DS, whom I mentioned in a recent issue of this e-letter, shared a curious and important experience with me: For his low-priced info-products, the refund rate was about 5%, and the application rate—the number of buyers who implemented his system—was also about 5%.

When he started marketing more expensive systems, both the refund rate and the application rate shot up to 30%.

There are 3 reasons I find these results both interesting and instructive.

First, the refund rate moved in tandem with the implementation rate, with the numbers matching almost exactly.

I don’t think it’s a universal law that the refund rate and the application rate will be the same, but they are in fact often very close.

Second, for DS’s low-priced products, both the application rate and refund rate were low.

Here’s the reason: When the price is low, many customers who are on the fence about the product, and even some who don’t like it, don’t bother to ask for a refund, because the dollars are so insignificant.

Also because the price is low, the buyers haven’t invested much in the product, and therefore don’t feel a strong motivation to read and apply the instructions. Many put it aside and just never get to it.

Third, for his expensive info-products, DS found that both the application rate and refund rate were about 6 times higher than for his inexpensive products.

Why? Well, as far as the refund rate, people who spend a lot on an info-product don’t want to waste or lose the significant investment they have made.

So if it looks too difficult or doesn’t quickly grab their interest, they return it before the guarantee expires. Also, because of the big bucks, some of the buyers get cold feet or buyer’s remorse, triggering more refund requests.

At the same time, the application rate goes up, because the buyers have made a significant investment in the course—and they want it to pay off.

I have said repeatedly in this e-letter that when people get free advice, they do not value it.

Conversely, the more your customers pay for your information and advice, the more they will value it and listen to what you tell them.

Action step: if you are stuck in a rut of selling $29 e-books, recreate the content in the form of a $100 audio or video product and test it.

If that works out, create and test a $500 to $1,000 ‘live’ webinar or tele-class series.

Being a cheapskate, I unintelligently superimpose my stinginess on my buyers…and as a result too many of my products are e-books selling in the $19 to $49 range.

I continually underestimate how much money my customers are willing to spend for unique and valuable content they cannot get elsewhere. And that has probably cost me a small fortune.

Last year, my most profitable product was a ‘live’ 2-day seminar selling for $2,500. It earned me in a couple of days more money than the average American makes working an entire year.

Lesson: Don’t be a cheapskate like me. Learn from my mistakes, and start creating and testing more expensive info-products more often.

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”.

Offer multiple response options in your direct mail packages. Give them the URL to a landing page specific to the offer, a phone number to our call center, a fax number to fax back the completed order form. And yes, have a paper response device such as an order form or business reply card. If the form requires confidential information, like a credit card number, also include a business reply envelope.

Source: Talon Newsletter, 12/14, p.1.

Subscriber GP writes: “Bob, it isn’t honest for you to teach how to succeed in Internet marketing because you had unfair advantages.”

He cites as my unfair advantages two factors. First, when I started my info-marketing business in 2004, I owned a ton of content that I could readily turn into info-products.

Second, I already had an e-newsletter, which I used to promote my freelance copywriting business, and it had thousands of subscribers.

What GP and others miss is this: everyone entering any field has some strengths and weaknesses.

You have to acknowledge what yours are, play to your strengths, and overcome or work around your weaknesses.

For instance, I tell aspiring info-marketers today not to sell Internet or other marketing advice, because the niche is overcrowded, highly competitive, and increasingly filled with a sickening degree of hype.

Also, if you are just starting out online, why do you think you are qualified to teach others how to make money selling on the Internet when you have yet to do so yourself?

So you have a choice: pick a niche that excites you and preferably one that you have some knowledge or experience in and also one that has a decent market online but is not clogged with competitors.

In my case, all my years and experience were 100% in marketing. It was what I knew and had a reputation for. So I had no choice but to make marketing my niche.

If I were starting completely from scratch today, without being so invested in marketing, I might choose a different niche. So my marketing experience was both my strength and my drawback—hardly an “unfair advantage.”

As for my newsletter, I published it strictly for copywriting clients and prospects, and sold no products. So when I started promoting my new info-products to my list, a lot of subscribers bought, but a lot protested. Again, my established newsletter was both a strength and a drawback.

I have to admit that all the content I had written and owned the rights to was a big advantage. I gave a bunch of articles I had written for Writer’s Digest magazine on freelancing writing to a graphic designer. For $75 and about 10 minutes work on my part to e-mail the files to him, I had my first product, which has generated $44,166 in sales to date, most of which was profit.

The icing on the cake: Writer’s Digest had already paid me $7,500 for the articles! So my total revenue for the articles is over 50 grand so far.

All the time I am approached by people who want to sell info-products online but ignore their strengths. Examples include a nutritionist and a lawyer, who wanted to sell marketing information instead of health and legal information respectively.

Take advantage of who you are: your background, experiences, education, and knowledge. They are a valuable asset that make you unique. Why throw that away to go into a field where everyone is basically selling the same thing and you have no specific advantage? Madness, I say.

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”.

“Your success in every area of life will be based largely on the quality and quantity of relationships that you can initiate and develop over time,” says speaker and author Brian Tracy. “In the world of business and sales today, relationships are everything. We often call this the ‘friendship factor’.”

A person will not do business with you until he or she is convinced that you are his or her friend and are acting in his or her best interest. In other words, you cannot influence someone unless he or she likes you in some way.

Of course, it’s often possible for you to influence a person if he fears you, but that type of influence lasts only until the person can rearrange his situation and escape from the circumstances that enable you to have control over him.

Source: Brian Tracy’s Success Newsletter, 9/10/14

How To Create A Winning DM Package by Bob Bly

Posted December 23rd, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

In the Talon Newsletter (12/14, p. 1), Justin Wong says a winning direct mail package will include multiple elements.

“Some people enjoy reading letters while some like looking at colorful photos in brochures,” he writes. “As a rule of thumb, we recommend using both brochures and letters in conjunction to maximize readership.”

Justin also says there should be some redundancy between the elements: “That’s why it’s so important to make sure your calls-to-action are clear and repeated throughout all elements,” he says. “Anyone who looks at any of one section of your materials should have a clear idea of what the offering is and why they should care.”

My mentor and NYU professor, the late Milt Pierce, told us the reason to have multiple elements in a DM package was that when the envelope was opened, the various pieces would fall out onto the prospect’s desk or table. Each piece was another shot at gaining attention and communicating the sales message.

Of course, many new formats have sprung up, and in certain applications, these mailers have beaten the traditional letter package.

For instance, the magazine subscription industry was dominated by #10 and other size envelope packages with 4-page letters. Then the double postcard and voucher were invented and blew the letter packages away.

Many financial publishers have found that magalogs and digests outpull sales letters in envelopes, though Stansberry still uses envelope packages with success.

In mortgages, we have found that adding a color brochure to a letter in an envelope actually depresses response.

For Physicians Desk Reference, the control was a snap pack, unbeaten for years. Every conceivable format was tested against it and failed to beat it. Finally I wrote a package that beat the control…and, it was a snap pack!

So while I think Justin’s advice on traditional envelope DM packages is fairly on target, you should be testing formats to see which works best for your offer.

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”.

Turn Up Your Marketing B.S. Filter by Bob Bly

Posted December 20th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

When I started as a copywriter in the late 1970s, there were almost no gurus offering training of any kind in copywriting, freelancing, or marketing.

Now the Internet is lousy with people offering you expensive courses in how to write killer copy, how to make six figures as a freelance copywriter, and how to make a million dollars in Internet marketing.

My concern is that because many of these teachers are unqualified and their programs worthless and overpriced, you will waste a lot of time and money on them unless I stop you.

So with that goal in mind, here are some guidelines for evaluating gurus and their programs in copywriting, freelancing, and Internet marketing.

1. Ask what products he or she has sold.

If the Internet teacher has only sold information and worse, only information on how to make money selling information online, run.

You want a teacher who has experience selling real, physical products as well as electrons.

2. Is he or she active in the field?

I talk to a lot of hotshot young copywriters who run coaching groups where they teach their followers to write “killer” copy.

When I ask these young pseudo-gurus who they write for, they invariably reply, “Oh, I don’t work with clients any more. I just write for my own products.”

You get and stay good as a copywriter by constantly writing for a wide range of clients, products, and offers. If the guru no longer writes for clients, I submit that he is becoming stale and losing value.

Ask the copy guru to name some of his current clients and promotions. If they say “I don’t write for clients,” move on.

3. Does he or she offer low-cost/no-cost advice and materials?

If the only product available is a $3,000 big box course or a $2,000 a month coaching club with a 6-month minimum, this guru’s primary passion is extracting as much money as he can from unwary newbies, not education.

There’s nothing wrong with selling expensive info products; I recently did a $2,500-a-head weekend seminar and plan a couple more for 2015. But you can buy my 350-page paperback book on copywriting for $15 and read dozens of my marketing articles for free on my site.

A good strategy for you if you are on a shoestring budget is to go to the websites of multiple gurus and download and read the ton of content that awaits you there. Often the free stuff is as good or better than the paid stuff.

4. Is he an egomaniac…and would that bother you?

One copy and marketing guru stares angrily from the screen wearing dark glasses and a do-wrap, looking tediously groovy. He also brags about using the f-word in his writing and speeches, which apparently he thinks makes him look like a cool rebel.

A lot of gurus today cultivate a deliberate image, usually one of rebellious hipster, and if you like that, fine, but if you don’t, steer clear.

“I sometimes wonder where this whole notion of marketing rebel, kick-ass copywriting, take-no-prisoners copy, killer, ninja, guerilla, warrior foolishness began in the first place,” says ace copywriter Rich Armstrong.

“Some of these Internet guys have put together a small community who seem to like this writing, and if they can make a living doing this, more power to them.

“But if they aspire to be a freelance copywriter working for the nation’s biggest and best direct-response marketing clients…well, that’s my world, and I can tell you for a fact these guys wouldn’t survive 5 minutes there.”

5. Is he or she accessible?

If you send me an e-mail, I respond. If you call, I pick up my own phone.

This is in sharp contrast to many Internet and copy gurus who have an impenetrable wall of caller ID and autoresponders to keep their fans at a distance.

I would be very hesitant to spend a lot of money with a teacher who makes me jump through hoops to ask him a simple question or two.

6. What is the guarantee?

Do not buy from gurus with conditional guarantees on their products.

A conditional guarantee is one where you have to demonstrate that you used the system correctly before the seller will grant you a refund.

The problem with conditional guarantees is the seller invariably says you didn’t do something correctly and therefore cannot get a refund.

Only buy from gurus who offer unconditional guarantees, meaning you can return the product for any reason or even no reason at all and get a full and prompt refund, no questions asked.

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”.


99% of your business revenue will eventually emerge from focusing on just 2 activities (If it hasn’t already, it will):

Activity #1 – Attracting a Visitor to your Offer
Activity #2 – Enticing that Visitor to take Action.

ALL of the other ‘stuff’ is unfortunately pretty meaningless unless you’ve got both of these activities dialed in.

Yeah, it doesn’t matter how good it is without Visitors and Action—your e-book, your training program, your podcast, your software, services, boot camps, seminars, webinars…in other words, the things you’re probably spending MOST of your precious TIME on—it’s just an exercise unless you’ve got a warm-blooded CONSUMER to make an offer to.

“The Biggest Mistake?”: Yeah, I thought about making the subject line of this post “The Biggest Mistake Online Marketers Always Make”.  But that would have been cliche. PLUS it would be fundamentally untrue…

It’s NOT a mistake to create your product, or generate free content that builds your brand. It’s not even a bad thing that you’ve got a blog with clever and pithy content that frames you as an authority, or even (gasp) and expert in your field.

BUT you may have your priorities inverted.

Here’s how to tell:  Are you happy with your financial situation?

If you are, keep doing what you’re doing.

If you’re not, you’ve got an Activity #1 and Activity #2 Problem.

This is fundamental: “Without Visitors who are enticed to take action when presented with your offers, all you have is a hobby.”

This is fundamental, too: Control Traffic and Conversion, and EVERYTHING ELSE is simple.

Looking Back To Look Ahead

I write this because, well…It’s THAT time of year.

It’s where we reflect, examine, evaluate, codify, resolve.  It’s where we draw conclusions about what we liked doing this year, and highlight the activities that produced results.

And we say to ourselves: “Lets do MORE of the thing that we liked, and LESS of the thing that didn’t work”.

As you’re looking back, ask yourself this, too: “Can you attribute the biggest gains and wins to having something to do with having an audience to see what you’ve got?”

I’ll save you the suspense:  YES. Every year that I review, since the year 2000, the biggest achievements in my business have come from earning a bigger audience.

And we Dwellers Of The InterNetz live in THE MOST EXCITING TIME. Virtually every few months a new technology emerges that allows us to touch more people faster and more effectively than ever before.

So, this is OUR calling: Activity #1 and Activity #2 are the Gluten-Free Bread and Grass-Fed Butter of any business where survival, growth, and prosperity are directly proportional to the number of customers generated during a given period of time.

And here’s a little trick…Don’t wait until the end of every year to re-realize (That’s not a word at ALL!) that truth.

Remind your business that every day is a chance to reach another person, to improve another person’s life, to solve another person’s problem.  Every day is a chance to help, more.  And you do that by getting your message in front of as many people as possible.

Focus on that and the other stuff will sort itself out prettily…


5 Ways To Make Money As A Speaker by Bob Bly

Posted December 11th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

Do you want to speak and get paid for it?

There are 5 basic ways to make money as a speaker.

The first is to speak for free in exchange for the opportunity to market your consulting or professional services.

You speak at groups whose members are potential clients for what you sell in the hopes that one or more members of the audience will become interested enough in you to hire you.

I have done this many times with great success. The downside is that it is possible no one will want to hire you.

But, if your talk is videotaped and your terms include getting a free copy of the master, then the time is never wasted, because you can use the video in your marketing—on your website, on YouTube, or as a DVD lead magnet.

The second way to make money as a speaker is to get paid a flat fee in exchange for giving a talk, workshop, or class.

This is my favorite business model for speaking, because it guarantees me income. I am a mid-range speaker, not a superstar, and I get $5,500 a day for a corporate presentation, more if I have to travel further than a couple of hours by plane.

So I earn more in a day than the average American makes working an entire month. Not a bad deal.

Corporate clients pay flat fees to speakers who do training classes on site, and associations pay flat fees to speakers at their national conferences.

The most I ever got paid on a flat-fee basis for a day of corporate training was $9,800 to teach copywriting to a software company but I had to go to Milan to do it.

The third way is to speak at events put on by entrepreneurial seminar and conference promoters.

These promoters do not pay speakers a fee. Instead, they let you sell your products from the platform, and you make your money from these sales.

Since I do not sell from the platform, this model does not work for me, and I will not participate in such events.

Amazing to me, these promoters not only expect the speaker to pay his own expenses, but also want a cut of up to 50% of the speaker’s product sales. Insane!

The fourth business model for speaking is to produce your own public seminar or boot camp, either by yourself or with a joint venture (JV) partner.

The risk is that if few or no people attend, you make no money or even lose a lot of money.

The reward is potentially high profits. On such JV deals, I have earned fees ranging from $5,000 a day to over $25,000 a day.

The fifth business model is to do webinars. There are two variations. The first is to charge a fee to attend the webinar.

The second is to allow your prospects to attend for free, and then upsell them on buying an expensive information product or coaching service.

Full disclosure: I do not consider myself primarily a professional speaker. I am a copywriter who also does some speaking. I do not proactively market myself as a speaker. And, because of my full copywriting project schedule, I accept very few speaking engagements per year, though I am asked to do many.

As a result, I am not even close to the top of the speaking pay scale, and many of my readers earn more as a speaker than I do…again, because I do not pursue it.

On the other hand, I have done public speaking for money for 35 years, so I know a little something about it, and on occasion have been paid as much as $55,000 to give a seminar.

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 To Price Your Info-Products by Bob Bly

Posted November 29th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

The other day subscriber KS asked me if I would sell his info-product, which is on a specific niche of freelance copywriting, to my list—you guys.

When I asked the price, KS dropped the bomb: he is charging $1,495 for his program.

Now, I wrote one of the best-selling books of all time on freelance copywriting, “Secrets of a Freelance Writer”. It’s a 358-page paperback book, and it sells for $17 in bookstores and on Amazon.

Which makes me wonder, “What would make KS’s freelance copywriting advice worth almost 88 times what mine costs?”

One answer, which I suspect might be the real one, is that it isn’t worth 88 times more than mine or even anywhere close to that…and his program is grossly overpriced.

But say you are an info-marketer and you want to sell a product for $1,495 like KS is. How can you command such a premium price?

There are several options available to you.

The first way to is to publish info in a multimedia format.

Years before the Internet, we info-marketers discovered that customers will pay more for “mixed media” info-products.

For instance, we might only be able to get $25 for a paperback book.

But print it on 8 ½ X 11″ pages, put them in a 3-ring binder, and add a couple of audio CDs and a DVD, and you can get $100 to $200 or more for essentially the same content.

Second, the narrower the topic, the more you can charge.

Dozens of infopreneurs have published and sold books on marketing priced at $10 to $29 or so.

FG sells a marketing book priced at $100. He can get that for his marketing book because it covers a narrow topic: marketing for owners of self-storage facilities.

The narrower the niche, the more specialized the topic, the more you can charge. And not many marketing advisors specialize in or even serve the self-storage niche.

Third, add a service element to the product; e.g. coaching, webinars, consulting, or other customized help for the buyer.

KS explained to me that his program is “a 15-module ‘live’ course, with a Portfolio Builder component—I’ll be working with students 1-on-1 to help them develop their writing/copywriting portfolios—and includes 6 months of personalized e-mail-based coaching along with a monthly coaching webinar.”

Yes, that’s quite a package, and considering some consultants charge $4,000 a day or more for their time, this package could actually be almost a bargain at $1,500.

One last point…

My Internet marketing JV partner Fred Gleeck says your info-product should be worth at least ten times more than the list price.

I know from the testimonials I have received for “Secrets of a Freelance Writer” that it is worth way more than $170 which is ten times the cover price. Several readers have told me they used the book to build six-figure careers and total earnings in the seven figures.

I question whether KS’s new info-product is worth fifteen grand, 10X its cover price. But maybe it is.

Question: If you are reading this and you are a writer or copywriter, let me ask you: would you pay $1,500 for a program on how to make more money as a freelancer—from KS or anyone else? If maybe, what would the seller have to offer to get you to part with that much dough?

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 Value Of Making Up Your Mind by Bob Bly

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

One of the most unappreciated and valuable business skills you can possess is the ability to make quick decisions, and the smaller the decision, the quicker you should make it.

The longer you agonize over decisions, the more likely it becomes that you will never make them at all, and so you won’t move forward and progress toward your goal.

As the saying goes: money loves speed. Successful people are able to make quick decisions and take action swiftly.

Those who agonize over every little move rarely get much done, make much money, or accomplish more than a tiny fraction of their goals and dreams.

I see this often in my online info-marketing business.

Recently, GP sent me a long, dense e-mail ask me all sort of questions about one of my e-books—a book that sells for the princely sum of $29.

When I answered GP’s questions, he said he would think it over and let me know as if I’d be sitting there holding my breath.

GP could not pull the trigger on a $29 investment that could show him how to be much more successful in the business he wanted to get into, in this case online marketing.

This is particularly pitiful for two reasons. First, GP probably spent more than $29 on dinner when he ate out with his friends at TGIs that Friday night.

Second, he would risk nothing to examine the book, because it is sold with a 3-month money-back guarantee: If he didn’t find it valuable, and he let me know within 90 days, he would get a full refund. And—get this—he could still keep the book free!

And yet, despite that, he couldn’t pull the trigger.

If GP agonizes over the decision to look at an e-book risk-free for 90 days, how is he going to make really important and bigger decisions?

Too many people I hear from are held back by “analysis paralysis”.

It’s like me vs. my wife.

If I need a pair of brown shoes, I go online and the first pair I see that I like and are my size, I buy.

She, on the other hand, goes to the biggest shoe store in the area. If she likes the first pair she sees, she will then look at every other pair in the store to make sure there is not something she likes better.

Busy and successful people don’t spend hours making minor decisions, because they have other things to do and the decisions are just not that difficult or important.

They just aren’t.

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”.

Beware the customer who asks the price right away.

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

Watch out for prospects who ask about price right up front. Sometimes, even before saying hello, buyers ask about price. Often this is a sign that the prospect is a price shopper and the primary factor in her purchase decision is getting the lowest price. Not the kind of client you want to have.

Talking about price too soon puts the entire focus on money. While salespeople can’t ignore the question, most buyers—other than price shoppers—will accept the explanation that more has to be learned about their specific needs before price can be discussed.

Source: Customer Experience Insight, 7/8/14.

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