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.

10 marketing tactics Americans say they despise

Posted November 15th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

1. Direct mail that looks like it has a bill, fake check, or is otherwise official-looking.

2. Pop-up ads on websites.

3. Ads for nutritional supplements with exaggerated claims.

4. Videos you have to sit through before reaching web content.

5. Products advertised as “made in America” that are not.

6. Free offers with strings attached.

7. TV ads louder than the program.

8. Ads targeted based on purchases, demographics, or behavior.

9. Product placement in movies and TV.

10. Billboards.

Source: Consumer Reports, 6/14, p. 11

Qualify your prospects with BANT

Posted November 14th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

1. Budget: what are they willing to spend to buy the product or service?

2. Authority: who needs to be involved in the purchase decision?

3. Need: what needs or conditions must exist before your product would be of value to the potential customer?

4. Timing: How soon will the buying decision be made?

Source: John Coe, The Fundamentals of B2B Sales and Marketing, McGraw-Hill, p. 127

Freelancers, Put Your Clients First! by Bob Bly

Posted November 9th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from HG, a freelancer I hired to write an e-book for my info-marketing business.

HG complained, “Bob, this project has just taken a lot more time and energy than expected. I need to move onto other things. I just want to finish and get paid at this time.”

I must tell you that this is a piss-poor attitude and I would hesitate to use HG for another project.

Here’s my reply to HG: “As I said in a recent talk at the AWAI Boot Camp, you must always put the client first. You always do the best job you can no matter what you are getting paid.

“I am not happy to hear you just want to finish and be done with it. If you want to get paid, I expect your entire manuscript to be excellent, as was the first chapter of your first draft.”

Here’s the thing I have discovered in 35 years of freelancing…

You rarely feel that the fee you are getting is perfect for the amount of work and degree of difficulty in any assignment.

Either you are working too hard for too little money, or the project is easier than you expected and you are being paid perhaps too well.

My experience is that it all balances out, and my rule is: it doesn’t matter.

Whichever the case, I always do the very best job I can on every assignment, no matter how much or how little I am getting paid.

And I would never tell a client “I have to move on.” You move on when you have completed the project to the customer’s satisfaction. Not when you are tired of it or have other things to do.

Can you imagine hiring a contractor for an agreed-upon fee to remodel your kitchen, and when you are not satisfied, having him tell you he incorrectly estimated the time and labor…and therefore will not finish the job to your satisfaction because he has to “move on”?

The only way to succeed in business is to put the client first.

In fact, the real secret to outrageous business success is not to give the client his money’s worth…but to give him more than his money’s worth, more than he has any right to expect.

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”.

Coaching is an incredibly rewarding business. But it’s also one of the most frustrating, if you don’t have a solid plan for your business to generate some serious profits. Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown has seen so many coaches struggle and never reach their potential, because they get stuck in the mud of financial worries.

They want to do what they love, and help others, but they just aren’t making the profits to take off and REALLY soar. But according to Ali, it absolutely does not have to be that way! That’s why she’s inviting you to her free webinar, called “9 Steps to Growing a Wildly Profitable Coaching Business” on Wednesday, November 12, at 3pm ET.

Co-leading this webinar will be Joy Chudacoff, Ali’s colleague who has also built her own very profitable coaching business from the ground up. So you’ll be learning from not just one but TWO successful coaches who have powerful expertise to share, and the profits to prove it!

Here are just a FEW of the juicy bits they will be covering during this webinar:

* Your coaching prescription for reaching $100,000+ revenues a year with one part-time assistant…and NO ‘live’ events. (You can also choose to go smaller…or aim much, much higher…but $100-200K is a very happy goal for most folks. Ali and Joy will explain why, and lay out a plan for you on the spot.)

* “Toto…We’re not in Kansas anymore!” How the coaching industry has changed dramatically over the last few years (there are pros and cons), and what you need to know NOW in order to be profitable and grow.

* How to plan for profit from the start, including getting your first $$$ clients. (Ali and Joy both “accidentally” discovered coaching as a business in the beginning, and they’ll share what you can learn from their mistakes with price points, timelines, and promises.)

* Why you DON’T need 10 or 20 different marketing strategies, but you do need to know YOUR best 3. (Don’t worry, they will help you figure this out!)

And of course, Ali and Joy will give everyone their complete “9 Steps to Growing a Wildly Profitable Coaching Business!” Have your paper and pen ready, because they’ll be covering a LOT of information.

Reserve your spot here now.

How to make $10,000/mth in the next 6 months?

Posted November 6th, 2014 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

In today’s awesome Q&A from Quora: How can I make $10,000/month for next 6 months?

Rizwan Aseem:

WARNING! There isn’t no easy way to do this.

But there is a simple way.

The simple was is this.

A) Goal

Your goal is to make $10k per month for 6 months so you can pay for higher education.

Which can be broken down to a simpler make $350 per day, every day. So in 30 days you will make $10k.

Which can be further broken down to selling something that will net you a profit of $350 per day.

Let’s call this ‘thing’ the product.

Let say we’ll sell the product for $697. Which means we will have $347 to make the product, to advertise the product, to find someone to buy the product, and to pay for the merchant account processing fees.

The best thing for us to do is that we reduce the costs of producing the product as much as possible. So we have the most amount of money to finding the customer and selling to the customer.

B) The Plan

Now that we know the price and the advertising budget available to use, we can go ahead and talk about the product.

The best products that fit our requirements are information products. Products that are created using intellectual property.

The business plan is as follows.

1. Find something you are good at doing, that you can regularly do, that you don’t even consider a problem doing (it helps if what you are good at is related to ‘health’, ‘money’, ‘relationships’, ‘hobbies’ or ‘sports’).

So for health, if in your life you had been overweight and had successfully lost weight and kept it off, this is an expertise.

Or if you’ve even been able to find a girlfriend for yourself while your friends struggled to find one, than you’ve got an expertise too.

Or if you’ve discovered a quick way of making more gold in World of Warcraft, then you’ve got an expertise, etc.

2. Find a group of people who are having a problem, that your expertise can solve. These people are all probably like you, or belong to an association that you belong to.

So if you are a real estate agent, then the association of real estate agents can be a group of people who could benefit from your expertise of losing weight fast. Or if you are a welder, than there is an association of welders or mechanics who you might be able to serve by helping them find a girlfriend, etc.

Then ask 3 people if you would buy a product on how to solve this problem. You haven’t created the solution just yet, you’re just validating your idea. Ask them how much they would pay for this solution.

Keep doing this until you find at least 3 people willing to pay for your product. This will validate the idea for you. (This is an excellent tip shared by David Francis in the comments.)

3. You create a product that solves a problem that they are having.

What this means is that you write a book, create an audio program, record video tutorials solving a problem, or a software program that we can sell for $197.

Depending on your expertise and personal preference you can create each of these products overnight.

For now we’ll take the video tutorials because they are the simplest thing to create. You can use your computer camera and speak into the camera to record your tutorials.

Once you create the video tutorials teaching your audience how to do what you have an expertise in, then you can go ahead and sell it to them.

4. Create a Sales Letter

What this sales letter does is share your story with your audience about how you solved the problem for yourself.

You can write this a number of way. But as a start just share you entire story about how you discovered the solution.

Answer the following questions.

1. Who you are and what you are going to share with them?

2. How you tried everything and failed?

3. What were some methods that you tried but did not work for you?

4. How you were finally able to figure out what you were doing wrong and fix it?

5. How you made this into a system?

6. Why you are sharing this system with them?

7. What the system is and what it will do for them, what are the benefits they will get, what problems will they solve?

8. What they will get in this system, what is the product that you are giving them?

9. What is your guarantee? (Make this an unconditional 100% 90 day money back guarantee)

10. How much money would it cost them if they spent the time in their life to figure it out themselves?

11. How much time they can save by investing in your solution?

12. What is the investment that they can get this solution for? (Try one payment of $697 and 4 Payments of $177 per month.

13. Why they should buy immediately?

14. Reiterate what results they will get, how much they will pay today, and the guarantee that you are providing them.

5. Test The Marketing

Once you’ve created the sales letter test it out with $100 on Facebook marketing or Google AdWords and test out the marketing.

What testing it out means is that you spend the $100 on marketing and see how many people buy from you.

Then you take the money and re-invest it in marketing and try to;

1. Improve the marketing

2. Show your offer to more people by increasing your advertising budget.

The testing means that you keep improving the marketing. You test out different headlines to improve your conversions and get better results on your marketing.

C) The Timeline

You’ve got the goal and you’ve got the plan. Now comes the timeline.

Spend the 1st week to create the product. This product has to be good enough. It should deliver the results that you promise. Don’t worry about making this flashy or anything.

This is the basic product. You can make it flashier once you’ve got the first $10k in your bank. Right now, you want to get it done and get it out to your customers.

This way you can test it out in the real world. The marketing is the most important thing.

Spend the 2nd week creating the sales letter. This is more important than the product itself. If your sales letter sucks, no one will buy your product no matter how good the product actually is.

If your sales letter is good, you can get your customers to at least try the product.

Spend the 3rd week creating the ads. The Google ads, the Facebook ads or whatever you are using. The ads are what will get the sales letter read. This is more important than the sales letter itself.

But a note of warning. Don’t get stuck. Having a bad ad is better than no ad at all. Get it done and test it online.

Spend the 4th week creating better headlines and testing them. The headlines on the ads and on the sales letters will increase your conversions.

Spend the 2nd Month improving your conversions, and increasing your reach. Track everything. Track the number of people who click on your ads, read your sales letter  and buy the products. Track everything and then see whether you are moving up, or down.

Increase your reach by creating a short report, or audio that you can give away for free to your customers. This is where you will start creating a list of people who are interested in the topic that you are teaching them.

Spend the 3rd & 4th Month improving your sales letter, and creating a connection. Use the feedback that you get from the tracking and improve your sales letter.

You can increase your connection with the people who came to your website and got the free download by writing a newsletter to them. This newsletter is an e-mail that you send out to your audience every other day with tips, tricks and other questions that they’ve asked you in the last few months.

You answer their questions and give them free answers to the questions that they are thinking or asking to you.

Spend the 5th & 6th Month improving your product. By now you will have a number of customers giving you feedback about what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Improve your product based on this feedback.

D) The Payment Processing

The first month, or until you have your first 10 customers use PayPal. You can keep using them for as long as you want, but once you have more customers then you might want to think about using ClickBank, e-Junkie, or other payment processors.

You now have a simple 4-step plan that you can print, learn, and implement right now and have an $10k income in the next 6 months.

Is it easy? Probably not, nothing good in life is easy.

But it is simple. Go ahead and do it right now—this is for your freedom.

Recently copywriter AL complained to me that another copywriter we know, FH, was selling a course on how to become a successful six-figure copywriter in a particular niche market…for the eye-popping price of $4,000.

This raises the question: How high can you, or should you, price your info-products?

Some info-marketers believe the answer is: charge as much as the market will pay.

And I get that. After all, it’s a free market. No one is forcing the buyer to buy. So if the buyer doesn’t like your price, he doesn’t have to buy.

Consumers complain when drug companies charge outrageous prices for medications.

But the patient has to have the medication and in some cases, cannot live without it. So to price a drug out of reach of sick people seems unfair and even cruel.

Info-products, on the other hand, are “nice to have” products, not “must have” products. They are luxuries, not necessities. So it’s not equivalent to a heart medication.

That being said, what is the maximum price you should charge for your information product?

My colleague, Internet marketing master Fred Gleeck, has this rule: The product price should be such that the buyers, after reviewing it, feel it is worth 10X what they paid for it.

By that measure, if I charge $29 for an e-book, I have to believe it is worth at least $290.

Interestingly, buyers also want and expect more than their money’s worth and have for decades.

Recently a buyer who asked for a refund on one of my e-books complained, “It is worth the $29 you charge for it…but not more than that.”

By the same 10X yardstick, a $4,000 product should deliver a value of $40,000. And not many do.

FH says that his product is worth the 4 grand price, because what it teaches has helped him personally make far more than 40K in his career.

But AL objects. He says the price is only justified if actual buyers of the product have achieved the same results as the author by using what the course teaches and are willing to attest to it in a testimonial.

It’s not enough for the author of an info-product to say his product can help you do X simply because the author has done X.

That’s because the authors often possess personalities, skills, intelligence, guts, or other attributes the average buyer will likely not.

Only if past buyers have already achieved the results the author promises can he justify a price in the stratosphere.

At least that’s what AL and I think. FH, purveyor of the $4,000 training, likely disagrees.

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”.

5 Marketing Principles To Improve Conversions

Posted October 10th, 2012 by Nelson Tan. Filed under Business

Although you might not be promoting the same thing as everyone else, there are some basic principles of marketing that apply to everyone with something to offer.

They are:

1. Your product - Making sure there is a market for what you have to offer. The best approach is to research your market first, find what they need, and then find (or create) a product that helps them.

2. Product price - Making sure the product price is within reach for your target market, but also considering that lowering your price may make your product appear to be “low quality”.

In general, charge what you’re worth.

3. Consistent promotion - Free methods exist, but they’re slow and often untargeted. Using consistent advertising is the only real way to generate results on-demand.

4. The right advertising channels - Know what types of advertising generate the best response.

5. Being unique - Follow the principles above, but also add your own flair and personality to your market. This could be as simple as doing audio recordings, getting on video, creating your own unique voice for written content, etc.

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