Over the next few posts I want to give you some important techniques you can use to enhance your marketing – and boost your bottom line. (Given that we’ve just spent a couple days talking about being resourceful, I thought this might further your ability to do just that. To help you succeed at the levels that you’re capable of.)
One of the questions (or some variation of it) I still get asked quite often is – “how can I make some money fast?”
The truth of the matter is that that’s a bad question for someone who is just starting their business to ask.
You see, if you have a business – if you have stuff that you’re selling and you have a list of prospects and clients/customers – then there are things you can do to accelerate that process. Because you already have leverage-able assets that you use to do it.
Is this a good thing?
Recently, Mastercard and Visa, as well as other merchant processors have conveyed some new regulations with regard to program execution such as one-time offers, forced continuities, and shipping and handling only, to name a few.
These new rules/regulations are due to longtime complaints from customers that are being billed for products they didn’t want or felt they were being misled into buying. All the processors have basically decided to shun any company that employs tactics like deceptive forced continuity type programs.
So the big question remains…is this a good thing or not?
Well, I guess the answer depends on you, your business philosophy, and the quality of products or services you provide for your customers.
I believe that there are many pros and cons to this new set of guidelines.
I’m very excited about these guidelines and plan to use them to our company’s advantage in order to lead our company to higher levels. We will simply do what we always preach and that’s to do the right thing.
Now, if you are one of those companies that is focused on taking every last dollar from your customers or trying to misguide or force people into a continuity program unwillingly in order to squeeze a month or two of program fees out of them… than you’re probably concerned about the new regulations. As you should be!
If you get caught violating these regulations, not only will you lose your merchant processor and merchant account, but most likely you won’t be able to get another account from other processors in the future.
Here at Strategic Profits, from time to time, we have tried optional continuity type programs. It is a possibility that we may offer some type of optional continuity program in the future, however, these new guidelines are making us step up our game, convey all of our offers with even greater clarity, and become superior in the way we handle our prospects and customers.
These new guidelines will force us to revisit the marketing basics that we know have worked for decades and decades (because consumer buying habits never change).
Because of what I read yesterday, I finally committed to do something many mentors have been telling me to do for some time now.
Our very own Rich Schefren does it and has been preaching its benefits to me for at least 2 years. Michael Masterson of Agora recommends it and has also been a long-time fan. Even my wife has been egging me on to get started.
What am I talking about?
Daily writing in a journal.
Many high-performance entrepreneurs swear by the increased clarity they receive from daily thinking and writing within a personal journal.
Thoughts about business, AHA moments, weekly reflection, brainstorming, success reviews, and anything else that’s on your mind are all great topics or categories you can journal about.
But, if you’re at all like me, sitting down to a blank page that’s awaiting your deepest thoughts and desires can often be a bit daunting. So much so for me that I’ve chronically delayed getting started. Until yesterday, that is.
I was sitting outside by the pool at the hotel I’m staying at here in Orlando enjoying a nice robusto. I was flipping through 55-pages of personal notes Rich Schefren shared with me from his read of a very deep, very profound, and very thought-provoking book about success and psychology.
Page after page I continued to notice an enormous number of questions being posed by the author. His purpose: to help readers get deeper and deeper clarity on who they are, what they want, and where they want to go with their lives.
And that’s when it struck me…
I could just use the questions posed by this author as the jumping-off point for my journal entries. I could simply tackle one question each day… and this way… I would never have to worry about sitting down to a blank page. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do as soon as I return from my trip.
If you’d like to give it a try along with me, below are some of the first questions I’m going to tackle:
* How do I define personal success?
* How would I describe a life well-lived?
* What is my vision for my life?
* What were the most successful moments in my life?
* What were the biggest failures I’ve experienced? (Describe the lessons I learned)
* What do I really value about my life?
* If I knew I couldn’t fail, what would I attempt to do?
* Who is the real me?
* What am I most grateful for?
* What am I really talented at?
* What relationships in my life do I value the most?
* How much success do I believe is possible for me?
* What are the most unhelpful, limiting beliefs holding me back?
* How do I measure success?
* How can I make today a success?
* Who do I want to be?
* What is it that makes me happy?
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Getting the top authors within your niche to contribute to the creation of your information products is one of the quickest ways to gain tremendous credibility within your marketplace.
Imagine having the names of two, three, or four of the most recognized authors and experts in your niche alongside your name on your next info-product, on your sales letter, and in your email follow-up messages. It instantly makes you more trustworthy. Makes your offer more believable. And positions you and your product well-above your competitors.
In essence, it’s a true business shortcut.
And, fortunately, making it happen… with zero cost or expense… is easier than you might think.
It all comes down to TIMING.
If you want to get virtually any top author within a field to contribute to your next information product via an interview, you need to approach them at the “right time”.
When is the right time to approach a top author, you might be wondering?
When they’ve released a new book.
Because when they release a new book, authors are eager to get as much exposure for their book as possible. So they’re almost always excited about doing an interview. Plus, when a top author releases a new book, they typically get and welcome interview requests from several sources.
Here’s how you do this:
Step #1: Go to Amazon.com.
Step #2: Search for books using your potential product’s main keyword or keyword phrase.
Step #3: Sort the books by publication date. This lists the newly published books first.
Step #4: Make note of the top 5-6 authors names. Then, find their websites on Google. This is so you can get their contact information.
Step #5: Contact each author about wanting to interview them about XYZ topic and their book. Let them know they can plug their book, and that you’ll be including their interview with a collection of other interviews from their fellow experts for customers who just so happen to be their target market.
Timed correctly, there’s no doubt you can easily get 90% of the experts you approach to participate in a great interview for you. I’ve used this technique on several occasions. Have interviewed at least 7 top authors. And, used this very technique to break into a brand new niche in 2003 when first starting in the info-product business. And, it’ll work for you as well.
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While hanging out at the ETR Bootcamp last week I heard a great little “gold nugget” about testing and optimizing your marketing results.
Mary Ellen Tribby, one of the sharpest business women I’ve ever encountered and good friend of our little Strategic Profits crew, was on stage along with the the other expert panelists. Attendees were lining up at the microphone to grab their few minutes of “consulting time” during the Q&A portion of the event.
Personally, I was in the back of the room checking my email on my iphone. So, I didn’t hear the exact question posed. But, the moment I heard Mary Ellen’s answer I perked up. Here’s what she said…
“You want to test the things that scream. Not the things that whisper”
What a great way to articulate the importance of testing the truly impactful things, I thought to myself.
And, it’s totally and completely a savvy point.
Testing and tracking is essential to optimizing your marketing results. In fact, you can’ t improve the results you’re getting without proper testing and tracking. And, that’s really where the beauty of marketing online comes into play.
No matter how poor your results are today, you can always improve what’s happening by optimizing the key areas within your marketing and sales funnel. And, your optimization efforts come from the tests you conduct on the areas within your marketing and sales funnel that can have the biggest impact on the bottom line.
As I explained in our recent Conversion Clinic, when testing to improve conversions, you want to invest your time and attention on the big things. On the things that can have a significant impact on the numbers.
You don’t want to invest your time on minor aspects of your promotion or funnel (i.e. the color of your signature, the font you’re using, words that are bolded or underlined, etc.).
You want to focus on the things that play a massive role in conversions (i.e. the big idea or hook behind your promotion, the headline, the lead, the offer, etc.).
Think of it like this:
If your job was to double, triple, or even quadruple conversions and sales, what would you test? Whatever the answer; go test it.
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As a serious student of the marketing and advertising game I’ve certainly come across my share of big lessons and “Aha!” moments.
But, there’s one lesson that stands out far above all the others in how it’s impacted my ability to create marketing that pulls like crazy. I can easily say this one lesson alone has been worth hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to me personally.
I’m going to pass it on to you today.
Then let’s get to it…
The lesson comes from the late Eugene Schwartz.
If you’re not familiar with Mr. Schwartz… he is a legend in the world of advertising and copywriting and is often referred to as the “Greatest Copywriter Who Ever Lived!”
In his book Breakthrough Advertising (that regularly sold on ebay a couple of years ago for over $900.00) Mr. Schwartz outlines a concept I’ve never seen or heard anyone else talk about.
He calls it, “The 5 Sophistication Levels of Your Market”.
He explains that you must… MUST… market your product or service differently depending on what “stage of sophistication” your market is currently in.
(I recommend you read that sentence again before moving on)
The different “levels of sophistication” are determined by how many competitors there are in the marketplace, what claims they’ve made about their products or services, and how long prospects have been hearing about their products and claims.
For example, let’s take the weight loss supplement market.
Years ago, when the weight loss market was in its infancy, you could market a supplement by simply promising “Take This Pill And You’ll Lose Weight”.
But as the market matured, and saw that promise over and over, it quickly became an inadequate claim in your marketing if you were selling weight loss supplements.
In essence, the market progressed to a new “level of sophistication”.
So the marketing of those supplements had to evolve to the next level.
This required marketers to take those original claims and promises and enlarge them.
For instance, “Take This Pill And You’ll Lose Weight In 7 Days Or Less”.
But, just like before, as more and more marketers were enlarging their claims, the market became more sophisticated, moving on to the next level of sophistication.
Again, it was no longer adequate to simply make bigger, bolder promises.
Now that the marketplace was in the third level of sophistication, marketers had to make sure their marketing evolved as well, if they wanted to continue to generate sales.
At this… the third stage of sophistication… marketers had to now include what’s called a “UNIQUE MECHANISM” to their claims and promises in order to keep their marketing producing.
For instance, “Take This Pill… That Blocks The Absorption Of Fat In Your Intestines… And You’ll Lose Weight In 7 Days Or Less!”
Eventually, though, as the market accepted these new mechanism, it evolved to the next level, like all markets do, and the marketing lost it’s potency forcing marketers to shift once again.
According to Schwartz, in the final stage of sophistication, marketing must shift from bigger, bolder claims and a focus on the “unique mechanism” to being more prospect-centric.
Meaning: now, in the final stage of sophistication, marketing must focus and identify with prospects experiences if it’s going to resonate and be effective.
And this is HUGE!!!
You see… it’s not just a matter of throwing together some marketing that focuses on the benefits or claims of your product or service.
It’s FIRST about understanding the sophistication of your market and then making sure your marketing addresses the specific demands of that level.
If your marketing is at still at Level 1 or 2 and your market is at Level 3 or 4, your marketing is going to flop. Period.
Hopefully, you can see why this such a MASSIVE PIECE OF ADVICE and LESSON.
Masters and the legends of marketing like Eugene Schwartz are the guys who pioneered the most effective, most powerful, and most profitable marketing tactics and strategies of history!
If you haven’t studied… and re-studied… the classic marketing books and experts… you’re really, really missing out on experiencing a true breakthrough with your marketing.
But, if you’re not a reader or just don’t want to invest the money or time studying and analyzing the works of these masters… you’re in luck.
Because Rich Schefren has a brand new training called Lessons From The Marketing Legends: The Most Powerful, Proven, And Profitable Marketing Tactics Of The Last 100 Years!
And, right now, you can simply have Rich hand you all of THE gold nuggets and gems from the history books of all the top legends and masters of marketing.
In fact, regardless of what you’ve read or haven’t read, I highly recommend you get this training from Rich.
Well… it’s been just a few minutes since the Live Email Persuasion Formula Training finished up.
The entire training was designed to show marketers how to get more of their emails opened, more of their emails read, more of their links clicked-on, and more of their list to buy.
If you were one of the online marketers to participate in this Training, once again we want to hear from you.
Let us know what your biggest takeaway was from the Live Training and what you thought about the quality of information, guidance and advice shared with you.
Go ahead… leave your insights and comment below.
by Todd Brown
If you’re at all like most internet marketers, you have a desire to increase your productivity and… plain and simple… just get more done.
As somebody who used to struggle on and off with being consistently productive, here are 10 recommendations (in no particular order) you can use to be a HECK of a lot more productive in 2009.
1. Use self-imposed discipline.
In other words, put yourself in a position where you have to get XYZ done. For example, instead of waiting until you have the Power Point presentation done to schedule the webinar… schedule it today and announce to your list, so you then MUST get the presentation done.
2. Every project, task, milestone you work on should have a deadline.
Periodically throughout your workday, ask yourself… “does what I’m working on have a deadline”. If not, put one on it. If it’s not worthy of a deadline, dump it.
3. Only check your email 2x a day… and never before getting at least one hour of focused work done.
I try never to check my email before noon and then not again until 4PM.
4. Have the least amount of unscheduled time each day.
In other words, try to schedule every hour of your work day. This has been one of the most effective productivity tools for me personally.
5. Have productivity goals, along with your financial and business goals.
In other words, have goals for focused time and completion of tasks.
6. Have rewards at incremental stages of your goal achievement.
Far, far off goals tend NOT to motivate us. Close goals, that we can see, tend be a lot more motivational.
7. Pre-schedule repetitive tasks into your calendar in advance.
If there are certain things you do every week, they should get a permanent place in your calendar and they should be treated just like an important appointment.
8. Monitor the time it takes you to go from idea to implementation; and try to speed up the process.
9. Try to estimate the amount of time every task will take, then put it in your schedule with a start and stop time.
This will force to work faster and more efficiently. Think… the day before vacation.
10. Regularly consider the consequences of not doing something or of procrastination.
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