How to GAMBLE with Marketing and Win

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"How to GAMBLE with Marketing and Win"Using Games of Chance and Awards as a way to market a product or service is a very popular strategy. It can create loyalty, increase leads and expand your influence in your market and industry.  If you have not tried this type of marketing, check out what these companies have done to promote their business by offering “rewards” for those who participate.

Office Depot has a brief case open at the customer service desk.  Customers can drop in their business card and each week they draw and winner and give them free Office Depot Products.

California Tortilla gave a promotional discount to any customer who beat the cashier in a game of Rock Paper Scissors  and received $1 off an entree. The offer was for only one day, however, they would have become world renowned had they decided to make this a regular part of their customer service/marketing efforts. I would have done this on a specific day each week and given it a cool name like Tortilla Tuesday or Taco Tuesday or Fajita Friday.

A wine shop in Cambridge, England plays Trivial Pursuit with patrons whereby the customer either doubles their discount or it is quitsed (eliminated).

Seth Godin http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/ suggests that businesses empower their customer service personnel to recognize and award a prize to the nicest person who calls in each day. Seth said, “What’s the worst that could happen–they might use a little judgment, might enjoy the day a bit more, might even start to care.”

Take this idea Online:

Create a banner ad on your site with a trivia question.  Offer prizes for readers who answer the question at your site. Market this offline and on the site.

Host a “Biggest Purchase Contest” on your web site and the prize is that each monthly winner will get their entire purchase refunded.

What ideas can you come up with to spread your brand message around?

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Is your product party-worthy?

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"Is your product party-worthy?"Is your product party-worthy? Word-of-mouth With Pizzazz!

Tupperware does it.  Mary Kay, Princess House, Pampered Chef, Weekenders and others too!  What about you? Do you have a product to sell?  Can you sell it in a party setting?  If so, you could increase sales considerably, build loyalty and gain more exposure for your product.  In fact, almost any product can be sold this way.

Here’s how you do it:

Host the event in someone’s home and give the “hostess” valuable gifts, discounts on your products, and credits toward other purchases based upon the total sales volume.  You could offer all guests a small discount (10% off) and a larger discount for the hostess.  You could call it a party or a private sale. You could even have the event in your place of business.

The hostess supplies the food, the guests and her enthusiasm for your company. In addition to adding to your bottom line, you add customers to your database, increase loyalty and this form of “advertising” costs less than almost any other.  It’s word of mouth with pizzazz!

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Network with the Rich and Famous

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"Network with the Rich and Famous"Want to tap the Luxury Market? Then you gotta know where they hang out! And btw, you don’t have to be rich or famous to attend these events as long as you have the entry fee!

Here are a few places to start:

Non-profit organizations the affluent support financially AND emotionally (I call this “cause-related networking”)

Churches, Temples and Places of Worship

Exclusive Resorts and Country Clubs

Skyboxes at Sports Stadiums

High-end Restaurants

Social Clubs

ClubCorp Clubs – aka Tower Clubs in some cities

Yacht Clubs

The Arts such as Opera, Ballet, Museums, Art Galleries

Read the calendar of events listing in your local papers and online to find out what’s happening in your community. If you have local celebrities, start watching the local magazines and newspapers to find out what organizations they support.

Ask your own circle who they that you could be introduced to.

Create a “hit” list,  get an invitation, mark your calendars, and network!

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Is Group Coaching the Holy Grail of Coaching?

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"Is Group Coaching the Holy Grail of Coaching?"

With one-on-one coaching, it’s just you and your coach. The focus is all on your business, what you did (or did not) accomplish in the last week or month, and how you can improve. In other words, it’s a bit of a vacuum.

Group coaching, on the other hand, has a much more social dynamic, and you might just find your clients actually prefer that.

With a group program, there’s often a Facebook group or forum where members can support one another, gain insight into other business models, and get advice in real time from people who have been there.

Need a shoulder to cry on about your landing page flop? How about a few cheerleaders as you prepare to step outside your comfort zone for your first keynote address? A group coaching program offers all that, and best of all, with a community of like-minded members, the help and support is actually, well, helpful.

Here’s another win for group coaching programs: the price. While it might be nice to work with that in-demand coach on a VIP day, the fact is that many people won’t be able to shell out that kind of cash.

A group program gives them many of the same benefits at a fraction of the cost.

Lastly, with a group program, you’re very nearly guaranteed a successful outcome—especially if the program has been around for a while. Group coaching programs such as Marie Forleo’s incredibly successful “B School” has long been proven to change the lives of those who take the course. Naturally, participants must actually do the work, but the fact is, the model is solid, and clients know that going in.

Are you thinking of creating a group coaching program? Keep these points in mind. You might just find out your potential clients have been waiting for you to take this step for a long time.

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The Four Different Types of Content Newsletters

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"The Four Different Types of Content Newsletters"Why does Amazon send HTML newsletters, while direct response marketers use plain text sales letters? The answer: They’re using a different type of newsletter, with completely different strategies.

There are a whole slew of strategies you can use with newsletters.

These are four of the most common types of content newsletters. They’re all effective in their own way; with the main difference being time. Amazon is playing a ten-year strategy, while most affiliates play a three-month strategy. One isn’t better than the other, they’re just different business models.

Lets explore the four types.

The Branding Focused Newsletter

Sites like Amazon.com, Woot.com and Facebook.com are not here to make a quick buck. They’re here to build a lasting brand.

Their goal is that the next time you think of buying a laptop, you think of Amazon.com before you think of Dell.com. For them, keeping up a consistent image is much, much more important than making a sale today.

HTML has many drawbacks. Images don’t display on certain email readers and internet connections. There’s no way to make sure everyone sees things the same way. But sites like Amazon simply can’t afford to send text emails – It’s against their brand.

The branding-centric strategy is very effective with the right companies. These are companies going for the big bucks, that want to build their brand rather than instant revenues.

The “Burn the List” Strategy

This is the complete opposite of the branding strategy. This strategy basically says “to hell with the list, give me sales now.”

How does it work? The moment someone signs up, they’re essentially bombarded with sales messages until they either buy or unsubscribe.

This can be very effective for some marketers. It’s a common technique among co-registration buyers and short term affiliate marketers. If you’re spending $.50 cents per email and can get 2% of subscribers to buy a $50 product by bombarding them with sales messages, you’re doubling your money.

This is a very short time horizon strategy, with the aim to make as much money as possible immediately.

The Relationship-Focused Strategy

This strategy is something of an in-between. The goal isn’t to establish a brand, but to build a personable relationship with the list. Authors of these tend to think in 6 months to 3 years, rather than ten years or a few weeks.

People using the relationship focused strategy aren’t aiming to make one sale now, but many sales over the course of weeks and months. They’re focused on the back end.

This strategy is very, very profitable as far as internet marketing goes. Not only do you generate many long term sales, but you also build your brand in a marketplace. You build a lot of goodwill towards your name, that can later be converted into speaking engagements, JV deals and other favors.

The “Link To” Newsletter

This newsletter is an interesting hybrid of the relationship builder and the burn-the-list strategy.

Essentially, the newsletter doesn’t contain very much content in and of itself. The whole newsletter may just be 100 to 200 words. Instead, the newsletter sells the readers on clicking on a link to see more content.

In that content, there’s either AdSense ads or promotions for affiliate programs. Often times there actually is unique content when they click through, but they have to click through to see it. That way, the publisher ensures he gets paid.

This strategy is a great interim strategy for increasing earnings from an affiliate site or AdSense site. If you have an AdSense site earning $200 a month, you may very well turn that into $400 a month by turning one-time visitors into recurring visitors. Do that by collecting their email address.

This is also a relatively short term strategy, though less cumbersome than the “burn the list” strategy.

These are the four different “types” of content newsletters. Which one should you use? As you can see, each and every strategy can be profitable, but they all work for different types of businesses. Decide what time horizon(s) you’re operating in first, then choose the type of newsletter to use. One isn’t better than the other – They’re all tools – It’s how you use them.

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13 Tips to Develop Your Online Media Kit

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"13 Tips to Develop Your Online Media Kit"Today much of the business we get is from online contacts. If your company gets prospects, leads and customers from the web, it is important for you to create and maintain a professional,well-organized digital media kit.

An online media kit is a page on your website where media/members of the press and potential advertisers can learn what they need to know about your company.

It generally contains:

* Company overview
* Summary of your products and services
* Press releases or newsworthy items
* Professional credits
* Advertising rates
* Traffic and demographic information
* FAQs
* Case studies, success stories, or testimonials
* Professional surveys or reports
* A calendar of industry or media appearances
* Awards or a link to them on your website
* A link to testimonials about your company

It makes sense to make sure you have a top-notch media kit available to interested parties. The promise of potential media coverage will undoubtedly boost your business and profits. And an increase in advertising sales, if you sell ad space on your website, is always welcome.

Here are the 13 tips to develop your online media kit:

  1. Make sure your press releases and newsworthy items are up-to-date and that they’re organized with the most recent release at the top.

  2. Take the time to craft compelling and effective press releases.

  3. Be sure to brag. If you’ve been in the news, featured on notable websites or received awards, be sure to let your visitors know about it.

  4. Make your media kit easy to find. The standard practice is to include a link at the bottom of the homepage with an easy to understand phrase like “Advertise” or “Media Kit.”

  5. Make the “Contact Us” button clear and above the fold (the part of the page visible without scrolling).

  6. Be sure to include your email, phone number and address in your contact information.

  7. Give a clear explanation of the different kinds of ads and targeting options available with the rates up front and easy to understand.

  8. Present case studies and make sure to include visuals wherever possible. Quantify your case studies in terms of click rates or sales.

  9. Provide a demographic overview of your audience with a pie chart or visuals. Take it a step further by offering in-depth audience profiles, average time spent on the site, plan statistical data, etc. This is useful information that can help offer justification for the buy.

  10. Let visitors know what your website traffic volumes are and how you’ve grown. Consider backing this data up with a verifiable source.

  11. Include images on your media page. Photos of you, a logo that’s easy to copy or download, and any other relevant images will help media representatives gather the information and resources they need.

  12. Make sure the explanation of your company’s products and services is easy to understand by the average person. What benefit do you provide? How do you solve your customer’s problems? What’s your story? Spend time on this because the more interesting your story is, the more interest a journalist will have in telling it.

  13. Make it downloadable. Members of the press and others who inquire about your company may find it easier to make a decision about contacting you, if you offer your media kit as a download.  If it makes sense to your goals, create a document they can download that includes testimonials, your photo, 3 versions of your bio (under 50 words, 50 to 150 words and more than 150 words), your most recent or most impressive press coverage and other things you typically use in your marketing to make it easy for people to decide to do business with you.

The end result…a bigger bottom line. And when it comes to increasing your advertising sales, attracting big customers who are willing to pay top dollar, a media kit is a great way to boost profits.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Audience Awake and Engaged

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"5 Ways to Keep Your Audience Awake"Has a boring speaker ever put you to sleep? Your head begins to nod as you fight off the urge to slip mercifully into the Land of the Z’s.

Sure, this has happened to all of us, more than we would like to admit. However, don’t let it happen to you when you are the speaker. The key to keeping your audience from taking a mental exit is to involve them in your talk. Yes! Studies show that the more you involve your audience, the more they retain. Why? Because they are listening!

You can involve your audience in several ways, and I have listed 5 of my favorites below. Select those that will work well with your presentation and that feel genuine to you. If it feels uncomfortable, it will look uncomfortable—so don’t use it.

1. Ask questions.
Questions will cause your audience members to try to think of an answer. They can’t help it – it is simply how our brains are wired. If the energy in the room starts to drop, ask a question and select a member of your audience to respond. Then, thank him or her for participating and move on to the next person. Don’t worry about loosing control of your audience. Sales guru Brian Tracy emphasizes, “He (she) who asks questions is in control.” I personally prefer questions like “How many of you . . .,” and then I ask for a show of hands. These closed-ended questions get your audience involved both mentally and physically.

2. Finish your sentence.
For example, if you said to your audience, “Lions and tigers and bears . . .” and did not finish the sentence, what do you think they would say? As long as they are familiar with the movie The Wizard of Oz, they would respond with “Oh my!” This is a fun way to get your audience to participate. If they know the answer, they will blurt it out. If they don’t, you answer it. Choose something that should be so obvious they will absolutely get it.

3. High-five.
This is one of my personal favorites. If you ever feel like the energy in the room is heavy, you can change it by using this technique. Simply ask a question (remember the power of asking questions). Ask, “Is this good stuff?” When your audience responds with “Yes,” say “Then, turn to the people on either side of you and give them a high-five and say ‘This is good stuff!’” Most people get a kick out of it. However, if you have an individual in your audience who does not want to participate, don’t worry about it. Some people don’t feel comfortable or simply just don’t want to have fun. I have made a joke during this exercise that if anyone wants hand sanitizer afterwards, to come up to the podium. And in fact, a few times people have done so.  This usually gets a laugh and one guy actually bowed!  It does break up a speech.

4. Do exercises.
T. Harv Ecker says, “Get your audience to do the work.” To accomplish this, ask them to break into groups of two or three (with people that they don’t know) and give them an exercise that is congruent with your presentation. Afterward, ask them to share openly with the rest of the group and thank them for doing so.

5. Give them “treats”.
Reward your audience for participating, and they will participate even more. Simply ask a question and when someone answers it, give them a small piece of candy, a piece of fruit or a small promotional item; because people like rewards. For most of my audiences chocolate works best. Probably because the majority are filled with women. You will find that it becomes a game and people will compete for something – even a small token of little monetary value. I don’t use this throughout my entire speech, only for a few minutes in the middle of my talk. Treats get their attention, involvement and encourages everyone to participate.

There are many other ways and techniques to get your audience involved. What is important as a speaker is for you to come up with as many different ways as you can think of that are appropriate for your audience and for you as a speaker. Having said that… 

 Done right, your audience will thank you.

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5 Surefire Tips To Better Public Speaking

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5 Surefire Tips To Better Public SpeakingIf you search in Google for the term “public speaking tips” you get more than 4 million responses. That seems like a lot, but when you are the one standing in front of the group there isn’t enough information in the world that could get you over that fear.

Believe it or not, most of those fears are self-imposed. What do I mean? The people listening to you don’t really care how the information is disseminated, they just want access to the information.

It’s the speaker that puts him or herself through the turmoil of doubt and uncertaintly before and leading up to the event.

To help you work through the doubt and uncertainty, here are five tips to put your mind at ease and help you better prepare for a successful outcome.

Public Speaking Tip #1

KNOW YOUR TOPIC! I don’t mean know your topic, I mean inside and out, upside down, whatever question someone should as, you know the answer. You really need to be prepared to reach this level. You need to know your speech almost by heart; you need to know the products you will be discussing. Do your homework, you will know you have reached public speaking Nirvana when you get that “feeling”, it will come with knowledge. Believe!  The audience will assume you are the expert so its up to you to not let them down.

Public Speaking Tip #2

Greet as many of the attendees prior to your speech as possible. Familiarity promotes confidence. Besides, think of the benefit you provide the topic you are to speak on when you take the time to meet people before you present.

This strategy also prevents you from pacing back and forth and worrying before your turn at the podium. There is no point in cramming now, if you don’t know it by now, that won’t help and the audience will know.  It is okay to review your speech once if time permits. But don’t substitute the review for time you could spend meeting and greeting people. It will also help warm the audience to you.

Public Speaking Tip #3

DON’T envision everyone in the audience is naked, this in fact will hurt your chances of a successful public speaking event.  It can, in fact be kind of scary to envision some people naked. And it will detract from your message and the purpose for your speech.

Public Speaking Tip # 4

When you find yourself with a mouthful of uhs and ums, stop yourself, repeat the sentence as if to add importance, and replace the uhs and ums with silence to allow your points to hit home.  Crutch words such as run on sentences can be just as distracting. Practice completing one sentence before beginning another. It will help you sound more polished and prepared.

Public Speaking Tip # 5

Animate your speech. Most people think that good communication is all about the spoken part of the speech. There is so much more to speaking than words coming out of your mouth. To be a powerful communicator, you have to use your entire body. Gestures and body language add energy and enthusiasm to your speech. Use visuals. Make sure the visuals enhance your speech or presentation and not distract the audience from you message.

These are tips can really help you take your next step in public speaking. Do you realize that people pass up promotions because they will be required to speak publicly?

You may have heard or read somewhere that people fear speaking in public more than they fear dying. It could be because dying is abstract and appears far away while the podium is right in front of them. Either way, you really can come to grips with your fear and at first you may not enjoy it, but you’ll be able to get through it easier. Just remember that a successful speech is in knowing what you are going to say, and anticipating what others are going to ask.

Being prepared for both will help you get through your speech and may even get you a return engagement – and business.

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4 Elements of Writing High-Converting Headlines

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headlinesWhen it comes down to the art of internet marketing, your sales headline is part and parcel of the thin line that separates a successful campaign and utter failure. More than ever before, the world is getting more competitive by the day, and it is up to the discerning online entrepreneur to come up with ingenious ways of staying at the top of his game. And the best way to do this is through funneling more sales with the aid of a solid converting headline that will even the most skeptical individuals into regular, loyal customers.

Speaking of which, where as they are numerous ideas of how to write, spin or fashion high-converting and persuasive sales headlines. But all of them have a few things in common.

This includes but not limited to:

1. Promises ( albeit indirectly ), that the reader/user is going to benefit immensely from the product or service.

2. A good converting headline that can easily skyrocket your sales ought to prove that you are actually selling what you are promoting, producing or offering. This helps the reader know that they can purchase and start using your product as soon as the next minute.

3. It is very important to paint a clear picture of the benefits of taking up your product or enrolling in your service.

4. It needs to convey a sense of urgency or an element of it that your customers have to act now or as soon as possible. Make them feel that they have been missing out on a lot and it is time to turn their prospects around.

The bottom line is that it takes a skillful use of persuasive language, careful choice of words, and thoughtfulness to create a converting sales headline. But, unfortunately, you won’t know this unless you try. So what’s your headline of choice today?

Want to learn more about article marketing and writing? Check out the Author Marketing Mastermind here  http://heidirichards.com/author-marketing-mastermind/

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The Right Coach with the Right Stuff can be Your Recipe for Success

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"The Right Coach with the Right Stuff can be Your Recipe for Success"

In my last article I talked about how you are never too “mature” to have a coach and to continue the conversation, I would like to share what a coach can do for you as well as important things to consider when working with a coach.

No matter what stage of life you are in, a coach can help you get to that next stage. It’s like losing 20 pounds, the first 10 are the easiest and then it seems we struggle in our attempts to lose the last 10.  One of the reasons may be that we have no one to share in the final victory, or we fear judgment about how long it is taking or we second-guess ourselves about what we need to do to reach our final destination.  A coach can be a cheerleader, a resource for more information, and a friend who doesn’t “judge” the what, why or how of our plans. And a good coach can help us make better decisions and celebrate our successes.

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Eric Hoffer

One of the questions you need to first ask yourself before working with a coach is this: “Am I coachable?”  I believe baby boomers are very coachable. Why?  We have had enough experiences to know what we want and what we don’t want.  We become more open to ideas as we grow wiser, especially in this day of lightning-speed change. We are likely more adept at working with others.  Most baby boomers I know are optimistic, courageous, have a great work ethic, want more quality relationships and more meaningful careers.  We have been the self-indulgent route, we have had money and lost money and had it again and know that money doesn’t buy happiness.  We are used to working outside our comfort zone and are able to bounce back from setbacks. We actually listen to our peers and even younger generations and will take their advice when we know it’s good for us.  And we are ready to realize our full potential.

Coaching works best when you know what you want to get done.  As long as you are open to feedback and willing to create positive change in your life coaching works.

So what are the things you should consider when working with a coach?

  1. Someone who is willing to give you the time and undivided attention you need to reach your goals
  2. Someone who understands your needs and most importantly your goals
  3. Someone you know, like and trust
  4. Someone who can help you assess your own life and get very clear about what you want to accomplish
  5. Someone who will help you evaluate your goals and come up with a plan (and timeline) to achieve your goals
  6. Someone who asks good questions and more importantly listens for the answers
  7. Someone who holds your feet to the fire (keeps you accountable)

Where can you find a good coach?  

Ask! Ask your friends for referrals. Network and find out who is using a coach and what success she or he has had. Interview potential candidates.

Check out the International Coaching Federation for a list of coaches.  Find those who have the types of skills and experience suitable to you and your goals. Investigate them by asking for references, check out their website, social media presence and any other place they might ‘hang out’ online.

Once you have narrowed down the candidate list, you can begin to ‘test’ the coach’s style and if it resonates with you. One way to do this is to ask for a sample coaching session.  See if she or he is a good fit for you.  While you don’t have to think alike it is good to have someone with whom you are not constantly butting heads.  Just as it isn’t good to have someone always agreeing with you, it is also not good for your confidence to have someone who always points out when you are wrong. When you do a sample coaching session you will find out if the coach is “in tune” to what you are all about.

Working with a coach can be a very rewarding and exhilarating experience. And at times it might even be frightening.  The right coach can help you discover your true gifts and talents. The right coach will help you face issues you didn’t want to or couldn’t face.  Working with a coach can help you no matter what your goals are; whether it’s to lose weight, make more money or live your ideal life. Working with the right coach can help you grow in ways you never thought you would (or could).

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