As a direct response marketer I’ve got to say that there are quite a number of people and resources that have had an influence on my career.
The work of people like Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, Tony Robbins (both Mastery University and Sales Mastery/Power To Influence), Clayton Makepeace, Drayton Bird, Brian Keith Voiles, Gary Bencivenga and many more.
In Australia, that list has included Ian Kennedy, and in recent years both Mal Emery and Pete Godfrey.
I recognise those mentors because I know without them, I wouldn’t be in the position of strength I enjoy today. I have bookings weeks and weeks ahead, and it has really changed the way I do business.
In particular, Pete Godfrey, a master copywriter, has had a big impact on the work I produce for clients.
And that’s mainly from his Copywriting and Marketing Master Class programs I completed in 2007 and again at the third and “last ever” event in November 2008.
What he shared in those programs was pure gold. He literally divulged his full, proven, emotional direct response marketing system for attracting and keeping clients.
For what I do today, there’s nothing better than this to help me create money-earning projects.
And Pete’s about to unleash this program for public consumption!
At the last ever master class, Pete recorded the whole event, and will soon be making that available. For any business owner or copywriter, it’s a resource you cannot live without.
But that’s not why I’m posting this article today.
In the lead-up to that release, Pete’s gone crazy and is giving away several very valuable FREE bonuses just for signing up to the notification list.
On their own, each of these bonuses is definitely worth paying for.
But you don’t need to do that: they’re yours free. No catch, no need to buy anything.
Here’s the link: www.deankennedy.com/recommends/masterclass
These are resources from a master copywriter that you’ll benefit from immediately.
For example, in the free bonus number 2, just reading the third paragraph on page 8 of the report will put you in front of 99 percent of your competition.
It’s the kind of material that fuels my business, and makes me 100% recession proof.
And you don’t need to buy anything to get these bonuses: you just have to sign up to the notification list!
Now before you worry about a flood of emails: two points of advice. One: observe what you get sent. Keep it. Swipe it for yourself (but don’t copy it word-for-word of course).
And two: if you want, you can always and easily unsubscribe. Just grab the bonuses if you want, and then say farewell. But I know that once you download and read them, you’ll be hungry for more (just like me).
But you’ll need to be quick: the bonus page won’t be up very long: grab them now!
If there’s one thing about current marketing I don’t like, is that everyone thinks they’re a guru. But here’s what I know … Pete is fair dinkum, he’s the real deal. Not only did I go to his Bootcamp in 2007, I signed up and went to his Masterclass, and then signed up for the next one and did it again (the only reason I missed the middle master class is that I was in hospital and not allowed to fly)! So I’m not just going to tell you from “what I know” … but this is “what I do” and I know it first-hand.
Here’s the link again: www.deankennedy.com/recommends/masterclass
Twitter is one of those growing online phenomenons that still has some users wondering what its business application really is.
To me, the brilliance of Twitter is that it is another “media” platform: a way to communicate your message — to a super-targeted audience, because it’s 100 per cent opt-in — “tweople” on your list (Twitter people) have subscribed to read what you post (they’re your “followers”).
In that way it’s similar to opt-in email, but acts more like SMS, because the messages reach users’ Twitter accounts both on the computer and on mobile/cell phones or other internet enabled devices.
It’s simply a micro-media messaging platform within a larger media (the internet).
And it’s popularity is growing fast. It’s still not up there with Facebook, who passed the 200 millionth user mark in the last few days, Twitter is only around the 9 to 10 million user mark (so there’s plenty of room for growth)… but it has definite potential for businesses, especially with “early adopter” customers.
There was a story in the papers just today talking about Twitter’s first millionaire — the race between CNN Breaking News, Ashton Kutcher and Britney Spears to reach 1,000,000 followers on Twitter. As of posting this article, their numbers are 960,506 for CNN Breaking News, 943,888 for Kutcher and 927,817 for Spears.
(Just in the 3 minutes checking their profiles, each of them gained 70 to 100 followers!). And yours truly the humble author has only 215 followers in TOTAL at the time of writing! Kutcher has gained over 24,000 followers since the story was published at 12:33pm today, less than 11 hours ago. CNN picked up over 12,000 and Britney over 13,000 new followers too).
I imagine the “winner” of the race will be declared in the next day or so, given the media interest — and I see from another Twitter user I follow (@WarrenWhitlock) that CNN is giving a prize to entice followers (update: so is Ashton Kutcher, for the millionth follower, if he outdoes CNN Breaking News).
Warren had a very nice way of putting it:
CNN offered (me) a prize for following them, but I follow you because I like your tweets.
Interestingly, aside from the Spears twitter account which itself follows 77,547 people as of writing, the Kutcher and CNN accounts both follow less than 100 people (just six in the case of CNN and 72 for Kutcher). So their own Twitter feed of updates from followers is quite small (and would be easy to follow, unlike Britney’s, which would be overwhelmed by “noise” with so many other tweople being followed).
Email vs Twitter
Here’s four difference between email and Twitter, in Twitter’s favour:
Firstly, the size of the message — Twitter is limited to just 140 characters — it’s like just receiving messages a little bigger than an email Subject Line (even smaller than the 160 character limit on an SMS).
Secondly — and one major reason for the growth in followers on Twitter accounts — everyone on Twitter can see who follows you, and who you are following.
So, if you’re “one of the gurus” amongst your raving fans, very likely, because they want to be just like you, they’ll also follow the people you follow.
Thirdly — while people are more protective these days of their inbox, it doesn’t yet seem the case with Twitter, it’s easy for them to follow you because they’re in full control: they choose when to follow you — they choose when to unfollow you, there’s no need to rely on an “unsubscribe link” that you put in your emails. You can’t also send html like with email, so you can’t track “reads and open rates”, although you can see from spikes in traffic and referrer logs when users follow a Twitter link to go to a web page.
So that user control is a strong benefit to your followers.
Fourthly — reading Twitter messages is usually a “virus free” experience — although Twitter accounts do get hacked and like emails, links can be malicious and should be treated carefully (here’s an example of a Twitter “worm” virus at work just in the last few days).
Also, there’s a raging debate amongst Twitter users about following people just to get them to follow you back (and build your own list of followers — some people think it’s good Twitter etiquette to follow back, but not all users agree) — to the extent that some Twitter utilities let you follow masses of people in the hope of picking up some of them as your own followers (and they you stop following the ones that don’t reciprocate — and sometimes start/stop incessantly).
Personally, I like the idea of natural, organic growth in followers — you follow me because you’re interested in what I have to tweet about, not simply because you want me to follow you, and this is your way of getting my attention.
Also, some people have twitter pop-up every time one of their friends adds a tweet — it pops up like an automatic instant message or announcement of new email — but to me that’s a severe interruption of my day. I control when I view Twitter, and it’s only once or twice a day!
But wait, there’s more!
That millionaire race isn’t the main reason for this post!
Twitter For Business
So, can you really use this micro-messaging platform for business?
Yes you can.
So long as people know who you are, and your Twitter account can be business or organisation based (like CNN mentioned above), your followers may be following you to hear about business updates.
For example, here’s a few ways you could use Twitter from a business perspective:
- Make brief announcements. Run a recruitment agency? Tweet new job posts.
- Announce special offers — publish a coupon discount code just for your Twitter followers
- Announce your latest sale items, specials and pricing
- Announce events
- Survey your followers for their opinions on a topic of interest
- Get your followers to contribute their thoughts to an idea you have
- Link Twitter to your blog (I do this with this blog, via the Twitter Tools WordPress plug-in). That way, your Twitter followers know when you’ve made a new blog post
- Share resources you find online with your Twitter followers
- Give tips and helpful hints via Twitter
- Run Twitter-based competitions that may involve followers finding the answer on your website (and getting to know more about your business)
- Praise staff or customers — publicly acknowledge them and say thanks
- It’s OK to have more than one account for different purposes or parts of your business. For example, CNN has both CNN and CNN Breaking News, amongst others.
- Some web applications make it easier for key people to contribute tweets to a single account, so it’s an improved way to keep the conversation going and increase the number of relevant announcements you can make to your audience
- Some businesses use Twitter to keep an open dialogue with their customers. It’s like a publicly trackable version of an instant message service, so it’s an open, transparent and instantaneous way for all to see the business’ responses.
So Twitter isn’t just all bubble and squeak — there’s useful information and communication you can have with a targeted audience.
And Google indexes tweets — so that gets into Google (so watch what you tweet!).
There’s also a script for the Firefox Greasemonkey add-on that puts real time Twitter tweet results on page one of your Google search results: again, making your Twitter activity more valuable to your business.
On Springwise this week — my favourite brain juice for new business ideas — there was the story this week about BakerTweet, a device that allows bakeries to keep their customers informed — via Twitter — of when baked goods have just come fresh out of the oven … time to pop down to the bakery and get the freshest produce!
Bakers setup the device on their computer and establish a free Twitter account, and then just have the BakerTweet device installed in the kitchen (see the above video at BakerTweet). Baked goodies are fresh out of the oven, and the baker just twists the dial to the right message and presses a button — and all of their Twitter followers know there’s hot, fresh, bakery goodies ready for purchase.
It’s not hard to see how this push-button simple device makes it easy for a business to keep their customers informed!
Of course, business goes MUCH FURTHER on Twitter than just this example.
And it’s easy to see how such simplicity could later be linked to a service like Twitpic (a way to share photos via Twitter) to post both messages and images for customers to view.
Email Universe vs the Twitterverse
Despite Twitter’s popularity, this of course pales next to email in terms of the size of the media, usage and audience.
Twitter is approaching 10 million users (Comscore.com blog news from last week) — that’s UP around 700 per cent from a year ago and more than 10-times its numbers from when I joined in August 2007.
However, according to Pingdom, in 2008 there were 1.3 BILLION email users sending 210 BILLION email messages every DAY!
That’s 1,300,000,000 vs 10,000,000 — or 1,300 times more email users than Twitter users.
To Twitter Or Not To Twitter
I certainly wouldn’t ignore Twitter, as it has some helpful ways to get attention and traffic for your business. At the rate it is growing, it certainly is an audience worth considering.
Given of course email and other ways to communicate and build relationships, Twitter should still only be one small part of your overall strategy to get your message out to your audience.
If you haven’t already, sign up for your Twitter account!
Sleepily for me, it’s nearly 3am. I was watching a late movie last night, and dozed off near the end … snoozing soundly on our lounge room couch, until our beloved cat suddenly woke me 15 minutes ago (yes, he wanted his “staff” to attend to his needs) asking for a refill of his now empty bowl.
Before I turned off the tv, I couldn’t help but have a quick look at the guide and notice the overnight infomercials. And without surprise, sure enough there was one for a product I hadn’t yet seen.
This one was for a garden trimmer (the Total Trimmer).
Typical format for a US informercial, although this time they’ve got an Aussie voiceover for selling to the local market. That’s good, except he still read out “gas” instead of “petrol” — but at least it was a “local” voice.
And the presentation of alternative options in black and white, instead of colour, wasn’t surprising either. It’s a way of visually saying “those old style methods” that are no longer the best option (using black and white attempts to signify they’re less appealing as well as dated).
It was kinda frustrating to watch though — because the presentation to me didn’t look believable.
Having helped my dad for several years during high school when he had a lawn mowing business, garden trimmers are something I’m a little familiar with (don’t have one now, but used one plenty of times, even as a teenager).
Now, you should find all the “frustrations” of alternative methods and use them.
But showing someone trying to put gas/petrol into a trimmer from more than ten inches away — and no funnel in sight — that’s just plain ridiculous. People use FUNNELS and it’s EASY. Real people also don’t simply splash gas/petrol all over the place like the rather pathetic and dangerous depiction in the ad.
Do they think I’m an idiot?
Would you do that with pouring milk into your cereal bowl?
Would you hold it a couple of feet away and slightly tip the upright bottle so the milk runs all over the bottle and onto the bench, rather than tipping it “the normal way” so the milk goes into the bowl?
No? You wouldn’t splash it everywhere? Here they expect you do that with petrol.
I’m not sure about you, but an inexpensive plastic funnel for a couple of bucks would solve that problem for me.
Scores a negative for me because I don’t think the depiction of an alternative method is credible.
Here I am, watching the ad, and instantly arguing and solving the objections myself — this is not the thinking you want your prospect to be doing!
Also — seeing a petrol trimmer in action — with heavy duty nylon cutting cord coming out of the head of the trimmer, it’s a far superior result than this plastic looking device.
And on this one, they stop, and have to manually adjust the angle of the head to change the trimmer’s ability to trim areas like lawn edges.
On our trimmer, we just flipped it over in no time at all and kept going, with the fast trimming action now on a different angle and no need to stop and press any buttons or adjust the head of the machine!
So this advertised machine’s limited looking ability scored a negative for me too (knowing how alternative options really work).
No side-by-side comparison, no testimonials in sight either!
What got me though was the price presentation.
They had a big “$300″ crossed out on the screen for what you wouldn’t pay for some other “old fashioned” gas/petrol trimmer (with a far superior result in my eyes).
Yet the price for this flimsy-looking, lightweight plastic thing was $279.70 (5 payments plus postage handling and insurance) … hardly much different at all (less than 7 per cent).
I’ve only gotta look in the online Bunnings catalogue and they have an electric hedge trimmer for $49.90 and an electric line trimmer for $59 — $108.90 is far LESS anyway than $279.90 for this trimmer with the hedge attachment. Even the cordless Bosch model at Bunnings is only $199. $23.90 for a 25m extension lead (pretty damn easy to roll that up without the tangle they’re showing me), and $12.98 for garden shears, and to me I’ve got the same setup, and probably more effective equipment, at just over HALF price.
Plenty left over for a $15.90 extension cord reel… less than $162 (plus a trip to the store, always fun, and instant purchase) versus $279.90.
It’s scary to think what the other useless optional attachments are worth.
More Potential Objections
One black and white picture shows a tangle of cords in the garage. I can easily “solve” their problem of having to use a cord with a long extension lead by rolling it up around my elbow, or on a reel, like used with a hose — problem solved. Now if they had showed a cord trailing across the lawn, and someone potentially tripping over it — that’s a different problem that really could be a useful objection against alternative choices … but I didn’t see that raised at all!
Now, this thing might not be flimsy in real life, but it sure looked that way to me. To me it looked painfully slow and ineffective. The head hardly made an impact on the lawn edge or the hedges.
And who uses a trimmer to cut their entire lawn? No way!
This thing looked to me like it’d lose a fight against 3 tough blades of grass — not much more power than a kids toy.
There wasn’t real grass flying everywhere, the nylon line would do a much better job! And the nylon line comes in several strengths, there are heavy duty lines (much better than the cheap stuff — look around and find the decent stuff) that spin fast and get the job done.
So this is another objection that hasn’t been raised and addressed — other than them saying it’s lightweight, which is good for some people.
Their demo around the fountain? They were also claiming it’s less straining, but then they’re leaning over on one foot to try and just cut down a few blades of grass — want too much effort for little result.
Around the garden gnomes? Again, the machine looked slow and ineffective, taking more effort than it should for that kind of trimming.
And being battery operated might be a good thing — although it’s only got UP TO a 60 minute charge, and the demo didn’t show the trimmer as having much ability to effectively do the job, so that time is probably eaten up long before your job is finished and you’ll be stuck waiting for a recharge before going back out to get things done.
Again, an objective not addressed … so they leave the viewer to decide on the answer — something you should not do in your own copy.
Find all the objections you can — raise them and answer them! The more the better. Be thorough. Be realistic and believable and have a credible argument. Don’t hide anything … if a prospect thinks about it, and you haven’t addressed it, THEY get to come up with the answer, and it probably misses points you’d want to include.
Doing this shows you really know your product — so you’re the expert and perceived with more trust and value — and you can be more persuasive because you get to influence the answer to the objection, rather than letting prospects think up their own answer. It also avoids insulting the intelligence of your prospective audience by showing alternative scenarios that don’t look at all realistic.
In regard to this garden trimmer, to me (one of those who don’t think the presentation is realistic), it’s fair to say that now I don’t believe you about this … I’m most likely to also start thinking that what else you say also might not be believable.
At that point, you’ve lost me as a prospect because I’m not convinced at all about your presentation.
To me, you ain’t fair dinkum.
Now I’m probably in the minority — I MUST BE, as this ad is running in its current form and probably worked very successfully in the US market before it was imported here — so I’m probably not your ideal prospect anyway … in that case, your ad is doing a good job, even if I don’t believe it.
This is my opinion of course — you’ll have to watch the ad for your own assessment.
And personally I can think of several ways to improve this ad to be more influential (although like I said they probably aren’t looking to address a potential prospect like me). There are several credibility tools and copy arguments that could be used here that I think are missing.
In any marketing … being believable … for trust and credibility … that is ESSENTIAL.
People are skeptical, and getting even more so as time goes on, so if you fail to address these issues in your marketing, you’re “leaving money on the table” and not being as convincing as you can be.
(Now the NEXT informercial that’s now showing, about the Contoured Cloud sleeping mattress — they’re doing a more convincing job than the trimmer!).
Okay, time for me to get some sleep!
Whatever your politics on the issue, Australian taxpayers start receiving their “stimulus package” payments from today.
If you’re in business … what are you proactively doing to encourage and attract that spending?
One of our clients already has a special sale in place — launched yesterday — to encourage spending in her direction. She’s got a range of holidays in place that consumers can buy — and several for less than the $900 to $950 stimulus payment.
The payments of up to $950 start going out this week (according to this Herald Sun article).
Here’s how it gets distributed …
Single-income families who receive Family Tax Benefit B will get $900 one-off payments under the economic stimulus.
And families who receive Family Tax Benefit A will get a $950 back-to-school bonus for each child aged 4-18.
Carers, disabled pensioners, students and drought-affected farmers will also get $950 cash payments.
Taxpayers earning less than $100,000 will receive further one-off bonuses of up to $900 from April.
So that’s a LOT of $900 to $950 payments going out. So what have you done to get ready? What will you do?
Doing “nothing special” is not a profit-generating strategy!
Ideally … have a Stimulus Sale.
What can you package in the range of $900 to $950 per person (or $1800 to $1900 per couple)?
Products? Services? Consulting? Information Packages? Business Opportunities? Lay-By for higher priced goods? Memberships? Subscriptions? Stimulus Bonus Offers and Upsells?
While people might want to make one-off purchases, such as for leisure/recreation goods and services, electrical and entertainment goods, one of the more promising ways you can attract buyers in this market is with the opportunity to make more money from their initial investment.
Products people can use to start a rewarding/income-generating hobby or part-time venture.
You want to present solutions that can generate constant additional income — so prospects can turn their stimulus payment into ongoing cash!
Psychologically, it’s not their money, so the logical reasons to buy now (LRBN) are tipped more slightly in your favour. You could liken it to the prospect winning a small lottery prize … money to spend that they didn’t have in the first place.
The emotional reasons (ERBN) can also centre around the need to find ways to make more money, especially in an unstable or recessionary economic climate. A way to “keep ahead”.
Of course, you would still be making an irresistible OFFER to your prospects, using URGENCY and a strong GUARANTEE … all the components of a good direct response package need to be included at any time.
If you already have a client list — get that sale into their hands quick smart. Your existing clients already know you, so they’re the best initial source of revenue. You have a good reason to get in touch — to announce your new Stimulus Sale … so make sure you do!
You know the saying about “making hay” … time to get to it!
I get daily emails from Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D. in the USA, who runs the free investment email newsletter called Money and Markets.
Aside from some great copywriting — and apparently some quite accurate predictions (I don’t follow it that closely or invest yet because of it) … the news that Martin and his team reports is quite staggering.
It’s run just like Clayton Makepeace’s Total Package — daily emails from a team of expert contributors (that’s not surprising of course, as Martin Weiss’ company is a client of Clayton Makepeace). Good concept that works for both of them!
Anyway, I got this in today’s email:
This morning, Washington announced that AIG, our nation’s largest insurer, lost a staggering $61.7 billion in the last three months of 2008 …
That’s the single largest loss ever suffered by a U.S. corporation, larger than the record losses at Bank of America and Citigroup COMBINED!
Worse: To keep AIG from going belly-up, Washington is giving the company another $30 billion, bringing the total bailout for this one company to a staggering $180 billion.
That’s equivalent to nearly HALF the U.S. government’s entire budget deficit for all of 2008!
Worse still: The company’s stock, which sold for nearly $50 per share last May is now only 49 cents. Any investor who bought $10,000 of AIG stock eight short months ago now as a meager $98 left. The rest — a whopping $9,902 — is gone with the wind.
(the bolding is mine).
And that 3-month $61.7 billion loss by a single company — in Australian dollars (AUD $97.95 billion, according to Google currency calculation today) — is more than DOUBLE our entire $42 billion stimulus package announced by the Australian Government (233 per cent).
(Let’s not have nightmares considering the US$180 billion bailout so far is 6.7 times bigger than our entire stimulus package, for one company!).
Now in the email Weiss goes into more about what lessons aren’t being learned, and his emergency briefing to investors about succeeding in a bear market … but that’s not why I’m posting … if you want to find that out, subscribe for free yourself.
There’s Good News
The good news is, I’m confident from a business point of view there are still masses of opportunity, and giving people the opportunity to make money with proven business systems is as likely as ever to resonate with prospects because that “hungry crowd” is growing virtually daily. And as happens at any time, different industries are affected in different ways.
One of the most important things a business can do right now is get better at marketing — especially if competitors are closing the shutters. Have specific strategies to attract customers, retain them, sell them more (and more often), build referrals and reactive old customers — there’s plenty you can do (and should be doing regularly) with your existing customer list before you even go out looking for new leads and prospects.
(If you’re interested in how I can help you with that, contact me. Given my current workload, I wouldn’t recommend waiting too long to do so).
On the flipside, what is most frightening is that there is no end yet in sight, and the amounts being bandied around in the US are in the TRILLIONS of dollars … at some stage someone is gonna have to pay for all of this! What kind of debt bills are our governments leaving for future generations?
“A billion trillion here, a billion trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money …”