Business Stimulus Opportunities

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.

Hundred dollar notes

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!

Have a sale

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.

Business opportunities.

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!

Make hay while the sun shines

Copy Tip 47: Six Ways To Use Authority And Celebrities

The topic of “authority” and obedience have been matters for the scientific study of persuasion over a fair length of time.

As a kid, I remember the long-running toothbrush ad for Oral-B that was endorsed by a dentist without showing his face … “because we can’t show you his face on television” — he stood with his back to the camera, brushing his teeth, and then after prompting by the voice over, held up the toothbrush brand of preference.

As an adult, reading Dr Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, I learned more about obedience testing such as the widely known Stanley Milgram experiments (if you don’t have Influence — and you should! — you could start with Wikipedia for more information on Milgram’s work, if you believe that to be an accurate reference!), on how far participants will continue to do something they don’t like just to obey an authority figure.

(Even “darker” experiments, such as the 1971 Stanford University prison experiment, delves more into the power of authority, and obedience to it).

It’s also about seeing authority figures in their persuasive garb — doctors and scientists in white coats, police in uniform — and how these added visual references to authority and expertise help add credibility — and persuasiveness — to a point of view.

So much so that — without directly referencing any specific examples — I can think of many times reading how criminals and con artists would don such garb themselves in attempts to create instant credibility — impersonating a figure of authority for devious means.

I remember from university years (yes, that time of my life where I happily left without completing a degree) that some of the more “practical jokes” played during competitive — but not overly legal — contents included such things as putting out road work sign on a busy road to divert traffic … the sign itself was enough of an authority object to get drivers to comply.

And in one of Derren Brown’s experiments during one of his television series, Derren placed a wallet on the ground on a busy London street corner, with a little money visible (not too much) — and then circled a line of chalk around the wallet.

With time lapse photography, the camera showed that the wallet stayed untouched for the entire day.

Again, an influential object — the chalk line (what does that make you think of? A crime scene?) — persuaded everyone not to touch the wallet.

A wallet surrounded by an obedience object

(Cialdini also had an experiment with a wallet in Influence — about how likely you are to return it, depending on the perceived similarities between the person finding the wallet and the person who was returning it to its rightful owner).

We are quite often a conforming, obedient lot!

So you can see how, in copy the use of an authority figure can make your message more influential and persuasive!

3 Ways To Put Authority Into Action

(1) The ideal way to do this would be to have an authority figure directly endorse your product or service.

Here’s a tip: the authority figure doesn’t necessarily have to be a doctor, dentist or scientist … that’s ideal, but the main thing is they need to be an authority figure to your target audience.

Sometimes that’s just someone in an industry who is widely regarded … for example, if a marketing “guru” who my prospects take notice of says I’ve “mastered marketing” — which has happened to me — would that be more influential than having someone say it that the audience doesn’t know?

Absolutely!

It could also be a local authority figure. It just has to be someone who is seen as an authority figure to your target market.

(2) The second way to use authority is to reference quotes or data in your proof that are the results of work by authority figures. Can you find a relevant case study or data to help back up your claims?

Adding that to your message gives you more credence. For example, if you can show data from a university experiment that backs up your message, then you’ll be more believable. Maybe there’s even government statistics you can refer to. For example, I did that recently to help sell an import export product (by referring to recent statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics). It adds to the credibility of the rest of the message.

Just like the road sign and the chalk circle, the stats you refer to become “authority objects” that help influence your market.

(3) Another way to use authority would be to publicise your own expertise, experience and background.

You’re an award-winning business or have been personally recognised in some way for what you do? Use that in your message. You’ll be boosting your level of persuasiveness by increasing the perception that you’re recognised as an expert.

You’ve been a speaker in your industry or written a book? Then you’re definitely perceived as being more of an authority figure on your topic.

Even being in business for a long time can help build your level of “authority” — because you have first-hand experience that prospects perceive to be valuable. For example, we do a lot of work with travel agents. We create marketing material that shows all the places they’ve travelled to … rightly making them an expert travel professional in the eyes of their prospects and customers.

So — if you have certificates, diplomas, awards … put them on DISPLAY! Let prospects and customers see them. Build trust in your status as an expert.

Here’s one reason why I’d do it … one Cialdini experiment got a 34 per cent jump in compliance in patients doing what they were asked to do when this was done!

And 3 Ways to use Celebrities as authority figures

The use of a celebrity connected to your product or service can also be influential to your target market.

Proof? Look at how much Tiger Woods gets paid to endorse brands such as Nike. Do you think Nike would pay me that much? Not without being a world-class athlete — and celebrity — like Tiger.

More proof? Look at how famous actors can get behind a cause and help get it attention. Or how an actor can endorse a brand and be paid millions (for example, Andie MacDowell and L’Oréal).

Again, it doesn’t have to be someone with world-wide name recognition. You could have a local person be involved with you as a celebrity.

There are also ways to connect to celebrities without having their direct endorsement or involvement.

It’s like the number (2) example above — you can use studies, data, and news relating to celebrities that help associate that celebrity with your message.

For example … if you know Tiger Woods has several coaches and mentors, you could use that in your message to reinforce why your prospects should also have coaches and mentors to enjoy success just like Tiger Woods — it’s an ethical way to link to a celebrity and have that person connected to your message.

Tiger Woods (public domain image)

“Hmmmm, Tiger Woods has 3 coaches, and he’s the number one golfer in the world, maybe I should have a coach too.”

Or you could CREATE a celebrity — for example, your pet dog, cat or fish … all could be used as celebrities.

Are they necessarily authority figures? Probably not the ones you create. But they’re useful because they help build relationships, they boost the personality of your message and help people to like you.

So from this article you now have six ways to use authority and celebrities to help you create influential messages … make sure you use them!

Company Loss More Than Double Entire Australian Stimulus Package In 3 Months

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 …”

Studio Press WordPress Themes

WordPress theme designer Brian Gardner has teamed up with Craig Tuller to offer the professional (commercial) range of themes under the “Studio Press” banner.

It’s actually one of Brian Gardner’s earlier open source themes that I modified to create this site, I find his themes to be quite competent and practical.

The best thing is that when you purchase a theme, the common headaches associated with free WordPress themes disappear: you get the theme files, unlimited theme support answered by Studio Press’ experts, customisation techniques with Studio Press’ detailed theme tutorials.

There’s also a list of recommended designers for professional design services to use with the themes (if you’re not using my design skills!).

To visit the Studio Press site and the entire suite of themes (11 at the moment, including the 5 highlighted below): Studio Press.

For each of the themes offered at Studio Press (click each graphic to go to the theme page, and from that page you can view a Live Demo of each theme in action):

Studio Press Agent theme

Studio Press Church theme

Studio Press Corporate theme

Studio Press Lifestyle theme

Studio Press Album theme