From the desk of Roy Furr, April 29th, 2008
It’s funny. I read and hear and see every day about the economy being in shambles. The looming recession. How we’re headed for the toilet.
Yet I look around, and can’t find evidence of it in my business, or those of my clients.
Where I’m involved, we’re breaking sales records everywhere.
Business is better, not worse.
But then I hear about this:
FedEx Kinko’s survey finds small businesses concerned about economy
Mainstream media is scaring the piss out of everybody — and if we’re not headed for a recession already, they’re ready to go on a kamikaze mission to fly us straight into one!
FedEx Kinkos released it’s “Signs of the Times” small-business survey, and here’s what they found:
- 89% of small business owners are moderately to very concerned about the economy’s impact on their business (their life, their livelihood)
- 66% said they foresee flat or declining profits this year
- Here’s the interesting thing — 92% will spend as much or more on marketing this year than they did last year!
That survey doesn’t say where their marketing money is going — but I’ve seen data coming out of other surveys earlier this year.
What I find most interesting is where they’re putting their marketing moolah to hedge their bets:
DIRECT MARKETING — The only accountable form of advertising there is!
When times get tight, business owners get smart. They start spending dollars where they know their dollars will go out, and bring friends back.
That’s fine by me, because that’s the only type of marketing I do. (I’m a bit dogmatic about it, in fact.)
I can’t wait — because 2008 is going to be my best year ever, even if the stock market tumbles another 10-20%.
P.S. — If the mainstream media wants to really focus on something important — how about genocide (which goes on every day) or government sponsored torture (which also goes on every day) or mass hunger or disease? Something to improve the human condition… They’re in a position of incredible power — for good or evil — yet they abuse it daily with meaningless stories and misdirection (and flat out assault on your pocketbook)! That’s my 2 cents.
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From the desk of Roy Furr, April 28th, 2008
A simple letter (that’s snail mail!) can be the most powerful way to generate immediate sales for your business.
Here’s an example…
I wrote a short 1-page letter for a client that generated $14,916.25 in immediate sales.
The letter sold a subscription product with a high renewals — my client expects to make another $25,182 in renewal sales from these same clients within the next 12 months, based on the sales made from my original letter.
That means my letter will have created $40,098.25 in gross sales, within 12 months. From a single mailing.
Their cost was less than $2200.
This client made over 680% ROI immediately, with an expected ROI of at least 1,800%.
Naturally, they’re ready to do this again, as often as possible.
How do you write an ultra-profitable letter like this?
There’s a lot of details that go into writing short, effective sales letters. More than I can cover here today. But here are the basics…
1. Know who you’re talking to.
The better you know your clients or prospects, the better you can speak with them on their terms, about their needs. Remember — any marketing or sales communication you write to your customers is not about you, it’s about them. It’s about how your solution makes their life better.
Forget that, and you might as well not have contacted them.
2. Make your message look personal.
People always open personal mail, and mail that looks valuable.
They only sometimes open other mail — mail that looks like marketing. Whether you’re sending your letter to 10 prospects or 10,000,000, make sure it looks as much like personal mail as possible.
That means print the address directly on the envelope (a regular #10 envelope). Make the return address a person, not a company. Use a live first class stamp. What does the personal mail you get in your mailbox look like? Make yours look like that.
And don’t screw it up when they open the envelope. Stick with a letter. You may not even need a reply card. Just write a personal letter, on plain paper, and give them a phone number to call to take the next step.
If you have to include your brochure, reply card, or other “marketing” materials, put them in a separate envelope to be opened after they read your letter. And it’s okay to tell them — in writing, on this extra envelope — not to open the envelope until they’ve read your letter.
3. Start your letter with a bang — tell them specifically why your offer benefits them.
Nobody cares to read about how cool your company is. They don’t need fluff. They want to know how they’re going to benefit — “What’s in it for me?”
Put that up front, and tell it big. If they can save 50% off what they’re going to pay elsewhere for the same merchandise, tell them that. If you can write a letter for them that will generate $40,098.25 in sales, tell them that (I have a letter going into the mail right now that starts with that!).
Make it clear how they’ll benefit, so they want to read the rest of your letter. You have 3-10 seconds to really capture their attention. So do it — either in a headline before the greeting, or in the first sentence of your letter.
This is the only way to guarantee they’ll read the rest of the letter.
4. Explain why your offer is unique — why your prospect could trek to the ends of the earth and not get a better deal.
This is critical. People may get excited by your offer. But you’ll lose those sales left and right unless you give them a good reason why you’re the only person they can turn to if they want what you’re offering.
People don’t really want to go through the effort to make sure your offer is the best one available.
But they’ll shop around unless you tell them why they don’t have to. Or why shopping around is worthless because your offer can’t be compared to anything else out there.
If you’re unique — and you give customers an unquestionable reason why — they won’t look elsewhere, and you’ll get the business… as long as you follow the rest of these steps.
5. Prove any questionable claims.
Proof is often M.I.A. — missing in action — in sales and marketing materials. Yet it’s the single strongest element you could include.
You need to prove that your product does what you say it does. Especially if you have strong, almost unbelievable claims.
The pudding — you could say — is in the proof.
There are a lot of ways you can prove your claims — I won’t go in to them here — but be sure if you make a claim that you back it up.
6. Tell your prospect why they have no choice but to respond NOW!
It’s so easy to lose a sale here. For some reason, people get all queasy when it comes time to ask for the sale. (I used to, too.) If that’s you, knock it off!
Ask for the sale. And ask for it clearly. Tell the customer exactly what they’re going to get. Then tell them how to get it. And give them a good reason why they have to get it now!
If you don’t convince your prospect that their life is going to become abysmal if they don’t respond to your offer now, it’s likely that they’ll set aside your letter and never respond.
Do you believe in your product? Quit selling it if you don’t. But if you do…
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be yelling from the rooftops telling people to buy, and buy now. You should have no reservations about getting your potential client to cough up the dough for your product because you know for certain how much their life will be transformed in a positive way as a result of doing business with you.
So ask for the sale — because the whole sale hinges on you taking this simple step.
7. Send the letter, and reap the rewards!
Want me to write a simple sales letter for your business — profits guaranteed?
I’ve given you step-by-step instructions on how to write a profitable short sales letter for yourself. But if you’d like me to do it for you, I can.
I’m not going to publish my rates here. But I will tell you they’re higher than the rates of at least 70% of other direct marketing writers out there, for good reason (the investment pays off better).
If you’re interested and willing to invest a small sum to make a large one, write me an email at email@example.com or call me at 541-543-1438.
I may or may not decide to take you on as a client — but if I do I will even guarantee that the letter I write will be profitable, so there’s no risk to you.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call: 541-543-1438.
Tags: sales, sales letters
Posted in Business, Copywriting, Marketing | 2 Comments »
From the desk of Roy Furr, April 6th, 2008
Two carpenters are asked to build a table. They’re given identical sets of tools, and identical pieces of wood. They’re given two days to complete the task.
At the end of two days, one carpenter comes back with a rather plain, simple table. Nothing fancy, and certainly nothing that would stand out as exceptional compared to all the other tables you’ve seen in your life.
The other carpenter presents a table, the very sight of which takes your breath away. The table is sure and solid, with fine construction. And the details… magnificent! The legs are decorated with intricate carvings that seem as if they’d have taken years to do. The surface is smoother than glass. Every inch of the table was carefully considered, creating a masterpiece table if ever there was one.
The carpenters above were given the same tools, and the same material to work with. Yet they came back with drastically different results.
This also applies in online testing.
One of the biggest myths about testing your online marketing is…
If you’re given the tools, you’ll see instant improvement. This comes from the assumption that the tools are responsible for the increase.
(That couldn’t be more wrong!)
So… if it’s not the tools… how do you get breakthrough results?
The secret I’m about to teach you is the #1 most important thing to know, when you’re testing your marketing online or offline. It’s how you’ll create incredible results — independent of whatever tool you’re using.
It’ll turn you into a testing expert capable of creating big increases in response. Today, if you choose to apply it.
And it works whether you’re using Google Website Optimizer, Vertster, Optimost, Split Test Accelerator, or one of the other marketing testing platforms out there. It even works for testing offline marketing.
This secret is universal.
Summed up in the shortest form possible, this secret is:
“Test big differences.” Let me explain.
When your prospect sees your ad (online or offline) you have — at best — 3 seconds to convince them to stay. If what you’re testing can not be seen in 3 seconds or less, you’re not going to create any big difference in response.
So the solution is to present large differences that can be seen in 3 seconds or less. Test changes to the elements of your ad that are front and center when your prospect first sees it.
Testing these big differences will get you…
Big differences in response (whether they’re for better or worse).
Once you learn the “Test big differences” principle, you’ll start to see great differences in your test results. Some of your tests will flop (that’s okay). Some will soar (whoopee)! And some will stay roughly the same (that probably means the element of your ad that you’re testing is minimally influential, and you should move on to testing something else within the ad).
But the first step is to learn to test big differences — differences that can be identified within 3 seconds of looking at your ad.
This will change your life. Here’s how…
Using this principle, some of the tests will fail, and you’ll return to using your control package. But some will lead to increases in response far beyond what you’d ever expect — increases that can literally change your life forever by creating more customers, more sales, and more profits.
As you use this principle, creating these breakthroughs will become easier and easier.
That’s the #1 secret for breakthrough marketing testing — use it and you’ll become the carpenter that gets exceptional results, using the same tools everyone else can only manage to create nominal improvement from.
If you want to learn the most advanced method of online testing — Taguchi marketing testing — head on over to http://www.TaguchiTestingHandbook.com to buy the ebook I wrote with A-list copywriter Bob Bly on the subject.
You get 90 days to try it risk free, and you’ll get a couple bonuses just for trying it out: The Kowalick Taguchi Spreadsheet for running free Taguchi testing (using the methods I lay out in the book), and Bob’s special bonus report Online Marketing That Works.
Tags: online testing, testing your online marketing, testing expert, Google Website Optimizer, Vertster, Optimost, Split Test Accelerator, marketing testing platforms, testing offline marketing, breakthrough marketing testing, online testing, Taguchi marketing testing, Taguchi Testing Handbook, TaguchiTestingHandbook.com, Bob Bly, Kowalick Taguchi Spreadsheet, Taguchi testing, Online Marketing That Works
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