Archive for the 'Business' Category
From the desk of Roy Furr, May 21st, 2009
If you want to be healthy, your focus has to be on more than just your business.
I just had my first child (a healthy, happy son!), and it was a reminder that I need to continue to focus significant time and energy on building and developing my family relationships. Plus, our social connections need to be nurtured as well — the social web we weave is a tremendous support structure as we go through life, and we need to respect and build that.
Also, health is critical. Stick your nose in your business 12-16 hours a day, 6-7 days a week, and you get off-kilter. Take some time out to cook healthy meals. And to workout and stay fit. (I just created a new website about kettlebells — my favorite workout tool — at http://www.KettlebellWall.com.)
Spirituality too — I don’t know if you practice an organized religion, or some other type of spirituality. Whatever spirituality means for you, your life will be better if you take time out on a regular basis to study and practice your spirituality. (Meditation and prayer have been shown to have a tremendous positive effect on everything I’ve already mentioned above.)
Also, don’t let yourself get too caught up in any of this. You don’t need to worry too much.
Instead, merely attempt to balance all of it. Integrate it into regular focus, attention, and practice. And you don’t have to get it perfect either. Forgive yourself when you get it wrong. And then just jump back on. You just need to attempt to keep it all relatively balanced, and always pay mind to the different aspects of who you are.
Then you’ll see more success in all areas.
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From the desk of Roy Furr, April 29th, 2009
You’re not going to like me for this.
Sure, Joe Karbo made a mint off his book sold through direct response, “The Lazy Man’s Way To Riches.”
Of course, he was selling a dream. Not reality.
When you look at reality, overnight successes come after years of nose-to-the-grindstone work. Lazy people just sit on the couch every night and about all they do is throw their own pity-party, wondering why they’re not getting ahead.
And even if you’re chasing the latest opportunity… You’re still lazy. That’s still lazy behavior. You’re wanting someone else to do the work for you.
To truly get ahead you have to blaze your own trail. You don’t play the game, you create it. And you make it happen — no matter how much sweat and pain and tears and joy and happiness and passion and drive and determination it takes.
There’s no resting on your laurels until you have them my friend. And even then, that’s a good way to lose them.
Do you want to get ahead?
Try this on for size (courtesy of the late, great Gary Halbert):
The best way to get started is to get started.
Movement always produces more results than meditation.
Attack life. Wait for nothing.
He has half the deed done who has made a beginning.
The future starts today (right now)… not tomorrow.
There’s no choice if you’re serious about success. You have to hustle. You have to move. You have to make things happen.
And then, it’s funny how the results often begin to add up to be more than the sum of your effort.
Posted in Business, Copywriting, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Sales | 1 Comment »
From the desk of Roy Furr, April 5th, 2009
I’ve been an insider on quite a few website designs, and it never ceases to amaze me that the first thing everyone seems to ask is, “What do we want this to look like?”
If that’s the first question you’re asking when you’re designing a new website — or even a new page on an existing website — then you’re asking the wrong question.
Instead, let’s think about it this way…
“What’s the single most important action my visitors can take when they hit my website?”
- Do you want them to sign up to download a piece of software, or a special report?
- Do you want them to subscribe for blog updates?
- Do you want them to watch an informative video?
- Do you want visitors to share your content with a friend?
- Do you want them to purchase your product?
What do you want them to do?
Once you have the answer to that question for every page on your website then designing the pages and the site as a whole is a simple two step process:
- How can we design this to make it as natural and easy as possible for our website visitors to complete our desired action?
- What should it look like?
And step 1 is more important than step 2.
Most web designers will disagree. However if you’re looking to grow your business this is how you ensure high ROI from your website.
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From the desk of Roy Furr, March 24th, 2009
In the article below I reveal a surefire (and remarkably simple) technique for finding out if people search for your type of business on Google. Use this technique before you spend a penny to determine if building a website for your business will be a profitable investment.
Internet marketing firms and website builders will usually tell you every business needs a website… especially when they’re trying to sell you something.
Well… Contrary to popular belief…
There are still a solid cases for some businesses not to be online… yet.
In fact today I’d like to show you a simple method for determining if people search for your type of business online. This can be the key determining factor in deciding whether or not to invest in a website for your business.
We’re going to use a tool called the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. It’s free to use, and located at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal.
This tool exists to tell you a few things. One, how many people search for specific terms, or keywords, that you’re interested in. Two, what keywords are similar to the ones you’re interested in. And three, what sort of advertising competition exists on the keywords you’re researching.
I’m going to show you how to use it to find something else.
I’ll show you how to discover how many people search for your type of business on Google. Because if nobody’s going to Google to search for your type of business, it’s probably NOT worth putting a website online for it. However, if there ARE a lot of searches on Google for your type of business, then you absolutely SHOULD have a website so you can be found over your competitors.
So let’s jump in and check out this tool…
When you first hit the website you see something like this:
We’re going to do our work on the right-hand side of that box.
Start in the box where it says “Enter one keyword or phrase per line:” and enter a general word that describes your type of business.
Start very general here.
If you have a Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant, type in just “restaurant.”
Below that you could type “Chinese restaurant” and “Dim sum restaurant” too, if you’d like. But be sure to include the general overarching category for your type of business.
Also leave the “Use synonyms” check box checked and the tool will give you a more general picture of your market online.
Then follow the instructions and type in the characters you see in the picture — this is Google’s way of making sure you’re a human using their tool and not just a computer program designed to yank out data and abuse the system.
You do not have to use the “Filter my results” link.
Then click “Get Keyword Ideas.”
Next, you should see something like this:
Now we’re going to do a very minor but important step, and that’s sort the results. Click on the words “Approx Avg Search Volume” at the top of the second column from the right to sort by that stat (it’s my preferred stat to sort by because it represents search trends over time).
So that should give you something that looks like this:
Now we’re getting somewhere!
Like I just said, I like to look at the “Approx Avg Search Volume” column because I think that represents the most reliable data over time. The number you see is an approximation of how many searches are done on Google in a month that contain that keyword.
So in an average month, people will type “restaurant” into Google 24.9 Million times…
In an average month people will type the words “italian restaurant” into Google 550,000 times…
And one of our keywords, “chinese restaurant” will be searched for in an average month 450,000 times…
That’s a lot of people searching for restaurants!
Of course, based on my default settings this is a snapshot of the entire United States (sorry, can’t drill down any further) so you have to take it as what it is.
However, if you consider that the population of the United States is about 300 Million people, that means every month there’s roughly 1 Google search for restaurant for every 12 people you see out walking around.
Of course, when you look at “Chinese restaurant” specifically, there’s only 1 search for every 660 or so people every month (.15%). However, let’s imagine that you’re the first website that comes up when someone searches for “Chinese restaurant” in your local area. If you can leverage this position to get .15% of your local population to visit every month, you’re getting incredible ROI from your website.
Let’s do some quick math.
.15% of 250,000 (small local population) is 375, multiply that by a $30 average ticket — because they didn’t come alone — and you get $11,250 per month from your website. Even if only half of those are new customers who come because of your website, that’s $5,625 per month from your website. Now that math won’t work out 100%, but it starts to make an investment of a few thousand in a website seem very reasonable.
I would say unequivocally that if you have a restaurant — whether it’s Italian, Chinese, or some other cuisine — that you should have a website.
Now let’s look at another — smaller — industry
Let’s try this same thing for “pet grooming.” I’ll include “cat grooming” and “dog grooming” too because those are the two primary niches within pet grooming. I’ve gone fast forward through the steps above to get the sorted results:
Because this is a smaller industry, let’s take my technique one step further.
In the restaurant industry I omitted this step because it quickly became clear how much opportunity there is for a local business to build a business website that would return high ROI.
In a smaller industry like pet grooming, taking this extra step will help you determine how much opportunity is actually available — when a quick snapshot doesn’t give you the confirmation you need.
It’s as simple as adding it up.
So at a quick look, here are the relevant keywords with their approximate average search volume (I’m omitting keywords that look like “do it yourself” searches because these are not customers for a pet grooming service):
- pet grooming – 368,000
- dog groomers – 60,500
- dog groomer – 49,500
- pets grooming – 33,100
- dogs grooming – 22,200
- pet nail grooming – 22,200
- mobile pet grooming – 14,800
- groom dog – 12,100
- mobile dog grooming – 9,900
- cats grooming – 8,100
- pet dog grooming – 8,100
- groom pet – 5,400
If my math is right, that’s 591,700 searches per month across these keywords. Which is more than the 450,000 searches I based my math for “Chinese restaurant” on above. So even though 368,000 is smaller than the number for Chinese restaurant, it becomes clear quickly that there is a lot of opportunity for a local business to put a website online in the pet grooming business.
Quick side note: If you have a high customer value (let’s say $5,000 per customer instead of $30) then you don’t need traffic anywhere near these levels to make your website pay off. In a case like that just getting one or two customers from your website can make an investment of a few thousand be worth every penny and more.
And now for an industry that may not need a website.
I had to rack my brain and do a few searches and I could be wrong on this, but I did find one industry that my technique suggests may not need a website for your local business.
If you run a business that exclusively teaches aerobic fitness classes (not a gym with classes, just classes alone), then the opportunity may NOT exist for you to create a local website for your business that will be profitable.
Here’s a snapshot of traffic stats for “fitness classes” and “aerobics classes” and related keywords:
As you can see, the numbers there just don’t add up to anything that makes sense. So I wouldn’t suggest building a website to promote a business that exclusively offers aerobic fitness classes — at least not without some more research.
So there you have it!
Use this technique as you decide the answer to the question, “Should my business have a website?”
It’s a definite way of finding out if people are searching for what you’re offering online. And if there’s enough traffic you can be reasonably confident that your local business can build a website that will pay off dividends.
Of course there’s more to the story.
How to do it? What to put on the website? Who to have help?
Those are questions to be answered a different day. Stay tuned.
- Roy Furr
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From the desk of Roy Furr, February 27th, 2009
Almost everyone who tries to teach you the sales process will make it too complex.
The reality is… Sales is simple.
And once you understand the basics you become a sales superman (or superwoman) who can sell anything worth buying.
Here’s the secret…
It’s all about finding out whether you have a good prospect. And once you have a good prospect whether they’re going to buy from you.
So how do you do that?
Here are the three questions that will take you from the initial conversation… to having a qualified prospect you know will buy from you as long as you make purchasing easy:
- What are you looking for in … ?
- How will you know when you have that?
- If I could show you how to get that, could we move forward and get you the solution you’re looking for?
From here you walk them through how your solution gives them exactly what they’re asking for (and admit while minimizing where your solution doesn’t meet their needs). Then simply ask them for the order.
Presto, you’re super! (Now get off your duff and use these questions to make more sales!)
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From the desk of Roy Furr, January 19th, 2009
I got an email from Perry Marhsall this weekend that laid out the 6 essentials of a profitable internet business.
I’ve known these things for just about as long as I’ve been doing marketing (and implemented them many times over). But never have they been laid out as clearly.
If you’ll do these — and do them right — you’re almost guaranteed to profit.
Miss a step or two along the way and it’ll quickly chip away at your profits — and even pull the foundation out from under your entire business.
Here, for your benefit, are Perry’s 6 essentials of a profitable internet business, with explanation:
In my experience, the foundation of a stable and profitable
Internet business is having six systems in place. Just six:
1. Market Research
2. Properly built Pay Per Click campaign
3. Conversion Tracking
4. Split testing of key sales elements
5. Seductive copy
6. Automated Email follow-up
That’s it. Just six. You can build a $1 million business, or
in some markets, a $10 million business, with just those
What do you think?
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From the desk of Roy Furr, January 7th, 2009
Want a simple way to be successful in business, sales, and marketing (negotiation, too)?
It all boils down to this:
“Find out what customers want, and give it to them.”
Simple enough idea, but how do you do it?
How about setting up an AdWords campaign to drive customers to a survey where you ask them what they want?
Then developing a product based on the results of that survey?
Then using the same AdWords campaign to drive traffic to the product page for this new product?
Then you can even test other related traffic sources to see if they’ll be profitable too.
Sure, there are more details to this. But it’s a simple and reliable way to break into a new market or to follow a new off-shoot of your current market.
Another option is to ask a subsection of your customer list to take a similar survey.
All you have to do to find out what people want is to ask. Then you can find a way to give them exactly what they’re looking for (and having trouble finding elsewhere). They’ll reward you handsomely for your efforts.
And the best part — once you have an effective system for doing this, you drive your chances of failure to almost nil.
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From the desk of Roy Furr, December 12th, 2008
Once you get the attention of a potential customer, there are a few objections to overcome, a few questions to answer, and a few sales pitches to make…
But there’s one very specific thing going on in the mind of your customer that you have to rip right through or your sale is doomed.
And you better work through it fast…
Because until it’s been worked through… Each question you answer remains partly unanswered… Each objection you overcome is not quite overcome… And each sales pitch you make falls on half-deaf ears.
So what is it you need to work through with each customer, before the sale can be made?
It will hold up any sale, unless you address it.
I’ll give you a two-step strategy for taking care of skepticism. From here, you can plug your skepticism-reducing and skepticism-eliminating tactics in and go — and make the sale!
STEP 1: Show sympathy for your prospect’s skepticism. Without sympathy, there’s no way you can minimize and work through it. They want to feel noticed, to feel like you’re paying attention. And the best way to do that is to say…
“I recognize that you probably have some degree of skepticism about this offer. After all, you know what they say about ‘too good to be true.’ But if you’ll just suspend your decision until I’ve had a chance to prove why everything I’m saying is true… And until I’ve had a chance to prove that my product will do for you exactly what you want it to… I think you’ll realize you’re making the right decision. Now here’s the reason why my product can do exactly what I’m telling you that it does…”
STEP 2: Prove it! Support every claim you make with an overabundance of proof. There are a number of different proof elements you can use, not limited to demonstration, risk reversal, case studies, explaining the mechanism behind why your product works, showing success statistics, and so on. We can’t cover them all here, but they’re a good start.
Once you open up someone to letting go of their skepticism by recognizing it and showing sympathy for it, you can pile on the proof and melt it away.
And that’s how you work through skepticism, straight to the sale.
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From the desk of Roy Furr, December 12th, 2008
Mark Twain once said, “There are two reasons a man buys anything. The reason he can tell his wife… and the real reason.”
In that spirit, here’s a list of the real reasons. Figure out which one is relevant for your product, and you’re in good territory. Subtly weave it through your sales pitch, and you can leverage it straight into stellar sales.
Here’s your list, in no particular order:
- Fulfill greed
- Get a better deal than others
- Have more or better sex
- Attract love
- Experience intimacy
- To be healed or stay healthy
- Self-improvement (career, social, personal, spiritual, etc.)
- Avoid loss
- Gain respect
- Feel pleasure or enjoyment
The list looks simple, but this is valuable stuff. Use it wisely, my friend.
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From the desk of Roy Furr, December 11th, 2008
I don’t know if you know this about me — I produce electronic music. So my never-ending pile of magazines that I go through every month not only includes magazine after magazine on business, entrepreneurship, and direct marketing… But also on producing music and the latest trends in electronic music.
(Plus the staples like Reader’s Digest to help me keep my finger jammed down on the pulse of everyday America.)
So I was recently reading a copy of Electronic Musician, when a little sidebar jumped out at me.
The Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers
It’s a listing of 10 rights ASCAP has put together for all songwriters and composers. The interesting thing about it to me was not just that it was done, or even how relevant it is in today’s environment of producing and distributing creative works (and all the accompanying piracy, illegal sharing, and gray area use of others’ creative works)…
But really how relevant it is outside the field of songwriting and composition.
Here’s what I think…
This listing of 10 rights is a must for ALL content producers — REGARDLESS of the nature of the content being produced.
This means it’s your rights when you write a blog.
It’s your rights when you write a book.
It’s your rights when you produce a teleseminar.
It’s your rights when you put a video on YouTube.
It’s your rights whenever you produce ANY content. Especially content released for public consumption.
Here’s the Bill of Rights, from ASCAP (at http://ascap.org/rights/):
- We have the right to be compensated for the use of our creative works, and share in the revenues that they generate.
- We have the right to license our works and control the ways in which they are used.
- We have the right to withhold permission for uses of our works on artistic, economic or philosophical grounds.
- We have the right to protect our creative works to the fullest extent of the law from all forms of piracy, theft and unauthorized use, which deprive us of our right to earn a living based on our creativity.
- We have the right to choose when and where our creative works may be used for free.
- We have the right to develop, document and distribute our works through new media channels – while retaining the right to a share in all associated profits.
- We have the right to choose the organizations we want to represent us and to join our voices together to protect our rights and negotiate for the value of our music.
- We have the right to earn compensation from all types of “performances,” including direct, live renditions as well as indirect recordings, broadcasts, digital streams and more.
- We have the right to decline participation in business models that require us to relinquish all or part of our creative rights – or which do not respect our right to be compensated for our work.
- We have the right to advocate for strong laws protecting our creative works, and demand that our government vigorously uphold and protect our rights.
Do you agree?
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