70 Ways to Advertise: Advertising You Can Try Next

This post was originally published on 27 Jan 2010 and updated on 16 Aug 2018.

advertising-to-try-icons
With so many options, where do you start?

Just need a list of advertising to try for your business?

Online Advertising

01. Build a website for your business
02. Build a campaign specific mini-website for your business
03. Create Text Ads using Google Adwords
04. Display advertising (banner ads, video ads)
05. Programmatic advertising (serving your ad to an individual on their smartphones at just the right time, when they are in just the right geographical location)
06. Organic Search Engine Optimisation
07. Improve your Google Maps listing
08. Email Marketing / E-newsletters
09. SPAM (unsolicited email is illegal in many countries)
10. Online Directories (eg YellowPages online and country-wide business directories)
11. White papers / e-books
12. Blogging
13. Facebook Page (or Group)
14. LinkedIn
15. Experiment with other Social Networking sites like Twitter, Pinterest etc
16. Contribute to Special interest forums (eg Google Groups)

One-On-One

Continue reading “70 Ways to Advertise: Advertising You Can Try Next”

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, by Duncan Clark

I am somewhat addicted to AliExpress app on my phone. Just about every week we’ll have a tiny package arrive all the way from China. It feels like receiving a mystery gift every time because it’s been 4 weeks since I ordered the item so I’m not sure what’s inside.

The items are of such high quality, so cheap and the free shipping is irresistible.

I’ve known about Alibaba for a few years but hadn’t made a purchase until AliExpress.

There were 3 big surprises in the book:

  1. Alibaba wasn’t the “overnight success” that I thought it was
    • In fact, it’s 20 years old
  2. China is big. Really big.
    • Yes, we all know that China has more than 1.2 Billion people but I little human brains have trouble processing the shear scale of a number that big
    • Alibaba sends out 30 million packages per day
  3. Jack Ma built one of the first websites for China, and co-founded one of the first China-based companies that built websites for clients in 1995

My notes on “Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built” by Duncan Clark. Continue reading “Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, by Duncan Clark”

How Robotics In NZ’s Primary Industries Could Double Productivity By 2025

Last night I attended a University of Waikato lecture entitled “Robotics in primary industries – the revolution begins!” presented by Professor Mike Duke.

Professor Mike Duke

It was fascinating!

Here are my notes on the talk:

The Goal

The NZ Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has set the goal of doubling primary industry exports by 2025.

7 Key Challenges Slowing Growth In The Primary Industry

  1. Labour shortage
    • Very difficult to find locals interested in low-skill work so having to bring in immigrants
  2. Labour cost
    • Often have to pay agencies to source workers which adds to labour cost
  3. Labour legislation
    • Rules and regulations around working hours, conditions etc
  4. Quality control
    • Work often needs to be checked 2 or 3 times, lots of wastage, lack of care
  5. Labour reliability
    • Workers often don’t turn up
  6. Health and Safety
    • Increasing burden for compliance
  7. Obsolete machinery
    • Produces lower quality results

Continue reading “How Robotics In NZ’s Primary Industries Could Double Productivity By 2025”

Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss

I’ve been a fan of Tim Ferris since the beginning when his first book 4-Hour Work Week caused me to quit my job. I own every book he’s written.

This book is a collection of his favourite moments from the 100’s of pod-cast interviews he’s done with “Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers”.

It’s also crammed full of recommendations for documentries and books, so after reading this book instead of my reading list being reduced by one, it has increased by 10.

The book is in 3 parts: Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.

Here are my favourite bits of “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Timothy Ferriss. Continue reading “Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss”

3 Businesses Shrunk To The Size Of A Shipping Container

The bigger the footprint of your business, the more you have to pay for rent/lease, right?

What if you could downsize your business to the size of a shipping container?

In the last 3 days I’ve come across 3 businesses that have done just that.

#1: A drum school in the back of a small truck

I had just dropped my boys off at their primary school and came across a small truck in the staff parking lot.

I peeked inside and met Phil Upton.

Phil teaches school kids the drums out of his truck which is set up with 3 electric drum kits.

He can teach up to 3 students at a time.

He serves schools throughout Tauranga for weekly lessons.

He bought the business off the previous owner, rebranded, got the truck signwritten, did some promotion, and tripled his business in a few months.

The kids love it because they get out of class sometimes to practice.

The parents love it because they don’t have to drive their kids anywhere outside of school hours.

And Phil loves it because he’s doing what he does best – teaching kids how to play.

Everybody wins.

#2. A e-bike hire business in a shipping container

Continue reading “3 Businesses Shrunk To The Size Of A Shipping Container”

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

Such a great book!

I enjoyed this book for 3 reasons:

  1. Lists are awesome
    • And in this book, Kevin Kelly made a lot. I’ve included my favourites below
  2. Stories about the future are awesome
    • 2 or 3 times in this book, Kevin Kelly would paint this picture of a typical day-in-his-life set in the future. What happened on that day seems amazing, but realistic. They were a bit too long to include in my notes, so you’ll have to read the book yourself
  3. I’m excited about robots taking our jobs!
    • Some people are not. Some people are scared of their jobs being taken by robots. Not just mechanical jobs, but jobs that until only recently, we thought were safe from robots: doctors and lawyers and accountants for example

But you don’t have to be afraid. All you need to do is remember that technology is additive. Email hasn’t replaced the postal service. Internet news hasn’t replaced physical newspapers. Digital hasn’t replaced paper.

Those industries have changed and adapted but they haven’t gone.

It’s the same with robots and artificial intelligence. They can augment and supplement our experience, our work, our contribution, our lives. Not replace.

If you read nothing else from my summary, just read the “Here are the Seven Stages of Robot Replacement“.

Anyway, as always, I urge you to get your own copy because my favourite parts may be different to your own.

In the meantime, here are my notes on “The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future” by Kevin Kelly. Continue reading “The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly”

9 Ways To Increase Your Volume Of New Business Enquiries

1. Take a fresh look at what you say

  • Review (and improve) what you say about your business and your services
  • On The Phone:
    • Who answers the phone?
    • What do they say?
    • How are calls transferred?
    • How are messages recorded?
    • What’s the hold music?
    • How could the menu options be improved?
  • In Person:
    • How do you record interactions with prospects and clients?
    • What do you and your team wear?
    • How do you follow up?
    • What action do you ask them to take next?
    • How does your team answer the question “what do you do?”
  • On Your Website
  • In Advertising
    • What is the secret sauce of your business?
    • Why does it exist?
    • Why is it important?
    • Do you lead with your logo, or a headline that states the benefits of your service?

Continue reading “9 Ways To Increase Your Volume Of New Business Enquiries”

Ask by Ryan Levesque

Ask-by-Ryan-Levesque
The basic idea of this book is very simple: You are just guessing what your customers actually want, right now and in the future. So perhaps it’s time you asked them what they want.

According to Levesque, the way to check is to put them through a series of surveys.

Their answers to these survey questions will enable you to put your customers into groups.

When you have those groups, you can better tailor your product/service packages to these groups.

Sounds pretty reasonable? Pretty simple?

That’s because it is.

Levesque does describe these surveys in moderate-to-light detail, and does provide a few examples of the emails that you can adapt for your own purpose.

But, I’m sorry to say, it doesn’t provide the formula that I expected from reading the title of the book. And worse, it pushes you to buy Levesque’s survey software. It’s just not easy to set up the system he proposes without it. Continue reading “Ask by Ryan Levesque”

The 6 Steps in The Creative Process: This will be awesome, This is hard, This is shit, I’m shit, This might be ok, This is awesome!

An artist friend of mine Murray Clode told me about the “The Creative Process” this morning at the Breakfast Club that I run.

The 6 Steps in The Creative Process

  1. This will be awesome
  2. This is hard
  3. This is shit
  4. I’m shit
  5. This might be ok!
  6. This is awesome!

This doesn’t just apply to creating art, it’s when we create anything:

  • You might have an idea for a new start-up business
  • You might launch into a d-i-y project at home
  • You might decide to learn a new language
  • You might decide to read a challenging book
  • You might decide to write a blog article like this one

Can you recognise yourself working through this process when you are doing something worthwhile?

For me, one of the most interesting parts of this list is how many opportunities there are to quit before you get something done!

Continue reading “The 6 Steps in The Creative Process: This will be awesome, This is hard, This is shit, I’m shit, This might be ok, This is awesome!”

Want To Make More Money? How To Maximise The Worker, The Seller, The Investor, In All Of Us

20-dollar-note-securityMy 5 year old son asked me about money last night before bed.

His basic question was “How do we get more of it?”

Good question!

We spent a few minutes closely examining a 5 dollar note and I pointed out some of the security features like clear windows, watermarks and micro-printing that make it so hard to simply print out more for ourselves.

And then I told him the 3 basic ways to make money:

  1. Work for someone
  2. Sell something
  3. Invest in something

In a moment we’ll take a closer look at each one, and consider the marketing implications of each. Continue reading “Want To Make More Money? How To Maximise The Worker, The Seller, The Investor, In All Of Us”

Flash Foresight: See The Invisible To Do The Impossible by Daniel Burrus

Here are my notes on “Flash Foresight: See the Invisible to Do the Impossible” by Daniel Burrus.Flash-Foresight-Book

I learnt a lot from this book. The 2 biggest lessons for me were:

  1. I’ve heard about the aging population a million times, but this book made me think about it in 2 different ways:
    • It will create an enormous part-time, low-cost workforce with huge business experience
    • There is enormous business opportunity as that generation requires more health care, more medical technology (hearing aids for example)
  2. Technology-driven change doesn’t kill off the old ways of getting things done, it adds on
    • Eg e-news hasn’t killed newspapers, email and digital storage hasn’t killed paperwork

Here’s a collection of my other favourite bits from this book. Continue reading “Flash Foresight: See The Invisible To Do The Impossible by Daniel Burrus”

Only Prospects In Pain Will Buy: 6 Questions To Ask To Uncover Your Prospects Pain

Did you know that only a prospect in pain will buy a solution from you?

It’s true.

The more pain they feel, the higher the price they will pay, and the more they crave your solution if you can show them that you understand their pain.

If you have a warehouse full of widgets to sell, or a professional service that is hard to change, then the following advice is not going to work for you.

You need a clean slate for the following to work.

So, have you just been made redundant? Or maybe you’re considering a career change?

Great!

Congratulations!

You have the blank slate you need. The world is full of opportunities and you have everything you need to take advantage.

The following 6 steps will show you how to build a software business for yourself, from scratch.

Continue reading “Only Prospects In Pain Will Buy: 6 Questions To Ask To Uncover Your Prospects Pain”

Worried Someone Will Steal Your Awesome Idea? 7 Possible Reactions When You Share Your Idea

New ideas are exciting!

Sometimes great ideas wake you in the middle of the night (and at the time you are sure you’ll remember them so you don’t bother writing them down… oops).

Sometimes great ideas happen to you when you are alone (like in the shower, or in the car), and it’s so annoying that there isn’t someone right there you can tell it to.

Your new idea might be an invention, a solution to a problem, a decision, or an idea for a new business.

Do you ever find yourself hesitating before you share the idea with someone, because you are worried that they will steal it?

Well, let’s check how often that actually happens.

7 Possible Reactions When You Share Your Awesome Idea

  1. 43% of people you tell will be bored or just don’t care
    • Don’t be offended, they still love you, just not this idea
  2. 24% of people will see something you don’t see in the idea, and provide you with another idea to help you shape your one
    • This is the best possible reaction because now you’ve got something better than your initial idea
  3. 12% of people will point out that your idea is not new and where to find it already in existence
    • This is a great outcome, because you can either decide what your point of difference will be or put it aside and dream up a new idea
  4. 9% of people will spread your idea to more people
    • This is also a great outcome because you’ll benefit from this list of possible responses being repeated
  5. 7% of people will tell you why your idea sucks
    • That’s ok, because it’s good to get a reality check. You can ignore their criticism and plow on, or dump the idea and move on
  6. 5% of people will be inspired and offer their help to get you started
    • That’s a great result because 2 heads are better than 1
  7. 0% of people will steal it and set up in competition to you
    • Yes, that’s right, zero. The worry that someone will steal your idea is an illusion. And even if they do steal it, that’s the biggest compliment in the world

So, what do you think about this?

Have your say in the comments below.

(As always, these statistics are made up for dramatic purposes 🙂

9 Questions To Get You Started When You’ve Got An Idea For A StartUp Business

Heard of “a business plan”?

It’s how you plan your business, right?

Well, the bad news is that “business plans never survive first contact with customers” – Steve Blank.

This means that you can plan all you like, but real customers with real money in their pockets will buy what they want to, not what you’re selling.

So you are going to create a “business model” instead.

A business model has some elements of a “business plan” and some elements of a “marketing plan” but it’s better because it starts with your customers. And their opinion is the only opinion that matters really.

Continue reading “9 Questions To Get You Started When You’ve Got An Idea For A StartUp Business”

Testimonials: Tips About How You Can Get Powerful Testimonials For Your Website

Firstly, Sean D’Souza in his book “The Brain Audit”, has this to say about Testimonials:

Why We Are All Sceptical About Testimonials

  • Testimonials are like resumes; they’re not entirely believable.  Which is why most customers tend to view testimonials sceptically. Even if we don’t say it out loud, we view testimonials as one-sided.
  • It’s the seeming lack of reality in a testimonial that makes us doubt its genuineness.  So the way to pump back the reality is to give a testimonial a before/after effect. And voilà, we get the ‘reverse testimonial’.
  • The ‘reverse testimonial’ is nothing but a testimonial that brings to the fore how the customer was feeling before they made the purchase.  The doubts; the slight discomfort; the pain; the frustration. These all run through a customer’s mind right before they buy a product/service. These doubts need to be brought up front, because they bring a massive dose of reality to the testimonial.
  • To get this factor of reality, we need to ‘construct’ our testimonials, instead of just ‘getting’ testimonials.  Construction doesn’t mean you’re faking a testimonial. Construction means you’re using parameters to build a structurally sound testimonial.

The 6 Questions You Need To Ask To Get A Powerful Testimonial

  1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this service?
  2. What did you find as a result of buying this service?
  3. What specific part did you like most about this service?
  4. What would be three other benefits about this service?
  5. Would you recommend our service? If so, why?
  6. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Why Are Testimonials So Important? Because They Remove Objections

It’s not just a matter of asking the questions to construct a testimonial.  Testimonials play an important role in removing objections. Therefore the objections must be listed. And it’s important to then get testimonials that defuse the core 98% of objections that stop your customer from buying your product/service.

This of course, doesn’t mean that you don’t accept a testimonial that’s given by a customer. Hey, a testimonial is a gift. And sometimes you get the most incredibly powerful testimonials from customers. Sure they may not have the awesome structure you’re hoping for, but these testimonials still work. So don’t go about being uppity and rejecting testimonials that don’t fit the structure of the ‘reverse testimonial’.

Testimonials tell stories. Stories rich in colour and detail. Stories that you could not have dreamed up in a squillion years. And yet, these stories are totally believable, because they come from the customer. And more importantly, because they have a solid dose of reality at their very core.

3 More Things You Need To Know About Testimonials

In addition to this I have found the following to work very well:

  1. Full name and the city they are from
  2. A small head and shoulders photo (no glamour shots, no model shots, just real NZ people). A good size is 75px x 75px
  3. A huge list. The longer the better. Eg I have over 100 on http://www.management.org.nz/student-testimonials/. When the list of happy customers is that long what else do you need to know before you’ll buy?

Every client I’ve ever worked with knows that they need testimonials on their website, but many of them haven’t gotten round to it yet.

The most common reason is that it seems like it’s a big job (that and maybe they’re a little shy).

They picture asking their customers for an A4 letter printed on letterhead. No, no, no.

3 Different Ways To Ask For A Testimonial

You have 3 options:

  1. Ask customers via a short email like this:
    • Hi first_name, I have a favour to ask. If you found my product/service useful, could you write a short testimonial for my website? Just a few sentences would be fine. I’ll put it here: link_to_your_testimonials_page. Include your full name and city and your website address so I can link back to your website. Thanks first_name, I’d really appreciate it.”
  2. Create a feedback form and send it out via email to customers they day after they have visited you which says “May we have a testimonial from you that we could display on our website and other marketing material? If you get stuck, you could use these 6 questions to help you write it…” and copy in the 6 questions above
  3. Call them up and ask them questions like the 6 above and scribble down notes. At the end of the 5 minute conversation tell them “I’ve been writing notes while we’ve been talking, can I turn them into a short testimonial and email it for you to check and approve before I put it on my website?”

What’s Next?

What do you have to do to get 3 new testimonials on to your website in the next 24 hours?

Well, stop reading and go and do it!

What To Say When You Are Asked “What’s Your Hourly Rate?”

Do you get asked the question “What’s Your Hourly Rate?” by potential clients?

How do you respond?

Do you just throw in one of these number into your response?:

  • $10/hour
  • $20/hour
  • $50/hour
  • $100/hour
  • $200/hour
  • $500/hour

Potential clients often respond in one of these ways:

  1. “That’s too cheap!”
  2. “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my budget!”
  3. “ok, sign me up!”

If they say “that’s too cheap!” that’s a disaster because:

  • You’ve set off an alarm in the prospects head. You’ve signalled to them that your quality is low, or you don’t have enough experience, or enough training. If you did have those things you would have said the rate they wanted to hear

If they say “ooo, that’s too expensive and way out of my budget!” that’s a disaster because:

  • You’ve scored a black cross on their list of criteria and if you try and justify it now by jumping in and defending yourself with a list of your previous clients, experience, training you’ve had, years on the job, results you’ve got, whatever, it’s too late, you are on the back foot.

Even if they say “ok, sign me up!” that’s a disaster too because:

  • You could have doubled it and they might have said yes! You’ve just cut yourself off from a huge pay day. Gutted.

So what can you do?

First, watch this 37 second video of how I answer the question “what’s your hourly rate?”, and then keep reading below:

My point is, there is no way to answer the question with the right number.

So don’t do it.

Never say your hourly rate.

Instead, quote for a result or a package.

Here’s how to respond to the question “What’s your hourly rate?” in 4 steps:

  1. Dodge the question completely and say:
    • “I want to check I understand what you need first…”
  2. Then read back to them a summary of their problem/goals and check you’ve got it right:
    • “As I understand it, you want to… [their-problem/goals]”. Is that right?”
  3. Did they say “yes” or “no”?
    • If they say “yes”, move to the step 4
    • If they say “no” then ask them to clarify and read back a new summary
  4. Then you say “I can help you achieve [their-goal]. My price is [your-package-price]”

It’s best to deliver step 4 via email when you’ve had some time to digest the project and crunch some numbers. So you could say:

4. “I can help you achieve [their-goal]. Can I have your email address so I can crunch some numbers and get back to you?”

If they push and push for your hourly rate you can respond with:

  • “I don’t have an hourly rate. I work on a results basis. Tell me what you need to achieve and I’ll tell you what it’ll take”

What do you think?

Agree? Disagree? Say so in the comments below.

Should I Renew My Yellow Pages Listing For My Small Business?

Is that a questions you are struggling with right now?

Have you been advertising in the Yellow Pages hardcopy and/or online for years but now you’re thinking of cancelling?

Do you suspect you are wasting your money, but you are shit-scared that your business will completely dry up if you stop paying them thousands of dollars every year?

Snap out of it sucker.

The free one-liner with your phone number is all you need.

(Except if you’re a plumber. If you’re a plumber then buy a huge expensive ad because when older people have a plumbing emergency they panic, dig out a 3 year old copy of the Yellow Pages out of a drawer, and call number after number to find someone that can come right now.)

How To Find Out For Sure If Your Yellow Pages Advertising Is Not Working

Measure it.

  1. Ask every new customer how they heard about you
  2. Add up all the mentions of “Yellow Pages” in a year (or in a month and then multiply by 12)
  3. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your conversion rate is 25%)
  4. Multiply that number by your average revenue per customer over a year
  5. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your Net Profit is 25%)
  6. That’s how much Yellow Pages is worth to you to break even. Don’t spend a cent more than that. If the customer buys from you again next year, that’s your gravy to keep.

Eg For XYZ & Co:

  • 12 mentions per year
  • 12 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 3
  • $100 revenue x 3 = $300
  • $300 / 4 = $75 ad to break even in the first year

Eg for ABC & Co:

  • 120 mentions per year
  • 120 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 30
  • $1,000 revenue x 30 = $30,000
  • $30,000 / 4 = $7,500 ad to break even in the first year

So, if you’re not a plumber:

5 Reasons Why You Should Quit Advertising In The Yellow Pages (hardcopy)

  1. Just because you’ve been doing it for 10 years doesn’t mean that you should keep the momentum up. That momentum is in the wrong direction!
  2. Just because your competitors are doing it is not proof it works, it only means they are suckers too!
  3. Because 12 month contracts suck so bad. They put a huge amount of high pressure sales tactics into getting you to sign up because they know that you won’t bother measuring the effectiveness of the ads over the coming months because you fear that if you did, you will actually find out you wasted your money and you’ll feel like a fool, so you don’t bother, because you want to save yourself the embarrassment. No one likes to realise they made a huge financial mistake. And you can’t cancel anyway because it’s in print. And you don’t have to worry about it until next year anyway, so you forget about it.
  4. Because the amazing discounts that the sales reps offer you at the last minute when you just told them you want to cancel aren’t actually amazing, they are just a clever sales pitch. A 70% discount on advertising that doesn’t work isn’t going to make it work!
  5. Because you shouldn’t support an industry that prints millions of books with thousands of pages and dumps them on the doorsteps of millions of New Zealanders every year that didn’t ask for the books in the first place. It’s junk mail on an enormous ecologically-damaging scale

What about online Yellow Pages?

Why You Should Not Advertise In Online Yellow Pages

Because it’s a rip-off.

And it’s so easy to test and measure for yourself:

  1. Open up your webstats for the month and find any click throughs to your website from Yellow
  2. Divide that number by 10 (I’m assuming your visit to enquiry rate is 10%)
  3. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your enquiry to sale conversion rate is 25%)
  4. Multiply that number by your average revenue per customer over a year
  5. Divide that number by 4 (I’m assuming your Net Profit is 25%)

Eg For XYZ & Co:

  • Cost: $60/month
  • 10 clicks per month
  • 10 / 10 (a visit to enquiry rate of 10%) = 1
  • 1 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 0.25
  • $100 revenue x 0.25 = $25
  • $25 / 4 = $6.25 is what the advertising is worth to you a month just to break even but you’re spending $60…

Eg for ABC & Co:

  • Cost: $80/month
  • 50 clicks per month
  • 50 / 10 (a visit to enquiry rate of 10%) = 5
  • 5 / 4 (a conversion rate of 25%) = 1.25
  • $1000 revenue x 1.25 = $1250
  • $1250 / 4 = $312.50 is what the ad is worth to you to break even and you’re spending $80… hooray! That is actually worth it in this example

You probably don’t need another reason, but I will share one theory with you.

I think that people are suspicious of ads or “promoted listings” on the Yellow Pages website.

They think to themselves “don’t get up in my face, I will decide who is best to serve me. My list of decision criteria does not include the item ‘whoever pays the most to be up in my face’ “.

There isn’t that level of distrust with a Google search because the ads are actually helpful. They are relevant. They are in context.

And just like Google Adwords, a fairer way for Yellow to offer you online ads would be to offer you the Cost-Per-Click model too. You could set your bid price and an algorithim could calculate who’s ad will show.

But you won’t see such an offer for Yellow because it makes it too easy for you to quit. You could run it for 1 day, or 1 week and spend $20 and you’d have enough information to decide to quit or not.

Yellow doesn’t like that. Yellow likes to lock you in for 12 months and works really hard at making sure you don’t measure effectiveness.

What do you think?

Have you recently quit and now feel good/bad about that decision?

Are you struggling with the decision right now?

Have your say in the comments below.

Is Your Blog Stale? How Not Updating Your Blog Can Damage Your Business

“When I look at your blog I can almost see the tumbleweed rolling through…”

Are visitors to your website thinking that?

If you have a blog section on your website, at some point you thought it was a good idea to get one.

You might call it your “news section” or your “article section”, they are all the same thing.

You were probably told one, or all, of these reasons.

3 Reasons Why Writing New Articles For Your Blog Is Good For Your Business

  1. “Your blog will get you better Google rankings for your website. Better rankings = more traffic = more sales”
  2. “Your blog will establish your credibility, expertise and leadership in your industry”
  3. “Your blog will keep content flowing to your customers and potential customers and remind them to buy from you”

They are all great reasons.

So why don’t you keep it updated?

How long has it been since your last article?

  • A month?
  • 3 months?
  • A year?
  • More than a year?

The longer it’s been, the worse you look.

In fact, a stale blog can actually damage your business.

4 Reasons Why A Stale Blog Can Damage Your Business

  1. Gives a bad impression: It looks like you start things but don’t finish them. Potential customers might assume you’ll treat them like that too
  2. Lowers trust: Customers might assume that if your articles/news/blog is out of date then other info on your website might be out of date too – this lowers trust
  3. Less Google love: Google loves fresh content, without fresh content, Google will visit your site less often
  4. You are easy to forget: Subscribers will forget about you. It might have taken just one more article to tip a potential customer over the edge to make a sale, but you didn’t write one today, so you’ll never know

If I’m considering purchasing a product or service and I see a blog on their website, I’ll click on it to check when the last article was written.

If it was written months ago, or even years ago, that’s a bad sign, and a huge red mark against them.

So why did you stop updating it?

3 Reasons Why You Stopped Updating Your Blog

  1. Because you are too busy fighting fires every day, you have no time to spend 1 hour, or 2 hours or longer, just sitting there and writing
  2. Because you forgot. You didn’t schedule it in your calendar so it doesn’t exist in your list of work to do
  3. Because the longer it’s been since your last article, the harder it is to write a new article today because it feels like you have the burden of writing all the future articles on your shoulders too

How You Can Have Fresh Blog Articles Written In Just 15 minutes

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a new article on your blog every 2 weeks and it only took you 15 minutes?

You can!

It’s a new service I’m offering and here is how it works:

1. Dan Necklen or I will call you and interview you for 15 minutes

2. From this interview we’ll write a 200 – 400 word article that has the following 4 components:

  • A headline that contains phrases that customers may be searching Google for (this is sooooo important)
  • With content that is interesting and puts concepts in layman’s terms (no jargon allowed!)
  • With content that demonstrates your leadership in the industry and quality of your service/products (hooray!)
  • A call to action (we’ll let your customers know what they must do next)

3. We put the article live once it’s written (crediting you as the author because we interviewed you)

And the coolest thing is, you’ll feel like a rock star being interviewed for e-news!

This is your 15 minutes of fame. Take it.

Awesome! How Much Does It Cost?

The price for this service is $240+gst every 2 weeks. Every 2 weeks you get an new article for your blog.

Imagine if each article could contribute even just one sale worth $2000 sometime over the next 12 months. Imagine getting to the end of a 12 month period with 26 articles that can do that… (that’s like $52k)

Call (07) 575 8799 and we can get started with a 4 session trial.

Cheers,

Sheldon Nesdale
Email: sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz

P.S. Here are 3 examples of articles we’re written:

Will You Join the 2013 Marketing Bootcamp in Tauranga?

The 2013 Marketing Bootcamp is a series of 12 workshops (one per month) which will improve both you and your business.

Is the “2013 Marketing Bootcamp” for you?

  • YES! If you own a Tauranga-based Small Business and you are either a solo operator, a husband-and-wife team or have a business partner
  • YES! If last year went by in a blink of an eye and you want to be more proactive and in control of your business this year
  • YES! If you want to set new goals for your business and for yourself personally for 2013, and see them achieved
  • YES! If you are sick to death of wasting time and money on marketing and advertising that doesn’t work
  • YES! If you want to learn new-age sales and marketing techniques, tips and tricks to help your business thrive and can be implemented straight away
  • YES! If you think it would be valuable to work with a small group of marketing pro’s and other small business operators who you can bounce ideas around with and who can keep you accountable to the actions you will take toward your goals

If you answered “YES” to those questions then the 2012 Marketing Bootcamp IS for you. (If it’s not for you, can you think of someone who needs this sort of help? Yes? Well, get this content to them today.)

During this 12-month bootcamp you’ll learn how to:

  1. Define your point of difference and shout it from the rooftops
  2. Create and perfect your own, memorable ‘elevator pitch’
  3. Develop and implement a sales process that’s tailored to your business
  4. Structure your pricing to suit your business (and your goals)
  5. Write proposals that make saying ‘yes’ easy for your prospects
  6. Collect the perfect customer testimonial and put it to best use
  7. Extract the most value from networking events
  8. Write articles and copy that inspire action (perfect for websites or blogs)
  9. Use social media as a marketing tool for your business
  10. Deliver outstanding presentations with confidence

Each month you’ll attend

  • A 1-hour workshop delivered by Dan Necklen and Sheldon Nesdale
  • A coffee catchup in between sessions, to report back on your progress to the group

Our commitment

  • Our sessions will be fast, focused, and tailored to suit your needs and your business
  • You’ll have the opportunity to put forward any topics you’d like us to cover
  • We’re so sure you’ll get value from the bootcamp, we’re offering a 110% money back guarantee (that’s right, there’s no risk)

About Sheldon & Dan

  • “Hi, I’m Sheldon. My mission on this earth is to help turn your business into a goal achieving machine for you as the owner. To find out more about me read through https://www.marketingfirst.co.nz/about-me/
  • “Hi, I’m Dan. My purpose in life is help small businesses realise their potential and become (even more) awesome. To find out more about me read through http://likeable.co.nz/about-me/

Included within the marketing bootcamp:

  • Twelve 1-hour bootcamp workshops (one per month)
  • Twelve 1-page guides (one for each topic) + any other materials or guest speakers we need to pull in
  • Twelve group coffee catchup’s in between sessions (including the coffee itself!)

Cost:

  • This is a 12 month commitment for those who are serious about dedicating sustained effort to their sales and marketing in 2013
  • The cost is 562.50 per quarter (this is a $44 per week investment in yourself and your business)
  • There’s no risk to you thanks to our 110% money back guarantee (yes, we’re serious!)

Bootcamp Schedule

Define your point of difference and shout it from the rooftops
10.30am Tuesday 22nd January

Create and perfect your own, memorable ‘elevator pitch’
10.30am Tuesday 19th February

Develop your own sales process that’s tailored to your business
10.30am Tuesday 19th March

Structure your pricing to suit your business (and your goals)
10.30am Tuesday 23rd April

Write proposals that make saying ‘yes’ easy for your prospects
10.30am Tuesday 21st May

Collect the perfect customer testimony and put it to best use
10.30am Tuesday 18th June

Mid year re-cap and skills review
10.30am Tuesday 23rd July

Extract the most value from networking events
10.30am Tuesday 20th August

Write copy that inspires action (perfect for websites or blogs)
10.30am Tuesday 17th September

Use social media as a marketing tool for your business
10.30am Tuesday 22nd October

Deliver outstanding presentations with confidence
10.30am Tuesday 19th November

End of year re-cap and skills review
10.30am Tuesday 17th December

Will you let this year slip by faster than last year or will you take control of it?

Imagine getting to December 2013 and looking back on your year and thinking “This year was the best year of my life! I set aggressive goals for my business and for myself and I bloody-well achieved them!”

Or will you just think like everyone else “Oh… 2013 is over already. Wow, that sure went quick. I hope next year goes slower.”

You can have the first scenario.

The first step is to secure your place in the 2013 Marketing Bootcamp.

Contact me before 5pm Friday 18th January (either by phone, email, or by filling in the form below). Spaces are limited to 6 business owners so be quick.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

My notes on “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries

I’ve only made notes on the sections I found most interesting, so to get the full benefit of this book I urge you to read a copy for yourself Continue reading “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries”

Have A Great Idea For A Start-Up Company But Worried Someone Will Steal It?

On Monday you’ll see my notes on the book by Eric Ries called “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses”.

Amaaaaazing book.

But I couldn’t wait until then to share this with you.

There is one section in there that talks about how many of us have ideas that we think are great and could potentially be turned into Start-Up company’s, but we hesitate getting started or even sharing the idea with people because we are worried the idea will quickly be stolen and we will end up with nothing.

Sound familiar?

I bet it does.

You and I both have this fear I’m sure.

Here’s what Eric Ries has to say on the issue:

The most common objection I have heard over the years to building an Minimal Viable Product is fear of competitors – especially large established companies – stealing a startup’s ideas.

If only it were so easy to have a good idea stolen!

Part of the special challenge of being a startup is the near impossibility of having your idea, company, or product be noticed by anyone, let alone a competitor.

In fact, I have often given entrepreneurs fearful of this issue the following assignment: take one of your ideas (one of your lesser insights, perhaps), find the name of the relevant product manager at an established company who has responsibility for that area, and try to get that company to steal your idea. Call them up, write them a memo, send them a press release—go ahead, try it.

The truth is that most managers in most companies are already overwhelmed with good ideas. Their challenge lies in prioritization and execution, and it is those challenges that give a startup hope of surviving.

If a competitor can out execute a startup once the idea is known, the startup is doomed anyway.

The reason to build a new team to pursue an idea is that you believe you can accelerate through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop faster than anyone else can.

If that’s true, it makes no difference what the competition knows.

If it’s not true, a startup has much bigger problems, and secrecy won’t fix them.

Sooner or later, a successful startup will face competition from fast followers.

A head start is rarely large enough to matter, and time spent in stealth mode – away from customers – is unlikely to provide a head start.

The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.

What do you think about this? Does this allay some of your fears? Useful? Not useful?

Let me know in the comments below.

5 Questions For Small Business Owners to Think About Today

  1. Compete against yourself
    • Pretend there is a brand new competitor opening next door to you, what product and service bundles should he start selling?
    • To who?
    • Don’t wait for this to happen, create those bundles and target those customers yourself today
  2. Why you?
    • What are the top 3 reasons customers should choose you?
    • Put those 3 reasons in all your customer touch points
    • Can’t think of any? Pack it in and go home
  3. Your website:
    • Don’t have a website yet? Build yourself a website today for $141.50
    • Got a website? What 3 improvements should you make today?
    • Every business on the planet should have it’s own website. Even a crap one beats not having one at all
  4. Radio Ads:
  5. Yellow Pages:
    • Do you advertise in the Yellow Pages hardcopy and/or online?
    • Cancel it today.
    • You know you are wasting money so why do you renew every year? Snap out of it sucker
    • The free one-liner with your phone number is all you need

Business Cards: Don’t Waste Money Printing Business Cards

When people first start their own business, the first thing they do is get 1000 business cards printed.

Don’t bother!

Don’t print business cards because only people who want to sell you something (that you don’t need) will take them from you and use them.

Do people that you need something from ever take your business card and use it to contact you?

No. Of course not. Because it’s your job, not theirs.

If you want something from someone you have to take it or ask for it.

So the next time you talk to someone that you might find useful later, instead of giving them one of your business cards, take theirs instead.

And then, when you get home tonight, send them a “hello!” email with your huge-mungus email signature.

A standard, boring email signature looks like this:

John Thomas
Boring Company Name 
Phone number 
Mobile number
Fax number

That is so lame.

This is your chance to make an awesome email signature.

An awesome, huge-mungus email signature has the following 11 extras:

  1. Your tag line:
    • A phrase under your name that summarises how you make the company you work for awesome (that leans towards how your company helps clients)
    • Or, at the very least, a sentence that explains what your company does
  2. Your tertiary qualifications
    • If you are proud of them
  3. Your Skype username
  4. Not your fax number
    • Because fax machines are lame and having the number makes you look like a fossil
  5. Repeat your email address
    • Restate it here so it’s easy for them to share it with other people
    • Don’t rely on people checking up in the email header for it
  6. Your physical address
    • Especially if you run a home based business
    • Stating it makes you credible and real
    • People like to know they can come round to your office and punch you in the face if you annoy them… Or pat you on the back for a job well done too I spose…
  7. Link to your LinkedIn profile
    • Which is a prompt for you to ensure it is up to date because LinkedIn is awesome
  8. Link to your blog
    • So people can read your thoughts and you get the chance to establish your credibility, oh… you don’t have one? Lame.
  9. Link to your business Facebook page
    • So you look 21st century, oh… you don’t have one? Lame.
  10. Link to your Twitter
    • oh… you don’t have one? Fair enough actually, it’s not for everyone
  11. Link to your websites
    • oh… you’ve only got one website? Lame. Add a link to your favourite charity then

My email signature is 21 lines (excluding spacing). I dare you to make yours bigger!

(And before you include the text “think about the environment before you print this email” just stop. It’s not 1999 anymore. Just stop.)

My huge-mungus email signature:

Cheers,
Sheldon Nesdale
www.MarketingFirst.co.nz

Digital Marketing for Small NZ BusinessesMBA.Waikato.(2011). BECom.(Hons.Mktg).Waikato

c/o Marketing First 2009 Ltd
13 The Green, Bayfair, Mount Maunganui 3116, New Zealand
Email: sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz
Phone: (07) 575 8799
Mobile: 021 128 5046
Skype: sheldon.nesdale
Web: www.MarketingFirst.co.nz

* Blog – http://www.MarketingFirst.co.nz/blog/

* Head Organiser of Tauranga.StartUpWeekend.orgFirstbyte Websites | www.FirstByte.co.nz
Search Engine Guide | www.SearchEngineGuide.co.nz

Donate $4-$32/month to a worthy NZ charity with www.4good.org.nz

9 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your Sales Role Would be a Disaster

Can you answer “yes” to one or more of these questions?:

  1. Is your business a one-man-band or husband-and-wife type of business?
  2. Are you a bit shy and find the prospect of networking and meeting people face to face a bit daunting?
  3. Are you thinking about outsourcing the sales role to a sales rep, either hiring him/her as an employee or as a contractor (for a retainer plus commission)?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of those questions, then read the following list before you hire.

9 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your Sales Role Would be a Disaster and Why You Must Be Your Own Salesperson

  1. When that salesperson leaves, you have nothing, and you’ll have to start again
    • A drawer full of business cards of people they met have zero value because they met those people, not you
  2. It is a skill you must develop or you don’t have a business at all, you have a very expensive hobby
  3. If you can’t learn how to sell yourself then you should be an employee in someone elses business, and not have your own
    • Fire yourself today and go and get a “real job”
  4. A hired salesperson will never be as passionate about your business as you are
    • It’s passion and enthusiasm that gets sales
  5. Salespeople don’t stick around. They get bored easily and move on quickly
    • So you’ll be taking the risk on someone new all over again in about 6 months
  6. Realise that you are an interesting person and people are curious about you as soon as you open your mouth
    • Your personality and manner is actually a great advantage and point of difference (compared to a hired salesperson)
    • Your enthusiasm and passion for what you do is contagious and generates sales
  7. Managing employees is a huge undertaking in itself
    • Contracts, PAYE, holiday pay, sick days…
    • And worst of all, they get paid every week and you might not. And they get to switch off at 5pm every day and go home at night, but you stress 24/7 and have sleepless nights
  8. Learning to sell is a skill for life
  9. Talking to customers directly is where you get the most valuable feedback about your business
    • You can’t delegate the collection of feedback to anyone but you
    • This is the fastest way to find out if what your offering is actually of no interest to the marketplace and you need to change what you’re offering (this is called a “pivot”)

So instead of putting your hard earned money into a salespersons pocket in the hope that they’re going to make sales for you one day, invest in yourself and learn how to sell.

3 Ways to Learn How to be a Better Salesperson

  1. You can do it for free by reading every book on sales at your local library
  2. Hire me for coaching sessions in-person if you live in Tauranga, or over the phone if you are elsewhere in NZ (call me on 07 575 8799)
  3. Hire a friend of mine who also does sales coaching (in-person or over the phone): Dan Necklen

Should You Quit Your Job And Start A Home Based Business? 8 Pros and 12 Cons To Help You Decide

Yesterday I was reading through one of my old journals from 3 years ago when I faced exactly this decision.

In the journal I found my list of Pros and Cons that I had written to help me decide.

Maybe they could help you to?

PROS

  1. I’m ready. I’ve had my 3 years of experience. I’m learning more in my own time than at work
    [for a few months I had been getting up at 6am and reading business books at a rate of 1.5 per week]
  2. I’ll learn more, I’ll be more productive, I’ll get things done in shorter time frames because I’ll be working for myself & my clients rather than half heartedly working for someone else for about $20/hour
  3. I’ll accelerate my growth and learning whether I succeed or fail just by trying
  4. This recession could mean that what I’m selling [website design and marketing advice] is more valuable, and businesses may want to outsource more
  5. If I survive the recession, when the boom comes I’ll have it made
  6. With zero income we could still survive for 10 months by drawing on our revolving home loan overdraft
  7. I’ll have the freedom to take time off for myself or for my family any time I choose
  8. I don’t have to spend another cent to get started. I have my computer and my brain.

CONS

  1. It is scarey giving up steady $46k/annum income
    [It turned out I earned that in my first year anyway, and doubled in the year after]
  2. The risk of failure. If it doesn’t work, my self esteem will be crushed
  3. I’ve always thought of working alone at home would be lonely but now I know it won’t be because communication and interaction will be a big part of what I do every day
  4. Risk of less income (or no income) for my little family
    [my wife was 6 months pregnant with our first child at the time]
  5. It would scare the hell out of my wife
  6. Spending too much time with my wife might be hard on our marriage
  7. I’ll be putting enormous pressure and stress on myself, marriage and my wife
  8. The recession could mean hard times for me, harder to sell what I’m offering
  9. We are in a recession, I should be greatfull that I have a job at all… Shall I wait 2 or 3 more years and then give it a go? Hell no!
  10. I might have to work longer & harder hours, not less (especially at the start)
    [It turned out that working on my own projects was actually fun and didn’t feel like work]
  11. Very stressful for my Dad because he’ll have to pay the mortgage if I fail
  12. No paid sick days. No paid holidays.

I went for it, and it’s been great!

What’s Your Favourite?

My favourite is Pro #8. 🙂

What’s your favourite?

Are you facing this decision now? Or do you think you might in the future? Tell your story.

How To Handle Negative Reviews About Your Business

Have you ever looked up your own business online and found a negative review somewhere?

Maybe you own a restaurant and you’ve just found a negative review on a restaurant directory written by someone who was grumpy that night and they have lashed out at you?

Maybe you own a motel and you’ve just found a negative review on a motel directory written by someone who expected a 5 star experience when you sign clearly says 3 star and now they a complaining loudly?

You wish they had come to you first so you’d have the chance to put things right before they flamed you in public like that, right?

Well, for whatever reason, they didn’t. And now there is a negative comment out there poisoning your online reputation and scaring away potential customers.

It is a frightening experience for a business owner.

Did you know that there is a way to turn negative reviews left online by disappointed customers, into a positive force that is 10 times more powerful?

All you have to do is follow this guide:

Step #1: Don’t Make Excuses Continue reading “How To Handle Negative Reviews About Your Business”

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

My notes on “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki

Complete This Sentence

  • If your organisation never existed, the world would be worse off because…

Take Notes To Impress

When you are doing a pitch to an investor and they speak, take notes. The visible act of taking notes says:

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers

My notes on “Anything You Want” by Derek SiversDerekSivers-AnythingYouWant-318x450

My personal philosophy’s

  1. Business is not about money. It’s about making dreams come true for others and for yourself
  2. Making a company is a great way to improve the world while improving yourself
  3. When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world
  4. Never do anything just for the money
  5. Don’t purse business just for your own gain. Only answer the calls for help
  6. Success comes from persistently improving and inventing, not from persistently promoting what’s not working

  1. Your business plan is moot. You don’t know what people really want until you start doing it
  2. Starting with no money is an advantage. You don’t need money to start helping people
  3. You can’t please everyone, so proudly exclude people
  4. Make yourself unnecessary to the running of your business
  5. The real point of doing anything is to be happy, so do only what makes you happy Continue reading “Anything You Want by Derek Sivers”

I Earn 540 Dollars Per Month From A Blog About Hot Pools, Could You Do The Same With A Topic You Are Passionate About?

Almost 2 years ago I wrote an article called “Should You Sell Space On Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising?” in which I suggested you shouldn’t.

2 years later I haven’t change my mind. If it’s your core business then your website should focused on attracting new customers, and making sales, not earning a few dollars a month in advertising revenue at the cost of distracting your customers.

Blogs are a different story however.

7 Steps to Earning Income From A Passion

  1. Find a topic you are deeply passionate about (this will give you the energy to keep going)
  2. Be determined to write at least one short blog article per month
  3. Your articles should contain useful information for other people interested in your niche. Eg lists, your findings on micro research projects, reviews and comparisons, interviews etc
  4. Build up your audience by sticking to your niche and becoming a valuable resource
  5. Find similar blogs/articles and write useful comments on them that contain a link back to your blog
  6. Grow your audience to about 300 visits per day
  7. Monetise

I create 2 or 3 new blogs like this every year. I’ve had some real duds (like ChickenCoops.co.nz) but I’ve had some big winners (like www.LoveOneDaySales.co.nz and www.NZHotPools.co.nz).

Today I want to tell you the story about NZHotPools.co.nz (which simply lists all the thermal hot pools around New Zealand) and tell you exactly how much advertising revenue I generate from it every year/month/day, so you can figure out if you could do the same with your idea for a blog.

NZHotPools.co.nz Monthly Webstats:

  • 15,000 Visits per month (12,000 absolute unique visitors)
    • 500 visits per day
  • 48,000 PageViews per month
    • 1600 Visits per day
  • $540 per month revenue
    • $18 per day
    • Which is $36 revenue per 1000 visits
    • Which is 28 visits to earn $1

In this game, it is mainly about PageViews. Visits are important too but “Absolute Unique Visitors” are not.

There is a lot of confusion out there around these terms, so if you need a refresher on the definitions read: Difference Between Unique Visitors, Visitors, Visits, Page Views, Hits. And Why You Should Care

 

The hard part is getting an audience. Once you have an audience, monetising that audience is easy.

The 4 Ways to Sell Advertising Space On Your Website/Blog:

1. Direct Sales

  • Direct Sales to businesses in your niche is the most lucrative but takes the most time
  • It involves writing a list of prospects and making lots of phone calls to find out who the decision maker is to establish a relationship and to get permission to email them with your advertising rates from time to time
  • Be creative with what you are selling: Eg banner ads, access to your email newsletter, sponsored blog articles, special mentions, featured businesses
  • You can charge $5/$10/$20 CPM (Cost-Per-1000-Impressions) so for NZHotPools this is about $300/month
  • If you use WordPress for your blog there are plugins that let you schedule the ads, or you can use http://www.google.com/doubleclick/

2. Google Adsense

  • This is the easiest to manage. Decide where you will setup your advertising panels, and just generate the Adsense code and copy/paste it in. You’re done.
  • Google Adsense calculate the best text-based ads to show your audience depending on the content of the webpage, the advertisers bids, and more recently, the visitors online behaviour and profile. Every bit of data they can use to generate more clicks which earns more revenue for you and for them
  • On average you can expect to earn $1 per 300 visits, so for NZHotPools this is about about $50/month

3. TPN “The Performance Network” www.tpn.co.nz

  • They require you to have 20,000 unique visitors per month though, so they might not want to work with you until you’ve grown your blog to that level (they bent the rules for me a little bit because I already had an account with them)
  • They do display ads for big NZ brands like Kiwibank, NZPost, ASB etc
  • They don’t have sophisticated technology to calculate the optimum ads to show, it’s just mass advertising rather than targeted advertising
  • You can expect $1 per 300 visits so for NZHotPools this is about about $50/month

4. Affiliate Income

  • An affiliate programme is where you earn a commission on every sale you make for the advertiser. Eg you could install an Amazon book widget for your topic and you’ll earn a dollar or two everytime someone purchases that book from Amazon thanks to your link
  • Unfortunately, it is vary rare to find New Zealand businesses with Affiliate Programmes and your New Zealand audience is uncomfortable when they click on a link and find themselves on a USA based website so they are unlikely to whip out their credit card
  • NZHotPools.co.nz doesn’t generate any affiliate income, but www.LoveOneDaySales.co.nz does generate a little

How Much Advertising Should You Switch On As Your Website/Blog Grows?

As your website/blog grows, you gradually switch on more advertising. For example, my rules are:

  • 0 – 300 visits per day:
    • Either no advertising at all or just 1 or 2 Google Adsense panels to break the ice
    • Start collecting email addresses from your audience
    • Monthly Revenue: $0 – $30
  • 300 – 500 visits per day:
    • Looking promising
    • Start Selling ads Directly to businesses in your niche
    • Monthly Revenue: $300 – $500
  • 500 – 1000 visits per day:
    • You’re on to a winner
    • Modify Google Adsense positioning to maximise revenue
    • Get more aggressive with your Direct Sales
    • Monthly Revenue: $500 – $1000
  • 1000+ visits per day:
    • Re-evaluate positioning of everything
    • Turn on TPN & investigate Affiliate opportunities (if any)
    • Monthly Revenue: $1000+

Overdue Invoices: 4 Simple Tips To Ensure Your Clients Pay On Time, Every Time. No More Overdue Invoices

  • Did you know that poor cashflow is the #1 killer of small New Zealand businesses?
  • Do you have clients with overdue invoices right now?
  • Do you grit your teeth when you check your bank account on the 20th of the month and find the deposits you were expecting, missing?
  • Are your customers/clients slow to pay?
  • Are your invoices due on the 20th of the month but sometimes they don’t get paid until much later? Sometimes 60 days or 90 days?

Well you’re in luck, because today I’m going to tell you how I get the following results:

  • 89.6% of my clients pay on time (within 7 days)
  • 9.4% of my clients pay within 7 days past due
  • 1% don’t pay at all, but only because they go bankrupt (no fault of mine, I assure you)
  • I’ve never needed to use a collection agency

Here’s how you can get results like that:

4 Ways to Ensure Your Customers/Clients Pay On Time, Every Time

1. Change your terms to 7 days

Do it.

Right now.

Send out an email to warn everyone that it starts this week.

When your terms are 7 days your clients will file your invoices right under their accounts-payable-clerks nose for immediate attention.

Invoices that are due 20th of the month are so easy to ignore, or postpone, or forget about, or get lost.

“But my client’s accounting system can’t handle paying within 7 days!

Bullshit!

Ask nicely for an exception.

I’ve been paid within 7 days from Government Departments, City Councils and District Health Boards. Their policy is to pay 20th of the following month but they all made an exception for me because I asked for it.

2. Email your invoices instead of posting them

Ask for the accounts-payable-clerks email address and email them directly (and cc your contact at the company too).

No more posting. This slows things down far too much. And with 7 day terms, 3 of those days are used up in printing/delivery.

Don’t know how to convert your invoices to PDF? You don’t need Adobe Acrobat Professional (NZ$600!), just download 1 of hundreds of free/cheap PDF writers (they install as “virtual printers”).

3. Stop sending statements with OVERDUE stamps on them

Receiving a statement with a big red overdue stamps on it is like slapping your client in the face with a wet fish.

Acutally, it’s like slapping the accounts-payable-clerk in the face with a wet fish because your contact at the company will probably not even see this document.

Why would you treat the person who is going to pay you like this?

It is a deep insult. It is shouting out “You are crap at your job! Paying invoices is easy but somehow you screwed it up! Wow, you really suck!”

If you sent me a statement with a big red, angry overdue stamp on it, I would purposely not pay you just to piss you off.

4. Within a few days of the invoice being overdue, email a reminder

Send the following reminder to the accounts-payable-clerk and copy in your contact at the company too.

With these exact words: “Hi Bob, I just noticed invoice #1234 is a few days overdue. Would you like an extension?”.

That’s it.

Short.

To the point.

No waffle.

Notice the first part “I just noticed”? This lets them know that you know it’s overdue. It lets them know you are watching. Now they know that you know.

And notice how it ends with an open ended question?

I could have said “Let me know if you need an extension.” But this isn’t as powerful, because it isn’t a question. It’s weak. Don’t use it.

The magic of asking a yes/no question like “Would you like an extension?” is that people instantly form a response in their heads once they’ve read it.

There are two possible answers. Yes, and No.

Most of the time they are too proud to email you back and say “yes, could we have until the end of the month please?” (although some do, and that’s perfect fine, now you have a new due date to work with).

So they will think “no” in their head. “No, I don’t need an extension, I’m going to pay this today to show them how in control I am of my finances!”. You might not get an email response from these people but the payment will turn up in your bank account the next day.

Why this method works so well

You must stick to this schedule because this is how you train your clients. It lets them know what your expectations of them are, and they quickly learn what to expect from you next time.

If you ease up, that’s when it slips away and you’ll spend more time chasing overdue invoices and less time serving clients.

What if you still don’t get paid?

Wait another 7 days and send this email (and attach the invoice): “Hi Bob, could you check on invoice #1234 for me please? It is now a few weeks overdue.”

What if you still don’t get paid?

Wait another 7 days and send this email (and attach the invoice): “Hi Bob, Invoice #1234 is now 4 weeks overdue. May I have payment today please?”

What if you still don’t get paid?

Wait 30 days and then email them every day with a variation like this:

  • “Hi Bob, just checking on invoice #1234, may I have payment today please?”
  • “Hi Bob, could you have another look at invoice #1234 please. Could you arrange payment today please?”
  • “Hi Bob, I just wanted to check on your payment for invoice #1234. Could you make that payment today please?”
  • “Hi Bob, I was hoping to hear from you by now. May I have payment on invoice #1234 today please?”

The key is to not get angry. Keep your tone respectful and calm. Don’t acknowledge that you are being ignored.

“Why not just pick up the phone and call them?”

Because emailing saves face. It’s embarrassing to make a call to ask someone to pay, and its even more embarrassing to receive one. Email creates a comfort zone.

“What if they do ask for an extension?”

Fantastic! That is a great outcome. It’s not as good as getting paid, but it is pretty close.

Remember, they have chosen the new due date, you didn’t choose it for them. So reset your reminders and as soon as that new due date lapses without payment, repeat the process outlined above.

“This seems like a lot of work, is it really worth it?”

Once you have set expectations using the suggestions above, very few clients will progress to the daily harassment stage.

“How about I just use a collection agency instead?”

No. It’s your problem. It’s your fault for not training your clients properly. You deal with it.

What do you think about this advice?

What tips do you have for dealing with late invoices? Tell your story in the comments below.

Money Back Guarantees: Should You Offer None, 30 Days, or 30 Years?

You may have heard that money-back guarantees are a good idea but you are not sure if they are right for your business?

Perhaps you are holding back because you are worried it’s going to cost you money handing out dozens of refunds, right?

Offering any kind of money back guarantee is better than offering none at all because the main two things that customers care about is:

  1. Price
  2. Risk

And a money back guarantee helps with both.

A money back guarantee reduces risk for the customer because:

  • It signals that you are confident about the quality of your product
  • It reduces their nervousness about making a bad purchasing decision
  • It goes beyond the normal offer of replacing the item if something goes wrong, because they can get their money back

A money back guarantee reduces the price for the customer because:

  • There is a cost for returning something for a refund: time. Knowing that you are able to get cash back for your trouble is better compensation than a replacement
  • Customers perception is: Price + money-back-guarantee = Free Trial. Free is a customers favourite price

These are all “up-front” factors that persuade a customer to buy in the first place. Which is great.

In fact, let’s just slap a number on it and say that offering a money back guarantee will generate 20% more sales for you.

But the real magic happens in the “tail-end”, a long time after the sale.

Let’s say you purchased the Ginsu 2000 never-needs-sharpening-can-cut-through-a-can knife with a 30 year money back guarantee.

And it’s year number 29 and you decide it’s crap. Do you ask for your money back? Hell no. For 4 reasons:

  1. You forgot about the 30 year money back guarantee anyway
  2. You can’t be bothered
  3. You feel you got your moneys worth any way
  4. You don’t want to impose or be a nuisance
  5. You’ve had it so long it feels like yours, you feel like the owner. This reduces the obligation of the people you bought it from

Yes, it’s an extreme example but you get the idea. Let’s look at another:

Let’s say you purchased an ebook about Search Engine Optimisation for $19 with a 3 month money back guarantee.

It’s the 2nd month, and you only just got around to reading it and you decide it’s crap. Do you ask for your money back? Hell no. For 3 reasons:

  1. You forgot about the 3 month money back guarantee anyway
  2. You can’t be bothered
  3. You don’t want to impose or be a nuisance
  4. It’s in your possession and so you feel like the owner. This reduces the obligation of the author

Let’s just slap a number on it and say that you get 5% of customers that actually do go ahead and ask for their money back.

So to summarise, you are getting 20% more sales to get out 5% refunds… Ummm, that’s really good isn’t it?

Yes. Yes it is.

4 Ways to Make A Great Money Back Guarantee:

  1. Make the expiry really really long. The longer it is the more chance of the customer forgetting about it, or feeling like they are imposing by asking for their money back
  2. If a customer asks for their money back, provide it the same day. Don’t drag your feet and make them wait. You will impress them with your customer service, and this experience may trigger Word-of-Mouth so you might get new sales from people they talk too!
  3. Tell them up-front how to get one eg “To get your money back, just call us on 0800 xyz xyz and you’ll have your money back within 24 hours”. You could just provide an email form for them to request their money-back, but in this case, I advise putting up a small barrier for them and getting them to talk directly to you
  4. Arrange their refund over the phone, and when it’s finished and approved, at the last minute ask them why they asked for one. Their feedback might be valuable. Don’t ask this question upfront because it will make them feel more uncomfortable than they already are

What about services?

Money back guarantees can also work for services but you’ll have to go overboard with your offer Eg “If you are not happy with our car washing service we’ll redo it for free + give your money back”

What do you think about money back guarantees now?

What do you have to add to this? Will you give it a try for your business? What’s the most outrageous money-back guarantee you’ve ever seen?

Online Advertising In NZ: A Crash Course On How You Can Get Started Advertising Your Business Online in New Zealand

Have you noticed how much publicity the growth of online advertising has been getting lately?

If you are wondering:

  • “Am I missing out because I haven’t tried online advertising yet?” and
  • “How can I dip my toe in the water to see if online advertising is right for my business?”, then this crash course on online advertising is what you need

“What are the major formats of online advertising?”

There are 2 main formats:

  1. Text based ads
    • Very easy to setup
    • Very easy to change
  2. Display ads
    • Traditionally just “Banner Ads” but now includes rich media/interactive ads and video ads
    • Usually expensive to get graphic design and difficult and expensive to change
    • But, your best performing text-based ads can be converted to display ads very cheaply! (They look absolutely hideous, but they work really well)

“Where can we place our ads?”

In New Zealand there are 4 main places where it would be appropriate to put your ads:

1. Beside Google NZ Search results (“Google Adwords”)

  • Format: Text-based ads
  • In the right hand column, and sometime above search results
  • Very easy to set up
  • $1 per click would be average (highly competitive industry’s like finance or tourism will cost more)
  • Good targeting: You can specify a geographic target and your ads are displayed when people in those cities are searching for something related to your offer
  • Provides excellent data so you can just copy/paste your best performing ads to the next 3 ad networks

2. Websites that use Google Adsense

  • Format: Text-based ads and display ads
  • That have dedicated space on their website to earn revenue (like mine: LoveOneDaySales.co.nz)
  • Very easy to set up
  • Display Ads:
    • Very cheap CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions) because most people don’t bother creating display ads because it’s too hard = less competition for ad space = cheaper cost of advertising
    • Good reach – your ads would be popping up on random NZ websites all over the place – good for cheap brand recognition

3. Facebook

  • Format: Text-based ads with a single small image
  • Excellent targeting: you can specify exactly who your demographic is Eg Female 25-35 who live in the Tauranga area
  • But Facebook users are not there to click on ads, they are there to have fun and share their lives. Therefore effectiveness can be very poor
  • Cost-Per-Click varies greatly eg $1-$3

4. Huge NZ Websites that have their own advertising systems

  • Format: display ads (interactive costs extra & video is not usually available)
  • Eg TradeMe, NZHerald etc
  • The CPM (Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions) is usually very high and uncompetitive to a discerning advertiser (because they put a very high value on their own audience and there is large overhead to pay for)
  • No targeting at all

“Great! How do we get started?”

  1. Be very clear what your objective is
    • If it’s new customers: What are you offering them? Why should they join? What’s in it for them? What should your landing page say?
  2. Set a value on that new customer
    • Eg if you can expect every new customer to stick with you for 5 years and you will earn $100 from that relationship, then the value of a new customer is $100. If 50% of them will stick with you, the value is $50
    • This is your maximum allowable “Cost of Acquisition”
  3. Set a target
    • Eg “1000 new customers”
    • And decide upfront how you will measure the results (eg install tracking code on the website)
  4. Set a budget
    • Multiple your target by your Cost of Acquisition
    • If the number is unacceptable, re-adjust any of the numbers accordingly
  5. Hand over the project to someone who knows what they are doing

“Great! Sheldon, can you help us with this?”

I’m booked up until March 2011. If you’d like to join the queue, email me your details and I’ll make a note in my diary to contact you then.

Cheers,
– Sheldon

Phone: (07) 575 8799, Email: sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz

P.S. What I’ve left out:

  • Mobile advertising
    • Google Adwords offers you the ability to show your ads on mobile devices. There is huge growth in this area and definitely worth keeping an eye on and considering later
  • Google Search Partners
    • This is a network of search engines that use Google to serve ads, but these alternatives are not popular in New Zealand so ignore them for now
  • Other Search Engines like Bing
    • Perhaps there are bargains to be had with Bing’s text-based ads but their market share is very small in NZ

The Squeaky Window Gets The Lube

For about a week I have noticed an extremely squeaky rear electric window in my car. It is like 5 teenagers scratching on a chalk board – a really horrendous sound.

I hadn’t thought too deeply about what I should do about it when I heard a radio ad this afternoon “Free electric window lube at Anything Auto Electrical, 32 Waihi Road”.

Just what I wanted! To get the squeak fixed and it’s for free!

I pulled over, and whipped out my new iPhone and found their contact details on yellowpages.co.nz. I called the number and Greg the manager answered. I said “I just heard your radio ad for a free lube, I’ll be there in 10 mins, ok?” “Sure!” said Greg.

I love to talk to small business owners about their marketing, and that’s exactly what I did with Greg as he worked on my windows.

What Greg Reminded Me About The Yellow Pages

And even though I don’t think much of the Yellow Pages, Greg made me remember that for some industries it is essential and can be effective.

For his Yellow Pages online listing, the “Bronze” level was enough to get him ahead of all the auto-electricians in the area for an extra $20/month.  (I guess Yellow Pages hope that to get ahead of him, a competitor will go for the Silver level?).

Greg liked the Yellow Pages statistics he is provided with every month of the people who “click-to-reveal” his phone number. He monitors his phone call stats and tells me a very high percentage of those that click, go ahead and make the phone call.

How Greg Can Get Maximum Mileage Out of His Free Lube Offer

Greg tells me that the idea behind the “free lube for electric windows” offer was to get people in so they find out a bit about the kind of services they offer, where they are, and take a business card away with them so the next time they have an auto-electrical problem, they know who to call.

Finally I had a useful piece of advice for Greg (have you noticed that so far in this article, he has been teaching me?)

I suggested that Greg starts taking an email address and that the admin/receptionist sends out a short “thank you” email later today or tomorrow which has the following components:

  • Thanks: eg “Thanks for coming in for a free electric window lube today, we think it is important to help you to prolong the life of your window motor and switches”
  • Provide a list of 5 most common symptoms that would indicate an electrical problem “if you notice any of those changes/noises, bring your car in and we’ll do a no-obligation diagnostic for you”

Greg explained to me that he hasn’t bothered creating an emailing list in the past because auto-electrical work happens when something breaks, and whereas mechanics can send out 6 monthly reminders for oil changes and WOF’s, there is very little you can do in terms of preventative maintenance when it comes to auto-electrics.

I suggested, that now that he has the customers permission to email then, that he schedule an email for 3 or 4 or 6 months from now anyway.  The content of that email could simply repeat the list of “5 most common symptoms” or provide a new list, or helpful article, or free advice.

It’s an opportunity to get his brand name in-front of that customer again, and is sure to increase the chances of that customer choosing Greg if something happens to their car around that time that they receive that email.

How Greg Depends Heavily On Online Directory Websites

Even though I am a Marketing generalist and profess to be a “Marketing Consultant” or “Marketing Advisor” I must confess that I don’t do much of that kind of work for clients. Most of the time a client doesn’t even know they need help with their marketing, they just know they need a website. So that’s what I build for them – a website. Luckily for them all my marketing knowledge goes into that process for free!

Anyway, Greg told me his website lists products but doesn’t have ecommerce.

That is perfectly fine in my opinion.

Sometimes it is right to show samples of your product range, indications of pricing, and then drive people to the phone so you can help them in greater depth, provide them with a more accurate diagnosis of their problem, and propose the appropriate solution.

You don’t get that with an ecommerce website – most ecommerce websites are just about the lowest price. It’s no fun discounting all the time just to give yourself the chance of making a sale.

Since getting back to the office, I have tried to find Greg’s website, but I have failed.

I searched for “Anything Auto Electrical Tauranga” but the search engine results pages are dominated by directory listings of his business (Yellow, iLook, UBD, Finda etc), so there is no problem finding his contact details, location and phone number, but it concerns me that his “official” website is nowhere to be seen.

To me, this is a reminder that every business should have a website even if it is a single page with only your contact details and a summary of how you can help customers.

Did you know it is very very easy to rank at the top of search engine results for your brand name?

Why send everyone who searches for you to those directory websites? Do you see there is more risk of them finding one of your competitors while they are there?

If your official website is the first, that risk is removed and you have control over what they read (whereas online directories control how your info is presented).

Can I Help You?

I’d love to chat with you to find out about your business and I might have an idea or two for you to improve. But to be honest, mostly I’ll be listening to what I can learn from you 🙂

If you’d like some free advice about your marketing and advertising, give me a call (07) 575 8799.

Cheers,

Sheldon Nesdale

Expired Domains: Picking Fruit From A Graveyard Of Failed Ideas?

Occasionally, just for fun, I spend a few minutes browsing www.ExpiredDomains.co.nz.

Expired Domains lists all .nz domain names which have expired and are in the .nz registry’s official 90 day pending release period.

But what I find most interesting about this list is that at first glance, many of them look like really good names!

Every single time I look at this list of Expired Domains, I have these same three reactions:

Reaction #1:

“oooo, I can’t believe that xyz.co.nz is available! And it’s only $24.50! What a freakin bargain, I’ll set up a website and make millions! I simply can’t lose!”

Reaction #2:

I do a double-take.

“wait a second… they are on this list of expired domains because someone, like me, thought they had potential.  But that person failed to make any money from it at all, and let it expire rather than waste another $24.50 on it to renew it… hmmmm”

**Warning Bells!!**

“calm down Sheldon, calm down, I don’t have to whip out my credit card right now and buy it before someone else gets a chance…”

Reaction #3:

“Oh, in all that excitement I forgot that it doesn’t matter what your domain name is. What is most important is your content!”

What do you think?

The next time you are tempted by an expired domain, pause, and remember that you are picking fruit from a graveyard of failed ideas.

Add your comments below:

How To Modify Your Advertising Depending On The Customers Usage Level And Loyalty

The next time you are writing an advertisement, or an article, or updating your website, choose your audience along the following grid of “usage” vs “loyalty”.

Choose just one and ask yourself “how can I modify my message to speak just to them?”.

Usage vs Loyalty: Where Are The Opportunities For Your Business?

Let’s look at each sector in more detail:

1. High/Med/Low User + High Loyalty To You = Your Best Customers

  • This is where you are making all your profit.
  • What else can you do today to keep them fiercely loyal? 2 ideas:
    • Keep adding value, keep improving
    • and keep putting your prices up (the best way to maintain or grow your profitability and signal to them that you are working hard to improve the value of your products and services)
  • Don’t waste your money communicating to this bunch with mass-media. Surely you have their email addresses or phone numbers? But more important than a cheesy Christmas card every year is to keep delivering the top quality products and services they have come to expect. Keep up the good work. Nice job.
  • High Volume:
    • If we all had lots of high volume / high loyalty customers we’d all be rich! But unfortunately they are hard to get, hard to keep and there are few of them.  So don’t retire yet
    • It’s a double edged sword: Does having just a few major contracts make your business secure and stable, or does it make you weak and vulnerable?
  • Med/Low Volume:
    • Don’t neglect the little guy. They might never turn into high volume, but they are your bread and butter today. But you already knew that I’m sure.

2. High User + Low Loyalty To You = Your Competitors Best Customers

  • Do you think you can win the most loyal customers of your competitors? You’re dreaming! They’re out of your reach
  • Can you turn a Holden fan into a Ford fan? No, you can’t. So give up and pick a fight you can win
  • But, be ready – wait for the competition to make a huge screw-up and be there with a smile on your face welcoming them home
  • This group is completely blind to your advertisements. They have made their choice of supplier for this category/industry/niche. Life is easy and peaceful for them. Let them be at peace.

3. High User + No Loyalty = Attractive But Deadly

  • This group is super attractive, because there are so many of them
  • Your boss will put enormous pressure on you to do whatever it takes to make this group buy from you this week. Most of the time the only tactic that will work is a super special price (maybe at break-even point!)
  • Sure, you might make the sale this week, but next week you’re playing the same game again and next time they’ll choose a different supplier
  • These guys suck up your advertising budget and contribute little to your profitability
  • They don’t care about the brand you’ve worked so hard to build. They don’t see distinction or differentiation between your brand and your competitors. “Who is cheaper this week? That’s the one for me!”

4. Non-Users + No Loyalty = Untapped Markets

  • This group has never made a purchase
  • They have the same problems and issues that all the other customers are facing, but not know that a solution exists!
  • For example, one of the most popular websites in NZ is called 1-day.co.nz with half a million visits a day, but it seems that 80% of the people I tell about it, have never heard of it! Could the same be true for your business? What are they reading/watching/listening to that you don’t normally advertise in?
  • The only bummer with speaking to the members of this new market is that you are breaking the ice for your whole industry and they may not choose you!

5. Med/Low Users + Low Loyalty To You = Your Competitors Bread and Butter

  • This is where your growth can come from
  • It’s about maintaining your high quality, providing remarkable service (even if only occasionally) and trying to activate Word-of-Mouth
  • What can you do to turn your customers into ambassadors for your brand?

Need Help?

Need help analysing the opportunities for your business?

I’d loooove to help!  Call (07) 575 8799 or email sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz.

Cheers,
Sheldon.

B2B Marketing Plans: How To Create A One Page Marketing Plan – Just Answer These 7 Questions

Does your marketing plan need to be 10 pages?

20 pages?

200 pages?

No.

1 page is fine.

And all you need is the answers to these 7 questions.

7 Essential Questions For Your Business-to-Business Marketing Plan

1. What is your objective?

  • Do you want to retire young? Do you want a million dollars? Do you want to solve the worlds problems? Do you want to improve peoples lives?
  • It all starts with your answer to this question

2. Who is your target client?

  • Describe your perfect client(s)
  • Is it “every NZ business”? That’s a mistake. Look up the definition of the word “target” if this was your first impulse
  • Start by staking out a geographical territory and communicate the ownership of that territory fiercely (be proud that you live in Tauranga or Rotorua or Hamilton or Invercargil!)
  • What kind of business are they in? What industry? How many employees do they have? What problem are they facing everyday that they are struggling to solve? Who are their customers?
  • If you target your clients correctly, would it be physically possible to write a list of every potential client? I’m sure it would! Can you see, that if you do that, you’ll never consider using mass media such as Radio or TV advertising again?

3. What do they need?

  • Notice that I’m not asking you to list your products/services?
  • First, identify groups of clients
  • Second, identify what they need (don’t think in terms of what you’ve got. Focus on what they need from your industry)
  • Third, decide if you can deliver what they need
    • If so, repackage/rebundle your current products/services to appeal to them
    • If not, either ignore the need or set up someone to refer them to

4. How do your prospective clients make their buying decisions?

  • What is the process they go through?
  • How long does the “information collection” stage take?
  • Where do they look when gathering that information?
  • Do they make decisions by committee? Or alone? (Hint, decisions are never made alone)
  • Who do they ask for advice?

5. Why should they choose you?

  • If you don’t know the answer to this question make something up. Now.
  • Why do they currently choose your competitors?

6. What is the most efficient way to deliver your message to your audience?

  • Please leave the mass media advertising like radio and TV to Harvey Norman. It’s not for you.
  • Please don’t waste air time or paper or the time of people who have no interest in what you’re selling (that’s called SPAM)
  • Will you use face to face visits? Phone calls? Your website? Direct mail? Networking?

7. What headlines would capture their attention?

  • What benefit driven headlines would compel them to read more?
  • This is how to start generating your ideas for your marketing/advertising methods
  • Writing headlines first forces you to focus on the client and what’s in it for them
  • Writing great headlines is a science in itself, and the part of my job I love the most

Need help?

I’d loooooove to work on this stuff with you.

Give me a call (07) 575 8799 or email sheldon@marketingfirst.co.nz

Cheers,

Sheldon.

Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths For Winning At Business Without Losing Your Self by Alan M. Webber

My notes on “Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths For Winning At Business Without Losing Your Self” – by Alan M. Webber.51Ei+GQ7PnL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

What business are you in?

  • If you’re a journalist and you think you’re in the news business, chances are good you’re going to go out of business. News today is a commodity. But there’s a good market for the opinion business or event he funny business (eg Jon Stewart whom recently finished forth in the voting for America’s most trusted source of… news). None of them are in the news business; they’re successful because they are in the ideas-behind-the-news business.
  • Learn to see with fresh eyes so you can differentiate your business from the competition.

  • Change the way your business sees the market and the way your customers see your business.
  • How? Start by asking a different question. Not “what is our product or service?” but “What does our product or service stand for?”
  • Eg a supermarket chain could stand for healthier life for customers who are willing to pay more for organic food.
  • Eg2 a coffee shop could stand for neighbourliness for the people in its surrounding community who use it as an informal gathering place

Continue reading “Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths For Winning At Business Without Losing Your Self by Alan M. Webber”

The Knack – How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn To Handle Whatever Comes Up by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham

My notes on “The Knack – How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn To Handle Whatever Comes Up” by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham4891811

Why are you better off starting a business from scratch rather than buying one?

  • It’s harder to learn a business if you haven’t been with it from the start
  • You miss out on all the trial-and-error education that happens in the early stages
  • You don’t understand key relationships in the business
  • You don’t know what to do in emergencies
  • You make mistakes that are much costlier than they would have been back when the company was smaller and struggling to get off the ground


Continue reading “The Knack – How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn To Handle Whatever Comes Up by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham”

List of Rental Cars Needing Relocation – How You Can Hire A Rental For Free

Rental Car companies are always needing to move their vehicles between branches around the country.

You can return one of these rental cars for them for free (sometimes the rental is free and you pay petrol, sometimes they give you 50% off the rental, sometimes it’s totally free)

If I’ve missed any on the following list, let me know in the comments below.

List of Rental Cars Needing Relocation

  1. www.Thrifty.co.nz
    Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Picton, Blenheim, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargil, Greymouth
  2. www.QualityRental.co.nz
    Auckland, Wellington, Picton, Christchurch
  3. www.RoadTripRentals.co.nz
    Christchurch, Greymouth
  4. www.NZRentalCar.co.nz
    Christchurch, Greymouth, Wellington, Auckland, Queenstown
  5. www.OmegaRentalCars.co.nz
    Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Picton, Queenstown
  6. www.AceRentals.co.nz
    Auckland, Picton, Christchurch, Queenstown, Greymouth, Dunedin
  7. www.Maui.co.nz [Campervans]
    Join the database and they’ll email you when they need you
  8. www.Avis.co.nz
    Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Picton
  9. www.Budget.co.nz
    Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Picton, Queenstown
  10. www.RentalCar.co.nz
    Christchurch, Greymouth

Websites that list many rental cars from many brands needing relocation

If you are thinking of creating a aggregator website to list all rental cars needing returning from lots of different rental car companies, think again.  You won’t get rich.

There are only 2 in New Zealand, and one has been abandoned.

  1. www.TransferCar.co.nz
    Aggregates lots of rental car companies on one website. According to this 2008 article they had 300 a month, today there are 5, so it looks like business has slowed a bit.
  2. www.RelocationCarHire.co.nz
    Also suppose to aggregate lots of rental car companies but it’s been abandoned. Totally empty.

Need to go one way from the North Island to the South Island in a rental car? Bad luck

Did you know you can’t hire a rental car one-way across the inter island ferries?

For example, if you are traveling from the South Island to the North Island you have to leave your rental car in Picton, jump on the ferry with all your gear and pick up another rental car in Wellington! Stink.

It must be because carrying a car across on the ferry is so expensive, so most people would rather save the $400 and go on the ferry as foot traffic.

Generating Revenue By Subscription – Free To Start With And Then Start Charging? Does It Work?

Are you tempted to start charging for access to your website?

Maybe it’s a blog, maybe it’s news, maybe its whitepapers in your area of expertise.

If the revenue model for your website is by subscription you have 3 primary choices:

  1. Free content
    • You ask for email addresses, but you don’t demand them for access
    • The incentive for providing the email address could be a weekly digest of new content, special offers/promotions etc, and a sense of belonging to a club
    • Advertising would be necessary to cover costs
  2. “Freemium” content
    • Most of the content is free but access to certain articles (perhaps the archive) is accessible only with a Premium subscription
    • Example: NZ’s Consumer Magazine (some articles are free, most reports are behind the PayWall)
  3. The “PayWall”
    • Erect a paywall right from the start. If visitors want to see your content, they have to pay
    • Example: NZ’s National Business Review

The question is: Can you use the “Free” model to generate a huge database of subscribers and transition them to “Freemium” or “PayWall”?

This is of course what many newspapers are trying to do with their news websites, but I don’t care about them, I care about you – could it work for your website?

I don’t envy you if you are facing that decision right now. When deciding when to flip the switch you must to worried that you’ll cut off your growth rate.

Have you been on the receiving end of one of these changes? Your favourite website suddenly flips the switch and demands you pay them for access?  Did you start paying or did you search and find that info from another source?

Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson

My Notes on “Ready, Fire, Aim” by Michael Masterson:41XjfgOsASL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_

When Launching A New Business, What Should Consume Your Time?

  • In launching new businesses, many entrepreneurs do the opposite of spending 80% of their time of their time on selling.
  • They spend most of their time, attention, energy and capital on things such as setting up an office, designing logos, printing business cards, filing forms, writing contracts, and refining the product.

  • They have the impression that they are doing things in a logical order – getting everything just right before they open their doors.
  • In fact, they are wasting valuable resources on secondary and tertiary endeavours.
  • It is enough to have the product and customer service just okay at the outset. Perfecting them can be done a little later, after you have gotten feedback from your customers.
  • Sell as soon as you can – if possible before you have spent a lot of time and money making it perfect.

Continue reading “Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson”

Why Is Harvey Norman Stuck In The 1990’s?

Yes, yes, Harvey Norman does sell the latest technology: Plasma TVs, Laptops, Macbooks, Printers, Digital Cameras etc (at awesome prices), but why oh why do they contradict this image with the following:

  1. Dot matrix printers for printing out your receipt
  2. A 1990’s website
    • With a “splash” page (the home page just has a big photo and link to the rest of the website)
    • The navigation is located in 4 different locations (very hard to figure out where you are. Totally unintuitive)
    • No open hours (forces you to pick up the phone and ask – that is so 1990’s!)
    • No E-commerce (unlike ALL of their competitors: Dick Smith Electronics, Noel Leemings, Bond and Bond)
  3. No social networking activity at all
    • No Facebook page
    • No Twitter account
    • No Linked-in profile

Perhaps Harvey Norman has people in the marketing department (either here in New Zealand or in head office in Australia) fighting for these changes, but because it is a private company run by an old fuddy-duddy family, they are probably very happy with the way they doing their mass media advertising (radio, TV, flyers every day).

What have I missed?

Write your comments below.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley and William D Danko

the_millionaire_next_doorWhat can we learn from this book published in 1996? Quite a lot actually.

Can You Answer “Yes” to the Next 7 Questions? If not, you have little chance of becoming a Millionaire:

  1. Do live below your means?
  2. Do you allocate time, energy, and money efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth?
  3. Do you believe financial independence is more important than displaying high social status?
  4. Do you provide economic outpatient care for your adult children?
  5. Are your adult children economically self-sufficient?
  6. Are you proficient in targeting market opportunities?
  7. Have you chosen the right occupation?


Continue reading “The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley and William D Danko”

Toughen Up by Michael Hill – Book Review

I liked it.

The secret to his success is setting goals, and then taking bold steps to achieve them. He’s a very goal oriented man.

  • Goal 1: 7 stores in 7 years. Achieved.
  • Goal 2: 70 stores in the next 7 years. Achieved.
  • Goal 3: 1000 stores by 2024. I think he’ll achieve it.

He’s got balls of solid gold.

He’s loving the recession because it means he can buy up prime US locations for his stores that he never would have been able to afford previously.

Genius. Continue reading “Toughen Up by Michael Hill – Book Review”

The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

My Notes on “The Myths of Innovation” by Scott Berkun:berkun-myths-210x315-200x300

Myth #1: The Myth of the Epiphany

  • An epiphany only comes when you’ve put in all the hard work. It’s just the final piece in a 1000 piece puzzle
  • When inventors are asked how they came up with their idea they say “it just came to me”, and have some interesting story about how the idea formed in their head. They don’t say “after 1000 hours of research the idea became obvious”, because it’s boring. Stories about epiphany’s are interesting and exciting and give us hope that we will have one
  • The most useful way to think of epiphany is an occasional bonus of working on tough problems


Continue reading “The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun”

Making Things Happen – Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun

51inoqTDRML._SX379_BO1,204,203,200_My Notes on “Making Things Happen – Mastering Project Management” by Scott Berkun:

The Five States Of Communication

1. Transmitted

When you send an email or leave a voice mail, you are transmitting a piece of information to someone.  This doesn’t mean she has read or heard it, it just means the message has left your hands with the intent to arrive in hers.  With email and the Web, it’s very easy to transmit information, but there is no guarantee anyone is ever going to read it.

Continue reading “Making Things Happen – Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun”

The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organisation by Peter F. Drucker, Jim Collins, Phillip Kotler

My Notes on “The five most important questions you will ever ask about your organisation” by Peter F. Drucker, Jim Collins, Phillip Kotler:227565 cover.indd

Every truly great organisation demonstrates the characteristic of preserving the core but stimulating progress.

Peter Drucker told us over 40 years ago “The purpose of a company is to create a customer… The only profit centre is the customer.”

If he was here today he would amend this observation. He would say “The best companies don’t create customers. They create fans.
Continue reading “The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organisation by Peter F. Drucker, Jim Collins, Phillip Kotler”

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

My Notes on “Blue Ocean Strategy” by W.Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne:51xtlczer7L._SX339_BO1,204,203,200_

Creating Blue Oceans

Rather than compete with Ringling Bros, Cirque du Solei created uncontested new market space that made the competition irrelevant.

Imagine a market universe composed of two sorts of oceans: red oceans and blue oceans. Red oceans represent all the industries in existence today.  This is the know market space. Blue oceans denote all the industries not in existence today.  This is the unknown market space.
Continue reading “Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne”

The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg

My Notes on “The Secrets of Consulting” by Gerald M. Weinberg:The secrets

  • The first law of consulting: In spite of what your client may tell you, theirs is always a problem.
  • The second law of consulting: No matter how it looks at first, it’s always a people problem
  • Never promise more than 10% improvement (so the client doesn’t get embarrassed about how crap they were)
  • If you happen to achieve more than 10% improvement, make sure it isn’t noticed
  • Whatever the client is doing, advise something else (because what they have been doing hasn’t worked so far)

  • You’ll never accomplish anything if you care who gets the credit
  • If they don’t hire you, don’t solve their problem
  • The Law of Raspberry Jam: The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets. Alternative: “Influence or affluence; take your choice”. One on one advice is very powerful for initiating change, an email newsletter or a book is weaker at influencing chance. But with the latter, with leverage, you can make a lot of money
  • Most of the time, for most of the world, no matter how hard people work at it, nothing of any significance happens
  • Once you eliminate your number one problem, number two gets a promotion
  • The Hard Law: If you can’t accept failure, you’ll never succeed as a consultant
  • Inverse of the Hard Law: Some people do succeed as consultants, so it must be possible to deal with failure
  • The Harder Law: Helping myself is even harder than helping others

Continue reading “The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg”

The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

My Notes on “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes:Chet holmes

  • You can profoundly improve your company if you absolutely commit one hour a week in which you do nothing else than work on making the business much more effective.
  • We all get good ideas t seminars and from books and business-building gurus. The problem is that most companies do not know how to identify and adapt the best ideas to their businesses. Implementation, not ideas, is the key to real success.
  • To do’s, tasks, and deadlines must be assigned after every meeting. But the key is not to ask for too much to be completed. Make the gains small but constant. If you are having the meeting every week and you are making small incremental gains each and every week, think of the profound transformation you’re going to have in 52 weeks.


Continue reading “The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes”

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch

My Notes on “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less” by Richard Koch:good read

  • Conventional wisdom is not to put all your eggs in one basket.  80/20 wisdom is to choose a basket carefully, load all your eggs into it, and then watch it like a hawk.
  • Celebrate exceptional productivity, rather than raise average efforts
  • Look for the short cut, rather than run the full course
  • Be selective, not exhaustive
  • Strive for excellence in few things, rather than good performance in many
  • Delegate or outsource as much as possible in our daily lives and be encouraged rather than penalised by tax systems to do this (use specialists to the maximum instead of doing the work ourselves)

  • Only do the thing we are best at doing and enjoy most
  • In every important sphere, work out where 20% of effort can lead to 80% of returns
  • Creative systems operate away from equilibrium. Cause and effect, input and output, operate in a non-linear way. You do not usually get back what you put in; you may sometimes get very much less and sometimes get very mush more.
  • If you can identify where your firm is getting back more than it is putting in, you can up the stakes and make a killing. Similarly, if you can work out where your firm is getting back much less than it is investing, you can cut your losses.

Continue reading “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch”

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

My Notes on “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris:work week

Different is better when it is more effective or more fun.  If everyone is defining a problem or solving it one way and the results are sub-par, this is the time to ask, What if I did the opposite. Don’t follow a model that doesn’t work.

Most cold calls don’t get to the intended person for one reason: gatekeepers. Make all your calls from 8-8.30am and 6-6.30pm for a total of one hour to avoid secretaries and book twice as many meetings as senior sales executives who call from 9-5. Twice the results in 1/8 of the time.
Continue reading “The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris”

The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

My Notes on “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber:riiig

In a business that depends on you, on your style, on your personality, on your presence, on your talent and willingness to do the work, if you’re not there customers would go someplace else.

In this case, customers aren’t buying your businesses ability to give them what they want, but your ability to give them what they want.

If your business depends on your, you don’t own a business – you have a job.  And that’s not the purpose of going into business. The purpose of business is to get free of a job so you can create jobs for other people, to expand beyond your existing horizons, to satisfy a need in the marketplace
Continue reading “The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber”

Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham

My Notes on “Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got” by Jay Abraham:télécharger (4)

Only 3 Ways to increase income:

  • Increase the number of clients
  • Increase the size of the sale per client
  • Increase the number of times that client buys from you

Difference between a customer and a client

  • A customer is someone who purchases something.  A client is someone under our protection.  So when a client wants to buy a bicycle for his son, what he really wants to spend precious time with his son to teach him to ride a bike, so its in his best interests if I sell him the best bike in the store that won’t crumple if he bumps into a tree.  I am a trusted advisor, so he’ll be back next year to get bikes for the whole family.


Continue reading “Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham”

12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter

My Notes on “12: The Elements of Great Managing” by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter:9781595629982_p1_v3_s369x593

1. I know what is expected of me at work

Like a Jazz band or the team on an aircraft carrier, or a NBA basketball team.  More than knowing their tasks, they have been working as a team for so long, they can anticipate moves and have contingency plans.  I know the tasks to complete but more importantly, how my role fits in with everyone else.

2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right

Be open to other peoples suggestions about how they could do a better job. Eg the special gloves at the fibreglass factory.  Small refinements add up over time.  And mean a lot to the employee – they feel listened to and cared about and they reward the company with loyalty and pitching in when needed.  Bad idea: Not allocating people their space, having fluid desk arrangements Continue reading “12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter”

Crucial Conversations, Tools For Talking When The Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson

My Notes:51aefLfnGUL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

    • Focus on what you really want.
      • What do I want for myself?
      • For others?
      • For the relationship?
      • How would I behave if this were what I really wanted?
    • Contrast to fix misunderstanding:
      • Start with what you don’t intend or mean, then explain what you do intend or mean.
      • Don’t be tempted to water down your content: “you know it’s really not that big a deal”

  • What story am I telling myself?
    • Victim story: It’s not my fault!
    • Villain story: It’s all your fault!
    • Helpless story: There’s nothing else I can do!
    • Re-examine the cold hard facts, question my conclusions look for other possible explanations. What do I really want? What would I do right now if I really want these results?
  • STATE your path
    • Share your facts
    • Tell your story (explain what you’re beginning to conclude)
    • Ask for others’ paths (encourage them to share their facts and stories)
    • Talk tentatively (state your story as a story – don’t disguise it as fact)
    • Encourage testing (make it safe for others to express differing or opposing views)
  • To get people to share
    • Ask (express an interest)
    • Mirror (acknowledge their emotions)
    • Paraphrase (restate what you’ve heard to show you understand, and that its safe for them to share)

Bargaining for Advantage by G. Richard Shell

So How Do You Ensure You Have The Advantage When Negotiating? My Notes:51C7i36GXbL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_

    • Prepare thoroughly in advance
    • Locate the decision maker
    • Built rapport
    • Discover the other party’s goals – ask questions, obtain information on interests, issues and perceptions. Test for understanding, summarise, probe first then disclose, signal regarding your leverage
    • If you open then you benefit from setting the anchor point.
    • Look for common ground
    • On what issues might the other side say “no”?
    • Search for low-cost options that solve the other party’s problems while advancing your goals
    • Trade issues

  • Leverage
    • Flows to those with the greatest control and comfort with the present situations.
    • Threats must be credible.
    • For whom is time a factor?
    • Create momentum by giving little things.
    • Create a vision that the other side has something to lose from no deal
    • Positive leverage: Is having something the other guy wants, or better, needs, or best, cannot do without
    • Negative Leverage: Threat based, with hints rather than shouts
    • Normative Leverage: Give and take
    • Leverage changes constantly through the negotiation
    • Leverage depends on the other party’s perceptions of the situation, not the facts
  • Closing Technique: Scarcity Effect
    • Competition (many others are interested)
    • Deadlines (we will withdraw the offer soon)
    • Walkouts (I will get up and leave at any time)
  • Closing Technique: Overcommitment
    • eg standing in line at DisneyLand
    • Leverage loss aversion  (“We’ve come so far, don’t let all this time and effort go to waste!”)
  • Softer Closing Technique: Split the difference
  • Beware Rogue Tactics:
    • Lies about bottom lines and alternatives
    • Low-balling
    • Phoney issues / decoy / red herring
    • Fake authority ploys
    • Overcommitment (drags out the negotiation process and raises or lowers the price or terms at the last minute)
    • Good guy / bad guy
    • Consistency traps (The goal of which is to pre-commit you to a seemingly innocent standard. They get you to agree to a statement before telling you why the statement is important)
    • Reciprocity ploys (“I made a concession, now its your turn”. Beware of reciprocity traps – “Here’s a flower, may I have a donation?”)
    • The nibble (just before closing hoping your exhausted)