small business marketing consultant

Up Sell Magic: How to increase initial customer value the right way

The most famous phrase in fast food, "Would you like fries with that" is nothing more than a simple, elegant up sell. Today on the Small Business Marketing Show I talk with Ryan Chapman, up sell expert, and author of "Would You Like to Go Big? How to Increase Initial Customer Value Without Sacrificing Lifetime Value." Ryan shares answers to like:

  • Why are up sells such a big deal?
  • Where do people mess up with up sells?
  • What are the keys to successful up sells online? ...and Offline?
  • And a whole lot more...

Adding a relevant up sell offer is one of the best ways to both serve your clients better AND give a big boost to your profits.


To get a free copy of Ryan's book Would You Like To Go Big? (Ryan's even offered to pay the shipping!) Click here.


You're asking the wrong marketing questions

The answers are easy… It's getting the questions right that is hard.

I've talked to four business owners over the last few days about the challenges with their marketing.

And each of those conversations started with this question:

"So how do you think I should be advertising…social media, TV, radio, direct mail?"

It's the wrong question.

See, the media you use is irrelevant unless and until you have a clear (and I mean CRYSTAL CLEAR) understanding of WHO your ideal client is (and who your ideal client is not).

But that's not enough.

You also need to know, with all the certainty of the sunrise in the east, what big hairy problem their having today that you can solve for them.

So the questions to ask are…

Who is ideally suited to the solution I offer? Why?

What value do they derive from my solution? Why is it valuable to them? (The reasons are not usually obvious.)

How valuable is it to them? Worth sacrificing to get, or just nice to have?

How do THEY talk about their problem? All of you experts reading this are especially afflicted (I've been there too) because you talk in gibberish only you understand.

Why should they buy from you and not the guy or gal down the street?

Why don't they buy from you? (Many sales to be made with the answer to this question.)

Answer these and THEN you can ask…

Where can I find them? Using what media?

Any earlier and the answers are irrelevant.


P.S. Sometimes it's nearly impossible to answer these questions on your own. You're just too close to see them. I may be able to help >>> click here now.

How to Sell Your Product or Service With An Irresistible Offer

small business marketing show

Want to know how to sell your product or service more easily? Create an irresistible offer.


On this week's Small Business Marketing Show I sit down with, friend, colleague and copywriter extraordinaire Donnie Bryant to breakdown exactly how he develops killer offers for his clients (which include Experian and  Early to Rise).

Listen as Donnie explains how to...

  •  Position your product or service in a unique way (even if it's not unique).
  • How to remove yourself from all price competition.
  • How to communicate the value of your offer.
  • 3 ways to bundle your offering to add incredible value.

If you feel like you're in "commodity hell" or if price competition's got you down, you must listen to this interview.

Be sure to check out Donnie's book Stealth Selling: Non-Pushy Persuasion for Professionals...and connect with Donnie on Google+

Episode Transcript

Steve: Welcome to the Small Business Marketing Show. This is your host, Steve Gordon. I’m the founder of Steve Gordon Marketing Systems, where we help small business owners and people in professional practice build autopilot marketing systems to attract all the clients they want, and do so with a lot less work.
Today, I’m really excited to be talking with my good friend Donnie Bryant. Donnie is a direct response copywriter and a marketing consultant up near Chicago. He just does so many neat things. I’ve been following him for gosh, 18 months, 2 years now. The things that come out of his brain are really cool.
The reason I wanted to have him on today is because as a direct response copywriter, he has to spend a lot of time figuring out how to craft an offer and how to package a product or service so that somebody will actually want to buy it. In fact, that’s what he gets paid to do.
One of the things that I run into over and over again with businesses that I come across with is they just don’t have a good feel about how to package what they do into a compelling offer that’s going to make somebody want to stand up and say, “Hey, I want that.” We’re going to talk with Donnie about that today.
In addition to all of that, Donnie has authored a book called “Stealth Selling: Non-Pushy Persuasion for Professionals,” which I highly recommend. We’ll give you a link to that at the end of the show.
Donnie, welcome. Great talking to you.

Donnie: Wow, thanks for having me. Thanks for a great introduction. Hopefully, we can live up to the expectation that we’ve just set. [laughs]

Steve: I have full confidence. We’re talking about offers today. Probably, 9 out of 10 business owners that I will say the word “offer” to, their immediate response will be, “You mean like a sale?” We’re not talking about a sale. We’re not talking about a special discount. It might include that, but really, that’s not what we’re talking about.
Can you kind of describe to folks? When you and I talk offer, what does that mean to you?

Donnie: What we want to do, ideally, is kind of the opposite of a sale. You want to be able to make more money rather than less. You want to be able to charge more for what you’re offering than what the next guy is.
By coming up with an offer, you don’t want to turn yourself into the Wal-Mart of your field. What you want to do is turn yourself into the Apple of your field and create something that your target audience is going to line up for and pre-order buy in piles, like they do for anything that Apple does.
That’s kind of what we are talking about when we say offer. How do you get your product, your service… how do you construct something that will make it really appealing to your target audience?
You know what’s funny? I suppose you watch Shark Tank, right?

Steve: Oh, all the time.

Donnie: [laughs] A couple of weeks ago—I can’t remember which one it was—a guy and his wife came on and they were selling the chicken wing chip dip. Did you see that episode?

Steve: Yes. [laughs]

Donnie: So the panel was tasting. It’s like, oh okay. Daymond John said, “So basically, this is a chicken smoothie.” [laughs] I’m like, wait. Change your perspective just for a second. They showed the shots of Mark looking like, “Ugh.” [laughs]
When you’re putting together an offer, when you’re structuring how you’re going to present your offer--your product, your service--you can position it in a way that it looks terrible, like Damon said. “Here’s a chicken smoothie.” You’re not going to sell any of that. No. [laughs]

Steve: That’s right.

Donnie: But the idea is, to put it together in a way that it’s unique and obviously valuable and can create an emotional connection with the person that you really want to buy from you, the person who will benefit from what it is that you have. That’s where the struggle is. That’s I guess the foundation of where we’re going to go.
I think the first thing is uniqueness. That’s a valid point, that sometimes you don’t feel like you’re in a unique market or you don’t have a unique product or service.
For me, there are a million copywriters or probably more. There are more coming out every day. There are so many people who will charge less than me. Believe me, I hear that frequently. “You cost too much.” Which I guess is a good thing. I used to be one of the guys who didn’t charge much. There are two who charge ten times as much as I do, and they probably are worth it. [chuckles]
So the question is, how do you position something that’s not inherently unique as a product or service? How do you make an offer on that that’s still compelling to your target audience? That comes down to understanding what it is that those particular people are looking for, what connects between you and them, or what it is about you that’s appealing to them.
In my particular case, I’ve had so many people tell me that they really respect and value my ability to emulate their voice. If somebody wanted to communicate in a personal way that sounded like them rather than sounded like a robot or sounded like every other guy out there… just my ability to emulate their voice. So whatever it is about you that people really respond to, that’s going to be key to coming up with an offer that really works.

Steve: I think you hit it perfectly. It’s about being unique. There aren’t very many businesses that are unique. In the marketing world, we all like to point to Apple. Apple hasn’t created a unique product yet.

Donnie: [laughs]

Steve: They haven’t innovated nor created a brand new category ever, I think. They came out with the iPod, but there were tons of mp3 players around when they came out with the iPod.

Donnie: That’s right.

Steve: They just packaged it differently and they bundled it. That’s a key concept to think about here. They bundled the physical mp3 player with the buying of content through the iTunes store to put onto the mp3 player, because that was a pain in the neck for those of us who were around back when mp3 players came out. I hate to admit it, but I was around back when cassette players were state of the art.

Donnie: [laughs] I still have a few cassettes in my house as well.

Steve: Exactly. By packaging things together like that, it allows you to get out of what I call commodity hell, because now it becomes harder for people to do an apples to apples comparison. So now, you’re in the apples and oranges, and they go, “Well, I got an apple over here and I got an orange over here. How do I sell? Which one’s worth more money?” That immediately then disconnects whatever it is you do from price.
If you’re a professional—say an attorney or somebody—and you’ve got your regular service but you bundle that with something that’s really valuable to your particular client that they’re going to need anyway and you would often do anyway but nobody else is talking about it, well now you’ve got a package over here. You’ve got a special offer that adds value. Now you can justify charging higher fees.
That’s why I think this is so important. This can be a game changer. You get the right offer, and it can completely change your business.

Donnie: It changes everything. You said something brilliant—to shift from an apple to apple comparison, to an apple to orange comparison. One thing you’ve got to know is some people prefer apples over oranges. Your offer is going to be targeted. Some people will not want what you have to offer.
Some people can’t stand an Apple product, the company Apple. There’s a battle between Android phones and iPhones. Some people are going to go with one, some people are going to go with the other. That’s good. It’s good for you to define what kind of fruit you are—an apple to grape comparison, maybe. What kind of fruit are you? You’re not just, “We’re selling fruit.” But you want to be in your own space, even if you’re not creating a new category.
Apple was just making things that people loved in areas that already existed, in categories that already existed. But they set themselves apart from all their competitors as far as creating a design and creating a brand and creating a lifestyle, almost, that’s unique to them. People will buy anything that Apple said--

Steve: Certain people will buy.

Donnie: Certain people, yeah. There you go.

Steve: I think that’s key. Apple Computers—they don’t call themselves that anymore—they sell in a bubble.

Donnie: Right.

Steve: I’ve got a Mac, I’ve got a MacBook Pro, an iPhone, and an iPad within arm’s reach of me here.

Donnie: [laughs]

Steve: If I was at home with my wife, there would be another iPhone. I think we have five iPods of various ages that our kids have.
Any time they come out with something new, it’s already sold to us. There’s no competition. We’re not going anywhere else. They’re selling in a bubble. That’s the advantage of crafting an offer that speaks to a really specific part of the market.

Donnie: That’s right.

Steve: So how do we go about doing that? What are some of the things you go through when you think about building an offer for a client?

Donnie: When you sent me the e-mail title, “How do we come up with an irresistible offer?” That’s kind of the little language that we use. You have to realize where resistance comes from. People have resistance against the things that aren’t their priority, things that aren’t important to them. So how do you make something that they won’t resist? You have to come up with something that they really want.
I think all marketers have heard this, most people in business have heard this. You have to sell something that people want. The question is, how do you do this? But when you’re constructing your offer, you have to find out what it is that people already want.
Steve Jobs said something like, “Sometimes, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” I don’t know that he was right about that. Not to speak badly about such a great guy. Like you said, he didn’t create a new thing; he just presented it in a new way.
People already liked music, right? People already liked to be mobile, especially nowadays. You want to be able to move all the time. So make music easy to carry with you wherever you go. You’re just putting two things together that people already wanted. Then you think, “Who decided to put music in a phone?”
So people already wanted mobile phones and people liked music, and people liked to carry fewer things if they can. So you just squish them together. That’s the bundling thing, the idea that I’m going to appeal to several things that you already want and maybe never thought to put together.
Let’s go to your lawyer example. There are maybe several services that he can provide that people can use in conjunction with each other. I don’t spend a lot of time with lawyers, so I can’t think what any of those services might be. But to put things together and then say, “Okay, you can buy your home and do this thing here,” and just put them together in a special way so it’s super easy.
That’s another thing that references back to Apple. Super easy for the customer to say, “Hey, I need this, this, and that, and I can get it all at once.” And they all complement each other, each piece of offer enhances the other one, and they logically connect to each other. All of them will give benefit to the person who’s thinking about it.
The audience needs to be able to see how their lives are going to be different. So I think the struggles that we have is we fall in love with our thing, whatever our thing is. If you sell widgets, you love your widgets. People don’t care about your widget, really. People care about what their life will be like after they have it. Or maybe they care about how their life is without it, but they just don’t know.
Or you construct a message that shows people what their life situation is without this thing and what it will be like afterwards. So your offer is kind of a way of pointing that out to them. Yeah, your life stinks a little more than it has to, because you’re carrying a laptop that isn’t thin as a pencil. [laughs]

Steve: Right.

Donnie: That MacBook Air is ridiculous. I haven’t purchased one, but the weight of it is like, you can play with it like a real notebook. It’s weightless. It’s like, how much better would your life be if you could carry the thing? First of all, it’s cool. My laptop weighs five pounds, which means I’m kind of still stuck in the old school. But if you didn’t have that weight, your life would be better. Your shoulders… they’re probably not selling, “Your shoulder pain will be gone, your back pain will be gone,” but these are benefits that are true.

Steve: Right.

Donnie: They just show it to you rather than tell you. They just show it to you. “Look, he can lift the computer like it’s nothing.” They’ve been doing product placement for Air in all these sitcoms, if you’ve seen it. They’ve been spending a lot of money. People are just carrying it around like it’s nothing, because it is.
So subliminally, you say, “Man, that is nice. I can’t do that with my computer. I’ve got to use both hands and almost bend my knees when I’m lifting it.”

Steve: We’ve talked about Apple a lot. Everybody credits them for being extremely innovative. Steve Jobs has that quote you mentioned, that customers don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
When I look at what they’ve done—I think this is really instructive for what I would call regular businesses that aren’t at that level—a lot of their thinking has just been incremental and has just been, as you pointed out, combining ideas that were already there, and just combining them in a different way.
To kind of bring that down to this attorney example we started with, a divorce attorney goes to handle the dissolution of someone’s marriage. But what happens to that person when they’re getting that divorce? There’s likely a piece of real estate that’s got to be sold off or dealt with in some way. So you could bundle real estate law services. That person’s will and estate plan certainly now needs to be updated, because there’s probably somebody that they don’t want to leave any money to anymore.

Donnie: [laughs]

Steve: So you could bundle that service. If you start to think about it, you could put two, three or four things together and put that in a really attractive package where…

Donnie: Sure. The total divorce package. You probably could think of a more sexy title for it. But we handle everything at one time. That’s exactly right. You’re not going to have to worry about if you die tomorrow, does so and so that you just divorced still get half because you didn’t handle that today? You handle it all at once. Nobody likes to go to a lawyer’s office several times, right? You want to get that done as quickly, as smoothly, and as painlessly as possible. That’s really smart.

Steve: And in doing that, you serve the client better than you ever could have by having those services individually, because people hate going to attorneys.

Donnie: That’s right.

Steve: For attorneys listening to this, you all know it’s true. People are afraid. You only go to an attorney when there’s something really tough going on in your life, usually. So you don’t want to go. By bringing all that together, not only can you set yourself apart from the competition and increase your own business, but you’re actually serving the client better that way. That’s worth more money.

Donnie: You’re exactly right. In that case, now that you’ve created an apples to oranges situation, we’re not the guy who’s going to try to milk you and get you to come in time after time.
Most people are trained not to trust lawyers, right? You compare a lawyer with someone who’s going to lie to you, someone who’s going to try and rip you off. You set yourself up with a trusted person, they should be trusted. But people kind of have that perception of lawyers in the back of their mind. But the fewer times you have to see me, the fewer times I can put my hand in your pocket.
So even if you have a negative stereotype, you’re going to have less touch through with me, so I have less opportunity to treat you in a way that you’re worried about. You can eliminate all those obstacles and objections that might pop up in the minds of people just by bundling everything together, making it so easy.

Steve: Yes. As I start to think about offers, that’s one of the first places I look at. What logically goes together with whatever the core offering of the business is? Whatever it is.
It works for professionals. I’ve had clients in the document storage business, where they’ll warehouse your documents all the way in, to the roofing business. It works in every business I’ve ever worked in.
If you look at, okay, what things go logically together that you used to sell separately? Then if you look at, okay, if your solution takes them 80% of the way, but you’ve always got to be calling in somebody else to do the other 20%, what can you combine there? It’s another way to look at it. What are the peripheral services?
The third way that I usually try and break it down is, what does that client need next? So once I complete this and they’re happy with this, what’s the next thing that they’re looking for? Is that something I can bundle in?
By looking at it from those three perspectives, it starts to open up your mind to what some of the possibilities are.

Donnie: Yes. One of the best opportunities to increase the amount of business that you have, the amount of profit that you get, is to think about—the last point that you made—the unexpected consequences. Or maybe the expected for you, but the customer may not realize, that becomes a natural consequence. So I’m going to tell you this is going to happen, so let’s deal with that, also as part of the package.
Once you have the divorce, the next thing that you need to figure out is the real estate thing. You didn’t think about it, you may not have thought about it, but I did, and I’m going to take care of you in that respect. You need to think about the will situation and that thing. You may not have thought about it, but I did, and I’m going to take care of you all at once.

Steve: That builds huge trust, too.

Donnie: Sure. When you read people’s minds or tell them something that, “Oh!” You give them the light bulb moment. “I do need that. I didn’t even think about that.” But you’re thinking about how you can make my life easier and how you can make my life better.
Now you’ve put yourself into a situation where it’s not a commodity anymore. You’re looking out for the person. So part of what I was getting at before, we fall in love with our thing, but we need to be really obsessed with our people, the people we want to reach, and the transformation that we can create in their lives. What is it that they’re getting out of it?
So rather than selling widgets, you think about the core benefit that they’re getting. Okay, you need a divorce or you need roofing. There’s something that you’re getting out of it. I’m not buying a service; I’m buying structural stability for my house. Or I’m getting my life back in order from this marriage that didn’t work out, getting my life back in order.
Now your tie-in is there. Not necessarily ties in your service, but ties into the benefit, that ties into the transformation that’s coming into the life of the customer.
So now that you’re getting your life back in order in the case of the lawyer, what’s the next thing? It’s making sure your real estate, your assets are in order. It’s making sure your final planning is in order. It’s making sure all these things that are tied into the change are coming. I think that’s where the best natural tie-in and the most emotional tie-in come. Not necessarily, “Oh, I’m selling you a service.” So it’s another service that’s related. It’s tied to the feelings that you have as you’re going through this process.
Or if you’re getting roofing, “Oh, let’s check out your windows.” We were talking about hurricanes, a timely topic. A roofer will have business through the roof right now, no pun intended. But what’s a natural time? People are thinking about their whole house, what other things are damaged, what other things need to be repaired. They’re thinking about, let me get my house back in pristine condition. Let me get back to my life pre-hurricane.
You’re a roofer. Maybe you can partner up with somebody, like say 80% you can do the roofing. You can partner up with a window guy. Or you can partner up with somebody who can get the landscaping back together or whatever, and put together an offer that, this is your post-hurricane solution, get your home back the way it was the day before or even better.
But when you think about it in those terms, you’re not just selling your thing; you’re resetting somebody’s life.

Steve: I think that’s a great concept for folks to really wrap their heads around, because what you’re talking about is no longer selling the widget, not selling the service that you offer, but you’re really selling the result that the client or the customer is receiving from the service.
That’s what they really want. Nobody wants to hire a roofing company; they want a dry home. Nobody wants to hire a divorce attorney; they want to be legally severed from their spouse. As you pointed out, they want their life back together.
My wife works for an ophthalmologist, an eye surgeon. Nobody goes to him because they want surgery; they want to be able to see clearly.

Donnie: [laughs] Right.

Steve: So beginning to communicate it in those terms I think is really important. For a lot of us, it’s easy to lose sight of that, because for the most part, business owners love what they do. They’re passionate about it.

Donnie: And rightly so.

Steve: Yes, and they should. That’s great, because that means you’re going to deliver great service. But you can’t communicate it to your customers like that, because they don’t love it like you love it.

Donnie: Right. That’s one point that I almost always have with clients and people who I’m speaking with, even for a non-client service provider relationship. It’s like, the way you see what you’re selling isn’t the way that your customer sees it. They see what they’re getting out of it. You love your thing and you should.
When you build a wonderful building, you’re thinking, “This is beautiful—structurally, architecturally, aesthetically beautiful.” But nobody’s necessarily thinking that. They’re thinking, “This is home.” For a construction guy, nobody cares about how you dry a wall, it’s composed of the greatest material. They just want to know that their house is really strong, it’s going to last, it’s going to look great for years, and it’s going to be a comfortable place for them to live. Or an insulation guy. Nobody cares about insulation. They just care about being warm.
You should love what you do. If I said falling in love with your thing is wrong, I didn’t mean that. But your customer and the benefit they get need to be on the forefront of your mind, to make sure that you’re continuing to innovate as well. Because if you fall in love with your payphone, you’ll get lost. If your thing suddenly becomes obsolete, you’re out of business. But if you fall in love with your customer, their need to communicate, then you stay on the forefront of fulfilling that need.

Steve: I think that’s right on. That really is central to this topic that we talk about every week at marketing. It’s not just about what ad am I going to run and what direct mail campaign am I going to put out there. We talk a lot about that. But really, at its core, it’s having a deep understanding of who your customer is, what it is that they want, and figuring out how to communicate what you do so that it aligns with what they want and solves that problem that they have.
I always tell my clients, “This isn’t just about selling stuff. This is about people out there in the world that have big problems, and you’re the solution to their big problems.” I see it in a way as a moral obligation to communicate with them in whatever means necessary to get the message across that you’re the solution to their problem.

Donnie: That’s right. I’ve mentioned that in one of the recent newsletters. Let’s say for example you’re in Africa, and there are kids who have no drinking water, and you happen to have a drill. It is your obligation to use your drill—which is your gift or your thing that you have, your ability, experience—it’s your responsibility, if you have a drill, to drill a well. If there’s water right under the ground, there are kids who are dying of thirst, do something about it.
That’s exactly right. That’s the point I was trying to make. I’m sorry, my brain has just switched back into gear. Marketing isn’t so much about how do I make more money. It’s about connecting your talents, your gifts, your abilities, whatever you bring that’s transformative, whatever you bring that’s beneficial to people’s lives, connecting what you got with the people who need it.
How do you come up with a message and how do you come up with an offer that allows you to show them that you can actually help them meet that need? If they have a strong desire for whatever it is, I can actually help you get it.
We talked about marketing. But marketing isn’t about primarily making money. Marketing is about, how do you connect yourself with the people who you can help? Then you’ll make money doing that.

Steve: Yes. That’s the result that flows from delivering value. But you’re absolutely right. First things first, you’ve got to be able to communicate with folks, so that they understand that you can solve a problem that they have. It’s a skill.
Once you get to a point where you can do that, the business opportunities that open for you are I think limitless, because you begin to see the world in terms of this problem-solution, and you’re able to communicate it with the people who have the problem. That really changes everything.
We’ve got just a couple of minutes left. Any final thoughts that you want to share on creating offers and creating marketing that works?

Donnie: I think we’ve covered the big stuff. You need to achieve clarity in your own mind about what value you deliver, and you need to look at it from the perspective of the person you’re serving. Your offer is going to come directly out of the benefit that you deliver to your target audience.
One quick example. I have a buddy who did radio advertising for I think a divorce lawyer. The law firm specialized in working for the husbands. They crafted all their advertising about what the man’s perspective is and what the man’s feelings are and what the man’s going through. Their offer, they could have charged whatever they wanted, because when the men in that area, the local businesses, when they think about, “Okay, I’m going through a divorce,” you’re thinking about the people who have connected with you time and again on an emotional level.
So your offer, like I said, it’s not just coming up with a cheaper price to get people to come to the store. Your offer is, literally, giving somebody an opportunity to get that transformation that you can provide for them, to get that benefit that you provide, to get the service that will take them to the next level in their life or their career or their business.
That’s really where the offer comes from. I guess that’s kind of generic, and everybody’s offer is going to be different. But you think about that in those terms. Don’t think, “I need to come up with the cheapest price in the industry,” because that’s what you call commodity…

Steve: Commodity hell. I think that is the fastest way to get onto a path that will ultimately end in you being out of business, because there are a lot--

Donnie: You go back to doing it as a hobby [laughs].

Steve: Yes. There will always be somebody who is willing to do it for less. If you look at history, that shows itself over and over and over again. Wal-Mart is nothing new. There have been a string of low-cost, department-type stores in this country since the 1800s. They survived for a while until someone else figures out how to do it a little bit cheaper, and then they disappear really quickly.

Donnie: Quickly. If the only thing that you have is the cheapest price, you set yourself up to fail.

Steve: Right.

Donnie: What you need to build your business on is your unique value proposition and your ability to connect with the people that you serve. If you can form a personal relationship, maybe it just seems personal. Like I said, the divorce lawyers for men. It just felt personal because there was the emotional, “Wow, that ad just speaks directly to me.” The radio spot speaks right to what I’m feeling right now. They’re bringing in the kids, “Where’s Daddy?” That connected. These guys, their business is really strong because they’re able to do that.
You need to connect with people and provide value, and focus on value rather than focusing on yourself, focusing on low prices. Your competitors can’t compete with that, with the emotional connection. There’s no way to copy that. When you find out what people really want and help them get it, show them that you can help them get it. It’s almost impossible once that’s in their mind.
It’s positioning. Offers are positioning. How do I position this thing in a way that owns a space in their mind? When I think about phones, I’m thinking about iPhones. When I think about computers, I’m thinking about Mac, MacBooks. When I think about roofing, I’m thinking about Johnson’s Roofing, because for whatever reason, we’ve connected on that basis.

Steve: I think those are all great points. I want to make sure everybody knows how they can find you, because you put out I think a really intelligent newsletter on e-mail that folks can get. You’ve also got a book, “Stealth Selling: Non-Pushy Persuasion for Professionals,” which is outstanding. Where can they find you on the web, Donnie?

Donnie: My website is Basic website. I got my blog there, which I need to spend more time on [chuckles]. There’s a contact form there, if you need to get in touch with me with questions or what have you. If you were interested in the book, the webpage is

Steve: Very good. Thanks for taking some time out of your day to share with us. I always learn a lot when I do these. Today is no exception. I enjoyed catching up with you. Thanks for being on, Donnie.

Donnie: I really appreciate it. Like you said, you’ve been following me for a while. I’ve been following you and learning from you for going on two years now, too. I really appreciate the opportunity.

How to Get More Clients Using Simple Emails - an Interview With Ian Brodie

In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show, I interview Ian Brodie on how to sell high priced services using email marketing...and I have to tell you Ian's a gem! The information he shares in this episode will increase your sales if you use it.


In this episode of the Small Business Marketing Show...

  • How to use email to build relationships that support high dollar sales.
  • How to build your email list - 7 Key places to grab opt-ins.
  • Email frequency - you're not emailing enough and your sales show it.

What do you think?

  • How often are you emailing your clients and prospects now?
  • How many ways are you using to build your email list?

Leave your answers in the comments below.

Links Mentioned on The Show

Ian Brodie's Email Marketing Power Tips (free email course mentioned on the show) - Warning! Affiliate Link...if you buy something from Ian, he'll buy me a Guinness!

Transcript of How to Get More Clients Using Simple Emails - an Interview With Ian Brodie



The Importance of Clarity To Attracting Your Ideal Client

The obstacle standing between you and any goal you want to achieve is clarity about the outcome you want. Marketing is no different. I've invested the last two weeks examining precisely WHO is my ideal client. On this call I share with you what I learned from my own examination...and the process I use to help business owners discover their ideal client.

Listen Online:



Small Business Marketing Clinic - July 20, 2012 - Are you ignoring the easiest sale of all?

We all work hard (and spend a lot of money) to attract new clients. Sometimes we put so much focus on it that we overlook the huge opportunity right under our noses...that's the easiest sale of all. On this call learn the key principles you need to know to get the most value from each client on your list.


Got a marketing question? Join next week's Small Business Marketing Clinic here to get the call-in details.

Small Business Marketing Clinic - June 29, 2012 - The Ultimate Marketing Strategy

In this call I share the ultimate small business marketing strategy...

Listen online:



How to Get More Clients on A Low Budget

Well, the response to my email asking you to send in your marketing questions was huge...I'll be sifting through the emails for a few more days. One thing is clear...a whole lot of you out there in Internetland want to know how to get more clients with little or no marketing moola.

That's a tough know the old adage "it takes money to make money."

Thankfully, I've got just the plan for you!

It will take SOME money...but you can start with as little as $100 bucks (that's less than the price of a baked potato at Ruth's Chris).

The answer to this vexing marketing problem is direct response, lead generation marketing.

It works like this...

- You have important information to share with a potential client. Information that will help them make a buying decision.

- You package your knowledge in an e-book, CD, DVD, report...

- You use inexpensive ads to get interested prospects to call you (remember you're the expert who's publishing important information).

- Prospects ask for your informational "bait" (Cool...we just generated a lead)

- You keep in touch until they're ready to buy

Here's what you need to make it happen...

1. A free information piece that answers your prospects' most asked questions.

2. A direct response ad (in print, on radio, TV, PPC, direct mail, email, social media...) to get your prospects to request #1.

3. A follow-up marketing system to educate (entertain) and convert leads into clients.

Put all three together and you've got a dirt cheap, client getting autopilot.


Want one for yourself?

I'll be releasing the next issue of Clients on Autopilot on the 1st of the month...and this one's all about building direct response, lead generation systems.

To test drive the current issue and get on-board click here.

How a 12 headed, one-eyed monster made me an extra $60K

I hate committees... In every organization I've been in they've been the 12-headed, one-eyed swamp monster that pulled all the life, all the energy in the organization down into the fog covered, green ooze of their ghoulish lair.

But for one...

There is one committee (and only one) that I would never go into the battle of business without.

You see, in this one this one group of minds...there lies a power that can, if you use it properly, propel  your business farther and faster than even you believed was possible.

What's the secret of this "special" committee?

Well, it's in the 12-heads that frighten most...and the one all seeing, probing eye.

Napoleon Hill first introduced me to this special committee in 1999 when I read "Think and Grow Rich" for the first time.

A few years later I got the rare opportunity...the invitation, to join this special committee.

That single invitation was worth $60k to me personally...over and above the money I was already making.

How could that be possible?

A simple invitation...worth $60K?

But there's power in this special committee...

The power of the master mind.

The old adage "two heads are better than one" is true...and 12 heads, when they are focused on a single a leader with vision, are better than two.

In fact, they may be the most powerful force on the planet.

This special committee...this "master mind" that I credit with much of my success is a group of CEO's, organized into a "committee" by a Chairman.

Together we worked in a focused way...

To help each other overcome threats to our businesses

And capitalize on opportunities.

Now, imagine

If you had the collective minds and experience of 12 seasoned, savvy and successful CEO's helping you every month...

What might you accomplish?

Now let me tell you how to put a 12 headed, one-eyed monster in your corner...

Become a member of Vistage International. Vistage operates master mind groups of non-competing CEOs all over the world.

You'll be among peers in a completely confidential environment.

As a CEO and business owner, you and I both know that it's a very lonely job...

You have issues and decisions to make in the business that you can't discuss with your staff, you can't discuss with your spouse...

...and your dog doesn't want to hear.

You need to be around a group of like-minded, successful business owners who can help you tackle your toughest issues...

Instead of struggling alone.

You can find a Vistage group in your area at

Steve Gordon

P.S. If you're in Southeast Florida a new group is forming, led by my friend and mentor Les Deck. Les is a bona-fide visionary, and chaired my "special committee" when I lived in that area.

P.P.S. If you're anywhere in Northwest Florida (Tallahassee to Pensacola), South Alabama or Southwest Georgia you'll absolutely want to talk to David Loveless.

David and the members of my "special committee" in Tallahassee helped me tackle the single biggest business challenge I've ever faced.

If you're in one of those areas...get an invitation from Les or David to visit a group. If you'd like a personal introduction, hit reply to this email...and I'll make sure you get connected.

The Scariest Thing in Your Business

The scariest number in your business...**one** (of anything)

One largest customer...if any ONE client is more than 20% of your're just asking to suffer. One day, that client will leave...and you could experience a B.E.E. (Business Ending Event). One supplier (of anything)...if you've got just one source of anything you need to make your operation run...sooner or later they'll screw up but you'll be the one with egg on your face.

One product or service to sell...yes this is scary (think CPA's and tax preparers under Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan) but it's more foolish. Your clients have more than one need. If you're not giving them "what's next", you're leaving big money on the table.

One key employee, with your business in her head...can hit the door or get hit by a bus. Either way, your business, your income and a portion of your wealth leave with her. Have a backup.

One key system...computers are great, but they break, get viruses, files get deleted...stuff happens. (It's happened to me in the last 12 months...but...heeding my own advice I had a backup...lost less than 24 hours of time...and no data).


ONLY one way to get new clients...

Do you remember the days of broadcast fax? You know, you'd come to work in the morning and there'd be 17 faxes selling something, waiting for you. Businesses...BIG Businesses...were built using broadcast fax.

Then one day the FCC said "Hey, stop doing that!" And those businesses (that had just the one way of making sales) went away.

Ditto for telemarketing (the do-not-call-list), Infomercials (they're back now, but went away in the 80's)...

If you get all of your business from _______________ (fill in the blank...word of mouth, referrals, direct mail, the Interwebs, etc.) you're at risk.

You may not even know it...success "lulls" you to sleep...until the monster is upon you!

The only protection from this MOST HIDEOUS BUSINESS KILLING MONSTER is building an army of client getting robots to protect your business.

Ready to build your army? Now's your chance...the next Clients on Autopilot Monthly Briefing launches tomorrow to subscribers ONLY.

Not a subscriber yet...not to can still get in, until Midnight (Eastern) tonight.

Click here to get this blowout briefing!

Steve Gordon

P.S I credit Dan Kennedy for teaching me this truth first...but I needed to take extra credit in the school of hard knocks before I "got it." My education was can get yours the easy way. Click here to subscribe.

Offline Marketing is Dead

Yes, you heard it here first. Offline marketing is dead, gone, sayonara! If you don't have 4372 Facebook fans by noon're toast.

In fact, you might as well just fold up shop right now.

At least that's what the "image ad agencies" and "social media marketing" guru's want you to believe.

They're running about town telling you that the "old media" doesn't work...and the new media is the only place you'll ever find success again.

The problem...

It's hard to find a real small business that's making more than 50% of it's money from social media and online marketing.

They are out there...and I'll bet you a Benjamin that the social media "gurus" that read this will be sending me all the examples post-haste!

That's what makes it so confusing...a small minority of companies are doing OK with the new media.

But if you look at the biggest, baddest online, e-commerce companies, they're all doing offline marketing. And they're doing MORE than ever.

Amazon, the company that practically invented e-commerce, uses boring ol' direct mail..and lots of it!

GoDaddy, the web-hosting/domain selling jack of all Internet trades bought (more than one) Super Bowl know on that thing in the living room...a TV.

Yet, I've seen more small business owners get stressed out and lose sleep because they just don't know what to do with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp, FourSquare, Angie's List, Craig's List, Ebay, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, banner ad networks, local directories...the list goes on.

The sad truth is that some offline media (like direct mail) is working as well, if not better than ever, because so many businesses have abandoned it.

The inbox is full of competition, but the mailbox is empty.

Well targeted, multi-step, direct response campaigns are working better than ever...for the intelligent few who are willing to go with what works instead of the "guru's" fad of the day.

P.S. If you're tired of trying to figure out all this new media marketing stuff check out the Clients on Autopilot Monthly Briefing.

Each month you get specific plans you can implement to attract clients...on autopilot. Click here for a free trial issue.

Your Social Media Marketing Questions Answered

Social media, social media, social media... Its all the buzz with the kids these days, and whenever I give a speech or a seminar I get peppered with questions about lets do some QA today.

QUESTION: Whats the best social media for business?

STEVE: Email. (and you're thinking What?) Yes, email is the original social media and still the king of the hill.

The Direct Marketing Association says email marketing puts $43 in your bank for every $1 you spend (the numbers have been in that ballpark for years and aren't going away anytime soon).

If you don't have an email marketing program in place you're nuts.


QUESTION: What should I post to my Facebook and Twitter feeds?

STEVE: They say variety is the spice of solid information that educates your prospects and clients (and moves them to the next step in the sales process). Mix it up with other useful and interesting stuff from other sources.

Next question...

QUESTION: How do you keep up with it all?

STEVE: Automate it! Use tools like HootSuite, and Sendible to schedule a batch of posts all at once.

One more...

QUESTION: Steve, is anyone making real money or getting quality leads from social media?

We have a sharp one here...

STEVE: A few are...but most businesses have been lured into the promise of social media (to get customers for free) and been slapped up-side the head with reality...its takes work (a lot of work) to turn a social media friend into a client.

Good old fashioned direct response marketing (online and offline) is still the best, most effective and most profitable way to attract clients. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


P.S. Learn the 9 reasons I love direct response marketing and get 31 ideas to market your business inside my free e-book 7 Deadly Marketing Sins That Will Kill Your Business Click here to download.

The Ugly Truth About Referrals

Referrals, referrals, referrals... Boy have I been getting a lot of questions about referrals!

  • How do I get more referrals?
  • Why would someone refer me? (good question)
  • What's the best way to get referrals?
  • Don't people get annoyed when I ask for a referral?

For the love of Mike, what is the big hang up with referrals?

Then it hit me...

I said to myself..."Self: They're all thinking about it the wrong way and they don't know it."

Your clients don't refer you to do YOU a favor. They do it to make themselves FEEL GOOD. It's totally selfish.

Think about the last time you recommended a great restaurant to a friend. You probably went on and on about how the edamame was perfectly crisp and the pinot noir was especially smooth.

And you felt good inside because you were turning your friend on to a great experience.

So...when you give great service and ask for referrals you give your clients the opportunity to feel good. Why wouldn't you want to do that for each and every client?

As I outline in my popular 7 Deadly Marketing Sins e-book...there are four reasons you're not getting all the referrals you want:

  1. You're uncomfortable asking (hopefully I've destroyed that mental barrier with the example above)
  2. You don't know how to ask. (the words you use make all the difference)
  3. You don't know when to ask. Timing is everything. Too early and you're not proven...too late and they've lost the mood.
  4. You don't make asking for referrals part of your marketing/selling/fulfillment system. i.e. A line item on the check list of "103 Things we do for each and every client."

Just my two cents...Let me know what's holding you back from getting more referral business? Post in the comments.

The #1 Reason Ads Fail

A prospect confided in me...

"Business is down Steve, and we're spending more on advertising then ever before. You've seen our TV ads...are they good?"



I hear this or some variation on it all too often. Then I get a look at the ad (doesn't matter if it's on TV, radio, the Web, magazine, email or Facebook) and the problem is obvious.

There's no clear next step for the prospect (what us marketing geeks refer to as a "call to action").

The ad's got some branding (like a logo), a cute tagline and some pictures that some ad agency creative type thought meant something.

But they forgot the one and only purpose of the sell something!

Yes, that's right. The One and ONLY purpose of all of your marketing is to make a sale not to...

  • Get the word out
  • Put your name out there
  • Build your brand
  • Create awareness
  • Build buzz

The last time I checked you can't deposit name recognition, brand awareness or buzz in your bank account.

If you don't tell your prospect clearly and specifically what to do next to hire you, your ad won't be with the paper (or pixels) it's printed on.

Go check all of your ads right now...are you missing any calls to action?

Get 'em fixed pronto.

You're probably wasting $$

Got an ad that's not working as well as it should?

Grab one of my 49-point Marketing Audits. I'll review your ad and give you concrete actionable ideas to improve it.

In fact, I'll go through all of your marketing with you and help you identify the gaps where you could do better.

We'll spend about an hour on the phone and I guarantee you'll walk away with at least 3 actionable ideas to improve your marketing and attract more clients.

Now, here's the crazy part...until Wednesday I'm offering these Marketing Audits for half-off my normal fee...just $123.50. (This is only for subscribers to the E-Letter...go here to subscribe)

At the end of the audit, if you don't feel like you got at least 5-times what you pay in value, I'll hand your money questions asked.

Like the lottery, the only way to lose is not to play.

Call my office at 1-877-316-4448 or click here  to schedule your appointment today.

Steve Gordon

Top 10 Ways to Never, Ever Be A "Commodity Business" - Letterman Style

No one should ever have to suffer inside a commodity business..."it just ain't no fun!" Here are the top 10 ways to get out, get happy and get profitable:

#10. Get better marketing. Use direct response, lead generation strategies to get prospects to call YOU for free information...then follow-up forever. (Only 10% of prospects ever get more than 3 follow-ups...there's not much competition after that.)

#9. Be a conduit to important connections/resources/information. Make doing business with you the golden ticket to access all the extra goodness.

#8. Get more referrals. According to best selling author Tom Hopkins referred prospects are 500% more likely to close than cold prospects. And you can bet low price isn't their #1 buying criteria.

#7. Stop selling commodity units and start creating unique packages. Package what you sell with other related products and services that enhance your main product. Bundle them together to force an "apples to oranges" comparison.

#6. Come up with a better guarantee. Strong, creative, comprehensive guarantees are proven to increase sales. And it's often a great (and free) way to stand apart from your competition.

#5. Stop selling to everyone and focus on one specific type of client (at a time). Be the ____________ (what you do) for ____________ (specific type of client).

#4. Raise your prices...and create added value to justify the bump. Sometimes higher prices will drive higher volume. Test to see what combination of price/volume delivers more PROFIT. You don't deposit volume in the do deposit net profit.

#3. Look at what the competition is doing and do the opposite. Listen to the wisdom of Earl Nightengale in his 1956 recording "The Strangest Secret"...“Look at what the majority of people are doing, and do the exact opposite, and you’ll probably never go wrong for as long as you live.”

#2. Anoint yourself as the expert in your market. Write, speak, blog, email to claim and hold the position of expert and leader. “We all like to buy something from an expert--somebody we like, respect and trust.” - Joe Sugarman (creator and marketer of Blue Blocker sunglasses and countless other successful products.)

And the #1 Way to Never, Ever be a Commodity.........

1. Decide not to.

Yes folks it's just that simple (not necessarily easy...but simple). Make the decision, then do what's necessary to get out of the commodity trap. You deserve better!

Steve Gordon

P.S. Sick of being a commodity? Why haven't you called me? I specialize in getting business owners out of commodity hell.

Call me today to schedule a 49-point Marketing Audit.

In honor of the new, improved E-Letter (click here to subscribe), I'm knocking the price in get a complete marketing checkup and at least 3 actionable ideas to attract more clients for just $123.50. But only until October 5th.

Call me (1-877-316-4448) or go here to get yours.

P.P.S. If you're not thrilled with the ideas and insight you get I'll refund your money, no questions asked. You've got nothing to lose.

Your Email Marketing Myths Busted

Without a doubt strongemail marketing/strong is the most effective and economical ways that small businesses can communicate with customers and clients. But there are a lot of myths among business owners, usually based on their perception, not tests or real numbers, that prevent them from using email the right way. Here are the top 7 myths… h2Myth 1. You can send too frequently./h2 If I have another meeting with an entrepreneur who thinks that email marketing is having a Constant Contact account and sending out an email once a quarter I’m going to scream!

The truth is you can send an email to your list, daily, three times a week, weekly, bi-weekly…you pick one…and it’s likely to be very effective if you do two things: ol liSet the expectation up front with the people on your list so they know what they’re signing up for./li liSend relevant information in each message./li /ol That’s it. Will more people unsubscribe? Maybe. Is that important? Probably not. (see Myth #2) h2Myth 2. Unsubscribes are bad./h2 I have seen some serious ringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over a few unsubscribes here and a few there. It’s not a big deal. Truth be told, you want some unsubscribes every time you send a message.

The people getting off your list are saying “this isn’t for me.” As a marketer you should be thanking them for excusing themselves. Now you can focus on the real prospects…the ones who value what you send and who want a relationship with you.

One salesman in my hometown voluntarily got on my list, but didn’t like the number of messages he got (just a few). He emailed me to give me his candid email marketing advice and I promptly and politely removed him from the list. When I see him around town he refers to me as the “man who sends the messages” and repeats his opinion of my marketing.

I have two choices. Listen to this one person (who by the way isn’t a client) and change what I’m doing. Or, stay the course. My bottom line favors the latter. h2Myth 3. You need a big list to make money./h2 It’s not the size that matters…

It’s your relationship with your list that’s important. You build relationship in email marketing just like you do in real life. ul liShow up consistently and often./li liBe of service./li liHave conversations./li liMake introductions./li liShare yourself./li /ul You’d never expect to build a strong friendship with someone in real life if you only spoke to them once a quarter. h2Myth 4. You have to write all of the email content yourself./h2 It’s great if you can write and you have time to do it consistently, but you don’t have to.

You can act as a collector and curator of information for your prospects and customers. There’s a good chance that if you find something interesting, your subscribers will too.

Make a list of the five most interesting articles you read this week and send it out. Even if they have nothing to do with your industry.

As a bonus…insert your opinion on some of the topics where appropriate.

If you’re sharing great resources your list will appreciate you and see you as a leader. h2Myth 5. You can’t sell in email./h2 If this were true, what would be the point of email marketing? According to the Direct Marketing Association email marketing returns $43 for every $1 you spend (on average) so somebody’s selling something.

The challenge is doing it right. I teach my clients that email marketing is a a href= sales machine/a. You wrap your sales message inside a great piece of valuable information.

No one likes to be sold but you know what they say: “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down…” Integrating your pitch with your content not only makes it easier to swallow, it makes your buying your stuff seem like the next logical step for those who found your content useful. h2Myth 6. It’s got to be pretty to work./h2 “Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.”

Some of the most effective emails I’ve ever sent were ugly, plain text things with no images, no logo, no color…nothing but the words.

Right now, the only email I send that has any design to it at all is my weekly email magazine, the “Marketing Entrepreneur’s E-Letter”: All of the follow-up emails I send are plain text…by design.

Why does plain text work better?

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of our email recipients for a moment. If you’re scanning through your inbox looking for the important messages. The ones that you need to read right now and you see a big logo or image at the top you instantly know “this is a mass email…it’s not actionable…I can read it later.”

On the other hand, if you get what looks like a plain old email (like real, everyday people send) you’re probably going to at least scan it to see if you need to respond.

Don’t worry about having the perfect design…or any design at all. Just get your message out. Today! h2Myth 7. My clients will hate me if I make a mistake./h2 You will make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process and you want to make mistakes. I’ve made my fair share over the last two years since I got serious about email marketing.

I’ve sent emails that didn’t get opened…emails that aggravated a few…emails with typos…changed branding three times…sent emails with boring subject lines…you name it.

But by far the biggest mistake I made was not emailing consistently or often enough in the beginning.

But I keep showing up and talking to the people who have asked to hear from me.

And they have rewarded me with their attention and business.

How to Get Heaping Buckets of Free PR in Less Than 5 Minutes a Day

Would some free PR help you get more clients? You bet!

But you’re not getting the PR you’d like to have for one simple reason…you don’t know how to get it…you don’t know what to say…and you don’t know who to talk to (OK that’s three reasons).

There’s plenty of information out there (according to Google there are a mere 314 million webpages that will help you). The problem is knowing what actually works.

Most of the popular advice is garbage. For example:

  • Submit online press releases
  • Be an expert at something
  • Friend reporters on Facebook
  • Host events for local charities
  • Be real (yes there is an actual article that suggests the key to getting press is to “be real”)
  • Develop relationships with reporters
  • Create a captivating media kit

Honestly, do you have time to write a press release once or twice a week on the chance that it’ll catch a reporter’s eye? Of course not!

If you had the time, you’d already be doing it.

The problem with all of these approaches is that they force you to chase cold media leads. That’s no good…you want red hot reporters, writing on a topic where you can add value to their audience and most importantly…on deadline!

The problem is how to find them…

Well, I’ve got a solution for you. But before I share it I need your commitment (without commitment these tips will not work for you).

Your Marketing Commitment

Repeat after me: “I (state your name) will devote 5 minutes of my day to finding free PR for my business.”

That’s it. Can you do it?

Red Hot Media Leads Delivered to Your Inbox Four Times A Day

I’m going to share with you my secret source for getting lots of free PR opportunities. In the last 30 days I’ve been interviewed twice and have another in the works. Not a bad month considering it took just five minutes a day…and only on weekdays.

OK, here’s the secret…subscribe to two reporter “matchmaking services” (both are free):

1. Help A Reporter Out - HARO, as it’s affectionately called, is a connector of reporters looking for experts and experts looking for interviews. It’s free to register as an expert. When you do, you’ll receive 3 emails a day (morning, noon and evening). Each email includes dozens of press requests organized by topic. Each listing has all of the information you need to respond to the opportunity. You’ll see requests from the Wall Street Journal next to requests from small blog sites.

2. Reporter Connection - Like HARO, Reporter Connection links reporters and experts. When you register for free you’ll get one email each day with listings. As with HARO, the details of the request and the contact information for the reporter are right in each email. This is especially convenient…I’ve responded to some requests right from my iPhone.

That’s four lists of reporters looking for experts like you, five days a week. I know you can make hay with that!

The key is to read list shortly after it arrives. I get them on my iPhone and triage them during those few minutes between other activities. Each email takes just 30 seconds to scan for gold nuggets of PR. If you find something on topic click the link to view the full listing (further down in the same email).

Be sure to note the deadline (occasionally you’ll see one due that same day). If you’ve got a relevant response set aside some time later that day or the next to write your “pitch.”

Unlike writing press releases, your pitches to these reporters must be brief. I landed one last week and the reporter required all responses be less than 500 characters (not 500 words).

That’s great…you’re busy, the reporter’s busy so cut to the chase.

You’ll probably be a bit nervous when you send in your first pitch. Don’t worry about it, just respond.

I’ve found the key to getting media consistently is to respond through HARO and Reporter Connection regularly. Do your best, but focus on persistence, not perfection. As you land more interviews you’ll get better at crafting winning pitches. Give yourself time to get good.

How to Use HARO and Reporter Connection To Get More Clients

HARO and Reporter Connection are great for finding PR for your business. But if you stop there you’re cheating yourself.

Do you think your prospects and clients might like some free press for their business too? You bet!

Don’t just read those daily emails with your business in mind…look for opportunities to get your prospects and clients some press too.

My goal is to find one opportunity a day for someone in my network. Then I just forward them the email and tell them how to respond if they want to. I don’t know how many respond, but I do know that I am a much more valuable resource to my prospects, clients and network because they know I can connect them with press opportunities. They tell me so.

The truth is, I’d do it even if it didn’t help me attract clients because it just makes me feel good…and it’ll make you feel good too.

And remember so far you’ve invested 5 minutes of time and zero dollars.

But I’m A Local Business, Why Do I Want Press From Somewhere Else?

That’s a fair question…here’s a better than fair answer.

You want all the press you can get. Even if it’s in the Timbuktu Times. Here’s why…

It validates your business in the eyes of your prospects and clients.

If the media is turning to you on a regular basis because of your expertise your position in the minds of your prospects and clients will be elevated to expert status…and then celebrity expert status.

“But my prospects don’t read the Timbuktu Times!”

That’s OK, they don’t need to…You’re going to tell them about the interview.

The best example I’ve ever seen of this technique is at Five Guys Burgers. Find one near you, go get a burger, and while you’re standing in line, or standing in the restroom or walking in the hall to the restroom or sitting at your table…or…or…all you see are newspaper and magazine clips from all over the country talking about the burgers.

The burgers don’t have to be that great…but you’ll believe they are that great. It’s right there in print. It must be true!

They have done a masterful job of showing social proof to validate your decision to eat there. And they’ve shown you that Five Guys is a place people are talking about. The suggestion is “you should be talking about them too.”

And I’ll bet you will.

Being in the news is newsworthy. Tell your customers like Five Guys does or send them the clip of the article in the mail. Email a link to your email list…post it on Facebook…tweet it…link it on LinkedIn and put it on your website.

Every time you’re featured in the press it’s an excuse to talk to your prospects, customers and referral alliances. You’d be crazy not to use the excuse to stay in front of them.

This marketing strategy is easy, free and it works. So stop wasting time trying to get business through social media and start getting exposure in actual media.

One of my favorite quotes from Donald Trump is “Be somebody and be somewhere.” Being talked about in the press positions you as “somebody.”

Go sign up for HARO and Reporter Connection and then post a comment to let me know!

The Lazy Man's Way to Get More Clients

I know that to get more clients and grow my business I need to work hard and work consistently to introduce my business to potential clients. But I have to admit...I don't like hard work. And I like repetitive, monotonous work even less! But I need clients, just like you. So I create systems to attract them to me, automatically.

Each system is like a little lead generation engine. Once I get a system running I only need to spend a few minutes a week keeping it up...and it produces new prospects week in and week out. Automatic lead generation is cool!

The crazy thing is that it's so easy to do, once you know how to do it. So I've put together a video that shows you exactly how one of my little "lead generation engines" works. Watch it, then create one in your business!


Here's the link I shared in the video to get my marketing automation system.

How will you this idea in your business? Post in the comments!

Email Marketing: 6 Things to do when your list doesn't love you anymore

Best Email Marketing StrategiesThe steps you need to take to build a quality email marketing campaign are well documented all over the web. Today, I'd like to focus on how to tell when you've crossed the line and become SPAMMY and what to do to recover from it. The truth is that even well intentioned email marketers can cross the line. You need to know how to recognize it when it happens and you need to know that it's not fatal...if you take the right actions to get back on course.

How do you know you've become a SPAMMER

In my experience there are only two things that I need to examine to determine if a business is being SPAMMY.

1. Email Content: You're only sending sales or promotional emails. You can get away with this IF you promised at the outset that you'd only be sending emails like this...and it's a fit for your business. It works if you're a retailer or restaurant and everyone on your list signed up to get the weekly deals. If that's not you, good luck, this approach will blow up in your face eventually.

2. Email Results: You get more unsubscribes and SPAM complaints then clicks. Seems obvious, but it's worth saying. Watch your unsubscribes. I usually don't worry too much about them unless the numbers are high (if more than 1% of your list jumps ship on a single email start paying attention). It's the SPAM complaints that are the real red flag. Why? Your subscriber usually has to take an extra step to report a SPAM complaint when they unsubscribe. If they're doing more work to complain, you've gone the extra mile to aggravate them.

Again, if it's just one or two complaints from your list of 1000, I wouldn't be too worried. But if it spikes, it's an indication you've broken a promise with your list.

Be really concerned when the number of unsubscribes and SPAM complaints is higher than the number of clicks you're getting. This is an especially bad sign that your relationship with your list is experiencing a disconnect. Like all relationships you need to fix it with humility, service, honesty and gratitude.

How to get your email list to love you again

1. Stop thinking of "it" as an email list! Start thinking of "them." The individual people who are subscribed to your list. If you're a small business owner you probably know these people. They've been in your business or you know them from the community. Think about Bob your off and on customer. Think about Elizabeth from your Chamber of Commerce. Understand that your email marketing (and really all of your marketing) is about these people. Not your "list."

2. Be humble. I don't mean be meek...there's a difference. But approach your email list from an perspective of humility. These people have opened their inbox to you...for most that's a pretty intimate place (I often joke during speeches that it's the only way anyone other than my wife can get in my pants...where I carry my iPhone).

When you approach your email marketing from a perspective of humility it will come through in your writing. It's difficult to humbly hard sell someone. Don't get me wrong, hard sells do work in email. But they are a short term strategy. Over time they will wear out your list. If you're in business for the long haul then you need a strong, but subtle approach.

3. Take an attitude of service. Once you start thinking of your list as the individuals on it, it becomes much easier to understand how you can serve your list. I am a firm believer in the philosophy of givers gain. Be of service to the people on your list. Make your email marketing worth their time by giving them something that only you can uniquely offer...your expertise and perspective.

4. Be honest. If you step in pooh as you walk into a cocktail party, you might as well point it out...everyone can smell the stink anyway. Come clean with your list. Apologize for stepping out of bounds and show the way forward. Pointing out your own flaws shows strength. And in the end the people on your list are there to be lead. Show them that you have a plan to lead them forward and tell them why the journey is important.

Your true fans will rally around you. And you'll build anticipation for the good stuff to come.

5. Show gratitude to the people who pointed out your error. Figure out a way to personally contact (by telephone if you can) the people who complained. Apologize, then thank them for alerting you to a weakness in your email marketing approach. Explain what you're doing to correct it and tell them they are welcome back if and when they are ready. For many email marketers this isn't possible. Often you've only got their email address and you can't send them anything because of the complaint. In that case, say it publicly. You may not reach everyone who complained, but you'll show your future subscribers that you're transparent and you listen.

6. Make and keep two promises.

  1. Tell your subscribers what type of content you'll be sending, including offers.
  2. Make them a promise on the frequency of your emails going forward.

And keep both promises!

You may get more unsubscribes when you make these promises. That's OK. You're setting new rules and some people won't want to continue. Get them off your list now.

Once you commit you need to stay consistent.

Fully 9 out of 10 of my clients fear high email frequency when we are designing their email marketing plan. But frequency is not what generates SPAM complaints. Broken promises and inconsistency generate SPAM complaints.

As an example, I get a great daily newsletter called Early to Rise. It's not one of these joke a day or word of the day emails that are just a few sentences long. It's usually a 2000-4000 word article each day. But I read it for three reasons:

  1. I signed up knowing it would come every day.
  2. The content they send is exactly as they promised.
  3. The content is highly relevant to me.

The publishers honor the promises they made to me (and that I willingly accepted).

The real truth is that high frequency, relevant emails sent with permission will generate fewer complaints then low frequency (like quarterly) blasts. The simple reason is familiarity. If you're only touching the people on your list once a quarter they'll forget that they wanted to hear from you in the first place.

If you've created a SPAM problem, don't worry too much. If you catch it early, you can correct the problem and emerge with a stronger relationship with the people on your list.

Was this article helpful? I'd really appreciate it if you'd share the article on Facebook, Twitter or wherever the kids are hanging out these days...

Photo courtesy Kevin Dooley.

Are You The Victim Of A Marketing Drive By?

You might be the victim of a small business marketing drive by if… The Yellow Pages sales rep stopped by your office to sell you a big ad in the book and some “Internet advertising” for $1200 a month but your website has no way to capture leads…

You might be the victim of a marketing drive by if…

The Cable TV ad guy stopped by your office and sold you a block of ads for $6782 for “Prime Time” on the DIY Cheese Making Network (if you haven’t heard…it’s the latest thing)…

You might be the victim of a marketing drive by if…

The newspaper ad rep stopped by and sold you 11 4-column inch ads to appear on Page 4 of the Lifestyle section on Tuesdays for $1400…

You might be the victim of a marketing drive by if…

You hired an out of town (or overseas) “SEO” consultant who guaranteed to get you ranked #1 in Google for just $1495 + $299 per month…

You will be the victim of a marketing drive by if…

You have no marketing strategy…you have no way to measure the results of your marketing…you’re afraid that if you don’t pay these “drive by ad men” that you won’t get any customers.

Here’s how to avoid being the victim of a marketing drive by:

1. Have a Marketing Strategy Before You Meet With Any Media Sales Person

You become a victim of a marketing drive by when you have no way to evaluate the offer that a media rep is bringing you. Sure it sounds good…it will always sound good, because they are selling you the promise of future customers…or putting it another way…the promise of future money in your pocket.

Who wouldn’t want that?

The problem is that it’s just a promise. For any marketing media to deliver on the promise two other things need to be in place:

  1. The right marketing message – You create the message and if you create a poor one your ad won’t pull. You’ll of course blame the media you used—Yellow Pages, Pay Per Click, TV, Radio, Magazine…whatever.
  2. The right market for your business – You choose your market and the media rep can reach a market. If they don’t reach your market effectively you’ll be a victim.

Your marketing strategy needs to include (in this order):

  1. Your Market – Who you are trying to sell your products or services to.
  2. Your Message – What compelling message you’ll tell to convince people in your market to give you money for what you’re selling. Including, an offer they can’t refuse, that positions you apart from your competition.
  3. The Media You Will Use To Deliver Your Message – Before you ever talk to an advertising rep you need to create what I call your “marketing map”…here’s an example:Small Business Marketing Map

Choosing media isn’t rocket science. The easiest way to do this is to copy your competitors. If you see a competitor or a non-competitor who shares your market continually advertising in a particular media there’s a good chance it’s working for them. Follow-them…but be sure your message stands apart.

You can also very effectively use your common sense and life experience…especially if you are a member of your target market. What do they read or watch…which media outlets have their attention?

Knowing this, you can create your marketing map and be ready to evaluate each ad reps offer against the strategy you’ve already set.

2. Never Run An Ad Campaign You Can’t Measure

One of my favorite questions to ask small business owners when we talk about marketing is “What’s working for you now?” and I have yet to find one who really knows…by the numbers.

Your marketing numbers are the most important numbers to track in your business. They are the only forward looking numbers that exist. Your financial accounting is a look through the rear-view mirror, but you probably know what these numbers are every day, to the penny!

Here are the basics to track:

  • Number of new leads – People who YOU have identified as potential clients and for whom you have acquired a means of contacting them—address, phone number, email address, referral introduction.
  • Number of new prospects – People who have “raised their hands” to say “I’m interested in what you do.” They may have downloaded a free report you offer or attended a seminar or called for pricing.
  • Number of referrals – How many referrals have you asked for and how many have you received.
  • Number of sales presentations – if you make sales presentations to win new clients then track how many you make.
  • Number of new clients – this is the end result you want!

After a month or two you’ll begin to see some relationships…

For example, I know that for every 30 downloads of my small business marketing e-book I get, on average, 1 person who moves to the point of sales presentation. And 3 out of every 4 sales presentations result in a new client. I also know the average amount of time it takes to move from one stage to the next in my sales process.

And by knowing these things, I can tell you with reasonable certainty how many clients I’ll add a month from now.

I also know that my main marketing job is to send people to the top of my marketing funnel…to download my free e-book. Every decision I make on choosing media now has a frame of reference—Send people to the free e-book.

Even more important than that, I have the basis for evaluating any media test…money.

If a new client is worth, for example, $1000 in net profit and the ad I’m buying costs $2800. The ad needs to deliver 3 new clients to be profitable. Working backwards, that means the ad needs to result in 120 people downloading the e-book.

Here’s the math:

How to attract Profitable Clients

How to get more sales presentationsHow to attract clients with free e-books

All I need to do is track the number of e-book downloads each ad generates, do the calculation and then know which marketing is working and which is not.

3. Don’t Buy Advertising Out of Fear!

Because you don’t have any way to quantify which marketing efforts are working and which are not, you’re not able to make any real decisions about what to cut and what to add.

You become fearful of cutting “the one” that works…and each ad rep will assure you that they’re media is the one you must be in.

Recently, I helped a client drop a $1200 a month phone book ad and Internet marketing contract. He tracked the source if all of his customers and found that over 90% were coming from referrals and his organic search marketing. A small percentage were coming from the physical phone book ad and virtually none from the phone company’s Internet marketing division.

Knowing this we confidently cut the poor performing ads and put the $1200 a month into other things. A move my client never could have made before knowing where his clients came from.

What would you do with an extra $14,400 in your business this year?

Are All Advertising Reps Bad?

Absolutely NOT! Most are ethical. But you must understand that they are under a lot of pressure to sell you advertising…

It is not their job to figure out if their media fits into your strategy or to figure out if you’re getting results. Decide before you meet with them what your criteria are for success.

The set realistic expectations and remember marketing is an experiment.

In the end it’s up to you to avoid being the victim of a marketing drive-by…resist the urge to hand over your money to every ad rep that walks into your office.

Have you ever experienced a "marketing drive-by?" Share your experience in the comments below.