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Archive for September, 2018

Packaging info profits for maximum profit

September 21st, 2018 by Bob Bly

The strangest thing, at least to me, about selling info products
is this:

You can take the same content, and sell it for different prices,
in a variety of formats, the price depending largely on how you
package it.

Which means if you are an info marketer, you should give some
serious thought to how you package your products.

A case in point: In the 20th century, an info marketer named DD
sold a course on how to make money in mail order, which he
marketed primarily through an infomercial.

The course had almost a dozen components — most of which he
called “manuals” — each selling for $19, $29, or $39 (one was
$12)

When you added them all up, they had a total list price of $250.

Then he offered them for only $39.95 — an 84% discount off the
combined retail value of the 11 components.

Each manual had a beautiful shiny color cover, making them look
valuable.

Curious, I ordered DD’s mail order course.

When I got the package, I discovered that the manuals were thin
saddle-stitched reports — only a few pages each.

When I stacked them up, in total they were much thinner and had
far fewer pages than the paperback books I was writing back then
on similar subjects … and my books sold for around $15 in
bookstores.

Because my books were sold in bookstores, I did not capture buyer
names and therefore could not market other offers to them.

But DD was marketing his course through direct response TV, and
so he rapidly built a list, which he upsold on other products and
expensive coaching services — making tons more money than I was.

The lesson: sell your info products via direct response — either
infomercials or online — and turn your content into a lucrative
info marketing empire like DD did.

And repackage the content so you can charge more than if it’s
just an ordinary book.

The more elements in your info product … especially one with
multimedia elements such as manuals, reports, resource
directories, video, audio, and live components such as webinars
or coaching — the higher the price you can command … and the
more money you will make.

If you sell only low-priced ebooks at say $19 each, you have to
make 26 sales to match the revenue of the marketer who sells one
high-priced course for $497.

Also, by selling his product at $497, he builds a list of people
who spend a lot of money for valuable information, while your
list prefers cheaper bargains.

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Category: Online Marketing | 2 Comments »

The awful truth about single-page websites

September 18th, 2018 by Bob Bly

A big fad in website design today is “single-page” sites.

This is where, rather than create separate web pages for each
major topic (e.g., testimonials, client list, about the company,
products), where you reach each page by selecting the topic from
a menu …

…all the topics are on one long home page, and you reach them by
scrolling down that home page.

Usually there is also a menu.

But when you click the topic button on a one-page website menu,
instead of taking you to a separate page, it just takes you
immediately to where that information appears on the home page —
eliminating the need to scroll.

Single-page sites are popular today, even “all the rage.” But I
don’t like them, and I recommend most businesses do not use them,
for three reasons:

>> First, Link-Assistant.com and others note that one-page
websites are not good for search engine optimization.

With a one-pager, you usually can’t drive a lot of organic search
traffic via SEO.

The reason is because you won’t have enough content to target a
wide range of keywords and topics.

So if you hope Google organic search to be the key source of new
customers for your business, a one-page website could be your
biggest mistake.

And if you already have a one-pager, and you seek Google traffic,
consider changing your site from single to multi-page.

>> Second, a lot of people like single-page websites because they
find them to be aesthetically pleasing.

Turns out, that’s not a good reason to have one.

According to a study by NN Group, 76% of users surveyed said the
most important factor to them when on a website is that it’s easy to
find what they want.

Traditional multi-page sites make it easy for visitors to quickly
go to the content they seek.

A beautiful design came in a distant second, with only 10% of
users saying the design is first in importance to them when
visiting websites.

Single-page websites were innovated for their cool look, not
their SEO or usability.

>> Third, your prospects prefer to consume content in small
chunks rather than big, huge gulps.

That’s why books are divided into chapter …

Why white papers have multiple sections …

Why CDs have tracks …

Why the high-school day is divided into one-hour periods …

And why symphonies are broken into movements.

Traditional multi-page sites accommodate the visitor’s natural
preference for modular content.

Single-page sites violate it, presenting all the content in one
enormous page that is intimidating to search and to read.

The “4 S” formula says that to make writing easy to read, you
should use small words … short sentences … short paragraphs … and
short sections.

Single-page websites violate the “short sections” part of the 4 S
formula for clear, comprehensible writing.

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Category: Online Marketing | 3 Comments »

Does it pay to go to marketing seminars?

September 14th, 2018 by Bob Bly

In a recent Facebook thread on the relative value and merits of
copywriting and marketing seminars, my FB friend BM wrote:

“I haven’t been to a live seminar in years. I’m too busy doing
work for clients. How do I sharpen the axe?

“I have every book, ebook, and CD set that Bob Bly has published,
plus I’m an AWAI Infinity member and I have lots of good stuff
from Steve Slaunwhite and Ed Gandia. I’ve cut the number of other
gurus I follow to three.

“It’s all recorded or printed so I can go back to school on my
own time. After taking this inventory I realized that if I did
nothing else I would not live long enough to read/listen to all
of them again. And you want me to sign up for your seminar in Las
Vegas? Egh!”

There are many who, like BM, are highly skeptical that the value
of seminars outweighs the time it takes to attend, especially if
the event requires plane travel.

And many others for whom the tuition is too stiff. They search
for less expensive education and can almost always find it.

My take on expensive seminars and conferences– those with
tuitions in the multiple thousands of dollars — and how to get
essentially the same knowledge for less money and time — is as
follows:

1–I always prefer to sample an expert’s free information before I
pay.

Almost all gurus have websites with a ton of free content — yours
for the taking.

Study that first.

If you don’t like that content, then why would you pay for more
of the same?

(I just saved you a ton of money!)

If you do like the free content on the guru’s website, then one
of two things can happen.

Either it’s so useful that it answers what you needed to know,
you don’t need to buy anything else, and you’ve solved your
problem for free.

Or, it’s so good that you are now confident in getting more
training and advice from this expert, and thereby improve your
odds of successful learning while reducing risk.

2–After I study the free content (e.g., blog posts, articles,
e-newsletters, free reports) … but before I move to a big
purchase … I look on Amazon to see whether the guru has written a
traditionally published paperbound book on the topic.

A dirty little secret many info marketers don’t want you to know:
often their books contain more content, better organized, and
more clearly presented then their expensive courses and products.

Reason: mainstream publishers require a degree of editing,
rewriting, copyediting, fact-checking, and proofreading that 99%
of info marketers don’t come close to. Result: clearer, more
complete, and better organized information.

3–Now, if you have gotten all you can from the guru’s
low-cost/no-cost content … and you still want to study with them
… you can safely and confidently invest in their higher-cost paid
info products.

But … and this is a warning: do not overbuy.

Listen, I love it when I get an email showing a subscriber who
just spent a grand with me buying a dozen different products; I
like money same as anybody else.

But at the same time, I worry about that customer and information
overload.

It’s like going bonkers at Barnes & Noble, buying every book that
looks good to you, and then putting them on your shelf and never
getting around to read them.

At least traditional paperbound books are a nice decorative touch
in a room. You don’t get that with PDFs, mp3 files, and streaming
audio. So unless you actually consume and use the content, buying
info products is pointless.

I know this list isn’t conclusive. But these are the primary
factors that weigh into my decision whether to pull the trigger,
shell out the dough on an expensive seminar, and fly hours to
attend … or walk away.

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Category: General | 5 Comments »

9 tips for webinar presenters

September 11th, 2018 by Bob Bly

There are a boatload of articles giving smart, savvy, strategic
advice on marketing with webinars.

This isn’t one of them.

Instead, here are 9 rather mundane — some might say trivial or
even silly — tips for webinar producers and presenters.

They won’t make you rich or famous.

But they’ll help your webinar go more smoothly while making it
easier for you to give:

#1–Go to the bathroom.

Ten minutes before you call into the webinar line, hit the head
and empty your bladder.

Trust me: There are few things worse than having to take a leak,
because when you are the webinar presenter, you can’t step away
from the phone or microphone to do it.

And the alternatives are all unpleasant.

#2–Have a box of tissues handy.

And, in case you have a cold or allergies, blow your nose —
thoroughly — before you start.

If the listener hears you sniffle or snort during your talk, it’s
awfully distracting.

#3–“Do not disturb.”

Whenever I am giving a webinar, I close my office door and tape a
sign to it that reads:

“Webinar in progress from [hours] — do not disturb UNLESS you are
mortally wounded or the house is on fire.”

#4–The dog trick.

If you work at home and have a dog, have someone take the dog for
a walk or car ride. Or put the dog outside, far away enough from
your office that if he barks, your listeners won’t hear it.

#5–Liquids.

Have a big glass of water — and I mean large enough to last you
through the entire duration of the talk.

#6–Eat.

Eat a light snack before your webinar so you can focus on your
presentation and not be distracted by hunger.

#7–Hard copy.

Print hard copies of your slides and have them on the desk next
to your phone.

That way, if you somehow get disconnected or lose the video
portion of the webinar, you can work from the print copy.

Also, it ensures that you can read the slides clearly in case the
screen shot is low resolution or too small.

#8–Have a back-up plan.

You and the webinar company should have a way to contact one
another in case of a technical glitch.

I have my smartphone and the webinar producer’s phone number at
the ready just in case.

#9–Always record your webinar.

Even if you don’t plan to sell or offer access to the recorded
webinar, record it.

That way a participant who doesn’t get in or is somehow
disconnected can view and hear it later.

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Category: General | 5 Comments »

How often should you check your email inbox?

September 7th, 2018 by Bob Bly

One of my mentors, GN, is one of the top direct response
entrepreneurs.

GN advises us to check our emails only once a day, saying doing
so more often is a waste of time that lowers your productivity.

But GN is a business owner and therefore also a client for people
in service businesses — including freelance copywriters like me.

And while clients can afford to check email just daily, if you
are a vendor, you should do so much more frequently — ideally,
once every hour.

The reason: When your clients or prospects have a need, a prompt
response not only provides superior customer service.

But if you do not reply quickly, they may, if the job is urgent,
email your competitors who, if they answer more quickly than you,
may just get the assignments that you wanted.

In addition, for me, checking my email hourly does not interfere
with my productivity. In fact, it improves it.

I divide my daily writing into one-hour increments, between which
I take a 5-minute break; the great Gene Schwartz worked in
half-hour increments with a 3-minute break between them, though I
am not even close to his level.

During those short breaks is a perfect time for me to take a
quick look at my email inbox.

I quickly delete the irrelevant emails — and respond to the
important ones from clients and prospects on the spot — so they
are never kept waiting too long.

Emails that are less urgent but still important because of their
valuable content, I file for later reading or reference in the
appropriate Outlook folders.

This short break energizes me to get back to copywriting for
another hour.

And if I am worn out on my copywriting project, I switch to
another one, which further refreshes me so I can tackle it with
renewed energy.

So if you are a service provider, I advise you to check and
respond to emails in a timely manner, as it boosts your energy,
productivity, and customer service.

It works well for me and might for you too. Give it a try.

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Category: General | 7 Comments »

10 ways to increase your writing confidence

September 3rd, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber RF writes:

“Bob, I would love your advice on how you silence the derogatory
voice in your head that says, ‘You’re not a good writer.’ Writing
can never be a pleasure if one is haunted by negative thoughts.”

Here’s how I handle it:

1–I post testimonials from satisfied clients and readers on my
website, and when I doubt myself, I click on the links and look
at a few.

2–I thank my subscribers who say they like my writing, always.

3–My 95 published books are in two bookcases in our living room.
I go upstairs and briefly look at them on the shelves.

4–I take pleasure in writing copy that I think is particularly
strong — and I’m even happier when the client likes it, runs it,
and the copy performs well.

5–After work, I often read books by writers in all genres whom I
admire. Most are out of my league … but not SO far out of my
league that I can’t learn from and emulate them.

6–If my deadline schedule permits, I turn to the project on my
to-do list that is the most fun and the most engaging to me, and
I work on it for several hours.

7–I realize that if I was really as bad as the voice in my head
is telling me on any particular day, I would not have the repeat
clients, income, or longevity as a copywriter that I do.

8–I take comfort in these words from copywriter Lou Redmond: “We
never write as well as we want to; we only write as well as we
can.”

9–I also heed these words from Max Ehrmann: “There will always be
those greater and lesser than you.”

10–I take a writing course or go to a lecture or reading by an
author I like. The most recent one was going with my sister and
daughter-in-law to hear Stephen King reading from his novel
“Sleeping Beauties” in Brooklyn a few months ago.

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Category: Writing | 12 Comments »