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Why you should NOT clean your elist

July 17th, 2018 by Bob Bly

The conventional wisdom has long been to zap people from your
email list if they have not responded to any of your offers
within the last 6 months — and especially if they have not opened
any of your emails within that time.

But now, a new study from MailChimp suggests you should not.

The reason?

MailChimp found that inactive subscribers, contrary to what many
believe, are far from worthless.

The MailChimp study shows that just because an online subscriber
is inactive does not mean he will remain so.

In fact, many inactive subscribers eventually buy again — even
after a year or several years of taking no action.

MailChimp says that, on average, about one-third of online
revenues from your elist will come from inactive subscribers — so
clearly they have real value.

Because keeping the inactives on your list is relatively cheap,
and inactives are 26% more likely to purchase than
non-subscribers, to me it makes good sense to leave people on
your list until they opt out.

Many of my readers have confirmed with me the value of inactive
names on their list.

BS says: “Yes, we just had one of our leads who ignored all of
our emails and phone calls for 7 months buy a product from us
today.”

JH comments: “Dean Jackson is as good as it gets with email. He
recently said the people who convert to some of his highest level
stuff have been on his list for 2 years.”

SB: “I convert customers who’ve been on my lists for 1,2,3,4
years later. This purge thing was partly started by the advice of
not sending to unopens.”

JL: “If someone raises their hand in terms of going to a workshop
or seeing me, we keep them on our newsletter until they cry uncle
or die. We get at least a few new clients a year that have been
on that list for years. There is gold in unconverted leads.”

KD: “I had one guy order a product, then two weeks later bought
another product. Week after that bought another. So I checked him
out. He’d been on my list for years but never bought before.”

AR: “I’ve had email subscribers who tune out for months at a
time… and then suddenly hire me or buy stuff I recommend.”

The major argument in favor of purging inactives is that having a
lot of them on your list hurts your email delivery rate.

Well, yes and no. There are two types of services providing email
delivery. The first includes vendors such as Constant Contact and
Bronto, where the bigger your list, the more they charge you.

These email service providers make more money from clients with
large lists. So they have no incentive to penalize you for having
a big list. And as far as I know, they do not.

The other category is services that give you an unlimited number
of email distributions for a fixed monthly cost, such as
1shoppingcart.

Since it costs them money to distribute … and earns them no extra
money to email to large lists … they have a motive for actively
encouraging you to drop inactive subscribers from your list, and
some of them do so.

That being said, I agree with JL: In my experience, there is gold
in unconverted leads. And I am really not into throwing gold in
the trash (or delete folder).

The other argument in favor of purging inactive subscriber names
is that their non-responsiveness brings down your key metrics
including click-through rate and open rate. JA comments, “If your
open rate is below benchmark despite having consistently good
content, there’s probably some dead weight in your list.”

However, low CTR and open rates are a problem mainly if you have
a boss or client judging you by those numbers.

But if you are an entrepreneur with your own internet marketing
business, the most important key metric to use is weekly gross
sales.

And as MailChimp and others quoted above note, continuing to
email to your inactives can boost what is arguably the most
important key performance indicator — revenue — substantially.

So what’s more important to you — good-looking analytics reports
… or money in your bank account?

It’s your call.

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Category: Online Marketing | No Comments »

My info product pricing strategy in a nutshell

March 30th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber GK writes:

“Many of the big guns in info marketing believe in the concept of
charging very high prices, which sometimes annoys me with their
greed.

“On the other hand, Bob Bly, you make ongoing offers of
inexpensive info-products which seem to recur about every few
weeks.”

“Why do you do what you do? And which should I sell — big-ticket
items or less expensive programs?”

I can’t tell GK what to do. But let’s take a closer look at
strategic pricing of info products for greater ROI and maximum
customer satisfaction.

There are a couple of reasons why many info marketers, both the
top and others, charge what may seem like almost usurious prices
for their courses.

The first is obvious: to make more money.

If a guru has a $3,000 course on Topic X — and I cover the same
material in a $30 ebook — I have to sell 100 units to make the
same 3 grand he makes with just one sale.

The second reason these gurus give for their high prices is:
“Charging a lot of money is the only way to motivate customer to
take the information seriously.”

And to a certain degree, they’re right: If you pay only $30 for
my course on X, then get busy, put it aside, and never return to
it, you haven’t lost much — at least not much money paid for a
product you didn’t really use.

But if you paid 3K for Mr. Big Guru’s program, your large
investment makes you more likely to pay attention to it. Right?

Conversely, when you or I give someone free advice, that person
values our info based on what he or she paid for it: nothing.

So, why don’t I jump on the bandwagon and bring out a line of
super-expensive info products for my readers?

For these 5 good reasons:

>> First, one can argue that, in particular when selling to
first-time customers, it is better to make $3,000 in revenues by
selling 100 units of a $30 items vs. by selling just one unit of
a $3,000 item.

Reason: With the first order, you acquire 100 new customers
instead of just one, building your list 100X faster.

>> Second, with reasonable pricing, it is easier to deliver value
many times in excess of what the customer pays for the product.

Fred Gleeck says the info products you sell should be ideally
worth 10X or more the list price.

Well, creating a $30 ebook that delivers $300 or more in value is
an achievable goal for me and you.

On the other hand, it’s more difficult to create a $3,000 program
that you can honestly say is worth at least 30 grand.

>> Third, many consumers perceive, rightly or wrongly, that some
of the higher-priced info product marketers are really in the
“money extraction” business more than they are the value delivery
business.

So many buyers, like GK, feel they are being treated as a mark
rather than a student or valued client.

As for me, I want a reputation of delivering real value as well
as never ripping people off.

>> Fourth, big-ticket products — such as conferences, boot camps,
coaching, masterminds, and multimedia programs — are usually more
complex to produce than low-priced ebooks, DVDs, or audios.

Orchestrating the creation, production, delivery, and marketing
of big-ticket items takes a lot of time and effort.

That works if you are a full-time info marketer, especially if
you have a team to help you.

But for a little operator like me, for whom info marketing is a
spare-time income, the simplicity and ease of producing and
selling books, audios, and other lower-priced items is more
appealing.

>> Fifth, most big-ticket info products these day have live
elements, such as webinars, mentoring, meetings, or coaching.

For that reason, they are not purely passive income, but a mix of
active and passive.

And again, as a small operator who already had a full-time job
(in my case, freelance copywriting), I want my info products to
be purely passive, requiring zero time on my part to deliver and
support.

Which is why ebooks, DVDs, and other one-shot products are right
for me.

That being said, the best strategy in online information
marketing is to offer an extensive line of products covering the
full price spectrum:

Low … medium … and high-priced items.

That doesn’t necessarily mean all of these programs have to be
YOUR products: some can be those of other marketers, which you
offer as their affiliate or JV partner.

That way, you get a share of the profits from someone else’s
expensive info products — without doing the work!

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Category: Online Marketing | 30 Comments »

Why would any big marketer want YOU as an affiliate?

February 27th, 2018 by Bob Bly

The “99/1 rule” of affiliate marketing says that 99% of your
affiliates aren’t going to sell any product for you.

And conversely, the top 1% of your affiliates — the “super
affiliates” — will account for 99% of all your affiliate sales
revenues.

But the super affiliates are rather picky about whom they do
deals with … and they are incredibly difficult just to reach.

So, how do you stand out from the crowd of other newbies asking
super-affiliates to consider them for a JV deal?

Here are 3 proven methods:

1–The “commission bribe.”

On information products in the low to medium-price range, a
common affiliate commission is 50% of gross.

I wanted a marketer with a huge list of 450,000 subscribers to
promote one of my lower priced ebooks to his list.

To get him interested, I raised his affiliate commission to 100%.
And he bit!

Why would I do this and give up all my revenues to him?

Simple. To get new subscribers: everyone who buys becomes a
customer of mine, and therefore is on my e-list — meaning I can
e-mail them any time.

The affiliate promotion generated 989 orders from a single
e-mail, adding nearly a thousand new subscribers to my list
within 24 hours.

For me, that’s a list-building home run.

2–Event marketing.

I am not a fan of internet marketing conferences for several
reasons.

First, I hate to travel.

Second, I don’t have the time, as my copywriting clients and
publishers keep me plenty busy, and I have deadlines.

Third, a lot of the entrepreneurial internet marketing
conferences are a bit too high-testosterone for my taste.

But there is one reason you should go to internet marketing
conferences aside from the obvious one of learning:

To meet in person bigger players than you who can become your
super affiliates.

These are mega-successful marketers who normally don’t give small
fry like you and me the time of day.

But when you make their acquaintance face-to-face at a live
event, you have a much better chance of forging a relationship
that leads to affiliate and joint venture opportunities for a
win-win scenario.

3–A personal note.

There is a major player who is so far ahead of me in level of
online revenues it isn’t funny.

I read his book and liked it so much, I sent him a fan letter.

He responded with thanks and an open invitation to become an
affiliate of his!

By the way, I sent a postal letter, not an e-mail.

Reason: People perceive it as a more personal touch.

And, in a sea of e-mails, it stands out.

Try paper letters. You’ll like it!

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Category: General, Online Marketing | 8 Comments »

Why no one cares that you want to become their affiliate

February 23rd, 2018 by Bob Bly

Has this ever happened to you?

You are starting or have already started an internet marketing
business.

And you have begun asking some of the other marketers in your
space for information on how you can become an affiliate — so you
can sell their products, for a commission, to your list.

Much to your dismay, the bigger marketers … the ones whose
products you’d really love to sell … have little or no interest
in your offer — and many don’t even get back to you.

With a start, you realize that they don’t really give a fig
whether you become their affiliate or not!

So are they stupid? Well, yes and no.

Yes in the sense that it is just bad business and rude to ignore
people or be nonresponsive to them, regardless of who you are and
who they are.

But no, in the sense that these big marketers have correctly
surmised that the value to them of you promoting their products
is likely going to be zero … or close to it.

The reason is the “99/1 rule” of affiliate marketing.

The 99/1 rule says that 99% of your affiliates aren’t going to
sell hardly any product for you.

And conversely, the top 1% of your affiliates — known as “super
affiliates” — will account for 99% of all your affiliate sales
revenues.

It may seem odd. But it’s virtually always true. And here’s why….

There are countless well-meaning, ambitious internet marketing
newbies — and maybe you are one of them — who figure a good way
to get started is to sell other people’s products.

Unfortunately, because most of these newbies have no list or
traffic to speak of, they also have no means of generating a
significant volume of orders for any products, let whether theirs
or anyone else’s.

On the other hand, there are the “big dogs” — the known major
players in their respective niches and markets.

They make millions in sales … have huge lists … and get massive
web traffic.

So if you can convince these top dogs to become an affiliate of
yours, you stand to generate a lot of new sales, orders, and
customers from their efforts.

The problem is that, because these super affiliates are such
desirable joint venture partners, they are inundated with offers
— and very picky about whom they work with.

Just getting their attention and on their radar is a major
challenge.

So, the problem becomes: how can you recruit some of the big
super affiliate players and get them to offer YOUR products to
their huge and highly profitable lists … when they won’t even
respond to you?

That’s a question we’ll take up in my next article. Stay tuned.

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Category: General, Online Marketing | 5 Comments »

How I differ from my fellow info marketers

February 20th, 2018 by Bob Bly

PL writes:

“Bob, I am an internet marketing newbie.

“I am not on your list. But a friend forwarded me one of your
emails and suggested I might want to follow you.

“But there are already so many people out there teaching ‘how to
make money on the internet’ today — and some of them seem to be
making piles more money than you are.

“So why on Earth would I want to add your name to the list of
marketing teachers I follow, Bob?”

To begin with, PL — perhaps you should not.

No skin off my nose whether you do or you don’t. Either way works
for me.

But your question is not the first time I’ve been asked, “What
makes you better than other marketing teachers offering products
and courses?”

Well, truth be told, I don’t ever say I’m better.

But I can tell you the 6 things that I do feel may make me a bit
different than the others:

>> First, while I’m by far not the highest paid information
marketer online today — I do believe I am one of the highest paid
when calculated on a per hour basis.

That’s because my little info marketing empire makes me a mostly
passive six-figure annual income.

And I “work” in my internet marketing business just a few hours a
week to achieve it.

So who makes more money an hour?

Mr. X, pulling down a million dollars gross online a year, but
putting in grueling 60-hour weeks with his team every week of the
year to orchestrate his major product launches?

Or me, who produces low to mid-six-figures working literally less
than 2 hours a week selling digital info products delivered
automatically to customers by auto-responder?

>> Second, others teach a time-intensive approach to online
marketing that is pretty difficult to pull off if you are holding
a 9 to 5 job or have another career.

By comparison, I teach info marketing as a spare-time home
business — a second source of income to supplement your salary
while you keep your day job, if you so desire, as I do.

In my case, that “day job” is being a full-time freelance
copywriter, writing copy for clients.

>> Third, let’s say you want to quit working.

With my method, which I have nicknamed “The Internet Marketing
Retirement Plan,” you earn a “full-time” income with extremely
minimal part-time effort.

So in effect, you live as if you are retired, only with an online
passive income equal to a huge annuity or generous corporate
pension.

>> Fourth, a lot of people selling “how to make money on the
internet” have in reality only sold one thing in their life —
their course on “how to make money on the internet.”

Just as back in the day, there were some guys running mail order
ads selling books on how to get rich.

And when you got the book, it told you the way to get rich was
running ads selling mail order books.

In sharp contrast, I have had success selling the widest range of
products and services imaginable — everything from a $1 pocket
football season schedule to a $32 million corporate jet.

>> Fifth, all info marketers are teachers of a sort, yet most I
know have never actually worked as a teacher.

As for me, I have been doing corporate training classes for
decades … and I was an adjunct professor years ago at New York
University.

So I know my way around a classroom better than some.

>> Sixth, every teacher of info marketing has their strengths and
weaknesses.

Others are much more savvy in many areas than I am — most notably
in technical aspects of internet marketing, social media, and
online media buying … though I have experts at my beck and call
in these and any other areas where I am not stellar.

But, because of my nearly 4 decades as a freelance copywriter, I
am, among the sell “information” online crowd, on the strong end of
the spectrum as far as copywriting goes.

Also, because I have written more than 95 paperbound books for
mainstream publishing houses, my content writing skills are also
quite respectable.

So if you are particularly keen on improving your info marketing
sales with killer copy …

… and boosting repeat orders by offering A-level content …
perhaps I’m your guy.

On the other hand, if you want to get rich with a Facebook group
or a zillion Twitter followers, I may not be.

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Category: Online Marketing | 6 Comments »

Is content marketing overhyped?

February 9th, 2018 by Bob Bly

A week or so ago, I received via email a link to an article
titled — “How to Stop Acting Like a Marketer and Start Thinking
Like a Publisher.”

And the misguided ideal it promotes — that we are all publishers,
not marketers — is a sure road to ruin.

The problem with this attitude … that we are educators, not
sellers … is it fools too many unsuspecting content marketers
into believing we are in the business of creating and giving away
free information.

But we are not. No, the business we are really in is that of
marketing and selling our products for a profit — ideally,
products that can help our customers solve their problems and
give them better value than anything else out there.

To that end, content marketing (publishing) — is merely one of
multiple channels we use to promote our business.

But it is not THE business we are in. It is simply a way of
generating leads and sales. The thinking implied in this article
title is fallacious and potentially wasteful and costly.

For instance, if you manufacture valves, pumps, and mixers, you
are in the chemical process equipment business.

You may publish a variety of materials about these products and
their features, design, and application — everything from data
sheets and videos, to technical articles and white papers, to
case studies and installation manuals.

So yes, you are publishing useful content.

But, you are not IN the publishing business. You publish these
materials only to support the real business you are in: the
process equipment business.

If you believe otherwise … that your business is publishing or
brand journalism … you are fooling yourself.

Worse, you may be turning out a ton of publications that, while
interesting and educational, are not supporting the marketing and
selling of your products — and are therefore largely a waste of
time, money, and effort. In other words, content pollution.

Action step: create a marketing plan, and integrate content in
support of the sales funnels, calls to action, marketing
objectives, and the information needs of buyers — overcoming
objections while convincing them that your technology is the best
solution for their problems.

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Category: Direct Marketing, General, Online Marketing | 8 Comments »

Writing: the #1 barrier to digital marketing

February 2nd, 2018 by Bob Bly

Digital marketing has an insatiable thirst for good content and
copy to fuel it and produce results.

And therein lies a problem: companies that lack writing resources
neglect certain digital channels — because they do not have the
time, talent, nor temperament to write the copy these marketing
tactics require.

In my experience, the marketing-related writing tasks that are
most problematic are blogs, e-newsletters, email marketing, and
lead magnets.

>> Blog posts … writing one or two 500 to 1,000-word blog posts
daily is difficult, especially in a corporate environment where
everything published has to go through a review committee.

>> E-newsletters … experienced online marketers know the
importance of having an e-newsletter and building its subscriber
list. But the #1 complaint of marketers I advise in this area is,
“We don’t have the time to write an e-zine or the budget to hire
someone to do so!”

>> Email marketing … not a problem if you send one email blast to
your list a month, but it suddenly becomes a huge burden if you
want to send 2 to 3 email messages a week.

>> Lead magnets … the marketer creates a squeeze or sales page.
They then realize they want to offer a free bonus report. But
they don’t have one. The deadline is around the corner and the
budget has been spent. So they skip the report — and response
suffers because of it.

So how do you get around your resource limitations and get these
things written with sufficient quality and quick turnaround without
breaking your marketing budget?

Here are a few suggestions:

1–Recruit in-house wordsmiths.

At most organizations there are usually some people who, while
not professional writers, are decent “wordsmiths” — as we used to
call them at Westinghouse back in the day.

2–Repurpose and recycle your content.

Don’t reinvent the wheel with every new piece of copy and content
you write.

A blog post can be reworked into an article for your online
newsletter. A series of articles from your e-newsletter can be
compiled and edited into a special report or white paper.

3–Use other people’s content.

You probably already get a ton of material on your topic —
e-newsletters, webinars, trade magazines, and other sources.

As you read them, you can extract and reprint this information,
rephrased in your own words, in your e-newsletter and other
digital marketing. Just be sure to credit the source.

4–Set a schedule to publish regularly.

If you decide to blog or write e-newsletter issues sporadically,
then you have no commitment to get the material done by a
specific date — and therefore the writing is in danger of being
continually put off as more pressing tasks come up.

On the other hand, when people sign up for and you promise them a
weekly e-newsletter, you have an obligation to deliver — and you
somehow get it done.

5–Carry a smart phone, digital recorder, or pen and note pad.

Copy and content ideas will pop into your head when you least
expect them to.

Write them down. Capture ideas immediately. If you don’t, by the
time you get to your desk, you will have forgotten that great
idea or content tidbit you wanted to use in your next blog post
or podcast.

By the way, the problem companies have with getting blog posts,
online newsletters, email blasts, and lead magnets written seems
not to apply to bigger writing projects — including websites,
landing pages, and video sales letters.

That’s because these can usually be planned, and that plan
includes a production schedule the team agrees on and finds
reasonable — or at least possible.

Also because these projects are perhaps bigger, more critical,
and less frequent than the blogging or online newsletters,
marketers are comfortable devoting more time and effort to their
creation.

So they can afford and are willing to pay qualified professionals
higher fees to write these bigger pieces.

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Category: General, Online Marketing, Writing, Writing and the Internet | 13 Comments »

9 reasons to market yourself by writing articles

January 12th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber DK writes:

“How much stock, if any, do you put in the strategy of putting
articles on-line (or elsewhere) for free?”

Answer: a lot.

I wrote my first article for one of the marketing trade
publications when I launched my freelance copywriting business in
1982.

And I’ve been writing articles to promote my copywriting
business, info products, and books continually since then right
up to this day — and I still do it.

Why?

Here are 9 specific ways you can profit by writing and placing
articles for free online and offline:

1–Builds your reputation as an expert in your field.

Writing how-to articles about your area of expertise helps
position you as a leading authority in your subject matter.

2–Makes great sales literature.

Whether in print or PDF, reprints of your published articles make
great sales literature.

I always recommend having one of your articles as part of the
standard information kit on your services or products.

Also, a PDF with 3 to 5 articles can be an effective lead magnet.

3–Pumps up your online bio.

If you have written for major consumer or industry print
magazines, or even top e-newsletters, say so in your bio.

It impresses prospects when you tell them you have been published
in the Harvard Business Review or even Hydrocarbon Processing
magazine.

4–Drives traffic to your site.

Editors typically include a URL or hyperlink to your website in
the short “about the author” paragraph that runs with your
article.

In this regard, publishing in online media can often out-perform
print, because online has a live hyperlink vs. print only offers
a URL that must be manually keyed into a browser.

5–Gets you free advertising (sometimes).

When a print or online publication doesn’t pay for articles, they
may be willing to give you something else instead — such as a
free ad in their magazine or e-newsletter, or a free banner on
their website.

Not all will. Others might agree to it, but only with authors who
specifically ask.

6–Raises your website’s search engine ranking.

Posting a lot of keyword-rich articles and other content on your
website can raise your ranking with Google and other search
engines.

7–Improves your workshops, seminars, and speeches.

Reprints of published articles with your byline make great
handouts at events where you are a speaker.

8–Broadens your knowledge.

Writing articles educates you as much as your readers.

It forces you to organize your thinking, dig deeper into your
topic, and gain a better understanding of your subject and your
audience.

9–Builds your content library.

The articles you have written for publication and now store on
your hard drive are your content “goldmine.”

You can and should continually recycle your articles. No need to
reinvent the wheel every time you write about your topic.

The key to getting maximum ROI from your content is to retain all
rights to everything you write.

Type “first rights only” in the upper left corner on page one of
every article you submit to any outlet. This way you remain in
control of the rights.

If you sign the rights away, you can’t recycle your material for
multiple uses — which dramatically lowers the ROI from your
article writing.

 

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 8 Comments »