Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

building traffic

How Strong is Your Website?

Today I’m just gonna tell it like it is. No more beating around the dog bed. Your website. Let’s talk about that for a sec. In today’s modern times it’s waaaay more important than having a plush office to meet your clients in. Are you meeting with them surrounded by fancy artwork and rich leather chairs?

Who cares?

It’s the strength of your website that’s first going to determine if they’re even remotely interested in doing business with you.

Thousands of people will look at your website.

Hopefully hundreds of thousands, or even millions, if you’re doing your marketing right.

But only a small handful are ever going to set foot in your office.

So how much is it costing you to run your fancy office a year?

Uh-huh.

Now how much time and money did you invest in developing the most kick-butt website that wins people over first and then gets them stampeding to your office or setting your phone system on fire?

Hmmm, that’s what I thought. No wonder you find marketing frustrating. You’re putting the cart before the horse.

Your website is THE most important anchor piece of your marketing arsenal. It’s the first thing people are going to look at when they hear about you. And you’ve got just 3 seconds of their undivided attention to win them over… If your website isn’t up to the job then it’s time to make that a top priority in your business and give it an extreme makeover.

Wooooof!

Copywriting Tips For Bloggers

Bear the Rottie
Bear the Rottie

Copywriting Tips From The Couch - By Bear the Rottie - Chief Co-Squirrel Hunter and Head Copywriter at The Client Stampede. This week’s edition of Copywriting Tips From the Couch comes to you from the basement.  It’s been a scary week at our house with all that weather blowing over from Hurricane Sandy, and I’m not sure I’m quite ready to venture upstairs again.  Anyhow, this week here are some copywriting tips to help you write a better blog post.

  1. Pack a punch with your headline to hook the reader by talking about something important to them (not you).  Here’s the thing about blog posts.  For them to be successful and widely read, they have to written in a lively manner and they have to cover content of interest and value to your readers (not necessarily you).  Your headline should be the strongest part of your blog post – not just an after thought.  So take some time to make it impossible to ignore.
  2. Great blog posts (like great copywriting) are addictive.  They suck the reader in and leave them wanting more.  One of my mentors once told me that great copy should read like crack cocaine.  That’s the secret of developing a loyal following.
  3. It’s not true that blog posts have to be short.  They can be, but if they’re well written and entertaining (and addictive) to read, people will devour as many words as you can write.

My Irish Vacation

Wow, it's great to be back to a Michigan winter.  Really!  I never thought I'd EVER say that, except that the weather in Ireland was about 100 times worse!  Wet, cold, dark, miserable, with icy winds whipping your face straight off the Atlantic.  Just look at how many layers of clothing I had to wear just to go out shopping (and I can hardly see out of my hood!). Lucky that the Irish are so warm and welcoming because the weather sure isn't.  Maybe that explains why family life revolves around the local taverns that are always brimming with laughter, guinness (of course), and some of the most incredible fiddle playing, singing and Irish dancing I've ever seen!  The whole reason for going to Ireland was to catch up with my older brother Dale and his family, who live in Belfast.  He's got 3 kids of his own now who range in age from 1 to 6 and are delightful little characters with thick Irish accents and a naughty streak.  I sat on a whoppee cushion about 10 times, got pelted with "Nerf Bullets," and helped make a gingerbread train for Santa to hopefully "cancel out any naughtyness" during the year!  I also suffered 4 humiliating defeats playing tabletop football with my 4 year old nephew...!

I was last in Ireland 2 1/2 years ago - it's a country I love visiting, and this time around I was curious to see how things had changed. Particularly in regards to how the recession had impacted the area.  The reports I had read lumped the Irish economy alongside other EU economies that are in the toilet (like Greece).  Were there going to be stores borded up and lots of "going out of business" signs?  Would there be people begging on the streets?  Lots of vacant commercial buildings and houses?

What I was about to discover astounded me...

In Belfast, the post Christmas sales have always been legendary.  With the recession going on, I thought that the post Christmas shopping experience would be a little more sane, a lot less hectic, and far less busy.  So when my sister-in-law suggested we "hit the shops," I thought it was a great idea as I'm not usually one to brave big crowds.  With the economy, surely most people would be staying home - right? Afterall, in a country whose economy has been likened to that of the great depression, how many people would be out spending their hard earned dollars...not many, right?

WRONG.

Oh my goodness...

It was total madness.  There were crowds clamboring to the stores like I have NEVER EVER SEEN IN ANY ECONOMY.  People were lining up outside some of the high end department stores, braving that terrible weather, just for the chance to buy a $200 sweater at 25% off!  These people were NOT strapped for cash, and what blew me away is how well dressed everyone was - designer duds everywhere, expensive baby strollers...if there was a recession going on, the people shopping in downtown Belfast surely hadn't been told about it!!!

In one store I went to (that I wish I owned shares in) - there was quite literally a MOVING HIGHWAY of people in and out, all hustling to buy and then moving onto the next deal.  I stood in the same spot by the door for maybe 5 minutes and watched throngs of people push past me in search of bargains.  The store is a high end clothing and homeware store where basic throw rugs sell for the equivilent of $175 USD!  To put things in perspective, in Northern Ireland the currency is British pounds, which is a lot stronger than our US dollar, and dollar for dollar things are much more expensive in Belfast than what we pay over here.  Yet I watched in amazement as people dropped huge sums of money on purses, suits, coats, linens...hundreds and hundreds and very often thousands of pounds!

After I recovered from my initial shock, I realized with a grin the significance of what I was witnessing.  Actions speak a lot louder than words...WHAT RECESSION?  These people were thriving!  Businesses were thriving!

So here's the BIG LESSON:  Just like you've heard me say so many times before...be very careful what you read and who you listen to and whatever you do.... "DON'T BELIEVE WHAT YOU READ IN MASS MEDIA." Scare mongering is the real business they're in.  It's bad news, not good news, that sells newspapers and magazines.  Despite what you might hear there are many businesses thriving (including mine :) and there is MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY TO PROSPER EVERYWHERE!

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not denying that there's a recession going on.  I know times are tough for many right now.  There's no doubt that shrinkage has happened and will continue to happen for those industries and businesses who refuse to adapt and keep operating under the rules of the old economy. But YOU won't be one of them -  providing you run your business according to the new rules of the new economy.   (If you're not yet familiar with the new rules of the new economy then drop everything right now and order a copy of my audio CD "How to thrive in the new economy" - (worth $97, it's yours for just $2) - it's your blueprint for success in the coming year.

And speaking of this year - take heart that things aren't nearly as bad as they seem. In fact many businesses will continue to quietly thrive, racking up record profits.  There's NO reason why your business can't be one of them.

So set your goals HIGH for this year.  Work tirelessly to deliver even greater value to your customers. Refuse to read anything negative and only listen to those of us who are getting on and making things happen.  And stay tuned, I've got some REALLY exciting things happening to help you build your business quickly and easily, that you're just going to love.

Warm regards,

Julie

The 2 Secret Reasons Why We Buy

In this month’s Gold Nugget I want to take you back to a fundamental marketing principal – the two real reasons why any of us buy anything.  Understanding this is like unlocking the key to the vault. Once you understand the real reason why someone is buying your product or service, you can carefully tailor your words – your sales copy, your sales pitches, your in-person appointments – to resonate with your prospect at an even deeper level, quietly speaking to their “secret need.” Here are the only 2 reasons why we buy: 1) We buy a solution to our problem and/or 2) We buy to get transference of feeling.  I think the first reason is obvious, the second reason less so.  How many times have you rushed to buy something because without realizing it, the actual act of making the purchase, rather than the thing itself, is what makes you feel great?  I’m guilty as charged.  For example, one of my private clients www.NourishMD.com specializes in helping moms find safe, natural alternatives to kid’s health problems, they’re also strong advocates of the REAL food movement.  Just searching their website makes me feel like I’m a better mom, and when I reach for my credit card and buy their homeopathic flu remedy or a bottle of probiotics for River, subconsciously I’m already congratulating myself for being a “caring, health-conscious mother for my child.”  It’s not that I don’t want what I’m buying – of course I do – but the instant gratification I secretly want is the transference of feeling.  That feeling is addictive. How many times have you gone out and bought something that made you feel instantly better, instantly happier or self-assured only to quickly forget about it and “rediscover” it weeks or months later, by which time it feels like a bit of an anti-climax?

Ok, so now you’re armed with this “insider” knowledge about your prospects.  What are you going to do with it to help them and to help you?

How a Cow Shaped Rubber Band Sparked a Fashion Revolution and Made a Fortune

This month, while trawling for interesting information to share with you in Marketing Dynamite, I stumbled on an interesting article in Inc magazine called “How I Did It.” It was about a guy named Robert Croak who in 2006 started a national fashion frenzy by introducing colorful shaped rubber bands called Silly Bandz. At their peak in 2008, his little company was selling more than 1 million packs of Silly Bandz a week and people were driving to its offices from Alabama, Indiana, and Kentucky because his phone lines were jammed up with orders. In Inc, Croak talks about being so overwhelmed with shipments at one stage that the company ran an ad on Facebook saying:  “if anyone was looking for work, they’d hire them on the spot – with a line down the street, and a full warehouse, they started packing shipments on tables on the sidewalk.”  Croak goes on to say “Silly Bandz put me in a category of wealth that most people have never imagined, and everybody wants to look at me and say ‘that guy got lucky,’ when in reality it took me 20 years to get where I am today.”

I tell you this story because all too often we assume that an overnight success is just that – luck, when rarely luck has anything to do with it. It’s the culmination of invisible years of multiple failures, bulldog tenacity, sweat, massive risk, a steadfast goal and belief in yourself.

7 Tips To Writing Emails That Won’t Get Deleted

Most people scan their inbox with their finger hovering over the delete button.  Here are 7 easy tips to ensure your email actually gets read.

  1. Start with a compelling, curiosity arousing Subject Line Your subject line is THE most important part of your whole email.  Keep it short – I always recommend about 7-10 words max, try and include a benefit or arouse curiosity: e.g.  The One Simple Sales Mistake That’s Costing You Thousands Double your income? Use this marketing secret 3 Secret Tips To Recession Proof Your Business
  2. Personalize the email Most people write mass emails like, well mass emails – not personal communications written to an individual.  One of the biggest turn offs when opening an email is getting a broadcast message.  When writing your email – even if it is being sent to thousands, make sure it sounds like a friendly conversation you’d have with them over a cup of coffee.
  3. Avoid delete worthy words like “passion”, “thrilling”, “state of the art”, “leading edge”.  These words have been used to death and have become completely meaningless
  4. Make your email a compelling read.  I often get asked how long an email should be.  Simply it should be as long as it needs to tell your story or get your message out.  Anyone who tells you the shorter the better clearly doesn’t understand the power of good copy.   If someone is reading a good email, just like a good book they’ll be devouring every word and won’t be able to put it down.  The old sales adage “the more you tell the more you sell” is so true – but it’s gotta be interesting to read.
  5. Keep it simple.  Forget slick email templates and fancy headers.  Hands down the emails that pull the best response are the ones that look just like they’re composed as a personal email – from you to me.  Plain black font (no multi colors).  And don’t add more than one attachment.
  6. Talk about benefits not features.  A feature is our lamp contains 6 different dim settings.  The benefit is this: you won’t strain your eyes from harsh light enabling you to read for longer periods of time.
  7. Always include clear instructions for a call to action.  The simpler the better e.g. just click here to have our widget rush mailed to you, or call my personal cellphone directly and … etc.

 

How To Use A Stealth Social Media Tool To Spy On Your Mailing List Subscribers

I recently stumbled across a fantastic tool that I want to share with you that answers that multi-million dollar question - how can I leverage social media to grow my business? (actually it's one of the top 3 questions I get asked by my clients all the time). The impact this one little tool could have on your business is monumental.  Are you ready for it?

The tool is called Flowtown and here's why it's incredible:

On Flowtown you upload an email or your entire email list.  FT  then trots off to all the major social networks and finds those people for you.  You'll be able to see WHO those people are and exactly what they're talking about.

That in itself is of huge value to your business.  But FT does a lot more than that.

(drum roll please)...

FT will then spider your lists to show you who your major influencers are, which of those people have others following them and how many followers they have.

Wow.  Imagine if you knew the top 5% of the most influential people on your list.  How would you treat them differently?  What kinds of relationships could you start up if you contacted them directly?

FT also enables you to hook a little script onto your opt-in forms, so when people opt in to hear from you - you'll be notified immediately when people of influence have joined your list.

The impact this one little tool could have on your business is monumental.  Just think about your mailing list for a second.  How much do you really know about the people on it?

If your mailing list is a bit, ahem, neglected - if you're missing major chunks of information about your prospects or customers, then not only can FT fill in the gaps, but you can know more about the people on it than you ever imagined.  And, almost in the blink of an eye you can know who the most valuable people are on it.

What takes most businesses years to figure out (if they ever actually do), you can know immediately.

So then you can treat these major influencers very very differently.  You can create special offers just for them - do whatever it takes to turn them into raving fans of your business, reach out to them for JV opportunities, ask them to become trusted advisers in your business and get their feedback on new products or services you're about to launch...  the possibilities are endless!

What Kenneth Cole Can Teach Us About Perseverence

On the weekend I stumbled across this great story about how designer Kenneth Cole began his multi-billion dollar shoe and fashion empire. I felt inspired after reading it so thought I would share it with you.When Kenneth Cole was starting out, he was flat broke but wanted to exhibit at his industry's giant trade show in New York City. They wanted a huge exhibit fee which he simply couldn't pay. So he got the bright idea to just rent a huge motor home and park it right outside the convention hall, and invite attendees in to see his shoes. When he went to get a permit, he was told that nobody got permits to park anything on a major New York street for 3 days. For 99% of business owners, that would have been the end of that great idea. But he thought about it and went back and said "SOMEBODY must get permits. If somebody could, who would?". The answer: only tv and production companies. So he quickly registered a new business - Kenneth Cole Productions, got a sign made for his rented motor home, got a permit, hired guys with film cameras with no film in them, laid down a red carpet and then spent 3 days with his motor home parked exactly where he wanted, grabbing attention with the filming, inviting people in and selling shoes like crazy. This isn't just a great story about not giving up. It's also evidence of a deeper, determined mind set developed by a certain tiny percentage of business people who are determined to "make it" and to do whatever "it" takes...a trait as valuable as it is rare. Have a great week! Julie