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Generating More Profits from Your Marketing Activity

marketing plan 2013

Which Critical Drivers Will Create the RIGHT KIND of Results for Your Business This Year?

Whether you want to grow your business larger or keep it the size it is now, your goal should always be to generate more profit from the revenue you bring in—and to find other low-cost, minimal-effort income streams that can bring in additional profits for you.

In every business, there is a checklist of goals and targets that—when reached, surpassed and improved upon—continually drives revenue into the business and drives up profits.

We call these targets “critical drivers.”

To an insurance agent, critical drivers might be “number of cross-sells per customer” or “revenue per agent” or “amount required to trigger bonuses and overrides.”  For retailers, a critical driver may be “revenue per square foot.”

But from a marketing standpoint, the critical drivers of any business are things like number of new leads, response rate, number of unique website visitors, cart conversions, open rate, and more.  In this issue of the Revenue Report newsletter, I want to inspire you to identify, track, measure and meet the critical marketing drivers of your business.

The First Question to Ask: Are You Minding Your Metrics?

In every small business, there are “key profitability indicators”—information you need to know in order to decide if a particular income-generation activity is profitable and therefore worth continuing, expanding, or canceling altogether. More »

Online Prospecting That Can Significantly Boost the Number of People You Sell To…

Gem Mine parking - Cherokee, NC

Before the holidays, I offered to spend 90 days helping you establish those business systems that are specifically designed to bring in the cash.

As your Income Advisor, I want to help you install 12 different systems—just like your accounting system, payment system and inventory system—that will become part of the fundamental underpinnings of your well run, efficiently managed business.

For most businesses, getting new customers is their #1 priority, which is why I discussed how to establish a simple offline Prospecting and Lead-Generation System in the first post in this series.

And System #2: Customer Relationship Marketing is here.

Today, I want to help you establish System #3: Your Online Prospecting Platform and Website Marketing Path

Most business owners understand the need for a website, but all too few understand what a website is really supposed to do. Your website is a delivery vehicle for your message, just like newspaper ads, postcards, telemarketing or direct-mail packages. And like those other devices, the Internet has its own checklist of requirements you must follow to make any campaign a success.

Your website must convince visitors to provide their name, email address and other identifying information in order to access a free buyer’s guide, online tutorial, downloadable checklist, subscription to valuable information, evaluation, self-audit or other instant giveaway that has value. The format of your giveaway item doesn’t matter—whether PDF, audio MP3 or other format—just as long as it can be easily opened, read, listened to, viewed or otherwise used by the people who opt-in at your site to get it.

It should be downloadable at your website to keep your delivery costs at zero. And it must be compelling. More »

Customer Relationship Marketing: CRM and Marketing to Past Buyers.

Overcoming Unpredictable Revenue and Boosting Stagnate Business Growth

System #2: Marketing to Your Existing Customers…

I want to help you install systems—just like your accounting system, payment system and inventory system—that will become part of the fundamental underpinnings of your well run, efficiently managed business.

For most businesses, getting new customers is their #1 priority, which is why I discussed how to establish a simple Prospecting and Lead-Generation System in the first module in this series.

Today, I want to help you establish System #2:  CRM and Marketing to Past Buyers.

CRM is the acronym we marketers use to say “Customer Relationship Management”. It’s also sometimes used to denote software applications that capture, store and communicate with customers in a database.

Why is managing the relationship with past buyers important?

Because you can often make more profit from existing customers (than from constantly bringing in new ones) simply because there is no cost to acquire that new customer. The entire purchase amount from that customer goes solely to (1) the cost of delivering the product or service, (2) the low cost of sending an email or letter to that customer to alert them to a unique offer, and (3) your profit.

What’s the checklist of tasks for setting up a CRM system and marketing to your past buyers? More »

The Steps To Overcoming Unpredictable Cash Flow and Stagnate Business Growth

finding cash flow

New 12-Week Series Dedicated to Finally Overcoming Unpredictable Cash Flow and Stagnate Business Growth

Spend the Next 90 Days (With My Help) Establishing Those Business Systems That Are Specifically Designed to Bring in the Cash…Predictably, Repeatedly and Easily

As business owners, we’re familiar with accounting systems, payment systems and inventory systems. Not only are these functions important, they’re also among the fundamental underpinnings of a well run, efficiently managed business.

And while most small businesses and consulting practices have these basic systems in place, unfortunately that’s often where the efficiency and management ends. Far more important areas of the business are run by gut instinct, with only random attention.

Spur-of-the-moment marketing… emergency sales efforts… an outdated website… lackluster new business development… these are the results of critical drivers that all too often go unplanned and unmanaged.

Yet marketing, sales, new business development and similar measures are the only business activities that actually bring in the cash.

Wouldn’t it be a relief to have pre-programmed, scientifically developed and intentionally planned systems (just like the ones that handle your accounting and inventory) looking after the cash-flow activities of your business?

Over the next 12 weeks, you CAN put these kinds of systems in place. And this newsletter is where you’ll find guidance on how to do it. More »

Could you sell more products and services outside your own country?

Going Global With Your Business Can Add Substantial Revenues You Never Knew Were Available

Now It’s Easier Than Ever to Get Into Relationship With People Who Are Market-Influencers Overseas

I’ll never forget the first month my business sold products and services on the Internet. Suddenly, we got calls, customers, and cash from business owners as far away as Hong Kong, Japan, Poland, Israel, Dubai, Ireland and Argentina. Years later, the Revenue Report newsletter and free downloadable Instant Income reports are read by businesspeople in more than 80 countries–with product sales that nearly match that worldwide reach.

It occurred to me that your business, too, could benefit from “going global.” So I’ve dedicated this issue of the Revenue Report to showing you how to get started connecting to customers around the world.

Global Strategy #1: Decide if your product or service can be used, sold and shipped worldwide– and whether buyers in other countries will need it or want it. If you own a business, you should know that business knowledge, consulting services and advice are some of the most valuable and most exportable commodities Americans have. Take a look at the consulting work you do.

Are there people in other countries that need your type of expertise? How might you advertise it, sell it, and deliver it?

If you produce a unique, non-commodity product, can it be used and enjoyed by people overseas with different lifestyles, infrastructures, electrical systems, languages, monetary or tax systems, and other differences? If not, could you find someone to “localize” your product (or expertise) for foreign markets? More »

What to do when everything in your business seems to be going wrong.



If Only 30% of Your Prospects Are Buying,
Do You Know What the Other 70% Are Doing?

Regularly Measuring and Monitoring Can Help You Immediately Pinpoint
What to Do Differently with Your Marketing

Many business owners call my company for help with solving a particular problem with their marketing. Sometimes it’s a low response rate from their direct-mail campaigns. At other times, their website’s homepage doesn’t capture and convert enough visitors into buyers. Still others see lots of foot traffic in their store, but don’t see a lot of sales rung up at their cash register.

But interestingly, very few of them have working knowledge about the cause of the problem — and fewer still know exactly what the problem is.

More alarming is that most are prepared to spend lots of money fixing an underlying “cause” that doesn’t actually exist.

Case in point: One of our clients, a well-known alternative healthcare company with licensees and trained practitioners around the world, said they “knew” that only 30% of visitors to their homepage were buying the entry-level product offered there. They had enough analytical tools in place to measure the number of visitors and the number of sales. But what they hadn’t looked at (we did) was what the remaining 70% of visitors were doing.

As it turns out, 70% of all their website visitors were clicking away from the home page (where there was an offer to buy something) and going to the Free Stuff page (where there wasn’t an offer).

So rather than charge our client tons of money to bring in more traffic (so that 30% of them could continue to buy), our solution to the “problem” was quite simple: Add a special offer for an entry-level product to the Free Stuff page which 70% of existing visitors were already viewing.

Their sales skyrocketed.

And while this solution might seem like pure common sense, sometimes it’s difficult to see the complete picture — especially when you don’t have measuring tools in place to compile numbers about your marketing activity.

Can You Handle the Truth About Your Business?

When you start measuring the results of your marketing activity, the truth will jump out at you. It may be that your salespeople aren’t selling as much as you would like because they need a written script that presents the key benefits. Or perhaps your Internet sales are low — not because of a poor conversion rate — but simply because of low traffic.

If you’ve ever felt like your marketing activity keeps you going through the motions without anything substantial to show for it, starting to compile your numbers will interrupt this pattern.

Tracking your metrics — or statistics — will tell you what’s really going on with your marketing. And tracking these numbers is easier than you think.

The Secret to Establishing a Simple Metrics Reporting System

Setting up a measuring-and-reporting system is easy. Making sure you regularly get the numbers you need — and that they’re reported correctly and objectively — takes some planning. Here are six things you can do in the next day or two to start the process: More »

What Can the 2004 Indonesian Earthquake Teach You About Honing Your Marketing Message?

Businesses Launched for Charitable Causes Combine a Great Marketing Story and a Superior Benefit to the Paying Customer.

Do you remember what you were doing on December 26, 2004? I do. Like many people–on what should have been a relaxing day after Christmas–my family was instead riveted to the international news channels as we watched the devastation in Sumatra (Indonesia) following a 9.2 magnitude earthquake. One of the deadliest natural disasters in history, the quake shook the greater Indian Ocean region for nearly 10 minutes. Over 230,000 people were killed as the earthquake demolished entire towns and triggered a series of tsunamis that inundated the coastline with waves up to 98 feet high (30 meters).

Fourteen countries along the Indian Ocean suffered damage, but Indonesia was the hardest hit. In many cases, entire families were lost. Thousands of women–whose husbands were killed–emerged to find themselves as single mothers with no means of support.

In the midst of the worldwide humanitarian response that followed, California daytrader Roy van Broekhuizen got a call from his church, asking if he would lead a team to Indonesia to help with relief efforts.

That trip changed his life.

Today, Roy is the founder of Laga Handbags, a thriving enterprise he started that helps to provide earthquake victims with employment, entrepreneurial skills and a way to rebuild their lives. Roy and his wife Louise, both of Indonesian descent, do not take a salary from Laga Handbags. Rather, it’s a labor of love that gives Indonesian women an income and livelihood crafting beautiful handbags featuring traditional Indonesian embroidery.

The handbags have been featured on Oprah and are carried by celebrities like Kim Coles and Zooey Deschanel (www.laga-handbags.com).

The company is a super-successful example of the growing number of businesses that generate profits for charitable causes–or create livelihoods for workers in distressed situations.

Though I’ve been involved in marketing for charitable causes frequently in the past, Laga’s story is not only an especially compelling one to me, but it can also teach an important lesson about marketing any business.

How can Laga’s story help YOU become a better marketer? More »

Clearly state your marketing message – especially when borrowing $2.4 trillion

Honing Your 30-Second “Elevator Speech” Can Instantly Transform Your Marketing Message…

And Deliver a Huge Payoff in the Number of New Paying Customers You Get.

Though I’m no longer involved in Congressional campaigning as I was early in my career, I still watch with interest anytime our elected representatives in Washington, DC seem to be making a hash of “selling” something important to the American people.

Two weeks ago, the debt-ceiling debates in Congress were accompanied by the usual sideshow of television pundits, radio talk-show hosts, Congressional leaders, President Obama and thousands of others making lots of speeches… few of which clearly described the approaching default — or succinctly described a viable solution.

While I’ve never used this newsletter to make political statements (and I’m not now), there is a useful marketing lesson here.

In our fast-paced society, sound bites have become important — and making sure that your marketing message is clear, concise and compelling isn’t always easy. Take your own business, for instance. If you had just 30 seconds to communicate an offer, a telephone sales pitch, an in-store special or other marketing message… More »

Spending money the right way can bring cash into your business

In This Economy, Business Owners Often Have Trouble Deciding Where to Spend Their Limited Marketing Budget.

Here Are 5 Expenditures Designed Specifically to Bring Substantial Revenue Into Your Business.

As business owners, we always like to think that every dollar we spend on our business will somehow come back to us multiplied many times in the form of revenue and profits. But lately, I’ve talked to many business owners who don’t really know where to spend in this difficult economy. Or worse, they’re spending money on marketing schemes or website design or training programs that may not return any substantial income in the short or long term.

Spending money wisely is even more important today.

Take a typical $5,000 expenditure, for example. Back in 2007, a business owner might have spent $5,000 on an executive coaching program… flash video content for their website… traveling to an industry seminar… or something else.

But what if TODAY you have just $5,000 to spend — and you know it must be put to work substantially increasing your company’s monthly cash-flow. What should you spend it on?

Here are some proven strategies from my own client work: More »

August doesn’t have to be a slow month. Here are 3 unique ways to bring in the cash

With Families on Vacation and Key Decision-Makers on Hiatus, Many Consultants and Bricks-and-Mortar Businesses Say August Is Their Slowest Month.

bumper to bumper

But Here’s How to Bring Past Buyers (and New Ones) Into Your Business for Serious August Cash-Flow.

Several years ago, one of my clients mentioned that they saw excellent cash-flow during August — traditionally a “down” month for most businesses. This was despite the fact that they weren’t in the travel industry or any other vertical market that might see a boost during summer vacation months.

Their comment surprised me since, as a direct-response marketer, I and many of my colleagues usually saw August as the worst month for revenues.

What was their secret? While virtually every other business in town slowed its marketing during August, my clients increased theirs. They sent multiple marketing campaigns… to different segments of their list… with a unique offer for each segment.

Prospective customers received a different offer than existing customers did. Some names got a phone call, while others got a letter. Not only was the marketing copy different for each “mini campaign,” but the product and service bundles were, too.

What can you do THIS month to insure that August is one of your best revenue months ever?

More »

Generate Instant Income All Year Long.

While an Annual Calendar of Promotions and Marketing Campaigns Can Steadily Build Your Revenues, Most Businesses Don’t Keep a Calendar (Or If They Do, They Don’t Follow It).

Here’s What to Include to Generate Instant Income All Year Long.

Recently I was talking with a friend in the non-profit sector about how to increase revenue from her charity’s “Annual Campaign.” An annual campaign is the organization’s entire year-long calendar of fund-raising activities — from direct-mail letters to telephone outreach to donor recruitment by board members and more.

This got me thinking about businesses that operate for profit. An annual calendar of activity also makes sense.

While many business owners have a system for keeping track of their schedules, their meeting agendas, to-do lists and daily calls, how many keep on their desk a “command center” that helps them systematically drive their business forward on a daily basis—by planning and recording progress on new profit centers they want to launch, cash-flow strategies they want to implement, future promotions they want to conduct, and more?

Think about your own business for a moment…

Are your income-generation activities planned week-by-week in advance? Do you constantly track your goals, numbers, people, research and other elements that make up an Instant Income-style, cash-flow centered business? Do you check off these daily to-do items as you accomplish them? Do you have a system for easily delegating various aspects of marketing implementation to your staff and outsource vendors?

Or do you find yourself constantly scrambling for emergency cash?

When I first produced the Instant Income Business Enhancement System home-study course, I included a comprehensive Cash-Flow Calendar that easily lets you plan activities in advance — whether or not you have staff who can implement these activities. Even solo entrepreneurs can use the calendar to stay on track. More »

Become Global – Join a Powerful Network

If You Have a Product or Service That Can Be Sold in Asia, I’d Like to Introduce You to a Network of Potential Partners Who Are 110% Focused on Creating Successful Partnerships and Building Thriving Businesses.

In China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan, the Typical Entrepreneur Doesn’t Suffer From “Bright Shiny Object” Syndrome.

If you live in a North American, European or other “Western” economy, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of trying to recruit and work with joint venture partners, affiliates, referral partners or other types of strategic alliance parties. Often times, these potential partners are simply too busy to respond to your initial communication.

And even when they do agree to do business with you, there’s always another bright, shiny object that takes their focus away from launching and making your joint-venture successful.

Not so in Asia. More »

Marketing on the Fringe: Here’s what Mozart, Bach and Telemann can teach us…

While Most People Agree It’s Difficult to Fill “Pitch-Fest” Seminars Anymore, One Strategy Still Works for Marketing Your Services Via Preview Workshops and Seminars…

Mozart-Denkmal in Wien

Join Mozart and J.S. Bach and Start “Marketing on the Fringe.”

While I usually don’t talk about my downtime activities outside of work, today I’m happy to do so to help and make a point about a strategy that can work well for marketing your small business or consulting firm.

This week, I was in Boston for an industry event, but during my “off hours” I took advantage of one of my favorite pastimes…listening to classical music. As luck would have it, the world-renowned Boston Early Music Festival was taking place, too.

For music lovers like me, the Festival offered seven days of recitals, operas and concerts featuring music of the 15th through 18th centuries by composers like Mozart, Bach and Telemann, played on authentic period instruments like the harpsicord, traverso and contrabass.

Heaven!

But what’s so interesting about the Festival — and here’s my marketing point — is that, in addition to the regular “official” schedule of events, an entire series of smaller concerts and recitals was taking place, too.

In fact, knowing that music lovers would be flying into town anyway for the real thing, nearly a hundred performing arts groups staged their own concerts and recitals in churches, theaters and other venues — charging $10 or $15…or in some cases nothing at all. They just wanted to preview their work. More »

Unique Marketing Tool Creates a Flood of New Customers

Unique Marketing Tool for Local Businesses Creates a Flood of New Customers… In a Single Day… At No Cost to You for Traditional Advertising.

What’s the Key to Its Success?

Limited Time Offers Combined With Social Networking Done Right.

For some time, I’ve been watching an exciting marketing tool for small business that combines social networking (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) along with some of the best direct-response style offers I’ve ever seen. Remember that “direct-response” is really just an advertising technique that provides all the information a prospect would need in order to make a buying decision, then adds scientifically tested phrases and known emotional triggers to compel prospects to buy much faster and in far greater numbers.

The social marketing platform I’m talking about, www.Groupon.com, has combined three elements I really like: (1) Social networking, (2) great offers pushed to consumers via email, and (3) a limited time to buy…one of the most proven direct-response triggers.

Each day, Groupon sends an email to its thousands of subscribers in your local area featuring an offer from one local business. The offers are designed to create a flood of BUYERS to a store, restaurant, service location or other type of business.

Groupon doesn’t require any money from you — instead, they sell redeemable vouchers for your specific offer to their subscribers, then keep 50% of the purchase price and send you the remaining 50%. Once subscribers buy your package or product, those new customers receive an emailed voucher they can present in your store. The voucher has a specific code number that cannot be used again.

Groupon pays you daily as customers use up their vouchers — then provides you with a list of new customers so you can follow-up with additional marketing later.

But here’s how Groupon protects your interests and makes the whole thing work to get you hoards of new customers: A minimum number of subscribers must buy your offer before “the deal is on.” If that minimum is reached (usually once 10-40 consumers have purchased), Groupon will continue selling vouchers and keep your offer on their website as the Featured Deal of the day — and afterward under a section called “All Deals.” If the collective masses don’t buy, your offer is eventually taken down.

Why is this formula good for you? More »