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Contrary to Popular Belief, Newspaper Advertising and Other Print Advertising Still Works.

In Fact, for Some Businesses, It’s Actually a Less Competitive Environment Today.

Here’s a Contrarian Strategy You Can Profit From…

I’ve always been a fan of newspaper advertising, so when I sat down to write this — lo and behold, I was surprised at the negative comments newspaper and other print advertising is getting from the small business community these days.

It doesn’t work, they’re saying.  I’m doing all my advertising on Craigslist for free, others claim.  Print is dead, many advertisers opine.

But even though newspaper subscribership is down and advertising in major metro papers has followed suit, smart advertisers are using these facts to their advantage.  For one thing, with fewer ads appearing in newspapers, the ones that DO appear are much more effective — either because there’s little competition in that business category or there are simply fewer ads on the page.

And if you own a business that serves a local market (versus a national or international clientele), it’s quite possible your ideal customers are STILL reading one or more of your local newspapers regularly.

Who Might These Potential Customers Be?

More »

How to Write Newspaper Ads That Generate Cash-Flow

If you have a local business, one of the easiest ways to generate instant income—and create new customers at the same time—is to write a compelling newspaper ad today, run it in the newspaper tomorrow and watch sales and phone calls flood into your business over the next 24 hours.

To craft these compelling messages, top marketing copywriters use a technique called direct-response advertising.  Direct-response advertising is a method that causes the reader to take immediate action.

It’s based on the premise that if you give a reader all the information they need in order to make a buying decision, then add a number of scientifically tested words and phrases that trigger an emotional reaction, readers will respond almost immediately to your ad—and will respond in much higher numbers.

It’s easy to use direct-response techniques to write newspaper ads that get attention.  In fact, by using direct response copywriting, your ad will stand out simply because it’s so different looking from others that appear in the paper.

One of the most successful newspaper ads I ever created was a half-page that featured a client-testimonial ad (inside its own boxed border) on the right third of the space, while the remaining two-thirds was filled with what appeared to be a lengthy “feature story” about the business being advertised.

The “feature story” had its own headline, photo and photo caption and actually appeared to be separate from the boxed ad to the right.  The “ad” used direct-response techniques, while the “feature story” was written in typical journalistic style.

How can you create direct-response style advertisements? More »

Before You Hire One of the New Reputation Management Firms, Here’s What You Can Do on Your Own to Boost Your Reputation Online…

Online Content About Your Business Can Be Inspiring, Informative or Downright Embarrassing.

The hottest trend in small business marketing these days is “reputation management” — the monitoring, correcting and enhancing of online information about your business. And whether this information takes the form of reviews on consumer sites… or third-party blogs featuring your business name… or even someone infringing on your trademarked product name, online content about your business can be inspiring, informative or downright embarrassing.

Not surprisingly, a whole new crop of service providers has emerged to help you manage your company’s online reputation. But before you hire any of them, here’s what can you do on your own:

Step 1: Monitor What’s Being Said About Your Business

At the very least, you should program Google Alerts to email you a message anytime your business name, product name or owner’s name appears in news stories worldwide. You may not receive an email alert every day, but you’ll find out each time something new appears anywhere on the Internet. Be sure to put your name or product in quotation marks so Google correctly searches and delivers results (for example, “Janet Switzer” or “Instant Income”).

You can also monitor your online reputation using:

Addictomatic.com — Type your name or product name into the search window and Addictomatic will return dozens of links showing where you appear online…Twitter, YouTube, Bing, Truveo video search, WordPress, Ask.com and even the Flickr photo site are scanned for your presence. While you’ll find individual listings (including some you didn’t even know about), Addictomatic is superb for giving you an idea of the pulse you have created online on any given day.

Trackur Free — This social media monitoring software (they also have a free plan) lets you search for one term at a time such as your name or your company’s name. Trackur’s all-in-one-place dashboard finds what’s being said about you on in the social media universe and compiles it for easy review. It also ranks the reach and impact of the places you appear. In other words, are comments about you being read by millions of consumers or just a few? More »

Writing a Blog Can Bring You Extra Exposure on the Internet.

Why Blogging Is Still a Powerful Marketing Strategy

Writing a Blog (or Having Someone Else Write It for You) Can Bring You Extra Exposure on the Internet With Likely Buyers in the 34-73 Age Group… If You’re Selling to a Younger Crowd, However, Facebook and Twitter Are the Place to Be.

In a recent feature story, the New York Times examined the latest trends about blogging, Facebook and Twitter.

Their conclusion? Blogging is down…but also up.

First, the downtrend: A Pew Research Center study cited in the article said that “from 2006 to 2009, blogging among children ages 12 to 17 fell by half; among 18-to-33-year-olds, blogging dropped two percentage points.”

Now the up-trend: The same Pew survey found that, “While the younger generation is losing interest in blogging, people approaching middle age and older are sticking with it. Among 34-to-45-year-olds who use the Internet, the percentage who blog increased six points to 16 percent. Blogging by 46-to-55-year-olds increased five percentage points to 11 percent, while blogging among 65-to-73-year-olds rose two percentage points to 8 percent.”

Other research says these age groups are not only writing blogs that maintain a meaningful dialog with their market or audience, they also read blogs — and act upon them. 33% of people surveyed said they had read blogs, while 47% of people in another survey said they read reviews, recommendations and other website content before making a product purchase.

Link Bait: The Most Important Reason Why Blogging Is Still a Powerful Marketing Strategy

When you write a blog post (article), and upload it to your blog, the title of that blog post gets indexed (or listed) by Google right away — usually within 5-10 minutes, in fact. So one way to turn your blog into a true marketing tool and magnet for prospective customers searching online, is to put likely search phrases in the titles of your blog posts.

For instance, if you sell electric cars, one way to get immediate traffic to your blog (and therefore, your website) is to write an article entitled, “10 Ways to Choose an Electric Car.” You can write another blog post called, “Buying an Electric Car at Discount Prices.”

We call this strategy “creating link bait” — producing blog articles, web copy, and other website features specifically to get attention from Internet browsers or to encourage other website owners and bloggers to link to your website.

Google Loves Blogs

Not only does Google consider websites with blogs more authoritative, the continually updated and increased content that a blog brings to your website also gives you extra points with Google when it comes time to rank you against other websites in the search results.

To see an example of how fast Google indexes an article and returns it as a search result, click this link. You’ll see THIS post, which I’ve turned into an article on my blog, ranked by Google for the search phrase “Writing a Blog Can Bring You Extra Exposure on the Internet.”

What Can You Do to Make Writing Your Blog Easier?

More »

The “Gotta-Make-Money-By-Friday” Marketing Strategy

If You Haven’t Reactivated Past or Inactive Customers, You May Be Sitting on a Gold Mine of Instant Income

Too many business owners spend valuable time chasing new customers, when past buyers or existing customers can actually be a greater source of Instant Income.

Assuming that your past buyers had a good experience with you and that you have nurtured the relationship over the years, it’s easy to develop special offers on new products and services for them—and sell them into a new opportunity.

What could you do to reactivate past customers?

Answer the questions below to plan your campaign: More »

Three Seconds Is All You Get to Capture the Interest of Visitors to Your Website.

websiteHere’s How to Make Sure They Keep Reading…AND Become Customers.

A headline and the first two paragraphs…that’s about all the time you have to hook website visitors and get them to opt-in without clicking away from your site.

But unfortunately, most businesses fail this 3-second test — or worse, they ask website visitors to make too many decisions when landing on their homepage.

What Your Website MUST Have in Place to Generate Both Instant Income and Long-Term Revenue

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, your website must immediately capture the interest of visitors — then convince them to identify themselves as prospects for your product or service.

To begin with, your website must convince visitors to provide their name, email address and other identifying information in order to access a free giveaway that has value — such as a buyer’s guide, online tutorial, savings coupon, newsletter subscription, evaluation, self-audit or other instant download. 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. These days, convincing visitors to opt-in isn’t as easy as it used to be–mainly because registrants know they’ll be emailed advertisements and promotions later. You need to provide a tangible benefit in return. Even giving things away for free requires a persuasive and specific offer.

“We have great prices!” is not an offer. Similarly, “27 years in business!” is not an offer. And “Sign up for our newsletter” has not worked as an offer for at least a few years. More »