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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 »

“Make Me an Offer”: Where will your prospects be when they need you?

This Easy, Targeted and Inexpensive Strategy
Can Bring New Customers to Your Business Within Days.

Stanton-in-Peak, Derbyshire

What’s the Key to Success?

Start With a Compelling Offer.

 

In my continuing series on finding new customers for your local business or consulting firm, it occurred to me that one of the easiest, most targeted and least expensive ways to find new customers (at the exact time they are making a potential purchase decision) is to put an offer in front of them in person where they shop, work, play or otherwise spend time.

I’m talking about placing your company’s literature, business card, brochure or flyer in locations where your prospects will see it, pick it up and act upon it.

This strategy involves much more than just putting out stacks of business cards, however. The key is to put your literature in targeted places — then make an offer prospects can’t refuse.

If you own a local business, think about other local businesses where your perfect prospects shop or otherwise spend time. The key is to choose locations where they will also be in the right frame of mind to be thinking about — or needing — your product or service. In the book, Instant Income, I tell the story of hiring a golf pro for lessons because I was in the pro shop of a local golf course buying a bucket of practice balls for the driving range… More »

A 40-minute Maneuver To Make It Easier For New Clients To Find You

Keyword-Driven and Upscale, LInkedIn Has Now Become the Established Home on the Internet for Finding New Business-to-Business Clients… And Establishing Yourself As an Expert in your Field

If You Haven’t Moved Beyond Filling In Your Profile, However, This 40-Minute Strategy Will Substantially Boost Your Ability to Find High-Paying Clients

Virtually everyone is familiar with the Internet’s most established social network for businesspeople — LinkedIn — now with more than 100 million members worldwide (up from just 8.5 million in 2007).  It’s literally the world’s largest professional network, so not only does it provide opportunities to connect with people who can help your business, it’s the ideal recruitment platform for new clients and customers.

Below, I’ve assembled a LinkedIn short-course to get you started, connected and recognized in just 40 minutes or less. Ready? More »

New Income Strategies to Get More Customers – And Instant Income.

If you’ve struggled in this economy with getting people to look at your products, service or consulting services, be assured there are things you can do to bring in more customers.

I just finished a brand new guide on the subject detailing:

Create Immediate Cash-Flow From 10 Easy New-Business Development Strategies

• Four strategies for immediately getting thousands of prospective new customers to look at your product or service.

• A complete strategy for adding new dealers and distributors for your products.

• Referral systems that encourage others to send business to you.

• Four ways to sell more to existing customers.

You’ll get guidance in finding new income for your business, and it even includes sample ads and the templates for creating the marketing pieces you’ll need — there’s even an internal audit to get your business ready to bring on new dealers and distributors who will grow your business with new outlets for your product or service.

You can get the NEW Income Strategies Guide by clicking here. Best of all,  it’s free.

Be assured, it’s not another one of those sales letters in disguise. It’s real information your business can use now. (Of course, if you’d like to read a sales pitch and want many more ways to grow and thrive in this economy, click here to read more about the Instant Income Business Enhancement System — complete with a 320-page manual, marketing and advertising archive, cash-flow planning calendar and other tools that are focused solely on boosting cash-flow in your business.)

How to convert more leads into customers

70% of our readers said they need to convert more sales leads into customers. With these simple techniques, even your administrative, operations and retail staff can become sales superstars…

Two weeks ago, I promised to report on the results of a comprehensive survey we presented to Instant Income readers. Among other questions readers answered was this one:

What are the most critical things you need to start doing in your business today?

Many of you said you needed to “launch new products and services.” Others identified “staying in communication with past customers” as a priority. Many more identified “marketing our services more aggressively” as critical to their business.

But a whopping 70% of readers — the largest percentage by far — said they needed to immediately “improve our sales function to convert more leads into customers.”

Today’s post is dedicated to meeting that need.

Start With Specific Offers That Pre-Sell Leads Before They Call or Come Into Your Store

Perhaps the easiest way to make a sale is when the prospective customer calls your business or visits your store already pre-disposed to buy a specific product or service. This kind of pre-sold situation can only happen when you make specific offers in your lead-generating materials and give prospects every reason why they should want what you’re advertising.

What makes an offer “specific”?

Presenting (in an advertisement, email, radio commercial or other device) a unique item or product bundle, with compelling benefits why the prospect should be interested, at a specific price that would be considered a good value, along with a call-to-action for the prospect to call or visit your store within a specific time period. That’s a specific offer.

Unfortunately, so many businesses advertise non-products and non-benefits like, Quality, service and low prices or In business for 27 years! But instead of sounding like every other business in town, why not make a specific offer that has a sense of urgency about it and gets people to pick up the phone and call you? More »

Here’s how to break through the ‘Traffic Barrier’

Most websites get 10-50 visitors a day. Boosting that traffic to 200 per day can pay off with new customers and tons of product sales.

What most people don’t realize is that targeted traffic is the key to generating customers on the web — not whether you have videos at your site or whether your color scheme is blue or green. In fact, traffic is one of those metrics that anyone serious about their online marketing should monitor closely.

After monitoring hundreds of websites of all types, here are a few observations from my web team:

1. It takes 200 visitors a day to be profitable. For some reason, 200 is the magic number. Most websites get 10-50 visitors a day, but those that get 200+ find opt-ins and sales really take-off when they hit that 200-visitor benchmark. Google can help you get these 200 visitors if you’ll make a few simple upgrades to your site to meet Google’s criteria for ranking websites in the search results. Other search engines (such as Bing and Yahoo) will rank your website, too.

That’s why we call these simple upgrades search engine optimization — the art of “tuning up” a website so the search engines can more easily find your website and rank it for consumers who are searching for your kind of product or service.

One of the easiest upgrades is to tune-up your homepage so that it answers not only search phrases that you have the ability to rank under — but also search phrases that have the capacity to deliver enough traffic to get you to this 200 visit-per-day benchmark.

When my team looks at traffic reports for client sites that are getting 200+ visitors per day, we find that just three to five search phrases — all within a topic or subject area — drive 40% to 50% of the traffic.

For example, if you’re a business management consultant who works with all kinds of small businesses, your first inclination might be to develop your website’s message, copy, offers and language for small businesses at large. But doing this means that you’ll be competing against literally millions of other websites who are targeting the general small-business category (including those owned by major corporations).

It’s unlikely you would ever show up on Page One of Google — or even page 20 or 30. You simply wouldn’t rank. But create unique webpages within your website that feature language, opt-in offers and blog content for niche categories — such as “management consulting for apparel manufacturers” or “management consulting for electronics retailers” — and you could easily get ranked much higher in far smaller, probably under-served and therefore more responsive categories.

But be careful not to go after niches that are too small. they won’t deliver the traffic you need to reach the 200+ visitor mark. More »