Archive for: June, 2023

Real Estate Marketing – Getting Focused

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

The single biggest question I get from people getting started in real estate (and experienced for that matter) is “how to find deals?” They say, “I don’t know what to focus on in real estate. Should I focus on rehabbing? Should I focus on finding absentee owners? Should I focus on direct mail?”

The problem with those questions is that the real estate investor is confused about the whole business of real estate and the marketing plan behind finding the deals. I understand that you go to a three-day real estate training, or you buy a home-study course, and every angle of real estate investing is attractive. You can see the potential in all these different markets.

First things first, you have to get focused! This is the only way to get good at overcoming objections and solving problems unique to different types of motivated seller markets.

Let’s simplify this whole real estate marketing game and boil it down to this:
Who, What, When, Where, Why & How (And How Much)!

Who:
Who is that we are going to be talking to? Who is that we are going to be trying to purchase homes from? You may want to work in one or two of the following markets: foreclosures, absentee owners, our probates, divorces, for sale by owners, tired landlords. This is your market – the who.

What:
What are you going to say in your marketing? This may be a real estate marketing script that you follow, a direct mail postcard system that you roll out, or specific copy in your advertisement. Understand, that you are looking for motivated sellers to take action. If you’re taking the time to write a letter, place an ad, etc you want your prospect to do something like call you or email you or listen to a recorded message!

When:
When are your prospects going to receive your marketing message? Timing and consistency is everything to your real estate marketing campaign. You need to be the single person (or company) they think of when the moment strikes at which they realize they are, in fact, a motivated seller!

Where:
Where are they going to receive your message? Obviously if you’re door knocking, you’ll meet them at their home. But if you are marketing to personal representatives of an estate, the attorney may receive the letter and pass it on. It’s important to think about where your potential seller is going to “see” your message because this will affect the action they take.

Why:
This is where your real estate investing exit strategy comes into play. What are you going to do with the property once you’ve gained control? Are you going to wholesale it to another investor? Are you going to fix it up and flip it yourself? Are you going to hold on to it for rental?

As you grow into your real estate business, you’ll have a number of options for each deal depending on what’s most suitable for the piece of real estate. You may have properties that you can assign, rehab OR rent. But, initially, decide where you are on your real estate investing scale and work within those parameters. If you are asking: “Should I focus on rehabbing houses or should I target probate?” you’re asking two different questions.

How:
The next thing is the communication method. That is ‘how are we going to talk to our potential motivated sellers?’ So let’s suppose your market is foreclosures or pre-foreclosures (the who). The next question is how? There are basically only four methods that we can use to communicate with our target market.

1. Driving for Dollars (or door knocking)

2. Telemarketing

3. Direct mail

4. Mass marketing

How Much:
I toss this in because this is going to affect your real estate marketing strategies. How much can you afford to spend? Understand for a few dollars a day, you can have an extremely profitable real estate investing business. It doesn’t take a lot of money to bring in home run deals!

Here’s a quick real estate marketing business plan that you can implement immediately using the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How approach:

Who: Pre-foreclosures within 2 weeks of sale at the courthouse (note how specific this is)

What: Yellow legal pad letters

When: Two weeks prior to the sale

Where: Prospect’s Home

Why: Seller is more motivated and has run out of options

How: Hand-written, hand addressed, first class postage and return address label

How Much: Based on a budget of $100/month, I will send 59.5 letters each week (remember to figure out your marketing budget down to the penny – stamps, ink, paper, envelopes, etc.)

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Paid Market Research

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Paid market research is a great way for businesses to learn about their customer’s likes and preferences. In addition paid market research is an earning opportunity for the entrepreneurial minded who want to get paid to share their opinions. Information gleaned from consumers through market research is an invaluable tool. This wealth of information can be instrumental in the development of products and services from start to finish.

Paid market research can come in different forms. For instance some market researchers use focus groups. Focus groups may get together in person or online. These groups are designed to reflect the diversity inherent in the general public. Additionally, a participant in market research may partake in an interview (online or off) where their opinions and feedback are thoroughly examined. Also paid market research may come in the form of online surveys. These online surveys have become increasingly popular, because they are convenient for the participant as well as the market research company.

Another way market research is used is by having consumers write product reviews. Market surveys attempt to generate relevant questions in a fair way that is representative of the larger population. When used efficiently, paid market research can yield relevant information about how a given product will be received and how to maximize profit.

By assessing the ideals and tastes directly from the consumer, a company can create products that appeal to their clients in every way. For example, little differences in the design of a product can make or break the product in terms of marketing success. In addition, input from consumers supplied directly through paid market research, can reveal what packaging and promotion actually sells the product. That is why smart companies are paying good money for your insight and opinions. They are willing to do so because there is no better way to know what consumers are looking for than going directly to the source.

Furthermore, paid marketing professionals are trained to interpret the data these surveys generate in useful and insightful ways. The information gained from these surveys can also be used to project what consumers will want in the future. The result is that product development and marketing becomes a dynamic process that remains fresh and cutting edge. Thanks to the efforts of paid survey takers, marketing has never been so exciting.

Market research using surveys is fast, simple and provides data at an amazing speed. Information can be recorded and analyzed in half the time it took using old fashion methods of surveys. Those who are paid to participate in this research benefit right away in two ways, first they have the instant gratification of knowing their opinion is valued and second because they get paid good money to express those same opinions.

Participation in paid market research is simple and easy as well. Most surveys take mere minutes to complete. Some surveys are longer, but the compensation makes the time and effort worth it. In addition, the products and surveys in question are everyday products that they are probably quite familiar with. There are no special skills or training to undergo, simply a sincere willingness to express your thoughts with a well-defined and comprehensive survey. Many of these surveys are taken online, and are as convenient as clicking a mouse. The fact that the survey is conducted online makes it reliable, too. There’s no room for creative interpretation of your answers like there might be with a survey done in the traditional fashion. Online paid surveys can provide companies with those instant answers that will help them keep their edge on the global market. In addition, they can count on accuracy down to a mere fraction of error.

Paid market research may involve being invited to participate in a focus group. However, for many people such face-to-face events are not practical or desirable. For people who would like to sign up to participate in market research, but not leave the comfort of their home online surveys are abundant.

Privacy is often a concern for market research participants. Companies that employ consumers to take online surveys, usually carefully protect personal information of the participants. This assures consumers they won’t be swamped with spammers if they consent to take one online survey or if they participate in twenty.

In order to be a panelist for online surveys and paid market research, the participant needs to be invited. Because these marketing tools are scientifically engineered to be representative of the wider market, eligibility in a survey or focus group may be dependent on meeting specific demographics that the company is looking for. When a panelist is chosen for participation, they will be invited to participate. Some paid market research panelists are compensated by a set fee. Others are entered into drawings, and still others will receive free or discounted products as an incentive to join.

Entrepreneurial people who are motivated to earn money doing market research sign up with companies as potential participants. There is an ample opportunity to make good money in market research by participating in a selection of market research activities, including online surveys, product reviews and focus groups. Market research companies will conduct an interview with potential respondents, to get a clear demographic profile. It is important to note here that these companies are generally very conscientious about protecting personal information. It is in fact an industry standard for market research to do so. After signing up with a paid market research company, consumers are generally free to sign up for only the projects they want to. Some may choose to only participate in online surveys, while others will find focus groups more to their liking. Either way, this could be an interesting, fun way to make extra income. For some this may be an ideal job that has benefits such as flexibility, working days and hours of their choosing, and the ability to make money at their leisure. This paid market research is a winning situation for everyone involved, providing in-depth information for companies and for the consumer will also benefit by having their opinions count and by supplementing their incomes.

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How To Create A Small Business Marketing Strategy That Will Triple Your Profits This Year

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

What does a small business marketing strategy mean to you? Some people automatically think in terms of their company’s long-term goals. When they start their small business, they create a long-term business plan, including a marketing strategy, that will help them develop their company over time. Others think of a small business marketing strategy as a single campaign. They create a marketing campaign for one product or service they offer, and create a series of marketing tools that will help them sell that product or service.

While both may technically be correct, there is a distinct difference between the two. One creates a stream of income for a short period of time (typically a few weeks to a few months), while the other ensures you have a stream of income coming in on a regular basis.

In order to ensure an effective small business marketing strategy, you must have three things in place.

1. Multiple marketing tools in place. Every day a person is marketed to 60-100 times. You see banners on the sides of busses, advertisements in newspapers and magazines, and coupons in your mailbox. It’s easy to see why marketing tends to become almost non-existent in our minds.

But the thing that a good marketer realizes is that he has to use different marketing tools to reach different target audiences. Everyone has a different attention span. Everyone is searching for different products and services at different times. A good small business marketing strategy has multiple tools in place to capture a prospects attention when he or she is ready for our product or service.

The key is to knowing who your ideal clients are. The more you know about them, the more you’ll be able to reach them in a manner that’s best for them. Good marketing tools are:

* direct mail postcards

* direct mail letters

* advertisements in magazines

* advertisements in newspapers

* neighborhood postcard packs

* door hangers

* flyers

* brochures

* promotional products

* tradeshows

* billboards

* bus stops

* school buses

* regional transportation systems

* sponsorship of school athletics

* and much more

An ideal small business marketing strategy will encompass many of these types of tools, and have campaigns set up using select tools at different times throughout the year.

2. Use those marketing tools over long periods of time. Once you have your marketing tools in place, continue to use them again and again. Probably the biggest mistake a small business owner makes is to grow tired of his own marketing campaign, and abandoning it before it’s realized its full potential.

The average campaign takes a person 8 – 12 times of viewing the same material to recognize the information and take action. If you quit running a campaign before you reach the 8 – 12 times average, you won’t achieve your desired results.

An ideal small business marketing strategy will provide goals to seek out longevity in marketing campaigns. While nuances of a campaign can change (i.e. changing ad advertisement to showcase seasonal products) the structure of the campaign should always remain the same.

3. Use those marketing tools in many different places. Your prospects come from a variety of different sources, and have a variety of different interests. Mailing your brochure out to prospects is a great way of marketing; but you may also do well by placing your brochure in offices of complimentary businesses. Advertisements may work well in your local newspaper; but they may do just as well in an industry trade publication. Direct mail postcards may inspire a lot of people to pick up the phone and call you; but it may motivate more people to visit your website.

Creating a handful of tools to use in your campaigns provides you with the resources. Getting those tools into the hands of your prospects is what requires a plan.

An ideal small business marketing strategy will be a long-term plan that involves creating marketing tools, putting them into the appropriate places, and leaving them in place long enough to let them work.

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Turn Marketing Research Into Lead Generation and Public Relations Gold

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

Marketing research isn’t just a way to collect opinions, measure awareness or test positioning statements any more. Packaged correctly, your research itself can be your message. You can turn your results into media stories that attract favorable publicity and establish you or your business as an authority. Or you can craft compelling premiums – reports, guides or booklets – with must-have information that generates leads.

Case in point: I worked with an agency that promised its client, a software provider in the mergers and acquisitions field, 500 qualified leads for its sales team. The entire campaign, from print ads and direct mail to e-mails and telemarketing was built around a booklet of insights on how to do better deals. The substance of the book came from one-on-one interviews with the client and its customers. The offer worked: we ultimately pulled at least 1,200 qualified leads, more than doubling the client’s expectations.

Another case: One my other clients, a franchise marketing agency in New Jersey, initiated research to poll franchise executives regarding agencies and agency relationships. But the interviews proved deeper and richer than they had anticipated, yielding a wealth of insights on franchise marketing and franchisor-franchisee communications. The resulting report has become the foundation for a press campaign and a major component of the agency’s branding and lead-generation efforts, which are pulling in clients as I write.

I talked to Rich Higginson, president of The Princeton Research Group, the firm that executed the research on behalf of the franchise marketing agency. We put our brains together and came up with a few pointers on who should leverage research and how they should go about it.

Who can package research to their advantage?

Businesses with big “brain capital”: Think professional services and consulting firms. Or industries such as financial services, insurance or healthcare. Here, knowledge is money. Any insights you can provide on how customers think, feel, hope and fear has an immediate value your clients will appreciate.
Non-profit organizations: In any major fundraising campaign, the real money comes from a handful of big contributors. But before the big players pony up, they want evidence that the need is real, the goal desirable and the organization effective. A third-party report based on objective data can be the story you need to win over major contributors.
Political organizers: Gathering support for a referendum, such as a tax override, can be tough work. But you can soften the ground by distributing research that lets voters know what their neighbors are thinking. Likewise, incumbent parties can package data regarding constituent desires – what voters said they want from their government – with facts on how the government has responded to their concerns.
What do you do with the research you’ve gathered?

Pepper your press releases: Reporters are often too busy to conduct deep investigations on their own. That’s why editors really appreciate press releases loaded with fresh, objective information that can form the core of new stories. Example: “In a survey of leading American textile manufacturers, 85% believe that competition from China will cripple the nation’s textile industry in the next five years.” Or: “Consumer surveys indicate that CD music sales still run strong in the 50+ crowd.”
Share it in your own bylined articles: Consultants and other service providers looking to establish “thought leadership” are always eager for ideas on which they can build bylined articles. One good research study can become fodder for a half-dozen substantive articles based on the data you’ve gathered. These may be placed in industry-relevant publications. Or you can bypass traditional media and distribute your articles online through a syndication site such as EzineArticles.com.
Put together a premium to attract leads: It’s one of the perennial problems of business-to-business marketing: how do you get the attention of the big decision-makers and top executives you must persuade to make the sale? Here’s your ace-in-the-hole: they’re hungry for information. They want to know what the market’s up to; what their competitors are doing; what their colleagues think; what their customers desire. Consider packaging your research into white papers, reports or guides you can use as offers in a lead-gen campaign: “Call today for our free guide, 8 Things You Must Do to Engage Hispanic Consumers.” These same reports make excellent downloads from your website (in exchange for basic contact information, of course).
What else do you have to know?

Keep your strategic information to yourself: You don’t need to (and should not) give everything away. Any specific information you uncover that gives you an advantage over your direct competitors – and would likewise help your competitors if they should get their hands on it – you should keep to yourself.
It’s not that expensive: Some people balk at the cost of research. But think about it – what’s a few thousand dollars to survey a few hundred people? For the amount of money you’d spend on a modest media buy (and for a short period at that), you could gain raw material for articles, press releases, premium guides, Web content, direct mail, e-newsletters and more. In the greater marketing context, the right marketing research is a downright bargain.
The Web is changing everything: Back in the old days (meaning: just a few years ago) your opportunities to disseminate information were limited to your influence with the media. But the Web has evolved into an extraordinary messaging platform that often leaves the traditional media players behind. Think of what’s available now to help you distribute your information: blogs, e-newsletters, virtual networks and communities, press release syndication sites, article syndication sites, e-book downloads, Web-specific publishing sites. These and other online mediums can help you get the word out. And through the power of hyperlinks and search engine robots, your word can spread must faster in bits and bytes than it would in ink or broadcast signals.
Make research part of your message
Before you begin your next big PR or marketing campaign, think about conducting research first – not simply as a guide for your campaign, but as the very substance of your offers, your message, your brand. Because the best way to rise above the clutter is to give your prospects something better than more clutter – honest-to-goodness information and insight they can really use.

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Right Handed Sales, Left Handed Marketing

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

When Sales & Marketing Communicate Effectively, They Will Succeed.

Never has a marriage between two groups in an organization been more important than that between Sales and Marketing. It is a match made in heaven. Isn’t it? On one hand you have the sales group that is given the responsibility of building direct and indirect customer relationships that result in sales revenues and profit. On the other hand, marketing executes the promotional activities, such as advertising, marketing, public relations, web site design, and internet marketing initiatives that support those sales activities and work with the sales team to uncover prospects through lead generating initiatives.

It sounds simple enough. And some brilliant CEO further ensured the successful cooperation of the two groups through invention of the Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Unfortunately, even this measure hasn’t eliminated disharmony between the groups.

To alleviate this problem, let’s first define the type of relationship to which you should aspire – it can be summed up with a few powerful words: Symbiotic, that is, having a cooperative and mutually beneficial relationship between two dissimilar persons or groups; Synergistic, which is having an interaction of discrete agencies or agents such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects. (Merriam-Webster); and Aligned, which means situated in a similar direction in support of, or opposed to a party or purpose.

How well the sales and marketing relationship resembles those words depends greatly on how well the groups communicate with each other.

Here are a list of suggestions for the sales and marketing teams to improve their communication and understanding of their roles in building performance and efficiencies for their organization:

1. Work together to develop a market segmentation plan that can be used to more accurately direct marketing and sales activities.

2. Build cross-functional teams comprising appropriate sales and marketing representatives that focus on identifying, researching and proposing initiatives that help the organization gain competitive advantage (i.e. identify an online competitor/s that is/are eating away at an important niche product market share. Then, develop online and traditional marketing initiatives that make it more attractive for customers to purchase those products from your company, rather than your online competitor).

3. Measure and communicate successes and failures as a sales-marketing team. This will actually have the effect of creating more interaction and cooperation.

4. Have a formalized information-sharing program. This could be in the form of a monthly field intelligence meeting and/or monthly lunches between key representatives from each group. In this forum, the groups should be sharing results from all relevant initiatives, customer and prospect feedback, competitor activity, SWOT, etc.

5. Develop presentations for new initiatives together, rather than separately. The decision-makers will find it difficult to reject well-presented initiatives that are developed cooperatively and carry the support of the sales group.

There are many nuances and very effective initiatives that could be added to this list, as well, but these provide a good starting point for building stronger results.

In conclusion, as important as it is that sales and marketing work together, they must also recognize their separate roles, like those of right and left hands. Those roles are determined by individual talents, education, experience and ambition. Sales professionals don’t typically excel at graphic design. And, marketing strategists don’t corner the market on sales ability.

Only through communication will you determine how to maximize the coordination of your right hand and left.

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Best Internet Marketing Strategies – Part II

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

In Part I of “Best Internet Marketing Strategies”, I described some basic guidelines for creating an effective Internet marketing strategy for product and service based business models. In this column, I would like to examine online affiliate marketing and how one can compete in the sea of affiliate arbitrageurs.

What is online affiliate marketing?

Online affiliate marketing, for the purpose of this writing, describes the act of marketing a product or service that is owned by someone else for the sole purpose of making a commission or some other satisfying equal benefit.

Generally speaking, most successful affiliate strategies employ arbitrage as a model for monetary gain. That is purchasing one resource that can be immediately resold for a profit. You probably have come across some online models such as these:

· Affiliate Networks- ClickBank or Commission Junction

· Lead Generation Networks- home, auto, medical, mortgage, etc. (www.insureme.com)

· Advertising Networks- Google’s AdSense or Yahoo!’s Advertising

Similar Strategies, Worlds Apart

Online affiliate marketing strategies are very similar to traditional product and service strategies in that the basic fundamental marketing concepts apply. One still must consider variables such as:

1. Budget

2. Regionality of market

3. Target audience

4. Core competencies

5. Website (functionality, ease of use, and conversion friendliness)

The context however differs in that the “action” takes place on the affiliate or partnering Website. Therefore, the above variables must be invariably in sync with the value proposition of your affiliate and communicate joint benefits. The Website objective on the other hand, is to seamlessly transfer prospective buyers from the partnering site to the affiliate in a way that maximizes conversion behavior. In contrast, traditional online strategies typically aim at keeping the visitor on the page and thus making the content sticky.

Benefits of Online Affiliate Marketing

One of the major benefits affiliate marketing is lowered risk. Risk in this marketing model is shifted to the affiliate whom assumes risk for ultimately creating and maintaining the sale.

Another equally attractive benefit is that partnering site is exempt from carrying any Inventory and only must focus on online marketing efforts.

Lastly, online affiliate marketing can be lucrative when successfully executed. For some Websites, this is the only source of revenue, which can even surpass the sites primary objective.

“Work from home and earn $1000′s while you sleep!”

It’s easy money, so why doesn’t everyone do it? Unfortunately, the Web is full of too many get rich quick programs that promise big returns in exchange for little effort. You know…the American way! But in the sea of affiliates there do lie opportunities for those who are willing to work form them. However, affiliate marketing isn’t for everyone. Just like any other strategy, it requires a great deal of thought and resources to market successfully. If you’re looking for the get quick riches, it’s a die-hard game that’s played best by the ones who wrote the book.

Affiliate strategies can also be difficult to execute given the amount of affiliates competing against one another. In addition, this increased competition inflates marketing costs associated to the advertising vehicles used to promote the affiliate. For example, if you plan on advertising via pay-per-click, keyword costs can be very high for generic terms thus pushing affiliates to buy keywords that carry less competition. When many affiliates go to purchase the same keywords, this in effect inflates the keyword market. Worst of all, more money for the affiliating site means that keyword costs will continue to rise.

So how can I compete?

If your going to compete in the affiliate world, there are two key factors that will equal success:

1. Quantity of quality targeted traffic that provides ROI

2. Solid online objective in persuading visitors to click on your affiliate sites

The first factor relates to how relevant your audience perceives your value proposition in relation to what they are seeking. Quantity refers to the amount of targeted visitors you can attract that works to your ROI model. The most successful affiliate marketers can calculate their ROI attributed to their online marketing efforts on the micro level. Moreover, if the ROI is determined to be positive, the game quickly turns into numbers.

The second factor relates to how well your Website can persuade visitors to click on affiliate links, which in turn means commissions. However, without executing the first key factor successfully, all the traffic in the world to your affiliate will not translate into the desired outcome. Here are some things to consider when optimizing your website for your affiliate strategy:

1. Website communicates similar value proposition of the affiliating site

2. Website clearly directs traffic off site to the affiliate

3. Advertisements and marketing efforts are in sync with the website objective

4. Website is resource oriented and not “spammy”

5. Website look and feel is in keeping with competitor sites

Summary

Finding the ultimate online affiliate strategy can be challenging. After all, if it were easy, not only would everyone be doing it, they also would be making tons of money. I suggest that you first start by examining the affiliate’s chosen business model before diving in with both feet. What is their value proposition? How can you make use of that proposition, yet still be unique in the market place? (If your not, who would want to do business with you?) As I stated earlier, affiliate marketing isn’t for everyone. However, you your strategy is solid, you might find yourself writing the book for others to follow

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Email Marketing Is Still The Most Effective Despite Problems

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

There is no denying the fact that email marketing is the most effective method of driving traffic and sales to web sites today.

Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that is even more effective than traditional direct marketing. The latter relies on snail mail and it usually takes days for mail to reach recipients. One of the advantages of email marketing is that it is instant. You send out a message and it reaches the recipients immediately.

When you incorporate all the strengths of direct marketing into email marketing, like testing and targeting, then what you end up with is one of the most powerful marketing weapons ever invented.

Email marketing has of course not been without its’ problems. Spam of mass unsolicited email has been a major problem that has given email marketing a bad name, such that when you mention it folks are quicker to think about illegal emails than they are to grasp that you are talking about legitimate and legal email marketing. Even more serious a problem is the fact that spam has caused many ISPs to set up filters that sometimes cause us not to receive email that we actually want and some of it has even been specially requested. For instance when somebody subscribes to an email newsletter.

Still, despite all the challenges, email marketing remains a powerful and potent online marketing tool, more so for those with the skills and knowledge to use it.

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Are You Wasting Time and Money Marketing to the Wrong People?

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

One of the biggest mistakes I see consultants, coaches and professionals make is to be unclear about who their ideal client is, and to carry out their marketing without any specific definition of their target market. In fact, most are hedging their bets and trying to appeal to everybody.

Intuitively, this seems the right way to go. We might presume that the more people you can appeal to, the more likely you are to get business. It’s the law of large numbers – if you throw enough darts at the board, then eventually you’ll hit the bullseye.

However, this approach has a number of drawbacks. First, when you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody. Your marketing message will be bland and, quite likely, meaningless to everyone that is exposed to it. Secondly, trying to market to an undefined group of people is extremely hard work and involves a lot of wasted energy and expense. How will you know where to place your ads, who to send direct mail to, where to network, who to call or who you want to attract to your website? Thirdly, if you don’t specialise in any way, then you’ll never build up specific expertise in any particular area or get paid the premium that specialists get paid.

So, if you haven’t already, I suggest that you define your precise target market and start building up a profile of the ideal client.

Who is NOT an ideal client?

For a lot of people, who they think is their ideal client and who genuinely is an ideal client may be world’s apart.

Here’s a list of types of businesses or consumers you probably don’t want to target:

Price-shoppers: People who are shopping on price are very, very rarely your ideal client. Unless you have a business model that allows you to somehow “mass produce” services and leverage your time, then you’ll never create your dream lifestyle or large pension fund working for price shoppers. My experience, and that of thousands of other service providers, is that “cheapskate” clients are often more demanding, take up more of your precious time and cause more headaches than clients who are looking for a premium service.

People who you think “need” your services: Virtually every small business I come across could use my know-how and expertise to improve their marketing. I could surmise that they “need” what I have to offer. However, there is an abundance of research that shows that people rarely buy what they need, but nearly always buy what they “want” (finances permitting). This is a critical distinction. You may be meeting people all the time who you feel “need” what you provide, but until such time as they actually want it, they’re unlikely to buy, and therefore your time spent marketing to them and building the relationship is largely wasted.

People who can’t comfortably afford your services: You may meet people who both need and want your services, but if they can’t comfortably afford them, then it’s going to be an uphill battle proving the value of what you do and why they should invest. If they do decide to buy your services then they may also become “problem child” clients.

Sometimes you will get business from people who can’t comfortably afford your services, but to actively target them and to spend too much time wooing them is likely a false economy. Your marketing efforts and resources will be better spent when aimed at a market that can easily afford you. This market will also perceive less risk in hiring you, as they can more easily rationalise the purchase to themselves.

People who don’t see you as credible: 20th century marketing has taught most of us to be sceptical. Because people have made bad purchasing decisions in the past, and sometimes been outright ripped off, they’re wary of how they spend their money and who they spend it with. This is true whether they’re a corporate buyer (they don’t want to lose face or lose their job) or a consumer. They’ll look to minimise their risks, and the easiest way of doing that is by buying from someone they trust who has a substantial amount of credibility. This goes hand in hand with positioning yourself as a specialist and expert in your field – high end clients who are willing to pay high fees will want reassurance that you can produce the results you claim to produce.

People who don’t truly want change: As a service provider, it’s highly likely that what you do involves some kind of change on the part of your clients. If you’re a consultant or coach, then your clients will probably have to change what they do or how they think in order to implement the strategies, tools and techniques that you advise them to use. If you’re a professional, then they may need to change how they do their accounting, how their website works, their visual identity or their contracts in order to benefit from the improvements you provide.

If you find yourself speaking to people who show all the signs of resisting change, then move on! They may pay lip service to wanting improved results, but if they don’t seem prepared to actually make changes and move with the times, then they’re probably not a good client.

What are the criteria for defining your perfect client?

When you come to defining your target market and ideal client, here are the factors to consider:

* Who’s prepared to pay a premium for the outcome you provide?

* Who wants what you offer, rather than who needs what you offer?

* Who can comfortably afford your services?

* Who trusts you and sees you as credible?

* Who’s willing to embrace the change you represent?

And finally, one last distinction – and this may be the most important one. You’ll build your own success more rapidly when you spend your time marketing to businesses and people who are already successful but want to move to the next level, than if you target businesses or people who are struggling.This may seem counter-intuitive. After all, aren’t those who are struggling the ones who most need your help? Yes, they probably do need your help the most. However, if they don’t want it, or aren’t prepared to pay for it, then you’re wasting your time and money marketing to them. Not only that, but the people and businesses that need your help because they’re in a mess probably got into their predicament by being short-sighted and not wanting to invest in professional help at the appropriate time. This points to them not having a success mindset or wanting to implement change, which means that not only will it be a harder sale, but they’re less likely to implement the changes you advise in order to become good success stories for you.

And at the end of the day, if you want to build a successful business, it pays to surround yourself with successful people, especially your clients!

Here are some examples of these principles in action:

1. The desperate prospect I spoke to one potential client, who was on the brink of bankruptcy, who wanted me to help him with some marketing materials. I thought his business model was basically flawed and therefore he’d probably never see a good return on his investment in my services within the brief he’d given me. It was unlikely that he’d want to pay my fees, and I couldn’t guarantee him a result in the kind of time frame he needed to prevent the bankruptcy. I decided not to take the conversation any further on the basis that I didn’t want his money if it might become a contributing factor to his bankruptcy and because I wasn’t convinced that he was heading in the right direction.

Although he wanted what I was offering, I didn’t think he could comfortably afford my services or get the returns he needed in such a tight timeframe.

2. The sceptical prospect I had a conversation with a potential client who seemed to have some good services, but was struggling to sell them. He really needed marketing help because he was running all over town (quite literally) presenting proposals to people who weren’t buying and was struggling to make his business model work. I suggested a number of changes and actions he could take, but he resisted each and every one. Not long into the conversation I felt my energy drop and a sense of despair overwhelm me. This is usually a really bad sign!

This guy sells services that could really help a lot of people, but his depressed attitude and resistance to every thing I said meant that he was never likely to become wildly successful or build the exit strategy he wanted. Not only that, but he claimed that he’d heard it all before! This begs the question “so why didn’t you act on it the first time you heard it”? This prospect needed what I was offering, but didn’t want it. He didn’t have a success mindset, and was therefore unlikely to ever really appreciate the value of the change I was offering him.

3. The optimistic client Stefan recognised his own limitations when it came to marketing. He knew in his heart that he had a good product and service, but was struggling to get his message out to the right people and in the right way. Although he had regular work coming in from a few reliable sources, he recognised the need to shore up his foundations by reaching more people and consistently bringing in new client from other efforts.

Stefan signed up for my Client Attraction Blueprint programme right away, and set about doing the exercises and taking on board the advice I offered him. He is now reaping the rewards through having a marketing plan that works for him and a much clearer idea of who he should be targeting, and where he should expend his marketing efforts, time and money.

Stefan wanted what I was offering. He was open to change, and happy to be directed. Although he didn’t fit the criterion of easily affording my services, he was prepared to invest in them anyway because he saw the long term advantages.

What about you? Are you targeting the people who trust you, see you as credible, who want what you offer and are willing to pay to gain the benefits of your solution? Are you positioning yourself as an expert and working to attract other like-minded and successful people to your business, or are you struggling to sell your services to a sceptical and reluctant market? Could you take your business to the next level by clearly defining the ideal client and then ensuring that all of your marketing efforts, particularly your message, are tailored to the wants and aspirations of that market?

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The 21st Century Insurance Marketing System

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

What is the key to an effective insurance marketing system that attracts a constant flow of new clients? The answer to this question is simple: target a niche. Let me explain…

A common mistake insurance agents make is using a shotgun approach when it comes to marketing. Meaning, everyone is a prospect. Effective marketing matches the right message to the right market. Or as Dan Kennedy, author of NO BS Direct Marketing, puts it, “Message to market match”.

These days, people are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages through television, radio, the Internet, direct mail, and many other advertising alternatives. As a result, response rates (on what were once effective marketing systems) have dropped significantly.

An insurance marketing system that targets a large demographic will get a much smaller response rate compared to an insurance marketing system that targets a specific niche. Let me give you an example…

Not too long ago, one could compile a list of people ages 55 to 75, with half a million in net worth or more, and income of 75,000 and above, send a direct-mail piece, and get a significant number of leads.

If you tried this today, chances are, you would get a meager response at best. Even seasoned, well-paid copywriters are having trouble squeezing out a decent response rate.

Sure, you might be thinking, anyone in the above age group with that kind of income and net worth needs insurance and financial planning. That’s true. But these people are being doused with insurance and financial services product offerings every day. Plus, nothing separates these companies from each other. However, if you target a message to a specific niche, for example, ‘pilots’ or ‘dry cleaners’, your chances of getting a good return on your marketing dollars can increase significantly.

Let me give you a marketing message example:

Here is an untargeted, average financial services marketing slogan… “How to Plan for Your Retirement”

Here is a targeted marketing message… “Attention Cessna Skyhawk Owners: FREE Seminar Reveals How To Live Debt-Free So You Can Pay Off Your Cessna Loan and Retire Earlier!

This targeted marketing message needs work because I don’t fly, and I don’t know exactly what this market needs or wants. The idea here is to get you thinking differently about your insurance marketing and hopefully uncover breakthrough marketing messages that will attract new clients to your practice.

For an insurance marketing system to have the best chance of success, it’s important to carve out a niche, find out what their needs and wants are, and create a marketing message that your niche will respond to.

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Marketing Strategies That Work: Setting The Buying Criteria

Jun 24 2023 Published by admin under Uncategorized

What if I told you there was a simple marketing strategy you could use to…

Stop prospects from price shopping
Convert more prospects to customers
Pre-empt your competition
You’d want to know about it right?

It gets even better. Because you don’t have to be a great writer… or even a great marketer… to put this strategy to work in your business.

Just so you know how powerful this particular strategy is, let me tell you a story…

Before I became a freelance copywriter, I was the sole copywriter and online marketer for a well-known home schooling company.

I’d been mulling over how to use this strategy in the business. One morning, it clicked.

I spent 4 hours writing 8 brief emails. I plugged them into our email system, posted the opt-in form on the web site, and waited to see what would happen.

The results?

Nearly 20,000 subscribers the first year and $115,168.09 in revenue.

The email series continued to produce revenue the second year, the third year, and on and on. All from less than a day’s work. Pretty amazing, huh?

The strategy I used is called:

“Setting the Buying Criteria”

A clearer way to say it is: setting the criteria by which your prospects make a buying decision.

In a nutshell, here is how it works. In your marketing material (emails, brochures, web sites, sales letters, etc.), you want to define what makes a good buying decision. And in your defining, you want to make sure that your company, product, or service is the only one that fits the definition.

This is setting the buying criteria.

When you set the criteria, you always want to do it in such a way that it excludes your competitors. They should not be able to qualify based on the criteria you’ve set.

This is why the criteria you use should always be exclusive to a greater or lesser degree.

Let me give you a quick example…

Assume for a moment you’re a car manufacturer who specializes in sports cars. One of your criteria might read like this:

“Whatever sports car you choose, make sure it has at least 250 horsepower. Any less and you’ll be sacrificing speed, acceleration, and performance, all of which are critical to the pleasure you’ll get from your new sports car.”

You’ll notice I set the criterion (250 horsepower) high enough that it eliminated some cars, but not so high that it eliminated all cars. No matter. The important thing is, I’ve narrowed the field.

As we move on, we layer additional buying criteria:

“Once you’ve found a sports car that has at least 250 horsepower, you’ll also want to make sure it has a 6-speed manual transmission. At least half the pleasure of a sports car is being in total control. An automatic transmission just won’t cut it.

“Rear-wheel drive is a must for a true sports car. It gives you the best cornering power possible, without feeling like you’re going to run off the road (as you might feel with a front-wheel drive vehicle).

“Also look for fully independent suspension, so you get the best road feel. Each wheel will move on its own, independent from the other wheels, giving you maximum traction and performance.

“Lastly, be picky about the kind of engine your sports car is equipped with. The best sports car engine is a boxer engine. It’s perfectly balanced and produces no vibration. You can set a quarter directly on the engine while it is running and it will not fall off. Plus, boxer engines sit low to the ground and provide a lower center of gravity. Boxer engines can be found in flat-4, flat-6, and flat-12 configurations.”

By shrewdly selecting these and possibly one or two additional criteria, I can make my sports car the only logical choice in a crowded market.

It’s the same with your product. If you shrewdly define the criteria for buying, you’ll create a scenario where your product is the only one that can possibly qualify. All competitive products will fall short.

Why Setting the Buying Criteria Works

Setting the buying criteria works for 3 powerful reasons:

1. You’re seen as someone who can be trusted.

By telling your prospects what they should look for when they make a purchase–or conversely, telling them what to watch out for–you become a trusted advisor.

Your prospects believe you have their best interests at heart (and you do), so they are more likely to buy your product instead of the competition’s.

2. You’re letting your prospects come to their own conclusions.

When you set the buying criteria, you’re not saying, “Buy my product because it’s got X, Y, and Z.”

Instead, you’re indirectly guiding your prospects to the conclusion you want them to reach. You’re saying, “When you make a purchase of this kind, make sure you get one with these things…”

Your prospects run down the checklist you’ve created and decide–on their own–that your product is the best choice.

3. You’re doing something different.

If you examine your competition, you will be lucky if you find even one business taking advantage of this strategy. That makes it easy for you to stand out.

When your prospects see that you’re looking out for them… and none of your competitors are… then it becomes exceptionally easy for you to turn them into customers. Prospects will be drawn to you, and will gladly give you their business.

More Examples To Illustrate Buying Criteria

I don’t know what your product is, so I’m going to use a few more examples to illustrate this process. So let’s assume you’re selling a high-end ski jacket.

Your criteria might look like this: zippered pockets, hood, removable liner, snow skirt, goggle pouch, season pass window, and a new proprietary waterproof/breathable fabric.

As you look at your competition, you find that nearly every single ski jacket on the market has “zippered pockets,” and yet this is a feature that many skiers are looking for. “Zippered pockets” alone will not set you apart, so you go further.

Now you add the “hood” to your buying criteria. There are fewer ski jackets with both zippered pockets and a hood, but there are still many.

As you layer each additional feature of your high-end ski jacket, you notice there are fewer and fewer jackets that meet all the criteria you’ve defined.
By the time you add your proprietary waterproof/breathable fabric to the mix, there is only one ski jacket still in the running. It just so happens that it’s the one you sell.

Is this starting to make sense?

If you run an accounting practice, your criteria may be: monthly statements (including P&L, trial balance, assets & liabilities, itemized expense reports, etc.), quarterly tax filing, daily backups to prevent lost data, and free tax planning twice a year.

If you sell a cleaning product, your criteria may be: kills bacteria in under 30 seconds, uses all-natural environmentally friendly ingredients, makes everything smell fresh, is packaged in an easy-to-use ergonomic container, and comes with a 90-day full money-back guarantee.

You may need more criteria; you may need less. Only you will know for your particular niche.

How to Define Your Buying Criteria

To begin defining your buying criteria, list all of the features of your product or service. Do it quickly without thinking too much. Simply write down all the different features that come to mind.

After you’ve captured all the features you can think of, review your list. Circle some of the core features that are always expected with a product or service like yours. Also circle the features that are the most unique.

Now you have the raw material you need to create a marketing piece that sets the buying criteria. The next step is in how you position these features–how you present them to your market.

This is a very important step. Position your criteria the wrong way and people will ignore you. Position your criteria the right way and new customers will flock to you.

How to Position Your Criteria

When you set the buying criteria, there are a number of ways to position them. How you position them is important, and one may work better than another for your business.

The email series I wrote for the home schooling company was positioned like this: “The 7 Essentials That Will Inspire Your Children to Learn.”

Many people (nearly 20,000 of them in the first year) subscribed purely out of curiosity. They wanted to know what the “7 Essentials” were.

With another client, I used a similar approach and wound up with “The 7 Essentials of Any Ecommerce System.” If you’re in the market for an ecommerce system, you’ll want to find out what the “7 Essentials” are. After you’re done reading, my client’s system will be your only choice.

With my copywriting services, I position the criteria inside the sales letter. As you scroll down the site, you’ll see a subhead that says, “The One Thing Your Copywriter Must Have.”

In this case, the one thing is so rare, I don’t feel the need to have a laundry list of criteria. Just the one is sufficient.

Another way to position your criteria is as a warning: “Don’t Even Think About Buying _______ Until You Read This…” or “How to Buy a ______ Without Losing Your Shirt.”

A warning is a more direct approach because it often acknowledges the prospects’ desire to purchase a particular item, but the approach can still work very well.

Joe Polish is famous in part for his method of setting the buying criteria in Consumer Awareness Guides. These little guides educate consumers about what they should look out for when they hire a carpet cleaner and other service professionals.

The possibilities for positioning your criteria are virtually limitless. Once you fully understand this strategy, you will begin to think of many ways to position your criteria.

But remember this: the most effective way to position your criteria will always be from an angle that educates and protects the consumer. You cannot say, “5 Reasons To Buy My Product.”

Yawn.

Your prospect doesn’t care about you or your product. At least not yet.

That’s why you need to speak to your prospects with care and concern, as a trusted advisor to a dear friend. This is how you reach them. So make sure that you position your criteria with this in mind.

Make Sure You Give a Reason Why

Before I turn you loose, I believe it’s important for you to understand one more thing… that is, the importance of giving your prospects a reason why.

When you list out your criteria and position them in way that appeals to your prospects, you still need to make sure–with each and every criterion–that you are giving your prospects a believable reason why it’s so important.

In my sports car illustration, I listed a reason why each criterion was important for the consumer to consider when choosing a sports car. I explained how the fully independent suspension was necessary for “maximum traction and performance.” I mentioned that a 6-speed manual transmission was important because it gives you “total control.”

If I had not given any reasons why these criteria are important for the consumer to consider, my case would have been very weak. The same holds true in real life. You must give your prospects a strong reason why.

Review your criteria. If you list a criterion for which there is no good reason why you’ve mentioned it, then it shouldn’t be included. Get rid of it or find another criterion to replace it with.

Evaluate Your Marketing

As you evaluate your marketing, ask yourself this question: Am I setting the criteria by which my prospects make a buying decision?

If you are not, it is time for you to seriously consider how you might use this strategy in your business. It takes very little time to do and it is highly effective.

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