Ray EdwardsMarketing – Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com Prosperity With Purpose Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:27:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://rayedwards.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-REI-Color-Logo-Only-32x32.png Marketing – Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com 32 32 Are you an entrepreneur who wants to change the world, but struggles with how to do well and also do good? I know how that feels. And I can assure you, if you want to start your own business from scratch, or just grow the business you already have; if you are a believer, and a follower of Jesus; or even if you just consider yourself “spiritual, but not religious”… and especially if you long to reconcile your pursuit of prosperity with your desire to have a positive impact on the world…<br /> …then you’ve arrived at the perfect place, and this podcast is for you. My name is Ray Edwards, and I help “believing achievers” start, run, and grow their Internet based businesses. If that’s you, this means you can have more joy, experience more passion, and achieve prosperity with purpose. Ray Edwards clean Ray Edwards rayedwards@gmail.com rayedwards@gmail.com (Ray Edwards) Start, Run, and Grow Your Internet Based Business... & Change The World! Marketing – Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/The-Ray-Edwards-Show.jpg http://rayedwards.com/category/marketing/ The Dawn of Justice in Business http://rayedwards.com/the-dawn-of-justice-in-business/ http://rayedwards.com/the-dawn-of-justice-in-business/#respond Wed, 04 May 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11376 How to Be the Superhero Your Clients Are Looking for!

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Captain America … these superheroes evoke something deep inside of us to be great! We fantasize about their special powers and we cheer their stand for justice and all that is good.

Dawn of Justice

The superhero movies bring out the child in us. No wonder they’ve done so well. Remember back to when you were a kid. All we had to do was put on the mask and don the cape. Then we were the superhero! 

And that’s the point of this article.

Would you like to give your marketing message super powers? What if you really could become the superhero of your clients? Does this sound far fetched?
What if you really could become the superhero of your clients?Click To Tweet

Here’s how you can do it …

  • Identify the villains hounding your customers. Villains can have many faces. Find out what’s plaguing your clients. Name their villain and go after it with a vengeance!
  • Step up as superhero and reveal your powers. You, or your company, need a “superhero name.” You need a title that sums up who you are and what you can do for your clients. This title should be short, catchy, dynamic and easy to understand. What is it you do better than anyone else?
  • State your mission. Superman’s mission is: “Fight the never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way!” This serves as a great model for you. Build your own mission statement that embodies what you do. Make it short, sweet and powerful.

Here’s an example:VILLAIN: Anemic Advertising. This creepy character sucks the life out of small business advertising budgets. This villain wastes all your money on ads that get little response. Ad dollars go out, but revenue doesn’t come in. Anemic Advertising leaves victims penniless and discouraged, even destroying many businesses.

HERO: Captain Copywriter. Magically transforms limp, lazy, lackluster ads into profit-pulling powerhouses. Multiplies revenue while at the SAME TIME slashes your ad spending. Produces sales, profits, and peace of mind.

MISSION STATEMENT: “Captain Copywriter fights a never-ending battle for better ads, producing more profits, more often.”

Use Your Identity

So how do you engage your “superhero identity”?

You start “living it.”

Perhaps until now, you’ve seen yourself as a mild-mannered copywriter. But what if you’ve become Captain Copywriter?

How would the Captain behave?

How would he talk?

What would his costume (website) look like?

What insignia would he display?

What are his sayings and catch-phrases? (Superman had “Up, up and away!” – what would YOURS be?)

Once you get into character as your “superhero,” you’ll start thinking like he would!

Let me prove it.

If mild-mannered-you came across a bank robbery in progress, you might not know what to do. (Other than maybe call the police.)

But what if you were Clark Kent and you came across that same robbery in progress. NOW what would you do?

You’d intervene, of course.

You’d duck into a doorway or alley, put on your super-suit and move into action! Goodbye robbers!

See how simply IMAGINING a super hero identity gives you access to superhero strategies?

Let’s say it’s the real thing now. Your client is in trouble, calling for help. With your “super powers” you can see right through their problem. You step up, puff out your chest and with a calm voice say, “Don’t worry Mam, I’ve got this!”

Simply IMAGINING a super hero identity gives you access to superhero strategies!Click To Tweet

What are you waiting for? Tear off those glasses, don your cape, and fly to the rescue!

Question: What will you do differently now that you own a “superhero” identity? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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The Secret Weapon of Market Leaders http://rayedwards.com/the-secret-weapon-of-market-leaders/ http://rayedwards.com/the-secret-weapon-of-market-leaders/#respond Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:42:52 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=11360 It’s Powerful, It’s Easy To Use, and It’s Free

When I ran radio stations, we used a secret marketing weapon to tap into public trends. This secret weapon enabled us to “read the minds” of clients and listeners. As a result, we sold millions of dollars worth of advertising to our clients. And they sold hundreds of millions of dollars of goods and services to their customers.

Secret Marketing Weapon
This secret weapon is free and available to anyone. Yet few businesses use it.

Copywriters talk a lot about “joining the conversation already taking place in the prospect’s mind.” (This is a phrase loosely borrowed from Robert Collier.) And that’s what this secret weapon allows you to do.

What is this “secret weapon?” The calendar. Tie your marketing efforts to major calendar dates. This will take you a long way toward “joining” that conversation.

People live by the calendar. The year is full of signposts, celebrations, and deadlines. These dates on the calendar drive our decisions and mark our progress through the year. We live from signpost to signpost.
Tie your marketing efforts to major calendar dates. It's like market mind-reading.Click To Tweet

In the US, some of the major calendar signposts include:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Super Bowl Sunday
  • President’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Back to School
  • Labor Day
  • Halloween
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

There are many other signposts of course. And your list will vary depending on your cultural and religious background. The point is, the major signposts are easy to identify. And it’s easy to construct your marketing calendar around them. You want to do that to give people a “reason why.”

John E. Kennedy identified the power of “reason why” copy. They’re more likely to respond to your promotion if you give them a “reason why.” Prospects are more prone to buy if you give them a “reason why.”

 

Retailers have followed this pattern for so long that we’ve grown accustomed to it. (And they do it with so little imagination!)  They promote: “The January White Sale,” “The Sweetheart Sale” for Valentine’s Day, “Saving the Green Sale” for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Walk into your local grocer and their displays will tell you what the next holiday is.

The good news for your online business is that all these “old school” ideas work quite well online. And they’ll work even better if you can get more creative with them. (For instance, run a “Click Your Treat” promotion around Halloween!) The point is, give your prospects and customers a good reason to visit your website at least once per month.

When you adopt this model, planning your promotional calendar becomes easy. The list above is not a bad start. But if you’re more ambitious, you can select from hundreds of “reasons why” at 2016 Holidays & Observances Calendar.  If you want to, you can find a reason to do a promotion 52 times per year!

You can also borrow ideas for promotions from brick & mortar businesses. These retailers have made an art form of this method. Look at auto dealers, big box stores, and grocery stores in particular. They can supply you with a rich “swipe file” of ideas.

Just visit the website of some of your favorite stores. I guarantee you’ll find sales linked to the nearest holiday or calendar signpost. You can also peruse your local newspapers online. Or go to your public library and glean past issues of newspapers. This will provide “swipe files” from which you can build your storehouse of promotions.

Anyone with an online business can use this “secret weapon” to boost promotions and sales!

Question: Which calendar signposts will you use to put this “secret weapon” to use? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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How I Built a 6-Figure Business from a Single Speech http://rayedwards.com/how-i-built-a-6-figure-business-from-a-single-speech/ http://rayedwards.com/how-i-built-a-6-figure-business-from-a-single-speech/#comments Fri, 11 Mar 2016 11:00:04 +0000 Michael Hudson http://rayedwards.com/?p=10967 Dr. Michael Hudson is a member of my Elite Regency Mastermind. He is also a teacher, speaker, writer, facilitator, coach, & ideapreneur. He helps people discover their vision, write their story, and speak their vision into existence using his proven VisionSpeaker™ System.  Visit 52SpeakerSecrets.com to download your free copy of Michael’s ebook filled with practical insights you can use to increase your impact every time you speak.  ~ Ray Edwards

Breaking the $100,000 revenue level in any business is a key milestone. For many it is the target that defines success. That’s why in the spring of 1999 I was sitting at my desk pondering how I could grow my speaking business with that number in mind.

Hudson Blog

And then the phone rang…

Little did I know that call would be the first step on the path to building a 6-figure business that would continue for over 15 years.

The Unexpected Inquiry

The call was from the president of a statewide trade association. He knew that I offered speaking, consulting, and training, and asked if I had any programs on service.

I shared that one of my current ‘best-selling’ (meaning more than one client had invested in it) programs was The 7 Deadly Sins of Customer Service. We briefly discussed the program content and he asked whether I would be willing to “make a couple of adjustments so the program would better fit his audience.”

“Absolutely,” I responded.

“Well here’s my dilemma,” he said. “Our annual convention is on Friday and our keynote speaker just cancelled. Any chance you’re available?”

The Immediate Response

Since the event was within 10 miles of my home office (and I had nothing on the calendar), I again responded: “Absolutely.”

We talked about the set-up of the program and his expectations, I secured his permission to video-tape the event, and we agreed on an appropriate investment.

The deal was done and it was time to prepare.

Based on what I had learned in our conversation it was clear I needed to learn a lot more about the people who would be in the audience. So I requested a few names and phone numbers of people I could contact.

Though the timeline was tight, I was able to connect with most of them and pick their brains a bit about how they saw the topic, what they wanted to learn, and their favorite stories related to customer service.

I leveraged what I learned, updated my presentation, and rehearsed it several times.

The Event Results

The event was a success. The stories I gathered from the audience members made it seem like I really understood their industry. The changes to the presentation based on the input of the association president were perfect. And the video came out great!

More important, the meeting planner was effusive in her praise of the event. She specifically identified three things that she felt made the presentation “perfect for their audience.”

Applying a lesson I had learned from a mentor I thanked her for her comments and asked if she would mind if I put them in writing to share with others. She said that was fine and I thanked her for the opportunity. Then I visited briefly with some of the audience members.

One CEO asked me if I did leadership training, and told me what he needed for his team. He ended by handing me his business card and telling me to call him the following week to schedule an on-site session.

Another CEO asked if I facilitated strategic planning sessions. I shared a bit about how long I had been doing it and how the process worked, then he hand me his business card and asked me to call him the following week to schedule his next planning session.

The Follow-Up

To say that it was a good day would be a bit of an understatement, but from my perspective all of the positive outcomes came from one thing: Taking the time to understand the audience and customizing the presentation based on what I learned.

But wait. There’s more…

Over the weekend I reflected a bit on the experience and realized there was an opportunity at hand. After all I had a video of a presentation that connected well with an audience served by a trade association in every state, and I had great feedback from a meeting planner who had peers in all of those organizations.

So on Monday morning I made three phone calls. I called the CEO who wanted leadership training. Then I called the CEO who wanted me to facilitate his planning session. My third call was to the education director of the trade association.

The first two calls focused on setting up meetings later that week, each of which resulted in a 5-figure contract to be delivered within the next 60-90 days.

The third call focused on getting permission from the meeting planner to share her comments in a letter from her to her colleagues recommending my services. Included in that letter was a P.S. indicating that she had asked me to send them some information about my speaking topics.

Later that week I sat with the meeting planner as she signed the letters and I stuffed them into envelopes and mailed them. One week later I sent a mailing to each of the recipients with a list of three speech topics, a bio, and a 3-minute demo video from the event. Within a month of that mailing I had 15 state trade associations booked for keynote and breakout sessions to be delivered in the next 6-9 months. And 30% of those sessions led to additional bookings for leadership and strategic planning engagements.

The net result: Within 90 days that single speech generated agreements for business over 6-figures during the next 12 months. This established the foundation for serving that market for the next 15 years.

A Replicable System

At this point, you may be thinking that this was a special situation and wondering if it can be repeated. The truth is that it can because it is based on a simple 7-step system:

  1. Listen to the client — Ask questions, probe for more information, and focus more on learning about their needs than selling yourself. This creates the foundation for success.
  1. Respond to their needs — Customize your program and your approach to meet (or better yet exceed) the expectations of the person hiring you. This creates shared ownership of the outcome.
  1. Understand the audience — Invest time to speak with and learn about audience members. This provides a clear pathway to connection because you are sharing their stories and using them to illustrate the key points of your message.
  1. Prepare judiciously — Put in the time to prepare the right presentation for that audience at that time, and rehearse it well. Ensure that you deliver it perfectly. This creates raving fans.
  1. Share relevant stories — Replace your trusted stories with actual stories from the industry and from members of the audience. This makes you an insider and that leads to more opportunities.
  1. Follow-up quickly — Do what you say you will do and take immediate action to follow-up. This differentiates you and secures additional business that others miss.
  1. Leverage feedback — Listen to feedback and ask permission to capture and share it. This deepens your relationship and creates advocates who help you grow your business.

Approach your business using these 7 steps and it will take everything you do to the next level. These 7 steps can provide a solid foundation for building a 6-figure business in a relatively short period of time.

Question: What challenges do you face in your speaking business? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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The Most Successful Sales Letter You’ve Never Heard Of http://rayedwards.com/the-most-successful-sales-letter-youve-never-heard-of/ http://rayedwards.com/the-most-successful-sales-letter-youve-never-heard-of/#comments Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:46:46 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=9857 The Story Of Two Copywriters

On a sunny day one late afternoon two copywriters graduated from the same copywriting school. These two copywriters were roughly the same age, with roughly the same writing ability. They had both been trained by the same copywriting instructors in the art and science of writing to sell and persuade. Both were filled with dreams of becoming rich by writing ads to sell products and services.

Recently, these men ran into one another at the same direct marketing conference, 10 years after their graduation. They were both still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had young children. And both, as it turned out, had written copy for some of the biggest direct mail publishing houses in the world.

But there was one difference…

One of these copywriters was on staff at a publishing house, making a comfortable $100,000 per year salary. The other was not an employee, but rather had started his own business, and used his copywriting skills to create copy that was raking in over $1 million dollars a year in net profits.

What Made The Difference?

If you’re like me, when you hear a story like that, you wonder: what made the difference between those two men? We all know stories like this, and we all have evidence demonstrating it isn’t always raw talent or intelligence or even perseverance or dedication. It isn’t that one person has “a burning desire” and the other doesn’t.

The difference lies in this: what each person knows, and how that person makes use of their knowledge. The difference is in continuously growing and using their knowledge.

And that is why I’m writing to you today, to let you know about how you can grow your knowledge and learn from what is arguably the most successful sales letter you’ve never heard of…

And It’s Not The Wall Street Journal Sales Letter!

You may recognize that I didn’t really come up with the preceding copy you just read – you probably in fact recognize it as an “adaptation” of the famous Wall Street Journal Sales Letter written by Martin Conroy.

You may download the Wall Street Journal Sales Letter here (and I would suggest you add it to your swipe file if you haven’t already).

You may even be thinking, “Ray, this is not ‘the most successful sales letter I’ve never heard of’, because… well… I have heard of it. A lot.”

Now, if the Wall Street Journal Sales Letter were actually the letter I was referring to in today’s title, you would be correct.

Here’s What You May Not Know

Just as I didn’t really come up with today’s article “from scratch”, Martin Conroy did not cook up the Wall Street Journal ad out of thin air, either.

In fact, he “swiped” the Big Idea for the Wall Street Journal ad (which by some accounts has made the Journal over $2 billion in sales) from another ad, this one by the legendary copywriter Bruce Barton.

In 1919, Barton wrote an ad for The Alexander Hamilton Institute.

The headline for the ad was “The Story of Two Men Who Fought the Civil War”, and the copy began like this:

“From a certain little town in Massachusetts two men went to the Civil War. Each of them had enjoyed the same educational advantage, and so far as anyone could judge, their prospects for success were equally good.

One man accumulated a fortune. The other spent his last years almost entirely dependent upon his children for support.”

Obviously, Conroy’s ad was based on Barton’s. You may download “The Story of Two Men Who Fought the Civil War” in its entirety here.

You may now be assuming that “The Story of Two Men Who Fought the Civil War” is the letter I was referring to in today’s title. But that is incorrect, also.

The Most Famous Sales Letter You’ve Never Heard Of

Just as my opening paragraphs were inspired by Conroy, and Conroy was inspired by Barton, Barton lifted the story for his own ad from one written a year earlier, in 1918. The 1918 ad began like this:

“The story of two clerks in New York City who started together a few years ago, side by side, each earning $12 a week.”

This 1918 ad was written to sell a memory course, the Roth Memory Course. I’m sure you noticed “the story of two clerks.”

The clerk “with the memory” became the head of a giant publishing company. The other guy became “a petty bill collector.”

This ad was written by the Ruthrauff & Ryan ad agency, and it’s unclear which of their staff copywriters wrote the ad. You may download the “The Story of Two Clerks in New York City” ad here.

(By the way, today’s little advertising history lesson itself was inspired by Lawrence Bernstein’s excellent blog post entitled “A Tale of Two Copywriters”.)

Because it was original inspiration for what became the $2 billion dollar Wall Street Journal Sales Letter, “The Story of Two Clerks in New York City” may in fact be the most successful sales letter you’ve never heard of.

Or … Is It?

Because long before any of those ads, there was this story…

This is the tale of two brothers, both born to wealth, privilege, and power, over 4,000 years ago.

Both were sons of the ruler of the known world. Both were princes of a vast empire.

They received the same education and upbringing. They were very much alike.

But a few decades later, one was the King, and the other was hiding in the hills far away, living as a humble shepherd.

But that’s not the end of the story – the shepherd eventually came storming back to the land of his youth, conquered his brother and his brother’s empire, and left that empire a smoking ruin.

What made the difference between these two brothers?

You may already recognize this story from the Biblical story of the Exodus. One brother was Ramses, the Pharaoh of Egypt. The other was named Moses, and he was the humble shepherd who heard the voice of God, and came back to Egypt to free the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.

This may be part of the most successful sales letter in history. I’ll leave that for you to ponder on your own.

Here’s the point of this whole article…

To Persuade Powerfully, Tell a Story That Resonates

Storytelling is the most powerful form of persuasion known to humans.

The original “tale of two young men” can be traced all the way back to the work of The Great Storyteller. It is the tale of brothers Cain and Abel, in the Book of Genesis.

To write the most successful and effective copy you are capable of, you must learn to tell great stories that resonate with the deepest fears and desires of your reader.

Now get to work on your story!

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How To Attract Perfect Clients (And Repel The Clients Who Drive You Nuts) http://rayedwards.com/how-to-attract-perfect-clients-and-repel-the-clients-who-drive-you-nuts/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-attract-perfect-clients-and-repel-the-clients-who-drive-you-nuts/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:50:59 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=8851 If you’re a freelancer or service professional, you know the pain of the “problem client”. Once they are “inside your gates”, they cause nothing but trouble.

Attract-Perfect-Clients

They complain about everything from the font size in the PDF you gave them, to the claim that you didn’t give enough detail in the product, or that you have too much information in the product. They pester you with the most requests, that go beyond the scope of what they paid for. They threaten you.

You’ve been there, surely. You’ve said to yourself, “Oh, great. He’s one of those. A problem client.”

Once you realize you have one of these trouble-makers on your hands, you are faced with two choices: continue to receive the abuse heaped upon you… or fire them. Neither of these is pleasant. But my advice is: as soon as you recognize one of these clients, show them the door. Get paid for the work you’ve done, pay them back for any work you haven’t done, and move on as quickly as possible.

But how do we end up with these “Problem Clients”? Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to avoid working with these jerks to begin with? Well, I’ve got good news – you can learn to attract your “Perfect Client”, and repel the “Problem Client”, by using these ‘5 Filters for Client Selection.’

  1. The best defense is a strong offense. In other words, to defend yourself against being bamboozled into working with a jerk, offend the jerk first. So they won’t ask to do business with you. You do this by sending them signals that you and they have different value systems, and different rules of engagement.
  2. Boldly state your core beliefs, especially the controversial ones. Most will advise you to keep your most personal beliefs “out of your business”. I say the only reason to do that is if you have decided to wear the mantle of mediocrity. Don’t wear the mantle of mediocrity; put on the garments of greatness. Only work with clients who meet your criteria. Say what you believe in. And don’t take the “pansy way” out, by sharing  lame, “safe” beliefs that you know everyone would agree with (like “I believe in honesty, puppies, and being nice to little old ladies.”)
  3. Be consistently authentic. Don’t “construct” a persona to present to your audience, as others so often suggest you do. Just be the real you. The only reason authenticity feels awkward is you’ve gotten into the habit of “faking it”. Being real helps create a lot of polarization you want, and it does so automatically and effortlessly. As Bill Johnson says, “If you pay attention to what you think, you’ll never have to think about what you say.”
  4. Constantly communicate your criteria for working with clients. Of course, first you need to know those criteria. So take some time to make two lists. List #1 is “the things I like about my perfect clients.” List #2 is “the things that drive me crazy about my problem clients.” Once you have written down these two lists, the fun begins.
  5. Charge premium prices. Nothing drives away the whiners, complainers, and downers faster than a steep rate. And if you don’t hide the fact that you’re expensive, but proudly proclaim it, you will not only drive away the pot-stirrers, you will attract better clients. I have worked both ends of the spectrum. And I can tell you without hesitation that on the whole, clients that pay $2,500 for your services will be far more likely to make your life miserable than those who paid $25,000 for that same service. I know this seems counterintuitive, but it is true.

[Tweet “”Don’t wear the mantle of mediocrity; put on the garments of greatness.” @RayEdwards “]

How To Put These Filters To Work For You?

Decide that starting today, you simply will not accept clients who bring any of the”stuff that drives you crazy” to the table.

You will only accept clients who fit your “perfect client profile” to a tee. No exceptions.

How do you do this? I think the best way is to find natural ways of “seeding” these criteria right into your marketing and content. Use strong language. Here’s an example – you use copy similar to the following on your website, or in a blog post or email:

What I look for in a client is:

  • Someone who knows the value and power of direct response marketing, and deploying that power on the Internet.
  • Someone who is willing to pay to get professional help with their marketing and business building efforts.
  • Someone who has in fact already invested money in training or consulting before, and actually did something with that training.
  • Someone who is hiring me for my expertise and plans to heed my advice.

Conversely, here are a few things that I will not tolerate from a client:

  • Rate-grinding.
  • Trying to sell me a “sob story” about why I should work with you cheap (or free.)
  • Unrealistic expectations.
  • Constant complaining.
  • Micromanagement.
  • Grammar police.
  • Failure to respect boundaries.

I don’t share these criteria to make you angry or to judge you; I’ve just learned who usually turns out to be a good match for working with us, and who doesn’t.

That copy makes it easy for potential clients to get a sense of whether they want to work with me, or not. They are making the selection themselves.

And in case you missed this: I just now did what I’m telling you to do. I gave you my criteria for working with someone… so if you are a person who complains a lot, or wants to micromanage a freelancer, or who is looking for a “cheap date”, you can clearly see we won’t be a good fit for one another.

On Final “Magic Bullet” For Finding Perfect Clients

Make them apply to work with you (and mean it).

Give your  potential clients an application form, or require them to go through an interview process. Make it clear you do not accept everyone who applies.

The purpose of this tactic is not to deliver a veiled sales pitch. It’s to get very clear on what you are selling, who it is for, and for whom it is not. Some people really do use “applications” and “interviews” as part of a sales process, and though they say they don’t just take anyone as a client, in fact they will accept anyone who can write a check that will clear.

That approach will just get you more clients that make you miserable (and vice-versa).

You have to mean it when you say you are screening people to determine if you are a good match. And when you mean it, both sides win.

I have turned many clients away, clients who really wanted to work with me, because I knew we didn’t have the right chemistry, or share the same values.

You must be prepared to do the same.

What To Expect From This Polarizing Approach

Will you get complaints about all this? Yes.

Will some people feel the need to write long diatribes, explaining why you are wrong to operate your business this way? Yes.

Will some people stop doing business with you? Possibly.

But your people – your “tribe” – will hear your voice above all the confusion in the marketplace. They will be drawn to you. They will rally to your cause. They have been paying attention, and already know and agree with your core values.

These people are your people.

Lead them well, and they will pay you well.

And you will find yourself attracting more of these “perfect clients”, and repelling the “problem children”.

Question: How do you deal with problem clients? Click here to share your thoughts on this article.

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5 Effective Ways to Get More Email Subscribers http://rayedwards.com/5-effective-ways-to-get-more-email-subscribers/ http://rayedwards.com/5-effective-ways-to-get-more-email-subscribers/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:00:01 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=6309 If you operate any kind of business online, or if you are a writer, speaker, consultant, or coach… one of your most important assets is a list of email subscribers who are interested in hearing from you.

Businessman pressing e-mail buton

When you have a permission-based email list, you can literally produce “income on demand”. You can quite literally produce “traffic on demand” for your website. All you have to do is send on an email to your list.Of course, the level of responsiveness of your list will depend on your relationship with that list. Do they view you as a provider of valuable wisdom and information, or do they do you and or do they view you as an annoying spammer? I will leave it up to you to figure that part out (for now), but my conviction is you probably already know the answer. And if they view you as a spammer, you might want to rethink your current email strategy.

Assuming your subscribers view you as someone who brings value to their life, you are on the right track. The next challenge for you, Constant Marketer, is a simple one: get more subscribers. Here are 5 effective ways you can build a bigger email list:

  1. Ask people to subscribe. As simple as it sounds, many website owners simply don’t ask for the subscription. Ask, and you will receive subscribers.
  2. Offer an “irresistible bribe”. Once upon a time, simply asking was enough. These days people are not as quick to give up their email address. If you really want to build a list of responsive subscribers, make them an offer they can’t refuse. Our offer of free copywriting guides has been very popular, and has helped build a fairly large list of subscribers.
  3. Offer more than one bribe. Recently, I had a “head smacking moment”. I realized that offering only one “irresistible bribe” was limited thinking. What if I offered five? What if I offered 10? Your potential audience consists of many different segments, people with different interests and areas of focus. Create a bribe for each of those segments, interests, and areas of focus, and you will build a bigger list.
  4. Place your subscription forms strategically. Most people simply put the email subscription form wherever it was placed by their website designer. You should place your subscription offer in multiple locations on your site. At minimum, I would suggest testing a “feature box” (a subscription box at the top of your website’s front page), and also placing your form in the following locations: top right-hand sidebar, bottom of each individual post, on each page, and on a separate landing page for each of your bribe offers.
  5. Upgrade your graphic design. Do yourself a favor, and ditch the cheesy e-book covers that you made using cheap “Internet marketer software”. Either use a graphic designer to create the digital representations of your irresistible bribes, or at the very least invest in high-quality software tools to create your own images. Better graphic design equals more sign-ups.

Put these five tips into practice, and watch your subscriber numbers grow.

Question: what tips have you discovered that it helped you get more email subscribers?

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21 Blog Post Ideas That Jumpstart Your Traffic http://rayedwards.com/21-blog-post-ideas-that-jumpstart-your-traffic/ http://rayedwards.com/21-blog-post-ideas-that-jumpstart-your-traffic/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:00:21 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=7578 We all want more people to read our blog, whether we admit it or not. There are plenty of tricks for jumpstarting your blog traffic, but when it comes right down to it, interesting content wins the day.

We have Ideas

 

Here are 21 blog post ideas that will attract readers to your blog like flies to honey.

  1. Write a post about how to do something fast. Whatever you are good at, chances are you have a few tricks up your sleeve to help you do it more quickly than most people. Share. For example, “How to Write a Book in Seven Days”.
  2. Write a “Q&A” Post. Whatever your area of expertise, right down all the most common questions you are asked. Then write the answers out. Instant blog post.
  3. Write a review. Whether it’s a book, a movie, or product you bought, writing a thorough and accurate review will bring you a lot of traffic for a long time to come.
  4. Publish a case study. If you do any kind of service work, or consulting, you might consider writing up a case study of one of your successful projects. I did just this when it wrote about the project I did with Jack Bosch, and it has proven to be very popular.
  5. Publish a manifesto. Not a fake manifesto, designed to sell something, but rather a radical statement of your contrary and beliefs about a popular subject.
  6. Start a podcast. Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat, because it’s a podcast… Not a blog post. On the other hand, you kind of have to have a blog post in order to have a podcast. so I will stand by the legitimacy of this suggestion. If it helps you feel better about it, just think of it this way: write a blog post, and then record yourself reading it and post that to your blog. 😉
  7. Create a tutorial on how to do something people want to know. For instance, I made this tutorial on how to build membership website using WordPress.
  8. Publish a list of your favorite bloggers. Go beyond just writing a list, explain a little bit about why you like each blog. You’ll get traffic from people who are looking for such lists, and you’ll also get traffic from some of the people on the list. They will link to you. Because, hey, you said nice stuff about then.
  9. Be shockingly transparent. Pat Flynn reveals his monthly income and expenses and posts them prominently on his blog. This takes a lot of guts, but people love Pat for doing it.
  10. Post inspirational quotes, motivational sayings, etc. People love this stuff, and they will not only read it, they will share it too.
  11. Write a guest post for a well-known blogger. You’d be surprised who would say yes. I’ve just started doing this, and I’ve already published two posts on Michael Hyatt’s blog.
  12. Let rip with a rant. Pick something that you get righteously indignant about, and let her fly. Just be ready to withstand the fallout.
  13. Link your posts to events on the calendar that everyone is thinking about already. “What St. Valentine Knew about Marketing”, “it’s Independence Day… Declare Your Independence from High Mortgage Rates”. Cheesy examples, but you get the idea.
  14. “Trend Jack”. What’s trendy and popular right now? Find a way to relate that to what you want to write about. In the summer last year, Stephen King had a novel on the bestseller list and a TV miniseries version of the novel on ABC. I saw an opportunity and wrote this post, which was a “trend jacking” move on my part. It paid off with a nice burst of traffic.
  15. Publish an info graphic. People love infographics. Love them, love them. You can get one done inexpensively, or use a service like this to do it yourself.
  16. Reveal a secret about yourself. The single most popular post I’ve written is the one where I reveal that I have Parkinson’s disease. That’s not why I wrote it, and I was really surprised at how much traffic it generated (and continues to generate). My point is: the very thing you don’t want to talk about might be the thing that contributes the most to the growth of your blog. And you might bless or help somebody in the process. I know that has been the case for me.
  17. Write an “epic” post about something in your industry. It’ll take some time, and you may need to stick your neck out a bit, but it will get you readers.
  18. Recap your latest experience at a well-known event. For instance, I just got back from New Media Expo last week, and this past Monday I wrote a post about it.
  19. Take a survey. We all love to know what other people think, so take a survey and promise to publish the results.
  20. Publish the best comments from your blog’s past. I haven’t actually done this yet, but found this idea as I was doing the research for this post. I’ll be doing this soon.
  21. Write a commentary on a current event, and relate it back to your usual topics. This is very similar to “trend jacking”, but in this case we’re hijacking the news. Example: “What Obama Care Means to Bloggers”.

What about you? What are some great blog post “idea triggers” you used to create content? Please share in the comments below.

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Why I Unfollowed You On Twitter http://rayedwards.com/why-i-unfollowed-you-on-twitter/ http://rayedwards.com/why-i-unfollowed-you-on-twitter/#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 11:00:39 +0000 Ted Prodromou http://rayedwards.com/?p=7704 This is a guest post by my friend Ted Prodromou. Ted is an expert in search marketing for business, and one of the smartest guys I know.

Are you mad at me for unfollowing you on Twitter the other day? Did you even notice? I bet you didn’t!

follow-me

I decided to unfollow everyone and start fresh with Twitter. I joined Twitter near the beginning and experimented with it in the beginning. I’m still experimenting with Twitter every day but in the early days my testing was less focused. I tested some of the programs that autofollowed everyone who followed me whether I knew them or not. This was a quick way for me to connect with people who were interested in Following me. The consequence is you have the same number of Followers as the people you are Following.

I didn’t use the gimmicky tools for long because I didn’t use Twitter very much back then and lost interest. My account sat idle for a long time before I jumped back on the Twitter bandwagon. Today, most people still think Twitter is a waste of time because they haven’t taken time to master its power. Twitter is an incredible traffic generator and marketing channel if used correctly. It can be a big time waster if you’re just Tweeting pictures of your food or letting people know how hungover you are. If you create a strategy for Twitter, you’ll be amazed how powerful it is.

So how does it feel to not be Following anyone? It feels great, like cleaning out your closets! I was Following a lot of people I didn’t know so my Twitter Stream was full of noise that I didn’t care about. Now my Twitter Stream is so clean!! I still Follow people on Twitter using Lists which lets me see their Tweets but it’s in an organized stream on my HootSuite dashboard. I also started Following a few people that I want to Direct Message but I’m going to be very careful who I Follow from now on.

My next social media experiment is going to be with LinkedIn. I’m going to spend at least one hour every day on LinkedIn posting new content, connecting with more people, participating in Groups and experimenting with the new LinkedIn features like the enhanced Contacts. I’ll be posting my progress on this blog so stay tuned!

Feel free to comment below and let me know how you feel about Following people on Twitter and using automated Twitter tools. Also visit http://tedprodromou.com to learn more about my other social media experiments.

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How to Get New Clients as a Freelancer http://rayedwards.com/how-to-get-new-clients-as-a-freelancer/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-get-new-clients-as-a-freelancer/#respond Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:00:18 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=8561 I frequently hear from people who want to start service businesses, who have marketable skills and talents, but who are either intimidated or even stopped cold by the idea of getting new clients.

getclients

getclients

Many of these otherwise bold, creative, talented individuals feel somehow inept or ill-equipped to convince people to pay them for their valuable services. Fear not, Faithful Freelancer, for the answer is easier than you may think.

The first thing we have to deal with is the internal attitude that most freelancers live with; that attitude, summed up, is one of very low self-worth. Why is this? It’s probably more of a cultural question, bound up in the American ideal of perfectionism and performance. Obviously, this is beyond the scope of a simple blog post. So let me deal at least with the surface symptom of this condition. To put it quite simply: if people are willing to pay you anything at all, then your work has value. How much people are willing to pay you is based in part on the quality of your work, and in part on the quality of your marketing.

Now just in case some may object, let me be clear: I am not suggesting that it is good, honest, or ethical to knowingly sell a product that is somehow defective. That is the furthest from my intention. I’m a champion of excellence, and a believer that every project you work on should be a project at the end of which you can say honestly, “That was the best work of which I was capable.”

However… it is possible to get so bound up in the ideal of perfection that you never actually attempt or finish a project because you are never able to reach a point where you say it is “good enough”.

The first step to overcoming the self-worth problem faced by most freelancers is to trust your instinct about what is good enough, and what is not good enough. Your instinct-or perhaps better said, that “still, small voice” that you hear in your heart-will tell you when your work is, in fact, “good enough”.

Now, back to the subject of marketing (the second half of our equation that determines how much people are willing to pay for your services). While you may or may not be comfortable with the idea that the quality of your marketing contributes massively to the value people place on your work, it is true. Colleague and copywriter Ben Settle, in one of his newsletters, makes the point beautifully:

Who do you think will get more clients faster: (1) The straight “A” student lawyer fresh out of Harvard, who nobody knows and just set up his practice with a sign outside his door or… (2) The “C” level lawyer who barely graduated from a cheaper, little-known law school… but who is interviewed about legal questions on the radio for an hour on a big station that reaches the entire community? Like it or not… the mediocre radio lawyer will probably win every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Why? Because he’s on the radio… and the highfalutin’ guy with all the degrees isn’t!

With this in mind, I’m going to make two assumptions.

  1. The skill or talent you plan to sell as a freelancer (or service business provider) is one in which you are at least competent, and hopefully better-than-average.
  2. You are ready, willing, and able to put some effort into your marketing program. And here is a hint: most everyone is “able”-but very few seem to be “ready and willing”. If you can muster the moral fiber to be ready and willing to do some work, you’ve automatically outclassed 95% of your competition. That should plaster a big goofy grin all over your mug.

If you meet those two qualifications above, let’s get started on a simple but effective marketing program that should put clients in your stable and coins in your coffers. Here are three simple steps to putting profits in your pipeline:

  1. Start a blog. It’s easy to do, and there is plenty of material available online that will teach you how to do it. And let me give you a very important tip: you don’t need super secret blog software (in fact I recommend you use the ubiquitous WordPress), you don’t need to hire a high-priced designer, and if your content is good, you can use an off-the-rack theme (a templated “skin” or “look and feel” for your WordPress blog that can be installed at the touch of a button). The most important aspect of your blog is that you post content on a regular schedule, and what you post is not material that markets your services but rather helpful information that your potential prime prospects are looking for.
  2. Build an e-mail list. From the very beginning, give your readers a reason to subscribe to your regular e-mails. I highly recommend you consider e-mailing them every single day. This is a practice that I have tested and am convinced will yield better results than mailings on any other schedule. Just remember, if you make every single mailing a sales pitch you will do yourself more harm than good. So strive to send something of value to your readers every single day. There are plenty of people who will disagree with my advice, and many of them are “super brains”. But I stand by my test results, and the test results of my colleagues and clients; I have personally renewed my commitment to sending daily e-mails to my list. Emails that are chock-full of quality material. I recommend you do the same.
  3. Develop an information product. The moment you publish your own information product (audio or video courses preferred) about your area of expertise, you are instantly elevated above most of your competition. Anyone who publishes-even if only electronically-is automatically granted a psychological edge over those who do not publish. Example from my own career: several years ago, when I finally gave in to the advice and urgings of my good friends and mentors Armand Morin and Alex Mandossian and developed my own copywriting course (called Web Copywriting Explained), I was surprised by two unexpected outcomes: the first being the fact that I made more money than I anticipated through the sale of the course (very near $100,000 right out of the gate, even though at that time I was a relative unknown), and the second unexpected outcome being the acquisition of two major clients, who rose up from the ranks of those who bought the course. One of those clients admitted that she bought the course mainly to see if I knew what I was talking about. Both of those clients paid me over $25,000 to write copy for them. Publishing your own information products is one of the most effective ways to develop a “farm team” of potential clients who will pay for your services. In fact, it’s like getting paid to do your marketing.

Those are three of the most powerful strategies I know of to develop new clients for your service business.

Question: what is the biggest obstacle that keeps you from getting new clients now?

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How to Be a Business Superhero http://rayedwards.com/how-to-be-a-business-superhero/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-be-a-business-superhero/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:03:09 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=8556 Clark Kent is the fumbling, bumbling, mild-mannered newspaper reporter who wears the big geeky glasses. A nice guy, but not exactly a role-model for self-confidence. We can all identify with Clark, at least sometimes. But when an emergency happens, Clark tosses the glasses and sheds the business suit. Underneath the costume of the ordinary, we discover a being of extraordinary strength and power: Superman. The Man of Steel.

How to Be a Business Superhero

How to Be a Business Superhero

The “strange visitor from another planet … [who] … fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!”

You don’t really need me to explain Superman to you. And that’s the point of this piece. If you’d like to really amplify your marketing message, one of the best ways to do it is to become the superhero of choice for your prospects. Here’s how you do that…

Identify The Villains Your Customers Face

These could be economic villains like rising interest rates, or psychological villains like poor self-esteem, or even health-related villains like arthritis. Once you’ve identified the villain – get specific and identify the villains superpowers and weapons.

Name Your Hero And His Powers

This could be your personal mission,  or your company’s mission – but you need to have a “title” or “superhero name”. Something that sums up who you are and what you’re about. It should be short, catchy, and self-explanatory.

Clearly State Your Mission

Superman’s mission statement is a great model: “Superman … fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!”

Build your own mission statement – it should be short (ideally one sentence like Superman’s – more like a “slogan” than anything else).

A Real Life Example

VILLAIN: Anemic Advertising. This creepy character sucks the life our of small business advertising budgets – by spending all your money on ads that get very little response. Ad dollars go out, but revenue doesn’t come in.Anemic Advertising leaves victims penniless and discouraged, and destroys many businesses.

HERO: Captain Copywriter. Magically transforms limp, lazy, lackluster ads into profit-pulling powerhouses. Multiplies revenue while at the same time slashes your ad spending.Captain Copywriter produces sales, profits, and peace of mind.

MISSION STATEMENT: “Captain Copywriter fights a never-ending battle for better ads, producing more profits, more often.”

Use Your Identity

So how do you use your “superhero identity”?

Well, first of all, start “living it”. If you were a copywriter who had now become Captain Copywriter — how would the Captain behave? How would he talk? What would his costume (web site) look like? Does he have an insignia? What are his sayings and catch-phrases? (Superman had “Up, up and away!” – what would yours be?)

Even more important than all of this: once you start putting yourself into the state of mind of your “superhero character”,  you’ll easily start thinking like he would think!

Let me prove it.

If you came across a bank robbery in progress, you might not know what to do (other than maybe call the police). But let’s say you were Clark Kent and you came across that same robbery in progress. Now what would you do?

You’d intervene, of course.

You’d duck behind a door or into a hallway, put on your super-suit, and then move into action. See how simply imagining a super hero identity gives you access to superhero strategies?

The only thing you need to do is step into the role of your business superhero… and then just as yourself, “What would Captain Copywriter do about this?”

And then just do it.

So…

What are you waiting for?

Take off those glasses, snap on that cape, and commence your crusade!

Question: What’s your superhero identity?

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Email Marketing: “I’m not dead yet!” http://rayedwards.com/email-marketing-im-not-dead-yet/ http://rayedwards.com/email-marketing-im-not-dead-yet/#respond Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:08:57 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=8526 In a darkly amusing scene from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a character hauls a cart of deceased plague victims down the street, shouting, “Bring out your dead!”. This disturbing scene is rendered amusing when a supposedly dead man raises his head and cries feebly, “I’m not dead yet. I’m feeling much better, actually.” Just like that character, email marketing may have been pronounced dead by so-called experts, but is actually “feeling much better.”

Computer knowledge

Computer knowledge

Back in 2007, I wrote a blog post entitled Email Marketing: Dead or Alive? At that time, there was much debate over whether email marketing was still viable or not. It’s interesting to me that the post could easily have been written today, as the same debate still rages, and my answer is similar to what it was then. Similar, but not exactly the same, which is why I am writing this updated post.

Even today, you can significantly increase your profits and the effectiveness of your marketing by applying these three principles of good email marketing.

This is true, even though many people still seem to believe that email marketing has died. It’s death has been greatly exaggerated.

Yes, spam and the spam filters it has given rise to, make it harder than ever to get your email delivered.

It’s even hard to receive email we want. How many times have you been frustrated because a friend, co-worker, or relative was supposed to send you an email that never arrived… only to discover that email in your “junk mail” or “spam” folder?

More sales are made on the Internet because of email then because of any other communication channels.

3 Keys to Successful Email Marketing

  1. Keep a clean “confirmed opt-in” email list. What this means: if someone signs up to receive email from you, get them to confirm that they actually want to receive the email. Most email marketing providers, (like Aweber, Mailchimp, etc.) automatically require people to confirm their opt-in to any email list. In some cases this confirmation, or “double opt-in” feature is optional… but I think it’s the best way to manage your email list. Single opt-in (no confirmation required) may yield bigger subscriber numbers (it does), but that list will be less responsive to your offers.
  2. F.R.E.E. content. No, I’m not talking about adding periods in weird places to try and “trick” the spam filters. And I’m not even specifically referring to sending no cost information. What I am suggesting is that you send Frequent, Relevant, Entertaining, and Expected (F.R.E.E.) content to your list. I plan to expand on this idea in a future post, but for now let me focus for a moment on the frequency of emailing your list. Emailing your list frequently will get your emails delivered more easily, and result in fewer spam complaints. Why? Because if you send frequently, people will either read your emails, or unsubscribe. They will know that they either want to hear from you or not. If you email less frequently, you run the risk that they will forget who you are, or even forget that they subscribed to your list… and that will generate spam complaints.
  3. Educate your customers on how to “white-list” or authorize your emails to get through to their inbox. This is especially true because of Gmail’s recently introduced “tabs”, which reroute messages from your inbox to less obtrusive (and thus less visible) tabs. It’s easy to miss emails you actually want to read-and the same is true for your subscribers, who may want to read your emails but may never see them. There are steps your subscribers can take to ensure that your emails end up in their inbox, where they want them. Teach them how to do that, either using text and illustrations, or with screen capture video.

While our understanding of these three principles has matured over the last seven years, it’s interesting to note that the truth behind them has not. Email marketing is still alive and well.

Use these keys to successful email marketing and watch your list, and response rates, grow.

Question: what steps have you taken over the last few years to improve your email marketing response rates?

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3 Quick and Dirty Tips to Better Public Speaking http://rayedwards.com/3-quick-and-dirty-tips-to-better-public-speaking/ http://rayedwards.com/3-quick-and-dirty-tips-to-better-public-speaking/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:07:23 +0000 Mike Kim http://rayedwards.com/?p=8477 Today’s post is a guest post by my friend and colleague Mike Kim. I strongly recommend you check out his Brand You! marketing podcast, and his blog.

Have you ever found yourself completely enraptured by a public speaker? Or sat amazed at the sheer eloquence, power, and delivery of a gifted orator? Have you ever dreamt of doing the same only to conclude, “No way … I could never do that!” Yeah, same here.

public speech

While growing up, I marveled at great orators: the politicians, lecturers, coaches, and preachers that just seemed like they were “born with it.” Public speaking never came naturally to me, so sharing my ideas in front of people seemed like a pipe dream.

But public speaking — like any other type of communication — can be developed. The problem is we tend to focus on the discourse rather than the delivery. Both are important, so here are a few tips to improve your public speaking … they’re so simple you’ll feel like you’re cheating.

1. Multiply your personality by 3.

Speaking is simply advice mediated through your personality. But what if your personality is quiet or laid back? Take your personality and multiply it by 3. If you’re naturally a laid back person (like me) this will help you communicate passion, confidence, and energy.

In college, I wrote a term paper for a marketing class on professional wrestling. You would be surprised how much you could learn about public speaking from these burly, larger-than-life sports entertainers!

When creating a character or persona, a professional wrestler basically takes a component of their personality … and multiplies it. That’s how they get some of these crazy gimmicks. Bodybuilder? You’re now The Muscle Man. Former accountant? You’re now the wrestler dressed like a tax man. You get the idea.

Don’t worry, this isn’t just about being louder. Make your low-key remarks 3 times as soft. When combined with your regular tone of voice, this will naturally create more inflection in your speech. This works wonders for podcasting, too. Work that microphone!

2. Get a leg up.

The most “honest” part of the body is waist down. It’s the least conscientious and the first to respond to stress. On the flip side, being balanced communicates control and confidence.

Just prior to the first televised presidential debate in 1960, then vice-President Richard Nixon severely bumped his knee. As a result, he favored his leg behind the podium and looked oddly crooked. TV viewers said Nixon lost by a landslide to Senator John F. Kennedy. In the poll for those who only heard the debate on radio, Nixon won by a landslide!

Power is conveyed by occupying physical space, so practice stepping forward at key points in your talk. Space your feet about 6 to 8 inches apart. I’m 6’2″ so I use a wider stance, about 8 to 12 inches apart, or shoulder width. If my feet go any wider, it looks too threatening because of my height. If I place my feet too close to each other, I look like a tree about to topple over.

3. Popsicle sticks.

Law enforcement interrogators are trained to watch the hands of people they are questioning. Hands are that vital to nonverbal communication!

When your hands are all the way down, your energy decreases and you lose expression in your face. Keep your hands to waist level to convey confidence. Bring them to the chest or above and you’ll naturally become energetic and animated. If you don’t think hands are important, see how awkward it feels to smile big or laugh hysterically with your hands in your pockets.

One trick you might implement is a result of my wife’s observations: popsicle sticks. She noted that I had a bad habit of cocking my wrists too much. Consequently, my hands were flailing all over the place.

To firm up my posture, I practiced with popsicle sticks tied over the top of my wrists. This firmed up my hands and forearms, and made me acutely aware of what my hands were doing and at what height I was placing them.

You or I may not be the next Winston Churchill or Pericles, but we can all improve. The ability to speak to an audience (even a virtual one) is quickly become a given for building your influence. Implement these simple tactics and you’ll be well on your way to speaking with more confidence and power.

Question: What tips do you have for becoming a better public speaker?

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Why Your Sales Pitches Fail http://rayedwards.com/why-your-sales-pitches-fail/ http://rayedwards.com/why-your-sales-pitches-fail/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 12:00:16 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=7973 My friend Carl has fallen on hard times. A few years ago, Carl was literally “rolling in the dough”, making money faster than he could spend it.

ultra-top-sales-guy-630

ultra-top-sales-guy-630

At that time, Carl was selling “software as a service”: customers paid a monthly subscription fee, and got access to his software. The service was very much in demand, and all Carl had to do was display his rates, answer questions on his website, and the sales rolled in.

Then, almost instantly, it all stopped.

People canceled their accounts in droves, and Carl’s business dried up. He has tried numerous approaches to selling his software again, but the golden years have never returned.

What happened?

Carl failed to understand a simple fundamental of persuasion: before we are motivated to make a purchase, we must understand our need for it –  and how much it’s going to hurt if we don’t get it.

Carl made the same mistake most entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers make. Most believe a simple but powerful lie. The lie: the transmission of information equals the creation of understanding.

Simply sharing information with people does not create an understanding of their need for your services or products. Information does not create a desire to purchase. Information does not create awareness of the pain of not having your product or service.

So why is it that Carl, in the past, could barely keep up with the amount of orders flooding through the door? The fact is Carl was no better at marketing a few years ago that he is today. His website back then was the same as it is now: basically a brochure of facts and figures. His website merely transmits information.

What Carl, and most everyone else, fails to realize is that understanding can be created by forces outside of our business. At the time Carl was offering his software service, many consultants, coaches, and authors were teaching their clients the need for a service similar to the one Carl offered. This created an understanding in the minds of the prospect. The people visiting Carl’s website had already been sold by someone else. They literally walked in the door with their credit card in hand, expecting to buy exactly what Carl offered.

None of those consultants, coaches, trainers, and information marketers, had been specifically recommending Carl’s service. They simply described a service that looked very much like Carl’s.

When these external forces began pointing their own clients and students in different directions, recommending newer, more advanced kinds of software, Carl lost his source of pain-conscious consumers.

Suddenly, no one was walking in the door already sold on what Carl had to offer. And, never having to do so in the past, Carl did not know how to create an understanding of the need these folks still had for his service. He was confused, because he was providing all the information people need before buying this product.

The problem is, information is not what his prospects are after.

After explaining to Carl that he needed to help his prospects understand what it would cost them not to have his service, and then to help those prospects picture what their life would be like once they owned his software, Carl changed his approach to marketing.

Sales immediately picked up. It will take time for Carl to recover the ground he’s lost, but his renewed messaging has literally turned his business around.

The takeaways from this little story are:

  1. You must focus on the problem your prospects face, that is solved by your product or service, and understand the pain it creates for them.
  2. You must be able to describe that problem and that pain better than your prospects themselves could describe it.
  3. You must be careful not to focus on merely giving information about your product or service, but rather communicating the story of how your prospects can make the transition from the pain they are currently in to the pleasurable state of relaxed calm they actually seek.

Remember… the transmission of information does not automatically equal the creation of understanding.

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Cross-pollination: We Need Each Other http://rayedwards.com/cross-pollination-we-need-each-other/ http://rayedwards.com/cross-pollination-we-need-each-other/#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 11:48:39 +0000 Mike Morrell http://rayedwards.com/?p=7957 Today’s post is a guest post written by Mike Morrell, a friend I met last year at a mastermind meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.Mike does a lot of work with authors, and co-leading an author-blogger training this summer called The Buzz Seminar.

I have a friend, Jimmy. Jimmy’s a beekeeper, and what I’ve learned from him about the behaviors of bees has also helped me understand more about creativity and productivity.

Beekeeper caring for bee colony

Beekeeper caring for bee colony

Bees are among the most social of the insect kingdom, it turns out – living and working together in extraordinary creativity and productivity. One of the most important things I’ve learned from Jimmy is the bee behavior of cross-pollination.

“Cross-pollination” is one of those words that’s successfully migrated from the world of apiary enthusiasts (bee-keepers) into marketing-speak; indeed, Dictionary.com lays out the two definitions side-by-side:

cross-pol·li·na·tion [kraws-pol-uh-ney-shuhn, kros-]   noun

  1. Botany . the transfer of pollen from the flower of one plant to the flower of a plant having a different genetic constitution.
  2. a sharing or interchange of knowledge, ideas, etc., as for mutual enrichment;  cross-fertilization.

It’s a term that many of us in the “idea-business” hear and use so often that I think we’ve lost much of its potency and potential.

Going it alone.

Did you know that “cross-pollination” and “pollination” aren’t synonymous? There is such a thing as self-pollination, where a plant keeps all its pollen to itself. And, y’know, it gets the job done. These kinds of plants do manage to live.

Something funny, though: These plants aren’t as hardy, healthy, or resilient as cross-pollinated plants, where bees (and other insects, and even the wind) bring in pollen from other plants.

When cross-pollination happens, no one goes it alone. Bees get to fly around and be social; plants benefit from the potency of one another.

Everybody wins.

And this, in essence, is why you should “bee” an agent of cross-pollination in your community.

I remember one of the first times I learned this lesson, nearly ten years ago: My friend Spencer Burke had a book coming out, A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity. It’s a controversial book tackling spiritual themes that many people care – and have passionate opinions – about. It’s not a book for everyone. But we wanted it to find the readers it was for – whether they loved its premise or loved arguing about it.

Identify your hive.

So Spencer and I went about identifying our hive – in our case, the bloggers and podcasters who were most likely to create buzz around A Heretic’s Guide. We looked in four directions, inspired by my mentor friend Wes Roberts’ four directions of mentoring. It’s a method of hive-identification I recommend to my clients to this day.

I recommend you be on the lookout for:

  1. Icons (Queen Bees)
  2. Trendsetters (Workers)
  3. Peers (Flight companions)
  4. The next generation (Larva/Pupa)

Icons are the gatekeepers in your identified hive – the most-visible, most-respected, elder statesmen and women. The people whom you know and admire, who may or may not know you exist. The ones it takes guts to ask for a review or endorsement from. While you may not connect with too many Icons – or Queen Bees – it’s worth devoting 20% of your cross-pollinating time to the pursuit. Handing Rob Bell a copy of Heretic’s Guide before interviewing him for Relevant Magazine during his “Everything Is Spiritual”tour is an example of the audacious lengths I went to for potential buzz. (Rumor has it Rob loved it, and was inspired to write a winning book of his own…)

Trendsetters are those who are getting stuff done in the trenches – they’re the ones who make the quantitative and qualitative Top Blogs and Top Podcasts lists in your genre. They might not be mega-famous like Icons, but they’re still well-known and well-respected. These “worker bees” are laboring in the same hive you are; they might comprise up to half of the relationships you create.

Peers are the voices you don’t have to check a Top 100 list to identify – you know them because you’re already interacting with them, perhaps even hanging out with them in real-life – in your neighborhood, or at industry/niche events. When flitting about from flower to flower, these are the bees who are most likely be by your side already. Be good to them.

While cross-pollinating with the above three groups might be considered common sense in an enlightened-self-interest kind of way, this last group is really the secret sauce to uncommonly effective cross-pollination:

The next generation. These are voices younger than you – either in age or experience – who, on the surface, don’t have much to give and have everything to gain by being associated with you.

So why would you ‘waste’ your time on them?

First of all, because it’s simply the right thing to do.

Secondly, you are likely larval or ‘unknown’ to the Icons you’re approaching. This is ‘Golden Rule’ territory – do unto others.

Third, by giving quality next generation voices a chance to share about something that will likely raise their profile, you’re giving them an opportunity to flourish that they’re not likely to soon forget when they spread their wings. “Pupa” is an ugly-sounding word, but is, in fact, exciting: “the cocoon-like stage where the larva undergoes metamorphosis to become an adult bee.”

A Simple Rule.

Once you’ve identified your hive, cross-pollination can begin. It’s taking the ‘fertile stuff’ (pollen) from your flower and sharing it with their flower.

This can take many forms: Asking them to review your book (product, service or movement), cite it on social media, appear with you at a conference, festival, retreat or party, make a funny video discussing your offering in their favorite animal or extra-terrestrial voices – the possibilities are endless.

When cross-pollinating, I follow one simple rule:

I don’t ask my hive to do anything for me that I wouldn’t be willing to do for them.

Pay it forward.

Be generous.

Cross-pollinating pays off.

How well?

Spencer and I had hundreds of bloggers and podcasters buzzing about A Heretic’s Guide in the weeks leading up to its release. In the weeks following its release, it became the #1 most-blogged about book (on the Internet, period, in any genre) according to the blog monitor Technorati, beating out even The Da Vinci Code in the wake of its film release. It stayed within Technorati’s Top Ten for nearly a month.

Finding our hive and cross-pollinating within its sphere of influence was so successful – and fun! – I decided to do it full time, coaching authors and creating the faith and culture blogging/podcasting hive that eventually became known as Speakeasy.

Want to learn how to identify your hive and cross-pollinate for fun and profit? Download Buzz: Blue-Collar Blogging and Publishing for Profit, my free eBook via NoiseTrade Books. I created this 100+ page tome with three other master hive-builders – Frank Viola, Michelle Shaeffer, and David Hancock – to help you get started.

If you want to go further, consider registering for The Buzz Seminar, a two-day training this July 4th and 5th in Orlando. Here – with a group of peer-learners – Frank, Michelle, David and I will spill our secrets in detail. No stone will be left unturned.

However you choose to continue learning, I hope you experiment and put cross-pollination into action. I’d love it if you comment here on Ray’s blog, below, to share your stories of cross-pollination as you launch your book, product, service or movement.

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7 Keys To Selling More With Video http://rayedwards.com/7-keys-to-selling-more-with-video/ http://rayedwards.com/7-keys-to-selling-more-with-video/#comments Mon, 06 May 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=5957 Most of the sales copy I’ve written for clients over the last two years has been video copy. These videos perform, on average, 20-30% better than a traditional text-based sales letter.

[frame align=”center”]Studio light on location for movie scene.[/frame]

If you aren’t already using video to deliver your sales presentations, I encourage you to experiment with this method. It has dramatically increased profits for several of my clients.

Technology makes it relatively easy and inexpensive to produce sales videos.

Even though it’s nowhere near as costly as it once was to produce good video, it’s still a significant investment. You want to make sure, as far as possible, that you have the best video sales presentation possible. Avoiding “do-overs” on these productions can save you a bundle.

In the interest of getting it right the first time… and based on the home runs I’ve helped create for clients… here are 7 keys to creating more powerful, persuasive marketing videos:

  1. Promise a transformation. People aren’t buying your box of stuff (DVD’s, manuals, pills, potions, or lotions).. they’re buying the transformation they believe your stuff will bring them.
  2. Copywriting still rules the day. Now more than ever, the power of persuasive language is the key to successful selling. Copywriting is more important than ever.
  3. Tell the truth. You will prosper more, and sleep better, if you operate in a culture of honor and honesty. Plus, it just so happens that the most effective advertising is based on the truth.
  4. Use lots of testimonials and credibility-builders. Most of the successful infomercials consist of around 70% testimonials. The reason is simple: the more testimonials you show, the more you sell. Just make true they’re true.
  5. Use the power of music. Filmmakers know the power of music to move our emotions. Just try watching the Lord of the Rings without the sound, and you’ll begin to understand how important music is to your experience of the story. Music can do the same for your sales videos that it does for movies and TV shows.
  6. Choose the right voice. The “voice” you choose for your video is important. In the case I’m not referring to the audio qualities of the narrator – but rather who the story is being told by. Is it the inventor of the product? The CEO of the company? A customer who loved the product so much that she bought the company? Who you choose to tell the story can make all the difference.
  7. Make an irresistible offer. If you pile on the value so that the offer is impossible to refuse… so that we would have to feel stupid for not buying… and then top it off with a free bonus or free shipping… your offer will become truly irresistible. An irresistible offer can cover a multitude of other mistakes.

It helps to realize that a video sales presentation is more than just a normal sales letter with visuals. The most successful video sales presentations are those that use the emotion-amplifying power of cinema to multiply sales.

And now… lights, camera, profits!

 

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How to Spend Your Next $1,997 http://rayedwards.com/how-to-spend-your-next-1997/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-spend-your-next-1997/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 10:43:29 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=5942 It’s a curious thing that while online entrepreneurs will think nothing of spending $1,997 for the latest information product, most are absolutely unwilling to invest that kind of money in advertising.

[frame align=”center”]money in the hands[/frame]

I have a challenge to issue, and I hope you will take me up on it.

Allocate the next $1,997 you have available to be spent not on someone’s training course, not even mine, but rather on actual marketing and advertising for your business.

The Ultra-Simple Ad Plan

Now, I want you to be careful with this money. I want you to spend it somewhere that has the potential to return your investment.

So let’s stick with proven, reputable advertising media.

You might choose to invest that money with Google, Bing, Facebook, or even direct mail. The main point is that you use a medium where you can measure the results accurately.

Before you begin your advertising campaign, think about what you aim to accomplish. Are you looking to gather leads, or make direct sales? The one objective that is off-limits is the idea of “branding” or just “getting your name out there”. Those are fruitless endeavors that don’t put money in your cash register.

Once you know your objective, determine how you will know whether or not you have reached it. Then measure your results.

My prediction is, investing in actual advertising and marketing for your business will be a new experience for most. It will also usually bring more positive ROI than buying the latest home-study course.

Now, do not hear from this that I am critical of buying home-study systems. I am not. I have been, and continue to be an ardent purchaser of (and consumer of) information products. Most of my significant business progress has been attributable, in some measure, to such products.

What I am against is people who engage in buying course after course, yet never take any significant action to move their business forward.

So, get out there, unleash that advertising budget, and let us hear about your results!

 

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3 Essentials to Getting Your Email Opened http://rayedwards.com/3-essentials-to-getting-your-email-opened/ http://rayedwards.com/3-essentials-to-getting-your-email-opened/#comments Thu, 02 May 2013 11:00:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=5926 Before your email can be read, it must be open. The key to getting your email opened is the subject line.

[frame align=”center”]E-mail[/frame]

Think of the subject line of your e-mail as being the equivalent of a headline in a sales letter. It’s that important. In fact, if you don’t write a good subject line, I can almost guarantee your e-mail will not be opened, not be read, and, in fact, end up in the trash.

So what makes up a good e-mail subject line? There are three essential components every subject line must contain. They are:

  1. Connect. The subject line must connect with the interest of the reader. Fail this test and they’ll hit the delete button.
  2. Attention. The subject line must rivet the attention of the prospect so that they are curious about what’s contained in the rest of the e-mail.
  3. Propel. The subject line must be active and propel the reader to read the rest of your e-mail, leading to your call to action.

Without these three elements, your subject line will not draw your reader into your e-mail, and your e-mail won’t be read.

Another way to think of this is to remember what your reader is always thinking: “what’s in this for me?”

If you don’t have a good answer to that question, you and your email are toast.

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Five Ways to Mess up Your Email Marketing http://rayedwards.com/five-ways-to-mess-up-your-email-marketing/ http://rayedwards.com/five-ways-to-mess-up-your-email-marketing/#comments Mon, 29 Apr 2013 11:48:31 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=5852 Despite the mythology that says email marketing is dead, it’s still the number one way stuff gets sold on the Internet.

Marketing concept: pixelated words Email marketing on digital sc

Bottom line: if you want to succeed marketing online, you’re going to have to use email.

If it works so well, why does it seem so hard for many companies?

Here are five great ways to mess up your email marketing:

  1. Make it look like an ad. That’s a surefire way to to get your email deleted right away.
  2. Write using the “royal we”. After all, human beings write in the first person.
  3. Make your email all about you and your product. That way it won’t be interesting at all to the reader.
  4. Assume the reader was waiting to get your email. That way you can skip providing any real content or value and just get right to the selling.
  5. Forget the state your reader is in when they check email. Otherwise, it will occur to you that what they were looking for was communication from a friend, something inspiring, something entertaining, or even something profane.

Of course, I hope that you pick up on the fact if you want your email marketing to succeed you should do the exact opposite of these five things.

But I felt like it might be a good idea to point that out.

Just in case.

 

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What To Leave Out http://rayedwards.com/what-to-leave-out/ http://rayedwards.com/what-to-leave-out/#comments Fri, 26 Apr 2013 10:54:59 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=5833 Success usually is not dependent upon your coming up with the most brilliant marketing idea ever conceived. Trying to win the battle that way is literally like running “against the wind”.

Businessman trying to keep balance

The classic Bob Seger song, Against the Wind, includes these lyrics:

Well those drifter’s days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

This describes the dilemma of the modern marketer.

The real question is: what to leave in, what to leave out.

What belongs in your marketing message, and what doesn’t?

The answer is simple, but not always easy. You must leave out the parts your prospects are not interested in.

To quote great novelist Elmore Leonard: “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”

Of course, to do that, you have to know which parts people skip.

 

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Why You Should Start More Fights http://rayedwards.com/why-you-should-start-more-fights/ http://rayedwards.com/why-you-should-start-more-fights/#comments Sat, 20 Apr 2013 11:12:02 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=5787 Every time I publish something I have strong feelings about, no matter how hard I try to word those feelings with civility, someone is provoked. It often starts a fight.

fight-club

If no one ever objects to what you write, what you say, or what you do… it’s possible you’re not writing, saying, or doing anything of significance.

Strong ideas challenge people.

All powerful communication offends someone.

I think of this as Fight Club for the Brain.

I don’t want to fight for the sake of striking blows, but as the Great Storyteller writes, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

I’m not suggesting that you be provocative merely for sport.

But I am suggesting that if no one is provoked by what you say, it’s possible that no one is paying attention.

 

 

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Freelancers, Copywriters & Consultants: Decide Who You WON’T Sell To http://rayedwards.com/deciding-who-you-wont-sell-to/ http://rayedwards.com/deciding-who-you-wont-sell-to/#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2013 11:28:10 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1998 You should not sell to everyone who is willing to buy from you. This is especially true for freelancers, copywriters, consultants, and solo professionals.

Emotions

While this may sound crazy, especially if you are revenue-starved, give it a bit more thought and you’ll see that I’m right.

How to Lose the Complainers, Whiners, and Other High Maintenance Customers

Some customers are simply not worth the revenue they produce; because some customers are complainers, whiners, high maintenance, and end up costing you more in time, energy, and employee morale than they ever produce in revenue.

The truth is, most of us can identify these “problem children” customers a mile away. There’s just something about them that sets off the red flags early in the relationship, usually before any purchases have been made.

Learn to watch for these signals. Identify the kinds of questions, comments, and attitudes that you know are warning you that the person you’re talking to is a “problem child” customer.

Have a predetermined, polite, but firm routine in place for turning such customers away. You want to do it gracefully, because you don’t want to insult anyone or imply that they’re simply a “troublemaker” before you’ve even had a chance to get to know them.

But you and I both know that your biggest problem customers did not come as a surprise to you. Chances are, you knew in the first conversation you had with them, this person was going to be trouble.

Promise yourself that from now on you’re going to listen to your intuition, or your subconscious insight, or whatever you choose to call it… and you’re going to refuse to let those “problem children” inside your business.

You’ll be much better off without them messing up your employee morale, lowering your ROI, and costing you time and energy.

Spend the time you save on something much better – such as identifying, pursuing, and wooing your “perfect customers” instead.

The ones who are easy to work with, a joy to be around, most helped by your products and services, and produce the most profit for you in your business.

You’ll never be sorry you avoided a problem customer.

And every problem customer avoided makes room for a customer who is a delight.

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Two Sides Of The Truth http://rayedwards.com/two-sides-of-the-truth/ http://rayedwards.com/two-sides-of-the-truth/#comments Mon, 30 Jul 2012 11:02:57 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3959 Using truth in your marketing has two paradoxical sides.

balancetruth

 

First, you must understand that people on the whole, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s character in the film A Few Good Men, “can’t handle the truth”. They don’t want to hear it.

But they need to hear it.

This is why we often are forced to sugarcoat the truth in order to get people to swallow it.

For instance, if you are selling a diet product you may, in your marketing, say to your prospects, “it’s not your fault”. But the truth is, it is their fault. Nobody forced them to slam donuts down their neck every day. So how can we honestly and ethically say that it is not their fault? We might zoom out to the macro level, realizing it’s not their fault they didn’t have proper nutritional education. We let them off the hook a little bit, and then we zoom back in and remind them that now that they understand the truth about why they are overweight, it is now their responsibility. That’s an example of sugarcoating the truth in order to get people to swallow it!

Now, to the paradox I mentioned…

Many people are tired of being sold a pack of lies, especially in certain markets (like the diet industry, the investment industry, or the business opportunity industry).

To people who are sick of lies and hype, nothing will sell better than unvarnished truth.

The trick, of course, is to know when to sugarcoat, and when to just tell the hard truth.

For a good example of telling the truth and selling products like hotcakes at the same time, look no further than Beach Body’s P90X program. This program promises hard work, pain, sweat. And results. Everybody knows by now that those are the required ingredients for a set of six-pack abs. So for Beach Body, the unvarnished truth was the right way to go.

Question for you: Do you sugarcoat, or do you tell your prospects the cold, hard, truth?

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Direct Marketing Online Is Personal http://rayedwards.com/direct-marketing-online-is-personal/ http://rayedwards.com/direct-marketing-online-is-personal/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2012 10:52:30 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3955 Marketing, whether online or offline, is personal.

gesture

What I mean is, it should feel personal to those we are marketing to.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I am a proponent of direct response marketing. Please don’t waste your money or your time on so-called “imaging advertising” or “brand building”. Image and brand are valuable, but should be a function of your direct response marketing.

Now, on to this business of marketing being personal.

For marketing to be as effective as possible, you should make sure that you’re writing and speaking to a single person. Never use language like “you people out there” or any language that would imply you’re speaking to a large group.

You want every person who receives your marketing (whether it be a sales letter, an e-mail, or even a radio ad) to feel as though you are speaking directly to them and only them.

The more you can make the marketing material feel direct and personalized, the more effective it will be.

Question for you: How do you make your marketing more personal?

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Emotion Marketing http://rayedwards.com/empathetic-marketing/ http://rayedwards.com/empathetic-marketing/#comments Fri, 20 Jul 2012 10:15:27 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3947 Of all the powerful weapons you have in your marketing arsenal, emotion is the most effective of all. What do I mean?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Your marketing must speak directly to the heart of your prospective customers. You must directly target your message… not to your prospect’s brain, but rather to his or her heart.

We human beings tend to be self-centered. Always thinking about ourselves. And by “thinking”, I mean “emoting”.

It might be more accurate to say we are always “feeling” about ourselves.

If, as a marketer, you know your prospects well enough to understand what they are feeling, and you can speak directly to their emotional selves, your marketing will be vastly more effective.

Question for you: how do you employ emotion in your current marketing?

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Why People Buy http://rayedwards.com/why-people-buy/ http://rayedwards.com/why-people-buy/#comments Mon, 16 Jul 2012 19:43:06 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3927 Understanding why people buy your product or service is crucial. And here’s the truth… people buy for their own specific reasons – usually not the reasons we think they are buying.

Why People Buy

Why People Buy

The truth is, we can never be certain what the real reason is that someone buys our product or service. We might be able to hazard a guess, but because buying is an emotional decision, we will never know for sure.

The best possible research you can do for your business is to find out why your customers are buying whatever it is you are selling. Learn that reason. Know it well and let it guide your business in the future.

Worth reiterating: People buy for emotional reasons, logic only comes into play after the buying decision has already been made. In other words people buy because they want whatever they are buying, they use logic to justify their purchase. This includes everything from lattes to Learjets.

Question: What do you think about the idea of selling to people’s emotions?

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The Shopping Cart… Reinvented? http://rayedwards.com/the-shopping-cart-reinvented/ http://rayedwards.com/the-shopping-cart-reinvented/#comments Thu, 12 Jul 2012 21:38:59 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3917 If you need a shopping cart solution for your online business, you have got to see this. Below is a 2-minute video that is just about amazing.
[flowplayer src=http://reic.s3.amazonaws.com/Videos/SiteSales.mp4 splash=http://reic.s3.amazonaws.com/Videos/ss-splash.png]

Click here to watch the full demo or to get your own risk-free account.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is created by a friend and client of mine. I will make a commission if you sign up for this. Cards on the table.

Question: what shopping cart solution do you use on your website? What are the pros and cons?

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This Simple Marketing Formula Avoids Failure http://rayedwards.com/this-simple-marketing-formula-avoids-failure/ http://rayedwards.com/this-simple-marketing-formula-avoids-failure/#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2012 17:35:56 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3892 I estimate that maybe as many as 90% of all business people, ad copywriters, speakers, salespeople, and media salespeople just don’t follow the simple formula that could save them from failure.

copybook

The old warhorse of marketing formulae: the AIDA formula.

It’s the sequence you must take your prospects through if you want them to buy from you.

A – Attention
I – Interest
D – Desire
A – Action

As long as your audience meets two crucial criteria (they have both a problem and some money)…

…and your product also meets one criteria (it solves the problem!)…

AIDA just flat-out works!

Amazing, but true.

Most business people, copywriters, and marketers get hung up on the wrong things, though.

Things that are sexier, shinier, and newer, but which ignore AIDA. Things like:

  • Making sure the website/letter/mailer/brochure looks slick and “big time”.
  • Looking impressive to their peers.
  • Talking about themselves (“we’ve been in business 20 years”… “we’re the Number One company in our field”…).
  • Being “creative” or “funny” without knowing if that helps get the potential buyer to their goal.
  • Being “professional” (boring and safe) while sacrificing sales and prospects.
  • Being lazy and using the same tired “un-targeted” approach for every piece of copy.
  • Writing the copy themselves without knowing what really works in copy, and why.

And yet – with just a little bit of work, and perhaps some help from someone who knows what they’re doing, it could all be so different.

If you get nothing else out of reading this, I hope you’ll get this…

…analyze every advertising and sales activity in your business, and ask yourself: does this follow the AIDA sequence? If it doesn’t – change that activity or advertising, or get rid of it altogether.

It’s possible that this alone will turn around your business. Think about it…

What if the only thing between you and a pile of money is not a shiny new website, or a slick new video, or some gimmicky softeare… what if the only thing standing in your way is simply the right words, in the right order?

Question: Have you ever heard of AIDA? Used it?

 

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Drug Dealing For Fun & Profit http://rayedwards.com/drug-dealing-for-fun-profit/ http://rayedwards.com/drug-dealing-for-fun-profit/#comments Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:47:26 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=3719 That was the original title for Tim Ferris’s book The 4 Hour Work Week.

Drug Dealing For Fun & Profit

It was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that Tim’s original business was selling nutritional supplements to athletes.

Drug Dealing For Fun & Profit

His publisher was not amused by the title, so Tim had to go off in search of a different one.

He performed a simple market test, using Google AdWords, and let his audience decide the title of the book they would like to buy. Brilliant. Simple. Uncommon.

The 4 Hour Work Week went on to become an international bestseller many times over.

What’s the point?

Often, we fall in love with our own titles. Our own products. Our own marketing.

And just as often, we wonder why it didn’t work.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to check-in the folks were trying to benefit (our customers).

It’s their opinion that proves to be the difference maker.

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The Velvet Rope http://rayedwards.com/the-velvet-rope/ http://rayedwards.com/the-velvet-rope/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2011 11:28:47 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2130 Maybe its time you begin excluding customers instead of chasing them. Let me explain.

So often, as business people and entrepreneurs, and especially as freelancers, we seem to be chasing customers. This gives us an air of desperation. If you look at a customer, and all you see is a bag of groceries or a paycheck, guess what? The customer knows. They can smell desperation on you just like a dog can smell your fear. What do you do?

Sit down with a pad and pen and write up a description of your ideal customer. You know, the kind that doesn’t get on your nerves, the kind that pays on time, the kind that doesn’t balk at your fees, the dream customer. Once you’ve written out a good description of what this customer looks like, set that as your target. Pretend that for the next week or so that’s the only kind of customer that you’re willing to accept.

State your criteria publicly.

You don’t have to be obnoxious, you don’t have to state your criteria in the negative (“I don’t want a whining complaining customer”, etc.). You can state your criteria in the positive:

“Looking for customers who is smart, with it, understand the value of what we do, and who is willing to pay a premium price for a job well done.” Change up the specifics to fit whatever your situation is.

But be very clear on the customers that you won’t accept and work to discourage them from doing business with you. This will serve to attract the kind of customers that you want.

My friend, Michael Port, in his book, Book Yourself Solid, calls this the “velvet rope strategy.” We all understand the analogy of the velvet rope. It’s a barrier that implies, “you must meet certain qualifications before you cross this rope”… and the presence of a velvet rope invariably makes us want to cross to the other side.

Is it time for you to put up your own “velvet rope”?

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The Law of the Harvest http://rayedwards.com/the-law-of-the-harvest/ http://rayedwards.com/the-law-of-the-harvest/#comments Wed, 25 May 2011 12:01:30 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2039 If you’re in business, you could learn a lot from farmers.

Farmers understand the “Law of the Harvest”.

This Law is simple: to reap a harvest, you must sow the seed and tend the crop.

In other words, first you do the work and then  you get the result.

And you understand the nature of seeds: they take time and tending in order to make them grow.

No “instant crop” – no “easy harvest”.

In business…

No “instant income”.

Not even easy.

But simple. And reliable.

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What Does It Cost Not To Buy? http://rayedwards.com/what-does-it-cost-not-to-buy/ http://rayedwards.com/what-does-it-cost-not-to-buy/#comments Mon, 23 May 2011 19:25:18 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2036 Here’s a big secret that makes it easy to sell more of whatever you sell.

Communicate what it will cost your prospects if they don’t buy from you?

What will it cost them in time, money, and effort if they don’t solve their problem using your solution?

Just communicate clearly the cost of not buying from you today, and no “selling tricks” will be required.

What’s that you say? You’re not sure what it will cost them… or even if it will cost them anything at all?

If that’s the case, your problem is not a selling problem. It’s either a value problem or a value clarification problem.

Either way, you now know what to do next.

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You Get What You Pay For http://rayedwards.com/you-get-what-you-pay-for/ http://rayedwards.com/you-get-what-you-pay-for/#comments Tue, 03 May 2011 12:48:35 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=2018 Imagine, just for a moment, that I had just parked two brand-new cars in your driveway.

I walk up to you holding out two sets of keys, one to the new Mercedes-Benz automobile on the left; the other, a brand spanking new, Honda accord on the right. Which car is the superior car? If I offer to give you one of them, which one will you choose?

Almost without exception, everyone answers, “The Mercedes!”

Forgetting the question of German engineering versus Japanese engineering, for just a moment, stop to ponder why we all respond the same way.

The confident, secure, intellectually steadfast among us will launch into an explanation of why we chose the superior German automobile.

The facts, however, are simple. Most of us are not engineers. Most of us are not expert judges of the mechanical suitability of automobiles. We use shortcuts to make such decisions. One such shortcut is price.

Let me present a different scenario to you. Let’s suppose that I pull up in your driveway in a brand-new Mercedes-Benz. I park, hop out, walk up to you and hand you the keys. I say, “This car is yours for only $5,000 cash, right now.”

What is your response?

If you’re like most of us, your response is, “What’s wrong with it? Is it stolen?”

You instinctively know the price is too low. Either there’s something mechanically wrong with the car, or it is stolen.

The tipoff is the price.

It’s no different in business; if you respond to marketplace pressures by lowering your prices, customers make a series of assumptions. They assume that you have somehow also lowered the value of your offering. Or, worse, they assume that the offering was never worth the original price you quoted to begin with.

Many studies have indicated it’s possible to increase sales, simply by increasing price. The explanation is simple: people assume that a higher price means higher quality.

In order to put this principle into practice, you must of course supply value for the dollar. In other words, after the transaction is complete and the customer has had the opportunity to experience or use your product, they must feel as though the benefits of the product outweighed the expense of the purchase.

This is actually easier to achieve than most of us believe.

Once you have accomplished building a product offering that is worth what you’re asking for it, and once you have set a price that indicates that your offer is a valuable one, you can be confident that your business is built on a solid foundation.

So the response that is appropriate in economic times like these – times when there is more pressure on businesses to provide value – is simple: provide more value, at a higher price.

In any economic circumstance, cutting your prices can be equal to cutting your throat.

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The Fortune Is In The Followup http://rayedwards.com/the-fortune-is-in-the-followup/ http://rayedwards.com/the-fortune-is-in-the-followup/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 12:08:29 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1995 Lucky for you, most businesses are pathetically and shamefully inadequate in the area of follow-up with prospects and customers.

This is fortunate for you because it means that even becoming adequate at follow-up places you leagues ahead of your so-called competition. If you actually become good follow-up, you can easily own the marketplace.

There is a momentum that builds with follow-up that is difficult to describe, but easy to identify once it begins to yield fruit.

It’s like the snowball effect; what begins as a tiny snowball rolling downhill, picks up more and more mass as it proceeds, and it also picks up speed, so that by the time the snow ball reaches the bottom of the mountain it is a massive, irresistible avalanche.

Promise yourself that you will begin to follow-up with every prospect and every customer.

While having an elaborate and sophisticated follow-up system is indeed the mark of a mature and highly profitable business, it isn’t necessary to build a complex follow-up monstrosity in the beginning. You simply have to identify what the next logical step is in any follow-up sequence.

Begin by speaking out loud, or writing on paper, a simple series of “if-then” statements about your interactions with prospects and customers.

“If a customer comes into the store but doesn’t buy, then follow-up with a phone call three days later.”

“If the initial follow-up call does not result in a visit to the store within three days, then follow up with a postcard making a special offer to the customer.”

“If the customer response to the offer on the postcard, then send a thank you gift to the customer’s office and make another offer.”

It never has to be more complex than figuring out the next logical step based on the action the prospect or customer just took. The key is to document these follow-up steps with each customer, and begin building a predetermined sequence that applies to all customers who meet those specific “if-then” conditions.

Before you know it, your follow-up sequence will become a massive, irresistible avalanche of profits.

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Always Give a Reason Why http://rayedwards.com/always-give-a-reason-why/ http://rayedwards.com/always-give-a-reason-why/#comments Mon, 18 Apr 2011 11:15:02 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1987 One of the most powerfully persuasive communication techniques is best summed up in a single word: “because.”

In Dr. Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence, he cites a research study showing that simply adding the word “because” to a request multiplies the likelihood of compliance.

Interestingly, the study seems to indicate that the legitimacy of the reasons supplied did not seem as important to the outcome as you might suppose. In fact, it seems hardly necessary to have a real reason at all.

For example, you might ask to cut line at the post office, and be more likely to get a “yes” response from the person in front of you if you simply frame your question by saying something like, “Would it be possible for me to please cut a front of you in line, because I’m really in a hurry.”

That’s hardly persuasive salesmanship, yet having some reason seems to be better than having none.

I’m not suggesting that you engage in meaningless marketing. I am suggesting that you take the extra step that most people do not … and supply good reasons for your promotions and campaigns. Practically said, this means simply telling the truth about a situation.

If you own a retail store, for instance, and you need to sell your overstock of a certain line of kitchenware, it’s much better just come right out and say, “We thought these would sell better, they didn’t, and now we need to get rid of them. So we put them on sale to motivate you to buy them.”

While that may not seem like brilliant copy, and admittedly it isn’t, it is a legitimate reason why you’re lowering the price of your merchandise. People respond to such reasoning, and the result is usually more profits.

This is not a new concept. John E Kennedy wrote an entire book on the subject, called Reason Why Advertising. I highly recommend that you read this work, and apply its principles to your own marketing.

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Always Have a Ticking Clock http://rayedwards.com/always-have-a-ticking-clock/ http://rayedwards.com/always-have-a-ticking-clock/#comments Thu, 14 Apr 2011 11:29:12 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1970 There is something about the ticking clock that makes people move.

It doesn’t matter if we know about the deadline far in advance-activity always increases as the last few minutes tick off the clock.

“Tax day” in the USA doesn’t sneak up on any of us-we all know it happens April 15th (or in the case of this year, the 18th). Yet year after year, tax preparers are deluged during the week before “tax day” — swamped by people who were only motivated to act when it looked as though the clock was about to run out.

There’s a reason why so much direct response advertising is filled with the words “for a limited time only”.

“Limited time marketing” gets results.

The trick, of course, is that it doesn’t work as well as it once did. People understand what’s happening, and are not as easily moved by those same old, tired words, “limited time only”. Now,  we must be more creative in communicating the scarcity of time to act.

Notice that I’m not commenting on whether there actually is a limited time or not. I’m assuming that if you say time is limited, that the offer is about to run out, that quantities are low, that this is the absolute truth. That these are real limits that you’re simply letting people know about.

No matter what you are marketing, there is always a limit. There are only so many units you can ship… there is only a certain amount of time you can maintain the sale price… there are only a certain number of days you can legitimately continue to offer an “end-of-the-year sale”.

I’m suggesting that you look carefully for the “ticking clocks” that are already present in every one of your offers, and make those time constraints explicit for your customers. In other words, talk about the limits.

The way to do this effectively is to talk about it in very specific terms.

Don’t take the lazy way out and simply say “for a limited time only”.

Talk about he exact time the sale ends, on what day.

Explain exactly how many units you have left, and why there won’t be any more.

Even if the reason is simply, “we’re tired of making it in this color”, tell that story. Truthful stories about real ticking clocks are powerful customer motivators.

Try it and see.

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Always Make an Offer http://rayedwards.com/always-make-an-offer/ http://rayedwards.com/always-make-an-offer/#comments Wed, 13 Apr 2011 11:30:48 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1962 Here’s how to make all of your marketing and advertising more profitable instantly. You won’t need a calculator, you won’t need a spreadsheet, and you certainly won’t need a board meeting.

Now let me warn you.

You will be tempted to disregard the advice I’m about to give you as overly simplistic at best.

At worst, you will rationalize and begin to enumerate the reasons why doing what I’m about to suggest is not possible in your business.

You will have all sorts of excuses about why your business “is different”.

You will tell me that your customers are too sophisticated, too sensitive, too demanding.

You will be wrong.

No offense intended, but those are the facts.

All right, enough with the preamble already.

You’re probably thinking, what is this magical advice you’re about to dispense?

It is…

Always make an offer.

Put another way: always sell something. Always.

In every single ad.

In every billing statement.

In the Yellow Pages.

On your website, in your emails, during your presentations.

Always.

If your business is anything like most of the businesses I encounter,, your biggest marketing challenge is most likely the fact that you are not making enough offers.

Why is it that people who are called to be entrepreneurs, a high calling in life indeed, seem to have some sort of complex about asking people for money?

Perhaps it’s because as children most of us were taught some core values by our mothers. For almost everyone of us, those core values included these two:

  1. Don’t talk to strangers.

2.   Don’t ask for money.

Can you see the potential conflict inherent in such values for the entrepreneurial business owner?

Our business life depends on talking to strangers, and then asking them for money.

Something to think about.

Something to change.

Start this way…

Always make an offer.

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Relentless Rules That Make Cash Registers Ring http://rayedwards.com/have-relentless-rules-that-make-cash-registers-ring/ http://rayedwards.com/have-relentless-rules-that-make-cash-registers-ring/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2011 11:35:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1959 Don’t do any marketing or advertising that doesn’t make money for your business; that doesn’t make the cash register ring.

Here’s the sad news: “brand building” is a door that is pretty much closed to the small to medium-size company.

In today’s over-communicated, oversaturated marketplace, the sheer mass required to achieve brand awareness is quite simply out of financial reach for all but the biggest companies.

And one could argue that such strategies don’t always make sense for big companies either.

Here’s what does not fail: holding your advertising and marketing accountable for its own results. It doesn’t take a “rocket surgeon” to understand direct response marketing. In fact, the steps are simple:

1. Launch a marketing or advertising campaign that you can measure (phone calls completed, postcards returned, e-mails collected, sales made, etc.)

2. Observe whether this campaign results in actual dollars coming in the door.

3. If the answer to number two is “yes”, repeat the process as needed. If the answer is “no”, if dollars do not flow in the door, try something else!

Is this a bit oversimplified?

Yes, but not much.

In fact, if you were to just follow this “oversimplified” formula to the letter, you would still be a lot better off than most businesses in America.

Make this promise to yourself: I will not engage in any marketing or advertising activity unless the results of said marketing or advertising activity can be objectively measured.

Then follow through on that promise. This alone will bring you more profits.

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Do Marketing That Works http://rayedwards.com/do-marketing-that-works/ http://rayedwards.com/do-marketing-that-works/#comments Tue, 12 Apr 2011 01:15:11 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1956 Do marketing that works and avoid unproductive, unaccountable advertising.

It’s unconscionable, in this day and age, to spend money on advertising and marketing that doesn’t work. It was much easier to excuse in the old days. In the old days, the media was a monolithic, inscrutable, impenetrable mysterium.

As a small business owner, you were at the mercy of your media sales rep. The salesperson from the newspaper, radio station, or TV station, called on your business and made a persuasive pitch for the latest advertising “package of the month”. You bought, often out of desperation or obligation.

If your business was of a slightly more affluent nature, your media sales rep was more intent on getting a longer-term commitment from you. In that case, you were pursued for an annual contract, usually persuaded to sign up for the long-term commitment by some sort of rate concession or extras “thrown in” to the package.

What is curiously missing from these approaches of the past is attention to the primary goal of all advertising and marketing: to actually make your cash register ring.

In fact, discussions of such crass activities as ringing cash registers were often discouraged by media sales reps. They were quick to start mumbling some sort of arcane mantras about “building your brand” or simply “getting your name out there”. As if you could pay your lease by “getting your name out there”. Last time I checked, the bank wasn’t accepting “name recognition” as lease payments. They still prefer dollars.

Even so, even though most of us knew that the advertising sales game was rigged and the small business owner was its unwitting victim, we also knew there was little we could do about it. No more.

Now, thanks largely to the power of the Internet, and the nearly limitless transparency and instant access to information it provides, the world has changed. Google proved the efficacy of one of the oldest forms of selling known to mankind: direct response marketing.

As sophisticated as Google Adwords may appear at first, it is really the digitalization of simple direct response advertising. It is mail-order gone high-tech.

This ought to get you really excited.

Because it tells of possibility.

While it is not necessary to do all your direct marketing on the Internet, what is salient is how irrevocably the Internet has proven the worth of direct response marketing itself. It works, and works with ruthless efficiency.

Advertising and marketing can (and must) be measured. No more fuzzy talk about “getting your name out there”. Now, the game is very simple, just as you always suspected it should be.

The most important question in marketing is simply, “Did it make my cash register ring?”

If the answer is yes,  if a given campaign brought profits in your door, then it was a success.

If the answer was no, if you threw money down a hole and no money came back out, then it’s a failure. Or at least seriously in need of some alteration.

The point is: you can know.

The message is clear: stop paying for marketing you cannot measure. And for goodness’s sake, stop paying for marketing that doesn’t work. Today it is possible to know, without a doubt, whether it works or not.

For many, this is a new way of thinking. It will require a bit of a stretch of your mental muscles. But that shouldn’t be too difficult, especially because one of Earth’s most wonderful delights is about to become yours: the ability to say “no” to advertising salespeople who want to push packages on you!

“Packages” that are unmeasurable, unwarranted, and unintelligent.

And now you will be able to say “no” with confidence, knowing that you, and you alone, know what’s best when it comes to marketing your business.

Imagine living in a world where your marketing and advertising is a source of profit you can rely on, instead of being a cost you resent.

Simply by reading these words, you’ve already taken a step into such a world. Rejoice. The keys of the kingdom are yours.

Say it with me: “No more lousy, stinking marketing that can’t be measured.”

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Persuasion or Manipulation? http://rayedwards.com/persuasion-or-manipulation/ http://rayedwards.com/persuasion-or-manipulation/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2011 00:25:51 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1937 Interesting question for anyone who finds themselves needing to persuade other people (that’s pretty much all of us)…

A private group I am part of has been hashing over something I posted late last year – a little piece called “Is Marketing Evil?”

In this discussion, the inevitable debate erupted over what the difference is between persuasion and manipulation. Says one of my companions: “the difference is the intent.”

Well and good, and I have often said the same thing. But… here’s my question:

What if your intent is good but your premise is wrong?

For instance, what if you believed smoking was good for unborn babies, and you passionately cared about those babies, so you tried to persuade pregnant woment to take up smoking?

Your intent would be good, but your facts are wrong.

So, in that case, does it matter whether we classify “talking someone into something” as “persuasion” or manipulation?

Does that mean that all persuasion is in fact manipulation, and vice-versa?

What do you think?

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More Money Method #10: Recession Proof Reselling http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-10-recession-proof-reselling/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-10-recession-proof-reselling/#respond Tue, 18 Jan 2011 14:13:38 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1729 The next idea in our series of “more money methods” will definitely appeal to you if you’re very conscious of the effects of the recession.

This method is, I believe, recession proof. In fact, it may be fueled by the recession. Here’s the scoop…

This strategy is very similar to our former strategy, in that your goal is to buy products for cheap and sell them for a tidy profit. The difference is you’re going to focus on regular products rather than stuff like antiques or collectibles, and you’ll be buying these products from completely different sources.

What you’re going to be looking for are simply liquidated items. Closeouts, overstocks, or even fixture sales when retail stores and other businesses close down because of the “poor economy”. You are ready know how I feel about all that “bad economy” talk. Most businesses don’t fold because of the economic conditions around them-they fold because of a failure to adjust to those convictions when it was possible. But I digress.

Again, this is not a strategy that’s going to appeal to most info marketers, but some of you will be immediately drawn to this idea. I believe it is even scalable-once you get a system perfected, you could conceivably hire other people to help scale up your efforts at finding cheap closeouts and then turning them around at a profit.

The best part of this strategy is, it actually works better in tough economic times, because they’re always stores liquidating their stock and going out of business. Now, you should know by now that I don’t take joy in anybody’s economic failure-but this is a real opportunity that some of my readers will seize upon and profit from. And I certainly have nothing against that.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

NOTE: Right now, membership is a no-obligation $47… but in LESS THAN two weeks, at the end of January, the price goes up to $97. Click here right now to lock in your Charter Rate and save $50.

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More Money Method #9: Online Wheeling & Dealing http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-9-online-wheeling-dealing/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-9-online-wheeling-dealing/#comments Mon, 17 Jan 2011 14:05:26 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1724 This little strategy will not appeal to everyone, because it is less about “info marketing”, and more about “wheeling and dealing”. But it can be a sure source of quick cash for those willing to do the work.

What makes this strategy different from some of the others on the following two points:

The strategy focuses only on physical products.

You have your phone ringing off the hook with people who want to sell their products to you dirt cheap!

So here’s how it works… First, you figure out what product you’re going to sell. Maybe you’re going to sell antique pocket watches, baseball cards, unusual artwork, or other items of that nature. Just make sure that there are loads of people already buying this stuff.

Next, you need to quickly educate yourself about these products. This is pretty easy to do online, especially if there is a “community” of people who are interested in the stuff you’re going to be selling. Do a little research on eBay and Google to find out how much interest there is in the specific items you’ve chosen.

Next, just find cheap sources of the same products. Once you’ve done your initial research (like looking at closed eBay auctions), you’ll have some idea of what the minimum prices your items can be sold for might be. Then all you have to do is find a good source of buying those items below that price. Craigslist is a good place to start.

I realize this idea will not appeal to everyone, but trust me: it has legs. This dog will hunt. If you’re the kind of person whose juices are already flowing over this idea, I recommend you get to work. You have cash in hand by this weekend.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

NOTE: Right now, membership is a no-obligation $47… but in two weeks, at the end of January, the price goes up to $97. Click here right now to lock in your Charter Rate and save $50.

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More Money Method #8: Flip This Info Product http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-8-flip-this-info-product/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-8-flip-this-info-product/#respond Fri, 14 Jan 2011 14:01:30 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1721 In keeping with my last post, here’s another quick way to generate more revenue for you and your business, without having to deal with creating new products.

This one is surprisingly simple.

Don’t write it off only because it seems easy.

In this method, you simply by, tweak and then resell products that come with private label rights (PLR).

PLR products are information products that are purchased with the understanding that you have the right to modify the product and do with it as you please.

The interesting thing is, that while hundreds of people may buy the same PLR product that you just bought, very few of them will ever do anything with the product.

Out of those who actually take some sort of action, almost all of them will resell the product exactly as they received it.

Which means you only have to make the most basic modifications to the product, such as changing the title and the cover graphics, and you have a completely unique product.

Spend a bit more time on the project, and customize the product, and you can resell it to consumers yourself, or even sell the entire product (site and all) to another marketer at a hefty profit! Simple? Yes. Profitable? For sure.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

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More Money Method #7: Add Value, Get Paid http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-7-add-value-get-paid/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-7-add-value-get-paid/#respond Thu, 13 Jan 2011 12:57:04 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1717 This is one of my favorite “more money methods”, Because it starts with resources you already have on hand.

If you already sell information products-things like e-books, special reports, or other downloadable information, you got the hard part already done. You’ve created a product.

My suggestion is to add value to that product, and sell it for a much higher price than you’re currently getting. How do you do that? Simple…

Turn your digital products into physical products-and pocket a hefty profit!

For some reason, people may be willing to pay only $27 for your e-book… Or maybe you’re getting $37, or even $47… But take that same e-book, put it inside an attractive three ring binder, and add audio CDs of you reading the material out loud, and suddenly customers may be willing to pay $197… $297… Or even more.

Like most of my other “more money methods”, this is not something new. Motivational speakers and self-help gurus have known the secret for a long time. That’s why your favorite motivational speaker may charge $15 for his book at Barnes & Noble, while he charges $197 for the CD training set based on the book… And $5000 for the live seminar training that contains the same information!

So, time to start thinking about what products you have gathering “digital dust” on your hard drive. Could you dust them off, turn them into physical products, and charge more money for them? Chances are, the answer is yes.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

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More Money Method #6: Blog For Bucks http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-6-blog-for-bucks/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-6-blog-for-bucks/#comments Wed, 12 Jan 2011 13:52:26 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1715 Can you simply sit down at the computer, write some words every day, and turn that into a six figure income online? Can you do it without turning those words into an information product, home-study course, or e-book?

You bet you can!

Namely, by blogging as a business model. There are dozens of different ways to make money from a popular blog… but they all start with you sitting down and writing something.

Your best bet is to start a blog that caters to a very specific niche; a group of people who are inordinately passionate about a specific topic. If it’s something that you yourself are passionate about, that’s probably best. Your own interests will help sustain you in the early days when you be putting in lots of effort for seemingly small rewards.

But don’t let those early days discourage you; if you’re blogging about something you care about, and it’s something that lots of other people care about as well, you can indeed make good money doing it. How? Here are just a few thoughts:

  1. You can make money by promoting and selling your own products to the people who read your blog. This is something that I myself do. It works.
  2. You can promote affiliate products to those who read your blog, and earn a commission.
  3. You can sell advertising space on your blog to businesses who want to reach the people who make up your audience.

Those are just three ideas that can help you monetize your blogging efforts. There are many more ways to make money with your blog, and there are lots of resources to help you get started (just use that reliable old research tool, Google, and you’ll see what I mean).

Well, what are you waiting for? Start blogging!

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

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More Money Method #5: Sell Shovels To The Miners http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-5-sell-shovels-to-the-miners/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-5-sell-shovels-to-the-miners/#comments Tue, 11 Jan 2011 14:47:18 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1712 During the gold rush of the Great American West in the 1800s, some of the people who built the biggest fortunes were those selling shovels and pics to the gold miners. It was these “shovel sellers” who are getting rich, instead of the majority of the miners.

Nothing wrong with that-the shovel sellers did not force the minor’s onto the frontier. They simply realized that people digging for gold needed tools and supplies, and they were happy to be of service.

The same is true of the online business community. They need to buy pics and shovels, too (shopping carts, web design, and how-tos on marketing and copywriting, for instance).

Most people teaching online business will discourage you from getting into the “marketing to marketers” business. I suspect that much of that rhetoric comes from people wishing to keep new competitors from entering the market, if at all possible.

But the fact is, the “how to make money” market is one of the more lucrative markets in existence. That’s because people who are looking for new methods of generating cash are willing to spend large sums of money to get that information.

This means you can make more profit with fewer sales.

Good business.

The key to being successful in selling to this market is you simply cannot engage in “regurgitation marketing”. In other words, come up with something new to teach, or come up with a new way of teaching an old thing-do not simply copy what you’ve seen others do. If you engage in the “copycat” practice, it won’t take long for people to identify exactly what’s going on.

This will, at best, limit your sales.

You shouldn’t be discouraged, however, if this (marketing) is the area that ignites your passion. There’s always room for someone with a new voice, a fresh twist on an old concept, and someone who’s good at simplifying the complex business of marketing online.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

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More Money Method #4: Find A Big Parade And Stand In Front Of It http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-4-find-a-big-parade-and-stand-in-front-of-it/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-4-find-a-big-parade-and-stand-in-front-of-it/#comments Mon, 10 Jan 2011 14:43:40 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1709 One of the hardest parts of doing business is getting new customers. Entrepreneurs spend small fortunes gained the attention of people who might be interested in what they have to sell.

In the retail world, it’s no secret that if you are a small player your best bet is to locate your store somewhere near what’s called an “anchor”. You may have trouble getting people to visit your barbershop if it’s located out in the sticks… But have every chair. From dawn till dusk if it’s located next door to Walmart.

That’s what it can look like when you take advantage of a large stream of traffic you did not pay to generate. All it takes is a little strategic thinking.

So how do you find one of these “big parades” and put your wares in front of the crowd? Online, it’s easy.

Think of sites like eBay, Yahoo auctions, and Amazon.com, for instance.

Lots of people make their living online by taking advantage of pre-existing crowds generated by bigger companies. Can you do the same?

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

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More Money Method #3: Sell Once, Get Paid Many Times http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-3-sell-once-get-paid-many-times/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-3-sell-once-get-paid-many-times/#respond Fri, 07 Jan 2011 13:40:02 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1706 If you’ve been around marketing for very long at all, you know the truism that the hardest sale to make is the first sale.

And the easiest money you’ll ever make is through selling more products (and more expensive products) to your existing customers.

So if the hard part is making the first sale, doesn’t it make more sense to focus on making those repeat sales? And doesn’t it seem like a stroke of genius to set things up so that that second sale (and all those that follow) are automatic?

That’s the thinking behind monthly subscription products.

You sell a product to your customer wants… And then do so automatically every month after that. No additional persuasion required.

If you are selling downloadable, digital information products, this becomes all the more simple: the transaction, delivery, and re-billing are all handled automatically. Hands-off, no additional work required.

Just like yesterday’s tip, it might be easy to dismiss this oneness “something you already knew”. But even if you already knew about the concept of recurring memberships, have you been reaping the benefits?

If not, may I suggest considering this as part of your arsenal? May I suggest that every sale you make from now on should, if possible, lead to automatic sales on the backend?

Not only will you be able to start each month at some number above zero, but presumably if your product is good you will start each month at a higher revenue number than the month before. Always a good trend in business.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

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More Money Method #2: Get Paid For Recommendations http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-2-get-paid-for-recommendations/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-2-get-paid-for-recommendations/#comments Thu, 06 Jan 2011 13:37:34 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1704 One of the fastest ways to bring in money is by making affiliate recommendations.

Affiliate marketing is when two marketers come together – one with a product and one with an audience – and they split the profits on any sales they make together. The affiliate sends traffic to the product creator’s sales page, and the product creator closes the sale and gives a commission to the affiliate for every paid referral.

You can become an affiliate for nearly anything – from Dell computers to beer-making machines to books and products on sites like Amazon.

This will be old hat for most, perhaps.

But let me ask you this, O Grizzled Veteran…

…do you have a systematic, strategically planned program of making affiliate recommendations?

I thought not.

You can get started right now by thinking about what might already be on people’s minds — you know, like their New Year’s Resolutions.

For that category, you could make affiliate recommendations for products that deal with weight loss, exercise, finances, relationships, productivity… oh my, there’s a lot of opportunity here, yes?

Put your thinking cap on, sharpen your pencil, and plan your promotions.

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

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More Money Method #1: Write Your Way To More Money Today http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-1-write-your-way-to-more-money-today/ http://rayedwards.com/more-money-method-1-write-your-way-to-more-money-today/#respond Wed, 05 Jan 2011 14:31:33 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1702 Welcome to a new series of articles, all about 10 different ways to make more money immediately.

Lots of us have resolved to make more income in 2011, and presumably also keep more of it.

In this series, I’m focusing on the “how to get more income” part of the equation.

If you run a business… sell a service… or sell products… you can use these some (or all) of these methods to bring more money your way.

So let’s get started.

My first suggestion in this series – that you can get more money though writing – will not surprise you, perhaps.

But the world is moved by words; and you can induce that movement by using the right words; and that movement can include the movement of money to you.

How can you “write your own paycheck”? Simple:

  • Write sales copy to sell more of your stuff.
  • Write sales copy to sell more of other people’s stuff.
  • Write just about any kind of copy for hire, and get paid to do it. Yes, there are still people out there who will pay you handsomely for good copy.

But here’s the most potentially lucrative way to write your way to more money: write and sell your own information products (special reports, ebooks, home study courses, etc.).

I have a friend who is cranking out short but very useful “how to” reports (20 pages or so) on very specific topics… and selling piles of them at $19 each.

Why can’t you do the same? Answer: you can.

Just about every person walking the face of this earth has specialized knowledge other people would be willing to pay for. Why not turn that knowledge into income?

If you’re interested in knowing more about how to do this, you’re sure to enjoy my new video training and “how to” manual, “10 Proven Ways to Make $10,000 Per Month”. You can only get it if you’re a member of my Writing Riches Community. Click here to learn more.

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Why Do Businesses Market Like Idiots? http://rayedwards.com/why-do-businesses-market-like-idiots/ http://rayedwards.com/why-do-businesses-market-like-idiots/#respond Tue, 04 Jan 2011 14:27:20 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1699 Turn on the television.

See how long it takes before you see a “branding” commercial.

These are commercials that work to make some kind of “indelible impression” on the mind of viewers. An impression about the business.

Why do they do this? In the hopes that somehow, someday, someone will buy something.

And maybe it works.

But who knows? How do they measure it? Does it really cause anyone to buy anything?

Repeat after me: “If I can’t measure the results of a marketing activity, I shall not engage in that activity.”

Want to improve your marketing – and make it marketing that can be measured, every time? That’s just one of the things we deal with at http://writingriches.com.

Click here to watch a video that explains why you might want to consider joining us.

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Communication Is Not Clear http://rayedwards.com/communication-is-not-clear/ http://rayedwards.com/communication-is-not-clear/#comments Mon, 20 Dec 2010 14:31:18 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1659 You think you’re getting your point across – but are you?

One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned about communication is this: the communication is not what you mean to say, it’s what the other person hears.

If your communications are not getting you the results you want, it might be time to ask: “What do you think I’m trying to say?”

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Is Marketing Evil? http://rayedwards.com/is-marketing-evil/ http://rayedwards.com/is-marketing-evil/#comments Wed, 01 Dec 2010 14:00:59 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1592 Recently a college student I know was talking to a minister. My college student acquaintance told the minister,”I’m going into the marketing business.”

The minister responded, “Oh, so you’re going to sell people stuff they don’t need for a living? And you’re okay with that?”

My young college friend was stopped in her tracks. She promptly changed careers.

I wonder what would have happened if that minister had, instead of making a blanket judgment (um, what happened to “judge not, so that you will not be judged”?)… if instead of crushing a young person’s dream… had said something like:

“Wow! That’s great. You’re going to earn your living by telling people how companies add value to their lives? I admire you for taking on such a challenging and rewarding profession.”

I wonder.

I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of sleazy marketers out there – because we all know there are.

I am saying we need more people who will bring honor to our profession. What do you think?

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Writing to Create Bonding http://rayedwards.com/writing-to-create-bonding/ http://rayedwards.com/writing-to-create-bonding/#respond Fri, 19 Nov 2010 10:00:32 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1476 We allow ourselves to be influenced by the people we like. The reason good salespeople are known to be friendly (some even hyper-friendly) is because they understand this core principle: being likable is one of the quickest ways to being influential.

The reason we are turned off by “pushy” salespeople is their attempts to be likable are almost laughably transparent. And absolutely inauthentic.

The key to creating a bond through your writing (and any other form of communication that involves language) is surprisingly simple.

Be yourself.

For sure, be the best self you can authentically be. But don’t try to be something you’re not; people can smell that incongruence a mile away, and it’s definitely a turnoff.

So how does this apply to writing in order to achieve bonding?

In my experience, most people who write for the purpose of strategic influence (to get other people to do something) develop a rather formal way of writing. Part of what happens when they adopt that formal style of writing is their natural voice disappears. It’s as if this particular style of writing sends the unspoken message, “I’m not going to let you know anything about me, because if you did you wouldn’t like me.”

This is where we get rules of thumb like, “never talk about religion or politics”. That’s good advice if you don’t want to offend anyone. But how will you bond with people if you never let them know who you really are?

I’m not suggesting you try being purposely offensive. I’m simply saying let people see the “real you”.

You don’t have to write long diatribes about politics or religion. But you can certainly mention who you voted for, where you go to church… as well as the fact that you like to bowl, you’re vegan, you raise greyhounds, and even more unusual things (like your fear of wigs, or how you still watch Saturday morning cartoons).

All of this does start from a premise, which you need to be aware of: it is that you are, in ways that count, very similar to your prospective audience. I’m assuming that you’re in business because you have a love of certain things, and that you share those things in common with your customers and potential customers.

Thus, as you strategically reveal true qualities of your personality, your customers will be struck by a sense of recognition. And what they recognize is themselves. This, my friends, creates bonding. And it’s not the result of manipulation; it’s the result of being real.

Fair warning: this technique will not work if you’re the exact opposite of your customers.

I once worked with a client with a rather substantial business. During our first meeting we were discussing his customers and his prospects. I asked him, “What can you tell me about your customers?”

His answer startled me: “I don’t like them very much.”

It wasn’t difficult to figure out why his company was experiencing a downturn in business.

Do you like your customers very much?

And, more telling: are you very much like your customers?

While you don’t have to be like the people you sell to, it certainly doesn’t hurt.

And I propose to you that if you don’t like the people you sell to, it might be time to consider another line of work.

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Writing to Be “Fascinating!” http://rayedwards.com/writing-to-be-fascinating/ http://rayedwards.com/writing-to-be-fascinating/#comments Thu, 18 Nov 2010 10:00:11 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1472 We are a world of people who love to be fascinated.

We obsess over our favorite celebrities, their lifestyles, relationships, and illnesses.

In her book, Fascinate, Sally Hogshead claims that the ability to create fascination is one of the most powerful ways of influencing behavior. She says, in fact, that it is “more persuasive than marketing, advertising, or any other form of communication.” While I don’t agree with all her conclusions, I do recommend her book.

So how do you make yourself, your ideas, your products and services more fascinating? The answer is surprisingly simple. Human beings are fascinated by a fairly narrow band of phenomena. Some things to keep in mind when writing to influence, with the end of creating more fascination in mind:

  1. Curiosity. Who among us does not understand the intense allure of curiosity? This powerful point of fascination is magnetic in its ability to draw people into your story, to make them want to hear your message.
  2. Fear. While I absolutely do not advocate the invocation of fear as a tool of manipulation, the recognition of pre-existing fears can be a powerful illumination for your communications. Know what makes people afraid, and you know how to engage them in conversation.
  3. Power. Whether they admit it or not, nearly everyone wants more influence over others, in some way. “Power” in itself is neither good nor evil, but its appeal is nearly universal.
  4. Identification with the object of their admiration. This is the very source of intense devotion, the driving force behind “fans” of all kinds. When we grant a person or even an organization our admiration, we experience an intense desire to be identified with that person or organization.

What is it about you, your company, your organization or product that already fascinates your customers?  Are there ways in which you can focus more on those aspects that are natural points of fascination for your audience? Are people fascinated with the wrong things about you? Are you?

All questions worth considering.

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Writing to Create Advocacy http://rayedwards.com/writing-to-create-advocacy/ http://rayedwards.com/writing-to-create-advocacy/#respond Wed, 17 Nov 2010 10:00:30 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1466 Whenever you are writing for the purpose of influencing other people (which pretty much includes all writing, doesn’t it?), it’s essential to know your strategic objective.

Strategy in this context means: the overall approach to achieving the outcome you want.

This may not be as simple as you think.

Even if you know your desired outcome is the sale of a product, you have only identified the target; that is not an answer to the question of strategy. The question of strategy is: how will I hit the target?

One possible strategy is: the creation of advocacy in the mind of your prospects. Let me explain.

The most straightforward product sale can be strongly influenced by first defining a position of advocacy you want the reader to adopt.

For instance: let’s assume you sell a highly commoditized product, like machine screws. How on earth could advocacy for some position or other influence the purchase of machine screws? Well..

Perhaps you begin by realizing your company has a commitment to using only the finest quality materials in the manufacture of your machine screws. Perhaps you further realize that you have unusual attention to detail in your manufacturing facility, and that this grows from the quality philosophy of your business. Maybe you believe that a lack of such strong standards is one of the things that have contributed to our current economic woes.

In the above scenario, you might choose to write and publish an essay on the importance of high standards not only in the manufacturing process, but also as the foundation of success upon which our country was built.

You might even go so far as to suggest that the solution to the economic problems facing our country is rooted in a return to this kind of commitment to quality.

If you publish this essay (or blog post, or podcast, or brochure, newsletter, even postcard) in a place where your potential buyers will encounter it, and if it is written powerfully, you stand a good chance of influencing their buying decisions about machine screws without ever overtly writing about that particular subject.

Of course, before you can authentically write to persuade people to adopt a position of advocacy, you first have to possess such a position yourself.

A worthwhile question to ponder: what do you stand for, and how does that relate to the world of the people you wish to influence?

Changing behaviors of your audience can be merely temporary; changing mindsets is more permanent, and changes behaviors automatically.

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Writing With Mythology In Mind http://rayedwards.com/writing-with-mythology-in-mind/ http://rayedwards.com/writing-with-mythology-in-mind/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 10:00:07 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1460 When writing for strategic influence, whether your outcome is intended to be the sale of a product or service, the adoption of an idea, or a certain outcome for your political candidate, you must begin with knowing your mythology.

No, I’m not talking about ancient Greece. When I say “mythology”, I’m referring to “story”.

I believe great marketing-and thus, great influence-starts with great stories. I’m not alone in this thought.

Seth Godin writes in his book All Marketers Are Storytellers, “Either you’re going to tell stories that spread, or you will become irrelevant.”

All the ground-shaking movements in history started with great stories. Our ancestors sat around the hearth and told stories that transmitted their values, their ideas, their wisdom and faith.

Jesus taught primarily through the telling of stories.

John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Martin Luther King all told stories that moved people to take action. You don’t have to agree with the ideologies of any of these people, by the way, to get the benefit of what I’m saying. All I’m attempting to do is point out the power of the story as a form of persuasion.

It’s important to understand that the story must be true. Telling lies simply won’t work, not to mention the fact that it’s wrong.

Before you begin your next writing project, whether it’s the book you’re working on, the sales material for your website, or the next speech you’re giving, become aware of the stories you’re telling (or the ones you’re not telling that you should be). Here are some qualities your stories (or mythology) should possess:

  1. The stories you tell must, first of all, be true.
  2. They must be told in the service of others. The goal of your story should be to impart something to hearer, not to manipulate them.
  3. Your stories should appeal to emotion. No matter what people tell you, they buy your ideas, your products, and your services based on emotion-not based on logic.
  4. Your stories should be told quickly, and in an entertaining fashion. In today’s world, people have limited patience for long-winded stories.
  5. Don’t hit them over the head. The more subtle your story, the less overtly self-serving, the more you allow your reader to come to their own conclusions… the better.

So, what stories are you telling? Are they the right ones? How do you know?

Something to think about.

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Writing For Strategic Influence http://rayedwards.com/writing-for-strategic-influence/ http://rayedwards.com/writing-for-strategic-influence/#comments Mon, 15 Nov 2010 10:00:55 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1452 Today, I’m beginning a new series on the subject of “writing for strategic influence”.

This will be of interest if you want to use the power of persuasive writing to change, improve, expand, and empower your business.

But first, I’ll need you to bear with me; it’s necessary to explain the ideas behind this new series of articles.

The time has come to move beyond our old models of writing to persuade.

In the world of old media (radio, newspaper, and television) there was a clear distinction between writing that was intended as content, and writing that was intended to be persuasive.

The “content writing” took the form of entertainment, commentary, and news; the “persuasive” forms of writing were self-promotional, advertising, and marketing.

Today, the Internet has fundamentally shifted the way we receive, process, and act upon information. The walls that separated content from marketing have not just been taken down, they have been obliterated.

Michel Fortin has written convincingly about “The Death Of The Sales Letter”. With seemingly prophetic insight, Michel accurately predicted the coming trend that would spell the end of the stunning effectiveness of traditional online “sales letter websites”. They still work-only not nearly as well as they once did. Things have changed. I recommend you read his work on this subject.

Seth Godin writes with equal prescience about the end of what he calls the “TV industrial complex”, and the advent of the “Linchpin” (the essential individual who makes a powerful difference).

These are striking insights into the new world of persuasion and marketing; and I propose to you that they are only partial glimpses of the reality that has already begun to manifest around us.

I propose that far from simply being a different way of delivering persuasive copy, the new “content marketing model” is actually a reflection of something far more significant.

No longer do our customers accept our neatly packaged, carefully honed, isolated messages about our own products and services.

In today’s world, our customers (and our prospective customers) are able to see the entire persona of an individual or company with startling accuracy. They can read praise from clients and customers, read articles written by and about the company, and see reviews from actual buyers.

They can also easily identify complaints against a person or company by doing a simple search on the Internet. They can assess how the person or company deals with such complaints. They can read the market’s response to mistakes the person or company may make in the pursuit of their business. In other words, everything is marketing, and marketing is accurate because it’s no longer possible to control it.

Thus it becomes more important than ever to think about the written words we generate, both content and marketing. In fact, my proposal is that we stop thinking about them as two different forms of writing.

I find it more useful to adopt a new paradigm: that of writing for strategic influence. Let me explain…

Let’s begin with this tacit assumption: if everything our company (or an individual, if the person is a solopreneur) engages in is in fact visible, transparent, and available for public inspection… gone are the days we could “have a marketing message”.

A new day has arrived. Instead of “having” a marketing message, we must “be” a message.

Every communication we engage in with our customers and our prospective customers should be thought of as simply writing another page in our “book of communication”.

What this means is: we have arrived at a time when accountability is no longer optional, it is simply reality.

We have to think more carefully about everything we say, and everything we do. This is a good thing. It raises the bar for all of us who work in the service of other people (and what is work, or business, if it is not being in the service of other people?).

So if every communication (answering the telephone, handing off a business card, putting out a flyer, a Google ad, a blog post, e-mail, or public talk) is in fact marketing… it becomes necessary to be conscious of what sort of influence we wish to have in the marketplace.

The marketplace is, ultimately, a marketplace of ideas. Spread your idea far and wide, and see it have an impact on the world. Good or ill, time will tell.

Ideas have always been influenced by the written word. Literature has been the medium that molds mindsets. Literature has now expanded and moved off the printed page. Literature now includes blogs, e-mails, and YouTube. Writing happens in all sorts of formats-from essays like this one, to 140 character blurbs on twitter.

It’s time to start thinking about what sort of strategic influence we wish to have on the world around us-and how we are going to craft our messages to achieve that influence.

This is “the new copywriting”.

Your life (and your business) is literally an open book. The pages, starting today, are blank, and yours to write. What story will you write?

I can’t tell you what your message should be; first, as I have already alluded to, I think you must become your message. Whatever you’re selling, you first have to live. That part, I cannot do for you.

The upcoming articles in this series will focus, instead, on the actual techniques you might wish to consider in the process of spreading your ideas through persuasive writing.

To be clear, these techniques will apply whether what you are selling are concepts, products, or services. The techniques we will discuss should be applicable whether the group you wish to influence is your family, your city government, your church, your Board of Directors, or customers and prospects.

I look forward to your feedback.

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Proven! Ten Dollar Marketing Tactics http://rayedwards.com/proven-ten-dollar-marketing-tactics/ http://rayedwards.com/proven-ten-dollar-marketing-tactics/#respond Mon, 01 Nov 2010 09:30:15 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1322 Having no marketing budget is no excuse for not marketing. Here are three ideas you can use to promote your business, and each of them cost less than $10.

You might laugh when you see the list. But it’s my belief that many of the businesses we see closing their doors these days might have been saved by the diligent application of $10 marketing tactics.

1. Call every one of your past customers on the phone and ask them if they need help with anything. Listen to their answer.

2. Write a letter to every one of your past customers and ask them if they need help with anything. Watch for their response, or be ready for their phone call.

3. If you send out any kind of billing each month, include an offer inside each envelope. It can be a simple one sheet description of a product-but it must contain a call to action. Ask for the order.

Now, you might say that some of these will cost more than $10. It’s true, if you’re going to mail all your past customers and you have 100,000 of them, it will cost more than 10 bucks. But my guess is, if the title of this post caught your attention, your problem is not having 100,000 previous customers and not knowing what to do with them.

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Grow An A+ Marketing Brain http://rayedwards.com/grow-an-a-marketing-brain/ http://rayedwards.com/grow-an-a-marketing-brain/#comments Sat, 30 Oct 2010 09:30:03 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1320 Here’s a foolproof method to get yourself an A+ marketing brain, without having to pay for an expensive education.

Finish at least one good marketing book every week.

If you’re not currently an avid reader, this might seem like a big deal. It’s really not very difficult. Many marketing books are short, to begin with. And nobody said you have to read words printed on the page-audio books count. Most audio players have an option to speed up the audio-meaning you can often finish a book in half the time it might normally take.

If you read one good marketing book per week, you will have read 52 of them at the end of the year. How many of your peers do you think do that? How many of your competitors? Exactly. A+.

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In Mere Minutes Put Your Marketing On Auto Pilot http://rayedwards.com/in-mere-minutes-put-your-marketing-on-auto-pilot/ http://rayedwards.com/in-mere-minutes-put-your-marketing-on-auto-pilot/#comments Fri, 29 Oct 2010 09:30:20 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1318 In times like these, it’s good to return to the basics. There is an apocryphal story told about football coach Lou Holtz; when he needed to get his team refocused, he would pull them together practice, hold up a football, and say, “this, gentlemen, is a football.”

So please don’t disregard what I’m about to recommend simply because it’s “basic information”. For some, it will be new information. For others, it will be something they’ve heard but never done. And for some, it will indeed be something they’re already doing… but even for those I submit it may be possible to do it in a better way.

Here’s the lesson: there is a fortune in the follow-up.

Let’s say you’re one of the enlightened few who has a website that collects e-mail leads. Good job.

Let’s say you’re even more enlightened and you have an automated follow-up system, that sends those leads three, five, maybe even seven follow-up messages. Even better job.

But why stop with seven messages? Why stop with 10?

Here’s my recommendation: block out 3 to 4 hours one day, and write up at least 52 follow-up messages. Logos into your autoresponder follow-up sequence, after your initial weeks worth of follow-up (if you indeed already have a weeks worth). Make sure every e-mail in your follow-up sequence has a call to action, even if it’s simply redirecting prospects back to your blog, or giving them your phone number (obviously this depends on what business you are in).

My point is simple: once someone raises their hand and volunteers to be marketed to, why on earth would you ever stop marketing until they ask you to stop?

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Myths, Lies and Marketing http://rayedwards.com/myths-lies-and-marketing/ http://rayedwards.com/myths-lies-and-marketing/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 09:30:12 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1316 Myths are stories that teach us something about our best selves, that inspire us to reach for something better, or that caution us against grave error.

Lies, on the other hand, are simply falsehoods perpetrated upon us for the purpose of robbing us of something.

Marketing, in its pure and noble form, uses mythology; it never uses lies.

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7 Surefire Ways To Make More Sales This Week http://rayedwards.com/7-surefire-ways-to-make-more-sales-this-week/ http://rayedwards.com/7-surefire-ways-to-make-more-sales-this-week/#comments Wed, 27 Oct 2010 09:30:17 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1310
  • Make more calls
  • Talk to more customers
  • Ask for the order more often
  • Run more ads
  • Hand out more business cards
  • Call more passed customers
  • Ask for more referrals
  • I know, I know. Nothing new. That’s the point. Stop looking for something new, and get to work.

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    5 Minutes To Marketing Success http://rayedwards.com/5-minutes-to-marketing-success/ http://rayedwards.com/5-minutes-to-marketing-success/#respond Mon, 25 Oct 2010 09:30:10 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1308 Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re a pretty savvy marketer.

    Here’s one way to improve all of your marketing efforts: before you make your next marketing move, take five minutes, close the door, turn off your phone, and imagine yourself in the life of your average customer. Think about what their problems are, what their challenges are, what their fears are. Really put yourself through the process of imagining their life from the inside out.

    This presumes you actually have data about those facts, of course.

    If you do have that data, and you do know your customer’s greatest fears, frustrations, and aspirations… taking five minutes to look at their life from the inside out can definitely improve every marketing move you make.

    It’s a smart use of five minutes.

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    7 Lies of Marketing http://rayedwards.com/7-lies-of-marketing/ http://rayedwards.com/7-lies-of-marketing/#comments Mon, 11 Oct 2010 08:30:20 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1253 Seven myths — even lies — of marketing. Ignore them to your profit.

    1. People buy what they need.
    2. Quality products will always win.
    3. Cheaper price always wins.
    4. More features mean more sales.
    5. People don’t judge a book by its cover.
    6. Logic guides buying decisions.
    7. Products must make sense to succeed.

    Presented, as Serling might say, for your pondering.

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    Make Money in Tough Times http://rayedwards.com/make-money-in-tough-times/ http://rayedwards.com/make-money-in-tough-times/#comments Sat, 09 Oct 2010 08:30:02 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1230 It’s a hot topic these days. How do we make money in these “tough times”?

    I’d like to propose that the answer is pretty simple: to make money in tough times… solve tough problems.

    If you can solve tough problems for people, they’ll be willing to pay you for it. Especially in tough times.

    Hey, I said the answer was simple-I didn’t say it was easy.

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    3 Little Marketing Moves That Make More Money http://rayedwards.com/3-little-marketing-moves-that-make-more-money/ http://rayedwards.com/3-little-marketing-moves-that-make-more-money/#respond Tue, 05 Oct 2010 08:30:56 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1227 If you’re looking to make more money in your business, and you’d like to do that immediately, it may take less work than you think.

    You’ve heard the saying that “little hinges swing the doors”. Perhaps you’ve heard it so often that the profundity of that saying has been lost on you. The fact is, small actions can lead to big results-and consciously chosen small actions can lead to enormous results.

    Here are three little “marketing moves” that can enrich your profits almost immediately, when performed correctly. Please do not dismiss them based on their simplicity; their power springs from their simplicity.

    1. Call your customers on the phone.
    It’s great if you have a script developed for this, but even if you don’t… call them anyway. Simply calling a large number of your customers and asking, “How are things going? Is there anything we can do to help?” Will often lead to new business and sales-even though that wasn’t the overt intention of your call. If you don’t get results with this technique… you haven’t called enough people.

    2. Send your customers mail. Some people don’t answer the phone, or don’t respond well to phone calls. No problem. Send a piece of mail to your customers. It doesn’t even have to be a piece of mail with an offer (although that’s probably the best piece of mail to send). The problem with sending mail that makes an offer is most people will do it wrong. Most people will make it look so much like an ad, that it will end up in the trash can. So here’s an alternative: send a one-page letter, hand-addressed and hand-signed, that says something like, “How are things going? Is there anything we can do to help? Here’s our phone number-please call…”. Don’t laugh. Some people will call. And the ones who do are your best prospects.

    3. Ask for referrals.
    Call up your current customers, and ask them if they feel you’re doing a good job for them. Most of them, presumably, will say yes. If that’s the case, ask them, “Who else can you think of who might benefit from our help?” Maybe even give them suggestions to help jog their memory. If done correctly, simply asking for referrals will get you new business; the fact is, almost nobody does this. Prove it to yourself: when was the last time you asked for a referral?

    There you go. Three little marketing moves that can put money in your bank account-almost immediately.

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    Their Reasons, Not Yours http://rayedwards.com/their-reasons-not-yours/ http://rayedwards.com/their-reasons-not-yours/#comments Sun, 03 Oct 2010 01:14:15 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1215 It is possible, perhaps even common, to get the desired behavior from another person for reasons completely different from your own. I offer this without commentary on what it might mean morally, or psychologically, merely as an observation.

    When I was about 14 years old I wanted a job at a radio station. The problem is, the radio station wasn’t hiring. I hit upon the strategy of showing up with annoying regularity day after day, asking for some kind of job. Apparently the annoying part of my strategy worked: the manager of the radio station finally stopped in the lobby where I was waiting when they, looked at me and said, “if I give you a job, would you stop bugging me?”

    I got what I wanted; he got what he wanted. Just not for the same reasons.

    In the end, did the reasons matter? My point (and, with apology to Ellen Degeneres, I do have one) is that we should never confuse our own motivation for the other person’s motivation. Thinking about what motivates the other person in any negotiation is almost always a more effective basis for that negotiation.

    Even though we may feel our reasons to be superior to those of the other party, our reasons are not the same as theirs.

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    On Just Getting Started http://rayedwards.com/on-just-getting-started/ http://rayedwards.com/on-just-getting-started/#comments Sat, 25 Sep 2010 08:30:18 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1184 I’m sitting in the back of the room at Ken McArthur’s JV Alert seminar in Denver.

    People paid big bucks to be here, it’s a small group…and you’d be surprised at how many “gurus” are in the room.

    Joel Comm is here.

    So is Rick Raddatz.

    Rick Buttz. Frank Sousa.

    Tip of the iceburg.

    Why am I telling you this? Two reasons:

    1. If you want to be successful, you must never stop learning. No matter how successful you already are.
    2. Attending seminars and conferences “works”. You learn things that can help you make money. But it’s up to you to do something with what you learn.

    Information alone does not create profit – profit is only created when you take action.

    A common theme that often gets discussed at these events is how all of us have tons of information and software — but we’re not using it.

    Yet when the “new thing” comes out, we all rush to buy it.

    Problem is, we still haven’t used the last “new thing” we bought! Think about it…

    How many conferences have you attended in the last year? How many pages of notes did you take? How many information products did you buy? How’s all that working out for you?

    Did you take action on all the stuff you made notes about?

    Did you implement the strategies and tactics you learned in the information products you bought?

    Did you even open the information products you bought?

    It’s okay – we’re all “guilty”, to some extent.

    But here’s my “bonus tip” and “mini-action plan” for the weekend:

    Take stock of all your notes, information products, and memberships.

    Set aside a small amount of time each day for the next couple of weeks.

    Each day, pick one set of notes… one information product… or one membership site…

    And go to work.

    Implement just one step, strategy, or tactic.

    Just one.

    Just get started.

    I predict that if you do this, you’ll experience quick, profitable growth in your business.

    I hope you’ll share your results with me here on the blog (just comment below).

    Have a great weekend!

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    Market Like Bobby Fischer http://rayedwards.com/market-like-bobby-fischer/ http://rayedwards.com/market-like-bobby-fischer/#comments Thu, 23 Sep 2010 08:30:51 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1176 Bobby Fischer is arguably the greatest chess player who ever lived.

    According to Wikipedia, “As a teenager, Fischer became famous as a chess prodigy. In 1972, he became the first, and so far the only, American to win the official World Chess Championship“.

    When I was a teenager, I became infatuated with the game of chess largely because of Bobby Fischer.

    One of the first things I learned was that it’s necessary to think many moves ahead if you stand a chance of winning the game. You must anticipate the consequences of your moves, and the consequences of your opponent’s potential moves.

    This requires a lot of thinking. And so it is with your business.

    What I’m going to encourage you to do is not too tough, though… I’m going to ask you to think only one move ahead.

    By thinking one move ahead, I believe you can win the game of business. Here’s what I mean…

    Think about your most successful competitor. I mean really think about them; go look at their website, examine the e-mails they’ve been sending out to their opt-in list, and analyze their promotions over the course of the past year.

    I actually want you to be very specific about this. You’ll see why.

    What is the next significant holiday coming up on the calendar? As I write this, the next big Holiday in the US will be Halloween. Of course, Halloween-themed marketing has already begun in most industries, so for this exercise we need to jump to the next significant holiday (the reason will become apparent in just a moment).

    The next significant holiday (after Halloween) is Thanksgiving. So while everyone else is thinking about how they’re going to market during the Thanksgiving holiday, thinking one move ahead leads us to consider Christmas.

    Now look at those marketing materials from your competitor (in fact look at the marketing materials from all your significant competitors). What did they do to use Christmas as a touchpoint in their marketing last year?

    Put on your thinking cap. Is there a way you can use, but modify and improve upon that idea this year?

    The trick is that you have now done is thinking well in advance of Christmas -while your competitors are still thinking about Thanksgiving. This gives you the opportunity to get your promotional marketing materials into the hands of your prospects and customers long before your competitors do.

    Now the fact is, the Thanksgiving holiday is actually bundled up (at least in the United States) in the triumvirate of holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day come as a three pack for us here. Marketing departments often plan their activities for these three holidays well in advance, as a kind of “three pack”.

    So most companies already know what they’re going to be doing promotionally for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day holidays. But our little thought experiment has at least shown you how this process of “thinking one move ahead” works.

    Now Think One More Move Ahead

    It should be simple for you to see that the next significant holiday after New Year’s is in fact Valentine’s Day.

    My suggestion for you is: start thinking about your Valentine’s Day promotion now.

    Craft it carefully and strategically.

    Put together superior marketing materials, copy, audio, video and what ever else you plan to use in your campaign. And launch that sucker on January 2. Your competitors won’t know what hit them.

    And while they’re scrambling to figure out how to counteract your Valentine’s Day promotion, you’ll be busy assembling your promotion for St. Patrick’s Day… and Easter… and Mother’s Day.

    Not Just For Holidays

    You can apply the same principle to trends within your particular market segment.

    Are most of your competitors only just now beginning to use audio on their web pages?

    Or, are the people you compete with only just now discovering the power of blogs?

    Time for you to think one move ahead: move onto video, video blogging, and social media. Establish a footprint long before your competitors do, and you will be nearly unassailable… all because you simply thought one move ahead.

    And you don’t even have to be Bobby Fischer.

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    Marketing By Number http://rayedwards.com/marketing-by-number/ http://rayedwards.com/marketing-by-number/#comments Wed, 22 Sep 2010 08:30:39 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1172 We live by the calendar.

    Our year is marked by signposts.

    Dates on the calendar around which we plan our annual journey.

    In the USA, some of the major calendar signposts include:

    •    New Year’s Day
    •    SuperBowl Sunday
    •    Valentine’s Day
    •    St. Patrick’s Day
    •    Easter
    •    Memorial Day
    •    Mother’s Day
    •    Father’s Day
    •    Independence Day
    •    Back to School
    •    Labor Day
    •    Halloween
    •    Veteran’s Day
    •    Thanksgiving
    •    Christmas

    There are many others, of course, and your list will vary depending on your cultural and religious background.

    The point is, the major signposts are easy to identify. And easy to construct a marketing calendar around. What’s the point of that?

    We copywriters talk a lot about “joining the conversation already taking place in the prospect’s mind” (a phrase borrowed from Robert Collier).

    When you tie your marketing efforts to major mindset changing calendar dates, you go a long way toward “joining” that conversation.

    John E. Kennedy identified the power of “reason why” copy: prospects are more likely to respond if you give them a reason why they should. They’re more likely to pay attention to your promotion if you give them a “reason why” you’re doing the promotion to begin with.

    Retailers have done this so long (and with so little imagination) we’ve grown accustomed to it. (“The January White Sale”… “The Sweetheart Sale” for Valentine’s Day… “Saving the Green” sales for St. Patrick’s Day… etc.).

    The good news for your online business is that all of these “old school” ideas work very well online. And if you can get a little more creative with them (for instance, having a “Click Your Treat” promotion around Halloween) they work even better.

    The point is: give your prospects and customers a new reason to visit your website at least once per month.
    Planning your promotional calendar becomes very easy when you adopt this model. The list above is not a bad start.

    If you’re more ambitious, you can select from hundreds of “reasons why” at 2010 Holidays & Observances Calendar … and have a reason to do a promotion 52 times per year.

    Need ideas about what sort of promotions to do? Borrow ideas from the businesses that have made an art form of this method: brick & mortar retailers. Car dealers, big box stores, and grocery stores in particular will supply you with a rich “swipe file” of ideas.

    Just visit your local library (yes, they still exist) and get the back issues of your local newspaper’s Sunday issues (it’ll have the most ads) for the last year. You’ll have 52 “mini-swipe files” to build your library of promotions from.

    What do you suppose might happen to your sales and profits then?

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    How To Overcome Skepticism http://rayedwards.com/how-to-overcome-skepticism/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-overcome-skepticism/#comments Fri, 17 Sep 2010 20:19:37 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1152 You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but prospects are more skeptical online than ever before.

    The Holy Grail of online marketing is getting the prospect’s email address (so you can start building a permission-based marketing relationship with them).

    In the not-too-distant past, you could generate leads online simply by offering a free newsletter or special report. This doesn’t work so well anymore. Why?

    The reason is simple: there’s too much ‘junk’ being offered, and prospects are wise to this. People just won’t give up their email address for a junky ‘special report’ like they used to.

    So what’s a marketer to do? Here are three ways to break through skepticism and get your prospects to give you their email address:

    1. Offer Superior Premiums

    Offering a superior premium will help you “cut through the clutter”, but to be effective your premium must be clearly superior.

    Commonplace and boring: “Special Reports” and “Free Tele-Seminars”.

    Better: software that performs a specific task, a free telephone consultation (make it clear this is not a sales pitch), or a free membership website.

    2. Use Video Testimonials

    There’s a reason infomercial producers make their 30-minute ads over 70% testimonials: testimonials overcome skepticism.

    These days, it’s cheap and easy to make video testimonials for your website. Get your best customers singing your praises on video, and put these snippets on your website. Lots of them.

    3. Use The “Reciprocity Sequence Method”

    You’ve no doubt heard of the ‘Reciprocity’ principal: If I give you a gift, you feel compelled to reciprocate.

    The trouble is, your prospects often have heard of it too, rendering it somewhat less effective.

    I use a technique I call the “Reciprocity Sequence Method”… which is simply giving your prospects a series of gifts so that the “Reciprocity Impulse” becomes almost overwhelming.

    It sounds elementary, but few people do it. And it’s very powerful.

    Think about how you can ‘stack’ a sequence of 3-5 gifts in a short period of time, and THEN make an offer to your prospect.

    Key points to remember: keep the sequence confined to a short time period, make the gifts relevant to (and an enhancement of) your core offer, and make the offer immediately after giving the final gift.

    While it’s true that skepticism is at a higher level than ever, it’s also true that breaking through is easy when you know how.

    What do you think? Have you run into increased skepticism in your marketing – and if so, how have you successfully over come it? Post your comments below!

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    Fear Is A Prison Of Our Own Making http://rayedwards.com/fear-is-a-prison-of-our-own-making/ http://rayedwards.com/fear-is-a-prison-of-our-own-making/#comments Sat, 11 Sep 2010 14:42:06 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1130 I can’t help but notice how some have seized on the anniversary of the events of 9/11/2001 to further their own agendas, stir up anger and fear, and — to my dismay — even to sell products.

    Look, I’m a marketer. I believe in entrepreneurship. But I think it’s far beneath any of us to fan the flames of fear for personal gain.

    No matter how bad the events that happen around us may be, and no matter how out of control we may feel, we have been endowed with an ability no mere animal has: the ability to control our response to those external circumstances.

    We can choose whether we will dwell in anger, in love… or in fear.

    If we purposely live in fear or anger – or if we encourage others to do so – don’t we empower the very evil we say we oppose?

    Fear is a prison that locks us into patterns of smallness.

    As an American, I too feel the sadness of the loss we all suffered on this day nine years ago. But I will not be defined by another’s act of evil.

    And I will not be driven to hate other men because of it — especially not in the name of God. The God I follow, when beaten and bloodied and killed by the very ones he came to save, said the following: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

    I want to follow that example.

    What if we turned this day into a day to show love to our brothers and sisters, instead of sowing seeds of fear and anger? What if we decided to reap a harvest of forgiveness and reconciliation, instead of a harvest of bitterness?

    I’m not saying it would be easy. Maybe, for mere men, it’s even impossible.

    But what if we tried?

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    Internet Marketing Is Simple http://rayedwards.com/internet-marketing-is-simple/ http://rayedwards.com/internet-marketing-is-simple/#comments Wed, 25 Aug 2010 11:13:05 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1048 Now maybe you’re thinking that I’ve oversimplified it by saying internet marketing is “simple”.

    You’ve tried and tried but haven’t yet succeeded… haven’t yet found that missing element.

    And maybe you think, “Sure. This stuff works for Ray Edwards because you have already made your money… and you already know all the gurus… and you have a big list.. and blah blah blah…”

    Here’s what I can tell you.

    I meet every couple of weeks with a high-profile marketing buddy for lunch, to brainstorm and share ideas.

    I also meet with a small group of Internet Marketers here in Spokane once a month. There’s about a dozen of us who get together.

    And what I’ve discovered is that no matter what fancy tactic you may try…

    No matter what new “system” you use…

    No matter what new whiz-bang software comes out…

    And no matter how good that new “Marketing Course” is…

    IT’S ALWAYS THE BASICS THAT SELL.

    Market.

    Product.

    Persuasion.

    The basics.

    Simple. Not always easy – but always simple.

    How do you keep yourself focused on the basics in your business (or in your life)? Share below, please…

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    About Those Pesky “Gurus” http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-podcast-episode/ http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-podcast-episode/#comments Tue, 24 Aug 2010 11:12:43 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=1040 Things got all stirred up here in Ray-land this past week, what with my post about the “gurus”. In today’s podcast I talk about what that was really all about…

    As always, if you have feedback or suggestions I’d really like to hear from you.

    Call in your questions or comments to our new, fancy “request line” at (509) 713-2679

    Click for the Podcast Audio:

    Click Here

    Get Ray Edwards in iTunes Podcast

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    http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-podcast-episode/feed/ 10 Things got all stirred up here in Ray-land this past week, what with my post about the “gurus”. In today’s podcast I talk about what that was really all about… As always, if you have feedback or suggestions I’d really like to hear from you. Things got all stirred up here in Ray-land this past week, what with my post about the “gurus”. In today’s podcast I talk about what that was really all about… As always, if you have feedback or suggestions I’d really like to hear from you. Call in your questions or comments to our new, fancy […] Ray Edwards clean
    Ray Edwards Week In Review http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-week-in-review-3/ http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-week-in-review-3/#respond Sat, 07 Aug 2010 10:11:19 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=980 Did you miss any of the delicious, helpful articles I cooked up for you this past week? Well, don’t worry about a thing — I’ve assembled an encore serving of each and every one, just for your convenience.

    How To Get Famous And Make More Money The single easiest way to increase your own legend, get more work, and make more money. The best news is, all it costs is some work on your part!

    The More Bigger Thinking Podcast In this audio podcast (we publish a show the first and third Tuesday of each month) I deal with the Enemies of Bigger Thinking, and give you some tools you can use.

    The Inception Guide To Marketing Sure, Dom Cobb can steal people’s ideas right out of their dreams in the new movie Inception – but he also has a lesson to teach us marketing types. And this is the article where I lay it out for you.

    Something to Believe In There’s value – and longevity – in your convictions. And you can do well by doing good. Who knew?

    Do You Really Want a Four Hour Workweek? What if you actually achieved the “four hour workweek” ideal – would you actually be happy? Or would you be miserable?

    There you go. That ought to give your brain cells a right good workout. See ya Monday!

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    The Inception Guide To Marketing http://rayedwards.com/the-inception-guide-to-marketing/ http://rayedwards.com/the-inception-guide-to-marketing/#comments Wed, 04 Aug 2010 11:48:16 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=962 If you haven’t seen the film Inception yet, don’t worry.

    There are no spoilers here.

    But there’s an important lesson in the movie for marketers and evangelists alike.

    In the film, Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) is talking about the act of “inception” – planting an idea in another person’s mind.

    Here’s what Cobb says:

    “What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.”

    What this means to marketers (or to anyone who wants to spread their ideas) should be obvious: once you have planted an idea in the minds of your audience, it’s very, very difficult for that idea to be dislodged.

    This is why, for example, in a courtroom there is an advantage to telling your side of the story first: the weight of the idea you planted in the jury’s mind is hard for your opponent to overcome.

    The more powerfully and indelibly you can imprint your idea on a large number of minds, the more influence you have. This is the “secret” behind clichés, stereotypes, and proverbs.

    For instance, the advice “look before you leap” is a powerful way of simply and briefly summing up a powerful idea, and that maxim influences many of us when we are about to make a crucial decision.

    The only way to counteract a powerful idea like “look before you leap” is with another idea just as powerful: “he who hesitates is lost”.

    Your goal as a marketer should be to plant your ideas early and often.

    Here’s the takeaway:

    1. Formulate your idea simply and memorably (“Delivering Happiness”, “Getting Things Done”, “Unleashing the IdeaVirus”).
    2. Put your idea into distributable form.
    3. Encourage the free and massive distribution of your idea.

    I know… the question burning in your mind is, “But how do I make money doing that?”

    Good question – with many answers. Three short ones:

    1. You make money explaining the idea. (No matter how simple it is, people will always want you to explain it, and they will pay you to do so.)
    2. You’ve told people what to do (your idea) – now tell them how to do it (and charge them).
    3. Leverage the Authority gained from spreading the idea into other, profitable jobs, gigs, and businesses.
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    The $1,000 Barbecue Grill http://rayedwards.com/the-1000-barbecue-grill/ http://rayedwards.com/the-1000-barbecue-grill/#comments Fri, 30 Jul 2010 11:04:46 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=946 You should charge more for whatever you sell. And you should be unapologetic about it.

    That’s true for probably 80% of the students and clients I deal with, and for 90% or more of businesses I encounter along life’s way.

    “But Ray, my business is different.”

    Aargh!

    If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times from clients and students in some variant form: “I can’t charge a high price for my product, and I can’t use direct marketing or info-marketing techniques, because my product is different. It’s a commodity. It’s physical, it’s not an info-product. I have a lot of competition. Blah, blah, blah…”

    Balderdash.

    I learned a long time ago (from Dan Kennedy) — your business is not different.

    If you feel you can’t charge a premium for whatever it is you sell, you have failed to differentiate your offering… you have failed to show the value of your widget/idea/service over your competitor(s)… and you have perhaps simply failed to have the backbone to say, “This is how much it costs.”

    Case in point: The Big Green Egg grill.

    The company that makes this thing is not a client of mine, but they exhibit the qualities I look for and do my best to instill in my clients: a committment to good marketing, to having a premium product, to charging a premium price, to selling to a base of fantatical customers, and to using good info-marketing and direct marketing techniques to support said practices.

    They sell barbecue grills for $1,000.

    That’s not a typo.

    In a world where you can buy a grill for $9 at the drug store, or $30 at Target, these guys sell grills for anywhere from $350 at the “cheap” end to more than $1,000 at the high end. And they have plenty of add-ons and upsells too.

    You could learn a lot from the Big Green Egg guys.

    Worth studying and thinking about how to use the same ideas, techniques and approaches in your business – no matter what you sell.

    Because, despite what you may think… your business is not different.

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    Get More Sales With Pugnacious Persistence http://rayedwards.com/get-more-sales-with-pugnacious-persistence/ http://rayedwards.com/get-more-sales-with-pugnacious-persistence/#comments Tue, 27 Jul 2010 16:03:51 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=918 This is Rollo Tamasi – my Pug.

    Movie fans will recognize the name; if you’re curious, just Google it.

    That’s not the point of this piece, though.

    You may not know (or even care) that since May 18, my family and I have been traveling the USA in our motorhome. Our family includes me, She Who Must Be Adored (my wife), our son… and two dogs.

    Rollo discovered early on in this long journey (over 5,000 miles so far) that his preferred riding spot is in my wife’s lap. It’s pretty cute, if not always comfortable for my wife.

    Because having a 25 pound dog on your lap for hours on end is not comfortable, my wife frequently banishes Rollo to the rear sofa. He usually obediently lumbers back to the sofa, waits a few minutes… and the next thing you know, there he is. At my wife’s feet. Looking up with those big brown eyes, silently asking, “Can I please get back on your lap now?”

    Once she has noticed him, my wife will say “No, Rollo – go back to the couch.”

    And he slowly shuffles off to the sofa, head hung down as if he’d been scolded for some really, really Bad Thing. Sits on the sofa for a few minutes. And then… you guessed it: he’s back at her feet.

    I’ve seen him perform this little dance as many as half a dozen times in a row, in the course of 30 minutes.

    No whining.

    No barking.

    No bad behavior, really.

    Oh, occasionally my wife gets a little irritated and maybe firms up her tone of voice – but in therollo-lap end, she always sighs, smiles, and says, “Oh, okay. Come on up.”

    And Rollo happily hops into her lap and soon is serenading us with the rip-roaring snores only an overweight Pug can manage.

    I think there’s a very simple lesson here for sales people. And we’re all sales people, in one way or another.

    Do you “get” the lesson? Post your insights here on the blog. I’ll pick one commenter to receive an advance, signed copy of my forthcoming book on copywriting and online persuasion, Writing Riches.

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    Predators: You Are The Prey http://rayedwards.com/predators-you-are-the-prey/ http://rayedwards.com/predators-you-are-the-prey/#respond Thu, 22 Jul 2010 11:17:53 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=869 Maybe you’ve seen the new movie, Predators.

    The plot is simple: humans find themselves on a planet that is a game preserve, and the humans are the prey. They’re being hunted by aliens for sport.

    This is how most of us feel about marketers. We feel like we are the prey, and the marketers are the hunters. Merciless, weird hunters who are not really interested in our pain, our fear, or our lives.

    That’s why people are drawn to marketers who actually care about the people they sell to. It’s why company’s with high standards of excellence, customer service, and integrity enjoy long-lived success.

    From the marketer’s viewpoint, it look like this: it’s the difference between being a predator – or being the shepherd who protects and cares for the flock.

    Which one are you? And if you don’t like the answer, here’s a follow-up question: which one will you be today?

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    What You Really Get Paid For http://rayedwards.com/what-you-really-get-paid-for/ http://rayedwards.com/what-you-really-get-paid-for/#comments Wed, 21 Jul 2010 11:08:13 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=866 This article is only for those who already have a website that’s making money online.

    I’m about to show you how you can double or triple your conversions without lifting a finger.

    Seriously.

    So, if you have a money-making site online right now, keep reading.

    The rest of you may be excused (sorry, just figured I might as well be up front about who this is for).

    Here’s the deal…

    Have you ever heard that story about the ocean-going ship engine that failed?

    In the version I heard, it was the Queen Elizabeth luxury liner.

    The vessel’s owners brought in all their on-staff engineers to fix it, but none of them could get the engine running.

    Finally, they brought in an expert who had been fixing ships all his life.

    The old expert hauled in his bag of tools and looked around a bit.

    He crawled all over that engine room, looking, touching, thinking.

    Finally, he went to his bag, pulled out a small hammer, and tapped a few times on a valve.

    The engine roared to life.

    A week later, the owners of the ship received a bill for ten thousand dollars.

    They were outraged. After all, the man had only tapped on a valve with a hammer!

    They immediately demanded he send them an itemized bill explaining his charges. He sent them a bill that read:

    “Tapping with a hammer…………………$2

    Knowing where to tap………………$9,998”

    Knowing where to tap is important to your sales copy, too.

    The simplest changes can make the most profound difference in your results.

    There is an art to writing copy, but there is also a science to getting the maximum result. And that science is called “testing”.

    Here’s the “magic formula”: get a sales letter that makes SOME money.

    That gets SOME conversions and sales.

    Then TEST the heck out of new headlines, deck copy, subheads, offers, guarantees, pictures,etc.

    In other words, use the ART of copywriting plus the SCIENCE of testing to find out…

    WHERE TO TAP.

    As marketers and copywriters – knowing where to tap is what we get paid for.

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    Ray Edwards Small Business Marketing Podcast Episode 4 – BS Lies That Hold You Back http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-3-bs-lies-that-hold-you-back/ http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-3-bs-lies-that-hold-you-back/#comments Fri, 09 Jul 2010 17:45:57 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=840 rei-sbmIt’s another “On The Road” Edition of the show… recorded “live” in the Copywriting Motorhome somewhere in the hills of South Carolina.

    Today we talk about the “BS Lies That Hold You Back”, “Loser’s Limp”, and my favorite new internet gizmo.

    Resources Mentioned In The Show

    And once again, if you have feedback or suggestions I’d really like to hear from you.

    You can call in your questions for next show at (509)624-2220 … just tell my receptionist you need to leave a VOICEMAIL message for Ray.

    UPDATE: Call in your questions to our new, fancy “request line” at (509) 713-2679

    Click for the Podcast Audio:

    Click Here

    Get Ray Edwards in iTunes Podcast

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    http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-3-bs-lies-that-hold-you-back/feed/ 8 It’s another “On The Road” Edition of the show… recorded “live” in the Copywriting Motorhome somewhere in the hills of South Carolina. It’s another “On The Road” Edition of the show… recorded “live” in the Copywriting Motorhome somewhere in the hills of South Carolina. Ray Edwards clean
    Mr. Spock’s Guide To Sales http://rayedwards.com/mr-spocks-guide-to-sales/ http://rayedwards.com/mr-spocks-guide-to-sales/#comments Wed, 07 Jul 2010 12:10:08 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=823 We buy because of emotion, and we justify the decision using logic.

    Good sales people identify the emotion driving their prospect, and then line up the “reasons why” the purchase is a good idea. They use logic to close the sale, but logic is not making the sale.

    “Reason why” selling even worked with Captain Kirk on Star Trek.

    Kirk was a hot-head, you will remember. He wanted to spring into action. Spock, the non-emotional, scientific Vulcan, deftly supplied his Captain the logic needed to justify the decision.

    Get this: Spock was the consummate sales person. A pro. Kirk was not.

    Most sales people who turn us off are selling from the Captain Kirk school of sales – all emotion, passion and pushiness.

    The sales people we love, the ones we happily buy from, are from the Mr. Spock school of sales; they simply supply us with the logical reasons that support what we wanted to do already.

    Be like Spock; supply the reasons why. It’s the logical thing to do.

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    Make Advertising A Profit Center (Not An Expense) http://rayedwards.com/make-advertising-a-profit-center-not-an-expense/ http://rayedwards.com/make-advertising-a-profit-center-not-an-expense/#comments Tue, 06 Jul 2010 12:04:10 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=821 Most advertising is an expense – or worse – a mystery expense. It works like this, most of the time: spend money on some ads, not knowing whether those ads will work, and hope for the best.

    Ogilvy is famous for saying 50% of his ads work – he just didn’t know which 50%.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    You can make your advertising – and more importantly your marketing – a profit center instead of an expense.

    How do you do that?

    Simple. Make it a no-way-to-lose proposition.

    1.    Make sure each ad has a call to action you can measure (call this number, click this link).

    2.    Measure the response to each ad and each call to action.

    3.    Do more of the ones that work and less of the ones that don’t.

    This way you get something from every ad – even if the something is only knowledge of what not to do. You never lose; you always profit either by knowledge or dollars.

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    How To Think Bigger http://rayedwards.com/how-to-think-bigger/ http://rayedwards.com/how-to-think-bigger/#comments Mon, 05 Jul 2010 12:30:57 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=818 ideaI’m thinking bigger about my business – and my life — than ever, and you should too.

    Why?

    To put it simply: nothing of great benefit to anyone was ever created as a result of thinking smaller.

    “Bigger” may refer to a simple matter of scale in terms of dollars (as in revenue & profits). It may also refer to something even more grand…

    Bigger ideas with more leverage. Bigger ways to benefit more people. Bigger opportunities for others (not just for your self or your company). Bigger projects that extend beyond your own lifetime, abilities, talents or resources.

    Yes, I’m talking about the life of your business – and also about the business of life.

    What do I mean specifically? How am I myself thinking bigger? Here are some of the projects/ideas/intentions on my own drawing board now:

    • Growing my own company beyond my “virtual team” and myself.
    • Working with larger businesses to leverage my marketing methods for their greater benefit and profit — and my own.
    • Creating a way for smaller companies and individuals, who in the past could not afford to work with me, access to my advice and thinking. Making it affordable without draining my time, energy and resources.
    • Offering “done for you” services on a wide, duplicable scale.
    • Ramping up my bi-weekly podcast to a weekly; perhaps even expansion back to my old roots by placing the show on radio stations.
    • Developing training systems for small businesses and entrepreneurs that can be facilitated by certified, territory-specific representatives.

    That’s just a smattering of what I’m cooking in the back kitchen at Ray Edwards International, Inc.

    The most important thing about all this is not what bigger plans I’m making, it’s about the reasons why.

    That’s the real “big thinking”. Some of my reasons why:

    • Making the highest and best use of the talents, skills and opportunities God has given me.
    • Breaking the spirit of poverty, lack and insufficiency that plagues America (and especially the American church).
    • Enabling people to enjoy the freedom that comes from a pursuit of personal wealth based on passion and purpose.
    • Creating a business that makes as many other people wealthy as I possibly can.
    • Creating a legacy that will last across generations.
    • Writing books that my great-grandchildren can read and thus know something about the heart of their great-grandfather (and for the record, I don’t even have grandchildren yet.. let alone great-grandchildren – I’m thinking 100 years into the future!).

    Those are reasons that fuel my fire, inspire me, and give me reasons for doing things that mere material gain could never do.

    I believe this kind of thinking is the right – the responsibility – of every breathing person.

    So how about it? Are you willing to join me in thinking bigger? If so, I’d love to hear how you plan to do it – so lay some wisdom on me in the comments here.

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    What Would You Die For? http://rayedwards.com/what-would-you-die-for/ http://rayedwards.com/what-would-you-die-for/#comments Fri, 02 Jul 2010 15:01:34 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=816 Sunday is Independence Day in the USA.

    We celebrate our decision to become an independent nation.

    Our Founding Fathers were willing to fight for that independence. In fact, they were willing to die in order to gain it.

    Question to ponder: what are you willing for fight (and possibly die) in order to gain?

    And if you can’t think of anything… why not?

    Might it be worthwhile coming up with an answer to that question?

    And at the risk of repeating myself from earlier this week: if you can’t figure out what this has to do with business and marketing, you’re just not thinkin’ hard enough.

    Have a great weekend.

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    The Answer To Every Marketing Problem http://rayedwards.com/the-answer-to-every-marketing-problem/ http://rayedwards.com/the-answer-to-every-marketing-problem/#comments Thu, 01 Jul 2010 15:15:38 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=814 Does the guy selling beer at the baseball stadium have a marketing problem?

    Does Disney have trouble marketing umbrellas at their theme park during Florida’s legendary afternoon thundershowers?

    How about fireworks dealers right before the Fourth of July?

    None of these situations present a marketing problem, because people already want the product.

    The product, in other words, sells itself.

    This can happen by design, in any business. You simply have to use your “thinker” to find the hidden opportunities in your business.

    For instance, Disney had a problem with their Florida theme parks. They hadn’t counted on the fact that it rains in Florida. A LOT.

    But this problem was an opportunity in disguise, because someone realized the most valued commodity in a rainstorm is… an umbrella.

    And so when it starts to rain in the Magic Kingdom, there’s a parade, all the “cast members” talk about the “liquid sunshine”… and the umbrellas come out from the back of the store to the front. And they sell themselves.

    What opportunities exist in your business that would allow  you to sell products that prospects don’t have to be persuaded to buy?

    Think about that. Answer it, do something about it — and prosper.

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    World Cup Predictions For Marketers http://rayedwards.com/world-cup-predictions-for-marketers/ http://rayedwards.com/world-cup-predictions-for-marketers/#comments Fri, 25 Jun 2010 15:02:28 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=798 world-cupIf you’re aware of the world around you (meaning: outside the USA), you know one of the hottest topics right now is the World Cup.

    I don’t have any predictions about who will win… but I do have a World Cup prediction: it will be hot news until it’s over.

    That may sound obvious, but there are a couple of lessons marketers could learn if they pay attention.

    1. Events (like the World Cup) can capture attention – even of those who are not normally interested. If you can’t create your own “World Cup” – and I submit that you might not want to discard the possibility out of hand – you could certainly capitalize on the events that already have the attention of your audience, yes?
    2. The World Cup did not sneak up on anyone. It was on the calendar over a year ago. How many “events” could you tie your marketing to that are coming  up in the next 12 months? How many of them are already firm dates on the calendar of all your prospects (think Holidays and big sporting events, possibly movies/books and seasonal events like “back to school”, etc.).

    Just sayin.

    And writing copy and marketing materials for these events becomes drop-dead simple. I even have a product that can help – http://LaunchCopyExplained.com – but that’s not even the point.

    The point is: it’s almost too late to capitalize on the World Cup.

    But it’s not too late to drag out your calendar and cook up a promo for, say, the Fourth of July.

    And so on.

    Will you? We’ll see.

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    3 Lies That Hold You Back http://rayedwards.com/3-lies-that-hold-you-back/ http://rayedwards.com/3-lies-that-hold-you-back/#respond Wed, 23 Jun 2010 15:00:58 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=791 There’s not much holding you back other than your own thinking.

    Our culture is replete with stories of people who had every disadvantage yet succeeded wildly – and that not through luck but through focused effort.

    Submitted as proof: Ray Charles, Stephen Hawking, and Helen Keller.

    So what is it about our thinking that so often holds us back – especially when we have no great physical disadvantage? (Note: the aforementioned cases preclude any healthy person from excuse-making… and they also demonstrate that what I’m about to say applies even to those who are blind, deaf, or crippled.)

    Here are three lies that hold you back. Escape these lies, and escape the limitations you’ve imposed on your self.

    1.    The past equals the future. The perfect lie for convincing you to not even try anything, since it’s “never worked in the past”. Good thing Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, and Abraham Lincoln didn’t buy this lie.

    2.    Ready, Aim, Fire. Sounds like good wisdom, until you realize most get stuck on “Aim”. So that it ends up being “Ready, Aim… Aim… Aim… Aim…”

    3.    Proven methods are safest. Maybe they are, but if we relied only on “proven methods”, we’d have no space shuttle, no antibiotics, no Apple computer, and no polio vaccine.

    There are of course many other lies that hold people back.

    For instance, one of the lies of online marketing is that it’s hard to get traffic to your site.

    The truth is just the opposite.

    In fact, it’s pretty easy to get hundreds of other people promoting your site for you – free – when you know how (see http://MySalesArmy.com for details on how to do it).

    What lies are you believing that bar you from greatness?

    Believing a lie means you are, in a sense, partnering with a liar. Think about it.

    And then do something about it!

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    Stop Bullies Instantly http://rayedwards.com/stop-bullies-instantly/ http://rayedwards.com/stop-bullies-instantly/#comments Tue, 22 Jun 2010 13:00:15 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=783 Nobody likes being bullied.boxing-gloves

    Somehow, though, lots of us allow ourselves to be bullied all through our adult life.

    What about in your case? Who bullies you?

    Your spouse? Your boss? Your mother/father/siblings?

    For some of us, the answer is obvious (like the examples I just gave you)… and for others it is more subtle – and dangerous.

    A lot of us are bullied by the voices in our own head.

    I’m not talking crazy-town voices, here. I’m talking about the voices of fear, criticism, and self-doubt. The voices that stop you from reaching your dreams.

    “You’ve never succeeded before,” those voices say, “What makes you think this time will be any different?”

    Or they might say, “Nobody has ever done that before. Who are you to try it?”

    Or even, “Everything in your life has gone wrong. That is never going to change.”

    Where do those voices come from, anyway? Who IS that in your head?

    Right.

    It’s you.

    Re-playing old lines that have virtually no meaning in your current situation.

    Or, even worse, functioning as “negative affirmations”.

    Bullying yourself. That’s what you’re doing.

    Would you like to punch that bully in the nose, so they never bother you again? It’s simple to do. Just do the thing you’re afraid of – even while you’re still afraid of it.

    That’s what Steve Jobs did when he launched the iPhone.

    Not only was it NOT a “sure thing” when Apple launched “a new cell phone”… lots of experts were calling it a big mistake. Saying the market was too competitive, Apple’s phone was too expensive, and that people would never be willing to pay for such an overpriced toy that only operated on a second-rate carrier like AT&T.

    But Steve didn’t listen to all those voices. And he decided to prove them wrong.

    Oh, sure, NOW it seems obvious that iPhone would be a winner. But it was far from obvious before Steve had the courage to punch the bullies in the nose.

    Apple just launched the newest version of its phone – iPhone 4 – and even in pre-order it was a resounding success. (By the way, there’s a great analysis of Apple’s latest launch here:

    http://www.tier23.com/track/go.php?c=pla

    It’s a great little video breakdown of why it worked so well. Watch it for valuable lessons.)

    Time to punch your own bully in the nose.

    Whether it’s your own voice, or someone else’s – it’s time to strike back.

    What is it you would be doing if you stopped listening to the voices that tell you it can’t be done?

    Seriously think about that question until you have an answer.

    Then go do that thing. Take one action – the next physical action in the process – that gets you started on that new path.

    And celebrate.

    Because you just bloodied the bully’s nose.

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    The A-Team School of Marketing http://rayedwards.com/the-a-team-school-of-marketing/ http://rayedwards.com/the-a-team-school-of-marketing/#comments Mon, 21 Jun 2010 12:17:51 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=781 the-a-team-2010-posterI just saw the new A-Team movie. Twice.

    For those who don’t know, it’s a remake of the old TV show, and it’s about an elite group of Army Rangers who “specialize in the impossible”.

    The unit – called an “Alpha Unit” or “A-Team” – is led by Colonel Hannibal Smith. And Hannibal has some trademark wisdom that allows his team to accomplish the impossible; it’s wisdom that works for marketers, too. Here are three gems:

    1. “No matter how random things appear, there’s always a plan.” Seems like just when things get darkest for the A-Team, that’s when Hannibal’s plan unfolds like clockwork. And it’s a thing of beauty to behold. Marketers are well-advised to have a plan of attack, especially in this sometimes perilous New Economy. Do YOU have a plan? Or are you just “faking it”, making it up as you go along?

    2. “Give me a minute, I’m good. Give me an hour, we’re great. Give me six months and I’m unbeatable.” Hannibal knows the value of time well spent in planning in research – and given enough time, knows he can’t be beaten. When the chips are down, do you have the confidence mindset that there is always a solution to any marketing problem, given enough time?

    3. “I love it when a plan comes together.” Hannibal’s greatest joy seems to be his crazy plans coming to fruition – something every marketer should be able to relate to!

    If you need a shot of inspiration for your business, you could do worse than going to the movies and watching the A-Team in action!

    And if you’d like your own A-Team out there on the Internet, promoting your products and websites for you..

    …if you’d like them to do it for free, until they make you money…

    …and if you’d like to get your hands on a plan for doing it that’s every bit as good as one of Hannibal’s plans…

    …check out http://MySalesArmy.com!

    You too will love it when a plan comes together.

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    Ray Edwards Small Business Marketing Podcast Episode 3 – Product Launches and More http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-3-product-launches-and-more/ http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-3-product-launches-and-more/#comments Tue, 15 Jun 2010 12:01:25 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=775 rei-sbmThis is the “On The Road” Edition of the show… recorded “live” in a coffee shop. Wow.

    Hey it just goes to show you: imperfect action beats perfect contemplation, every time.

    For those who are interested, here’s the microphone I’m using – I wrongly said in the show it was a Logitech, but it’s actually a Plantronics headset.

    Resources Mentioned In The Show

    And once again, if you have feedback or suggestions I’d really like to hear from you.

    What would make the show something you would NOT miss? What would make it a MUST-LISTEN?

    Click for the Podcast Audio:

    Click Here

    Get Ray Edwards in iTunes Podcast

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    http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-3-product-launches-and-more/feed/ 6 This is the “On The Road” Edition of the show… recorded “live” in a coffee shop. Wow. Hey it just goes to show you: imperfect action beats perfect contemplation, every time. For those who are interested, here’s the microphone I’m using – I wrongly said... This is the “On The Road” Edition of the show… recorded “live” in a coffee shop. Wow. Hey it just goes to show you: imperfect action beats perfect contemplation, every time. For those who are interested, here’s the microphone I’m using – I wrongly said in the show it was a Logitech, but it’s actually […] Ray Edwards clean
    Cubicle Escape Artists, Unite! http://rayedwards.com/cubicle-escape-artists-unite/ http://rayedwards.com/cubicle-escape-artists-unite/#comments Wed, 09 Jun 2010 15:52:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=769 copywriting-motorhome

    copywriting-motorhome-300x174

    My friend Jason Van Orden and his business partner, Jeremy Frandsen recently coined a term I really love: “cubicle escape artist”.

    It’s a term that invokes curiosity.

    And yet I believe people instinctively know what it means, and their curiosity is really disguised hope.

    People know that a “cubicle escape artist” is someone who has somehow escaped the old J-O-B and found a way to be free. And people want to know what that way is, and how they can do it themselves.

    This just demonstrates that people are willing and ready to move from the Old Economy to the New Economy – and people instinctively know there’s some way to use the Internet to do this. I’ll get to that in a moment…

    When someone (like Jason and Jeremy) coins a nice little phrase that sums up that idea, people are attracted to that like bears to honey.

    I know I was, when I decided to break out of a great radio broadcasting business.

    This quick post is being written from the back of the Copywriting Motorhome, which was paid for by my own “cubicle escape” a few years ago. I’m on a three-month spiritual journey around the USA (a 7,500 mile odyssey), and yet I’m still preparing to launch my own new Internet venture and managing three client launches while on the road.

    So I know cubicle escape is possible.

    In fact, while I love Jason and Jeremy’s term (and I highly recommend you check out their free podcast entitled Internet Business Mastery), I think of myself as  something a little more radical…

    So from now on, please think of me as an Economic Freedom Fighter™.

    I hereby lay claim to that handle.

    My mission: to free those captive to the poverty mindset, to help people build wealth, and bring more prosperity to the world… using the power of the Internet and the alchemy of marketing.

    And make no mistake – it is a fight.

    The common mentality, the mindset of the average person, is the employee-factory-wageslave mentality.

    People with the average mindset will scoff at your efforts to escape the 9-5. If you’re a business owner, “average” business owners will try and tell you why your efforts to improve your business or thrive in “tough” times are doomed to fail.

    Average people do not want you to succeed wildly, because quite frankly it makes them look bad.

    My advice to you: refuse to be average.

    Rise above ordinary.

    Step into your best identity, and join me (and others) in the fight for economic freedom. Resist mediocrity.

    So…‘till the next time, this is your friendly Economic Freedom Fighter™ urging you to fight the good fight.

    “If you’re hearing this message – you are the resistance.”

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    Ray Edwards Small Business Marketing Podcast Episode 2: Time For Dollars? http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-2-time-for-dollars/ http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-2-time-for-dollars/#comments Tue, 01 Jun 2010 12:01:18 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=766 rei-sbmThe Story: Follow up to the initial episode of Ray Edwards Show podcast — all about marketing and productivity.

    The Point: Know what drives me bananas? People who spout off about how  you should stop “trading time for dollars”. I think it’s virtually impossible to avoid “trading time for dollars”. And I think I do a pretty darn good job proving it in this podcast.

    And once again, if you have feedback or suggestions I’d really like to hear from you.

    What would make the show something you would NOT miss? What would make it a MUST-LISTEN?

    The Resource From “Tips, Tools and Tactics”: Linx Boss Backlinking Service

    Click for the Podcast Audio:

    Click Here

    Get Ray Edwards in iTunes Podcast

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    http://rayedwards.com/ray-edwards-small-business-marketing-podcast-episode-2-time-for-dollars/feed/ 6 The Story: Follow up to the initial episode of Ray Edwards Show podcast — all about marketing and productivity. The Point: Know what drives me bananas? People who spout off about how  you should stop “trading time for dollars”. The Story: Follow up to the initial episode of Ray Edwards Show podcast — all about marketing and productivity. The Point: Know what drives me bananas? People who spout off about how  you should stop “trading time for dollars”. I think it’s virtually impossible to avoid “trading time for dollars”. And I think I do […] Ray Edwards clean
    Freelancer’s Guide: Get New Clients http://rayedwards.com/the-freelancers-guide-to-getting-new-clients/ http://rayedwards.com/the-freelancers-guide-to-getting-new-clients/#comments Mon, 10 May 2010 16:58:26 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=756 dollar-signSince publishing my last post, I’ve gotten lots of questions from people who want to start service businesses, who have marketable skills and talents, but who are either intimidated or even stopped cold by the idea of getting new clients.

    Many of these otherwise bold, creative, talented individuals feel somehow inept or ill-equipped to convince people to pay them for their valuable services. Fear not, Faithful Freelancer, for the answer is easier than you may think.

    The first thing we have to deal with is the internal attitude that most freelancers live with; that attitude, summed up, is one of very low self-worth. Why is this? It’s probably more of a cultural question, bound up in the American ideal of perfectionism and performance. Obviously, this is beyond the scope of a simple blog post. So let me deal at least with the surface symptom of this condition. To put it quite simply: if people are willing to pay you anything at all, then your work has value. How much people are willing to pay you is based in part on the quality of your work, and in part on the quality of your marketing.

    Now just in case some may object, let me be clear: I am not suggesting that it is good, honest, or ethical to knowingly sell a product that is somehow defective. That is the furthest from my intention. I’m a champion of excellence, and a believer that every project you work on should be a project at the end of which you can say honestly, “That was the best work of which I was capable.”

    However… it is possible to get so bound up in the ideal of perfection that you never actually attempt or finish a project because you are never able to reach a point where you say it is “good enough”.

    The first step to overcoming the self-worth problem faced by most freelancers is to trust your instinct about what is good enough, and what is not good enough. Your instinct-or perhaps better said, that “still, small voice” that you hear in your heart-will tell you when your work is, in fact, “good enough”.

    Now, back to the subject of marketing (the second half of our equation that determines how much people are willing to pay for your services). While you may or may not be comfortable with the idea that the quality of your marketing contributes massively to the value people place on your work, it is true. Colleague and copywriter Ben Settle, in a recent edition of his Crypto Marketing newsletter (I am a paying subscriber and highly recommend it), makes the point beautifully:

    Who do you think will get more clients faster: (1) The straight “A” student lawyer fresh out of Harvard, who nobody knows and just set up his practice with a sign outside his door or… (2) The “C” level lawyer who barely graduated from a cheaper, little-known law school… but who is interviewed about legal questions on the radio for an hour on a big station that reaches the entire community? Like it or not… the mediocre radio lawyer will probably win every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Why? Because he’s on the radio… and the highfalutin’ guy with all the degrees isn’t!

    With this in mind, I’m going to make two assumptions.

    1. The skill or talent you plan to sell as a freelancer (or service business provider) is one in which you are at least competent, and hopefully better-than-average.
    2. You are ready, willing, and able to put some effort into your marketing program. And here is a hint: most everyone is “able”-but very few seem to be “ready and willing”. If you can muster the moral fiber to be ready and willing to do some work, you’ve automatically outclassed 95% of your competition. That should plaster a big goofy grin all over your mug.

    If you meet those two qualifications above, let’s get started on a simple but effective marketing program that should put clients in your stable and coins in your coffers. Here are three simple steps to putting profits in your pipeline:

    1. Start a blog. It’s easy to do, and there is plenty of material available online that will teach you how to do it. And let me give you a very important tip: you don’t need super secret blog software (in fact I recommend you use the ubiquitous WordPress), you don’t need to hire a high-priced designer, and if your content is good, you can use an off the rack theme (a templated “skin” or “look and feel” for your WordPress blog that can be installed at the touch of a button). The most important aspect of your blog is that you post content on a regular schedule, and what you post is not material that markets your services but rather helpful information that your potential prime prospects are looking for.
    2. Build an e-mail list. From the very beginning, give your readers a reason to subscribe to your regular e-mails. I highly recommend you consider e-mailing them every single day. This is a practice that I have tested and am convinced will yield better results than mailings on any other schedule. Just remember, if you make every single mailing a sales pitch you will do yourself more harm than good. So strive to send something of value to your readers every single day. There are plenty of people who will disagree with my advice, and many of them are “super brains”. But I stand by my test results, and the test results of my colleagues and clients; I have personally renewed my commitment to sending daily e-mails to my list. Emails that are chock-full of quality material. I recommend you do the same.
    3. Develop an information product. The moment you publish your own information product (audio or video courses preferred) about your area of expertise, you are instantly elevated above most of your competition. Anyone who publishes-even if only electronically-is automatically granted a psychological edge over those who do not publish. Example from my own career: several years ago, when I finally gave in to the advice and urgings of my good friends and mentors Armand Morin and Alex Mandossian and developed my own copywriting course (called Web Copywriting Explained), I was surprised by two unexpected outcomes: the first being the fact that I made more money than I anticipated through the sale of the course (very near $100,000 right out of the gate, even though at that time I was a relative unknown), and the second unexpected outcome being the acquisition of two major clients, who rose up from the ranks of those who bought the course. One of those clients admitted that she bought the course mainly to see if I knew what I was talking about. Both of those clients paid me over $25,000 to write copy for them. Publishing your own information products is one of the most effective ways to develop a “farm team” of potential clients who will pay for your services. In fact, it’s like getting paid to do your marketing.

    Those are three of the most powerful strategies I know of to develop new clients for your service business. They are culled from my own experience, and from a course I taught last year about how to become a recognized authority in your chosen field in 90 days or less. That course, The Authority Accelerator, is currently off the market pending revision.

    If you’re interested in this topic, or related topics, please add your comments or questions in the section below: the level of response will determine whether I continue to elaborate on this particular subject, or move on to other topics that I wish to talk about.

    Click Below to Play the Audio Version of This Post

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    Customer Selection Determines Quality of Life http://rayedwards.com/customer-selection-determines-quality-of-life/ http://rayedwards.com/customer-selection-determines-quality-of-life/#comments Fri, 02 Apr 2010 14:24:55 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=613 This is hard for a lot of folks to swallow, but it’s true anyway.

    Instead of scrambling madly for any customer who will hand you money, be selective.

    Determine what kind of customer you don’t want to deal with, and work hard to exclude those customers from your business.

    If you are brave and decide to take this step you will find:

    • You get more customers you like doing business with.
    • Your customers will spend more on each transaction
    • Your customers will come back more often.
    • You will make more money.
    • You will work less, not more.

    That sounds good, yes? It’s made a world of difference for me. Go thou and do likewise.

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    No April Fool http://rayedwards.com/no-april-fool/ http://rayedwards.com/no-april-fool/#respond Thu, 01 Apr 2010 20:58:37 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=715 I used to love April Fool’s Day.

    Back when I was in the radio business, we cooked up a new “hoax” for each April Fool’s Day.

    One year we announced that the US Government was immediately changing the color of all paper currency to blue, and that all citizens should take their green money to the bank to be exchanged.

    Another year we hit the airwaves with the urgent warning not to use landline telephones all day long, because the phone company was “blowing out the lines” in order to clean them. Using the phone, we said, could result in “serious ear injuries”.

    And then there was the year we warned of dangerously high levels of “bi-hydrous monoxide” in the air (I’ll leave you to puzzle it out).

    One year we announced the time all morning long as being one hour later than it actually was. We had a few irate calls from people who were angry… because we made them early for work! Sometimes people are a puzzle.

    But blogging is not radio.

    So here’s my take on the “April Fools” game… I’m not playing.

    No foolin’.

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    Your Money Or Your Life http://rayedwards.com/your-money-or-your-life/ http://rayedwards.com/your-money-or-your-life/#comments Wed, 31 Mar 2010 12:49:40 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=708 There is a common line of thinking that you must choose between having a lot of money or having a meaningful life.

    This is not an either-or proposition.

    It’s a “both-and” reality.

    The amount of money you have directly affects how you deal with certain requirements of life.

    The amount of money you have also directly affects how much time you are required to invest in certain activities – and how much time you have free for others.

    Having a lot of money – or having very little – is not “good” or “bad”.

    Consciously choosing the balance of these two resources – time and money – is a major key that unlocks the door to fulfillment… or leaves you facing a closed and immovable door.

    The choice — for almost everyone — is yours.

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    Your Last Project http://rayedwards.com/your-last-project/ http://rayedwards.com/your-last-project/#comments Tue, 30 Mar 2010 12:48:00 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=706 You’ve heard the exercise: “If you only had 1 week left to live, how would you spend it?”

    I’ve always found that an instructive thought experiment – and also a little vague.

    Here’s a refinement: what if you only had 1 project left to work on?

    • Which project would you choose?
    • How would you go about it?
    • What would be your criteria for success?

    My guess is: the answers to these questions will be different than the way you’ve been approaching your projects up until now.

    My question is: will that continue to be the case?

    What if you approached every project (business, personal, or any other category) as if it were your last?

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    Number One Way To Make More Sales? http://rayedwards.com/number-one-way-to-make-more-sales/ http://rayedwards.com/number-one-way-to-make-more-sales/#comments Thu, 25 Mar 2010 13:47:32 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=697 What’s the number one way to make more sales?

    For better than 80% of companies (or freelancers, or salespeople, etc.) the answers is simple.

    So simple you’re embarrassed to admit it.

    Here is the “secret” to getting more sales:

    Ask.

    For another 10-15% “bump” in sales: when the prospect says “no”, ask them “why not?” Then answer their objection. And then ask for the sale again.

    I know many will think this is oversimplified.

    Before you make that assumption, honestly ask yourself if you ask for the sale as often as you should.

    I rest my case.

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    Simple But Not Easy http://rayedwards.com/simple-but-not-easy/ http://rayedwards.com/simple-but-not-easy/#comments Tue, 19 Jan 2010 01:04:54 +0000 Ray Edwards http://rayedwards.com/?p=645 Not that long ago I was in the radio business.

    And I saw the handwriting on the wall that told me radio was in big trouble.

    I began running around telling all my radio comrades that we needed to change the way we did business, or we were in big trouble.

    Of course, they didn’t want to hear that – so they didn’t.

    In fact, I was told my fears were silly – iPods and Satellite radio and the Internet were no threat to radio at all. That’s what my corporate bosses told me, anyway.

    And when I tried to explain that it wasn’t fear that was motivating me, but rather the recognition of a trend that was inevitable… well, some of them laughed.

    They’re not laughing any more.

    I’ve been out of the radio business for almost 4 years now, but hardly a week goes by that one of my old comrades doesn’t call me and tell me how the margins are continuing  to shrink, listenership continues to drop like a lead balloon, and corporate failures and layoffs are coming at an ever-increasing rate of speed.

    There is good news in all this.

    Radio’s answer is a simple one… but not easy.

    It’s the same answer I was touting 5 years ago when I decided to get out that game altogether.

    Here it is: make a better product.

    So what does that look like?

    • Pay the expense to hire good talent – and let them make radio shows that are compelling and entertaining.
    • Stop playing so many commercials (in fact, I suggest you stop playing any commercials and invent a new revenue model… but that’s an entire post of its own and, I’m sure, too scary for radio folks to even contemplate)
    • Decide you’re in it for the long haul, and stop managing to next week’s “revenue number”
    • Forget the ratings game and focus on the results you get for your clients instead
    • Serve the community you operate in – with real community service, not the usual “lip service”

    That ought to get you started, radio folks.

    And it applies to almost every other suffering business or industry; you probably already know what you need to do.

    The problem is, it’s simple… but it’s not easy.

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