Archive for the 'General' Category

The 10 Undeniable Truths of Business Communication and Success

December 2nd, 2016 by Bob Bly

1–Short words are better than long words.

2–Old words are better than new words.

3–Simple ideas are better than complex ideas.

4–Ideas are a dime a dozen — everyone has them, all the time.

5–Ideas without action are worthless.

6–Action creates business success, yet 99% of people never act on their ideas.

7–If you create a base of 10,000 loyal fans who each spend a hundred dollars a year with you, you will gross a million dollars a year.

8–You do not need a lot of money to launch a successful business today: the low cost of doing business on the Internet reduces your risk to easily manageable levels.

9–If you do not have a lot of money to launch your business, then you must invest a lot of your time to make it happen. You cannot start and build a successful business with neither time nor money –you need one or the other.

10–Your customers may like you. But ultimately, they care about themselves, as they should — not about you and your business.

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The paradox of underfunded vs. well-capitalized clients

November 29th, 2016 by Bob Bly

Are rich people who spend a lot of money with you often prima
donnas who are demanding and impossible to please?

From what I’ve seen, this is sometimes true in the world of
consumer marketing, whether at a luxury resort, 5-star gourmet
restaurant, or exclusive London men’s shop selling bespoke suits.

But in business, I have found quite the opposite to be true —
the more money a client spends with you, the more respectful,
polite, and easy to work with they will be … because the more
they value you.

The converse is also true: the client who talks you down in
price and gets you cheap turns out to be the most difficult,
demanding, hard to deal with, and impossible to please.

My theory as to why this should be so is as follows….

If the client with deep pockets is an entrepreneur, part of his
success is that he takes pains to treat people fairly and with
respect, so they in turn will like him and give him their best
work.

And if your client is with a big corporation with deep pockets,
then he is usually a full-time professional marketer, and he
knows how to deal with vendors in our field — and has the budget
to afford them without undue hardship.

On the other hand, some entrepreneurs with shallow pockets often
haggle over your price, not because they are jerks, but because
they are on shoestring budgets.

They also question what you do at every step. Not because they
want to be picky or difficult.

But because they desperately need their marketing campaign to
work, inexperienced clients may find it difficult to let go of their
own judgment in favor of an expert’s, like yours.

Therefore, the well-heeled clients with big budgets who pay
generous fees are so often the easiest and most cooperative to
work with … while the tiny accounts who have to watch every penny
can sometimes be difficult, demanding, and contentious.

Are there exceptions to all this? Of course. I write copy for a
number of small businesses whose owners I am incredibly fond of.

But overall, the generalizations I just made turn out to be true
more often than they are wrong.

Do you find they hold true in your business as well as mine?

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Confessions of an aging workaholic

November 23rd, 2016 by Bob Bly

I have always been a workaholic, putting in on average 12 hours a
day, 5 days a week, plus a few more on the weekend if the mood
strikes me.

As I rapidly approach my 60th birthday, some people ask how I am
able to keep up this level of productivity and hard work at my
advancing age.

There are 3 simple secrets that keep my reasonably respectable —
though not stellar — productivity intact:

FIRST, for it to be tenable, I have to love what I do — and I
always have.

If you hate your job, as so many 9 to 5 wage slaves do, then you
want to get out of the office or plant as soon as the five
o’clock whistle sounds, go home, pop open a cold one, and watch
the boob tube.

On the other hand, if your work is so fun that it feels like a
hobby rather than a job, as I do, you never want to leave your
desk!

SECOND, because of my waning energy, I can still go full steam
for 11 to 12 hours a day — BUT ….

… as soon as I am done for the day, I collapse into my favorite
easy chair in the living room where I read a ton of stuff —
business books, science books, history books, novels, the New
York Review of Books, and the Star Ledger.

Or, if I am so pooped I can’t concentrate on reading a book or
the paper, I mindlessly channel surf until I find a cheesy SF or
horror movie like Final Destination or Wrong Turn or one of their
endless sequels.

(I think they’re already up to Wrong Turn 8 — the Musical.)

THIRD, I do not go out on weeknights, as my father did at least
two nights a week — bowling, poker, B’nai B’rith — but stay in
and go to bed early every night.

I strongly believe Michael Masterson, Brian Tracy, and others who
say that many (not all) people who are dedicated to their work
need at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

I have quoted Noel Coward many times in these essays, who said,
“Work is more fun than fun.”

I could not agree more.

Leisure time was most precious to me years ago, when my kids were
younger and wanted to do things with us. But now they are in
their 20s and have their own lives. Sigh.

My advice to all parents: spend time with your kids when they are
still young and still want you. They will age out of that in a
blink of an eye.

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Best Buy Customer Service Sucks!

October 31st, 2016 by Bob Bly

On October 29, 2016 we purchased Samsung TV from the Best Buy in Riverdale, NJ, to be used for both cable TV and X-Box.

The salesman, Sam Giro, discouraged us from hiring the Geek Squad as we intended, saying it would be a snap for us to set up the TV and connect it to both cable and the game system ourselves.

I expressed concern because I am a technical idiot and said, “What if I can’t do it?”

Sam said, “Just call the store and we will send someone to take care of it for only $50.”

Well, we couldn’t do it. As Sam had suggested, we called back to set up Geek Squad service.

But instead of scheduling a service call over the phone as promised, Sam now he told me we had to drive back the 40 minutes to schedule the appointment in person.

When we got there, Manager Richard Parra said it would cost $100, not $50, for the service call, because there were 2 connections – cable and X-Box.

I said, “Richard, Sam told me Geek Squad would do the whole thing for $50 and we could just schedule it with a call to the store. Instead, he forced us to come back, wasting, between driving and dealing with you, over an hour of our time – and then you refused to honor your quote of $50 and charged us double.”

Richard shrugged, made no apology, and in essence told us, “Too bad for you; this is our policy.”

Are Best Buy store managers so little empowered that they cannot make things right with an unhappy customer who has been deceived by a dishonest salesman?

Do yourself a favor and avoid Best Buy.

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Is it ethical to do a student’s work for him but let him take the credit?

September 26th, 2016 by Bob Bly

I got a personal e-mail from www.rushessay.com, a service that writes essays for students, asking me to help them remove some blacklist comments posted by others on my site. I have always found term paper and essay ghostwriting services for students reprehensible. Students are there to learn, and you do not learn by having someone else write your papers and essays for you. I will do nothing to help this company and hope they go out of business soon. Do you agree with me on this one?

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Only 6 million active workers employed in the USA today

June 7th, 2016 by Bob Bly

That’s the opinion of superstar marketer Perry Marshall, and here’s how he calculated that number:

Start with about 300 million people in the United States.

Consider that half of them are retired or in school or on welfare, a fourth are taking care of the retired ones and the ones in school, you’ve got 75 million left.

But 29 million work for the federal government which means there’s only 46 million left to bring home the bacon.

Then there’s the 15 million who work for the local government, so they’re only marginally more worthwhile than the feds.

We’re down to 31 million now.

80% of the 31 million are either lazy, apathetic, and mostly unproductive, or they’re busy undoing the damage done by the incompetents every day.

So in fact there’s only six million people doing real, actual, productive, innovative hard work

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Do you know these marketing rules of thumb?

September 1st, 2015 by Bob Bly

Do you know the “50/50 rule” of content marketing?

How about the “99:1 rule” of affiliate marketing?

Or the “25-50-25 rule” of time management for entrepreneurs?

Or Fred Gleeck’s “10X rule” of information product pricing?

My new infographic shows you in a concise, graphic format the 12
important marketing rules of thumb every marketer should know.

You can view it for free by clicking here now:

www.bly.com/newsite/Pages/PDFs/marketing-rules-of-thumb.pdf

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The 3 Differences Between a Direct Response Copywriter and an Above the Line Copywriter

July 24th, 2015 by Bob Bly

“Above the line” (ATL) means marketing that focuses on branding and image, not response and sales.

There are 3 significant differences between a direct response copywriter like me and the ATL copywriters who serve Madison Avenue ad agencies and big consumer brands:

1—The direct response copywriter focuses on sales.

Everything we do is designed to get the cash register to ring – to bring in either an order or a sales lead.

The direct response copywriter has an advantage – namely, the sales results of most of what we write can be measured down to the penny.

Above the line copywriters often have no idea whether their ad moved the sales needle one iota, and so they are operating largely in the dark.

2—Branding people are obsessed with creativity.

Most ATL copywriters I know create advertising that is fun, creative, offbeat, humorous, entertaining, and beautifully designed.

The reason is that their clients, consumer brand managers, like those characteristics in their ads.

The direct response copywriter, as I have said, focuses on results, not aesthetics.

We don’t care whether the consumer likes our ad. We only care that she buys the product.

And long experience shows there is little or no correlation between people liking your ad and buying your product.

3—Branding people are obsessed with originality.

To them the goal is to be creative and original – to come up with a completely new idea or selling approach.

The direct response copywriter takes a different approach: We study what has worked exceptionally well in the past and then model our new promotions after these proven winners.

Most direct response copywriters keep “swipe files” which are collections of ads known to be proven winners.

We know they are proven winners because we see them run again and again. If a promotion bombs, marketers don’t tend to repeat it.

If it pulls like gangbusters, they do.

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