Archive for the 'Online Marketing' Category

How I made $907 in 90 minutes eating Korean food

June 30th, 2017 by Bob Bly

One Friday night last month, after checking, answering, and then
deleting or filing in Outlook all my emails, we left the house at
6pm to get a quick dinner.

When we returned at 7:30pm, I checked my email again.

In the 90 minutes we were out, I had gotten $907 in info product
orders online, all for products I was not actively promoting that
week.

(We call these “over the transom” orders because we took no
deliberate action to generate them.)

No work on my part. Over $900 made while eating in a Korean
restaurant.

(Full disclosure: this is an isolated incident — and not a
typical Friday night.)

Some people work all week to make $900 in a 9-to-5 job that bores
them.

One that they must commute to and from on their own time and dime
— for a boss they don’t like

I tell you this not to brag, but to illustrate (a) the value of
having multiple streams of income and (b) the advantage of having
at least one of these be a stream of passive income.

Just to be clear, passive income is anything that makes money
without your direct labor.

Passive income streams generate cash flow for you on Sundays,
holidays, vacations, and even while you sleep.

As George Clason writes in his book The Richest Man in Babylon,
“I wish an income that will keep flowing into my purse whether I
sit upon the wall or travel to far lands.”

On the other hand, with active income streams, you get paid only
when you are working.

Dentistry, for instance, although lucrative, is strictly an
active income stream.

Dentists have a saying: “Unless you are drilling and filling, you
are not billing.”

Most people I know have, for the most part, only a single stream
of income — typically the paycheck from their full-time job,
where they toil away to make someone else rich.

And unless you are getting a huge salary, that’s risky … although
back in the day, when I worked on staff at a Fortune 500 firm in
the late 70s, a corporate job gave one the illusion of security.
I know I felt safe in mine.

But no longer.

The scary part is that if you get laid off or the company
falters, you suddenly have zero income … except for a small sum
from temporary unemployment insurance.

Your income stops. But your expenses relentlessly keep on coming.

This sudden stoppage of your cash flow makes it extremely
difficult to pay your rent, mortgage, car loans, insurance
premiums, property tax, and kids’ college tuition — among many
other expenses.

When I became a full-time freelance writer in February 1982, my
main source of money was an active income stream — writing copy
for clients.

But even back then, I had a smaller passive income stream:
royalties from my hardcover and paperback books published by
mainstream publishing houses.

The nice thing about royalties is that your work can generate
ongoing income for you months, even years, after you write it.

For instance, I recently got a check from one of my publishers
for $4,856 … for the Chinese edition of a book I wrote in 1985,
which is work I completed more than 3 decades ago.

Some of the passive income streams various writers I know have in
place include:

–Book royalties.
–Copywriting royalties.
–Reselling your published articles to multiple magazines and web
sites over and over.
–Real estate investing.
–Stocks and bonds.
–Online information marketing.
–Options trading.

Action step: develop at least one active income stream and one
passive income stream.

Your goal: Build them to annual six-figure revenues. Each.

That way, if you decide to quite working someday, you can live
comfortably from the passive income stream alone.

Share

Category: Online Marketing, Success | No Comments »

Transparency wins in email marketing

June 27th, 2017 by Bob Bly

A few weeks ago, I sent out an email to my list with this subject
line:

“My doctor said: ‘Bob, you might have blood cancer.'”

My blood test results prompted my family doctor to send me to a
hematologist.

Turned out, I dodged a health bullet: no blood cancer.

When I told this story in my e-newsletter, I got well over a
hundred of you emailing me back — more response than most of my
other emails in recent memory.

This taught or at least reminded me of three things — the first
of which warms my heart, and the second and third of which
reveals important truths about email marketing that may be useful
to you.

FIRST, my subscribers, as a group, are considerate and caring —
really nice people — which is the kind of readers I want to have.

SECOND, that the technique of “transparency” … revealing a lot of
personal information about you unrelated to instructional content
or selling in your writing … helps create a bond between you and
your subscribers.

Some comments from the responses to my cancer-scare email:

PC: “I’ve been a subscriber of your emails and a big fan of your
professional career for several years. I truly enjoy anything you
write. Thanks for sharing such a great life lesson.”

JK: “Thank you for sharing this personal story.”

CB: “Thank you for your email communications, which are a
pleasure to read and always worth the time. I read every single
one.”

TP: “Thank you for sharing your personal story and this great
lesson for all of us.”

AB: “I always enjoy your messages. But special thanks for sharing
something so personal. Your humanity is what makes your emails
stand out from all the others in my inbox.”

DF: “Bob, I love your down to earth good old fashioned work ethic
and I love your newsletter.”

I share these comments not to brag, but to demonstrate my thesis:
transparency works in cementing your relationship with your
readers.

Result: they trust you more, like you more, and read you more.

And people buy from people they like and trust.

So transparency makes your subscribers enjoy your newsletter,
decreasing your unsubscribe rate and boosting your open rates.

And all this translates into greater loyalty and more sales for
the products you offer your readers in your emails.

THIRD, people like stories. And stories are often more
persuasive and engaging than data.

Share

Category: General, Online Marketing | No Comments »

Optimizing PDF content for search engines

March 17th, 2017 by Bob Bly

My esteemed colleague, white paper guru Gordon Graham, recently
told me and his many other readers that, just like a web page,
your white papers should be optimized for search engines.

As Gordon explained, “Web spiders can index PDFs on the web so
that they show up in search results.”

That’s why you should always include your chosen keywords as
“descriptive metadata” in any white paper you post online.

(Descriptive metadata can include elements such as title,
abstract, author, and keywords.)

So how do you insert the metadata with the keywords into your
white paper PDF?

To insert metadata using Adobe Acrobat:

1. Open the PDF with Acrobat and select File > Properties.

2. In the Document Properties dialog, on the Description panel,
enter your preferred title, author, subject, and keywords
(separated by commas) in the appropriate text boxes. Then click
OK.

3. Select File > Save.

To insert metadata using InDesign:

If you have InDesign, you can insert metadata in your white paper
file and then generate a fresh PDF.

If your designers don’t know how to do this, share the following
process with them:

1. Open the white paper file with InDesign and select File > File
Info.

2. In the File Info dialog box, enter your preferred document
title, author, description, and keywords (separated by commas) in
the appropriate text boxes. Then click OK.

3. Select File > Save to save your updated file.

4. Then select File > Export.

5. In the Export dialog, select Adobe PDF with your regular PDF
options. Then click OK.

To insert metadata using Word:

If you have a recent version of Word, you can insert metadata in
a more roundabout way. Here’s how:

1. Open the white paper file with Word, press Alt+F, and select
Prepare > Properties.

2. In the Document Information panel, enter your preferred title,
subject, and keywords (separated by commas) in the appropriate
text boxes.

3. Press Alt+F and select Save As and then select PDF or XPS.

4. In the Publish as PDF or XPS dialog, navigate to the folder
you want, enter a suitable file name, and click Publish.

To insert metadata using your Mac:

If you have a Mac, you can use Adobe Acrobat or InDesign as
described earlier.

Or you can use a nifty piece of freeware that makes up for the
limitations of Preview, called Combine PDFs. You can download it
here:

http://monkeybreadsoftware.de/Freeware/CombinePDFs.shtml

When you have Combine PDFs running, do this:

1. Select File > Add Files.

2. In the Open dialog, select the white paper PDF and click Open,
then select Options > Add Metadata.

3. In the Add Metadata dialog, enter your preferred title,
author, subject, and keywords (separated by commas). Then click
OK.

4. Click Merge PDFs in the lower-right corner.

5. In the Save dialog, enter a file name and click Save.

Note that CombinePDFs is shareware, so after you process 1,000
pages with it, it asks you to pay for a license.

Gordon advises that if you use it that much, you should shell out
for it.

Share

Category: General, Online Marketing | 1 Comment »

Turning your passion into passive profits online

February 17th, 2017 by Bob Bly

My oldest son, Alex, who was a history major in college with a
particular interest in military history, wrote an interesting
short paper, “World War II at a Glance,” that you can download
for free here:

www.theww2site.com/world-war2-at-a-glance

In this special report, you get a quick-reading overview of some
of WWII’s key initiatives including:

** Underground resistance groups in Europe.
** Enigma, other rotor-based coding machines, and the U.S. Navy
code breakers.
** The 5 most important intelligence groups operating during the
War.
** The real reason why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
** The deadly WWII sniper who racked up a record 542 confirmed
kills all in one year, without using a scope.
** Plus: the B-25 bomber raid on Tokyo… the 1944 attempted
assassination of Adolf Hitler … the top Allied spy of WWII …
Kamikaze and Blitzkrieg attacks … and more.

The reason I urge you to check it out, even if you are not a WWII
or history buff, is so you can see how Alex and I are building a
new topic-based site …

…and how we plan to go about “monetizing” the site to produce an
annual passive income stream in the five or six figures within
the next 12 months or so:

www.theww2site.com/world-war2-at-a-glance

Share

Category: Online Marketing | No Comments »

Goodbye digital, hello paper

February 3rd, 2017 by Bob Bly

In an article in The New York Review of Books (2/9/2017), Bill
McKibben notes that an increasing number of folks are turning
away from electronic communication and instead choosing
old-school media.

For instance:

>> In 2006, just 900,000 new vinyl records were sold in the U.S.
In 2015, the number of vinyl records sold was 23 million — an
increase of 20% per year.

>> Despite a hefty $150 price for an annual subscription, in the
last decade the magazine The Economist has seen its print
circulation grow by 600,000.

>> Students who take massive open online courses (MOOCs) perform
worse, and learn less, than their peers who are sitting in a
school listening to a teacher talking in front of a blackboard.

>> In many classrooms and office conference rooms, schools and
corporations are replacing digital smartboards with paper and
colored markers.

>> Hundreds of board game parlors, where people get together to
play on game boards made of cardboard moving pieces made of
plastic or metal, have opened in North America.

So … what are the reasons a portion of the population is turning
back to old media?

>> Well, in the case of records, people enjoy handling and
playing them, and appreciate the cover art and liner notes. They
also gain a sense of ownership over the music some don’t get from
digital.

>> For The Economist, when you carry the print edition, people
can see what you are reading, which if the magazine is
prestigious, shows you are smart, cultured, and in-the-know. Much
harder to see that the bloke next to you is reading the digital edition of The Economist without sticking your face right in front of his smart phone.

>> MOOCs does not surprise me. Podcasts, online courses,
streaming video, and other digital classes simply cannot match
the interaction and personalized attention a teacher gives in a
classroom or a speaker like me gives at a live workshop.

>> As for video games vs. board games, McKibben quotes writer David Sax: “Even if you were playing World of Warcraft with the same group of friends around the world each day, talking smack over
your headsets, and typing in snippets of conversation, you were
ultimately alone in a room with a screen, and the loneliness
washed over you like a wave when the game ended.”

Share

Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 4 Comments »

7 small graphic tweaks that can create a huge lift in response

January 27th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Last week I asked ace graphic designer Dwight Ingram for some
ideas on how to improve the performance of our direct mail and
online marketing through changes in design.

Dwight replied:

“Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest
difference. I’m often called upon to ‘freshen up’ a fatiguing
control, and I’ve developed a toolkit of small design changes
that can revitalize a promotion without having to create a whole
new piece.”

Here are 7 of Dwight’s go-to design tips you can use to boost
response and breathe new life into your control:

1–Change the envelope or the outside of the mail piece. If the
design is too busy, remove or move something. If the design is
too simple, add something.

Use a new teaser, freshen up the design, and try new fonts. Use
the back … think of the extra space like a buckslip. It’s a great
place to showcase the product and reinforce the offer.

2–Use bigger buttons. For e-mails and landing pages, try a bigger
button, a different color, or change the shape. Add a button to
the top or bottom in a key location near the offer language.

3–Simplify. Make the order process clean and fast, especially in
digital efforts. Don’t make your audience jump through hoops to
order.

One of the first things to look at is how many fields are on a
form? Are there too many choices, and is the process intuitive?
Decide what information you must ask for and what you can
eliminate.

4–Change the order form. Enhance the format of your form by
adding a notch, or make it an L-shape. Strengthen your offer
language, focus on the key benefits. Add an offer summary box.
Stress the deadline. Use more personalization, but not too much,
and use it appropriately.

5–Add an insert. A lift note, buck slip, or other element can
focus your prospect on the right features or benefits of the
product. Highlight the guarantee, the premium, or a unique
feature of your product or service.

6–If you use a business reply envelope (BRE), change the color.
Using a different paper color for the BRE can lift response.

7–Make sure your e-mails, landing pages, and order pages are
coded to display optimally not only on PCs but on mobile
devices including tablets and smart phones. (I’ll have an entire
chapter on designing e-mails for smart phones in my forthcoming
book “The Ultimate E-Mail Handbook” from Skyhorse Publishing.)

Remember, it’s all about clarity and thinking like a potential
customer. If your offer is hidden, or too complicated, or if
you’re asking for too much information, your response will be
affected. Make it easy.

Share

Category: Direct Marketing, General, Online Marketing | 3 Comments »

Further adventures of the “digital marketing dullards”

December 27th, 2016 by Bob Bly

I recently told the story of how a community college
decimated its enrollment by dumping proven traditional marketing
channels in favor of some digital bright shiny objects.

Their mistake was not making the transition from traditional to
multi-channel marketing gradually and testing as they go.

Instead, they suddenly halted a marketing campaign that had been
working like gangbusters, fired their old agency, and hired a
new-media agency — with disastrous results.

Apparently, they’re not the only ones failing to be cautious when
transitioning from old-school print media to digital.

Subscriber DG writes:

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

“For the past 25 years, we used old fashioned snail-mail
brochures to promote our engineering seminars.

“The recipient is invited to sign up online. In the early days,
we even used a live registration form. Online is even simpler.

“We tried purchased e-mail lists a couple of times, but the
response was abysmal. However, our own compiled lists — past
clients and others — do quite well.

“The results: over 12,000 students and probably over a million
mailing pieces. The extra revenues nicely enhanced the retirement
accounts.

“Now I am doing classes through a small training company. They
mail an old fashioned catalog several time a year, with on-line
registration for the response. Quite successful.”

“So direct response is NOT dead, at least in my world.”

Subscriber DK tells a similar cautionary tale:

“3 years ago I had a client who specialized in laser surgery to
clear toenail fungus. Not glamorous, but necessary.

“I got them a 2-month Outdoor paper Poster campaign … 10′ X 20′
signs … you might consider them billboards. Valued at over $100K,
we got a two month deal for $30K.

“Ads ran in Feb and March. In November that same year people were
flocking to the clinics saying they remembered the Outdoor
posters.

“The next spring, since our campaign worked so well, the client
dumped us and pumped $25,000 into online somewhere.

“And what did they get for their 25 grand? About 6 likes, no
sales, no phone calls, and no one visiting any of their six
health clinics. Nada.

“Haven’t seen a ripple of activity from them since.

“Digital/On-line/Social are nice add-ons in moderation when they
have been vetted and tested, but they are not a panacea for all
that ails struggling businesses.”

Takeaways:

1–Traditional print still works some of the time. Digital can
work some of the time. Sometimes they work well together.

2–Don’t throw out a campaign that is still working just because
you are bored with it, because if it is still working, your
prospects obviously AREN’T bored with it.

3–Test new channels, media, and tactics gradually and cautiously.
Stick your toe into the water first, before diving into the deep
end of the pool.

Share

Category: Online Marketing | 2 Comments »

Avoid disaster when migrating to digital media

December 16th, 2016 by Bob Bly

It’s ironic.

Direct response guys by far know more about what works in
marketing than anyone else, because we generate tangible results
on every promotion. And these results are measured.

Yet more and more marketers are bypassing direct response today
in favor of what is hot and trendy — specifically branding,
content marketing, digital marketing, and social media.

For instance, my friend BC, a veteran direct marketing pro,
recently wrote me an e-mail. He says:

“I’ve had so many clients insist on dropping what they call
‘traditional’ media for digital and social media, only to have a
harsh awakening as their response plummets.

“One such client is a small community college who was struggling
during the recession. They were down to just under 7,000
students and state funding was cut.

“Teaching jobs were on the line. We launched a campaign with
traditional media with the right message. And in just 2
enrollment periods — spring and fall of the same year — we
raised enrollment to just over 11,000 students … an increase of
57%.

“We sustained that number and even moved it up a notch or two for
3 years. Then the college’s Marketing Committee got comfortable
and bored, fired us, and hired a digital/social media agency.

“The new media agency produced disastrous results. Enrollment
went from just over 11,000 students down to 6,500 students in 2
enrollment cycles. The last numbers I learned of were below 4,500
students.

“Now the college doesn’t have an ad budget, and most of the
Marketing Committee, who were also professors and instructors,
have been let go due to lack of funds.

“The college’s Marketing Director was moved from his office suite
in the main building to an office on a remote side of the campus.

“This is why I always tell clients to ease into ‘new media’
slowly — and test, test, and test!”

I urge you to consider BC’s story and advice carefully. He is a
top pro and he knows what he is talking about.

In my view, this myopic college Marketing Director, who had BC’s
vast expertise as his disposal, starved to death with a loaf of
bread under each arm.

Share

Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 1 Comment »