Archive for the 'Online Marketing' Category

9 reasons to market yourself by writing articles

January 12th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber DK writes:

“How much stock, if any, do you put in the strategy of putting
articles on-line (or elsewhere) for free?”

Answer: a lot.

I wrote my first article for one of the marketing trade
publications when I launched my freelance copywriting business in
1982.

And I’ve been writing articles to promote my copywriting
business, info products, and books continually since then right
up to this day — and I still do it.

Why?

Here are 9 specific ways you can profit by writing and placing
articles for free online and offline:

1–Builds your reputation as an expert in your field.

Writing how-to articles about your area of expertise helps
position you as a leading authority in your subject matter.

2–Makes great sales literature.

Whether in print or PDF, reprints of your published articles make
great sales literature.

I always recommend having one of your articles as part of the
standard information kit on your services or products.

Also, a PDF with 3 to 5 articles can be an effective lead magnet.

3–Pumps up your online bio.

If you have written for major consumer or industry print
magazines, or even top e-newsletters, say so in your bio.

It impresses prospects when you tell them you have been published
in the Harvard Business Review or even Hydrocarbon Processing
magazine.

4–Drives traffic to your site.

Editors typically include a URL or hyperlink to your website in
the short “about the author” paragraph that runs with your
article.

In this regard, publishing in online media can often out-perform
print, because online has a live hyperlink vs. print only offers
a URL that must be manually keyed into a browser.

5–Gets you free advertising (sometimes).

When a print or online publication doesn’t pay for articles, they
may be willing to give you something else instead — such as a
free ad in their magazine or e-newsletter, or a free banner on
their website.

Not all will. Others might agree to it, but only with authors who
specifically ask.

6–Raises your website’s search engine ranking.

Posting a lot of keyword-rich articles and other content on your
website can raise your ranking with Google and other search
engines.

7–Improves your workshops, seminars, and speeches.

Reprints of published articles with your byline make great
handouts at events where you are a speaker.

8–Broadens your knowledge.

Writing articles educates you as much as your readers.

It forces you to organize your thinking, dig deeper into your
topic, and gain a better understanding of your subject and your
audience.

9–Builds your content library.

The articles you have written for publication and now store on
your hard drive are your content “goldmine.”

You can and should continually recycle your articles. No need to
reinvent the wheel every time you write about your topic.

The key to getting maximum ROI from your content is to retain all
rights to everything you write.

Type “first rights only” in the upper left corner on page one of
every article you submit to any outlet. This way you remain in
control of the rights.

If you sign the rights away, you can’t recycle your material for
multiple uses — which dramatically lowers the ROI from your
article writing.

 

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 1 Comment »

Upsell yourself to bigger profits

January 2nd, 2018 by Bob Bly

When I started my freelance copywriting career in the early
1980s, the most lucrative assignment was writing direct mail
packages to sell magazine subscriptions.

And perhaps the toughest assignment was the “free to paid
conversion” campaign.

This was a direct mail package designed to get people who
formerly received a magazine for free to now pay to subscribe.

Free-to-paid conversion is one kind of upsell, with an upsell
being any marketing that gets a customer who buys a less
expensive (or in this case free) product to buy a more expensive
product.

Now, thanks to the internet, upselling in general is much easier,
faster, and more profitable.

A case in point: Classmates Guestbook.

This is a great website that connects people who went to the same
high school and especially those who were in the same class.

You can look at some of the content and post your profile there
for free to update your classmates on what you are up to.

Then, when a classmate looks at your profile, Classmates
Guestbook notifies you by email.

But, the person’s name and image are blurry.

So you can’t actually see who has checked up on you … unless you
upgrade your Classmates Guestbook status from free to a paid
monthly subscription.

It’s a brilliant upsell, though there have been many smart upsell
programs both pre and post internet.

The classic at Mickey D’s, which has become iconic, is: “Do you
want fries with that?”

In MaryEllen Tribby’s online newsletter, she says this upsell
increased sales of fries at McDonald’s 15%.

And in fact, the fast food chain sells 9 million pounds of fries
worldwide each and every day of the year.[1]

An even more effective upsell was from the copywriter or brand
manager who first wrote these words on a shampoo bottle:

“Rinse. Lather. Repeat.”

This simple consumption doubled the consumer’s usage and purchase
of shampoo for a 100% upsell.

Arm and Hammer baking soda had a similar classic upsell with
their ad campaign extolling consumers to buy a second box of
baking soda to put in your refrigerator for absorbing odors.

For ecommerce businesses, the proven upsell strategy is to serve
the buyer a page with an upsell offer right before or at the
point of checkout.

We recently promoted a $19 ebook; when buyers went to the
shopping cart, they were upsold to an audio course.

The course is regularly $47, but the upsell offers it for only
$28, and about one out of three ebook purchasers takes the upsell
offer.

Opposite of the upsell is another offer that can work: the
downsell.

For instance, decades ago, a company sold a business opportunity
where for a high price you could buy a “business in a box”
selling gold chains, necklaces, and baubles at flea markets, swap
meets, and such.

When someone responded to their ads in business opportunity
magazines but did not buy after getting a series of mailers, the
next mailer offered a scaled-down “start-up” kit for a fraction
of the price of the full business kit.

In restaurants, the downsell to a full racks of ribs is the half
rack.

But that usually bothers me, because although I don’t want to eat
too much, I also don’t like feeling I am getting ripped off —
which is how I feel when a rack is $17.99 and a half-rack is
$14.99.

Once, when we were eating out and the server pointed out this
pricing to me on the menu, I replied, “If the rack is $17.99 and
the half-rack is $14.99, can I get the other half for the
remaining $3?”

The only people less amused than our server were my wife and
kids.

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Category: General, Online Marketing | 2 Comments »

Get others to sell your products — without commission

December 26th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Subscriber MI writes:

“‘Influencer marketing’ drives me crazy. Many outdoor
businesses are joining the trend to hire athletes to promote
their products.

“At an industry conference, I asked one ad agency rep what the
return on investment was on influencer marketing. His response
was void of examples. He told me it boils down to brand
awareness.

“I think there are better ways to sell because influencers fail
to mention ‘what’s in it’ for consumers who use the products they
are sponsoring.

“I’m an outdoor recreation junkie, so I’ve been using the gear
and clothing these athletes are promoting for decades. But
instead of telling me how to use rock climbing gear more
efficiently so I can climb faster, influencers tell me stories
about their climbing adventures.

“I could be missing something, but I don’t understand the draw to
use this marketing strategy.”

Let me see whether I can give a quick answer here….

To begin with, an “influencer” is a person who can influence the
actions, behaviors, and opinions of others.

Influencers exert their sway online primarily through blogs,
online newsletters, content, and social media including Facebook
posts, Pinterest boards, YouTube videos, Tweets, Instant posts,
Snapchat stories, and more.

Influencer marketing works because, as shown in research from
Nielsen, more than 8 out of 10 people use recommendations they
got online from an influencer to make a purchase decision.

The leverage online is this: If you just tell a neighbor you like
a particular bar in your city, you’ve influenced that one
neighbor.

Back in the day, we called this simply “word of mouth
advertising” … or in business and professional services “referral
marketing.”

But a bar blogger who recommends a pub can influence hundreds of
his readers to give that watering hole a try — so influencer
marketing is often more effective online than offline.

For instance, Ace Hair enlisted actor Josh Peck, who has over 4
million Instagram followers, as an influencer.

The most effective offline influencer marketing is through people
who reach a wide audience in traditional print media — magazines
and newspapers — as reviewers, critics, columnists, or other
trusted resources who recommend products and services.

Why does influencer marketing work? According to the 2016
Influencer Marketing Guide, “Influencers draw passionate audience
that engage with their content and actively take part in the
community conversations that stem from it.”

An article in Forbes reports that 85% of marketing communications
professionals worldwide will launch at least one influencer
marketing campaigns within the next 12 months.

Done right, influencer marketing is like having another team of
sales reps out there selling your product or service for you —
only in most cases they are doing so for free.

And they are often your most effective sales reps, because they
are credible experts or respected celebrities, and their
recommendation of your product more effective because it is an
endorsement.

I wish I could steer you to a report or info product of mine on
influencer marketing, but it is largely outside my wheelhouse and
so I have none.

If you offer or can recommend resources on influencer marketing,
please email me at rwbly@bly.com so I can share them with your
fellow Direct Response Letter Subscribers. Thanks!

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Category: Direct Marketing, General, Online Marketing | 4 Comments »

The worst thing about being an info marketer online

December 19th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Recently subscriber SP wrote to me and said:
“Bob, I purchased your e-book 3 days ago, and the status of the
order is pending. Would you please tell me when I will receive
my purchase?”

The day before, another subscriber and customer, SH, also emailed
to ask me where was the e-book he had ordered a couple of days
prior.

This happens all the time. Why?

Not because we didn’t send the e-book the customer ordered
promptly.

We did.

In fact, a link to download is automatically sent via
auto-responder to everyone within minutes of their purchase — no
exceptions.

What SP, SH, and so many others don’t get is that the reason they
didn’t get the e-books they order is on their end — typically, an
overzealous spam filter, Internet Services Provider (ISP),
corporate firewall, or other technical barrier to delivery.

Yet, I know from numerous email exchanges that, even if
customers are polite in their inquiries … and they almost always
are … when I ask them — well yes, they really did assume, though
they are not irritated, that for some reason we did not send the
product they asked for.

Makes no sense, but in cases of non-receipt of product in every
business, the customer always assumes the fault is that of the
seller — though it is virtually always one of the reasons I just
stated.

So I am reaching out to all of you info marketers who subscribe
to my emails to ask one simple question:

If you also have this “where’s the info product I ordered”
problem, how do you handle it?

Now, you may be wondering how I respond to SP, SH, and others who
ask, “Where’s my info product?”

Simple. I don’t.

I forward their complaint to my customer service manager JV.

Here’s how she responded to SH:

“I’m sorry that you had trouble receiving your e-book and also in
leaving voice mail for me.

“In fact I had received your email. I responded to that yesterday
morning and sent you a new download link along with the PDF for
your purchase. My apologies if you are not receiving these
messages from me.

“I’m attaching the PDF for your e-book to this email and if you
could, please confirm once you have received it. I’ll also
resend the download link again as well.

“Please let me know if you need anything else.”

And that’s it. Easy peasy. As the kids say, “No biggish.”

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Category: Online Marketing | 10 Comments »

What you like vs. what works: not always the same thing

November 14th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Subscriber DH writes:

“Bob, what are your favorite websites in terms of the copy they
have, so I can see myself which copy style you think is great?

“I was working for a client and came across a website from a
company that sells the same thing he does.

“I was blown away by the simple, fun, almost magical style of
their site vs. the more technical copy on my client’s site.

“But I wonder if I was right to admire the competitor site —
does that kind of copy draw customers?”

There are two key parts to the answer I gave DH.

The first is something copywriter Peter Beteul said that I never
forgot: “Don’t let personal preference get in the way.”

Meaning subjective judgment is absolutely the worst way to judge
advertising.

Why?

Because countless marketing tests and many research studies prove
that there is no correlation between people liking an ad and
whether they buy the product.

Second, regarding DH’s websites, she has little or no access to
analytics and metrics measuring the website’s performance.

And results … not whether the site has a fun or “magical” style …
is what determines whether she should admire and emulate it.

In this case, she just doesn’t know. So following the competitor
site as a model would be questionable at best and unwise at
worst.

Back in the day, with print ads and direct mail, it was
different.

Running newspaper and magazine ads, and doing postal direct mail,
is expensive.

And so marketers who use them test very carefully.

If an ad or direct mail test is not successful, they will not
repeat it.

On the other hand, an ad or mailing that is profitable is run
over and over until it stops making money.

So if you see an ad or mailing that runs continuously, you know
that copy is working — and in that case, it would be wise to
emulate.

It’s pretty much the same for ongoing email campaigns and web
pages, although not as certain, because they are less expensive
to run than print — and therefore, are more forgiving of
mistakes.

One more point….

You only know whether someone else’s marketing is working if you
see the evidence with your own eyes, as indicated by frequency
and repetition.

If another marketer says response rates for their campaign are
through the roof, or that they are raking in money hand over
fist, the problem is you have no idea whether they are telling
you the truth.

As my good friend top info marketer Fred Gleeck says: “The only
numbers you can trust are your own.”

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 5 Comments »

When internet marketing works

November 10th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Sometimes internet marketing is a pain in the ass.

You work hard on a product, launch it, and nobody is interested.

Now you have to salvage the product either by improving it or
bundling it with other stuff.

Another disaster scenario: You send an email marketing message to
thousands of people, driving them to a product landing page.

And then they start emailing you to let you know your landing
page is down — and it is — and as the minutes go by, you are
losing orders left and right.

On the flip side, when info marketing works well, it can really
put a smile on your face.

For instance, a few weeks ago, I decided to promote an existing
product with an existing email to drive traffic to the existing
landing page.

Total investment of my time: less than 2 minutes — because
everything was already done.

Within the next few days, we got 112 orders for the $29 ebook for
gross sales of $3,248.

Overhead aside, because it was an ebook, our net sales were also
about $3,248.

Now that’s peanuts compared to what some info marketers make.

But consider two points:

The average American has to work 3 solid weeks at a 9-to-5 job
that probably bores them to tears to make that much money — and
with the commute, that’s probably 130 to 150 hours of their time.

While my 2 minutes of “work” generated over 3K in sales, which
comes to an hourly rate for my labor of $97,440.

And this is not a freak occurrence: $3,000 or more from a single
email blast using existing copy, which means no labor on my part,
happens many times throughout the year.

Passive income and info marketing online don’t always work.

But when they do, it’s a beautiful thing.

Again, my info marketing business is a spec on the windshield
compared to the big boys.

But if I wanted to, we could live nicely on it with me “working”
about 2 hours a week.

I have no intention of ever quitting my day job as a freelance
copywriter, which I absolutely love.

But having a spare-time six-figure passive income … and being
able to earn 3K from one eblast with zero work … sure takes the
financial pressure off — and makes you more relaxed.

Try it. You’ll like it.

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Category: Online Marketing | 4 Comments »

A short course in making money with microsites

November 3rd, 2017 by Bob Bly

A “microsite” is a small website dedicated to selling a single
product, service, or offer.

I am frequently asked, “Does each microsite need its own domain
name, or can I just make it an extension of my main domain name?”

For instance, if your main site is www.jacksfoodsite.com and you
have a separate microsite selling your healthy eating cookbook …

… your domain could be an extension —
www.jacksfoodsite.com/cookbook — or a unique URL; e.g.,
www.eathealthyfood.com.

For my product microsites, each has a unique domain name.

And an article in ClickZ (7/26/17) agrees with this domain
strategy, saying:

“As a general rule, a microsite should have its own dedicated
domain or subdomain.

“While it might be appealing for a microsite to be hosted on a
primary brand domain for SEO purposes, and there are instances in
which this might make sense, more often than not, it’s best to
host the microsite on a dedicated domain.

“There are numerous reasons for this. For one, a dedicated domain
is typically easier to promote.”

They point out that a dedicated domain such as cooldomain.com is
easier to remember and type in than brand.com/microsites/something.

For instance, the domain for my microsite on how to write and
sell your first ebook is www.myveryfirstebook.com.

Having an easy-to-remember dedicated domain is especially helpful
when someone asks me about one of my products, because I can
instantly recall and tell them the site domain.

Now, you may object, “But that means I have to buy a separate
domain for every microsite I have and every product I sell!”

Well, last time I looked, you can buy a domain name on
GoDaddy.com for an annual fee of around $12.

Domain names are the real estate of the web.

That means for $12, you can own a piece of real estate online
that produces for you sales of $5,000 a year … $50,000 a year …
even $100,000 a year or more.

Owning actual real estate doesn’t give you anywhere near that
kind of return most of the time.

And having just spent $4,500 to fix problems at a rental property
we own, I can tell you microsites are a lot less of a headache to
manage than houses.

To be fair, my best microsites make just thousands of dollars a
year each — not $100,000 or $1 million or more like the big boys
of ecommerce do with their websites.

But with dozens of sites each making a few thousand bucks a year,
my little online info business makes me a nice spare-time annual
income … in the six figures … with me “working” on it just a
couple of hours a week.

Another key to having a business with a lot of microsites is to
get a hosting service that allows you to host an unlimited number
of sites for one flat monthly fee.

For instance, one hosting service is, on the surface, very cheap
at just $19 a month.

But, it’s $19 per site. That’s OK if your business has one big
website, as many do, such as my CPA and my attorney.

My hosting service is more expensive at $49 a month — except, for
that fee, I can host as many sites as I want at no extra charge.

And with my 100 microsites, that means my hosting costs are less
than half a dollar per site per month.

Very affordable.

One more tip…

Your microsites should offer only one choice of action; e.g.,
download a free white paper or leave.

Or buy the product or leave.

Nothing else.

No navigation … no links to other pages … no free content.

If you have navigation on your squeeze pages for lead generation
… or on microsites for product sales … strip it off immediately.

Then sit back and watch your conversion rates rise like bread
dough in a hot oven.

And make more bread online!

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Category: Online Marketing | 6 Comments »

The ideal length for online video

October 31st, 2017 by Bob Bly

Abraham Lincoln was, for his day, unusually tall and gangly.

Once a man asked him, “Hey, Abe Lincoln … how long should a
person’s legs be?”

Lincoln answered, “Long enough to reach the ground.”

It’s the same with copy in general and online video in
particular.

Both should be as long as they need to be to get the message
across and generate maximum ROI.

TwentyThree, the maker of a video marketing automation platform,
studied over 1.5 million videos to better inform marketing and
content creation teams about preconceived video myths.

Their “State of Online Video in 2017” report found that videos
can, and should, last longer than 90 seconds if publishers want
to see higher engagement rates.

While 80 percent of videos are under 5 minutes, the short ones
drive less than a third of overall video engagement.

Mid-form and long-form videos, which are at least 15 minutes
long, drive over half of all video engagement despite
encompassing just 8 percent of all video.

The subject matter has a lot to do with how long viewers will
stick with videos.

I wrote scripts for marketing videos in the late 1970s when I was
at Westinghouse Defense and Aerospace, and our average run time
was about 8 to 10 minutes.

Yes, you can argue it was a different time with longer attention
spans.

But the footage — F-16s soaring through the air and tanks
blasting apart concrete targets with rounds — was really cool to
watch. And so people did.

I recently read an article saying the human attention span is now
less than 8 seconds.

But if you’ve ever watched a half-hour sitcom or a movie in a
theater, you know that is pure baloney.

Four hundred hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day.
Average run time is about 3 minutes.

Stansberry Research had a home run with a video sales letter
awhile back called “The End of America.”

It was one of the most successful financial promotions of the
last few years, and its running time was an incredible 45
minutes.

I’m sure the Stansberry team heard from a lot of friends and
family who said, “You’re crazy; nobody will watch a video that
long” or “Whenever I click on those things, I immediately click
away.”

But Stansberry wisely ignores subjective opinion, especially of
noncustomers. All they care about is ROI and gross revenues, and
“The End of America” made them a small fortune.

And that’s all any marketer, including you, should care about,
too. Right?

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Category: Online Marketing | 5 Comments »