Sunday, May 28, 2006

Writing a Successful Business Sales Letter

All communication you send to your home business customers or prospective customers should have a clear purpose. Before you sit down to write a business sales letter make sure you are clear about the product or service you are offering, the price, any bonus offers, whether there is a time limit, etc...

Think from the point of view of the customer. What will make them interested in your product or service? Do not make the letter about you or your company. You will not make sales by telling customers about the latest events in your office or the history of your company's expansion. The letter should be about the customer, their problems, and how you can solve them.

Headlines are the most important part of a sales letter. Try to come up with quite a few different headlines, select a couple that you think are the best then get a second opinion to help pick the absolute best one. Generally headlines should be longer than 3 or 4 words, but less than 17 words. Take a look at newspaper headlines and other sales headlines for inspiration. Be specific. If you have a figure of say 47% then use it, do not say "over 40%". Do not exaggerate in your headline to get attention. If it cannot be believed or proven readers will not bother to look further.

When you first sit down to write the main body of the sales letter do not edit it as you write. Just write what you think is the main, important message and do not stop to correct spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. If necessary stare determinedly at the keyboard as you write, or better still turn the monitor off on your PC. If you continually stop to make corrections the words will not flow and the message may become confusing. Once your first draft is complete then go through it and make any necessary corrections.

Avoid long sentences in your sales letter. You want to make the letter as easy to read as possible. Break the letter up with subheadings that refer to the contents of the next section. Your subheadings should give enough information for someone skimming down the page to understand your offer.

Once you feel your sales letter is complete put it aside for a while before reading through it again. Later you may spot mistakes or areas of confusion that you might not catch soon after finishing it. If you cannot leave it for a period of time give it to someone else to read. Ask them to skim through it to see if they get the main points of the message and if they see any mistakes. They can also read each sentence and give you their overall impression of the sales letter.

Taking the above advice will help ensure you write a successful sales letter for your home business. This could save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the end. Not to mention bring in many more sales and income for you!

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Autoresponders - A Much Needed Marketing Tool

Today's free home business tip is about autoresponders.

Don't know what an autoresponder is or why you need one? Perfect! Read below to find out...

One of the key tools for anyone doing business online is an autoresponder. It also is one of the most misunderstood tools among those new to Internet marketing – and sometimes even for those who have been in online business for many years.

In their simplest form, autoresponders allow you to create a fixed message that will go back to anyone who e-mails a specific address. One of the most common uses for this is the “I’m away from my office until whatever date and will not be able to check my e-mail until I return” type of message. Messages of this type can be created within the control panel of most ISP e-mail servers.

However, autoresponders are far more versatile than the above example. Even the basic autoresponder that comes with your e-mail account can be set up to send a document or photo, even an audio or video file to anyone contacting that address. This is the most basic form of using an autoresponder for delivering a product, but it is not recommended for products you are selling because of the lack of control. Basically, whatever you are selling will be delivered to anyone sending an e-mail to that address – whether they paid for it or not.

Third party autoresponders provide the kind of control needed for a marketing or sales application. The good news is there are a number of excellent autoresponders that can be used at no charge. Those that do have a fee – whether a one-time purchase fee for a system you set up on your own server or a monthly/yearly fee for one you access online – typically are well within the budgets of nearly anyone trying to do business online. I recommend Aweber!

Perhaps even better news is that autoresponders are not difficult to set up, even those that offer several levels of capability across a broad range of possible applications. The largest and most popular autoresponders often come with tutorials – some of them video – that walk you through the set-up process step-by-step. Many also have user forums or support systems that will help you if you get stuck.

The possible uses for an autoresponder at this level are many. For example, you can set one up to send out a newsletter to your mailing list on a regular basis, another to send e-mails advising your list of special sales, upgrades, new releases or other such information. Still another autoresponder can deliver your digital product, along with future patches or upgrades.

These different tasks actually can be set up using a single autoresponder, even a single account, depending on the capabilities of the system you have selected. Many of the free autoresponders allow you to upgrade to a fee-based version, with far more capabilities, without losing anything you already have created.

Anyone who thinks they may someday want to have a mailing list or sell any kind of product – especially digital, such as downloadable software or e-books – should make investigating autoresponders one of their first and most important tasks. The more you know about them in advance, the more prepared you will be to quickly and efficiently get your business online.

Here is the autoresponder that I use and highly recommend -- Aweber

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Friday, May 19, 2006

How to Ensure You Write Winning Ad Copy

As the classic Advertising line goes: Advertising is "Salesmanship in Print." - It's like having Tens of Thousand's of salesman running around selling your product.

Use the six step process below to ensure you write ad copy that pays for itself over and over again, and generates the response you want:

Step 1: "Get The Reader's Attention... Headlines"

Make sure that the headline grabs them by the throat and forces them to pay attention to the Ad. Remember, the only purpose of the headline is to draw attention to the ad and make the person read the ad. Effective headlines offer solutions to the reader's problems and a good idea is to start with the headline and then write the article. Also, don't settle on the first one you come up with - Think of at least 10-25, then write them out one under another and see which one jumps out at you - Normally it's not the first one you wrote!

Step 2: "Maintain the Interest... Subheadlines"

Continue to intrigue and hook them with a subheadline that plays further on their problem. The subheadline will be in smaller text underneath the headline and should continue the job of the headline by maintaining the reader’s interest. It should "force" them to follow the lead established by the headline and guide them into the body of the copy in the hope of finding a solution to their problem.

Step 3: "Sell Your Story... The Body"

Ensure that the body of the ad is aimed at convincing the reader that you have a solution to their problem. If the headline is the attention seeking member of the family, the body of the ad is the sensible one. The copy must push the emotional buttons of the reader, presenting benefits that appeal to the reader. It adds the credibility to the headline - they work as a team.

Step 4: "What is The Point of the Ad... Call To Action"

Ensure you know what you want your ad to do! Is it to call for additional information (the "two-step" approach), or is to buy directly from the ad? Make sure the objective is clear. The most common ad is the lead generation or "two-step" ad, which involves the reader contacting the business and requesting further information. This may involve a free report and sales letter, from which they may purchase the product or service.

Step 5: "I Don't Believe You, But I Do Believe Them... Testimonials"

Testimonials are a great way to create credibility in a product or service. No one likes to hear a parent brag about their son or daughter, but when a third party says the same thing it becomes believable. That is what a well written, well documented (full name & contact details) testimonial achieves. Ask for them and then use them - They can be very powerful.

Step 6: "Accept The Risk... The Guarantee"

Ensure that there is no risk to the reader if they decide to take action. Guarantee their satisfaction and the performance of the product & most importantly make it very clear, without any small print that makes it hard to claim on the guarantee. Most people won't take up the guarantee, but it gives them peace of mind in taking the next step and that is what you want.

In Summary: "Make Me Want To Read The Copy... Create Strong Desire"

Push the reader's emotions - have them see themselves with the product, or using the service. Start with a benefits laden Headline, if space permits add a Subheadline that maintains the reader’s interest, and then compose an emotional, benefits packed body that really makes the reader want the product or service on both an emotional & logical level. Include both a testimonial and guarantee for increased credibility.

Follow these six steps and you will find that your ads start paying their own way in the world. No longer will they be an expense, but will become a very important income producer within your home business.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Seven Offline Viral Marketing Ideas

Recently I participated in a forum discussion about offline marketing - that is using more traditional marketing offline to drive traffic to your website or blog. I can still remember the first time I saw a URL in a TV commercial and how cool I thought that was.

The offline world has the constraint of geography, so the least expensive forms of viral marketing are going to be geographically bound, which can be challenging for some sites. Someone on the forum said that offline marketing is a waste of time for most sites or blogs. I think that is a false generalization. In fact, every site should practice some form of offline viral promotion. We call these efforts drive to web programs and they can be very successful.

There are two important pieces to all promotion, and they become even more important in promoting your site offline. Just like the online world, your success at offline promotion is going to hinge on putting your message in front of the prospect in the right context - meaning at the right time and when they are in the right mood to perform the action you are looking for, which in this case is a visit to your website.

You need two elements for each viral marketing idea - the hook and the context. Once you figure out how you're going to do it, you need to determine where you're going to do it. If the niche and scope of your business won't lend itself well to local leads, passing out business cards isn't going to work as a viral marketing idea. I think every site could benefit from offline leads - it's just a matter of how much time and money you want to throw at them.

So here are ten ideas with an explanation of hook and context for each:

1. Idea: Use your URL like your telephone number. Most people get it on their business cards but leave it off many equally important items that become marketing materials. Here are a few: letterheads, press releases, yellow page ads, newspaper advertising, radio and TV ads, company vehicles, brochures, sell sheets, the bottom of every page of your catalog. Wherever there is a telephone number there should be both a URL and contact email address that is generic (

Cost: Nothing. You're already paying for the materials anyway.

Context: Global, because all of your marketing materials travel all over the place, and your ads should be seen and heard everywhere in the markets you choose.

2. Idea: Webcards. You can get business cards pretty cheap these days. Companies like DCP Print offer 250 free business cards with their ad on the back (their own viral marketing) or $9.99 for 500 cards. They seem a little thin, but they'll do. What you want to do is choose an attention-getting color that fits with the image of your site (a nice sky blue or yellow), and put your URL right in the middle in huge letters. Put a short description of the site and maybe your email and/or telephone number, and give them out.

Cost: Minimal.

Context: More locally focused, because you are handing them out. But check out the next idea.

3. Idea: Make every customer contact a viral marketing opportuníty. Remember the webcards from the last idea? It's a no-brainer to hand them out directly to customers, right? How about paper clipping a couple of them to an invoice or statement or other correspondence with a small postit note personally written by you asking them to keep one of the cards and give the other one to someone who might be able to use it.

This will work with many of the ideas on this page.

If you spend enough time building relationships with your customers they should be happy to help. Be sure to thank them for any referrals.

Cost: Minimal.

Context: Sort of a viral marketing meets chain letter idea that has potential. Global in scope.

4. Idea: Referral Bribes. This is a terrific idea, because it works both offline and online. For online you can send an email to your customers or put a link on your pages. There are tools like refer-a-buddy for websites and there are plenty of free refer this page to a friend scripts out there.

Offer your current customers an incentive to refer new customers. Maybe it's a coupon for a percentage off their next order, or an entry into a prize raffle or something else of value. This encourages people to tell you who referred them so you can see who's helping you out.

For the offline equivalent, make up a coupon and hand it out to people to hand out to other people.

Always send a thank you to people who refer other people, even if you bribe them.

Cost: A little to a lot, depending on the bribe.

Context: Global, if you combine offline with online.

5. Idea: Tchochkes. Tchochkes [choch-kez] are little gifts (knick knacks) emblazoned with your URL that you give out to people. The webcard could actually be considered a tchochke, but they usually are stuff we have on our desk or around our house like paperweights, coffee cups, T-Shirts, refrigerator magnets and other stuff.

At my wine shop we give out corkscrews with foil cutters that have our info printed in gold on them. I never have them out where people can see them but people often ask for them so I know they are getting around.

These can be very effective, but they can also be very expensive. If you come up with a well-designed coffee cup or paperweight it will end up on the desk of your customer, where everyone that comes into his office can see it. Make sure the URL is prominent, and try to make it fun and unique.

Cost: Could get very expensive.

Context: Global, depending on where you send them.

6. Idea: Direct Mail with a personalized offer. I have done this successfully many times, and your success is going to depend on how well you target your prospects and the quality of your offer.

If you have a super-niche site, subscription-based site, or high ticket niche item this idea is probably a wínner for you, though it may get expensive. There are (snail mail) mailing lists for everything. I have used a broker, Edith Roman for years. Put together a mailing list and a good offer, like a trial subscription or free gift or special coupon or free knick knack or something like that.

Use a well designed, neat, personalized letter with a personalized URL (an easy one), and send them off to redeem their offer. Use a personalized splash page and a good offer.

Cost: Fairly expensive to very expensive.

Context: Global.

7. Idea: The World as Your Billboard. If there is opportunity in a more local focus for your drive to web program, you should figure out how to get your URL in front of as many people as you can locally. Creative and unique wins the day.

I've seen posters, yard signs, billboards, bumper stickers, pens and pencils, car window signs. Think about it and come up with something good.

Don't clutter them with text. Use your URL and a few descriptive words:
Bígger is better

One person had bookmarks made up and inserted them into books at the local bookstore (owned by a friend) in relevant categories. Brilliant. Another person created PDF viral marketing kits for site fans to spread the word in their town. Another brilliant idea.

Cost: Inexpensive.

Context: Local.

Always, always, always have business cards, web cards, brochures, tchochkes or some viral marketing medium on you, because you never know when an opportunity to pass them out will arise.

I have a supply of business cards and brochures in the trunk of my car. I even have a stack of cards in the saddlebag of my motorcycle.

All of these ideas are combinable, and you should be implementing at least one or two of them. I'd love to hear your offline viral marketing ideas. Post them at AffiliateBlog.

About The Author:

Matt DeAngelis runs Matt is the former CTO of Modem Media, a pioneer in the Internet ad space. As a foot soldier in the Internet revolution, Matt devised the technology behind many of the most successful ad campaigns of the time. Affïliate Blog offers insights on Marketing and the top Affiliate Programs on the Net.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Business Seminars - Should You Attend?

Welcome back biz tips blog readers! As you have probably gathered from the title of this post, today's free home business tip is about business seminars and why you should probably attend them.

Also, after you are done reading today’s business tips be sure to read the post below titled, "Better Universe - Business Opportunity" to find my new highly recommended home based business opportunity.

Ok, here is your free business tip for the today....

Are you looking for the quickest way to fast-track your way to home business success? Do you want to shorten your business learning curve by months or even years? The answer is simple.... Attend a business seminar.

Business seminars provide the opportunity to learn from the best of your industry. Those who put on a seminar are there for a reason... they are very good at what they do. They offer their expertise willingly to anyone wishing to listen to it, usually for a price but sometimes even for free.

Let's look at four solid reasons why business seminars pack the most punch for your learning dollar.

1. You will most likely learn more in a day than you will in a month, or even a year, on your own. Business seminars are designed to give you the maximum amount of information into a predetermined period of time. Seminars can range from a couple of hours to a full week retreat.

2. As mentioned before, you get to learn from the best. You get to sit in the same room with an expert and listen to them share their wisdom, knowledge and expertise. It's a shame that many people do not realize the opportunity in this. An expert knows what information to provide to achieve maximum results in the least amount of time. They have done it!

3. You are right there in the room with no outside distractions. No phones, no television, no kids yelling, no refrigerator, and no couch to go lay on. We learn best from direct experiences. What better way is there to absorb information quickly than being a part of the action? Why do people go to movie theatres? Maybe it’s because they want to watch the movie in a room without any outside distractions. A movie theater provides them the environment to focus and absorb what is being presented to them.

4. Business seminars provide tools of the trade. It may be a workbook or a physical product like a software CD. It may be included in the cost of the seminar or it may be offered for sale after the conclusion. Many people underestimate the value of these tools. These products were designed to help you continue and re-enforce what you have learned from the seminar. Why spend the time and money to attend if you are not planning to put the information learned to good use? If the seminar provided value to you it should be a sure bet that the book, workbook, audio or video series will also have value.

Take the time to attend at least one business seminar this year. Whether you are looking to improve your life, make more money, plan for your retirement, grow your business, or even start your home business. Someone is out there willing to help you achieve your goals with the tools in hand to get you there as quickly as possible.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Better Universe - Business Opportunity

Today's home business tips blog post is about an exciting business opportunity that I have recently had the privilege of joining. Read on...

I want to start by telling you that this is one of the most exciting home business opportunities online! I have been with many of them over the years and I can tell you that this is the real deal.

So what is it? I'll tell you more...

I decided to give a business called Better Universe a two month trial after being told about it by a good friend of mine... who also happens to be of the most well-known and respected internet marketers online today.

I'll admit I was hesitant at first because I am already promoting quite a few successful home business opportunities and affiliate programs, and I wasn't sure I had room for another. However, this Better Universe program has taken off much faster than I expected! I fully intend to stick with them waaaay past my initial two month commitment!

What I like the most about Better Universe is the RESIDUAL income attached to it. Finding a good solid LEGITIMATE online business with residual income is a very difficult task, to put it lightly! And as a biz tips reader I have to assume that is one of your primary goals.... to create ongoing and continuous residual income.

Here are my final thoughts on Better Universe for now:

This is one of the BEST home based business opportunities available today! With Better Universe you can use the experience, knowledge and talents of PROVEN LEADERS in the home based business industry to help you quickly create a solid, residual income. If you're motivated and want a professional home based business, you've finally found it!

I highly recommend you at least give it a trial period (like I did) to see if you like it as much as I do. I am confident you will!

Click Here to Get started with Better Universe Today ...You'll be glad you did!

If you have any questions just let me know.

As always, I remain... Dedicated to your success!

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Offline Marketing: Maximum Impact Media Advertising

Today's free home business tip is about marketing and advertising offline. With so much emphasis put on the internet for marketing home businesses, many people overlook a huge opportunity to gain customers from offline media advertising. It worked for years upon years before the internet, and it still works today.

So without further delay, here are today's home business marketing tips:

If you have a home based business and sell a product or service, and want to be successful quickly, you must tell people about it through advertising and marketing.

TV, radio and newspaper are still considered the major media for effective marketing offline.

However, a lot has changed with these top three marketing vehicles in the past 15 years.

In this article some critical changes are revealed that have occurred and how you can get the maximum impact for your advertising dollar.

Television is primarily an entertainment medium. Research shows the average person spends more time with television than with radio and newspaper combined. For many years, TV was considered the most powerful advertising choice because of the huge audience it provided. Even today, nearly everyone watches some TV on a daily basis.

There are three things you must consider before spending money on TV advertising - limited lifespan of your ad, audience fragmentation, and ad avoidance.

Keep in mind that once your ad has aired, it is gone for good. There is no way your potential customer can refer back to it. This fact makes it imperative that you run your ad many times to embed your message in the mind of the viewer. Frequency is important with any advertising, but especially broadcast.

Audience fragmentation is one of the major problems local broadcast television faces today.

At one time, a huge TV audience was split over only a few local channels. Community businesses could reach a large majority of their potential customers very quickly. Large national companies, such as Coke, only had to choose from the three major networks - ABC, CBS or NBC - to reach over 80% of the population.

Today, with cable and satellite TV, this same audience is now fragmented over 200 or more channels. The percentage of viewers on local TV has dropped dramatically. Yes you can run ads on cable and they will spread them out over ten or more channels. This shotgun advertising has not worked well for small businesses because many of these stations have only a half percent or less of the total viewers. And, what are the odds that they will be watching during the 15 or 30 seconds that your ad is presented?

Ad avoidance is also a very rapidly growing problem for TV today.

Because the public watches TV primarily for entertainment, they see advertising as an unwelcome interruption - not unlike the hated telemarketing. This was true 30 years ago but there was nothing a person could do about it except channel surf or leave the room. As you know this was, and still is, often done. Today, with TIVO, pay-per-view, public broadcast stations, and the multitude of satellite and cable channels, the public has shown a willingness to pay for reduced interruption from advertising.

Radio has similar problems. It is also primarily an entertainment medium. As such, advertising is also considered an interruption. Satellite radio is one of the fastest growing industries today primarily because people, again, are willing to pay to avoid commercials. In fact, most new cars have satellite radio built in.

Additionally, radio has evolved into an entertainment source for primarily driving, and background noise at work. If you buy any radio advertising, it should only be aired during drive time.

At home, radio use drops off. People can play CD's or listen to satellite radio. This way they can choose exactly the music or programming they prefer without commercial interruption. The radio industry understands that folks do not want to be interrupted with advertising. Many times radio stations promote themselves by offering "more music, less commercials".

Newspapers have had their ups and downs, but have steadily maintained their local readership base and strength for local marketing. Even when radio, then TV, came on the scene, people still were loyal in reading their local newspaper.

Unlike TV and radio, advertising in a newspaper is not viewed as an interruption. In fact, one of the reasons people buy newspapers is for the advertisement content. Surveys have shown among 15% and 23% of those buying a newspaper do so primarily for the advertising.

You see, people do want to see and read advertisements. They do want to - and need to - buy products and services. They just want the ads on their terms.

TV's best day of the year is Superbowl Sunday, delivering nearly 40% of U.S. households. In striking contrast, newspapers consistently deliver well over 50% of your community households. They do it every day, 365 days a year. Now that is some serious marketing power.

Another advantage over broadcast that only newspapers can deliver is engagement of the consumer at the moment they are making a buying decision. When a person is reading your ad, it is because they choose to. At that time you have their full and focused attention. And the working life of your newspaper ad is enormous because it is physical and static. Your potential customer can refer back to it anytime they wish, or even cut it out.

You may have heard on TV or radio that newspaper subscriptions and readership are dropping. This is true. But it is not to the degree they would like you to believe.

What they do not tell you is newspaper online versions are growing much faster than the 7% or so losses in subscriptions. In fact, you will find newspaper web sites are usually the busiest web sites in any community. Be sure you take advantage of this.

Now you can see why today's trend among business people who are in-the-know is away from broadcast and back into the old, reliable newspaper. Most all the major stores are getting back to the basics and finding the print advertising to be the best return on investment. So will you.

Newspapers, of course, should not be your only advertising medium, but it is the solid foundation on which you build an effective marketing plan in today's environment.

Discount Newspaper Ads - $1 Each! - Make one call and place a 25 word classified ad in 280 different newspapers for only $1 each!

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