Saturday, June 27, 2009
by Tammy de Leeuw
Social Marketing Mentor
By now, you've probably heard of SQUIDOO, the nifty Web 2.0 site founded by my marketing hero SETH GODIN. Some of you may have even put up a lens or two just to test the waters.
I am betting only a handful of you actually "get it", "it" being the tremendous marketing and SEO potential afforded by Squidoo.
Squidoo is one of those Web 2.0 tools that cost you nothing, yet has the potential to help you sell tons of products and services...provided you take the time to do it right.
CONTENT IS KING
Squidoo allows anyone to make a nice-looking webpage, called a "lens" with little to no knowledge of HTML. However, this "anyone can do it" accessibility means that the quality of lenses can vary wildly. In order for you to effectively market on Squidoo, you must stand out from the poorly written "pitch" pages by focusing on providing useful content.
Squidoo lens content can be created easily in the form of an article. A good way to promote your particular product or service, for example, would be to write a quality review of the product, with an emphasis on how it can help a prospect solve his or her particular problem.
The same goes if you are a consultant or service provider. Talk about a pspecific problem, then DEMONSTRATE how your expertise is able to address that problem. You might write an article called "Three Ways Estate Planning Can Help Your Heirs Avoid Taxes" and give real-life examples of people who were helped by you as an estate planner.
People are on the internet looking for clear, logical, and HELPFUL information, for understanding and insight , and for solutions for their own problems. The more "ah-ha's" you can generate from your lens, the more useful it will be to you as a marketing tool.
USE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
Another way to make Squidoo work better for your business is to make sure that all your lenses have at least one good-quality photo related to the article and one video. You can post your videos directly from You Tube. If you don't have any of your own videos yet, choose one from an expert in your field that backs up what your lens says. Watch the video BEFORE you choose it, to ensure that the information complements your lens and does not contain anything inappropriate or contradictory.
USE SQUIDOO'S RSS FEATURE TO FEED YOUR BLOGPOSTS
If you have a blog, you should absolutely take advantage of Squidoo's RSS feature, which allows you to feed headlines from your blog directly into your lens. This provides additional interesting content for your readers and drives traffic to your blog. How cool is that?
Be Sure to Have A Guestbook
Squidoo allows you to post a guestbook and to monitor comments. DO THIS! It is a well-known fact of marketing that comments and ratings play a huge role in generating traffic. When you post your new lens to Facebook or Twitter, be sure to encourage your readers to comment.
When used as directed, Squidoo is one of the best free marketing tools around, one which you can effectively use to attract prospects and convert them into clients.
See Squidoo In Action:
Friday, June 19, 2009
Don't Miss These Great Events And Downloads from FAN:
June 23rd: "What You MUST Do In Social Media...If You Do Nothing Else"
presented by the Insurance Mavericks and Deltina Hay
July 15th: "3 More Ways You Can Use Send Out Cards In Your Business"
Robert"Mas Loco" Breiner and Tammy de Leeuw present an all-new webinar on
more ways to use Send Out Cards in your business. (we've just scratched the surface!)
This special EVENING webinar will examine 3 new ideas for using the ULTIMATE REFERRAL SYSTEM in your biz.
Last Chance for these Free Downloads: (you must download by June 28th)
*New "How to Market Without Breaking the Bank" private webinar download
Making Money In A Down Economy With Peter Vessenes
10 Tips To Writing Effective Newsletters...
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Before you whip out cash for direct mail..make sure you know what NOT to do!
by Brett Kitchen
Over the years, I have received lots of feedback regarding direct mail, with the majority of the messages telling me how misguided I am in thinking that direct mail can still be effective in this age of NEW MEDIA.
I read horror stories of some agent or advisor dropping five grand on a direct mail campaign and not getting even one response; of advisors getting ripped off by list companies, of sending out 3,000 seminar invitations and getting only 5 people to show up. The complaints against direct mail go ON AND ON AND ON.
So, I invited a few of the naysayers to let me take a long hard look at their campaigns to figure out just what was happening. In so doing, I uncovered many of the same old direct mail marketing mistakes that, no matter how much I preach against them, continue to plague some of you.
Here are just five of the common direct mail mistakes I uncovered that will at best severely limit the effectiveness of your campaigns and at worst may ensure that you get a BIG FAT ZERO in the conversion column (the only one that counts, by the way)
Avoid these mistakes and you will go a long way in your quest to move the needle with a direct mail campaign.
1. It's the list, baby! It would seem that even the greenest of direct mail marketers would grasp this truism: Garbage in=garbage out. Yet, I see marketers cutting corners again and again when it comes to buying lists.
This is tantamount to buying cut-rate cement for the foundation of your house. It may save money in the beginning, but sooner or later it is going to crumble and destroy the rest of what you have built. Make sure you buy a list from a reputable mailhouse.
Do some research, get some referrals and testimonials, ask a few questions. Understand your niche well and make sure the list supplier is able to filter down the list as much as possible in order to reach that niche. Also make sure the vendor is CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) certified by the US Postal Service. (for more on CASS go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CASS)
2. Failure to SEED your list... At the very least, you should ALWAYS include yourself on every mailing list you use. I like to seed my list with other names as well (friends, family, employees). It puzzles me that many agents and advisors never think to do this, but it is a crucial component of the process..because...
How else will you discover whether your mailing was delivered in a timely manner-on the day of the week YOU specified?
3. No tracking mechanism... I look at a lot of direct mail pieces in the course of a week and am surprised that so many of them lack a tracking code, 800#, web link, PURL,or some other way to measure that particular campaign.
Tracking IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL, especially if you're involved in multiple marketing campaigns. If you don't know what campaign produced what result- how can you know whether or not you should tweak it, repeat it, or eliminate it?
4. No Call to Action... Your marketing piece is beautiful, the photos grab attention, the copy is smooth, edited, perfected...
Your target audience might be impressed enough to READ it- but that alone is not enough to motivate them to DO SOMETHING (which is, after all, the whole point of direct mail, right?)
You MUST offer something that gets the prospect out of his or her chair and over to the phone.
What do YOU think is more effective, saying "Call Gary Smith today for a quote on your homeowner's insurance" or saying "STOP! Before you purchase ANY homeowners insurance, read our free report "Three Costly Mistakes Homeowners Make When Purchasing Insurance" ?
5. Failure to Follow Through and Follow Up...Perhaps you are a seasoned direct mail veteran and you have your act together better than most. Your seminars get filled and your direct mail pulls over 2%.
Now, you have a coffer full of prospects, eager to meet with you and hand over their wallets.
The question is- do you have a plan to follow through with them? Did you put an instant fulfillment system in place? Hire an assistant to call up everyone who responded to make appointments?
I know an insurance agent in Boston who confided to me that he had over 300 leads generated from direct mail that he had NEVER CONTACTED- 300 now nearly-useless leads because he never put a system in to ensure that no leads went untouched. Conversion doesn't occur in a vacuum- you need to have a system in place to make it happen.
Plan for your SUCCESS in direct mail and be sure you have a system in place to follow up on each and every lead immediately. To do anything else is a gross waste of your time, money, and brainpower.
Eliminate all of these common direct mail blunders and you will be on your way to proving to yourself, once and for all, that direct mail WORKS FOR YOU.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
What if the conventional wisdom about what makes people buy is actually what is holding us back from our real potential? (At one point the conventional wisdom was that the world was flat!)
What if we have been mislead to think that the only way to make sales is talk people into buying things?
What if the reality is that people know they need to buy our products and they just need legitimate help in discovering what they want to buy?
What if our discomfort with prospecting and is the result of a misunderstanding of how the process really works?
What if our job is simply to offer our ability to help people and see who wants our help?
What if all we need to do is to present the opportunity of working with us and the right people will say, 'Yes, I would like some help?
What if we can't say the wrong thing to the right person?
What if our clients are waiting for us to call on them and present the opportunity to work together?
What if the thing people really want from us is to show them how our products might help their situation without any pressure to buy?
What if our job is to simply help people make informed decisions that feel right to them?
What if the way to triple our income to simply help people decide what they want to buy next without any sales pressure?
What if most of the sales process is really out of our control and we have been taught to try to control it?
What if trying to control what people do actually makes people find more reasons not to buy than reasons to buy?
What if the main reason people don't buy is because they feel we are trying to sell them what we want them to have rather than what they want to buy?
What if sales pressure makes the client feel like we care more about the commission than helping them get what they want?
What if they number of people who will buy triples when we take away the sales pressure?
What if the Universe is standing by watching to see how we approach people and rewards us according to our approach?
What if the approach we were taught to use is really not the most effective?
What if we made the most important part of our job to help people make informed decisions that feel right them? Is there any way that could fail?
What if we actually could not fail if we let go of trying to control the process?
What if our ability to go to the next level in our practice is the willingness to let go of trying to control the process and simply help people make educated decisions that feel right them, which includes doing nothing?
What if making sales is really much easier than we ever imagined and we have been taught to make it hard and complicated by well-meaning but misguided people who are unknowingly attached to an approach based on scarcity?
What if all we need to do to make more sales is trust our instincts, trust our heart, teach people want they need to know to make a good decision and then help them get what feels right to them?
What if we are missing out on great wealth, the smiling faces of happy clients, and our own peace of mind, due to a small misperception?
What if I am right? Are you willing to let go of your fears, your doubts, your skepticism, your proof that it can't be that easy, and risk giving it a try?
What if all you need to do is to trust what feels deeply right to you and stop listening to what others think is right?
What if you are the only one in the world who really knows what is right for you?
Your new clients, the ones you haven't met yet, are waiting for you to call! They need your help. They don't want to be sold. They want you to care more about them than the commission. They want you to help them make informed decisions that feel right to them. Would you be willing to exceed your goals by helping others get what they want rather than thinking you need to talk them into what you are "supposed" to sell them?
Let me know what you think of this piece! Send me an email. Your feedback means a lot to me.
PS: Be sure to check out my ALL NEW, content-packed preview session on Thursday, June 11.
Register for free by clicking HERE.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Financial Advisor Netzone
By popular demand, the Insurance Mavericks , Brett Kitchen and Ethan Kap, have re-opened their Alliance program for a limited time to agents and advisors who want and need to get...
Agents who got in last go-round and who actually USE the system are reporting huge increases in their bottom lines, and are having loads more fun in their businesses. The Mavericks have done all the work for you- spending a lot of their own time and money to find what does and does not work in marketing your insurance or financial practice.
You Should Give This A Try!
I don't know where you are in your business. Maybe you just need a few proven direct mail strategies, or to get a handle on doing better seminars, or a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.
The Mavericks' Alliance program offers a tremendous amount of those types of resources, and a lot more.
I first got involved with Ethan and Brett because I sensed that they really do care about helping those in our industry make more money and enjoy their businesses more. Time has proven that this is indeed the case- they LOVE IT when agents call in to report their successes or offer their own ideas.
For a marketing system, the investment is reasonable and the guarantee they offer is nothing short of INSANE. So, you can try it out and see if their approach will work in your own business with no risk.
Check out the video explaining EXACTLY what you can expect as a Mavericks member:
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
by Bill Cates
Referral Coach International
I gave you some ideas as to how to reduce your percentage of cancelled appointments with new prospects. I had a number of readers suggest some other strategies in this area. So, Tip #1 in this issue will show you some more ideas from our readers to help you reduce appointment cancellations.
From John Strange - Cairns - Australia
"Our kept appointments run at around 90%, with about a 2% cancellation rate and about 8% reschedule. Our system is to send an e-mail to the prospect, confirming the date, time and place as well as what will be dealt with at the meeting.
"When gaining the appointment, we also make sure we get their mobile phone number. The day before the appointment, one of my team sets up text messages to go to all appointments for the next day. These messages are generally scheduled to be sent between 2 to 3 hours before the appointment. These messages are sent from the team member's computer, using preset messages, so she has minimal input, so the process is very fast and effective. We have found that this works much better than phone calls. We have been doing this for about 3 years and have dropped our no-shows down to the current level. Naturally all prospects are referrals."
Scott Miller - San Diego, CA
"For a new prospect or referral, I generally ask that they send any statements they want me to review in advance of the initial appt. If they send them, I know they are serious. In most cases we've already had a few discussions and I've done some initial fact finding so it's not totally unexpected.
"I LOVE it when a prospect legitimately forgets about an appointment or has to reschedule on short notice. It's almost a guaranteed close the second time around if for no other reason than out of remorse. I also never leave my office for an appointment without confirming first. If they don't confirm, I don't show up unless I happen to be in the area anyway. Of course I prefer to meet in my office.
"If a prospect keeps me waiting more than 10-15 minutes, I won't hesitate to tell the receptionist that I'll have to reschedule as now I don't have enough time to devote to the appointment and still be on time for my next one. Only ONCE in my 27-year career has the prospect refused to reschedule under that scenario. Clients and prospects need to understand that we are busy professionals and our time is to be respected as is theirs. They're generally very apologetic and understanding."
Are You Getting Inter-generational Referrals?
Joe Gemmill is a loyal Referral Minute reader (Thanks Joe). He shared this idea with me a few weeks ago. Perhaps you will find it helpful.
"I am 25 years in the financial advisory business and that means some of my clients were pre-retirees and now they are not so young. When we discuss "legacy planning", NOT "estate planning" I ask them 'Of the children you've listed on the data organizer, who would be the first to call me if you became ill or were in the hospital and needed money? Would it make sense to coordinate a time when you and your daughter/son could meet with me, so I would be a friendly face when they need me most?
"It can be tricky to schedule a time and you DO have to be very clear as to how much information will be shared as part of confidentiality. It is very proactive in serving our clients and has gained participation in the process, rather than a distressed, defensive call from an adult child with an incapacitated parent.
"And, we walk through the financial planning process and once the younger generation gets it...they have become clients too."
What are you doing to build loyalty and generate referrals? I'd love to hear your ideas! Also, are there any topics you'd like to see me address in future issues of The Referral Minute? Maybe I can help. I'd love to hear from you. Send your questions and best practices to me at: Info@ReferralCoach.com.
If you're looking for the type of high-quality clients that CPAs can provide, then you need to be a part of this educational experience with Bill Cates. NOW is the perfect time to be meeting and building relationships with CPAs. Get started now and give these relationships time to develop.
In this interactive 60-minute webinar/teleseminar with referral expert Bill Cates, you will learn:
PLUS - You'll receive 5 bonus referral tools to make sure you produce results. Click the link below to see what you receive.
Monday, June 15 - 60 minute session - 1:00p Eastern - 12:00p Central - 11:00a Mountain - 10:00a PacificClick for all the details and to SIGN UP TODAY: www.referralcoach.com/webinar