This Might Help You – Question From a Reader About Daily Emails

Had an interesting email come in yesterday, a read named John wondering how best to promote his books.

“Hi Martin,

That said, I’m a writer who has self published one book through Amazon’s KDP.  With quite a few family obligations finally out of the way, I have an aggressive, but realistic, publishing plan for 2014 that will give me two more novels, a few short stories, and a collection of those stories. I plan on releasing a new free short every 10 weeks. As each new one is released, I’ll change the prior one from free to .99 with my goal being beginning to build an audience. If I’m successful in getting eyeballs on these, my questions would be:

What is the best way of “capturing them” to become readers of a blog or mailing list?
What type of fun/interesting/entertaining material could I regularly email out that isn’t “hey, you should read my next book”?

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Persistence, Throwing in the Towel, and a Bit of Macchiavelli

When I tell people I used to be a fancy-pantsy bespoke tailor, they usually swoon.
“Really? Wow! You can make a suit by hand? That’s so impressive.
But why did you quit? Do you prefer copywriting?”

In many ways, I do. One thing that I love about this work is the research: Reading and learning is part of my work, and I just love learning.
I also really enjoy the interaction with clients.
And being able to really help people is just a fantastic way to make a living.

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Simple Tip for Getting More Sales: Show Up

You know what works for getting sales?
Showing up.
That in itself is the main fault with the vast majority of marketing: people are inconsistent.
They blog weekly for a few months, and then other concerns take over.
People spend weeks on social media, tweeting and updating their tush off, but then  their efforts and consistency get slack.
I’ve had clients who invest several 1000’s in adwords, and after 6 weeks they pause their campaign.
Folks build up massive networks on LinkedIn, and then they don’t do anything with them.
Sign up for a forum, establish expertise and garner respect – and then the account will sit unused for months on end.

Hey, I’m no different.

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If You Blow a Tire, Do You Throw Away the Car?

Had a minor heart attack yesterday.

Somebody wrote a blog post, proudly proclaiming they had closed their Mailchimp account and stopped all email marketing.

I was polite in my reaction, of course.

She may be making the most idiotic decision in the world, but that doesn’t mean I have to make her feel bad.

But idiotic it is.

After all, if you’re talking to people but they’re not buying, the best thing you can do is stop talking to them – right?

 

I see it a lot.

People will spend a year or two, emailing once a week, or twice a month because oooh – we don’t want to overload our readers.

Then they don’t get results – instead they get unsubscribes and spam complaints each time they do send something out.

And in the end they decide that email marketing isn’t right for them or their industry, or just doesn’t work.

And so they go and close their account, and go back to places like flakebook to do their ‘marketing’ there.

Here’s how I see things.

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In a Sea of Competition, Do You Fear Being Invisible?

Scary, isn’t it? That sheer volume of people out there, all promoting themselves, all offering something for sale, many of them offering the same thing as you offer.

How can you possibly stand out, if there’s so much noise everywhere?

Seems like being forgotten is the only thing we can be sure of.

Not so fast.

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Please Don't Make Me Think About Sex

Last week I turned down a very handsome gig.
A lady in the U.S., who runs a web shop with adult toys.
You know: vibrators, lotions, sexy underwear… that sort of thing.
She needed a whole bunch of copy strategic consulting

Her email was great: clearly a smart person, sympathetic and respectful – by all means the perfect client.
I looked at her site, and was pleasantly surprised.
It was stylish, tasteful and not crass in any way.

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Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Lies

 

Yesterday I told you about reciprocity and how – if used ethically – it’s a fantastic way to start a conversation with a prospect, and keep it going.

Today, I’m showing you an example of how it should not be used.

 

I’m strolling through the streets of Granada with a friend.

There’s a throng of tourists and locals in the street.

The sun’s out and life is good.

Suddenly there is a middle-aged lady in front of us, dressed in black.

She looks fairly unkempt and has the sly look of a crow in her eyes.

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New Shoes and the Compelling Effect of Reciprocity

I needed new shoes, so last week I drove up to Granada to go find some.
Taught me an important lesson about sales. One that I actually already knew, but it was uncanny to go through the learning experience once again.

I’m not an easy customer: I have size 46 (that’s about size 12 outside of continental Europe) and I’m very particular about what I do and don’t like.
They have to be comfortable, attractive, not flashy, durable, void of fashionable details, fit to go with shorts as well as crease-pressed trousers – not easy.
Oh, and I refuse to wear anything, including shoes, if the brand name is on the outside instead of the inside.

The sizes on display are usually 44 here, so each time I see a pair I like, I ask ‘do you have these in 46?’
And the moment I ask, the assistant runs to the back to grab a pair in my size.
But I don’t want to try them on – I just want to know if they’re available.
Because there are 20 shoe shops in that area, and I want to see them all, before I try any on.
After all, there’s so much choice, at such different price-points. I want to quickly scout shop after shop, see what’s there and at what price, and THEN I go back to the two or three most interesting shops (price/quality/style) to try on the three or four pairs that might be right for me.
But they won’t let me. They HAVE to get me a pair in my size and put it in front of me.
I don’t blame them, mind you: they’re doing their job, which is selling shoes. And the way those folk were doing it that day – I have to admit they all got it right.

Why?
Not just because it’s good customer service – there’s something far more powerful in what they did.
Sure you treat your customer well, and if he indicates he might want to buy, you instantly make it easy for him to do so.
In terms of shoes, that means getting a pair on those feet.

But far more importantly: getting that box in front of me is a way to ‘catch’ me.
We humans are hardwired to return favours. (Bunch of research to back that – Robert Cialdini is a good place to start).
If you do a prospective client a favour – no matter how small, you trigger an ancient psychological reaction.

It’s theorised that this penchant to return favours fostered survival of society, which may or may not be correct.
It’s not as relevant as the fact that the mechanism exists.
Because believe you me: it exists, and it works. Like clockwork.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to buy a pair of shoes just because they brought out my size.
But sales happen in increments, and getting just that little bit of willingness from a customer at the start, means he might just put them on.
After that, the sale depends on how the customer is treated, how the shoes feel and fit, the way they look in the mirror…

But if I don’t put them on, I might be out the door in which case none of that is going to happen.
You GOTTA get a pair on the feet of everyone who walks in the door.
I’m pretty sure that’s how shoe-salesman training works. Can someone check with Al Bundy please? Thanks.

Anyway: If people take an interest in your work and you want them to be your customer, the best thing you could possibly do is do something in their interest.
Not because that means they owe you a purchase – no, it’s just so that they’ll allow you to communicate with them a little longer.
That’s why it’s called Permission Marketing (Never heard of it? Must learn! Google Seth Godin…)
See, in order for someone to buy you need to do your little song & dance, your pitch.
They’re going to have to pay attention for that.
So you need to give them a reason to want to pay out that time and attention.
And doing a favor of some sort is a fantastic way to do it.
I do the same thing in these emails: I provide ideas that may be useful to you. It’s a little favour I do my readers.
Absolutely love writing them too, these daily emails, but that’s beside the point.
I give freely of what I think, and if I’m lucky, some people will find it interesting enough to read the next one, and the next one, and so on.
That means my readers allow me to talk to them, again and again. And as you can see, I do a little pitch at the end.
The people whom the shoe really fits (the folk who actually want to buy copy) at some point will get in touch and ask for a quote.
And thus, business is done.

So, recap: As soon as a buyer as much as looks at you, give them something.
Give what?
It doesn’t matter, as long as you give them a reason to continue listening to you.
A freebie, advice, a sample, some time – anything. But make it worth their time to pay you that attention.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how the same mechanism is also used on unsuspecting tourists for very odious purposes.
Because tricks like these are powerful and come with responsibility. If you’re an ethical business person, it’s important to know where to draw the line.
But that’s for tomorrow.

Here’s that pitch, by the way: Email marketing is one of the easiest, most cost-effective strategies you can use. Even if your list is small. (You have no IDEA how small my list is – and yet it works).
So, starting in 2014 I have a new offer: Captivating, highly converting emails, written fresh daily, in monthly packages. It’s not cheap (in fact it’s VERY expensive – but it gets you tons of sales.)
I’ll probably only take two or three clients for this service – it might look easy to write these, but actually it takes quite a lot of energy.
Anyway, I’ll put up a salespage for it in a few days. Or after the holidays, I don’t know. I need to go climb a pile of rocks with my yoga instructor now.

Cheers,

Martin

P.S. Some how and why of working with me: http://martinstellar.com/high-conversion-sales-copy/

My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend – No, But Seriously

You know that corny joke: ‘My best friend ran off with my wife. I miss him a lot.’
Maybe it’s funny when you read it, but not so much if it happens to you.
And yes, it happened to me.
To be fair, she and I have been separated for 4 years now.
The two of them got together last year.
It’s not like he stole her away from me.
But still.

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Pet-Peeve Time: Sneaky, Conniving, Pseudo-Ethical Marketing Creeps

I’m pretty annoyed today.
Some bigshot marketer dude, one I thought I could trust, did something really sneaky yesterday.

Here’s what happened:
‘Read my blog post’.
Click, read post. Popup appears: “Want to read this too?”
Click yes, I read the second page.
Another popup: “Say, I have a 75% discount on this – want to read the details?”
I didn’t want to read the details – I wasn’t in a buying mood, and besides, I was enjoying my read.
So logically, I clicked the little cross in the corner, thinking the popup would disappear.
It did disappear, but instead of showing me the same page I had been reading… I was taken to the 75% discount page anyway.

Hang on a minute.

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