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To Buy, Or Not to Buy…

To paraphrase Shakespeare:

To Buy, Or Not to Buy: That is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in your business to buy a list and suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous spam laws,
Or to take arms against a sea of spam troubles
And by opposing, end them. To rent: to sleep
And by a sleep to say: “We will not face massive fines and risk having our site blacklisted”

… Ok, what’s up with the Shakespeare you say? (in case you didn’t pick that up it is from Hamlet) My kids have been studying Shakespeare and for some odd reason I remembered that soliloquy from high school and thought it might fit here.

You might be saying, “Thanks for the Shakespeare Chris, but what the heck are you talking about?!!”

I have been getting a lot of questions lately about buying email lists that you can blast to. As you know I’m a big believer in email marketing and blasts ONLY if they are done right. Done right, you get a surge in traffic and sales. Done wrong, it’s a waste of everybody’s time.

One of the biggest questions I get from clients is “Should I buy or rent an email list?”

Certainly buying a list looks more attractive BUT YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE WHOLE PICTURE BEFORE YOU DECIDE WHAT TO DO.  You could be facing grave penalties.

Let me explain…

Renting a list: When you rent the list, the company that owns the list blasts it out for you. They make their money by keeping a high integrity list of confirmed email lists where most (if not all) of the people have opted in to receive information. They will continue to refresh, update and rent the list. This is the bread and butter of their business. Advantages are high deliverability with no risk of spam. Downside is it’s more expensive as you pay per blast. Many good list brokers will limit your risk by only charging for emails that were confirmed delivered to the recipient’s inbox.

Buying a list – you own it. No idea how the emails were harvested. Purchased lists have high bounce and spam rates. Purchased lists can also be very old with poor deliverability, they could have been developed by a sweatshop of people in India scanning websites for email addresses and adding them to their list, or even to an extreme where someone could have stolen a list and are trying to pawn it off on some poor unsuspecting person. If you buy a list, no software provider will do the blast for you. Reputable off-the-shelf email blast companies like Constant Contact, Aweber, and Infusionsoft (the one I use), clearly state in their terms and conditions that you agree NOT to blast a purchased list; they will revoke your software license if you do.

If you buy a list, you have to search very hard to find a 3rd party that will blast it for you. They are very few and they defer all legal responsibility to you. Fines are $16,000 per spam blast, plus, you run the risk of getting your website blacklisted from the internet. Very severe stuff. If you buy a list, there is no way to effectively blast it without serious implications. A lot of companies that sell lists will paint a nice sales picture but they don’t tell you how to send it. They paint a nice rosy picture and that’s about it. Advantage to buying a list is you own the list and can sleep with a false sense of security that you have something great (you don’t). Downside is you can’t blast it, and if you do you run the risk of serious fines and getting kicked off the internet.

After going through this with clients they decided not to buy lists. By the way, this question comes up all the time. There are many people that will try to sell you lists. My advice – RUN!!

Bottom line: Renting an email list is the only way to go.

Bottom line #2: Renting an email list is a great way to get business, if (and this is a big IF) you have a powerful lead generation magnet to drive the opt-in. (I covered this topic in a free mini-course “5 Days to Success With Internet Marketing“)

Hope this helps.

Blessings,

One Way to Skyrocket Your Lead Flow Using Your Website

For Businessowners that Want to Create an Unfair Advantage in the Quantity and Quality of Leads Coming into their Business:

Do you want an in-expensive, highly profitable way to create a continuous flow of new leads into your business?

Today we will cover something that every businessowner needs. And that means you too!

But first, when it comes to utilizing your website there are a couple different approaches…

2 Schools of Thought When Handling the People that Come to Your Website:

  1. Go for the jugular and close the deal
  2. Capture their contact information so you can continue to market to them (called “Lead Generation”)

If  you are going for the jugular that’s fine. Just know that you are leaving at least 33% of the money YOU COULD BE GETTING on the table. It most cases you would be losing 200% or greater.

If you capture their contact information, then you can market to them forever for free until they buy (or die).

In my opinion, school of thought #2, capturing their contact information, or Lead Generation is supreme. This is one thing that every businessowner needs!

Lead Generation is designed to do one thing and one thing only – constantly and continuously generate high quality leads for your business.

To create this, you need what one of my marketing mentors, Dan Kennedy, calls “a lead generation magnet”. A lead generation magnet is something of interest and value to your prospects that gets them to say to themselves “Hey, I want that!” and they give you their contact information in exchange for whatever the lead generation magnet is about. A minimum is to get their email address.

Your lead generation magnet can take many forms, some of the most popular are white papers, special reports, free e-books, videos, interviews or a free email course like this one. They are all good and choosing the right one for you depends on your strengths and the interests of your market.

There are many advantages to a lead generation magnet. The vast majority of people aren’t ready to pull the trigger and won’t buy right away. Instead they research to see what’s out there and check out several sites to get a feel for who’s selling what. If you offer them something of interest and value to help them in their decision making process, then you can take them out of the market and follow up with them. In your follow up you can demonstrate why you are the BEST solution for them and separate yourself from your competition. One more lead for you, one less for your competition.

To create a lead generation magnet, you will need:

  1. The lead generation magnet – white papers, special reports, free e-books, videos, interviews or a free email course. This should appeal to the emotions of your market. Find the problems they are having, talk to them about those problems and offer them ways to solve their problem – as in, buy your product or hire you!
  2. A landing page – this is the page on your website where they go to learn a little about what you do and enter their information in exchange for your lead generation magnet.
  3. An opt-in mechanism to capture their information for follow up. Here are a couple of options: Aweber and Infusionsoft (Aweber is cheaper, Infusionsoft is way more powerful and also more expensive. It’s the one I use. Both are excellent. A business just starting off might only need Aweber)
  4. A thank you page – after they give you their contact information you immediately take them to this page to access their information.
  5. Follow-up sequence – this is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle that many businessowners miss. You will open the floodgates by effectively utilizing this. (Again, Aweber or Infusionsoft will do the job)

Here are some questions for you to ask yourself:

  • Are you using Lead Generation?
  • How effectively is your magnet working for you?
  • Would you like to have a River of Leads Constantly and Continuously Flowing Into Your Business?
  • Do you want to free up your time and let technology do all the hard work for you so you can do something fun?

If you have any questions or would like to comment on the information, please comment below.

Blessings,

P.S. In you want to get this into effect now, I have a done-for-you service to free you of all the hassles, frustrations, unknowns and concerns you may have. Contact me and we can discuss this affordable and valuable tool.

P.P.S. Want more bang for your internet marketing buck? … Click Here

The Problem With Success In The New Economy

… where to start….

This week I read “An Enterprising Life” by Jay Van Andel and re-watched Jerry McGuire for the umpteenth time. Both worthy of the time invested. Both have great stories. Both have been bouncing around in my mind.

If you’re not familiar with Jay Van Andel, he co-founded the Amway Corporation along with his lifelong friend Rich DeVos. Doesn’t matter your opinion on the Amway business model, you’ve gotta admit that they built a very successful business enterprise doing sales of $8.2 Billion worldwide. I’ve never built a company that size and I’m guessing you haven’t either. So obviously there is a lesson or two that can be learned.

One of the things that really struck me was his lifelong relationship with his friend and business partner Rich DeVos. They had some great and entertaining stories of businesses they built along the way. A couple quick ones:

  • They built an airplane charter company when neither one of them knew how to fly. One time, one of their planes ran out of fuel and was forced to land on a lake too small for them to take off on. So they filled the tank, tied a rope around the plane and the other end around a tree, revved the engine and then cut the rope loose with a knife. The plane had just enough speed to barely clear the top of the trees.
  • They sold their plane business, restaurant business, and took a year off to sail to Cuba. They bought a sailboat and set voyage even though neither one of them knew how to sail. (what were they thinking!!). One night Rich took a wrong turn off the coast of New Jersey and ended so far inland on one of the rivers that it left the Coast Guard perplexed as they were towing them back out to sea. They had never seen a ship get so far inland. Crazy. Their voyage to Cuba continued smoothly until they sank 10 miles off the mainland in a shipping channel and had to be rescued by a passing freighter. They did eventually reach their destination.

Made me laugh and shake my head in wonder.

I also admired the camaraderie they had. Sure they were a couple of young entrepreneurs off on a daring adventure. But that’s how their whole life was.

Jay said that one of the keys to success was the relationship he had with Rich. It was so deep that they had a long standing agreement that when one partner was away, the other had full ability to make any and all decisions, even if it was different from what the other had in mind. Jay stated one example of how this played out during a new construction of a building. He said their trust in each other was so deep that they both felt so secure the other partner would make a decision in the best interest of the company. Not out of pride or ego, but out of the best interest of the company.

Man, I admire and respect that.

They also had the same relationship with their key vendors. They didn’t make decisions off of whoever was the cheapest bid. They did’t go after whoever had the latest bright shiny object. They did not go after whoever talked the best talk. That would have been building a house of cards. Instead, they developed key business partnerships with people that shared the same philosophies.

People they could trust.

One vendor, Dan Vos Construction, was with them from the beginning. He did a couple of jobs for Rich & Jay that were way below what they would normally do – installing simple shelves in a building the size of a gas station – that turned into a relationship that awarded them millions and millions of dollars in new building projects.

The list goes on and on from here. I think you get the point.

… switching gears, the movie Jerry McGuire…

Unless you’ve been under a rock you’ve seen this movie. The 2 lines…. say it with me now…. “Show me the money!!!” and “You had me at hello”….

The whole point of the movie was that the industry was in disarray. Jerry was disgusted with it. He saw how corrupt and shallow it became. He wrote his “memo” about less customers, more attention.

I think you see where I’m going with this. Everything seems so shallow on the surface with business today. Especially in the world of marketing and internet marketing. There is so much stuff out there. I don’t know about you but among the many solicitations I get are the ones from companies in India to do SEO for me. They promise to get me top ranked positions. (By the way, never confuse rankings with success, but I won’t get into that today, that’s a topic for another day…).

Business is faster. Speed is everything. So many people pitching so much stuff. It’s so mind boggling.

And that my friend, is the problem with success in the new economy.

As a business owner, you were successful in the past from doing things mostly on your own. It was easier. You just put your mind to a problem, would concentrate your efforts on it and it would go away wouldn’t it? You could accomplish anything you put your mind to.

Worked in the old economy.

In the new economy, not so much. It’s not like that anymore. There is too much to do. And with the digital age everyone is a friggin expert. We are all surrounded with so many things to do, and so many options – SEM, SEO, PPC, Adwords, Social Media, Facebook, Text Messaging, Link Building, Direct Mail, Sales Letters, Website Design, WordPress, Email Marketing, Email Marketing 2.0, Autoresponders, Opt-ins, Lists, Segmenting Lists – does it ever stop?!!

And the list goes on.

So the problem is that you are fully competent of being successful in any of these ventures on your own, you are so busy being successful in the running of your business, where do you find the time to implement ANY of these? How do you find the resources?????

Wouldn’t it be nice to have trusted business partnerships like Rich and Jay had?

Like what they had with their vendors? … having sources that could help you achieve more success more rapidly through relationships built on trust?

And like Jerry McGuire, having vendors that paired down their client list to make a bigger impact with less people.

By the way, if that’s what you’re looking for in a vendor, in a business partner, then know my friend, that is what I have dedicated the rest of my life to do. Helping you achieve your goals at such a rate that everyone will think you’re cheating. Where, at last, you can have a true business partnership built on old-school trust that will deliver the BEST solution possible for your specific situation.

Would love to get your thoughts on this, please post your comments below.

Blessings.
Chris.

NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE TO SELL TO? How to have eager prospects begging for next-day appointments

Dan Kennedy, one of the top marketing experts frequently says that “one” is the worst number any business can have – one client, one source of revenue, one product, one lead source – you get the point. If you have only one way of getting leads, what happens if it dries up?

Let me tell you a story…

Tony, a friend of mine, has always been a hard working guy. He was in the Marine Corps, recon division, not afraid of much. When he got out he didn’t want to work for anyone else, had too much drive, so he went to business school. One day after class he asked the professor what businesses he owned. The professor said he never owned a business. Confused, frustrated and irritated Tony left. That was the last time Tony was ever seen there.

Tony is also a strong minded man so he decided he would learn business the way he learned to fight – in the trenches. He started up a yacht maintenance company and worked his tail off. Toiling day and night he finally landed a big account subcontracting for a bigger yacht maintenance company. Life was great. Big checks, steady year-round work, wife, kids, house, mortgage, car payments.

Then one day it happened… the bomb hit…

He showed up Monday morning to pick up his list of yachts to clean as he did many times before. This time he was told he was no longer needed. 90% of his income gone in the blink of an eye. It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially when you are a hard working man with a wife and kids looking up to you and depending on you.

I won’t bore you with all the details of what happened next but the short version went something like this…. hurt (crushed is a better word), confused, bills, anger, determination, prayer, supportive wife, strong work ethic, lesson learned, focused. Stayed in same business, printed flyers, hand delivered them, got a couple clients, provided un-paralleled value, knew his competitors were lazier, delivered superior service, treated his customers like gold (wow is that missing in businesses today!), got more customers, raised rates, hired workers, increased customer value by adding more services, continued to diversify, started brokering deals buying and selling yachts, bought a bigger house to support his bigger family.

You may be saying, “great story Chris, but how does that relate to me?”

If you don’t have multiple streams of generating leads, then you may want to start. Here’s the problem I see, too many businesses don’t have enough leads and so they start to look for ways to advertise or get their name out. Everything sounds so darn good that they try to do too much without much thought into anything. Nothing gets done.

Here’s the BIG lesson: develop focus. Draw up a marketing plan and focus on one source of leads at a time. (if you have an abundance of funds then outsource to get more done at one time).

Think about this, if you add one source of traffic every two months, then in the next year you will have 6 different sources of leads working for you, or 12 sources in 2 years. What do you think your business would look like if you did this? If you focused your thoughts and efforts and got one source going every two months, do you think you would have more success or would you be worrying about where your next lead was coming from?

Tony got focused and kicked some butt.
Now it’s your turn to kick some butt!

Hope you enjoyed this.

Blessings

One Recession Combat Strategy You Can’t Be Without

First, did you know that we are out of the recession…. according to the government it officially ended around June/July of 2009. Yup, their top economists piled through the data and victoriously announced that. YEAH RIGHT!! Do you ever get the feeling that we are fed propaganda from the media and really wish we were told the truth and informed about what was exactly what was going on?

I know, wishful thinking eh?

Ok, so reality time… and side note… reality is always hard to deal with because it takes us out of fantasy and plants our feet and minds squarely in “what is”. So back to reality, we are still in the recession. Or maybe we should call it “The New Economy”. Kinda has a nicer ring to it doesn’t it?

In this new economy, consumers are much wiser and are educating themselves much more. Well, at least they think they are becoming much wiser, it all depends on where they get their information from doesn’t it? A lot of people get their information from the internet. And remember, ANYONE can post something on the internet and make a good case for themselves. Key point to remember is that before the internet, people used bathroom stalls to voice their opinions.

Setting aside whether people are getting smarter, dumber or more gullible and let’s just assume the consumer makes more educated buying decisions. What does this mean? This simply means that they need more than generic information to help pry their money from their hands and give it to you vs. your competition.

So that leads us to this One Recession Combat Strategy You Can’t Be Without….

Now, more than ever, you must know who your ideal prospects and clients are. And you must give them exactly what they want and need AND you must clearly communicate that in THEIR buying language.

This means generic messages will no longer get you the response they might have gotten in the past. You must clearly differentiate yourself and speak clearly to their hidden needs, fears, worries and desires. Think of this like dating. If you are married, you learned what your spouse wanted, feared, what kept them awake at night and what they truly wanted. And if you got married, you clearly communicated how you are different from any other person out there and that you are the only one that could give them what they wanted. (Either that, or someone got pregnant and you did the right thing! If that’s the case, go back and read the previous sentence and incorporate that step. 🙂

Another example, in sales, you are taught to find out what your client wants, and then give them what they want with you and your product wrapped around it. If they wanted to have security that you would service your product when it broke, you spoke to that. If they wanted freedom to pick between a number of options, you spoke to that. If they wanted reassurance that it would integrate well with their existing family of products and other vendors they used, you spoke to that.

So in your marketing, you do the same thing. You find what your ideal prospect and client wants, and speak to that.

What about everybody else you ask? … forget about everybody else. Only speak to the people that are interested.

How do you know what they want? … what are their fears, worries and desires? … one word: RESEARCH!

Go through your database and talk to past clients to find out why they bought from you and what your product did for them, ask people that are good prospects for you about what they want in a product/service. Bottom line is that whoever has the best research and speaks directly to their ideal prospects wants, needs, fears, worries and desires will win.

We are in an age where segmenting your market and speaking to the specific needs of your market will make others think you are cheating and will allow you to reap the spoils of victory.

Oh, by the way, yes, this takes work and effort. That’s the bad news. The best news is that your competition is lazy and will not do this. Why not outdistance them and leave them in the dust?

Be great eh!
Chris