February 16, 2009

Get Rid of Unprofitable Blog Reviews Once and for All

by

Learn The Latest Profit-Making Tactic Used by The Fastest Growing Online Stores in North America

The hardest part about marketing an online business is to get it off the ground. It’s even harder when you’re starting from scratch. Your biggest problem is how to generate “profitable” traffic to your website.

One of the easiest ways to generate profitable traffic without spending any money up-front is to get your product or service reviewed by bloggers. However, because it’s easy, most bloggers that would be interested to review your product might have already been approached by your competitors.

How can you beat your competitors?

Incentivize Your Reviewers With Discount Coupons

Do you like receiving gifts? I do. And so do bloggers.

Every one loves to receive something. So, rather than just ask a blogger to review your product, make it “meaningful” for them. Give them a few “exclusive” discount coupons that they can use on your website.

Most of the popular shopping cart services, such as Shopify, support discount coupons. Even if your shopping cart does not support discount coupons, there is nothing to stop you from using this concept.

This step-by-step proven method will reveal the secret to creating more buzz and profits for your business.

Step 1: Create a List of Reputable Bloggers

Are you keeping a list of reputable bloggers in your industry?

If you haven’t got one, then it’s time to start. Keep this list fresh, by always updating it with new (and relevant) bloggers. You don’t need any fancy tool for this, as Microsoft Excel or Google Docs can do it easily. Here’s a format I would recommend to keep track of your bloggers:

google-docs-bloggers-panel

If you haven’t got any bloggers in mind, then it’s best to start searching for blogs using Google Blog Search. As an example, if I were selling aquascaping products, I would start by searching for all blogs that mention the word “aquascaping”.

google-blog-search-aquascaping

Hot Tip: it’s always best to get reviewed by bloggers that are already ranked on Google. This way, you can get your website indexed faster, and build higher quality traffic.

Step 2: Create Discount Coupons & Track It

Like I said earlier, you don’t have to worry if you’re not using a shopping cart system. It’s a nice to have, but you may not need it when you’re just starting out.

Either way, it’s time to create some exclusive discount coupons that you can offer to your panel of bloggers that they can give away to their readers or choose to use for themeselves. Remember: the trick is to make these discount coupons seem exclusive. So, don’t publish the same discount coupons anywhere else.

Use this exercise as a way to promote the reviewed product. For example, if you’re asking a blogger to review your latest e-book, then craft the discount coupon to specifically for that product:

BOUNTY33: Enjoy a 33% discount when you buy this e-book within the next 48 hours

Here are a few more recommendations when crafting your campaign:

  • Personalize your coupons: if you’re contacting a list of 10 bloggers, then try to create 10 different coupons with their blog names as the coupon names. This will make your coupons seem more meaningful for the selected bloggers
  • Keep it scarce: As Seth Godin says, “scarcity creates demand”, people want something that others can’t have. Perhaps set your coupon to expire within 48 hours, or allow it to be used up to three times

If you don’t have a shopping cart system to do all the magic discount coupon rules, then start with something simple. Remember to track which coupons go out to the bloggers, the expiry dates, and any other “manual” rules that you’re assigning to it. Put this down in a spreadsheet (Google Docs) and always keep it updated.

Step 3: Craft Your Review Email

This is the most important step. You need to craft a good email that is able to capture the blogger’s attention and get him/her to review your product.

Here’s an email we helped write for a client, not too long ago:

Dear Jennifer,

I’m a big fan of your blog, and follow it daily on RSS. Love your latest post on “How to Make Your Backpacks Last Forever”.

Our company, Super Duper Backpacks recently launched a new range of custom handmade backpacks, known as the Evolution series. It’s an amazing item in our store, and we’re sure your readers will love them too. You can find more information about it here: http://super-duper-backpacks.com/evolution

We would be delighted if you could review this product on your blog, good or bad. As a token of appreciation here’s an exclusive discount coupon you can give away to your readers for this product. Feel free to copy and paste the offer details below on to your blog or sidebar:

Enjoy a 33% discount on the Evolution backpack
Visit Super-Duper-Backpacks.com
Offer valid till the end of January 2009
Go to: http://super-duper-backpacks.com/evolution

Feel free to email me for any help. I’d be happy to lend a hand and answer your questions.

In the meantime, keep up the great work with your blog!

Cheers,
Jim

Go ahead and copy the sample above. The important part is to personalise each email for every blogger. Yes, it takes a little time, but you will be surprised by the number of positive replies you will get from this.

Here are secrets we share with our clients:

  • Personalise every email: you can reuse a template, but at least address the person on a first name basis, and mention something nice about his/her blog
  • Show that you care: try and read the blog, and pick up a couple of points about what you like. Mention this in the first paragraph. If you liked the blogger’s latest post, then mention that. The trick is to sound genuine
  • Keep it simple: remember that you’re only sending an email. You don’t need fancy graphics or HTML. Bloggers will be able to “smell” bad copy and paste work
  • Do not pressure anyone: there’s no need to force a good review. Bloggers will only promote your product if it’s good. If you get some negative reviews, then just be up-front about it, and reply to the blog post with a comment to give your side of the story

Start Building Your List of Bloggers, & Enjoy The Phenomenal Effect of Word of Mouth Marketing

This tactic has worked for many successful online businesses. It’s best to keep a long list of bloggers, and try different review offers every now and then. You will be amazed by the buzz that this type of campaign can generate for your business.

Post a Comment or read more about Blog Marketing

February 14, 2009

Saturday Morning Viral: What NOT to Do With Mentos & Carlsberg Beer

by

Starting today, and every Saturday, we will publish our favorite viral marketing campaigns of the week in a special “Saturday Morning Viral” post.

Go ahead, be viral and spread the “idea virus” to your friends =)

saturday-morning-viral
Here’s a viral spoof of the famous Mentos + Coke experiment. This is what happens when you combine Mentos and Carlsberg Beer. See it for yourself.

This video is “old news”, but gained over 2 million views, and 500+ blog posts since July 2007. See more stats via Video Viral Chart

February 13, 2009

Warning: $900 Million Will Be Lost on Friday the 13th — How Much of it Is Yours?

by

Up to $900 million in business revenue will be lost on Friday the 13th. There are three Friday the 13th’s in 2009 — is your business prepared for it?

A reported 9 percent of Americans are paraskevidekatriaphobics (fear of Friday the 13th), and studies have shown that $800 million to $900 million in business revenue is lost on this ominous date.

But It’s Just An Ordinary Day

Some may argue that it’s just an ordinary day. In fact, that’s true. However, a proportion of your customers believe that there are certain psychological benefits, such as more confidence and a sense of comfort, linked to superstitious rituals.

Jennifer Wang summarizes this point in her article:

… hundreds of millions of dollars are lost on Friday the 13th because humans are naturally risk-averse. Although it’s not always done consciously, there’s a tendency toward less decision-making, Block says. “People don’t do as much shopping and don’t leave the house — and there’s less flying.” But by simply making people aware of superstitious behavior, it can bring out their more rational side, reminding them it’s just an ordinary day.

What Can You Do About It?

Don’t wait to lose money on Friday the 13th.

Instead start thinking about the types of customers in your market.

Are a majority of your customers from Asia? Well, Asian cultures tend to be more superstitious about numbers as compared to Western cultures.

It’s also a brilliant time to play it up with some creative marketing initiatives:

  • Home store Crate & Barrel, ran a “Lucky You” campaign last year on Friday the 13th. “They played off the superstition and got people to come out anyway.” Because consumers are not always aware of the extent to which they rely on superstitions, this is perhaps one model that businesses can follow
  • And calling attention to the cursed date certainly hasn’t hurt the Friday the 13th movies. The franchise just grew to 12 films with its latest release, which came out on Feb. 13 — a Friday. The first 11 films have earned a scary $350 million, and five of them have been released on a Friday the 13th

How Would You Make the Most Out of Friday the 13th?

Perhaps your Internet business could up-sell / cross-sell a special offer that’s available only on Friday the 13th. It’s a great brand positioning method for 2009 as Friday the 13th will occur three times this year — February 13th, March 13th, and November 13th.

Or perhaps there’s a bigger opportunity for your Internet business to mix Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day (February 14th) (read this tip)

How would you make the most out of Friday the 13th?

Leave a comment!

February 11, 2009

Are You Using This Secret To Save YouTube Videos?

by

The easiest way to save YouTube videos from any computer without any special software

Like a video on YouTube?

Do you want to download it and save it on your computer?

Here’s the easiest way to do it, without installing any software. You can show this off to your friends and colleagues at any time for brownie points =)

Whenever you want to save YouTube videos, just type pwn in front of youtube in the URL location box, then press enter. It would look something like this:

How to save Youtube videos

This will redirect you to Pwn! YouTube which gives you two options to download the video — either in FLV or MP4:

How to save Youtube videos with PwnYoutube

Tell me that wasn’t easy!

p/s: This is a useful tool to save YouTube videos related to your marketing efforts. Whenever you come across interesting ads, interviews, or anything else related to your business, just save the YouTube video. This way you get to use it even when you are not connected to the Internet.

Post a Comment or read more about YouTube Marketing

February 9, 2009

Here’s Why You Should Use WWW in Your URL

by

I recently stumbled on an article by Gobala Krishnan on the question of whether to use “www” in the URL. As he puts it, consistency is what’s important.

But I also wanted to know how other successful websites handled this.

9 of the Largest Websites in the World Default to www.domain.com

I started by pulling up the top 10 websites as ranked by Compete.com:

top-10-websites-january-2009

Then, I tested each website to see (a) where it would end up if I keyed in the domain name with and without a “www”, and (b) how Google indexed their first result.

Here’s what I found:

  1. google.com → www.google.com
  2. yahoo.com → www.yahoo.com
  3. msn.com → www.msn.com
  4. live.com → www.live.com
  5. ebay.com → www.ebay.com
  6. youtube.com → www.youtube.com
  7. amazon.com → www.amazon.com
  8. facebook.com → www.facebook.com
  9. wikipedia.org → www.wikipedia.org & wikipedia.org (no redirection, although www.wikipedia.org is the default URL indexed by Google)
  10. myspace.com → www.myspace.com

9 of the top 10 websites in the world default to a “www” URL!

These websites redirected requests for domain.com to www.domain.com. They also had their “www” URL indexed in their first search result on Google.

google-search-www-in-url

In the Offline World, Left-to-Right Matters

If you’ve spent some time marketing offline (e.g. print, billboards, t-shirts, etc), then you will know how important it is to capture a customer’s attention quickly. Split-second decisions matter a lot.

The human-brain is trained to process the things we read, from left to right. The faster we are able to detect a visual cue, the easier it is for us to identify what it is. Humans tend to always take the path of least resistance.

So which of the following examples would your brain identify as a “website” in the shortest time possible?

www-in-url-reading-pattern

In unstructured tests that we conducted, we asked participants to choose between the two examples above. We realized that 7 out of every 10 users identified www.domain.com as a website.

In the first example, your brain would have to read from left to right, and you would probably only notice it’s a “website” after hitting the “.com”. This serves as a visual cue.

Now, if we were to use www.marketingly.com, you’d be able to immediately identify that this is a website. The visual cue “www” is apparent right away.

If you were driving past a billboard, you only have a matter of seconds to pick up the website URL. Your brain is wired in such a way that it searches for visual cues that it is used to.

Given the enormous publicity of “www” in the mass media, why not capitalize on it? The “average joe” will be able to understand it better. After all, most people still key in the “www” into their web browsers.

Be Consistent, but Not Fool Hardy

There’s no harm if you choose not to use “www”, but you will lose traffic if you don’t cater for it. We’ve seen many websites that entertain requests for domain.com, but don’t redirect the request for www.domain.com. Read these tips on redirection for: CPanel, Dreamhost and Google Webmaster Tools.

Here are some things to consider for your URL strategy:

  • What if it’s a long URL? In Adwords, you can only use up to 35 characters for your display URL. If necessary, remove the “www”, but ensure that your landing page is served by it
  • What if you’ve spent years on domain.com? If you’ve been building tonnes of links with domain.com, then just stick with it. Just remember to serve “www” and update your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools

Just remember that it pays to be consistent with your choice of URL. If you’ve decided to use the “www”, then stick with it in all your marketing efforts, such as Adwords and blog comments.

February 6, 2009

The Secret of Successful Blog Marketing

by

Learn The Secret Tactic Used by Profitable Online Businesses to Increase Your Sales Immediately

Have you ever asked the question:

“What should I wear to work tomorrow?”

Probably not. But you may have had problems of your own needing instant solutions.

According to Google, over 18,000 blogs have mentioned the phrase “What should I wear …” in one form or another. This includes What should I wear to class tomorrow, What should I wear with these shoes, and more.

More and more people are turning to blogs to vent their frustrations, and blog about their problems or needs. Most of these blogs are probably read by a small circle of regular readers, often friends and family. And anyone that owns a blog will tell you that getting a comment is always a super surprise.

Harness The Power of Blog Comments

Now imagine you were running an online boutique selling clothes for women.

As an online business, your goal is to solve people’s problems by providing relevant products (or services). Why not harness the power of blogs, and solve problems right away by just leaving a comment. Every time you leave a comment on a prospective customer’s blog, you earn (a) potential traffic from a circle of loyal readers, and (b) potential revenue from a relevant sale. Remember: desperate buyers will do anything to solve their problems, as long as you stay relevant.

This is a step-by-step proven method to do just that without blowing a hole in your pocket.

YES, it’s cheap, fast and effective.

So, how do you find people with problems?

Step 1: List The Problems That Your Product Solves

If you’re in the business of selling clothes online, you should be able to solve common problems such as “what to wear” for specific occasions. Similarly, if your business provides a useful service, spend some time to think about the exact problems that you can solve for your customers.

List out the possible questions that a potential customer might rant about on a blog.

Taking the example of “what to wear”, common problems may include:
What do I wear with these shoes?
What do I wear to the prom?
Which dress looks better?
Where can I buy cheap dresses?
What do I wear to a Toys R Us interview?
What to wear on a fun date?

Step 2: Analyse Your Problems With Google Blog Search

If you haven’t already started using Google Blog Search then there’s no better time to start with it. Think of it as a minute-by-minute radar of the “blogosphere”. Every blog update by potential customers can be searched easily from here.

http://blogsearch.google.com/

Try searching for the common themes of the problems that you outlined in Step 1, and shortlist at least 3 problems to focus on.

How do you go about picking your top 3? The easiest way is to just pick the top 3 with the highest results, but it often pays to be more targeted. You may want to start with a list that returns 20,000 results or less. As you get better at this, you may want to narrow down your focus to more targeted problems. Often, you may find problems with less than 10,000 results, but the fact that it is highly targeted, gives your product immense value to the blogger (potential customer).

Example of a shortlist of common themes:
“what do I wear” = 21,000 results
“what should I wear” = 18,000 results
“what to wear with” = 4,000 results
“what do i wear to” = 2,000 results

Step 3: Set-up Google Alerts

After you have shortlisted some “problems” to tackle, it’s then time to set up Google Alerts. Think of this as a pager that beeps every time some one blogs about one of the problems you are hoping to solve. Rather than go out looking for problems, let them come to you.

http://www.google.com/alerts

Google Alerts lets you keep track of new blog posts via daily email updates or an RSS feed. We usually start by setting up email alerts first, and suggest that you do the same until you get the hang of things. Besides, it’s easier for you to act on emails rather than monitor feeds.

1: Search for a common problem using Google Blog Search
google-blog-search

2: Click on Blogs Alerts on the left column
google-alerts-blog-search

3: Configure your alerts the way you want it, then click Create Alert
google-alerts-configure

Step 4: Leave Comments on Relevant Blog Articles

You should now be receiving daily updates of new blog posts that “talk” about the problems you have shortlisted. It’s best to set aside some time every day to sift through this list. Yes, you will have to speed read through these blogs, but this can also be a great way to gain inspiration for new ideas.

Read and make sure the blog post is relevant to your product. Are you able to provide a relevant solution or relevant reason for the blogger (and their readers) to visit your website?

If you answered YES, then leave a comment on the blog. Some blogs provide the option to keep track of comments through an RSS feed, or email alert. A better alternative is to use a comment tracking service such as co.mments or CoComment. This way you can stay updated with the conversation on a specific blog, and always reply promptly.

Remember: bloggers love receiving comments to their post, especially if it’s the first comment. But it’s important that you stay relevant to the blog article, so try and read the post before commenting.

Set Aside Some Time, And Start Minting Money Right Away

It’s really easy to master this tactic. We’ve seen a number of online businesses structure this form of marketing into their daily routine.

Start slow and keep it simple — perhaps set aside 30 minutes every other day to review and solve problems on blogs. You will be amazed by the traffic and potential sales you can earn from this free tactic.

Post a Comment or read more about Blog Marketing

February 5, 2009

The Most Important Idea in Advertising

by

Here’s a superb pitch for the Kodak Carousel slide projector from Episode 1×13 of Mad Men.

This old pro copywriter — Greek, named Teddy

Teddy told me the most important idea in advertising is NEW

It creates an itch — you simply put your product in there as a kind of “calamine lotion”

BUT he also talked about a deeper bond with the product

NOSTALGIA — it’s delicate BUT potent

Now, go ahead and answer Seth Godin’s question: “Which comes first, the product or the marketing?”

(It pays to watch TV. If all else fails, just read Seth Godin)

Post a Comment or read more about Advertising

February 4, 2009

Here is a Method That is Helping FT.com Make Millions of Dollars

by

FT.com Earns Up to $28 million US Dollars Every Month From 10% of Their Registered Users

How does a publishing business like the Financial Times (FT.com) make millions of dollars online?

financial-times-homepage

Simple: they give away free content.

The Silicon Alley Insider recently published excerpts of an interview with FT.com managing director Rob Grimshaw.

Here’s how it works:

  • Everyone gets access to 3 articles per month
  • Register with the site for free and you can read 10 articles per month
  • Pay $3.44 per week and you get access to everything online, except for the FT’s famed LEX column
  • Pay $5.75 per week and you get EVERYTHING, plus access to the FT from your mobile

financial-times-pricing

People Will Pay for Specialized Content

Here’s how FT.com makes money online:

  • 62 million individuals visited FT.com in 2008, about 5 million every month
  • 20,000 new users register for the FREE service every week, and provide their personal details (opportunity to upsell). In the last 18 months, 1 million readers registered with FT.com
  • 100,000 paying subscribers — implying that FT.com makes between $16 million to $28 million a year from subscriptions

And the clincher?

Because registering requires readers share lots of personal information, Rob says the FT.com can charge advertisers $40 to $60 CPMs.

Remember the 80/20 rule?

About 10% of FT.com’s registered users are paying customers. The $28 million that they contribute, is funding the cost to give the service away for free to the remaining 900,000 users.

What Does This Mean To You?

If you’re in a business that specializes in a specific field, then think about how you can “bait” potential subscribers.

Giving away free content is just one way to get customers to sign up and provide some basic details. This gives you the opportunity to upsell premium pricing plans over a course of time.

But FT.com also employed the use of smart pricing variables, exploiting human psychological weaknesses:

  • The jump from 3 articles to 10 articles is significant – why wouldn’t you sign up for the FREE account?
  • Paying $3.44 per week is “cheaper” than paying $13.76 per month ($3.44 x 4)
  • The difference between $3.44 and $5.75 is very small – why wouldn’t you pay a little bit more to access everything?

By the way, FT.com specializes in financial news, not “just” content. So stop telling yourself that this tactic would only work for FT.com or content-driven businesses. It can work for any business that is focused on a specific niche.

Remember: the trick is to “milk” money from a smaller segment of customers that are willing to pay for access to your extended range of premium services. Contrary to popular belief, people are willing to pay for good content.

Post a Comment or read more about Smart Pricing

February 2, 2009

The Little Known Secret That Rafael Nadal Used to Win The 2009 Australian Open

by

Learn How You Can Use The Same Secret To Beat Your Competitors

You’ve heard the news: Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in an epic five-set battle to win the 2009 Australian Open. It was the longest match in the tournament’s history, lasting over 4 hours. And it was Nadal’s first victory on a hard court surface.

But what you did NOT know, is this: Nadal “baited” Federer into the five-set battle. He knew he stood a better chance of winning.

Nadal’s Secret Tactic — Know Your Competitors Inside Out

Nadal knew one thing that we did not know.

Going into this tournament final, Nadal knew that Federer had a terrible track record when it came down to stretching the match to five-sets. Federer had only won 13 out of 24 previous five-set matches, and lost 11. Nadal on the other hand, had won 11 out of 14 five-set matches — a staggering 78% winning record!

That stat alone made all the difference.

If you look back at how Nadal played his fourth set you will notice how he “gave in” after realizing that the set was a lost cause. He had already lost break points, and he knew it would be better to conserve energy to take Federer into the fifth set. And that’s what he did. He knew he stood a better chance of beating Federer in the fifth set. When it came down to the fifth set, he went all out for his break point, and he got it. He forced Federer to make more errors, and cruised to the end.

How Much Do You Know About Your Competitors?

You can easily emulate Nadal’s secret weapon in any online business. Go out and learn more about your competitors. What is it that makes them tick, and how can you beat them? It helps to have a list of your competitors strengths and weaknesses — this gives you the edge to plan for better products, and to produce better marketing campaigns that will swing customers over to you.

So go on — it’s time to think like a champ and beat your competitors online.

January 29, 2009

How A Convention Centre Gets Rid of Meeting Rooms & Why You Should Copy It

by

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre recently launched a marketing campaign to get rid of spare meeting rooms during the day.

The TenOnCall campaign encourages potential customers to just walk in off the street and use a meeting room with no prior bookings. It was designed to serve an untapped, just-in-time market where the lead time is often very short. Think of businessmen needing to string together a quick meeting with consultants to meet a 24-hour deadline.

It’s obvious that if you’re in a business that holds inventory, be it physical or virtual, you have to start to think about how to to “get rid” of your “spares” (and profit).

Lots of businesses practice this, in different forms:

  • Telcos market special promotions to push their off-peak hours — the unearthly hours between 1am to 6am when calls / SMS are usually dirt cheap
  • Airlines hold last-minute Internet promotions to get rid of their unbooked seats
  • Fast food restaurants offer special discounts for patrons during the sleepy business hours of 3pm to 5pm

So, here’s another recession marketing tip:

Search for the “spares” in your business & find a way to sell it off quickly!