3 Steps to Effectively Increase Your Marketing Response

Marketing CampaignsTo become successful in business, it’s crucial to actively promote your business to gain new customers. Let’s face it… No promotion equals no new customers. It’s that simple!

Your marketing campaigns should make the marketplace aware of your product or service and where they can get it.

If you’ve ever spent money on advertising, you will know that it can be a costly process. Whether the cost is measured in time, effort, money or a mixture of all three – the one thing that counts the most is the results. A lack of results from a marketing campaign can be a real disappointment.

More often than not, it’s a case of hit-and-miss which leads to frustration and a wasted advertising budget.

Here are three steps to take that explain how you can gauge how effective your marketing campaigns are and to rapidly improve the response rates of future campaigns.

Step 1: Test & Tracking – You really should be Tracking and Testing the response to your marketing campaigns. This is the ABC of promotions. If you don’t know how responsive a particular ad is, how can you possibly gauge the ad’s effectiveness? Not by guessing, that’s for sure! It is essential that you Test & Track because this keeps you in control of your earnings. If your campaigns aren’t creating the desired outcome – sales – something needs to be changed. By Testing & Tracking, you can make changes, retest and gauge the results to repeat the process until you do generate the necessary effect and therefore increase your profits.

Step 2: Tweaking – What areas need looking at? Here is a short list of questions you can ask yourself. The answer to these questions should be ” Yes”. If the answer is “No”, then simply tweak the item and Test & Track to produce a better response.

Ad Copy: Does it have an eye-catching headline? Is it well written with the correct grammar and punctuation? Have you edited it over and over to create what you’d consider a perfect advertisement? Does it make the reader want to take action and pull out their credit card? If you wouldn’t respond to the ad yourself, a rewrite is a must.

Product Demand: If you truly aim to make sales, your advertising needs to be put in front of the people who will want to purchase your product. Have you carried out or have access to market research data on the product you are offering? If it’s a niche-target product, are you targeting the appropriate audience? Have you polled your list or web site visitors to find out what they really want? Feedback is precious and should be taken into serious consideration.

Sales Page: Does your sales page look good to the naked eye without making you frown in pain? Does it have an eye-catching headline? Does it appeal to the reader’s sensibilities and rouse their emotions? Have you used short paragraphs? Have you included bullet point lists?

Order Page: Have you included a guarantee that removes the risk taken by the customer? Have you provided several payment options where applicable? Have you made the purchasing process as quick and simple as possible? Have you included your contact details?

Price: If everything else appears to be set correctly but you’re still not receiving the response you need, consider revising the price and Test & Track. It’s not always the cheaper price surprisingly! 100 is a good number to use for split-testing. ie: If you’re testing two pages, the first to receive 100 responses is the one to adopt.

Step 3: QA – Usually QA stands for Quality Assurance and it still does, but in this instance, it also means Quality Advertising. Testing & Tracking and Tweaking can be an ongoing process that you continually carry out using free or paid advertising. There are many forms of advertising available. Free advertising methods are excellent for Testing & Tracking because they can illustrate how well an ad pulls. But for now, let’s concentrate on the effective, paid advertising methods. Why? Because paid advertising brings results… Well it should – but it doesn’t always!

It’s imperative that you gauge the effectiveness of the advertising vehicle that you are utilizing through Testing & Tracking. If you don’t, you could be throwing your hard-earned money straight down the drain.

If you have paid for an advertising campaign through a company and the results are less than you hoped for, you need to look into why the results were dismal. How do you do that? It certainly pays to ask questions and dig deeper to see exactly how your advertisement is being delivered.


“Determine the real reasons that people buy your product or service then
organize your entire marketing campaigns around them”

I’d love to have your input about how you track and  test your marketing campaigns … as I’m sure many others would, so let’s have your comments below.

Bad Customer Service

Customer Service: Do You Give Your Potential A Client C Client Service?

Customer service is one of the cardinal rules in promoting your business and retaining clients, always making them feel very special … that you really do care about them.

So, what customer service is this? Last week, at a networking meeting, I decided to give a different travel agent a try. So I asked her to send me a quote for two, around September/October, for a trip to Egypt to see the pyramids and include a cruise down the Nile with a day trip to Abu Simbel (from Aswan).

And this is how I was treated …. just like a C Client! Here’s the email I received …..

” Name – ie the person I had spoken to at the meeting, from our office asked me to contact you.   I believe you want to travel to Egypt in September or October this year.  Please can you give me more details such as:

1.  How many peeople will be travelng
2.  If there are children I will need their ages
3.  Where in Egypt would you like to go to
4.  How long would you like to be away

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards

Kindly note that our transaction fees are non-refundable ”

Now, here’s the difference and how an A Client gets treated with exceptional customer service …. If the person I spoke to at the meeting was too busy to handle my vacation, or just didn’t want to, she would send me an email  in which she hands me over to her colleague who is an ‘expert’ on traveling to Egypt, by either endorsing her colleague’s email or informing me to expect contact from her colleague.

When I received the message (above), how do you think I felt?  This is how ….

  1. The person I spoke to couldn’t have cared less if I used her agency.
  2. The message hadn’t been spell checked, so the glaring errors told me ‘attention to detail’ was seriously lacking.
  3. Items 1 to 3 were pointless because the person I spoke to already knew this.
  4. The mention of transaction fees was not a friendly remark to begin a relationship with a new prospect, who could possibly lead the agency to transact even more business. At this stage the travel agent doesn’t know the circle of influence a prospect has.

Yes, you’re right, I’m back with the travel agent who has always treated me with respect and given me superb service. No wonder she was voted South Africa’s Top Leisure Travel Consultant 2010 by ASATA.

Have you been the recipient of anything like this in your travel experience? Have you ever been ‘dumped’ off a flight? Have you been left stranded when your airline went broke? Let’s have a discussion in comments!


How Is Your Website REALLY Performing?

Tracking Website PerformanceLet’s go and check out your website performance, do yourself a favour and go to www.alexa.com. Then type in your URL (domain name) and see what your ranking is.

Think of a book, when Google is 1 (page 1), YouTube is 2 (page 2), Facebook is 3 (page 3), Amazon is 11 (page 11), Twitter is 12 (page 15), Instagram is 18 (page 18), LinkedIn is 25 (page 25) eBay is 37 (page 37) etc; you’ll know that if your site is in the millions – you’re a long way from the first page in Google’s book!

To have any chance of getting onto Google’s first page, you need to be ranking well under 500,000. This is not difficult to do when you apply a couple of simple techniques – like inserting titles and description with a primary keyword in the content in your SEO; inserting relevant keywords throughout your content; and getting links to your site from relevant authority sites.

The biggest drop in ranking that you’ll ever experience will be inserting a Blog into your website regularly which attracts comments from visitors – this turns your ‘dead’ site into a ‘living’, dynamic, interactive entity which Google absolutely loves!

Your online sustainable success depends ENTIRELY on keywords, content and links. Your aim must be to “own” the topic that your site relates to on the Internet.

Now, whilst you’re in Alexa, check who’s linking to you. Insert their URL’s into Alexa and if they have a low ranking – great – because you’re ‘piggy-backing’ on their traffic success and Google will see this. You could also have irrelevant sites linking to you, which can penalise you too! If this is the case, send an email to the Webmaster of this URL and kindly ask them to delete their link to you.

Something else to check, either through Google Analytics and/or your web stats is to see how many UNIQUE visitors you receive – subtract this figure from the TOTAL visitors. This will give you an indication of how many visitors RETURN to your site. You also need to check how many page views, how long visitors stay on your site and the bounce rate. Forget about ‘Hits’!

If you have any questions, just ask by leaving a comment below, so that more people can share their knowledge via the comment threads.

Caio for now!

Domain Ownership

Domains – Do You Own Your Online Presence?

Imagine typing in your website’s URL or domain name into your browser and you get an error message or your emails suddenly stop coming through …. How will this impact your business?

Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by simply ensuring the ownership of your domains are yours. If you have a .co.za domain, go to http://co.za and if you have a .com domain, go to www.whois.sc.

In the results, look for the name of the “Registrant” – this must be either your name or your Company’s name – non-negotiable! If this is anyone else’s name, you have a potential problem because that person/organization can shut you down immediately – particularly if you have a fall-out!

You can’t even move your website or emails anywhere else, unless you are the Registrant – it’s that important.

The other recommendation is that you control the “Billing”. You pay the annual subscription to the registrar. In this way, you ensure your domains doesn’t get suspended for non-payment. You can also set your domains to auto-renew for convenience.

The administration and technical areas can be left in the control of someone else.

Now, if you need to get the Registrant name changed, send off a VERY polite email to the registered Registrant and ask for the change to be done – hopefully he/she is still in business! If you get no joy, dig in your heels and make this happen. You can force the change through the registrar but this will take time and a lot of ‘red tape’ to go through.

One major client of mine, thought they were safe – until their website went down. Then they discovered that they weren’t the Registrant, their web hosting had changed and their domain had not been renewed. It was a .com domain and someone ‘bought’ it when it became available – yes, there are ‘scaly’ people lurking on the internet. To cut a long story short, it cost my client over $90 to buy back the domain name and it took 3 months to get back on line. The loss in earnings were affected by this.

So you are warned – don’t be too trusting. You can go directly to Uniforum or a reputable .com domain registrar, like Namecheap (the one I’ve used for a few years), to register your domain names. You don’t need a third party to do this.

By the way, it’s advisable to have a unique domain name ie not john@mweb.co.za or pam@telkomsa.net. Mweb or Telkom can still host your unique domain name. Tell the marketplace what you do in your domain name eg info@the-marketing-guru.com or info@fpkeynotespeakercom!

I’d love to have your input and questions … as I’m sure many others would, so let’s have your comments below.

When And Why Do You Need A Business Plan?

Business PlanNot everyone who starts and runs a business begins with a business plan, but it certainly helps to have one. If you are seeking funding from a bank, sponsor or venture capitalist, you will certainly need a comprehensive business plan that is well thought out and demonstrates sound business reasoning.

If you are approaching a bank for a loan for a start-up business, you will require a business plan. If you have an existing business and are approaching a bank for capital to expand the business, they often will not require a business plan, but they may look more favorably on your application if you have one.

Reasons for writing a business plan include:

  • Support a loan application
  • Raise equity funding
  • Define objectives and describe programs to achieve those objectives
  • Create a regular business review and course correction process
  • Define a new business
  • Define agreements between partners
  • Set a value on a business for sale or legal purposes
  • Evaluate a new product line, promotion, or expansion

What’s in a business plan?

A business plan should prove that your business will generate enough revenue to cover your expenses, but a business plan may vary depending upon whom your audience is. If you are writing a plan for your colleagues and partners, for example, to expand an existing business, then the focus of that plan may be more operational than financial. Yes, you are going to show your partners how this expansion will mean more revenue, but they are going to want to know the nuts and bolts of how this new venture is going to be implemented.

If you are writing a business plan for a bank, your bank manager will want to see that your ideas are well thought out, but the most important aspect to him or her will be your financials. Are your assumptions realistic? And will the cash flow of the business be enough to ensure that you can make the monthly payments for the loan that you have requested? Obviously, if your business is making $1,000 a month and your payments are $1,200 a month, the bank is unlikely to grant you a loan.

When considering an investment opportunity, most venture capitalists look at the obvious trends and market niches. Transcending the business elements, however, the most important factor in a decision to invest in a company is the quality of the people. In real estate, the three biggest criteria are “location, location and location.” The venture capital axiom is “people, people and people.” Venture Capitalists will ask, how experienced are the people that are going to run this business? Do they have knowledge of the industry? Have they started successful ventures in the past?

What makes a successful business plan?

  • Presents a well thought out idea
  • Contains clear and concise writing
  • Has a clear and logical structure
  • Illustrates management’s ability to make the business a success
  • Shows profitability

Bringing it all together…

Your business plan is like your calling card, it will get you in the door where you’ll have to convince investors and loan officers that you can put your plan into action. You want your calling card to look impressive, so make sure your business plan is printed out on good quality paper, you have checked the spelling and grammar and that your numbers add up. Anyone who sees errors while reading your plan will wonder whether you are going to make similar errors in running your business.

A great business plan is the best way to show bankers, venture capitalists and angel investors that you are worthy of financial support. Make sure that your plan is clear, focused and realistic. Then show them that you have the tools, talent and team to make it happen.

I’d love to have your input and questions … as I’m sure many others would, so let’s have your comments below.


Are You Forgetting This Prime Time Women’s Market Segment?

Marketing To WomenMarketing To Women

“If you are not targeting women between ages 50 and 70 with your marketing communications, then you’re missing the most significant and important business opportunities today. Not only are they in the prime of their lives, but they make up the prime spending segment for virtually every consumer category.” says Marti Barletta, the world’s foremost authority on marketing to women, who has just launched her latest book: PrimeTime Women: How to Win the Hearts, Minds, and Business of Boomer Big Spenders.

Prime Time Women are the healthiest, wealthiest, most active, educated and influential generation of women in history. These are the women who have climbed the career ladders, no longer need to be ‘Mum’s Taxi’ and usually have a sizeable disposable income to have fun with.

Just off the top of my head and thinking ‘outside the box’, here’s some typical businesses who could really profit from this market segment ….

    • Travel Agents – particular cruises
    • Health & Fitness Centres – aqua-aerobics is always popular
    • Beauty Salons & Spas
    • Medical Practices – plastic surgeons, dentists, optometrists
    • Insurance Agents – education policies for grandchildren
    • Financial Planners – moving investments
    • Vehicle Salesmen – from family SUV’s to small run-arounds or sexy soft-tops
    • Real Estate Agents – downsizing to ‘lock-up and go’ secure estates
    • Charities – giving opportunities to put back love and spare time

….. just to name a few. So have a look at your products and see if any match this target market, if they don’t create one!

And where are you likely to find this group of women? … at bowling and bridge clubs, as well as in retirement villages or complexes. They also like gardening, so consider advertising in these magazines.

That’s all for this marketing tip folks. As always, if you like my content I would greatly appreciate it if you shared it around, using the social share button below.



Create Benefits From Your Product’s Features

The person who builds benefit after benefit is the professional and successful one. Your marketing efforts will always profit from focusing on the benefits you are providing to your customers or subscribers, rather that the benefits you are realizing. What value are you providing?

Give your customers or subscribers what they WANT, not what you think they need! Therefore, it’s critical to turn the need into a want.. In this way you are appealing to their self-interest. The more accurately you can identify, appeal to and provide what they intensely desire, the more successful you’ll ultimately be. It isn’t how you sell your product or service, but rather, what customer or subscriber wants are you satisfying?

A feature is one of the components or functions of your product or service. Features are specific qualities that are built into a product or service. They’re all the details such as color, size, function, ingredients, materials used, hours of service, etc. What these features mean to your customers or subscribers are benefits.

A benefit is something your product or service will do for your customer or subscriber, to somehow offer a solution to their problem. In other words, what they actually get from using your ‘feature’.

Make your customers or subscribers consider what they may lose, risk or waste if they don’t own your product or use your service. Make them understand what they can gain, achieve or benefit by if they take you up on your offer. Fear and desire are the base human emotions.

The best way to derive powerful benefits is to first list every conceivable feature of your product or service. If your product is physical, place it in front of you; if it’s a service think of everything about that service.

Now, create a list of features on the left side of a page. Then with each feature apply “So what?” “What’s in it for me?” and transform every feature into a powerful advantage to the customer or subscriber with magical appeal. For example: What does that feature mean to the end user? How will they be advantaged by this feature? What’s great about it from the customer’s or subscriber’s point of view?

Benefits fuel emotions and emotions drive human behavior! Don’t you find that you buy with emotion and then justify with logic … we all do!

Put your customers or subscribers in the picture by using ‘you’ and ‘your’ to create an immediate connection with what you’re offering. Remember to use as many of the ‘hot buying triggers’ that you can ….. save money; make money; save time; no effort; and no pain or fear or risk.

For example …

Deluxe Autowasher reduces water use = You save money

Wash, wax and rinse with the same unit = Extremely easy and convenient to use. You save countless hours every month.

Sturdy, polished aluminum construction = Unit will last longer, so you’ll save money on replacement costs.

Airconditioning = Keeps you cool and comfortable on hot days

Anti-lock brakes and airbags = Very safe for you and your family

By using this product you will increase your sales =Your sales will increase by up to 22% in 30 days or less

Shampoo with VO5 = Clean, great-looking, free flowing hair

The Grade A Gardening Shovel is ergonomically designed to remove weeds more efficiently than traditional shovels = Get your weeding done in half the time AND reduce wrist soreness!

Acme Deluxe Cleaner cleans both floors AND windows = Buy fewer cleaning supplies and save you money

Besides the ‘Hot Buying Triggers’ mentioned above, there are more you can use, like …

# Satisfaction of caution
# Benefit to health
# Protection and security
# Utility value
# Satisfaction of pride
# Pleasure
# Sentimental reasons
# Envy
# Approval of others
# Social achievement
# To feel important
# Self-indulgence
# Love
# Self-preservation

Here’s even more specific classification for benefits …

1. Profit – direct gain of money – return from investment – cost reduction – increased output – less absenteeism – quicker selling lines.

2. Efficiency – overall performance – it’s faster – easier to handle – less risk of breakdown – less complicated – more powerful – quieter in operation – works to finer limits.

3. Protection and Security – confidence in supplier – guaranteed standards – guaranteed deliveries – elimination of risk to employees – good after-sales service – wards off competition – heavily backed by advertising.

4. Appearance – good design – compact – modern in its concept – wide color range – appealing packaging.

5. Durability – long life – less maintenance – withstands rough usage – less risk of breakdowns – customer satisfaction.

6. Utility – saving in time – labor – effort – more convenient to use – easier to handle.

7. Health – better working conditions – reduces strain – better environment – benefit to employees (for example: a canteen, food, air conditioning, lighting, medical expenses funding, etc) – health value to customers.

Because of your understanding of your customers or subscribers wants, you’re able to build powerful benefits generating a strong offering – one which will appeal to the widest range of your customers or subscribers.

I’d love to have your input and questions … as I’m sure many others would, so let’s have your comments below.


“There are a thousand excuses for every failure, but never a good reason. What are your favourite excuses for holding you back?

Web Stats: Hits Are Misleading You!

The web stats you should be looking for and analysing are …..

  1. No of Unique visitors
  2. No of visits = returning visitors
  3. Where visitors are coming from
  4. Length of time spent on your site – goal = 2 minutes
  5. No of Page Views – which pages are being viewed more often; where are your visitors exiting – fix these pages, particularly if it’s the call to action page – eg buying, downloading, etc
  6. Bounce rate = visitors landing and clicking away quickly – needs to be low. High = there’s something wrong with your site eg taking too long to download; not what was expected eg incorrect keywords used (misleading); difficult to navigate; too busy, etc
  7. How are visitors arriving on your site eg which search engine, social media, mobile, etc

You can get this information from …..

  • your webhost
  • access to a control panel from your webhost; or
  • sign up to Google Analytics for free and insert the code onto your site.

With all the cyber hacking taking place, I also like to check the IP addresses of my visitors, particularly the bandwidth usage they’re using. As my website is targeting English speaking visitors, it becomes very clear which IP addresses are ‘trolling’ their spybots in my website. Consequently, through the free iThemes Security plugin I have installed, I’m able to ban these IP addresses.

I use a control panel together with Google Analytics because the results will be more accurate. The control panel pulls the web stats from all the search engines, whereas Google Analytics pulls only the web stats from Google. However, if you don’t have access to a control panel,  you can rely on the Google Analytics web stats because Google, being the largest search engine, can give you valuable indications.

With my control panel, I have all the information I’ve mentioned plus the days and times when visitors are on my site – which is very helpful when timing my email marketing campaigns.

I’d love to have your input and questions … as I’m sure many others would, so let’s have your comments below.

To your continued success!

Is Your Website Legal?

by Fran Piggott

It won’t be long before South Africa follows the US and Europe in introducing new laws to combat spam, porn and other ‘undesirable’ websites.

To help you become legal, I’ve set up files which you can download and amend with your details. These you can find here.

But remember, these documents are not a substitute for legal or other professional advice. Consult an attorney to address specific legal issues and your financial planner and certified public accountant to discuss specific financial and tax issues.

You have 2 options were to insert this legal info:

Using a ‘legal’ tab in the navigation bar; or
in the footer

The documents you should have, non-negotiable, are:

Privacy Policy
Antispam Policy
Terms and Conditions of Use
FTC Disclosure of Material Connection

I like to include a Disclaimer and because most of my sites usually sell affiliate products or generate some form of revenue, I have to include Disclosure of Material Connection.

I recommend you include your own terms and conditions for doing business with your Company.

Lastly, remember – Don’t forget to always have an UNSUBSCRIBE link for any commercial emails you’re sending. If you don’t have software like AWeber or Getresponse to automate this process, then make sure you manually remove the unsubscribers from your mailing lists. If you don’t do this and there are enough complaints from unhappy recipients, your ISP can or will shut you down – so goodbye emails and website!

To your continued success

Video – The Most Fun Medium of Marketing!

Take a look around the internet today and one thing you’ll see more of is videos. More and more, even the ‘gurus’ are making use of this medium to advertise their products and services.

Do you doubt me on that? If so, think about the last big launch. Who was the guru and what did he say? No, I don’t mean what did he write, I mean what did he ‘say’.

Because, invariably, every single launch that’s happened over the past few months, not only had an element of video in its sales letter …… in most cases, the video IS the sales letter. Yes, you may see a page with writing on it, but count the number of words.

Chances are, you could actually count the words in a matter of seconds. Before video, I couldn’t imagine anyone would want to even attempt to count the words – the sales letters for big launches are way too long. And let’s face it, when it comes to high ticket, expensive products, the sales pitch has got be substantial as most people want to know as much as possible about a product before they splash out that amount of money.

The good thing with video is now you can write a sales pitch as long as you want and people will most likely sit there and watch it … especially if the delivery is entertaining. Now tell me, when was the last time you found a written sales letter entertaining? I mean, yes, sometimes they are but, for the most part, you can’t afford to use humour in the written sales letter.

Video opens up avenues which were never available before to any business. Or, for that matter, any individual just wanting to get his or her diary online in video form. Sure, you could upload a video to YouTube or one of the multitudes of video sites, but not everyone wants to stick their videos on a public forum that size.There may be certain types of videos available only to your clients – would you want everyone to see them.

Heck, I know of one martial artist who sticks videos on YouTube which are only supposed to be for his paid members. You can’t get to them through his site, but all you have to do is go to YouTube and type in his name and hey presto, there they are!

Now, if you’re one of those people who want to keep their videos on individual sites, what happens if you’re not a techie. Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ll go through a whole load of trial and error. Sure, you’ll probably get the video onto your site, as I did, but it could take a whole day … as it did me.

Now, what if you had a facility to put your videos only on your site? And, what if that facility was so easy to use, it literally takes a few minutes to record, edit and upload?

Well, that facility is here and I’ve used it. If only I had this a couple of years ago – it would have made my life a whole lot easier. What is this new facility?

Easy Video Producer

I’m not going to tell you how amazing it is or how much easier it has made my life or anything like that.
However, if I did, it would be true.

The good thing is, it’s available for nothing. Yup, absolutely free. What more can you ask for? Try it out by clicking the link below …

Check out Easy Video Producer here.

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