Author: Bernard Keavy

“How To Win Friends And Influence People”

I read “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, many many years ago.

I am currently re-reading it.

I’d forgotten how good it is which is often the case when you revisit a book.

It’s chock full of brilliant quotes as well.

Here are a few examples:

“Someone convinced against their will is of the same opinion still” – (so never argue).

“You can’t teach anyone anything. You can only help them find it within themselves”.

“Be wiser than others if you can but don’t tell them so”.

“The desire to be important is the deepest urge human nature and is what separates us from animals.”

“If sales people can show us how their services or merchandise will help us solve our problems, they won’t need to sell us.  And customers like to feel that they are buying – not being sold.”

An inspirational book. and undoubtedly one of the best self development books ever written.

How To Double Your Sales For The Next Quarter

A fundamental of human nature is that people are scared of looking foolish in front of colleagues or peers. They are afraid of making a mistake.

That also applies to making a buying decision. The more expensive or complex the product or service, the more information the prospect needs.

This process is called “The Buyer’s Journey”. It normally involves several positive contacts betwween prospect and seller before the prospect commits to buy.

That’s why typically at any given time 1-3% of prospects are “Now” buyers. The rest are split between 30% who won’t ever buy and 67% – 69% who eventually will.

When selling to these now buyers, you still need to remove their fear of making a mistake.

You do this by establishing rapport, by use of social proof and by a powerful guarantee.

You have to provide sufficient information so the prospect feels reassured they are making the right decision.

Asking open questions and listening carefully establishes rapport. It also helps the sales process in other crucial ways.

There are three things that need to happen before someone buys: there has to be a need, there has to be a want and the customer must believe your offering will satisfy both better than anyone else.

Need is logical and is satisfied by features whereas want is emotional and is satisfied by benefits specific to your customer.

Your job as a salesperson is to ensure your offering satisfies both.

So as salespeople we have to discover the need, discover and increase the want and then widen the gap between where the prospect is now and where they want to be.

By skillful questioning, listening and allowing sufficient silences you have to increase their discontent such that they visualise and feel the need to buy your product or service to close this gap.

These days you can’t sell anything unless the customer wants to buy. But you can help them make their own buying decision.

To do this you need to get them visualising owning your product or service, visualising and feeling the satisfaction of solving their issue.

Brian Tracy recommends asking “If you were ever to buy this product, even in a few years’ time, what would make you buy it?”

This question forces them to visualise having it and it also compels them to tell you what their want is.

This want is often called a “hot button” and is the reason why someone will buy.

How To Write Effective Headlines

All your headline needs to do is convince your reader to keep reading.

Studies have shown that around 80% of people read headlines when they’re looking through the newspaper, but only about 20% actually read the ad or article.

Your headline is the only tool you have to get the rest of your copy read, so you’ll need to focus the majority of your copywriting efforts on catching and holding your readers’ attention. The rest of your copy only matters if you can get them to read it!

In this article I’ll cover:

  • The role of strong headlines in all of your marketing materials
  • Headlines as emotional motivators
  • How to create strong headlines for your audience
  • Examples of strong headlines
  • Headline templates
  • Testing and measuring headlines

Headlines shouldn’t be limited to advertising alone – they’re essential elements of sales letters, direct mail cards, websites, newsletters and brochures.

Headlines are used to grab and hold reader’s attention in ALL marketing materials – not just advertisements in newspapers. Most readers take only a few seconds to decide if they want to spend any time reading what you have to say, in an email, website, sales letter or direct mail postcard. Just like you, your audience is bombarded by information every minute of the day, so if you haven’t convinced them to care in a few seconds or less, they’ve already moved on.

Your sub-headline is almost as important, because it’s your second chance to tell the reader why they should care and keep their attention. It also creates a transition between your headline and the body of your letter or advertisement, and acts as a teaser.

Every headline should:

  • Grab the reader’s attention
  • Be something the reader cares about
  • Offer your reader something
  • Trigger emotional reactions
  • Incite curiosity

Headlines need to trigger an emotional response and motivate your reader to keep reading.

When you’re writing, you have to put yourself in the mindset of your audience. People are pressed for time, so your headline has to offer something to them that is going to solve their problem, make their life easier, or give them information that they know they need. Otherwise, they’ve already turned the page.

For example, if I were to write a headline like this – Give me three hours of your time and I’ll show you how to double your annual income by creating a passive income stream – I’m probably targeting overworked, overwhelmed, underpaid professionals who are struggling to provide for their families. I’ve tapped into their emotional motivators and caught their attention.

There are a few categories of basic human needs that most purchase motivations come from. When you are aware of these, you will be able to incorporate them into your writing and appeal to your target market’s emotions.

By identifying your target market’s needs, wants, and desires, you’ll be able to identify the words and phrases that will effectively trigger emotional reactions, which will motivate them to take action.

Using the list of basic human needs below, identify which apply to your target market and create a list of words that will trigger the emotions related to these needs, wants and desires.

  • Personal, financial and emotional security for self and family
  • Convenience and time management
  • Freedom from worry, including peace of mind, comfort
  • Self-improvement, including spiritual, intellectual, physical
  • Acceptance and recognition from others, including self esteem, achievement, attention, respect, companionship
  • Basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, love, personal maintenance

When you begin writing your headlines, you will discover that certain word combinations are also very powerful. You can combine your list of emotional trigger words with these power words in all of your copywriting.

According to a Yale University study, the top two rows of words are the most powerful words in the English language.

Love Money Health Discovery Proven Save
Safety You Easy Results New Guaranteed
Breakthrough Profits Discover Incredible Shocking Shocked
Ultimate Free Master Uncovered Hidden Secret
Revealed Scientific Your Powerful Suddenly Miracle
Now Magic Announcing Offer Introducing Quick
Improvement Amazing Wanted Sensational Challenge Remarkable
Compare Startling Bargain Hurry


Here’s how you can write effective headlines for your business in a few easy steps.

  1. Identify who you are trying to target.

You need a clear understanding of who you’re writing for and what their motivators are before you can attempt to reach them. This is the target market you identified for yourself in the target market E-Class.

If you are trying to target a more specific group within your target market, you can chose to segment your market into sub-markets by demographic or behaviouristic characteristics. For example, you might choose to focus on only men, or only women with children under five years of age.

The more specific you can be with your market, the easier time you will have identifying and reaching their emotional ‘hot buttons.’

  1. Identify what you are trying to communicate.

Once you know who you’re speaking to, clearly define what message you need to communicate to them. Be specific, and even write it down in plain language before you start drafting your headlines.

To clearly articulate your message, ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you have a solution to their problem?
  • Do you offer a new product or service that they need?
  • Can you provide the information they’re looking for?
  • Do you have a better option for them?
  1. Identify the motivators or “hot buttons” that will elicit an emotional response from your audience.

Take the list you drafted above, and highlight or write down the words that will pique your target market’s interest, or trigger their ‘hot buttons’.

When you’re writing for sales and marketing, always try to paint a picture for your audience. Carefully select descriptive words they will relate to and resonate with, and strong power words like the ones listed above. For example, phrases like “challenging outdoor experiences” would appeal to physically fit readers, but not those who don’t like to exercise.

  1. Choose a type of headline that will work best based on the emotional motivators you have identified.

Direct Headlines clearly and simply state the offer or message, without any attempt at humor or cleverness. Pure Silk Scarves – 40% This Weekend Only | Brand New Security System Just $99 Per Month

Indirect Headlines are subtle, and often use curiosity to pique a reader’s interest before providing an explanation in the body copy. Clever puns, figures of speech and double meanings are often used. The key to weight loss success lies in your backyard.

News Headlines mimic a headline you would read in the newspaper and are a great option for a new product announcement or industry scoop. These work best when you actually have news, and can stay focused on benefits, not features. Newco launches the ultimate timesaver for new moms

Question Headlines ask the reader something they can closely relate to or would need to continue reading to discover the answer. Questions are easy to read, and can immediately tap into your reader’s emotions. Are you tired of worrying about your children’s education funding?

‘How to’ Headlines indicate that the rest of the copy or the offer itself will describe a step-by-step process of interest or use to the reader. These two words create headlines that work wonders. How to find a job in a recession | How to start a profitable internet business from scratch.

Command Headlines are similar to direct headlines, but always start with a strong verb or command for action. It usually focuses on the most important benefit you offer your reader. Triple your energy in just three days | Stop wasting money when you travel.

‘Reasons Why’ or ‘Ways to’ Headlines precede lists of tips, suggestions, product benefits or even mistakes of interest to your target audience. Keep the list to a reasonable length or you’ll run the risk of losing your reader. Eight ways to save money around the house | 25 mistakes you could be making at thesupermarket or  grocery store.

Testimonial Headlines use other people’s opinions and expertise to persuade a reader to keep reading and begin to build trust. Quotation marks are used to indicate that the words are a testimonial, not the words of your business, and they can increase readership by almost 30%. “ToneYou Bootcamp completely changed the way I look at my body” – Miley Cirrus | “I never thought I’d get out of debt before I discovered Money!” – Grace LePage


  1. Always test and measure the effectiveness of your headlines. Try two at a time and compare which generates the best results.

As always, you will need to test and measure the strength of your headlines. Try to test at least two “hot buttons” in different media to determine where your target audience’s reaction is the strongest.

You can leverage the information gathered from testing and measuring your powerful offer as well. For example, if the offer geared to safety and security concerns was a roaring success, headlines that tap into those motivators will also be successful.

You can apply these headline writing techniques to all your marketing materials, as well as your copywriting.

In our fast-paced society, nearly everyone has become a skimmer instead of a reader. Strong, well-written headlines are the only way you can lure a browser into reading your message – so use them on every piece of marketing material you have.


How To Double Your Sales With A Powerful Risk Reversal Guarantee

The concept of Risk Reversal is simple – but it requires some boldness.

It means that YOU, the businessperson looking to close a sale, should identify the various reasons a potential customer would hesitate to buy. You then think of little things you can do to overcome those reasons.

The Risk Reversal is like a Guarantee – but way more powerful.

It’s a “guarantee on steroids”. A “Godfather“ guarantee.

The kind a buyer cannot turn away from because the buyer has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Before we go there…let’s look at the Basic Guarantee that 90% of online and offline merchants usually have. Let’s label this Level 1 on the Scale of Guarantees.

Level 1 – The Standard Guarantee

A standard guarantee offers buyers a 30 day period to return the product for a full refund. This type of guarantee is required by law in many countries such as the UK, USA, EU.

It’s mediocre and your competition probably offers it too.

Truly successful businesses always go beyond a Level 1 guarantee.

Level 2 – The Extended Time Period Guarantee

A Level 2 guarantee will extend this 30 days period to 90 or more days.

Many sellers swear by the 90 day guarantee. By giving the customer a full 90 days to try your product you often lower the refund rate.

Here’s why:

Let’s say Mary buys a $90 set of aerobics DVDs from your online store with a 30 day guarantee. It takes 10 days to reach her. Mary now HAS to test the DVDs in the next 20 days to see if she likes them. But she finds herself too busy. All of a sudden she has 2 days left to return the product for a full refund. It’s still sitting on her shelf untouched – feeling the pressure, she returns it unopened.

But if Mary had been given more time to try out the product, there’s a good chance she would not have felt pressured and may have taken more time to test, play and fall in love with the product.

If you’re selling products online, you can often create significant increases in sales AND lower your refund rate just by extending your guarantee to 90 days.

But Level 2 is nowhere close to what a guarantee can do.

Now we step into the Zone of Risk Reversal.

A few years ago, a guy by the name of Nick got frustrated because he could never find the right kinds of shoes he liked in the local mall. Nick went home that day and got online hoping to browse through online shoe stores – but there were few of them set up at that time in 1999.

Nick wondered if he could establish his own online shoe store. The idea kept jumping around in his head and eventually he quit his day job and founded

At first people told him he was crazy. Shoes are something you need to hold in your hand before buying. You need to try them on. Feel the leather. Have your spouse see them on you and let you know what they think. There were a multitude of reasons to NOT buy shoes online.

Yet Zappos thrived. In 2005, the 6 year old company did $370 million in shoe sales!


Well let me tell you what gets most people hooked on Zappos. Sure, Zappos had a wider variety than a traditional shoe store. But it was Zappos Risk Reversal policy that really makes most prospects into loyal customers. Here’s the decision making process prospects go through before buying their first pay of Kenneth Coles on Zappos.

  • What if I don’t like that shade of brown? Can I return it? Zappos’ answer was yes.
  • If I try it on and find it won’t fit – can I return it and get another pair? Their answer: yes.
  • Will you pay for the shipping – and the cost of return shipping? Their answer was again: yes!
  • If I buy it and then randomly change my mind – can I still send it back and get my money Again – the answer was yes.
  • If I bought it and then found one for a cheaper price somewhere else, can I send it back? Again – yes.

They had an answer for every SINGLE doubt their prospects had. They were prepared to lose a few dollars or pounds  on return shipping because they were smart enough to understand that once their prospects bought the shoes – they would probably really like them and want to keep them. They knew their prices were good and they knew that once they got them hooked, they would be willing to tell their friends about them.

They were willing to bend over backwards to give their prospects the best service possible and eliminate every single doubt from their mind. No physical shoe store I know would place that much trust in a customer.

Zappos had effectively reversed every single doubt prospects could have in their mind. They made it a no-brainer to be their customer.

That is risk reversal.

Guarantee’s are fine – but they’ll only get you so far.

Risk Reversal on the other hand – will make you millions and make your competition tremble in their boots.

This is where we come to Guarantees that effectively Reverse the Buyer’s Risk and make it a no-brainer to purchase from you.

Once you go beyond Level 1 and 2 – there are 4 more levels of Guarantees that fall in the Risk-Reversal Zone.

Level 3 – The Try and Then Buy Guarantee

This type of guarantee allows the buyer to pay only AFTER 30 days. The buyer pays nothing upfront or pays a small amount like $/£1 and knows that they will be billed later unless they cancel.

This is how this type of guarantee works. You allow the buyer to make a purchase for a mere $/£1 – 3.

They get to play around with the product for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, unless they cancel, they authorise you to bill them the balance owed.

Level 4 – Guaranteed Results or a Full Refund

Stronger still is the “Pay only if it works guarantee”. You guarantee a certain amount of results, say a 5 times boost in profits and allow the customer to claim a refund if this goal is not met.

This guarantee is not only fair to the customer – it helps close sales because you’re painting a positive picture in the customer’s mind of what your product can do for them.

Level 5 – Customer Always Wins

Next is the “Customer ALWAYS Wins” Guarantee. This is where the customer can return the main product for a full refund but can still keep the accompanying bonus gifts.

Let’s say you sell energy-efficient lighting. As a bonus on sales over $/£50 you offer the customer a free energy-efficient bulb worth $/£15. (Of course the bulb would have cost you only $/£5 wholesale, but the value to the customer is $/£15).

You allow the customer to return the lighting within 60 days if it doesn’t please them. And they can still keep the bulb as a thank you for trying out your store. So the customer wins – either way. That can be very reassuring.

Now you may worry – couldn’t people take advantage of your generosity?

The answer is yes – they could. But you’ll find that very, very few would actually do so. Most people are fundamentally good. When using this type of guarantee you will find that less that 0.5% of buyers attempt to misuse the system.

But so what if you lose $/£5 a few times due to a few unethical buyers. The increase in sales you get will more than make up for this. This guarantee and risk reversal policy works well because of the psychological image it sets up in the buyer’s mind.

Simply put: the buyer can’t possibly lose. Even if they make the purchase and then have to return the light fixtures, they still end up with a free bulb.

The customer always wins!

That’s powerful risk reversal at work.

Now Level 5 is where many of the BEST stores stop.

But there is one more level you can use.

Level 6 – The Platinum Guarantee

This is where you offer the customer a double your money back guarantee.

It requires some boldness and you better have an excellent product. If you do – this guarantee can work miracles.

Here’s an example:

If you implement at least 5 tactics from this book and haven’t seen a boost in revenue that puts a smile on your face, makes you more excited about starting your day each morning and deposits more money in your bank account – we will not only issue you a full refund – we will issue you TWICE your money back. We’ll pay you the cost of the book times 2. That’s $594. It’s the least we can do as a thank you for placing your trust in our business.

Now that’s a guarantee.

In this next example I’m going to personally reveal the Risk Reversal script that one of our colleagues used to create an overnight 50% boost in sales for their book.

Take a look at the script below and you’ll see how they answer the customers concerns regarding time, ease of use and depth of knowledge.

Here’s The Risk Reversal Script that Boosted Response by 50%

An Important Note – If You’re Still Undecided

If you own a website and are looking to grow your business but have still not ordered, you’re probably hesitating for one of the following reasons.

Check the Response that Best Applies to You.

Reason #1: You’ve bought many books before but they just sit on your shelf gathering dust. You just don’t have the time right now.

Our course is designed to inspire you to take action. It’s broken down into easy, sequential steps with clear directions. We guarantee that every chapter will make you want to jump up, implement a tactic and grow your business.

So here’s what we’ll do….If the reason above applies to you – we’ll allow you to purchase the book for $1 USD. The balance of $296 will not be charged for 30 days. Order the ENTIRE course for $1 and read the first few tactics. If you feel we’re not living up to our promise, simply drop us an email at (email goes here) and we’ll cancel your billing and refund you $1.

Our bet is that the book will not only inspire you – it will motivate you to act, to take action, and to do something about growing your business. Before you even pay us more than a dollar, you’ll be looking at your business from a whole different perspective.

Click here to order the ENTIRE Course on a 30 Day Trial for just $1 »

Reason #2: You’re still new in this field – you’re afraid that buying such a comprehensive course of advanced tactics will engulf you with too much information and you may get lost.

Our course is designed to be easy to act upon. Knowledge counts for nothing – being able to act on this knowledge is the key to growing your business. So here’s a promise – if at any point you get ‘stuck’ or have questions on how to further grow your business – we’ll schedule a one-on-one call with you to offer help.

I will personally get on the phone with you, and guide you step-by-step through any hurdles or difficulties you may have.

You can request this help anytime by emailing me at (email goes here).

Reason #3: Price is not the issue – time is the issue. You’re busy and you want to know tactics and strategies that can create BIG upturns in your business. Are the tactics in this course really powerful enough?

Our guarantee is that you can return the course to us – ANYTIME – within 90 days – for a FULL, No-Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee. But your concern is really time not money.

We’re confident that the tactics and strategies we outline in this book will make a huge positive influence on the level of sales, leads and revenue coming into your business. And we’ll put our money where our mouth is.

If you have implemented at least 5 tactics from this book and have not seen a boost in revenue that puts a smile on your face, makes you more excited about starting your day each morning, and deposits more money in your bank account – we will not only issue you a full refund – we will issue you TWICE your money back.

Yes, we’ll pay you the cost of the book times 2. That’s $594. Just show us the 5 tactics you implemented on your site. This will probably help us refine our tactics further. We’d be happy to pay you double your money back just to get that information.

Fair Enough? Click Here Now to Order »

That’s it – this is what they did to cause an overnight 50% boost in sales.

An Important Question

Now let me ask you this important question – and I want you to take one of two actions as a response. No matter what action you take – you will win big.

Why have you not purchased our book?

I mean seriously? The risk reversal we’re using should cover every hesitation you have.

If you can’t think of any more reasons not to buy – Go ahead and make the purchase. You’ll love it! But if you don’t love it, just email me and claim your refund.

Now if you can think of a new reason not to buy, and feel I haven’t accurately covered this reason – email me.

I’ll reward you by giving you the $297 course for free because you’ll be helping me refine my Risk Reversal presentation.

Make a Decision Now – Either Way You Win

I’m serious. You’re either going to get the book for free or buy it.

With risk reversal strategies like this, you will see your sales soar.


Are You Making As Much Profit As You Think?

A common mistake is to think you are making higher profit margins than you actually are.

Let’s say it costs you $£70 to either buy in or produce what you sell. (This is called COGS which stands for cost of goods sold).

You decide you want to make 30% profit on it.

So you add on 30% of 70 which is 21.

This is called a 30% mark up.

Your GROSS Profit margin is your gross profit (21) divided by your price multiplied by 100.

In this case 21/91 x 100 = 23% NOT 30%.

To make 30% gross profit you actually need to mark up by 21  x (100/70) = $£30.

Now suppose we sell 10,000 of these items.(This is our volume of sales).

Our revenue is now $£ 100 x 10,000 = $£ 1 million.

Our GROSS PROFIT is therefore $£ 30 x 10,000 = $£ 300,000 equals 30%.

But we have overheads such as rent, rates, salaries and wages, utility bills and so forth.

These add up to $£ 150,000.

So now our net operating profit is only $£ 150,000.

We are only actually making 15% Net Margin, (150,000 divided by 1,000,000 x 100%)

What happens if we then decide on a 10% discount?

That won’t make much dent in our profit will it?

How much would our profit fall by?

Price is now $£ 90

Variable cost $£ 70

Volume 100,000 (unless we sell more but it would have to be by a lot)

Revenue $£ 900,000

Gross Profit $£ 200,000 (33% less)

Overheads $£ 150,000

Net or Operating Profit $50,000 (67% reduction)

Question for you; how much extra volume would you need to sell to overcome the reduction in your bottom line operating profit?

The conclusion is you may be making lower profit margins than you realise.

If you reduce your prices, (or fail to raise them each year in line with the market place), you could

completely decimate them!

Crisis Or Opportunity?

Crisis or Opportunity?

Many of us business owners spend much of our time being busy being busy.

Stephen Covey, in “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” talked about segment 2, things that are important but not urgent.

These are the things that many busy business owners struggle to find time for.

The enforced spare time we may be experiencing right now gives us an opportunity to work on ourselves and our business.

Here are some of the important things you could be doing:

  • Set time aside to write out your values and your goals
  • Work on your skills by completing training programmes and courses you’ve invested in
  • Read relevant self-help books and listen to audios
  • Build in a “golden hour” to do so
  • Identify your ideal customer or client
  • Identify what problem you can solve for them
  • Work out your differentiator to get away from having to compete on price
  • Map out your sales process
  • Set up your follow up processes
  • Work out your cross sell, up-sell and down-sell
  • Work out how to bundle and package your products and services
  • Work out your powerful guarantee
  • Decide on your irresistible offer and lead magnet
  • Write out your customer re-activation letter
  • Draw up your testimonials strategy
  • Realise the possibilities of Zoom and other remote communication options and consider whether you could permanently change any of your working practices.

So while I don’t want to downplay the threat to ourselves, our businesses and the wider economy right now, you do also have  opportunities as a result of the enforced idleness some are experiencing.



How To Multiply Your Qualified Leads

Qualified leads are simply the potential customers who are the most likely to buy your product or service. They’re not just in your store taking at look at the latest features in refrigerators, they’re in the market to purchase a refrigerator. They’re not wandering in to see what a £/$ 500 handbag looks like, they are the kind of person who can actually spend £/$ 500 on a handbag.

Some of the people who will call you or visit your business will never buy from you no matter how good your sales scripts are or how much time you spend overcoming their objectives. There are a variety of reasons for this – and you’ll never eliminate all these people – but you will need to focus on bringing in more of the people who are ready to buy.

How do You Get Qualified Leads?

The crux of qualified lead generation is making decisions based on market research of your target market. You basically need to know where to reach your market, and how to speak to them.

When you are designing, executing and making choices about your lead generation strategies, always consider these questions.

Who is my target market? Write down your target market description to keep you focused on the specifics of this group of people.
DISTRIBUTION IS EVERYTHING: How does my target market like to receive information? Do they read the newspaper? Pick up the family mail? Spend hours on Facebook? Subscribe to Reader’s Digest? Listen to news and the radio on long commutes to work?
What motivates my target market to take action, and how can I tap into that motivation? How will you tap into your target market’s emotional response? What issues or needs will mean something to them, and motivate them to come to you to solve them.
Where can I place my marketing message so my target market will see it? Look at what you found out in your market research about your target market’s hobbies, activities and interests. How can you place your message or your product or service in their path?
What can I offer my target market to entice them to purchase from me? Can you offer your target market something special, rare, or time specific that will appeal only to them?


Here’s how some little changes will generate big results for your company in short order.

Firstly, identify the major issue that concerns your ideal target customer. That concern they seek a solution to. Then you innovate what you sell to solve it for them.

This is referred to as “entering the conversation inside their head”

Use your new marketing message. Make sure you put your new marketing message on all your marketing materials, where new and existing customers can see it.

Revise your standard advertisements to feature the strengthened copy.

Strengthen your offer. Create an offer that’s too good to refuse – not for your entire target market, but for your ideal customer. How can you cater to their unique needs and wants? What will be irresistible for them?
Refocus your direct mail campaign. If you’re sending your direct mail to entire postal code areas, stop and refocus. If your distribution area is that broad, chances are the copy on your postcard or letter is too broad as well. Brainstorm ways to narrow your distribution and only hit your target audience. Purchase consumer lists based on demographics, not just location, or limit distribution to specific housing types. Of course, make sure you rework the direct mail piece to feature your marketing message.
Let your target market’s behaviors dictate your distribution plans. The more you tailor your strategy to the needs and habits of your target market, the strong your results will be. Look for opportunities in your existing direct mail, advertising, flyer drop and other strategies to get specific. Narrow the demographics of your list, or place an ad in a niche publication. Brainstorm new ways to target your market’s emotional reactions.

101 Tips To Sell More Online (And Off)

If you’re trying to make money online, (or off), sooner or later you have to face it. Conversion. That intimidating topic: how to get more buyers from the same amount of traffic.

The only reason conversion is intimidating is that there are a lot of places you can go astray. Most of them aren’t that hard to fix, but any one of a thousand little problems can keep you from getting the conversion you should have.

Here are 101 fixes, some small, some big, for making more sales.

  1. Does your product or service solve a problem people actually care about? How do you know? If your basic offer doesn’t appeal to your prospect, you’re finished before you begin. Make sure you’re selling something people want. (Not need).
  2. Let prospects know they’re buying from a human being. Keep your language personal, friendly, and (for most markets) informal. Sound like a person, not a pitching machine.
  3. Tell a story about how you solved this problem for yourself before you started selling the solution to others. Let readers put themselves in your shoes. Let the prospect feel, “Wow, this person is a lot like me.”
  4. Fix your typos, make sure your links work, avoid grammar mistakes that make you look stupid. Reassure your prospect that you know what you’re doing.
  5. Test two headlines. When you find a winner, run it against a new headline. Keep eliminating second-best. Google Adwords is a quick and efficient way to do this.
  6. Try testing an “ugly” version of the sales copy. Boring fonts, not much layout, no pretty colours. Strangely, sometimes a bare-bones presentation works better. Don’t just run ugly without testing it, though, because it doesn’t always win.
  7. Instead of sending traffic right to a sales page, put them through a six- or seven-message autoresponder first. Give them enough information to build their trust and let them know you’re the best resource.
  8. Strengthen your call to action. Make sure you’ve clearly told readers exactly what to do next.
  9. Make sure you’ve described your product or service in enough detail. If it’s physical, give the dimensions and some great photos. If it’s digital, tell them how many hours of audio you include, how many pages are in the PDF. Don’t assume your prospects already know any details — spell everything out.
  10. Getting traffic from advertising, pay-per-click, or guest posting? Be sure your landing page is tied to your traffic source. If you’re running a pay-per-click campaign for “Breed Naked Mole Rats,” make sure the words “Breed Naked Mole Rats” are in your headline for the landing page.
  11. Master copywriter Drayton Bird tells us every commercial offer should satisfy one or several of these 9 human needs: make money, save money, save time and effort, do something good for your family, feel secure, impress other people, gain pleasure, improve yourself, or belong to a group. And then of course, there’s the obvious #10 — make yourself irresistible to the romantic partner of your choice. That’s about the strongest driver we have once eating and breathing have been taken care of.
  12. Now that you’ve identified your fundamental human need, how can that be expressed in an emotion-based headline.
  13. Have you translated your features into benefits? I bet you’ve still got some benefits you could spell out. Remember, features are what your product or service does. Benefits are what your prospect gets out of it.
  14. Put your photo on your sales page. Human beings are hard-wired to connect to faces. If prospects can see you, it’s easier for them to trust you.
  15. If you have a dog, use a photo of you with your dog instead. There’s something about a dog that lowers nearly everyone’s defences.
  16. You can try just using a photo of the dog. Believe it or not, sometimes it works.
  17. Simplify your language. Use something like the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale to make sure you’re keeping your wording clean and simple.
  18. No matter how emotional your appeal, justify it with logic. Give people the facts and figures they need so they can justify the purchase to themselves. Even the most frivolous, pleasure-based purchase (say, a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes) can be justified with logical benefits (superior workmanship, rare materials, giving the wearer a boost in confidence).
  19. What kind of tasty bonus could you offer? Peanut butter is good; peanut butter with jam is great. Find the jam for your peanut butter, the bonus that makes your good product even better.
  20. Are you getting your message to the right people? A list of people who really want what you offer, and who are both willing and able to buy?
  21. Listen to the questions you get. What are people still unclear about? What’s worrying them about your offer? Even if you outsource your email and/or support, it’s a good idea to regularly read a random selection of customer messages.
  22. Keep your most important sales elements “above the fold” (in other words, on the first screen, without scrolling, when readers go to your page). Usually that means a compelling headline, a great opening paragraph, and possibly either a wonderful product shot (to create some desire) or a photo of you (to build trust and rapport). Eye-tracking studies suggest your most important image should be at the top left side of the page.
  23. Check the dual readership path. Do your headline and subheads tell an intriguing story if you read them without any of the rest of the copy?
  24. How’s your guarantee? Could you state it with more confidence? Can you remove any of the weasely stuff? Does your guarantee remove the customer’s risk?
  25. Do you take PayPal? PayPal has its issues, but it’s also “funny money” for a lot of customers. They’ll spend freely from PayPal when they’d think twice about pulling out a credit card.
  26. Have you asked for the sale boldly and forcefully? Is there any hemming and hawing you could edit out?
  27. What’s the experience of using your product or service? Could you make that more vivid with a testimonial video or a great case study?
  28. Is there any reason your prospect might feel foolish for buying from you? Are they afraid they’ll kick themselves later? That their friends, spouse, or co-workers will give them a hard time about this purchase? Fix that.
  29. Are you using standard design conventions? Links should be underlined. Navigation (if you have any on your sales page) should be immediately understandable.
  30. Have you got testimonials? Got effective testimonials?
  31. Does the prospect know everything he needs to know in order to make this purchase? What questions might still be on his mind? How can you educate him to make him more confident about his decision to buy?
  32. Does the link to your shopping basket / cart work? (Don’t laugh. Go test every link on the page that goes to your cart. And make a point of testing them once or twice a day the entire time your shopping trolley or cart is open — even if that’s 365 days a year.)
  33. Is your marketing boring? Remember the great Paul Newman mantra. “Always take the work seriously. Never take yourself seriously.” If your marketing is putting customers to sleep, it can’t do its job.
  34. Social media isn’t just about talking – it’s also about listening. What are your potential customers complaining about on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, in forums, in blog comments? What problems could you be solving for them? What language do they use to describe their complaints?
  35. Have you answered all their questions? Addressed all their objections? I know you’re worried the copy will get too long if you address every point. It won’t.
  36. Have you been so “original” or “creative” that you’ve lost people? Remember the words of legendary ad man Leo Burnett: “If you absolutely insist on being different just for the sake of being different, you can always come down to breakfast with a sock in your mouth.”
  37. Can you offer a free trial?
  38. Can you break the cost into several payments?
  39. Can you offer an appetizing free bonus, one the customer can keep whether or not she keeps the main product? An incredibly useful piece of content works perfectly for this.
  40. Does your headline offer the customer a benefit or advantage?
  41. How can you make your advertising too valuable to throw away? How can you make the reader’s life better just for having read your sales letter? Think special reports, white papers, and other content marketing standbys.
  42. Have you appealed to the reader’s greed? Not very pretty, but one of the most effective ways to drive response. (The nice way to put this is “be sure you’re offering your prospect great value.”)
  43. Is your message confusing? A bright nine-year old should be able to read your sales copy and work out why she should buy your product.
  44. Can you link your copy to a fad? This is particularly effective for web-based copy and for short-term product launches, because you can be absolutely current.
  45. Similarly, can you tie your copy to something a lot of people are really worried about? This can be something in the news (an oil spill, climate change, economic turbulence) or something related to a particular time in your prospect’s life (midlife weight gain, anxieties about young kids, retirement worries).
  46. Try a little flattery. One of the great first lines of all sales copy came from American Express: “Quite frankly, the American Express card is not for everyone.” The reader immediately gets a little ego boost from assuming that the card is for special people like him or her.
  47. Is there a compelling, urgent reason to act today? If prospects don’t have a reason to act right away, unfortunately they have a bad habit of procrastinating the purchase forever.
  48. Are you visualizing one reader when you write? Don’t write to a crowd — write for one perfect customer who you want to convince. Your tone and voice will automatically become more trustworthy, and you’ll find it easier to find the perfect relevant detail to make your point.
  49. Tell the reader why you’re making this offer. In copywriting slang, this is the “reason why,” and it virtually always boosts response.
  50. Can you get an endorsement from someone your customers respect? Celebrity endorsements are always valuable, but you can also find “quasi-celebrities” within your niche that hold as much sway as a national figure.
  51. Can you provide a demonstration of the product or service? If it’s not something that can be demonstrated on video, try telling a compelling story about how your offering solved a thorny problem for one of your customers.
  52. How often are you using the word “You”? Can that be bumped up?
  53. How often are you using the word “We”? Can that be eliminated? (“I” actually works better than “we,” which tends to come across as corporate and cold.)
  54. Stay up late tonight and watch a few informercials. Keep a pen and paper handy. Write down every sales technique that you see. In the morning, translate at least three of them to your own market. (Remember, you can change the tone and the sophistication level to match your buyers.)
  55. Have you made yourself an authority in your market?
  56. Is there an “elephant in the living room?” In other words, is there a major objection that you haven’t addressed because you just don’t want to think about it? You’ve got to face all inconvenient truths head on. Don’t assume that if you don’t bring it up, it won’t occur to your prospects.
  57. How’s your follow-up? Do you have the resources to answer questions that come in? Remember, questions are often objections in disguise. Prospect questions can give you great talking points for your sales letter. You may want to bring on some help in the form of a friendly VA or temp to help out with email during a big launch.
  58. Is there a number in your headline? There probably should be.
  59. Similarly, have you quantified your benefits? In other words, have you translated “time saved” to “three full weeks saved — plenty of time to go on a life-changing vacation — each and every year.” Put a number on the results you can create for your customers.
  60. Oddly, “doodles” and other elements that look like handwriting can boost response — even on the web. There are hundreds of handwritten fonts available, which can be converted to visual elements with PhotoShop or simple logo-generating software.
  61. Does your headline make the reader want to read the first line of copy?
  62. Does the first line make the reader want to read the second line of copy?
  63. Does the second line make the reader want to read the third line?
  64. (Etc.)
  65. Throw in some more proof that what you’re saying is true. Proof can come from statistics, testimonials, case studies, even news stories or current events that illustrate the ideas your product or service is based on.
  66. Compare apples to oranges. Don’t compare the cost of your product to a competitor’s — compare it to a different category of item that costs a lot more. For example, compare your online course to the cost of one-on-one personal consulting.
  67. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to have at least one platinum-priced item for sale. They make everything else you sell look nicely affordable by comparison.
  68. Make your order page or form easier to understand. Complicated order pages make customers nervous.
  69. Remember to restate your offer on your order page. Don’t expect the customers to remember all the details of what you’ve just (almost) sold her. Re-state those benefits.
  70. Include a phone number where people can call for questions. I know this is tricky to handle, but it can boost your response by a surprising amount.
  71. Include a photograph of what you’re selling, if you can.
  72. Is there a lot of distracting navigation leading your customers away? (Worst of all are cheap-looking ads that pull people away for a penny or two.) Get rid of it. Focus your reader’s attention on this offer with a one-column format stripped of distractions.
  73. Put a caption on any image that you use. Captions are the third most-read element of sales copy, after the headline and the P.S. The caption should state a compelling benefit to your product or service. (Even if that benefit doesn’t quite match the image).
  74. While you’re at it, link the image to your shopping basket / cart.
  75. Make the first paragraph incredibly easy to read. Use short, punchy, and compelling sentences. A good story can work wonders here.
  76. Does your presentation match your offer? If you’re offering luxury vacations, do your graphics and language have a luxury feeling? If you’re selling teen fashion, is your design trendy and cute?
  77. Are you trying to sell from a blog post? Send buyers to a well-designed landing page instead.
  78. Halfway through a launch and sales are listless? Come up with an exciting bonus and announce it to your list. Frank Kern calls this “stacking the cool.”
  79. Are you asking your prospect to make too many choices? Confused people don’t buy. You should have at most three options to choose from — something along the lines of “silver, gold, or platinum.”
  80. Look for anything in your copy that’s vague. Replace it with a concrete, specific detail. Specifics are reassuring, and they make it easier for the prospect see herself using your product.
  81. Numbers are the most reassuring details of all. Translate anything you can into numbers.
  82. Look for any spot in your copy that might make your prospect silently say “No,” or “I don’t think so.” Rework that spot. You want the prospect to mentally nod in agreement the entire time she’s reading your letter. Tom Hopkins calls this process of getting “yesses” tie downs.
  83. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. Prospects often don’t read every word of the sales letter. Find ways to restate your call to action, the most important benefits, and your guarantee.
  84. Hint at a genuinely exciting benefit early in the copy, then spell it out later in your sales letter. (Be careful of curiosity-based headlines, though, as traditionally they don’t convert as well as benefit- or news-based ones do.)
  85. Use the two magic words of persuasive copy.
  86. Successful marketing doesn’t sell products or services — it sells benefits and big ideas. What’s your big idea? What are you really selling? If you’re not sure, go back to our ten human needs in #11 above.
  87. If you offer something physical, make sure there’s a way they can get expedited delivery. The ability to place a rush order lifts response, even if the customer doesn’t take advantage of it.
  88. Put a Better Business Bureau, “Hacker Safe” seal, or similar badge on your sales page.
  89. Could you be underpricing your offer? A surprising number of buyers, even in a bad economy, won’t buy a product or service if it seems too cheap to be worth their time.
  90. Are you using the wording “Buy Now” on your shopping cart button? Try “Add to Cart,” “Join Us,” or similar wording instead. Focusing on word “buy” aspect has been shown to lower response.
  91. Allow your prospect to picture him or herself buying. Talk as if they’ve already bought. Describe the life he’ll now be living, as your customer. If you want a delicious example, go to the J. Peterman website. Few have ever done it better.
  92. Cures sell vastly better than prevention. If your product is mostly preventative, find the “cure” elements and put those front and centre. Solve problems people already have, rather than preventing problems they might have some day.
  93. If your funny ad isn’t converting, try playing it straight. Humour is, by its nature, unpredictable. It can work fantastically well, or it can destroy your conversion. If you can’t figure out what else might be wrong, this could be the culprit.
  94. Are you the king of understatement? The sultan of subtlety? Get over it. At least in your sales copy.
  95. How’s your P.S.? (You do have a P.S., right?) Is it compelling? Typically you want to restate either the most interesting benefit, the guarantee, the urgency element, or all three.
  96. Cut all long paragraphs into shorter ones. Make sure there are enough subheads so you have at least one per screen. If copy looks daunting to read, it doesn’t get read.
  97. Increase your font size.
  98. Include a “takeaway.” No, this isn’t a hamburger and fries (burger and chips) — it’s the message that your offer isn’t for everyone. (In other words, you threaten to “take away” your great offer for those who don’t deserve it.) When you’re confident enough to tell people “Please don’t order this product unless you meet [insert your qualification here],” you show that you’re not desperate for the sale. This is nearly universally appealing.
  99. Are you putting this offer in front of cold prospects? What if you put some variation of it in front of people who have already bought something from you? Your own existing customer base is the best market you’ll ever have. Make sure you’re regularly sending them appealing offers
  100. If they don’t buy your primary offer, try sending them to a “down-sell.” This is a lower-priced product that gives the prospect a second chance to get something from you. Remember, even a very small purchase gives you a buyer to market to later. Building a list of buyers is one of the wisest things you can do for your business.
  101. What is it about your product or service that makes people feel better about themselves? Ultimately, everything boils down to this.


How To Transform Your Existing Marketing

Here are 10 key elements you should include in your marketing pieces, whether verbal or written. The more of them you can include, the better.

  1. You should address a clearly defined target market and position yourself as a specialist or expert
  2. Focus on an issue or concern that people in your target market are thinking about. Your headline or first statement should INTERRUPT by highlighting this issue.
  3. Promise them a solution in your sub headline or second thing you say. This is how you engage your target prospects and keep their attention.
  4. Explain  your “differentiator” which is what makes you stand out.  That’s how you avoid having to compete on price.
  5. You need to include an irresistible, low or no risk offer.
  6. Explain all the features and benefits of your offering. Your prospects buy emotionally, based on benefits. They then justify their purchase with the features, using logic.
  7. Include some social proof, such as testimonials, clippings and qualifications. This reduces the perceived risks of dealing with you for the first time.
  8. Give your prospects a cast iron guarantee to eliminate any perceived risk of buying from you.
  9. You need to explain why what you are offering is not “too good to be true”.
  10. You should always have a call to action with a “stimulator”.  Create either scarcity or a deadline so your prospects overcome their natural inertia and act now.