10 Ways Retailers Can Stop Leaving Money on the Table

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Leaving money on the table

Leaving money on the table

This is a guest post by Brian Laney, originally featured on the AlertTech blog.

Do you know what you need to do to create lifelong customers? Want to know what retail technology industry leaders are using to help maximize their profits and build customer loyalty?

Smart retailers are always looking for ways to increase profits. These 10 strategies will help you stop leaving money on the table.

Read more

Conversion Optimization: How Radius.com Created a Very Clever Testing Methodology to Maximize Trial Conversions

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johnhurley

conversion optimization with john hurley

John Hurley is the director of product marketing for a venture backed startup called Radius. Radius has raised about $80M so far. They are selling an enterprise software solution to major brand players like American Express.

Today we have a very interesting conversation! We start with the content strategy that Radius uses to get traffic. Then we investigate their conversion process and the extensive multi-step test they conducted on how customers enter their software trial program.

This interview serves as an in-depth case study on detailed conversion optimization testing. It’s an area I’ve never explored in depth with a guest before and is full of great information.

Focus on how they drove traffic and how they maximized conversions. If you are with a SaaS company the issues discussed in this interview will be near and dear to your heart. Regardless, any company that wants to maximize traffic and conversion can pick up some great tips.

How to Identify the Emotional Drivers That Cause People to Buy with Dan Greenwald

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DAN GREENWALD RS 14

dan-greenwald-interview_0

As founder of a $3M+ agency, Dan Greenwald is definitely someone worth listening to.

In this conversation, Dan Greenwald shares what he is best at and sheds light on some of the psychological and emotional drivers that cause people to buy, including his take on B2ME sales and on creating an addictive experience. Curious? Listen to the interview now to see what lessons you can learn from this ultra-successful marketer.

Listen now and you’ll hear Dan and I talk about:

  • (01:05)  Introduction
  • (02:00)  Which niches do you specialize in?
  • (03:30)  What are hospitals struggling with most?
  • (06:00)  How does B2ME help companies to eliminate guessing who their target buyer is?
  • (10:00)  How does your interview process work?
  • (14:00)  Why are the drivers so important in the B2ME process?
  • (19:00)  Can you give an example of this?
  • (22:00)  Why is understanding the emotional connection so important?
  • (24:30)  What is the addictive experience?
  • (30:30)  How does gamification play a role in an addictive experience?
  • (35:00)  What technology are you building these games in?
  • (28:00)  What has the impact on your business been?
  • (40:00)  Please tell me about your vision of AX on healthcare
  • (43:00)  How did you get traction in the healthcare niche?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

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If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

Transcript

Trent:
Hey there bright idea hunters. Welcome back to another episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast. This is episode number 148, I am your host Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast where we help entrepreneurs to discover ways to use digital marketing and marketing automation to dramatically increase the growth of their business.

If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re looking for proven ideas to increase traffic, to increase conversions and ultimately to attract more clients, well you are in the right place. And the way that we do that is I bring proven experts as guests on to the show to share with you and to share with me exactly what they are doing to achieve success. There is no theories and no pufferies here, just real life stuff that is actually getting the job done.

In this episode my guest is a fellow by the name of Dan Greenwald. He is the head of an agency by the name of White Rhino and Dan’s agency is doing some really, really interesting things in the areas of creativity in the Addictive Experience. We also talked a lot about his B2Me process. So I think you are going to find this episode to be a little bit different in the topic than many of the other episodes that I have done with other agency owners.

So make sure that you grab your pen and paper and that you are ready to take some notes because there are some really cool stuff in here. Before we welcome Dan to the show, quick announcement, I get a lot of email from people asking me, “Trent what tools and resources do you use for landing pages and marketing automation or analytics or split testing or getting visibility into who is seeing your proposals?” or whatever.

I have a page that lists all that stuff and you can get to it at GrabTrentsBonus.com and as the name suggests if you do decide to use any of the affiliate links to buy any of that stuff, of course I get paid a little bit for that and you have my thanks for that. But you get a little bit more than that.

You get a bonus and there is instructions on the page and all you need to do is email me your receipt afterwards and I have a couple of my paid products of which I’ll let you choose from and you can have one of them for free.
So with that said please join me in welcoming Dan to the show.
Hey Dan welcome to the show.

Dan:
Hey Trent, thanks for having me.

Trent:
Yeah no problem at all, thanks for making the time to come and share your ideas and insights with myself and my audience. Folks what you are going to hear in this episode is some stuff that we haven’t talked about before.

I am going to let Dan introduce himself in just a moment but we are going to talk about something that he calls his B2ME process which I am particularly interested in and I think you will be too, once you understand what it is. And as well; if time permits; we are going to talk about something called the Addictive Experience and the reason that I think that these are going to be so interesting is Dan’s agency has become quite a success and I asked him before the record button.

I said, “Dan what are you really, really good at?”And these were his answers and that is why we’re going to be talking about them during this episode. With all that said, Dan, who are you and what do you do?

Dan:
First of all, great intro, I think I need to be more synced in my intro. I am the founder and creative director of White Rhino. We are a strategic creative marketing agency based outside of Boston Mass. We specialize in B2B and healthcare clients and really we like the most complicated businesses. We call ourselves marketing masochists here at White Rhino. Whatever it takes to uncomplicate the complicated is something that we really enjoy doing.

Trent:
And your agency is about a 3.5 to 4 million dollars a year agency in revenue at this point?

Dan:
That’s right.

Trent:
In the world of agencies it is a pretty decent size agency. So folks Dan is a very credible guy to listen to, grab those pens and note pads and get ready to take some good notes. Alright so you have talked about uncomplicating complicated businesses. Do you have a few niches that you have gotten more traction in with your agency than others?

Dan:
Yeah, I realize that B2B is kind of a broad space but generally with the complicated B2B businesses we’ve been very strong. And also in healthcare space; notably in hospitals and hospital like businesses. So first of all when you think of B2B, a good example of a complicated B2B business is Enterprise ERP software companies. One of our clients is SAP, a very, very complicated business to explain.

I like to think of it this way. If you look at an ad and you see a sneaker or a glass of beer you know what it is right away but to understand what enterprise software is, it takes a little bit to get there. The communication is just a little bit more complicated. The same thing is true with our overall business model. Just the way that they sell through the different channels that they sell; it is a very, very complex business to understand.

Actually it takes years to understand it. The same is true for the healthcare business where you’ve got all sorts of complications going on in the healthcare space. I don’t have to explain that. I think that everybody understands that. Just to really keep it simple and uncomplicated and actually put the patient at the center of the experience is something that is very difficult to do for a whole variety of reason and we think that we are really, really good at that.

Trent:
Let’s hang out on the hospitals here for a minute. Is that one of their biggest marketing challenges? What is their biggest marketing challenge?

Dan:
I think there are a whole bunch of challenges for hospitals but one of the big ones is many, many hospitals are going to be incentivized to actually keep you out of the hospital; which is a very, very different business model than what we have right now.

Right now they are actually incentivized to provide services to you. In the past it has been in their best interest to run as many tests as possible to have you come in to have surgery and have procedures done but they are actually going to be incentivized to keep you out of the hospital.

They are also going to be incentivized to keep you satisfied as a customer, if you will and not just think of you as a patient. So what has happened to change the rest of the business world is going to be happening to healthcare too. Just making that switch and putting the patient at the center of all that and giving the patient much more control is going to be a big initiative because it is going to affect their pocket books if they don’t do it.

Trent:
When you say incentivized is that by the insurance companies?

Dan:
Right, it is by the insurance companies, it is also going to be by the government. So there are some complications there that are pretty interesting.

Trent:
Yeah, no kidding; so in other words we used to pay you when you cut somebody open and now we pay you when you don’t cut them open.

Dan:
Right, we are going to pay you in both ways. There are going to be all kinds of interesting things in place. This example is a bit over simplified Trent but let’s say that you are treated for something in the hospital, so your insurance company pays for it and then you are released, if you return to the hospital within 30 days for the same treatment the hospital can actually get wacked pretty bad for that.

So it is going to be in their best interest to keep you very healthy and keep you out; if that makes sense. That is one example of how that is going to happen.

Trent:
We’ll just call that good customer service after the sale. So when you engage with a hospital like that as a client; they have got to get some message out. They have got to obviously differentiate themselves, they’ve got to make themselves look good, they’ve got to do all the things that you want to do, because at the end of the day with marketing they are trying to drive revenue. Is this were this B2ME process comes into play?

I know one of the challenges; and we talked very briefly about this, that many companies that I’ve worked with at my agency Groove (and I’m sure it’s the same for you).They don’t really have a super clear idea of exactly who their target customer is. They have sort of been successful in spite of themselves over a long period of time.

The marketplace is now getting more competitive, they want to embrace inbound marketing. They’ve got to create content but it has got to be for somebody.

Dan:
That’s right, it is not just in healthcare, the same is true for a lot of B2B companies that we deal with. But you are exactly right. I don’t want this to come across in the wrong way but a lot of our clients are guessing what they think the target audience is. And not only that but what their attitudes are and what their key psychological drives are.

Just because you think it is true does not mean that it really is. And actually it is interesting that you bring this up because I wrote a blog piece last week which actually get a lot of traction on LinkedIn on this company called Solace Health. And I thought it was a great example of B2ME even though it wasn’t our client it is a great example of it. They are a fairly large mammography provider outside of Texas in the Texas area.

For some reason their business wasn’t growing as fast as they wanted it to. Even though the mammography business was growing; so they did a little bit of research to try and figure out why and what they had been using from a messaging standpoint was kind of fear messages like “Don’t wait until it is too late.”

“You don’t want to be that one of eight women that gets breast cancer. Be smart.” Those where the types of messages that they were putting out there but what the research showed was that what that was creating was more procrastination than appointments which is kind of interesting. So they ended up making kind of a bold switch which is instead of pressuring through fear what they came up with was, “When you are ready, we’re here for you.”

And that has really changed the way that they have been messaging and it has been much more effective. I think what that does is it creates comfort and it creates trust. Ultimately those are the kind of emotional drivers almost any marketer wants to give. But certainly in that space it has worked well.

Trent:
Yeah, I could see that that being the case because if it is scary then I don’t really want to find out so I’ll just procrastinate and not do it.

Dan:
When you say it, it seems like it is such common sense and it should be obvious but it is not. You really have to find out for sure.

Trent:
How do you help a client get clear; let’s say you get this company and they are doing a couple of million bucks per year and they’ve got customers all over the map and they are not doing any inbound marketing, now they are going to start doing it.

What is the process that you go through to help them figure out who exactly is our target audience? What is their view of the world? What language do they use? Where do they hang out? This is all really important stuff as you are building your content strategy so you figure out who you are creating all this stuff for.
Is that the B2ME? Is that where you guys use that?

Dan:
What you just described is what I think a lot of agencies are actually really good at. To try to understand who they are targeting. Where they are hanging out, what their PA points are; I think that there are a lot of agencies that are good at that.

I think what makes us a little bit different is that we actually dive even deeper. Our process is primarily an interview process, we don’t believe in doing mass quantitative analysis, we can do it with just a handful, five or six people in the audience from each segment that we identify. And what we do is; we actually have a process that was set up by a PhD, a psychologist and the questions that are asked actually go a lot deeper than the typical marketing questions that you might ask.

So what we end up finding out is what are the real key emotional drivers that might allow someone to do business with you and we sort of pave the way for that, that emotional connection. I think there is not enough emphasis put on the emotional connection. I like to explain to clients that it is really, really critical. And they will always say “Well it really isn’t as critical as you think there are other things.”

We had a healthcare client who is in the radiology business for example. What they felt very strongly was that their size was important; that they were a really large provider in the area to their customer base and that they have the most advanced technology and the fact that they were associated with a lot of high end academic institutions; were going to be the three things that their patients found important.

What we found out in asking a lot of questions and sort of letting the dialogue go naturally where our process took it; we found out that those were kind of away forces for these patients. They felt, “If I was going to be a patient at the largest radiation provider, that didn’t work for me because who wants to be treated by a McDonalds.” And then it was interesting, the concept of advanced technology, they just saw it is marketing BS.

“Shouldn’t you have the best technology? That should not be something that I would have to worry about.” What ended up being really, really important was just the warmth and the connection and the feeling; they wanted people to remember their name when they walked in there. They wanted people to understand what their insurance situation was. Who was driving them home. What it was like to be them going through one of the most difficult situations that life could possibly hand you.

Picture the typical waiting room in a healthcare institution of some sort. You have the uncomfortable chairs and you are sitting there waiting and reading cheesy magazines, maybe listening to lousy music. That situation actually creates so much stress for somebody who is going through cancer treatment.

When they just want to be relaxed and they want to feel calm. People told us over and over again for example that when they were just diagnosed with cancer, they can’t hear anything that the doctor is saying to them from that point forward. So the doctor is rambling off all kinds of things about what is coming next. What you should expect but what they don’t realize is that the person is completely shut down.

So we had to figure out a way to change that process and change the way that people are communicated with so that they wouldn’t shut down and when they were ready to hear it, they heard it loud and clear. So those were the types of insights that really drove our creative process.

Trent:
Yeah and when you hear it, like you said before, it is a lot of common sense. Here you are having this incredibly traumatic event, warmth and comfort, I am going to be a lot more interested in that than features and benefits.

Dan:
Yep, no question about it and that warmth and comfort concept, that goes for just about any industry as well, people need to feel comfortable with you. They need to trust you. And in the end the question is what buttons do you push to get there. There are lots of interesting stories about how we’ve gotten there just by identifying little key drivers in the audience that I would love to get into with you if we have time.

Trent:
So let’s do if we can; and I am totally putting you on the spot for this so feel free to decline, but let’s move away from healthcare for the purposes of this example. Let’s say that you have a software company as a client.

Let’s say they make CRM software for small businesses. And there is lots and lots of choices out there obviously. It is a very competitive landscape. And you are trying to do a B2ME process on their customers.
How many of their customers would you want to talk to, first of all?

Dan:
It depends on how many different segments we identify. So we would probably want to do half a dozen in each segment. So if there were three or four major segments then it is three or four times six.

Trent:
Let’s just use one segment for this, so you get on the horn with these six people from this segment. If I’ve heard you correctly you are trying to understand how they feel about doing business with that software company. Am I oversimplifying it?

Dan:
Let me give you a very specific example, since you are asking about software. So something that we did for SAP, they have been just as guilty as anybody of trying to sell features and benefits. They had come to us with a challenge which was they have this data analysis software, kind of like a business intelligence product.

They wanted to gain some traction, specifically they wanted to drive downloads of demos because that was really the path to sales for them. It is a fairly big ticket item, so B2ME process with their audience; so really what their audience are is what you call data analysts or business analysts. And these were people who were typically treated by SAP as number’s nerds or data geeks. So the question they had for us is, is there a different way to communicate with them.

So when we interviewed them and went through our process what we kept hearing, a theme that kept bubbling to the surface was they thought that in a sense they were the super sleuths. That they were pouring through this data that nobody really understood how to do it except for them. There was a lot of instinct involved in it, that they loved the thrill of the hunt, that they were looking for little clues about things that might be awry in the business somewhere.

Or there may be a reason that something positive was happening that nobody really understood about in the business and it was all in the numbers. And these are people that were just; you know there are certain people that can look at a bunch of numbers and see a pattern and begin to follow a trial. I am not one of those people but these people are.

And what we kept hearing over and over again was that they loved the thrill of the hunt and that they thought that they were detectives. And one of them even used the term, “It is a bit like we are forensic scientists. It is like CSI trying to track down the murderer in the crime. So what that told us was that everything in our creative campaign had to be a challenge for them. It had to be a puzzle or a problem to solve.

And we felt that if we made these challenges irresistible to them, that connected with them in this way, that they would respond. And that ended up being the case. We created this fictitious; we called it the Casino Data Challenge. So we actually created a fictitious casino caper. All the data we made was fake and you had to solve the crime.

Who stole the millions of dollars out of the casino? So we ended up giving RFID chip data, we gave data on how much money was spent at the tables, we gave data on what staff was on during what night. We dropped hints to the audience through email and social media. It drove a tremendous amount of downloads for them and a lot of buzz on the internet.

One of the reasons it drove downloads was because they had to actually use the software to solve the crime. That is an example of how you can identify some drivers. What it ended up doing was SAP realized there was another way of talking to this audience in a much more effective way.

Trent:
To uncover those types of drivers you are not asking questions like, “why do you like SAP and what do you think of their customer service department?” and all the basic stuff. Give us an example of just two or three of the questions that you would ask to steer the conversation to where it really needed to be to uncover the gold.

Dan:
Great question, I am actually not the one who asks the questions, there are a couple of people here who are very good at that. What is interesting is that they would start the conversation just the way anybody else would. So you might say something like: “Tell me about your job.” “What where you like as a kid that made you want to get into this job?” And so you end up getting some interesting stories like, “Oh I always liked math as a kid. I always loved solving puzzles. I could do the Rubik’s Cube in 38 seconds.”

Stories like that; and what are B2B experts are really good at doing is then just sort of letting the conversation flow. Getting to the point where people are opening up. If you are asking questions about what their business pains are or what they like or don’t like about SAP or what features and benefits they like or don’t like; you’re going to get some pretty generic answers.

But when you start making the conversation more of a shrink session some of the things that come out can be pretty amazing. So does that help explain it?

Trent:
Yeah it does and it is a process that I pretty much use in the interviews that I do here. I come in; as my long term listeners probably know; I just keep on digging and digging and digging based upon what I am hearing from a guest and invariably we end up talking about something that I didn’t anticipate we were going to talk about; that wasn’t in my questions or show notes beforehand.

Those are the times that I get the most emails from people listening saying, “Man, you asked the question that I was thinking and that I was hoping you were going to ask.”

Dan:
Yeah and what is interesting about that is that not everybody can do that. It is actually a very rare skill to keep digging and ask questions; the right questions at the right time to keep somebody talking and keep somebody interested. What you want to do in these interviews (and what you are really good at) is you want to get somebody into flow; where they are not even thinking about the answers anymore.

It is just sort of coming out of them. And when you are there and people are almost answering unconsciously you are in the right place.

Trent:
So does that mean you can talk for the rest of this interview now and I can go make a sandwich?

Dan:
Believe me, I can talk for a long time anyway. So I don’t think you want that. You got to rein me in.

Trent:
Alright, with respect to your B2Me process, is there anything that is really important that I haven’t asked you about so that we haven’t talked about it yet?

Dan:
I don’t think so. One thing that I want to point out maybe just to emphasize the importance of the emotional connection; I realize in your audience there is a lot of agency people and we do understand that but one thing that helps crystallize it for me is, we like to talk about that people are actually incapable of making a decision or your audience is incapable of making a decision unless they have that little burst of dopamine right before.

So the irrational connection, the emotional connection comes before the rational connection. So people will decide emotionally that they want to do business with you and then they will look for rational reasons afterwards. That is exactly backwards from the way most companies do it.

Trent:
Yeah and I would echo that, I have been a sales guy and a student of sales for my whole entire life and you are absolutely correct. People make decisions emotionally and then they look for facts to support that decision so they can justify it to other people.

Dan:
And you would think that may not be the case for an Enterprise software company like SAP but whether you are selling potato chips or you are microchips as Gladwell said, the emotional connection is what matters. The decision making is not rational.

Trent:
There is an old expression: nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM. So over the years lots of people at lots of companies; when looking for a software solution there is Vendor A, Vendor B and then there is IBM. Maybe IBM is more expensive, maybe their stuff isn’t as innovative because they’re an older, bigger company; for whatever reason, maybe it wasn’t the best stuff but people hire IBM anyway.

It was an emotion that played a huge role in that decision and it was fear; fear of looking stupid, fear of getting fired. “So I’ll take the safe road and I will hire IBM.”

Dan:
Fear is an incredibly powerful motivator and one that you have to be careful using as a marketer.

Trent:
Absolutely, now you made a comment before and I was so busy writing notes that I sort of missed it and I want to go back a minute. You said: “There is something I want to talk about more if you let me.” I don’t know if that is enough of a trigger for you to go back to whatever that was but I don’t remember what it was. I know what we are going to talk about next but before we transition if you can remember what it was, let’s dive into it.

Dan:
I think I was asking you if we could talk about other examples and I think we covered one or two in here so I think we are good. I think we are ready for the next subject and I can’t remember what that was.

Trent:
The Addictive Experience, what is that?

Dan:
Oh yes, that I would love to talk about. We have been having a lot of success for years developing these very cool campaigns that revolve around this notion that we call the Addictive Experience. First a little bit of background; the problem that the Addictive Experience solves, or we call it AX for short, (of course everything has to have its own acronym, there is just too many syllables for it so we shortened it to AX).

Think about it this way, you are a marketer an you’ve got your inbound funnel, hopefully, maybe you don’t but you’ve got to fill that funnel with all kinds of things like e-books, blog posts and white papers, infographics.
“What can I fill it with? What can I put somewhere in the funnel that is going to be pouring high octane gasoline on the fire to really ignite the thing?” In my mind, as much as I love infographics, I love all those tactics and we do them a lot but I don’t think the world really needs another infographic. It is getting hard to break through.

Trent:
Hallelujah, I hate infographics to be honest with you I really do.

Dan:
Really?

Trent:
Yeah, I can’t stand them. I’d much rather read an article.

Dan:
I would love to hear why because I go off on rants on infographics all the time.

Trent:
Let’s hang out on this for just a second then. I don’t get it. I don’t understand why people get so excited about an infograpic. It is a glorified picture that conveys a couple of bullet points, big deal.

Dan:
Yeah, the concept of the infographic is, to me it is archaic. I get it that people like to do them and when they are done right they actually can be things of beauty. But most of them are static jpegs highly interactive hi-tech online world; static jpegs that require you to scroll down very long distances and if you are on a smart phone for example looking at it you have to zoom in and read all this stuff.

By the time you are done with it you really haven’t grasped anything new. To me they are posters that should be on a wall. They should not be on my piece of content.

Trent:
Thank you, that’s my point. Anyway.

Dan:
We are on the same page. I do think there is a way of doing infographics that is effective and that falls into what we call Addictive Experience and we can talk about in a second. Other things too, we here clients saying things like, “What we do is boring, we have a boring product or service. There is no way to make it exciting.” Or we hear, “What we do is complicated, really complicated, it is really hard for people to understand what we do.”

We also here things about, “How can I educate my audience faster because it takes a long time before the audience understands what we do? How do I shorten the sales cycle? How do I make marketing and sales work more effectively? How do we make our sales team more effective and give them better tools to use?”

These are the things that we hear over and over again in terms of problems that marketers need to solve. Then you think about the types of content that are out there and what we know is effective. Even though I know you love reading Trent and I do too, reading is actually of the lower engagement items out there.

It takes a lot of work from the user to get there and the subject has to be really really good in order to grab somebody for a long period of time. But next beyond that is audio, like this podcast. You have better engagement with audio. It is a little bit easier for people to engage. And then as you move up the chain, pretty much anything visual is better than what you read except for infographics.

Of course video and animation has really moderate to very, very high engagement depending on how well it is done and how well it is hitting home. At the very, very top end is something that we would call experiential. And this is where our Addictive Experience comes into play where it not only includes audio and video and possibly some text but there is also the user engaging in a way and playing with it.

There is a game element to these addictive experiences. Now think of that infographic and instead of it being this long scrolling infographic, picture it being a very simple graphic that as you click on it, it is interactive and it expands and it goes where you want it to go. So if you click on something and it tells you that a particular region has something interesting going on and that region is not in your region then you are not going to care.

So you click on another region and you dive in there and you learn more and more and more but it is your own experience and it is highly engaging and it is highly interactive. It’s fun and somewhat addictive because as you move along, every time you click something, something fun happens. And that little dopamine rush keeps you engaged and you keep going; there are all kinds of game elements that we can build in and make that kind of thing work.

We are now to the point where we are actually even building very experiential 3D games that still work in the business world to get across very, very complicated concepts. One example is we had a client who makes X-ray equipment for Homeland Security and typically their products are very, very large. They have these huge X-ray machines that can scan trucks and cars and very large vehicles.

And they figured out a way to actually turn that in to a very small handheld item and they are about to release that item to the world. This is kind of like their big iPhone. It’s amazing that they are able to even do this. The problem that they are having is that they don’t think that the audience is going to understand exactly what it means to them to be able to have something that is handheld right away.

They also don’t want to send sales people all around the globe to give demonstrations because it is going to be too expensive for a product at this price point. So what we created was an actual 3D game where you get to be the Homeland Security officer going into a port or an airstrip or subway station and use this device in a virtual way to figure out if there are hidden drugs or if there are weapons or explosives or you name it.

So we actually turned it into a little bit of a game where they’re being educated all along the way. And that is an example of an addictive experience that actually serves a business purpose and really educating the consumer and providing a very long term period of engagment.

Trent:
So a visual would be wonderful for this game that you are building or do you have another one that you are building that is on a web page somewhere that I can link to from the show notes for this episode?

Dan:
Yes, there is a link up there that is at WhiteRhino.com /ax. And we are putting some links up there to pieces that you can take a look at including one that we just did for SAP which is basically the infographic example that I just gave you; the interactive infographic which was very successfully received.

Trent:
Okay, so there is the SAP casino challenge, sadly the folks who are listening to this are not going to be able to see this but they will be able to check it out afterwards. So I see that there is a video there; if someone wants to get the visual representation of what we just spent the last five to ten minutes talking about. Is that video the best video to go and watch?

Dan:
We are going to have a couple of other links up there, I will make sure that the three examples that we talked about here are up there so that they can go take a look at them. The one I just described with the X-ray content is for a client called AS&E and they can check that out. And it really is a great piece and what I think a lot of marketers would like; especially the content marketers, is that it integrates content marketing through the entire experience. As you are going through the experience there are little pieces of bait to get you to download content and give up your email address.

Once we have that, then you are into the nurture flow. So they are beautiful in the way that they bring it all together in a very engaging, dopamine ridden way.

Trent:
From a functionality perspective this is landing pages on major steroids. Because on a landing page you are trying to get someone to give you to opt in and with appear to me that these would be far more compelling than a landing page because of the very nature of the fact that they are addictive and they are fun and if I click things, things happen and it keeps me going. It increases engagement and it is going to make me want to ultimately opt in when I’m given the opportunity to do so.

Dan:
That’s right and what that does is it creates an emotional connection between the user and the brand that other competitors don’t have. The thing is it doesn’t have to be a 3D walkthrough for it to be effective. It doesn’t have to be that involved. Even just an interactive infographic; I think there is a study that has shown that it is about twenty times more effective than just a static infographic.

I may even have that stat wrong, I think it is even much higher than that. That concept works extremely well, the more you can engage somebody; and I do think length of time of engagement is important. I realize that the most important stat at the end is conversions but I think length of time is actually the express way to get there.

If you can get somebody to spend seven minutes on this landing page experiencing whatever it is; it is better than the typical web average which I believe is 33 seconds.

Trent:
In what kind of technologies are you guys building these games in?

Dan:
It is basically all just HTML5 with lots of JavaScript. All these tools that we used to have to build in Flash, God forbid we don’t use Flash anymore. We now have the ability to build it all in HTML5 with lots of JavaScript.

And the real advantage of that is that all these experiences are very search friendly. So that Google sees everything and we can also track every single click. So we know what behaviors people are engaging in and behaviors they aren’t engaging in so we can modify the experience on the fly.

Trent:
And they are viewable on any kind of device.

Dan:
Any kind of device; that is exactly right, cross platform out of the gate. One other thing about these addictive experiences that I think is important and it goes to the emotional connection. If you give people the choice between doing work (whatever the work times are, nine to five, eight to six) or doing something entertaining, they are going to choose the fun thing every single time which is why people will drop even reading your blog posts to watch the next cat video.

We are not going to be making cat videos but how do we make something that is very entertaining for the audience but that serves the ultimate goal of driving conversions for our clients.

Trent:
I don’t know, if you made a hospital video and it was all starring cats but it conveyed the point it might work.

Dan:
Yeah I think there is a cat agency out there somewhere at least a fake one.

Trent:
So how long have you been creating the addictive experiences for your clients?

Dan:
We have been doing it for about fifteen years. In the old days it was all based in Flash and it was really ineffective when it came to inbound marketing because Flash is blind. It doesn’t really work well so we have been really rapidly blazing a trail using the HTML5 tools that we have to make this work in the last few years.

It’s been extremely well received and it is not for every situation but it works extremely well for clients with very complicated business problems that they need to solve or for something that is abstract and they want to make it less abstract.

Trent:
And that makes perfect sense to me. So the question that I wanted to ask, when you deliver these, do you find that they do a remarkable job of having that client refer you more clients because they’re so jazzed about this thing that they are showing it to everybody?

Dan:
Yeah, it is funny that you say that. They are high powered marketing vehicles for us in and of themselves. And one of the things that we’ve seen is not only do we get referrals from clients but it gets shared a lot by the industry and people who are talented in the industry being interested in what we are doing. So it has been good building our brand from both ends; the client side and also from the talent side.

Trent:
And have you been invited to speak at any industry conferences to talk about this stuff as a result of using these without proactively marketing yourself to get those speaking opportunities?

Dan:
Yeah as a matter of fact I am. That has only been happening recently. It has taken a while for us to really get these to a point where they are more in the public domain but it just happened the second time a couple of weeks ago. We won an award and in this area it was a very big reward called the MITX Award for that piece I was referring to for SAP and as a result I was offered several speaking engagements.

So I am kind of in the process of getting them ready now and see what makes sense.

Trent:
Terrific, alright, we are at the 40 minute mark and…

Dan:
Really?

Trent:
Yeah, so what haven’t we talked about that you think would be relevant to what we have been talking about so far or even if there is something that has been a remarkable experience for you that you think would make this interview richer for the audience? Yes there anything that comes to mind before we wrap up?

Dan:
The only thing that comes to mind us our AX vision for the healthcare industry; it is pretty interesting and it is very different but it does cross over very nicely into the healthcare industry and I can give you maybe one quick example of what I mean that we are pretty excited about.

Trent:
Yeah please go ahead.

Dan:
Have you ever been to your annual physical and after the physical you get this lab report that is either printed out or you look at it in your email and it is unintelligible?

Trent:
Literally last week, that happened to me last week.

Dan:
Yeah so you have all these numbers, right? And these acronyms and it says like normal or out of range and there is no explanation for really what it is, what it means, what you should do about it. “Should I worry about it, who do I call?” Imagine that lab report in a very highly interactive, engaging visual format that allows the user to kind of dive into it in a very simple way.

And if something is out of range I can see how far out of range and if I want to learn more about why it is out of range or what I need to do to bring it into the normal range I can dive into that and learn more from imbedded pieces of content there.

And if we want to take you deeper than we can link you to content within our site and if you’re really concerned about something then can take it the next mile and actually have you make an appointment right through the app.

There is an example that serves both the purposes of making the patient centered experience work for the hospital but it also works very nicely from our business model in terms of helping deliver that kind of dopamine rush for the patient. They really feel like they’re taken care of with apps like this. So we are building things like that that have a really exciting experience.

That is sort of one pillar of our overall concept for AX health.

Trent:
Is there anything we can link to on that?

Dan:
No not yet. We are actually going to be unveiling that in November. My colleague Shaw Gross is going to be speaking at a healthcare conference and we are going to be showing all the, what we consider to be the next generation, technologies that we are developing in the healthcare space and that is going to be one of them. So we will keep you posted on that one.

Trent:
A question that I want to ask before we wrap up, how did you get traction with healthcare to begin with?

Dan:
Well it is funny because you mentioned speaking engagements. I was doing a speaking engagement and I have done them a lot for some of the local universities. And in this case I was speaking at an MBA program for a marketing class and at the end of the class I always had students come up to me and ask me questions and exchange cards, a lot of them actually had jobs.

One of the people that was there was a guy who ran a program at Massachusetts General Hospital and he asked me if I’d be interested in helping him do a marketing project and so we came in later that week and that ended up getting us a huge amount of business with Mass General Hospital who is considered to be a very prestigious hospital.

And that has led to pretty much all our healthcare work.

Trent:
Fantastic, one speech and then many, many dollars of revenue as a result; did you ever figure out what that was worth for the hour?

Dan:
No, I actually probably should. It was great, from those speaking engagements I think I got at this point seven new clients from just those speaking engagements alone.

Trent:
So what did you do, did you call up the university and you talked to the person who runs the MBA program and you said, “Hey I want to come give a talk?”

Dan:
That might work but that is not how I got it. The way I got it was, the first one was…

Trent:
Alright, technical gremlin showed up there, I think Dan what I asked you was how did you get the opportunity to speak to the MBA class?

Dan:
One of my clients was actually getting her MBA at Babson. So there was this great professor who I really like and I’m going to introduce you guys. You might make a good speaker for the class, I know I would love to hear from someone like you.

So that is what happened and the professor had me in and then from there, the word kind of spread to not only other professors but other schools. And I am kind of on a little bit of a circuit right now in the Boston area doing speaking engagements for mostly MBA classes.

Trent:
Wow, terrific.

Dan:
I actually just did one at an engineering school about a month ago that was really interesting and yielded some potential results, talking to some possible clients there too.

Trent:
And what was the talk about specifically?

Dan:
It was really the same subject. This is an engineering school that actually teaches business which is a little bit different and the business professor, this is kind of the entrepreneurial class wanted to have somebody come in and talk about marketing so I had a very similar conversation with him that I did with you about our B2Me process and our Addictive Experience.

Trent:
Interesting, I’ll have to go ahead and contact my local university here.

Dan:
I would recommend, it is a great way to get new business for anybody in this business.

Trent:
Especially in the MBA because it is generally filled with people who are employed in the work force.

Dan:
Yeah they are and sometimes what is funny is that the MBA students work for other agencies. I love it when that happens because you always have some very spirited conversations when someone is in the agency business.

Trent:
You absolutely would. Alright Dan, we are going to wrap it up here. I want to thank you very much for coming on the show, it’s been a pleasure to have you here. I have taken pages of notes as I always do. It’s tough to do these interviews, keep your mind on track and write notes like mad. But somehow I seem to get it done so it’s been a pleasure.

For folks that want to get a hold of you, what is the easiest way for them to do that?

Dan:
You can email me at dan@whiterhino.com or follow me on Twitter, @dgreenwald or LinkedIn with me.

Trent:
That’s it, thanks so much.

Dan:
Thank you very much Trent. I appreciate you having me on.

Trent:
You are very welcome, take care.

Dan:
Take care.

Trent:
Alright to get to the show notes for this episode go to BrightIdeas.co/148 and if you enjoyed this episode please do me a favor and help spread the word by going to BrightIdeas.co/love where there is a pre populated tweet awaiting the click of your mouse.

So that is it for this episode, I am your host Trent Dyrsmid. Thank you so very much for tuning in and being a listener. If you have questions for myself or for the guest make sure that you use the comments forum right down at the bottom of the post. And we’ll so you again in another episode soon, take care. Bye-bye.

About Dan Greenwald

Dan Greenwald is founder, President and Creative Director of White Rhino, since 1990.

Dan has won of numerous industry awards for interactive, advertising, branding, direct marketing and design work.

His client experience is broad-ranging and includes B2B and B2C clients, from complex technology companies to high-end consumer products branding.

 

 

Thanks for Listening!

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  • Leave a comment in the comment section below
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  • Leave a review on iTunes. It's your best way to say thank you to our team.
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How Content Marketing Has Forever Changed How to Attract Clients and How You Can Take Advantage of This Shift

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Are you struggling to attract clients? Have you heard about Content Marketing, but aren’t yet sure what it is, or how to implement it? Would you like to be able to stop spending money chasing prospects and asking them to do business with you?

Read more

How to Convert 80% of Your Proposals

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This is a guest post by Jason Swenk.

Converting proposals is key to surviving and growing your marketing agency.  Since most of the time agencies are under insane deadlines, most people don’t put much attention into conversion until it’s too late. The fact is, every agency loses an average of 25-percent existing business each year. This is not their fault but this is the average churn rate over the last 30 years.

This only makes it more important that you convert as many proposals as you can. You worked so hard getting the client to contact you and invite you to do a pitch, why would you ease up now?

The cover letter is 35 percent of your work

One of the most important parts of a proposal is the cover letter. Do you know that over 35 percent of proposals are not read past the first page? I treat the cover letter as a landing page where I had to get their attention to read further. It’s where you have to convince the reader to keep reading.

In the cover letter you need to do the following:

  • Explain that you understand their problem and you have proposed a solution.

  • Quickly explain what you are about and why you do it.

  • Ask them for feedback and encourage them to ask questions.

  • Make sure the cover letter is brief, under a page.

Next up is the Executive Summary

After the cover letter, I immediately dive into more details and go through the executive summary:

  • What is the primary focus of this proposal?

  • Explain to them that you have researched and engaged in meetings to discuss their goals and requirements.

  • Tell them about your experience, building confidence in being able to deliver.

  • Define the estimated time it will take for the project.

You’re building them up and getting them to believe you are right for them.

Show how you will deliver

After the executive summary, I dive into the deliverables. You will want to categorize services into sections, depending on your business. For a marketing/web design proposal, my categories are creative services, marketing, and technology.

  • Be very descriptive in each (especially important if you are talking about something like web design).

  • Tell them about your methodology so they understand the process.

  • Add images where possible so not text heavy, but do not get carried away.

  • List out all the deliverables, i.e. How many versions or pages they will get, etc.

  • List out services that they may have not asked for but that could be a good compliment. Label that session: Optional services.

Next, I would summarize all the deliverables and services. Make sure to list all the services in almost a ledger style with the name and price. I would also recommend to categorize this into sections as well as one time fees and recurring fees like hosting and SEM. This method makes it easy for the client to understand.

After you tell the client the services you are going to do, you can know starting talking about your company and why you exist, awards and the people that will be involved on the project.  You are trying to let them get a good understanding of your company and culture, because people do business with people that like and get along with.

Close that new business

Last is the contract section. Most people separate the proposal and the contract but I always want to have everything together to make it easier for the client-easier for them to execute the proposal.

If you want to learn even more ways to increase your proposal conversions, check out Jason’s free video on how his company converted 80 percent of his proposals. You will see how how Solar Velocity achieved such a high proposal close rate, and get to look at the exact proposal that they used to close businesses like AT&T, AFLAC and Hitachi below. Check it out.

Digital Marketing Strategy: Jermaine Griggs on How He Used Marketing Automation to Build a 7 Figure Online Business

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Jermaine Griggs, 30, is a minister, musician, entrepreneur, and public speaker. Having grown up in the inner city of Long Beach with just his mom and sister, he always envisioned life on the other side of the tracks. At 16, he started Hear and Play Music, an instructional music company specializing in teaching piano by ear. With only $70, he bought the domain name HearandPlay.com and launched the company that would not only change his life but hundreds of thousands of musicians around the world through his books, DVDs, and online training courses.

Today, what started as a high school hobby has gone on to produce 8 figures in revenue since inception. More than two million aspiring musicians download his online lessons every year and over 301,700 loyal students receive his regular newsletters.

While in college studying Law & Criminology at the University of California, Irvine, Jermaine relied heavily on automated follow-up and marketing processes to run his business while he made good on a promise to his family to graduate school. What resulted was a unique automation strategy and philosophy that he follows religiously til’ this day.

As a result of his success and uncanny ability to mesmerize audiences, Jermaine started attracting the attention of the business world. He’s been featured on Msn, Yahoo, Kiplinger, D&B, Aetna’s Innovators, Msnbc, and more. In 2011, he was awarded Infusionsoft’s “Ultimate Marketer of the Year” and teaches entrepreneurs how to repeat his success by working smarter and not harder. He recently launched AutomationClinic.com in 2012 as a place to share his marketing automation philosophies and strategies.

Having seen his company grow from a few hundred dollars a month into a multimillion dollar business without venture capital or loans, he now shares his inspiring story with young people and entrepreneurs all over the country. He’s been a mentor in organizations like Operation Jump Start, NAACP / ACT-SO, NCCJ, and speaks to school districts, churches, and youth groups regularly.

Listen to the Audio

Our Chat Today

  • What happens when a user opts into the funnel
  • An overview of how he uses negative tags
  • An overview of how he tracks how long people stay on a page
  • An overview of how he evergreens a product launch
  • How to do a broadcast to increase profits
  • How to ensure people aren’t receiving more than one email in a day
  • An overview of how he’s driving traffic
  • An overview of is custom dashboard and leadsources
  • An overview of how he’s using upsells
  • His advice on whether to focus on traffic or conversion

Additional Resources Mentioned

Thanks for Listening!

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  • Share this episode on Twitter or Facebook

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  • Leave a review on iTunes. It's your best way to say thank you to our team.
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How to Uncover Your Optimum Selling Strategy – Part 2

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ossIn How to Uncover Your Optimum Selling Strategy Part 1, I explained how I was looking for a way to get the Bright Ideas Agency generating positive cash flow in the shortest period of time possible by using what Michael Masterson calls an Optimum Selling Strategy (OSS) in his book, Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat.

Today, I’m going to continue where I left off by taking a deeper dive into the second of four questions that you (and I) must answer in order to discover our own OSS.

What Product Do You Sell Them?

Most people who start a business do so because they have an idea for a product or service. Sadly, this is not always the best way to get going – unless you’re just lucky enough to nail it right out of the gate.

Personally, I’m never that lucky! Which is why I recorded the video below a few years ago.

The reason that having only one product in mind when you launch isn’t a very good idea is because you are basically putting all your eggs in one basket, and unless you already know your market/industry extremely well, that is quite a large risk to take.

To avoid this, savvy entrepreneurs remain flexible about the details of their product. If version one doesn’t work, another version can be waiting in the wings.

How to Determine the Ideal Startup Product

Here are five simple steps to creating a product that is virtually guaranteed to succeed:

  1. Find out what products are currently hot in your market
  2. Determine if your product idea fits that trend
  3. If it does, you’re set, if not, go to next step
  4. Come up with me-too versions of several hot products
  5. Improve them in some way by adding features or benefits lacking in the originals

Let’s go into more detail on these steps.

How to Discover the Hot Products in Any Market

Figure out what's hot! Image credit:  123rf.com

Figure out what’s hot!
Image credit: 123rf.com

In Part 1 of this post, I suggested you go study the competition to see where they were advertising? Well, now you want to pay attention to what they are trying to sell with all those ads.

When you do this, you are going to see trends, and the trend you are looking for is the product type that is most commonly advertised. That is the hot product.

When studying the hot products in your market, it’s also very important to pay attention to the trend for these products because there is the chance that they are near the end of their trend. To do this, first, start off with Google Trends and take note of whether the search volume for related keywords is still on the rise. If it is, you’re probably in good shape.

Another method you can use is to talk to some people in the industry, as they are going to be far more in tune with what is going on within their industry that you are ever will…unless of course, you are already an industry insider.

Once you have identified the top three to five products in your space, you should spend some time studying them. Identify their features and benefits. Compare them. Attempt to figure out which features are most desirable. Make a list of any deficiencies that you see. Write all this down and then review it.

Once you’ve done all this, and you have an idea of what your product might look like, it is a good idea to start sharing it with friends and/or colleagues so that you can ask them for input on how you could improve it. If you don’t have a draft description of your product yet, just share the products you are researching and ask the same questions. If you and the people you are showing it to are excited, that is a good indication that you have something to take it to market.

How Much to Charge?

By now, you should know where your customers are and have a pretty good idea for a product that will sell. (Remember, you are NOT reinventing the wheel here…you are just improving on a kind of wheel that is already selling!)

All you need to do now is to figure out how much to sell it for.

Much like my previous advice on generating a product, with pricing, I’d suggest you stick pretty closely to what others are doing. If you can afford to be less expensive, that could be a good thing; however, keep in mind that building a business whose only differentiator is price can be a double edged sword. Good, because it generates business. Bad, because your price-conscious buyers may leave you in a heartbeat if they find a better deal somewhere else.

Optimal Selling Price

In Ready, Fire, Aim; Michael gives a pricing example from his newsletter business. He said that, through testing, he determined that $39/year is the optimal price for his newsletter. Selling for less eroded profits and selling for more killed conversions. Based on this, if I was launching a newsletter, I’d charge $39/year.

The optimum price isn't always the lowest one.Image credit:  123rf.com

The optimum price isn’t always the lowest one.
Image credit: 123rf.com

Earlier, I warned of trying too low a price. However, there is one exception to that, and that’s when you have a back end funnel filled with higher value, higher priced products.

For example, the last information product I launched was a course for marketing consultants on how to generate more leads. Because I wanted to sell a high volume of products, I priced it on a dime sale starting at $7 with the price rising to as high as about $10. Then, in my back end funnel, I offered two upsells. The first was at $49 and the second was at $97. Of those who purchased the initial product, 26% of buyers took the first upsell and 10% of buyers took second upsell.

As a result of taking this approach, we sold 1,450 front end units, 377 of upsell #1 and 148 of upsell #2. Overall, even though I never made a dime on the front end sale, the product’s overall profits were very good and since then, I’ve been able to generate even more revenue from the customers that bought the original product. Obviously, I’m not the first one to try a strategy like this – and, as I said before, sticking to what is already working for your product/market will likely lead to desirable results.

How Will You Convince Them to Buy?

If you’ve done a good job with defining your OSS up to this point, generating sales will not be overly challenging. With that said, they key is to generate as many sales as possible, and to do that, you are going to need to ensure that you do an extremely effective job of getting your sales message across to your buyer. This is done with sales copy.

Sales copy can have a huge impact on sales. Done correctly, sales copy can easily double your overall sales.

If you have never written sales copy before, study the sales pages and emails of other successful sellers in your space. Pay particular attention to the structure of their sales copy, as opposed to just their words.

As you might guess, an overview of how to write sales copy is well outside the scope of this post, so rather than attempt to do that, I’d suggest you grab a copy of Michael’s book and study the chapter devoted to sales copy. In addition, you may also want to spend some time on CopyBlogger.com as there are a plethora of tips and advice to be found.

For the basic nuts and bolts of writing effective sales copy, I’ll offer up four concepts (from Michael’s book) that you must know:

1. You must understand the difference between wants and needs
2. You must understand the difference between features and benefits
3. You must understand how to establish a unique selling proposition (USP) for you product
4. You must understand how to sell the USP

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How to Uncover Your Optimum Selling Strategy – Part 1

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When launching a company or a product, my goal is always to get the maximum traction possible in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes, I get better results than others, and because of that, I’m always on the lookout for methods that appear to be more effective than what I’m currently using.

It was with this desire in mind, that I started to read a book called Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million in No Time Flat by Michael Masterson, and while I’ve not yet finished this wonderful book, I have already picked up some really fantastic ideas, the first of which is what Michael calls The Optimum Selling Strategy.

Introduction to The Optimum Selling Strategy

Michael believes that for every business at any given time, there is one best way to acquire new customers, and that this best way is the way the meets the company’s greatest current need. For a startup, the greatest need is almost always – or should be – generating positive cash flow.

Put simply, startups need to find the most effective way to generate positive cash flow NOW.

You need to prioritize your cash flow. (image source: www.123rf.com)

You need to prioritize your cash flow.
(image source: www.123rf.com)

The mistake that most entrepreneurs make when they are first starting out is that they are so totally jazzed with their product or service (their baby), that they don’t give adequate considering to feeding their baby – with cash flow. Oddly, this same thing can even happen to more experienced entrepreneurs like me! We often assume that one method of selling can be just as good as another.

According to Michael, we’re dead wrong.

How we sell our lead product – the specific decisions we make about presenting and pricing it – has a huge impact on whether or not we’ll be successful. If you find yourself thinking that your product is so totally awesome that it will sell itself, you’re in for a rude awakening, I can assure you.

Figuring out my OSS for the Bright Ideas Agency is something that I’m working on right now; and was my motivation for writing this post. I always think through things better when I write, so why not share my thoughts, ideas, and insights with you? Hopefully, some of you will add your own ideas down in the comments, and we’ll all benefit as a result.

How to Discover Your Optimum Selling Strategy

When you get this right, you are taking a huge step in the right direction. It will make everything else that much easier. Problems will be less of a hassle, obstacles will be easier to overcome, and objectives will be less difficult to attain. Why? Simple…customer acquisition will no longer be your biggest and most expensive problem. Woot!

There’s another benefit to knowing your OSS that you should be aware of, and that is this: when you truly understand the basics of how to sell to your marketplace, you will never fall victim to anyone else’s half-baked marketing strategies and idiotic sales programs. And, even when you hand over the reigns to your marketing and sales functions to someone else, you will be able to confidently lead them in the right direction as your company grows.

The Four Secrets of the OSS

When you are first starting out, there are plenty of tactics that you could employ to attract customers. Direct mail, PPC advertising, Email marketing, SEO, Blogging, Youtube, and Podcast, Radio, etc…

ossquote1As you are not likely an expert in all of these areas, you are going to very likely end up talking to people who are, and as a result, each of the experts you talk to is going to make a compelling case for why their particular method or medium is the best one for you to use.

To determine the optimum selling strategy for your business, you need to answer four questions that will have a significant impact and how quickly you generate positive cash flow – if at all!

Here are the four questions:

  • Where are you going to find your customers?
  • What product will you sell to them?
  • How much will you charge for it?
  • How will you convince them to buy it?

Answering these four questions is critical to discovering your OSS. To help you (and me) do that, let’s dive a little deeper into each one.

Where Are Your Customers?

Where do your customers spend time? Image credit:  123rf.com

Where do your customers spend time?
Image credit: 123rf.com

As I’m an online marketer, I tend to think about this in terms of where do they hang out online? Which blogs, forums, and communities do they enjoy? I also am starting to ask myself which magazines and trade journals they read because, most often, these companies will also maintain an email list. This is important because using “sponsored emails” is a going to be a part of my outreach strategy (which I will explain in future posts).

The trick here is that the answers may not be as easy as you’d think.

To give you an example of what I mean, I’m going to summarize the example that was used in Ready, Fire, Aim: let’s say you want to sell a new kind of golf ball. Where could you find your customers? The follow places might all work to reach them:

  • In the golf pro shop waiting in line to pay for stuff, so an ad near the cash register might work.
  • Advertising on the back page of a golf magazine might also work
  • A TV commercial that is run during tournaments might also work
  • Renting lists with names and addresses of amateur golfers might also work

As you can see, there are plenty of places where your customers could be reached, so what should you (and I) do?

The Best Strategy for Startups

Here’s my best advice for the lowest risk strategy: do what everyone else is doing. Why? Because if everyone else is doing it, it must work, right? Now, I’m not saying that you should do what everyone else is doing forever. There will be plenty of time to innovate and experiment later on, but for now, you need cash flow and want to avoid risk.

Finding the Best Locations

So, how do you locate the best places to find customers? Simple. Just pay attention to where your competition is advertising. Then, talk to people who are already selling to the same set of customers. Ask for the names of the people who are in charge of marketing and tell them you are a marketing student eager to learn what they do (this is true!) and ask for a 15 minute “informational interview”. Or, even better, ask them to be a guest on your podcast! (Why do you think I interview so many successful people on mine?)

Every industry also has its own trade association and these associations can be data gold mines. Contact them and tell them your plans for marketing your product. They will want to help you – just keep in mind that their advice will be a bit biased.

The goal with all this is to assemble a master list of media placements – a map of where all the marketing activity for your industry is happening. This map will reveal where your competitors advertise, how often they do it, and how much they are spending.

Short on cash? Not to worry! Doing research like this doesn’t cost anything more than your time.

When it comes to marketing, nothing is more important that where you buy your media. This is because it really doesn’t matter how well your sales copy is written if you are pitching the wrong audience. For example, if my ad offered 75% off Luis Vuitton bags, but I sent the offer to lumberjacks, I’m not likely to sell much, am I? Whereas, if my sales copy is just average, but I target my exact customers (and do it well), I’m going to see a LOT more sales come in the door.

What Product Do You Sell Them First?

We’ll discuss this in detail in the next post in this series, so stay tuned…or better yet, become a subscriber and you’ll never miss a thing!

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Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Get Traction With Your Audience with Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com

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andrew-warner-founder-mixergy

Are you having trouble keeping your customers and website visitors interested in your site?

Do you want to learn a content creation model that answers the questions of your site visitors and target customers?

To learn how to quickly turn your one time website visitors into your followers, I interview Andrew Warner.

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

In this episode, I interview Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:

Turning One-time Visitors into Loyal Followers and Customers with Interviews

An Easy Content Creation System to Land Followers and Leads

People always want some form of content to satisfy their needs and curiosity about a particular topic. It is through the content that you provide that your audience engages your site, your products and your services.  It is content that turns your one-time visitors into loyal followers.

Content is key to loyal customers.Image source: 123rf.com

Content is key to loyal customers.
Image source: 123rf.com

Listen to the show to discover how Andrew approaches content creation for small business owners.

Andrew’s Top Email Registration Strategy

In order to have people see your content again and again, it’s super helpful if they give you their contact information so you can reach out to them. Andrew gets more than 100 new subscribers to his mailing list every day. He does this with one simple strategy.

Listen to the show to learn what this powerful strategy is and incorporate it in your site today.

Head Game: It Changes Everything

Sometimes, setbacks are going to challenge your business. There are times when they are minor and are easily manageable, then there are times when they are “end of the world” big.

Listen as Andrew describes how he manages the setbacks that he has experienced in the course of his business.

About Andrew

andrew-warner-founder-mixergyAndrew Warner is  only in his 20s, but he already has a big success under his belt – a $30 million internet business with his younger brother. He started out with online greeting cards and is now focusing on interviewing successful entrepreneurs on his Mixergy.com website.

He created Mixergy to help ambitious people who love business as much as he does.

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Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Maximize Conversions with Content Marketing

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current_bio_pic_DanN

Building a successful marketing blog is no easy task because there is a LOT of competition. Building a software company that sells software for a monthly fee is even harder.

Have success with on or both of these endeavors and you are on your way to one heck of an exciting entrepreneurial adventure!

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Dan Norris, founder of Inform.ly. Informly provides actionable data to help content marketers engage their audience and create content that grows their business.

When you listen to this interview, you are going to hear Dan and I talk about the following:

  • Why he started Inform.ly and where traditional analytics apps fall short for content marketers
  • How he hired coders to build his app (5:30)
  • A sidebar plugin he’s building that will display your best converting posts (7:30)
  • How he’s attracting customers (9:00)
  • His top 4 tips for building a highly successful blog (15:00)
  • Why conversions are more important than traffic (17:30)
  • How to maximize conversions from your blog (18:10)
  • His biggest screw up and what you should do to avoid repeating this huge mistake (26:05)
  • Why surveys aren’t a good tool for validating your product (31:05)
..And so much more!

Links

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Enjoyed this Interview? Here’s How To Leave us a Positive Review on iTunes!

If you enjoyed this episode, click here for more information on How to Leave Us a Positive Review on iTunes! Your review will help to spread the word and get more entrepreneurs like you interested in our podcast. Thanks in advance - we appreciate you!

About Dan Norris

current_bio_pic_DanNDan Norris is the founder of Informly and helps bloggers and content marketers create content that engages their target audience and drives leads. You can download his free ebook with his top 12 tips here.

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