Monthly Archives: Oct 2013

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The Government Top-Secret $7 "Warrior Special Offer"?

First, a disclaimer.

I’m NOT a political junkie. I don’t watch CNN or any of the other news channels.

I’m registered as an Independent and vote for the candidate I like the best – regardless of the party. Period. If I had to some it up, I’m socially Liberal and fiscally Conservative. 

With that being said… the US Government rolled out their HealthCare.gov site a few weeks ago – and they are giving you a blueprint of what NOT to do during a launch. 

The site is slow. It’s frequently down. And times-out before most people can even register.

And the cost… only about $174 MILLION!!! (no, that’s not a typing error – it’s at least that much).

healtcaregov

You would think with all of the bragging rights that come along with designing a site for the US Government, they would have had the best firms on the planet competing for the job… and some would have probably done it for free!

Again, I have come to expect this type of nonsense from the Government, but this one hit so close to home because it’s the sandbox where I play. And this disaster has gotten me really agitated. 

**Disclaimer. Yes, I know it is a very complex site tapping into massive databases like Social Security, but…..

I could have sworn I saw a $7 WSO plug-in that can fix the errors (and for just $9 more – you could install this plugin on any site!!!). I believe it was called the Super-Stealth Ninja, Profit-Crushing, Rockstar, HealthCare.Gov Mega Database-Fixing Killer Plug-In.

In fact, the 23-year old guy who created the plugin had a picture of himself in front of a shiny new red car – so he must know his stuff, right?

 

HOW TO LAUNCH A NEW SITE (*NOT* LIKE THE GOVT)

If you plan on launching a new web site – there are some lessons you can learn from the disaster that is HealthCare.gov:

#1. Never spend $174 million dollars on one web site (I don’t care how complex the databases are). Even if you get a big influx of cash from a VC – be smart with your money. If I was going to invest my $174 million in a new venture, I’d put maybe $100K on a kick-ass site and the rest of the $173,900,000 on marketing!

#2. If you are doing a big launch – then don’t be surprised if you get a lot of traffic. President Obama said “we expect millions to signup” and then they were surprised when millions of people went to their web site. Last I checked.. Google and Facebook can handle millions of visitors a day. In other words, be ready.

#3. Test your site. Re-test. And re-test again.

#4. If it’s NOT ready, then don’t launch it. (read rule #5 to see why)

#5. If there is one bug (even a small one) and you roll it out on a launch – that small bug is multiplied by a factor of 1,000. I should know, I made this mistake a few years ago and it nearly ruined the good reputation I’ve been building for over 10 years.

#6. If you screw up, immediately take 100% responsibility. And find a way to make it up to your disappointed customers. 

#7. Always follow the first rule of web design and make it EASY for people to signup. Remove bells and whistles and create a path of zero resistance.

#8. And finally, NEVER, EVER spend $174 million on a web site! (did I repeat myself?). I know a guy on odesk that could have done it for about $5k.
There you go… eight simple lessons for launching a new site the right way. In other words – the opposite of the Government.

 

DO YOU AGREE? DISAGREE?
ARE YOU REALLY ANGRY TOO?

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You Are a Marketer

No matter what you do or sell – you are in the MARKETING business. Pure and simple.

Sure, if you are a personal trainer, you might think you are in the fitness business. You are not.

You are marketing results. Those results might be weight loss. Or a higher vertical jump. Or more muscle.

You are not an “author”, you are marketing your books (which also sell a result… even a fiction book is selling a fantasy or escape from the real-world fora  few hours).

Make no mistake, you are a marketer. You MUST get this point. And the people who “get it” – succeed. It’s that simple.

 

REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE

nikejordanThe biggest sneaker company in the world right now is Nike with yearly sales of $24 billion. 

Nike is a MARKETING company. That’s right, a marketing company.

They are NOT a manufacturer.

You probably think Nike has millions of employees in their factories all over the world assembling sneakers and sewing clothes, but you’d be wrong.

In fact, Nike even says on their own site (in their own words): “We do not own these factories.”.

They are in the business of marketing their sneakers. I should know… from my first Air Jordans back in 1985 to around 30 pairs of track sneakers during my competitive running days – I have been a customer of theirs for decades. And they are a very smart marketing company.

I had no idea they didn’t own their factories until a couple of years ago – and I’m obsessed with business. 

I’m sure most of their days are spent planning marketing and advertising campaigns. Signing new athletes to their roster. Coming up with grassroots programs to reach new lifetime customers. You can bet they don’t spend 90% of their resources just designing sneakers.

But just “developing” products is how most digital entrepreneurs spend their day. Then the product comes out and it barely registers on the radar. It’s because they have it backwards.

Once you make this shift to becoming a marketing company – things change quickly.

 

So the next time you planning how you will spend your day – think about Nike.

 

 

QUESTIONS? COMMENTS?
ARE YOU A “MARKETING” COMPANY?

P.S. Grab over $21,000 of my best marketing training products when you donate to the “I Built It” Foundation.

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Growing Your Email List… Offline?

Yesterday, our town of New Canaan, CT held it’s annual Halloween parade.

All of the kids get dressed up in their customs and walk down our main street. It’s just one of those days that makes me realize how blessed I am to live in this community.

Then something caught my eye.

A woman with a clipboard approaching virtually every mom that walked by (I’m a marketer so naturally all of my focus went directly to see what she was doing – while promptly ignoring my four kids).

It looked like a typical “survey” until I realized she was actually promoting her email newsletter and asking for people to signup on the spot. 

It was a newsletter for kid’s activities in the area – but something about the approach felt wrong.

Of course, I was watching this for a few minutes – and I didn’t see even one mom give their email address. They all said things like “no thanks” and “my inbox is so crowded already”.

And when she approached our group, we all politely declined as well.

My eyes fixated on the sheet attached to her clipboard. And out of the hundreds and hundreds of parent’s at the parade, she might have had about 5 names on the paper. 

Why?

This was her ideal market. It seems everyone in town has 3-4 kids. Affluent. And 100% family focused.

Yet, no one wanted her FREE email newsletter featuring fun family activities. 

 

MAKE THE PROMOTION BETTER

While I applaud this woman from getting away from her computer and hitting the pavement, here’s how she could have made it better…

1. Better Reason to Signup: She just said “we have a great email newsletter”, but that’s no longer a good enough reason for people to subscribe. She could have offered some type of gift right there… water bottles, pens, pads. Something. Anything

In fact, there are over 100 gifts that cost less than $1 she could have given away here at 4Imprint with the newsletter logo. If she knows her lifetime value per customer, it’s easy to figure out how much you could spend on each subscriber.

The one to the below starts at $.56 cents.. and as a dad, I can tell you how much my kids love little pouches to store everything you can imagine (from loose change to my car keys!!)

pouch

Sample “giveaway” to boost response

 

2. Get Attention and Buzz: The woman didn’t have any special shirt or graphics to know she was with a company. She was dressed like any other mom in the crowd – with the exception of a clipboard. Even a fun custom could have gotten some attention. Maybe even as some type of flight attendant or tour guide (it took me a few minutes to find the inexpensive costume below).

On a related note, Joe’s Pizza did it right. They are a local pizza joint and they had someone dressed as a giant slice of pizza with “Joe’s Pizza” and their phone number on the back. And there were kid’s were taking pictures with him in the street. That got attention.

attendant

Sample “guide” costume

 

3. Print Copy: I would have printed up something from the newsletter. Maybe a sample issue that was typeset to look like a high-quality newsletter. And simply given them out with a large CTA (call-t0-action) featured prominently on the newsletter.

This would have been an instant TRUST-BUILDER – since we don’t know her or her newsletter. And if we don’t know her, chances are low we will just give out our email address to someone on the street.

bottomlinepersonal

Sample newsletter from Boardroom Reports.

 

Again, I think she deserved a lot of credit for getting outside her comfort zone and thinking differently about list building. 

But with a few changes – she could have built lots of buzz and generated hundreds more qualified email subscribers.

 
COMMENTS? QUESTION?
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?

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10 Creative Subscription Boxes for Recurring Revenue and Continuity Income

I’m always on the lookout for an interesting business model. Especially one that deals with “continuity income” (aka recurring revenue). Because, after all, having dependable monthly income is what it’s all about.

And a model gaining popularity over the past 12 months is the Subscription Box, due in large part to the popularity of BirchBox (a company that delivers health/beauty samples to you door for $20/month).

subscriptiobox

Programs like “beer of the month” have been around for a long time, but with BirchBox exploding on the scene, it seems a new subscription box is coming out every week. 

There are essentially two different models in the “subscription box” world…

  1. The Surprise: You know the type of products (cosmetics, supplements, beer, etc), but don’t know exactly what products you are getting.
  2. The Same: It’s exactly the same product each month. Might be same lotion, supplements or even razors.

 

HERE COMES THE MARKET EXPLOSION

Just like clockwork, there are dozens of companies now cloning BirchBox in the “beauty sample” market, but there are some companies thinking “outside the box” (cheesy pun intended).

How will these companies look in 6 months, 1 year or 5 years will remain to be seen. But there is clearly an opportunity now to get into a hot market and stake your claim.

Here are 10 creative subscription box companies with unique niched markets. Maybe this will spark your imagination…

Loot Crate: this is a monthly box for “gamers” including stickers and lots of unique toys. Pricing starts at $19/month (including shipping)

My Cotton Bunny: new feminine hygiene products each month. Need I say more? $16/month

Mystery Tackle Box: that’s right, new baits every month for the serious fishing enthusiast. $15/month 

BarkBox: yes, monthly treats for your dog. Treats are picked based on the size of your dog. $29/month

Turntable Kitchen: a pairing of food and music (via 2 ingredients, vinyl LP and downloadable mix tape). $25/month

Mynt Box: 2 new pieces of jewelry each month. $20/month

Conscious Box: healthy, eco-friendly boxes. $19.95/month with free shipping

Julibox: ingredients to make your own cocktail. $40/month

My Ireland Box: curated assortment of gifts from Ireland. $17.50/month

Man Packs: underwear, socks, razors and more.. for men. Price depends on items picked.

Keep your eye on the world of subscription boxes…

 

WANT MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS? 
POST YOUR COMMENTS BELOW.

P.S. If you enjoyed this, please like, share and tweet below 

 

 

 

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That Sounds Boring

Here’s a funny (and 100% true) conversation I had with my 5-year old Camryn last week.

She saw me about to leave the house with my trusted Tumi laptop messenger bag.

She asked, “Daddy, can I come with you to your office today?”.

I said, “I’m sorry, but I am working from Starbucks today”.

Camryn smiled and looked really excited, “do you serve the people drinks?”.

I replied, “No sweetie, I bring my laptop, find a small table and work”.

She looked disappointed and said, “Oh…. that sounds boring”. Then – she walked away.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

starbucksofficeFor me, there’s nothing I love more than heading to a coffee shop with my laptop and just working on my business. Writing blog posts. Creating sales copy. Outlining products. 

But, maybe that’s not what YOU like.

Figure out what your ideal day looks like. As vividly as possible, think about where you will work from, even down to the smells.

And then, what you will be doing each day. Do you want to do pay per click advertising? Write blog posts? Connect with affiliates?

Then – build your business around it. It’s that simple. 

And while it might not be for everybody, when you hit that “sweet spot” – life is indeed mighty fine.

ARE YOU CREATING A LIFESTYLE BUSINESS?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS BELOW.

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The Foundation (Spreading Entrepreneurship to the World)

We are about 1 week away from finally releasing the new “Foundation” (the name will be revealed soon).

bigstock-Close-up-Of-Happy-Student-Work-43071670The mission is to bring real “entrepreneurship” to the schools and communities. By coordinating between the schools/communities and in-the-trenches entrepreneurs – we are going to re-ignite the spark so many are missing.

We will teach classes at the schools (both in-person and via skype). In fact, I am already in talks to deliver the first talk… to the school where I used to teach in the South Bronx, NY! 

It’s not about giving handouts.. it’s about providing people with real sources of information (with a heavy dose of inspiration too). 

So here is what’s happening…

 

1. PHASE ONE: THE LAUNCH
Next week, we will have an “online release party/fundraiser”. I’ll ask some of my smart (and giving) entrepreneurial friends to come on and share their best business-building tips and strategies. 

During that time, for people who invest in the education of future entrepreneurs – besides feeling good about helping others, you will also help yourself. 

For example, one of my friends, Lewis Howes, has agreed to give away one of his valuable training courses for people who give at a certain level. And I will be putting together packages that include dozens of products and even spending the full day with me. 

100% of the money raised will be funding this new foundation. 

 

2. PHASE TWO: DAILY ONLINE EDUCATION PLATFORM
I realize it’s a daunting task to get into every community – so we are also creating a new online initiative to coincide with the foundation.

This will be a new daily video coaching program. You’ll be able to learn directly from the smartest entrepreneurs on the planet.. and it will be free for everyone. The best business tips delivered right to you. No fluff. No hype. No selling.

If you’d like share your best business tips with the world – click here to apply.

 

I’m really excited to get this out to the world. And I truly appreciate all of your support and words of encouragement.

In the meantime, if there are specific entrepreneurs you’d like to hear from (either live next week, on the new show or perhaps to donate a product), please share their name below. 

 

ARE YOU READY TO CHANGE THE WORLD?
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN FROM?

P.S. Please help spread the word by liking, sharing or tweeting below.

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Using PayPal For Your Online Business… The Truth!

For years – I’ve heard marketers complain about paypal

paypallogoDuring one event, one speaker said paypal has been holding over $100,000 of his money and is fighting him about releasing it back. He then went on to say how his chargeback rate is… so I took it with a grain of salt.

But the rumblings have been so frequent about paypal keeping the money of innocent marketers – it has taken urban legend proportions.

For years, I’ve stayed away from paypal and going instead with merchant accounts and 3rd party companies like clickbank.

I still use my merchant accounts and clickbank – however, when I started to re-launch bigger ticket programs last year (like Titanium) there was an issue. 

My merchant account provider didn’t want to approve $10,000 purchases and it’s also beyond what Clickbank can process as well.

So I figured.. hey, let’s give paypal a shot (it’s better than collecting checks!).

 

UPDATE

At first, everything was smooth.

I setup limited-access accounts for my virtual assistants – so they can go in, check customer orders and even give refunds. They can also run detailed reports on just about every metric you can think of.

Then, I got a call from PayPal a few months in. The person was really nice and wanted to know more about my business and why suddenly I was doing so much in sales.

I took her through my site, my marketing and my customer support. She said she was impressed, but for now – they were going to hold back 10% of each sale and keep it in rolling reserves for 90 days to account for potential chargebacks.

That meant, if I made a $10,000 sale, they would give me access to $9,000 today – and the remaining $1,000 in 90 days.

Fast forward about six months later to last week and I just got this email from PayPal…

paypalreserve

Email from PayPal.. Happy with My Business

 

 

Needless to say, having all that money now available.. well, it didn’t suck.

I’m sharing this with you for a few reasons…

  • Always be transparent in your business and marketing
  • Merchant accounts and 3rd party processors are weary of too much “hypey” copy
  • Be in constant contact with your customers
  • Don’t always believe everything you hear
  • If you run an “above the board” online business – you should explore paypal as a viable option

Is paypal perfect? No. It doesn’t have a built-in affiliate program like Clickbank. And doesn’t have the flexibility of a true merchant account. 

But I recommend my clients use paypal when first starting out because there are not many hoops to jump through. And it’s a great way to get a product out fast so you can start SELLING. After all, without sales – it’s not much of a business.

 

HAVE YOU HAD EXPERIENCE WITH PAYPAL?
SHARE BELOW

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Deep Dives into Internet Marketing

Last week, I did what’s called a “deep dive” into one specific topic with a co-presenter.

His topic was podcasting – and we spent 3+ hours doing very deep into the training. We saw how he went from zero to $51k per month in less than 12 months.

It was, to say the least, a massive success.

The people who were on the training (and received access to the videos) were blown away.

We cut through the clutter and went right into the real “behind the scenes” tactics. And it was refreshing to get a different perspective on business and training.

So here’s my question… what specific topics would you like to see me tackle in the future? Please list them below and I’ll work my hardest to find the best, most giving “under the radar” experts on those topics.

For example, last week I met a guy who is averaging over $20k per month selling on Amazon (non-Kindle). I never heard his name before, but he knows his stuff (he’s actually training my staff today). Hearing real-world stories from people like this get me really excited.

Just let me know some topics below and your wish is my command…

WHAT DEEP DIVES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE?
PLEASE LIST THEM BELOW

P.S. If you’d like to purchase last week’s intensive podcast training, click here.

P.P.S. I’m co-hosting another training all about “After the Sale” – click here to attend this one.

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Quick and Easy INSTANT Upsell For Instant Profit Boost (video)

Here’s an interview I did with The Rise To The Top’s David Siteman Garland.

Watch it for the instant “upsell” idea…

ADD YOUR COMMENTS BELOW!

Want more? Register for the “After the Sale” workshop here.

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Let's Get Published!

In December I will be releasing the first books in our new series built by and for entrepreneurs (these books are going to tie directly into the new Foundation I am creating – you can read more about that here).

And because I never do anything small – I need even more great people to feature.

Here’s how you can get involved…

1. You will be interviewed (about 20 minutes). Your story will be transcribed and featured in one of the new books.

2. Well, that’s really it. You’ll be in the book and we are going to do some creative promotions to get you in front of A LOT of people. 

Oh yeah, there’s NO COST for you to be in the books. We just want good people and good stories!

 

ENTREPRENEURS

We’re looking for people in ALL types of businesses. But, you must be “in the trenches” (in other words, not just “coaches”, but people who are actively doing it).

Here are just a few examples…

  • Podcasters
  • Information marketers (ebooks, membership sites, etc.)
  • Social media marketers (facebook, twitter, pinterest, etc.)
  • Self-published authors (print, kindle, etc.)
  • Offline success (started a personal training business, opened a restaurant, etc.)
  • Niched publishers

You get the idea. 

It’s easy to become a part of our next book – just ==> CLICK HERE TO APPLY.

 

ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?
LET’S DO THIS!

P.S. This is really exciting and if you want to share your success – let’s setup your interview.

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