Monthly Archives: Aug 2014

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HELP!

Sometimes we are ALL guilty of this. And yes, that includes me too.

We think of our business purely in terms of money. How much net profit this new product will bring you.

A phrase I heard years ago backstage at a marketing event I was speaking at still makes me uncomfortable.

This well-known marketer (who shall remain nameless) was running the event, told me my job was to, and I quote, “EXTRACT as much money from the audience as possible”.

He was dead serious and didn’t crack a smile when he dropped this on me.

Really?

I felt so dirty and it was at that exact moment I knew something had to change. I knew I had to start associating with different people. I had to start attending different events. And it was the last time I spoke at an event like that.

It was the main reason I started doing my own events – and removed all the “pitching and selling” from the stage.

I just knew there had to be a way simultaneously make money AND help people at the same time.

so I went on a mission to focus on the needs of my clients. I’m not perfect (not even close), and while sometimes I succeed, I also have failed spectacularly. Looking back, I’ve done and said things I shouldn’t have.

But slowly, the books I read started to change. Instead of books about “persuasion”, I started to read more autobiographies from well-respected and admired people. More books about social entrepreneurship. And as far as I could tell, none of these successful people created their wealth by selling WSO’s (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

The more businesses I studied (and the more I implemented fundamental change in my business), the clearer things became. And the answer is simple.

During every step of your business process (product creation, copy, customer support, etc.), ask yourself if you are truly HELPING your clients and customers.

That’s it. Are you helping them?

Take the money out of the equation. Are they simply better off by investing their money in your products & services?

If you saw your customer across the street, would you dart across to see how they are doing because you know they’d be happy to see you (or would you run for cover – knowing full well you did them a disservice by selling a shoddy product?).

I’ve literally seen marketers HIDE from former customers because of how they treated them. I met one marketer at an event – and he says to me, “you see that guy over there, he paid me $25K for coaching – and I have to avoid him”. When I asked why – he said the guy didn’t make a dime and keeps on bugging him.

I wish I was making that up. And I wish it didn’t happen as often as it likely does.

But you can avoid that. It’s the little things you can do to help your customers and show you truly care.

If you are just starting out and selling two or three ebooks a day, why not pick up the phone and CALL your customer to see how they are enjoying the ebook? And to see if they have any questions.

I’m not talking about an upsell into a coaching program – I’m talking about a simple phone call. Just like you’d do for a friend with no hidden agenda.

You’d be amazed the bond formed and as a side benefit, how much insight you’ll gleam into your customers. This will assist you in created more great products and services to help them on their journey.

So few people do this, you’ll instantly stand out from the crowd. And more importantly, you’ll show your customers how much you care.

Watch this short video and feel those “warm and fuzzies” before you create your next marketing campaign. It’s the power of “helping” and I guarantee it will put you in the right frame of mind:

 

P.S. Here’s my offer of help to you. It just might change your life.

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How to Motivate Your Virtual Team (It's NOT What You Think)

I’ve written a few articles lately about building a virtual team.

Why? Because if you want to build wealth, you need good peeps. You simply can’t do everything yourself. And if you are doing it all yourself, there’s no leverage.

Today I’d like to share another important aspect of hiring I’ve learned over the years.

Money is NOT the real reason people will join your company. Nor is it the sole reason they stay with you.

They join (and stick around) because they want to be a part of something exciting. Something bigger than themselves. Something that matters.

When you are building a team, you must share your vision. Tell the potential hire how the product/service/company will change the world.

I’m serious.

Ok, maybe you are creating a new “weight loss” ebook. And if it’s truly a good product that helps your customers – then your team should be excited about it.

It’s NOT “just an ebook” you’re selling. And if you tell your team “we are creating a new ebook”… who really cares?

BUT – when you talk about the book. And how it was created. And how it’s going to finally help thousands of people who have struggled with weight issues. People get excited.

Please don’t confuse this with a generic mission statement like “we are the pre-eminent provider of blah, blah, blah…”.

Just be real and get down to the emotion.

You are not just selling your product to customers, you have to sell it to your team as well.

And when they all buy in, it’s magic.

But it starts with you, the visionary. You must believe in what you are selling – down to the core.

You must feel it.

You must live it.

You must breathe it.

And when you are excited about your products, your team gets behind you and your company 100%.

Now… get out there and start a movement.

 

P.S. Here’s how I built an online lifestyle empire with a 100% virtual team.

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Never, Ever Do This

Last week, I wrote about how to build your virtual team.

Now, let’s dive in a little deeper into some dark waters.

When you are building out a solid team, you should NEVER GIVE EQUITY.. especially to programmers.

I’ve seen this mistake happen over and over again.

An excited wannabe entrepreneur has a BIG idea. She contacts a “local” digital marketing firm – and they quote her an outrageous price for the site/software. Way higher than she should be paying.

So rather that come up with quoted $30,000+, she strikes a deal. She agrees pay $5K up-front and then, she’ll give up 20% of her company in exchange for the free programming.

BIG, BIG MISTAKE!

The most important role in your business is marketing. Period. That’s what DRIVES your business. Once the site is up, all of the time and money will be spend on acquiring new customers. While the programmers site back and take 20% of your profits.

Here’s the problem.

If your idea doesn’t work, the programmers are really annoyed.

If your idea DOES work and you start generating big profits, after a while YOU will not be happy. Even if you are making $500K per year with this business, you will not be happy giving away 20% to someone who adds no more value to the company. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

Either way, it’s a no-win for either party. Eventually, it will fall apart.

Plus, and this is a big plus, if programmers are not getting a big fee paid up-front, guess what happens when they get a new client who wants to pay them for a $50,000 custom software program? Yep, you get pushed to the back of the line. Sorry Bubba, you are out of luck.

If you can’t afford the build-out, here are a few other options…

  • Find another programmer/developer. Bid it out on larger freelance sites like elance.com or guru.com
  • Scale back your site/software so it’s affordable. Remove all bells and whistles to come up with a simple version you can test.
  • If you are hell-bent on releasing the power-packed super-expensive version and only want to work with that one overpriced programmer, then find the money from another source. Maybe an angel who doesn’t want equity. Perhaps crowdfunding sites like fundable,  indiegogo,  or kickstarter.

My point is this.

Be smart. And never, ever give equity to your programmers. Is that clear enough?

P.S. If you are a programmer reading this and I’ve upset you… please get over it.

P.P.S. If you are an entrepreneur and want to build your own business, from scratch, without having to take on partners.. click here.

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4 Ways to Help the WWE Get More Subscribers (and Generate Bigger Profits)

First a confession.

Growing up I was obsessed with professional wrestling. Seriously.

Back then, in the early 1980s, there was only one wrestling show on TV per week. It was Saturday morning and I used to set my VCR to record every episode (yes, this was years before DVR).

After all, how could I miss “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka or Sgt. Slaughter battling it out in the squared circle? Or Junkyard Dog? Or Bob Backlund?

I even used to attend live matches at Madison Square Garden with my dad.

But I took my love of wrestling a step further…. my Bar Mitzvah “theme” was professional wrestling. It was called “Ryan’s Main Event”. I’m 100% serious. It was November 2, 1985.. and it was a glorious night.

Oh yeah, it’s safe to say I was a super fan.

So when the news came in yesterday the World Wrestling Entertainment’s subscription program, called WWE Network, has only 700,000 paid subscribers I had to take a deeper look at what the heck is going on.

Yes, 700,000 paid subscribers does sound like a large number, however they are still 300,000 under their goal. In fact, because of the major shortfall, they might have to layoff 7% of their total staff.

The WWE didn’t ask me to do this. But after giving me so many years of happiness as a kid, and because I’d like to help them save jobs, here are my top four strategies to boost the revenue of the WWE Network….

STRATEGY #1: MORE NON-WRESTLING CONTENT 

The WWE has positioned this as a “network”, and I get it. They are focusing on wrestling shows, pay-per-view specials, and archived episodes.

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 1.14.43 PM

Screenshot of WWE Network Description

However, I think it’s a mistake. When it’s positioned purely as a “content” network, there’s really nothing special about joining. There’s no huge burning desire to belong.

The WWE is not just shows. It’s not HBO. It’s an experience. It’s the personalities. It’s the back stories.

If I were running the WWE Network, I’d position more as a “membership” or a “club”. People want to belong.. not just watch more shows and events.

Give member’s a sense of belonging or community.

At MINIMUM… you could easily add a LIVE Q/A with some of the professional wrestlers every two weeks. Or a members-only newsletter.

Everything about the network feels passive. Like I’m just sitting back and watching.

As an 11-year old boy, I would have lost my mind if I could have asked Andre the Giant a question in real time.

Even a “virtual membership card” could go miles in making me feel like I belong.

Which brings me to strategy #2…

 

STRATEGY #2: BETTER DESCRIPTION OF MEMBER BENEFITS

Besides a listing of the shows – it’s hard to tell what else I’m receiving with a paid membership.

There’s a short video telling me about all the shows… but they gloss over it quickly. I’d like to see a full listing of those shows and specials.

And if you are going to position it as purely a discounted “content” play – then at minimum, you should create a comparison chart showing me how much I will save by joining.

For example, if it normally costs $50 to watch Wrestlemania on pay-per-view, show me all the PPV events for the year and how much it would cost. Maybe that is $400+ if I paid separately. Now, the $9.95 per month is looking like a much better deal.

Throw in some other members-only benefits and I’m sold.

Right now – there’s just not enough information about what I’m getting. And even though people are familiar with the WWE, you should never take for granted what people understand to be the benefits of joining your program.

Plus, the words you choose to describe your offer are powerful. VERY powerful.

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 1.08.46 PM

WWE Network Video and CTA Box

Take a look at the two CTAs (call to action) they use.

*I WANT TO BUY NOW
*BUY NOW

It feels very “transactional”. I don’t want to just “buy” videos – I want to BELONG.

Some better word choices could have been…

*YES, I’D LOVE TO BECOME A MEMBER
*BECOME A MEMBER TODAY
*I’M IN
*YES, I’M READY TO JOIN THE CLUB

It should be positioned more as a “Membership Club” rather than just purchasing access to more shows/content.

 

STRATEGY #3: ELIMINATE COMMITMENT

The only plan offered is $9.95 per month.. but with a 6-month commitment.

I understand the value of locking people into a contract from a financial perspective. That’s what Wall Street and the shareholders want to see. It looks great on a spreadsheet. And it’s how large phone companies like ATT make their money.

But, it’s not the right thing from a CUSTOMER perspective.

I don’t want to be “locked-in”.. do you? We know why the WWE is making us to commit to six months. We know there ONLY benefit for having us commit to six months is to make your company more money.

Because there’s zero financial incentive to commit to six months. I have no choice. I’m either in for at least six months or I don’t join.

Give me an option. Give me a choice to cancel if it’s not right for me.

It’s what your customers want. And it’s the right thing to do.

 

STRATEGY #4: ADD LEVELS

As I said, right now there is only one level of membership.

Based on my experience, anywhere from 7-10% of your subscribers would JUMP at the chance for a premium level of membership.

At the current number, if 10% of the 700,000 subscribers (70,000) joined a VIP membership at $29.95 per month (approx. $20 more than the current $10 per month plan(.. that’s an ADDITIONAL $1.4 million PER MONTH in gross revenue. That could mean the difference between keeping those extra employees and firing them.

Here are some ideas for VIP membership that would justify a higher price of $29.95+ per month

  • Exclusive “Meet and Greet” with professional wrestlers before an event
  • Members-only T-shirt and cards
  • Group tour of WWE HQ in Stamford, CT
  • Live Q/A sessions with wrestlers every month
  • Welcome phone call from a WWE superstar

I didn’t even touch on retention. Since I’m not a member of the WWE Network, I’d have to join to dig in and see how they can enhance the user experience. This was all on the front-end.

A lot of jobs are on the line… I hope the WWE takes a look at this post and, at least, considers some of the strategies.

And, at minimum, maybe there is an idea or two you can gleam from this as well.

P.S. The WWE headquarters is in Stamford, CT.. which is about 10 minutes from my house. If Vince McMahon is reading this, I’d be happy to come by HQ and share my strategies with your team. It’s my way of giving back for the years of enjoyment you gave me when I was a kid!

P.P.S. If you are interested in learning how to create your own subscription programs, click here.

 

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