5 Must Haves in Your Digital Marketing Golf Bag

“The most important shot in golf is the next one.” – Ben Hogan

As golf has evolved from the sport of kings to the game of every one, golf courses and clubs are trying figuring out how to market their businesses in the modern landscape. We live and play in a high-tech world driven by mobile phones, social media, snap chats, and posts. While golf is a sport rooted in tradition, today’s courses are looking for turnkey golf marketing solutions that connect golfers with their digital business at every touch point.

Golfers want to see and experience the course online, book a tee time, and download an app that gives them a lay of the land – from yardage on the fairway to ordering a hot dog at the turn. To our generation of golfers, tweets are the new birdies and digital presence is the driver.

5 Shot Making Strategies For Your Digital Golf Marketing

  1. A responsive website design driven by UX and search

It takes more than a beautiful site to inspire user experience and conversion. Definitely have vibrant images and videos – because golfers love them – and build your site with intuitive navigation, conversion elements with clear CTAs, and easy booking for tee times and tournaments.

Optimize your site for local and voice search with keywords and questions people are asking search engines and capitalize on Google’s SERP features – from snippets to videos. Make your site mobile responsive and AMP pages based on user behavior analytics and what is most relevant to your audience and ROI goals.

  1. Social media outreach from one place

Most golf pros wear many hats, from running the shop to giving lessons to marketing. Trust me, they would rather be teaching and playing with members than posting on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Most courses without large marketing teams need their PGA pros to engage in social media outreach every day to fill their tee sheets and promote daily specials.

To connect with your social community, your team will need a powerful social dashboard where they can blog, tweet, post and schedule from one place from their laptops, iPads and phones. Once you have a software platform for social outreach, engage your audience and reinforce your message – promoting twilight rates, open lessons, membership specials, and the speed of the greens. Post pics on Instagram and videos, and get your golfers engaged in your experience. Golf is a social game.

MediaConnect

Milestone’s MediaConnect™ 360 gives Turf Valley Resort the power to post and schedule Blogs, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter from a single, easy to use social outreach dashboard.

3. Golf APP For playing, GPS, marketing and sales

The new cool factor in golf marketing is the GPS integrated APP. GPS enabled golf carts and watches are expensive and getting outdated. Add a downloadable APP on your mobile site and golfers will use it for scorecards, yardage, shot making, weather and messaging from you. If you utilize all the latest features, you can promote daily specials, use it as an online store, give tips, and even sell food and beverage during the round. Cart girls not included.

4. Analytics tracking for performance and competitive intelligence

While golf is the game of life and you play against yourself, digital marketing is not. You always want to track and analyze your digital channels, revenue and competitive performance in the space. You can juggle between Google Analytics and other resources, which can be time consuming. Or you can use intuitive distribution and competitive intelligence software that lets you track and analyze your data, site health and performance in one dashboard.

Use a platform that gives you panoramic insights and targeted strategies so you can connect with your golf customers across every touch point – mobile, tablet and desktop. Find a user friendly dashboard that lets you track the customer journey across social, local and paid channels so you can adjust your strategy from one place.

Analytics Reporting Tool

Unalytix

Milestone’s Unalytix Digital Marketing and Distribution Channel Analytics Platform empowers managers with organized data about their websites, SEO, local listings, social media, reviews, and paid search. Users get insights through intuitive dashboards and formatted reports. The Turf Valley and Turnberry Isle sites golf websites are high performing.

5. The Freedom of A Single Source Golf Solution

We know you’re passionate about golf. You’ve conditioned the greens, your pros hope to inspire young golfers, and you want to promote your courses and tournaments. While Gary Player said “golf is a puzzle without an answer,” we know better. Create a holistic digital presence with a user friendly, mobile responsive site, that integrates social outreach, tee time booking, and an APP, and your golf business will drive presence, engagement and ROI.

“Today’s golf professionals need a universal digital presence – mobile, desktop, social – social media and consolidated data and performance analytics,” says Chris Rockett, SVP of Sales for Milestone. “We’ve created a turnkey product for golf managers to drive online visibility, booking, leads and ROI. Our user friendly approach really connects to the golf industry and golfers. It gives the pros the freedom to do what they love. Play more golf.”


Case Study – Randy Watkins Golf Group – Live December 2016

Milestone created a complete internet marketing strategy for Randy Watkins Golf Group, which owns and manages 3 semi-private golf courses in the Jackson Metro of Mississippi – Patrick Farms Golf Course, Whisper Lake Country Club and Lake Caroline Golf Club. They are driven by a passion for the game and PGA professionals who inspire young golfers. RWGG offers full-service clubhouses and amenities, lessons, tournaments, junior golf, specials, dining, and memberships. Their audience is families, individual golfers, couples, students and juniors who want the membership benefits of three clubs, as well as daily fee players.

RWGG’s previous site was outdated in design, performance, and analytics. The site lacked branding and visual story, user journey, and was confusing to navigate. Milestone created a holistic marketing solution with a mobile responsive website, search optimized content with schema, an online store, and an event booking module all reinforced by social media.

Milestone designed a highly visual, streamlined site with great imagery, intuitive navigation, and a persona-based branding message – “more than a club, we’re family.” A warm, modern design focuses on user experience and conversion, with clear CTAs for Memberships and Tee Times. The site highlights the three courses and amenities, and has optimized pages for memberships and events. The site also showcases landing pages, like member activities, junior and kid’s golf, and lessons.

Randy Watkins Blog

The Randy Watkins Golf Group site launched December 2, 2016 on the Milestone Galexi™ CMS.

Marketing Objective

Launched December 2, 2012, the mobile responsive site gives golfers a robust digital experience, including downloadable scorecards, an integrated golf app, weather widget, changing specials and 4 photo galleries. Our goal was to create a site that was visual and golfer friendly, focused on user experience, and promoted memberships, tee times and tournaments.

Built on Milestone’s Galexi™ CMS platform, the site is responsive for mobile and gives managers the ability to update specials and events.

Launched December 2, 2012, the new site was designed to give golfers a robust digital experience, including downloadable scorecards, an integrated golf app, weather widget, changing specials and 4 photo galleries. Our goal was to create a site that was visual and golfer friendly, focused on user experience, and promoted memberships, tee times and tournaments.

What We Did

  • Responsive website design built on Galexi™ CMS
  • Integrated mobile APP with GPS
  • Optimized content for local and voice search
  • Modules – Courses, Memberships, Events – with RFPs
  • Online Retail Store
  • Booking Engine Partners
  • Event Calendar
  • Weather Widget
  • 4 photo galleries
  • eSpecial – seasonal coupons
  • eReach – email marketing
  • Custom Facebook Page
  • Module Promotion
  • Analytics tracking and performance

 

The Digital Scorecard

“Golf is supposed to be fun, but I don’t think anything is fun if you’re not doing it reasonably well.” – Fred Couples

  • In the first month, the site has over 10,000 impressions and 600 clicks attributed to their new online visibility and organic presence.
  • 54.8% of the sessions came from organic search, including non-branded search queries which capture new customers.
  • New landing pages for individual courses, lessons, packages, and membership are all drawing in traffic.

 

Google Randy Watkins results

Randy Watkins Digital Performance

Source: Google Analytics Dec. 2, 2016 – January 9, 2017


Contributed by: Robin Leigh Kessler
January 12, 2017


Source: Paid Search

5 digital marketing trends that will die in 2017

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As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” 

He might as well have added that it’s a near certainty that writers will trot out lists of predictions at the beginning of any new year. I won’t exempt myself from that rule, but whereas many are content to predict new trends, I’ll restrict my predictions to those trends I believe are dying, unless they get some major form of life support.

1. Twitter!

Will Twitter become the new MySpace? While it may be too early to say goodbye to Twitter, we all know it’s struggling while Facebook and Snapchat continue to grow. Twitter’s share is 27.3% among all social media users, a decline compared to previous numbers. Although the return of Jack Dorsey may herald a wave of improvements, Twitter has been languishing for years now, and it may be too little, too late. The company made minor changes last year, like not counting images and video toward the 140 character limit, and has hinted at more changes, but it will take more than a little bit of flexibility to woo new users.  Read more…

More about Business, Digital Marketing, and Marketing
Source: Digital Marketing

New Tutorial: Realistic Rain Drop FX!

In this tutorial we’ll use After Effects to create a realistic water effect without any 3rd party plug-ins! Great for adding atmosphere to a rainy scene or title. This effect is fully customization and can be used to create many cool FX!

In this tutorial:

  • Create a dripping water displacement map
  • Simulate realistic camera DOF

Watch on Youtube in HD!

Project File: Coming Soon!
Stay tuned for project files and footage, just have to collect it and upload it!

Source: Video Copilot

Why ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ Is Stunting The Growth Of Your Business… And The 7 Things You Can Do To Stop It

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We all love new things, that’s a fact of human nature.

As a business owner, reading this blog, you’ve probably been blessed with an entrepreneurial streak, giving you creativity, vision and passion.

All good right?

But as entrepreneurs, that also means we’re prone to become attracted to the new, the ‘cutting edge’ and yes, occasionally it means we’re touched by ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’…

If you’re not already familiar with this affliction, symptoms include…

  • Distraction from important tasks
  • Failing to finish projects you start, in favour of some new fad
  • Jumping on the new and latest trends without thinking whether they fit into your over-arching strategy
  • Decrease in profits, lack of cohesion and less overall growth

Sound familiar?

With the flexibility of the internet, and the sheer amount of information available, events, and self-proclaimed ‘experts’ telling you what to do, sadly it’s an affliction that’s spreading now more than ever…

But here at GKIC we want to help stop the spread and get right back down to basics, because only when you secure the foundations of your business, can it really grow.

We’ve been in the business a LONG time now, and it’s safe to say, we’ve seen a few marketing fads come and go. Some of them we’ve given a try, but it’s rare we’ve seen sustainable results from the latest craze, enough to grow our business in the long-run.

You need to get your fundamentals absolutely right. As the foundations of marketing are unbeatable.

That’s not to say you can’t try new strategies or develop new campaigns in your business!

However, before you do spend time and money testing them out, make sure you follow our 7-step plan:

The 7 Easy Ways To Stop ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ Taking Control In Your Business…

1) Refer Back to Your Goals

Before you even think about putting a new campaign together, you need to make sure that it is working towards your over-arching goals.

Our guess is, that somewhere, maybe at the start of the year or this quarter, you’ve sat down with a few other members in your core team and you wrote down a list of priorities.

Maybe they were annual priorities that you planned to stick to, specific targets or figures that you wanted to hit, or simply goals you had in mind for where you wanted to be by the end of the year.

Look back at these plans, and if your new idea doesn’t cohesively fit and work towards the same end goal, then now’s the time to shelve it.


2) Make Sure You’re Creating Sustainable Assets

Simple and proven fundamentals are more important than the latest graphics or social media gimmick, we promise you! Your business needs to be built on sustainability and that includes your campaign strategy too.

Make sure you’re able to realistically run this campaign in a year’s time. After all, you’re not just aiming for a flash in the pan, one-hit-wonder.

3) Consider the Impact on Your Other Projects

If you start planning this new campaign, will your other pipe-line projects suffer as a result?

Starting new project after new project, but never fully implementing or finishing them is often a trap many savvy business owners find themselves in.

If you’re going to start something ‘new and shiny’ make sure it’s not at the expense of a well thought out and valuable project.

4) Don’t Rely Too Heavily on What Your Competitors Are Doing

While it might be tempting to jump on the band-wagon alongside your closest competitors, chances are, they don’t know what they’re doing.

“Don’t focus on the competition, they’ll never give you money.” – Jeff Bezos

Just because they are catching on to ‘the next big thing’, you don’t know whether it’s working for them and you have no real idea what results they’re actually getting.

5) Does it Fit Your Avatar?

The primary question you need to ask yourself when you’re making any decision in your business, is ‘how will this affect my target customer?’

You need to be super-certain that the shiny new object is something they truly want and will benefit from. If it’s not ideally suited to your market, then it’s not going to be a long-term success.

6) Only Use Proven, Tried and Tested Campaigns Guaranteed to Grow Your Business

To make sure you’re using strategies and techniques that really work EVERY TIME, you need to know that they’ve given other business owners fantastic results in the past.

Easier said than done right?

That’s why we’ve put together: ‘The 12 Growth Hacks Your Business Needs Right Now’ Checklist

It’s the best way to make sure you’re using the most profitable tactics to grow your business, as well as planning sustainable campaigns that will work in any business, in any situation.

Simply click here to grab your copy of the Checklist for FREE today:

I want to grow my business

These 12 vital points form the foundations of a great marketing strategy. They aren’t based on fads and they have worked for years in countless different environments.

So if you’re feeling giddy at the thought of your next ‘shiny object’, stop.

Ignore the latest craze your competitors are desperate to try; get back to basics and focus your energy on the strategies that are going to grow your business and move it forward.

Click the link here and you can access ‘The 12 Growth Hacks Your Business Needs Right Now’ Checklist:

I want my free checklist!

Source: Dan Kennedy

What Matters In Search This Year [Webinar]

2017 Search Webinar

The new year has passed, and, with it, technology keeps moving forward. 2016 was a big year for Artificial Intelligence, voice-based search and non PC “intelligent” devices. As 2017 starts, what are the key trends that will shape search and digital marketing? How do you get ahead of the curve? Join us on January 25th at 11am PT as our President and Founder, Benu Aggarwal, will present her yearly “key trends” webinar.

Attend our webinar and learn:

  • How voice search will continue to impact marketing
  • The role of artificial intelligence on search
  • The growing trend of omni-channel marketing

Speakers:

Benu Aggarwal
President and Founder of Milestone

Benu Aggarwal

Walter Paliska
Vice President, Marketing

Walter Paliska

 

 

 

 

Jake Brennan
Moderator

Jake Brennan

Webinar Registration


Source: Paid Search

Destruction Experiment!

What is this thing! I’ve basically combined a bunch of stuff into one experiment!

I might have been inspired by the amazing planet explosions from The Force Awakens but wanted to see if I could get a cool version inside Element 3D.

Few Notes on this experiment;

I added smoke elements, shockwaves using CC Sphere, and even used the Saber plug-in to give the beam a nice energy feel!

For the disintegration, I used the multi-object system of Element 3D with a pre-fractured sphere and animated with the animation engine so it would break apart over time.

I even animated an After Effects light to match the death beam to fake reactive lighting.

The Sci-fi Weapon Tutorial has some really cool tips for turning radial shockwaves into other shapes.

 

DeathRay! #Element3D #Saber

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 5, 2017 at 4:30am PST

Source: Video Copilot

Gearing Up with Element 3D!

Gear Up! #Element3D

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 3, 2017 at 9:10pm PST

Maybe I just love apertures but this was a fun project to make! Using a few motion design 2 objects I built this animating gear. I just created a collection of models on one group and distributed them using a ring array and then animated the properties!

Sometimes simply projects create amazing results!

Source: Video Copilot

Experimenting with realistic Water Drops!

Experimenting with realistic refracting water. #aftereffects

A video posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Jan 2, 2017 at 12:59pm PST

I love using native effects in After Effects to create more realistic effects… Although I love some CC Mr. Mercury, I wanted to try to create something more realistic. Look for the Tutorial soon! In 2017, I’m going to change the meaning of the word soon to actually mean SOON!

Source: Video Copilot

Building a Long Term Relationship with Your Client Newsletter

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In this week’s article we’ll be talking about how you can use newsletters to stay top of mind with your prospects and clients and build a lifelong relationship with them.

A Client Newsletter is one of your most important marketing tools for getting an avalanche of referrals and repeat business. Key points to consider:

  • The most expensive part of marketing is generating the lead and getting the client. Staying in touch with them costs literally pennies in comparison.
  • Studies show that the #1 reason clients jump from one business to another is lack of communication.
  • You’ve generated leads and you have their email address and physical addresses – now you must start leveraging this very valuable asset.
  • It is a marketing sin to not stay in contact with your existing customers and prospects. By sending out a monthly, printed newsletter, you have a surefire way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects, without trying to sell them something.

The Email Newsletter

As we mentioned in last week’s article, get in the habit of regularly sending quality content to your list. And along with that, you need to make the case that they should reward you for this content by referring people to you and by taking advantage of the products/services you offer.

You do this by sending a monthly email newsletter (weekly would be best, but doing it monthly is great to begin with.) Always use a compelling subject line to get people to open the email. We’ll be talking a lot about subject lines in a bit.

The email newsletter (like the print version) should include fun content, articles, recipes, a horoscope, etc. along with some custom content about your customers and you. Again, you want to keep your email newsletter personal, just like you’re talking to someone one-on-one. Use the word “you” a lot, just as you would when sitting across the table.

Here’s what the opening section of the January issue of our example email newsletter looks like:

Contents

Email Newsletter Contents

You should always use a consistent format and table of contents. This is a good thing as it gives your newsletter more of a polished, professional feel.

Okay, let’s go past “Funny Business” [Jokes/Humor] and the monthly article and on to the next section you’ll configure:

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 16.23.35

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 17.09.44

We suggested the email newsletter as a way to get your message out to your clients and prospects in an extremely cost-effective way.

There are definitely benefits for using this format. But make sure you strongly consider sending out a customized PRINT newsletter as well.

Your PRINT Client Newsletter

So you might be asking, “If I have an email newsletter, why go with a print version?”

The answer: you will get higher readership rates with a print newsletter – emails get ignored and deleted at a very high percentage. Plus, sending out a PRINT newsletter has higher perceived value than your email newsletter.

And don’t skimp by doing this quarterly. Send it monthly.

You are going to mail this newsletter on a monthly basis to all members of your list; to your clients, to all leads, and to prominent members of your community who are circles of influence.

Your newsletter should be fun and entertaining. You do not want the newsletter to be completely about the service you’re providing. In fact, only a very small section should be devoted to your business and articles related to your business. Only part of the newsletter should be devoted to promoting your business. The rest of the newsletter should be fun and enjoyable for your client to read, so they look forward to getting your newsletter.

Your newsletter should reflect your personality. It should look like it’s coming from you. It should sound like it’s coming from you. You do not, under any circumstances, and this is critical, want to make your newsletter look like a mass marketed, slickly-produced newsletter. If it looks too slick, it’s not effective. You want the newsletter to look like you’ve written it yourself.

If you have a community that has a lot of unique vocabulary words, such as “Planet Dan,” you might want to consider an “evergreen” newsletter for your first issue that explains what is unique about your community. GKIC does this with the “No BS Marketing Letter.” Every new member receives the same “evergreen” version as the first issue and it explains the features of every issue.

Here’s what the opening section of the January issue of our PRINT newsletter looks like:

Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 11.13.48

Key Elements of this Page:

  • Header with your picture and contact information.
  • Article that’s about something of GENERAL interest – this should NOT be about your business or your industry.
  • Graphic indicating the month of the newsletter – if you want to get fancy, you could include year, issue #, etc. But this is okay.
  • Motivational quotes are always popular.
  • Cartoon for fun… you want your newsletter to be FUN!

Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 11.15.23

Key Elements of this Page:

  • Subhead that tells you the section name “More Fun Than Should be Humanly Possible” – this lets the reader know, this is definitely a fun newsletter.
  • Trivia / Other Puzzle – make sure to give the answers!
  • Crossword Puzzle – make sure to give the answers!
  • Fun Cartoon here…. OR… You could replace with a banner ad / coupon / whatever to promote your product or service.

Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 11.17.03

Key Elements of this Page:

  • Subhead that tells you the section name “This News Is All About You”
  • Sections for “New Clients,” “Referrals,” “Client of the Month,” and “Community Life.”
  • Horoscope for the month. (If you want to switch it out, you could use the “OTHER FAMOUS BIRTHDAYS” section from the Email Newsletter here.)

Screen Shot 2016-11-18 at 11.33.02

Key Elements of this Page:

  • Subhead that tells you the section name “The Back Page…”
  • Section for “The Lighter Side” which is jokes, goofy quotes, whatever.
  • Section for a short article / bit of information.
  • Graphic relating to the month / season – what you could replace this with again is some kind of ad for an offer, a coupon, etc.

Why Newsletters Are So Valuable…

They Create Community
First of all, they create a forum that enables you to change people from prospects/customers to members belonging to a community. Sending a newsletter is a great way to have somebody feel as though they belong to a community.

They’re Not Seen as Advertising
Every day when you get a big pile of mail, you start dividing that into different categories. And the big category that you do in your mind is there’s the advertising category – stuff that goes in the round file. Well, newsletters are not perceived as advertising; they’re perceived as publishing – which they have value and you’re going to read that!

They Establish Your Credibility
Newsletters are perceived as a publication – basically, if you write a publication you must be an expert. And somebody would much rather do business with an expert than a salesperson. In addition to that you’ll pay an expert more than you’d pay a salesperson.

They Provide Social Proof
You could highlight customer successes in there. You can show referrals. And you can include testimonials which make it easier to sell to new customers and current customers.

They Get Passed Along
When you send somebody an advertisement they get the ad and they read it. If they get a newsletter that’s positioned as educational and fun, now they’re going to save it and possibly pass it along to somebody else.

They Build Your Brand and Establish Your Positioning
Finally, by sending people your newsletter it gives you the opportunity to build your brand and establish your positioning as THE go-to-person in your industry.

Source: Dan Kennedy

Have a Smashing New Year!

I hope everyone is ready for a great year! Can’t wait to show you all of the cool things we have been working on, from blog shows, to plug-ins & tutorials!

My goal for this year is to help people get involved! More challenges, more interactive content and put the fun back into learning! Making things is the only way to get better!

Happy Holidays from the Kramers!

A photo posted by Video Copilot (@andrewkramer) on Dec 22, 2016 at 4:19pm PST

Source: Video Copilot

Persistence Pays – A Foolproof 7 Step Email Follow Up Sequence

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Now’s the time to start your 7-Step email follow up sequence… Because systematic persistence produces success.

What you’ll discover in this article is a systematic series of messages, each designed to build upon the previous ones… leading eventually to the inescapable conclusion that it’s time to sign on the dotted line.

This article contains references to the articles we have posted in the last few weeks titled:

steps (4)

EMAIL #1: Confirm Their Request

As soon as someone fills out and submits the form to get the shock-and-awe package sent to them, you want to let them know that you’re taking immediate action. So you’ll need a “confirmation email” to go out automatically.

This email should accomplish the following:

  • Give them immediate feedback that their request has been successfully completed and registered.
  • Congratulate them on the wisdom of making the decision to request your Lead Gen Magnet.
  • Set expectations as to when the package they requested will arrive.
  • Provide contact info (recommend using an email address) if they have any questions.
  • Reinforce and get them excited about what they’ll be receiving.

Here’s a template for Email #1. You should be able to pull the copy for the benefits/etc from the Lead Generation Postcard / Landing Page we’ve talked you through in the last few weeks of articles.

SUBJECT: Congratulations! Watch Your Mailbox for the Info Requested. Dear [FIRSTNAME]

More than likely, you get hit on all sides from people wanting your attention, so I appreciate you taking the time to read this email. My purpose is simple: I wanted to take a second to thank you for requesting [INSERT LGM TITLE]:

In this valuable FREE Audio and Report you will discover:

  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]

And so much more! It was a very smart move on your part to take action on getting this valuable information.

We’re working behind the scenes right now to get everything packaged up and out the door. You should see it arrive on your doorstep in [Set a Timeframe… typically 8-10 Business Days]. Make sure as soon as it arrives you go through everything – you don’t want to let any dust gather!

If you have any questions, please contact me at [email protected] Congratulations again…. and keep your eyes peeled for your package! Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME & TITLE]

Email #2: Make Sure They Examine the LGM; Present Your Offer

The second email in the series should be sent out AFTER you’ve mailed the package and you think it’s arrived at their address – depending on how you ship / their location /etc. this could vary, so you’ll have to figure that out on your own. Optimally, this email should go out no more than a couple days after it’s arrived.

This email should accomplish the following:

  • Reinforce the need to go through the ENTIRE package if they haven’t done so already.
  • Congratulate them again on being really smart for asking for the info.
  • Lay out the benefits / transformations that happen by reading it.
  • Introduce your primary OFFER for your product or service – as described in detail in your sales letter.
  • State the benefits /transformations associated with your product / service offer.
  • Push urgency to accept the offer – scarcity, time limit, whatever. A 2-week deadline is good to start with.
  • Call to Action on the offer (e.g., do this to buy now!)

As mentioned earlier, the source for the information you’re putting into this email will come from content you’ve already created – specifically the sales letter you wrote last week.

NOTE: The following emails in the series should be sent out to ONLY those who HAVEN’T yet taken you up on your offer. Once someone buys, you take them out of the follow-up sequence.

SUBJECT: You’ve Got The Info – Now Discover More About [TOPIC OF LGM]

Dear [FIRSTNAME]

I know something very important about you.

Because you took that step to request [INSERT LGM TITLE], I know that you’re serious about [TOPIC OF LGM] – otherwise you’d have been just like so many others who just sat on the sidelines and did nothing. You took action and not only requested this valuable information, you’ve already gone through it! (Now if you haven’t YET gone through it, don’t delay… it’s super important!)

And, in [LGM TITLE], you discovered:

  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]

However, you may be thinking that even though this is great, you’re just too [OBJECTION – e.g., Busy, Tired, Overworked, Whatever] to take action on everything revealed.

That’s why [YOUR NAME/COMPANY] created a way for you to quickly and easily get [Big Benefit] that’s GUARANTEED to [Insert Outcome They Want] without [Insert Annoying Problem]!

Imagine – which of these powerful elements could you use to get [Big Benefit]?

  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]

And a whole lot more as well!

It’s all laid out in detail in the information provided. Plus, because we’re so serious about helping you experience [STATE THE SOLUTION YOU PROVIDE] that were going to make available for a limited time [#] FREE Bonuses Worth [$] if you take action right NOW!

  • FREE Bonus Gift #1: [Explain bonus and give value]
  • FREE Bonus Gift #2: [Explain bonus and give value]
  • FREE Bonus Gift #3: [Explain bonus and give value]

But, we’re not done – we’re so confident that you’ll be absolutely delighted, that we’re including a total [STATE YOUR GUARANTEE] – removing ALL risk to you!

You may be asking why we’re doing this – well, it’s because we want to reward people who take FAST Action – and you’ve already proven you’re in that category by requesting this valuable information kit. That’s why we know you’re serious about solving [CORE PROBLEM] and getting [KEY BENEFIT].

However, you need to act now due to [INSERT SOME KIND OF SCARCITY/DEADLINE REASON]… and then we need to return to standard prices.

Again – we’re assuming all the risk. Act now before it’s too late by [CALL TO ACTION DETAILS –WEBSITE, CALL, FAX, FILL OUT FORM, etc.] Don’t miss out and do it today!

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME & TITLE]

P.S. If you haven’t checked ALL the information provided, make sure to do that first!

EMAIL #3 – Re-State Your Offer / Stress Your Credibility

Email #3 should go out about 3 days after Email #2 – AND / OR about 10 days before the deadline for the offer expires. (Again, in terms of timing, you don’t want an EXTENDED deadline period – 2 weeks is just about right).

This email should accomplish the following:

  • Confirm that by now they’ve consumed the LGM.
  • Describe why YOU can be trusted to deliver on your promises.
  • Restate the clear, massive value of your offer.

Again, look in your sales letter for the source content to reuse and leverage here.

SUBJECT: The Best Way to Overcome [PROBLEM]

Dear [FIRSTNAME]

So you’ve almost certainly gone through all the information in the [LGM TITLE] we recently sent you. My guess is that you probably feel like it’s a great start – and would like to discover even MORE!

Well – I have some very good news – here at [INSERT COMPANY NAME] we’re 100% focused on solving [DESCRIBE KEY PROBLEM PROSPECT FACES] by [STATE THE BIG PROMISE YOU MAKE WITH YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE]… and we make that happen by:

  • [FEATURE / BENEFIT FROM OFFER]
  • [FEATURE / BENEFIT FROM OFFER]
  • [FEATURE / BENEFIT FROM OFFER]

And much more. How can you be sure this works? Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what [SATISFIED CUSTOMER NAME] had to say:

[INSERT TESTIMONIAL DIRECTLY RELATED TO YOUR OFFER]

Imagine how much it would be worth to YOU to experience the same thing? Well you can. But you need to hurry…

Because in just [X DAYS] our incredible offer disappears – make sure now to [CALL TO ACTION DETAILS –WEBSITE, CALL, FAX, FILL OUT FORM, etc.]

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME & TITLE]

Email #4 – Introduce Some New Wrinkle

Email #4 should go out a couple days AFTER Email #3… about 8 days or so before the deadline for your offer expires.

This email should accomplish the following:

  • Restate your offer again
  • Add another wrinkle – a new bonus, discount, whatever – just add one more reason to act NOW!

You’ll notice that this email is VERY similar to Email #2 – that’s because it contains the core sales message you need to get across and… frankly… you may need to literally “beat them over the head’ with the same message to get it to sink in.

SUBJECT: Revealed: The Solution to [CORE PROBLEM]

Dear [FIRSTNAME]

How time flies… it’s already been [X DAYS/WEEKS] since you asked for and received a copy of [LGM TITLE]… and in it, you discovered:

  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [Mini Transformation / Benefit]

However, you may be thinking that even though this is great, you’re just too [OBJECTION – e.g., Busy, Tired, Overworked, Whatever] to take action on everything revealed in [LGM TITLE].

That’s why [YOUR NAME /COMPANY] created a way for you to quickly and easily get [Big Benefit] that’s GUARANTEED to [Insert Outcome They Want] without [Insert Annoying Problem]!

Imagine – which of these powerful elements could you use to get [Big Benefit]?

  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]

And a whole lot more as well!

It’s all laid out in detail in the information provided. Plus, because we’re so serious about helping you [STATE THE SOLUTION YOU PROVIDE] that were going to make available these [#] FREE Bonuses Worth[$] if you take action right NOW!

  • FREE Bonus Gift #1: [Explain bonus and give value]
  • FREE Bonus Gift #2: [Explain bonus and give value]
  • FREE Bonus Gift #3: [Explain bonus and give value]

But, we’re not done – we’re so confident that you’ll be absolutely delighted, that we’re including a total [STATE YOUR GUARANTEE] – removing ALL risk to you!

And we’re prepared to sweeten the deal even further – if you ACT NOW before the deadline, we’ll toss in absolutely FREE [INSERT ONE MORE BONUS]… which has a real value of [$X]!

We’re doing this because we want to reward people who take FAST Action – and you’ve already proven you’re in that category by requesting this valuable information kit. That’s why we know you’re serious about solving [CORE PROBLEM] and getting [KEY BENEFIT].

However, you need to act now as time is running out – there’s only [X DAYS LEFT]! Again – we’re assuming all the risk. Act now before it’s too late by [CALL TO ACTION DETAILS –WEBSITE, CALL, FAX, FILL OUT FORM, etc.] Don’t miss out and do it today!

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME & TITLE]

Email #5 – Remind Them Time’s A-Wasting…

Email #5 goes out exactly ONE Week before the deadline expires. This email should accomplish the following:

  • Restate your offer in a nutshell
  • Push the urgency to act NOW!

SUBJECT: The Time To Act is NOW

Dear [FIRSTNAME]

Last week I sent you the details on how you can quickly and easily get [BIG BENEFIT] that’s GUARANTEED to [Insert OUTCOME They Want] without [Insert Annoying PROBLEM]! We discussed how you could experience:

  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]

And a whole lot more as well!

It was all described in detail in the information provided. And we’re so serious about helping you [STATE THE SOLUTION YOU PROVIDE] that were going to make available these [#] FREE Bonuses Worth[$] if you take action right NOW!

  • FREE Bonus Gift #1: [Explain bonus and give value]
  • FREE Bonus Gift #2: [Explain bonus and give value]
  • FREE Bonus Gift #3: [Explain bonus and give value]
  • PLUS a special FAST ACTION Bonus: [Explain bonus and give value]

Everything is backed by our [STATE YOUR GUARANTEE] – removing ALL risk to you!

Talk about an incredible deal! But, one week has passed and we can only make this opportunity available for one more week – tops! So, don’t miss your chance to take advantage of this offer. Act now before it’s too late by [CALL TO ACTION DETAILS –WEBSITE, CALL, FAX, FILL OUT FORM, etc.]

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME & TITLE]

EMAIL #6 – The End is Near

Email #6 goes out TWO (2) Days before the deadline expires. This email should accomplish the following:

  • Restate your offer
  • State clearly: Two Days Left!
  • Push the urgency to act NOW!

SUBJECT: [WARNING] Deadline Approaching, Don’t Miss Out! Dear [FIRSTNAME]

Just about two weeks ago I sent a package and some emails laying out an INCREDIBLE offer for [OFFER / PRODUCT NAME]… and frankly, I’m mystified because I haven’t seen your order yet. That’s why I decided to take a minute to write and remind you that this offer expires in just TWO Days!

You’re busy, I’m sure, so other stuff probably came up first. But now’s the time to act – so you can quickly and easily get [BIG BENEFIT] that’s GUARANTEED to [Insert OUTCOME They Want] without [Insert Annoying PROBLEM] – which will enable to you to FINALLY experience:

  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]
  • [FROM SALES LETTER – Mini Transformation / Benefit]

And a whole lot more – with everything described in detail in the information provided. Plus, we’re so focused on helping you [STATE THE SOLUTION YOU PROVIDE] that were going to make available [#] FREE Bonuses Worth[$] if you take action right NOW!

And of course, everything is backed by our [STATE YOUR GUARANTEE] – removing ALL risk to you!

Don’t risk missing out on this incredible deal, which disappears in just two days. Act now before it’s too late by [CALL TO ACTION DETAILS –WEBSITE, CALL, FAX, FILL OUT FORM, etc.] I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME & TITLE]

Email #7 – Today’s Your Last Chance

Email #7 goes out on the day the deadline expires. This email should accomplish the following:

  • Restate your offer
  • State clearly: One Day Left!
  • Push the urgency to act NOW!

SUBJECT: [OFFICIAL NOTICE] Last Day, Offer Withdrawn Dear [FIRSTNAME]

By now you’ve gone through the [LGM TITLE] and all the information… so you know all about the incredible offer we’re making – which will enable you to easily get [BIG BENEFIT] that’s GUARANTEED to [Insert OUTCOME They Want] without [Insert Annoying PROBLEM]

But did you know that TODAY is the LAST DAY it’s available?

We very much take pride in our ability to provide you with top notch value and service – so much so that we back up our words with our [INSERT GUARANTEE].

That’s exactly why we want you to take advantage of this deal before it’s too late. It’s truly incredible, which is why we can’t make it last forever – today is the last day we can offer such a great deal with such amazing bonuses.

So right now [CALL TO ACTION DETAILS –WEBSITE, CALL, FAX, FILL OUT FORM, etc.] And start experiencing [OUTCOME They Want] today!

Sincerely,
[YOUR NAME & TITLE]

But What If They Don’t Buy? (E-zine Basics)

The preceding sequence will absolutely generate serious business for you. But it’s not 100% infallible – there will be folks for one reason or another that simply won’t take that step and click the ORDER button.

Do NOT give up on them. Instead, use email to build a strong relationship with them over time. Get in the habit of regularly sending quality content to your list. And along with that, you need to make the case that they should reward you for this content by spending some money on your goods and services.

Basic Secrets

  • Always use a compelling subject line to get people to open the email. We’ll be talking a lot about subject lines in a bit.
  • Keep your emails personal, just like you’re talking to someone one-on-one. Use the word “you” a lot in your email, just as you would when sitting across the table.
  • Make your emails text only – don’t use HTML formatting. Text works great.
  • 55-65 hard break then hit carriage return. Longer text strings won’t wrap neatly.
  • Come up with a unique signature all your own. Dan’s used to be, “Kick butt, make mucho dee-nero!” because it fit his personality. Come up with something that fits yours.
  • Don’t forget the all-important P.S. – here’s where you make your sales pitch for the product or service. It’s the P.S. where you make your money.
  • E-mail at least twice a week and better yet daily.
  • After you build up a good quantity of emails – probably a couple hundred or so – you can start recycling them. You can either re-use them exactly as is, or … even better… make a few changes and edits and send them out once again. That way they’ll seem fresh even to those who read them the first time.
  • Always look for other ways to reuse emails. You can use them as blog posts. You can submit them as articles to article directories. You can even send them out on postcards as direct mail!

More Secrets… Make It Personal

  • Always remember… in all your emails, the primary product that you are selling is YOU! By coming across as a real person as well as an expert, you are letting your customers in on your life. Over time, they will actually become your fans.
  • Watch Regis and learn… he begins every show with a little story about what’s going on in his life right then. He doesn’t brag about something, instead he reveals little insights that prove he’s just a regular guy like everyone else.
  • Talk about your hobbies, the things you do in your off hours. If you’re a golfer, tell a story about your last venture on the links. If you fix up old cars, give folks a peek under the hood of your latest project.
  • Bonehead moves that you’ve made recently can be great fodder for emails… and they can provide an anchor for an important lesson to share. Self-deprecating humor is the best… don’t poke fun at others, poke fun at yourself.
  • Reveal a bit about your family life, the stuff you do together, special celebrations like birthdays, graduation, etc.

Congratulations!

If you’ve put this plan in to action you’ve already taken a step forward for your business. I’m sure you’ll see excellent results. Make sure to come back next week to the GKIC blog when we’ll be taking a deep dive in to Newsletter creation.

Source: Dan Kennedy

Happy Holiday Sweater Template!

Make your own ugly sweater! To celebrate the end of the year, here is the project template you’ve always wanted!

Ugly Sweater Features:

  • Control thread size and width
  • Control Stitching angle
  • Add dis-colorization to the threads

I will admit this project turned out to be more complicated than expected! The trick was combining several different plug-ins together to get the right look. This included CC Thread, displacement mapping, mosaic and more! Ugly sweater stitching typically has two colored strands next to each other so I used half as many samples with the mosaic setting to double the horizontal pixels. Then used a displacement map to distort them at the correct angle.

This project is great for creating other types of fabric and patterns as well, play around with the thread width and shading for many interesting looks!

And as always, happy holidays from the Kramer’s! Let’s take After Effects to the next level!

Download Template AE 2015

 

 

Source: Video Copilot

Sales Letter Secrets Part 2

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NB: This article is a continuation of last week’s, which you can find here.

Why Just “Writing Copy” Isn’t Good Enough.

If you pick up most copywriting and marketing books, they’ll teach you how to do the basics. They’ll show you how to write a headline, close a sale, and insert “hypnotic commands” in your copy. They might even include templates you can “swipe and deploy” for your own business so their products are as “cut and paste” for you as possible.

But what very few copywriting and marketing courses do is teach you how to do the nitty-gritty leg work necessary to create a great promotion. It’s that research (which we’ve done for you) that will put YOU and YOUR offer at the top of the food chain!

So… you’ve gotten this far. You’ve done the heavy lifting. Now it’s time to fill in that template from last week with the nuts and bolts of your offer.

Write Your First Draft!

As we’ve said before, your goal is to write like you talk and write your first draft as quickly as possible. Turn off that editor in your head. Just write…. Go on… we’ll wait….

[TIME PASSES]

Okay. Now that you’ve got a solid draft complete, let’s go over some common mistakes to look out for as you review your copy…

mistakes

Big Mistake #1: Not Telling People Why They Should Do Business With YOU Over Someone Else

But one of big mistakes we see in a LOT of submissions (e.g., through Copy Confidential and other materials sent our way) is there’s no unique selling proposition.

One classic example of a unique selling proposition is FedEx. The founder Fred Smith wanted to emulate the banking industry’s method of clearing checks overnight. So what he did was create a hub-and-spoke system in Memphis that allowed him to ship packages overnight-while UPS and the post office were shipping everything in 3-5 days. Overnight shipping was great, but FedEx had to sell it. That’s when he came up with the slogan, “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight”, that ran in every single advertisement. As a result, FedEx quickly gained market dominance by promising the unique selling proposition of overnight delivery.

Another example is Domino’s Pizza. Tom Monaghan turned a small pizza joint in Michigan into the 2nd largest pizza chain in the world with the unique selling proposition, “Fresh Hot Pizza To Your Door In 30 Minutes, Or It’s Free!” They stopped this slogan when pizza delivery drivers were getting into car accidents, but it enabled them to gain a huge market share in the hyper-competitive pizza business.

These are just a couple examples of unique selling propositions that have worked for big companies in the past. So how do you determine your unique selling proposition? Is there something about your product or service that makes it faster, more varied, slower, cheaper, easier to work with, prettier, and more highly recommended? Perhaps you can have a killer guarantee? Another way to distinguish your product is to narrow your focus to a single niche.

Even though we didn’t go big into USPs earlier, way back when we had you define your offer in detail, we asked you to identify that “One Big Promise” you could make…. Remember?

Well, that “One Big Promise” is essentially the core of your USP. Make a note of that and then when you rewrite your letter, make sure that you’ve featured that promise prominently in your copy.

Big Mistake #2: Not Telling A Compelling Story That’ll Effortlessly Sell Your Product Or Service!

We have a section in the template where you tell your story. Now the best stories are the ones that are true so you can tell every single detail with vividness. It immediately wakes up the reader and gets them to pay serious attention.

You see, everybody loves a great story. They have the ability to get the inattentive person to perk up and pay attention. And they are an extremely powerful selling tool.

So as you go through your sales letter, think of ways to use stories in your marketing. Not just yours though, you could also use one of your clients, patients, or customers.

The best stories are “rags to riches” type stories that depict the solving of a problem. Stories will boost the selling power of your copy, and complement the direct statements that you’ll make in your copy that could easily be dismissed by your prospects.

Big Mistake #3: Not Having A “Hook” That Grabs Your Prospect By The Lapels And FORCES Them To Read Your Ad!

It’s not enough to have a unique selling proposition. You need to create a “hook” that’s going to grab people by the lapels and force them to read your ad!

Typically, you would put that “Hook” front and center on the first page of your sales letter as its main headline.

Probably the greatest hook in the history of copywriting and marketing was penned by John Carlton. This is the headline he wrote for an otherwise “ho-hum” product: a video that shows people how to hit longer drives:

“Amazing Secret Discovered By One-Legged Golfer Adds 50 Yards To Your Drive, Eliminates Hooks And Slices… And Can Slash Up To 10 Strokes From Your Game Almost Overnight!”

Think about it:

If you were a golfer and flipping through Golf magazine and saw this headline, you wouldn’t be able to resist stopping what you’re doing to keep reading! And that’s exactly what happened for 8 straight years before the ad was retired from Golf Magazine…as all ads do “burn out” after a period of time.

The unique selling proposition was the “triple coil swing” that teaches golfers how to hit longer, straighter drives. But the “hook” that got people to read the ad was the “one-legged golfer” headline and story!

So how do you find the hook for your product or service?

The best hooks defy convention. And to choose the perfect “hook” for your ad you have to really know your target market and the “sophistication” of your audience—or how many ads they’ve seen in your market before they’ve seen yours.

Besides thinking about the unique selling proposition, finding the “hook” that’s going to glue people’s eyeballs to your ad is going to be the hardest thing you’ll ever do in your ad. But once you get that perfect “hook” you can use that in all your advertising campaigns…and the ad literally will write itself!

Finding the “hook” will take some detective work. John Carlton found the “one-legged golfer” hook when interviewing the product creator of this golf tape. He said he discovered this particular swing technique while watching a one-legged golfer hobble up to the tee box—thinking he was going to fall over. But he ended up hitting the ball 250 yards straight down the fairway!

Since Carlton had his “detective hat” on, he used this story as the “hook” to the ad!

Another thing: the hook has to have a sensational “you’ve gotta’ be kidding me!” factor—meaning if you read the headline you think to yourself, “You’ve Gotta’ Be Kidding Me!” That’s how you’re going to get people’s attention over your competition in your marketplace—and attract more clients, customers, and patients than you’ve ever thought possible!

Very often the “hook” of a product or service is right underneath your nose. The creator of the one- legged golfer tape didn’t know the selling power of the one-legged golfer story—yet he intellectually knew the story. But he just thought it was a mere afterthought.

So you can do 2 things 1) what excites and intrigues you about your product and what you do, and 2) ask your customers what excites and intrigues them about the product. Make a list of these and then test them if possible.

So think about your product or service right now. What makes it exciting to your prospects? What would cause them to read about your product and service and think to themselves, “You’ve gotta’ be kidding me!” That could be the perfect hook to your ad!

Big Mistake #4: Not Providing A Preponderance Of Proof That Your Product Or Service Is The “Go-To” Solution For Your Prospect!

This is one of the biggest errors we see in copy. There are claims abound about how a certain product/service is going to help them lose weight, get more clients, get back together with their ex, etc. But they forget one fact about their target audience:

Your Prospect Doesn’t Want To Believe You!

Listen: nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, “Hey, I want to read some ads today!” Most of the time when they see your ad they see it as an interruption in their day…and they are, more than likely, going to be inherently skeptical.

Let me illustrate this: Think back to a time you bought something and felt like you’ve gotten ripped off. It could have been a product you purchased from Wal-Mart…or a book you read that you only read the first 10 pages… or a movie you walked out 30 minutes into it because it sucked. How did that make you feel? You probably felt like you got a little “screwed over” didn’t you?

Well guess what? Everybody has gotten “screwed over” after buying something. Everybody has been ripped off. So they’re not going to automatically believe your claims as gospel just because you say so. And that’s why you need plenty of proof in your promotions – such as testimonials, case studies, and demonstrations. Let’s talk about each:

1) Testimonials are usually rave reviews about your product or service from satisfied customers. It’s infinitely more powerful to have people brag about how great you are than it is to brag about yourself! The more specific and “results-based” the testimonial, the better.

2) Case Studies are usually longer testimonials that tell a story. This is another element of social proof you should be using in your promotions.

3) Demonstrations. This is extremely powerful. When writing copy, you’re usually selling something people cannot pick up and touch. So the more demonstrations you can put in your copy, the better!

The perfect example of a demonstration is the Oreck Excel vacuum cleaner. They demonstrate that you can actually pick up a bowling ball with their vacuum cleaner—the suction is that good!

Of course, is there any scenario where it’s necessary to pick up an actual bowling ball with a vacuum? Heck no! But that’s not the point—the point is to demonstrate the suction power of the vacuum and to get the prospect to imagine if the vacuum is strong enough to pick up a bowling ball, then it’ll pick up anything!

So by adding testimonials, demonstrations, and case studies to your promotion, you’ll be able to convince your skeptical prospect that your product DOES fulfill on its promises.

Big Mistake #5: Not Backing Up Statements And Claims With Facts!

Now I’m going to talk about a concept most copywriters and marketers don’t employ. But before I do that, read these 2 statements and see which is the most believable to you:

“More and more people are searching for local services through their smartphones.”

Or…

“According to the Wall Street Journal, 86.2% of cellphone users searched for local products and services online.”

Did you choose #2? If so, it was probably because there was a reputable source behind the claim…and an actual specific statistic backing it up as well.

Whenever making a claim or statement that’s critical for your prospects to “get” before they buy your product, you must always back it up with statistics. You’d be surprised at how some copywriters make claim after claim…statement after statement…without any statistics or facts to back them up.

This is critical when trying to get your prospect to “believe” certain things before they buy from you. For example, if I were selling prospects on the importance of research in copy, I would trot out quote after quote from many of the copywriting greats such as Gary Halbert, John Carlton, John Caples, Eugene Schwartz, Claude Hopkins, and Gary Bencivenga to “back me up” that research is critical when it comes to copywriting.

If my prospects were to see these other well-known copywriting greats talk about the importance of research in copy, they are more likely to believe it than if I just said it myself.

Here’s a dirty little secret most marketers don’t know. If it’s published somewhere online or offline, you can quote it…as long as you quote the source! So if you’re selling a coral calcium supplement and you can find a peer-reviewed study that talks about coral calcium curing cancer, then you can use it in your copy as ‘borrowed proof” for your promotion (of course, coral calcium has never been proven by peer-reviewed studies to actually work).

Sources that the public immediately recognizes as reputable sources (Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Journal of the American Medical Association, etc.) are important here…but don’t ignore more esoteric sources—especially if it’s a niche publication.

Also be specific as possible in your claim. Saying 86.2% is more powerful than 86%…assuming the stat is true.

So before you write a word of copy, go through and find statistics to back up any statement your prospects have to believe before they purchase your product. Thankfully, hours in the library are not necessary since the Internet can serve as your ultimate research tool!

Big Mistake #6: Not Telling Your Prospect How Your Product/Service Is Going To Change Their Life!

People aren’t going to buy your product because it’s 10 CDs, 362 pages, you’ve been in business since 1974, or you played for the Washington Redskins. They only want what the product is going to DO SOMETHING for them. And this is where most copy falls short!

Think about it – most of your target audience lives extremely boring lives. They go to jobs they hate and don’t meet any interesting people. So your pitch has to be the most exciting thing they’ve read all day. That’s why you need to paint a picture in your prospect’s mind what your product or service is going to do for them. And that means digging into the DEEPER benefits than most of your competition…and most copywriters will delve into!

One little trick to use is the “So What?” test. For every line of copy, try to think about why your target audience would care about this… which will uncover the deeper benefits that could motivate your target audience to take action. In the business world, very often the motivation of business owners isn’t just to “make more profits”. It could be to show up the friend or family member who kept telling them they couldn’t “do it” when it comes to building a business. Or to show up a competitor they’ve been chasing for years—or to get an “unfair advantage” of some sort.

Let’s test out the “So what” test real quick. Here’s a “surface benefit” of getting more leads to a business…making more profits…and now let’s ask:

So what?

So you can make more money with your business

So what?

So you can feel less worried and stressed.

So what?

So you can have more certainty and control in your business.

So what?

So you can get more freedom and independence.

So what?

So you can spend more time with your family.

So what?

So you can leave a legacy for your kids and grandkids, etc.

See how this works? We went further than just “making money” when it comes to selling to the business owner. I mean, people just don’t want “money”…they only want what the money is going to DO for them. And the “So What” test is one way to delve at the deeper benefits of your product or service you can start using right now.

Big Mistake #7: Not Determining What You’re Up Against In Your Marketplace!

Products and services are not sold in a vacuum. Your product and service is not the only choice your clients, customers, or patients have. Yet most businesses write copy as if they’re the only “players” in that market.

As you do your rewrite, take a look at your competition and look for some kind of a “crack in the armor” to exploit for your promotion. Look at their websites, sales materials, Pay-Per-Click ads, etc.

Another good source of this is direct mail. If you sign up for mailing lists and actually buy some of your competitor’s products, you can get on their mailing list and start getting their promotions. If you see the same promotion over and over again, then that’s probably their control piece—or their best converting mailer.

Also look at comparables in the marketplace – that is, other companies that sell to your market but aren’t in direct competition.

This is something you should not only do for your copy, but also for your business in general. This will allow you to position your copy better so you’re the “go-to” person in your market!

Source: Dan Kennedy

Facebook Advertising, Embraced by Majority of Local Businesses

Social media and its impact on local advertising was the subject of a recent study done by Borrell Associates, a consulting firm that produces industry related advertising reports. In a recent article marketingland.com reported on some of the interesting findings from this study, not least of which was how widespread faith in Facebook and Facebook advertising has become in the last few years.

The study drew from a pool of survey responders representing a spectrum of local businesses in the US, that range from small businesses to big advertising spenders, with budgets of $100k or more. The survey recorded the following stats about local business Facebooking habits:

  • 85 percent of the businesses surveyed have some kind of social media presence
  • Nearly 80 percent had a Facebook page
  • 62 percent are buying Facebook ads

Those businesses that were buying Facebook ads were spending an average of $1,500 per year.

Social media in general was ranked by survey responders as the third best source of new customers for their, following referrals and websites in the top two positions. 44 percent of those responders who said that social media was their top channel for acquiring new customers. This 44 percent of local businesses that fully embrace social media had some unique characteristics of their own. They tend to be independent, smaller businesses with less than $1 million in gross sales. They were also more likely to have a single location, and cater to customers, versus only businesses. 76 percent manage social media themselves, and 57 percent pay to boost posts.


Source: Paid Search

Voice Search: How Does Google Home Change SEO?

‘Tis the season to pick up the latest gadgets for your friends and family, and this year, some of the hottest new devices are hands-free assistants, such as the Amazon Echo, and the brand new Google Home. In an article on business2community.com author Brad Keys explains how SEO is affected by the key differentiator between Google Home and Amazon Echo, which is the Google Home’s robust updated software, a tool called “Google Assistant.”

Apart from being able to play music, edit your calendar, or create notes on your behalf, the biggest selling point of Google Home is its ability to quickly answer your questions in a conversational format. Due to the screen-less nature of these types of devices, the inherent difference between asking Google Assistant a question or running the same search query on your phone is that Google Assistant is going to provide you with an simple conversational answer to your question, and there will be no opportunity to explore a results page, as you would on your screened device.

So where does Google Assistant get its answers from, and how can you use them to your advantage?

Google Assistant relies heavily on Google’s featured snippets to answer questions. Featured snippets (also known as rich answers) are the brief explanations that appear at the top of the search engine results page when you ask a question that Google thinks it can answer. In simple terms, if you asked Google Assistant a question and then you ran the same search query on your desktop or mobile browser, you would likely see the same answer that Google Assistant gives you at the top of your results page as one of Google’s featured snippets.

If you want to turn your content into a featured snippet and claim this coveted top spot, there are some general steps you can follow. First you will need to identify what question your content is trying to answer, and it should always be something relevant to your market area. It’s important that the question literally appears (as it would in a search query) on your page within a header tag (h2, h3, etc.) Beneath that header is where you will provide the content as you want it to appear within the featured snippet box, this content should be within a <p> paragraph tag. The next step is to add valuable supporting information or content beyond the direct answer. And finally you should make it as easy as possible for Google to find your content by adding structured data, which allows Google to better understand what type of content you have on your site

focusing your website (or parts of it) towards Influencing these featured snippets is an SEO technique that’s been around for some time now, but the emergence of hands free voice search devices brings a new importance to this strategy. If you are successful, you’ll not only increase the influence of your content, but you’ll also take influence away from competing sites by claiming the top spot, or in the case of hands-free devices, the only spot.


Source: Paid Search

Citations 101: Local SEO Foundation

Understanding SEO (search engine optimization) requires a solid foundation, this article (and others like Search Engine Land‘s) builds the foundation with citations. Simply put, a citation in the SEO world is your business being mentioned on other websites/online platforms. Citations are valuable because they help your business appear in front of local searchers.

Trust Signals

Search engines reward businesses that have the right messaging about their brand. Fundamentally, this starts with accurate basic information such as URL, name, address, and phone number (UNAP). Having your UNAP information accurately listed across relevant websites and web directories is the basis of gaining trust from the search engines. Search engines need to trust your website to deliver accurate and relevant information to searchers to deliver a great user experience. For example, if someone searches hotels in St. Augustine and Google lists pharmacies in St. Augustine the user will have a poor user experience and may even switch search engines (think: Bing). Thus, search engines need to feel confident that your website is actually a hotel in St. Augustine and they do this by reviewing and rating your online business referrals, aka citations.

What are the different sorts of citations?

  • Business Directories such as Cylex, Tupalo
  • Maps such as TomTom, Here Maps, Open Street Maps
  • Internet Yellow Pages
  • Local Directories such as Best of the Web, Judy’s Book, eLocal, Yelp or Angie’s List
  • Industry, niche or sector specific directories (US Tourism, Resorts and Lodges)
  • Local newspaper websites
  • Local blogs covering business, restaurants or venues etc.
  • Prominent local websites (particularly if they’re related to your business niche)
  • Social Profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare)

 

What Can I Do?

For starters, a business can take advantage by creating, claiming and optimizing its Google My Business page. This will allow your business to create a legitimate online presence which gives search engines trust in your business to answer search queries. Then, reach out to local associations you are a member of and ensure they have your (accurate) business information on their website. Then, reach out to your local business partners for website listings, likely they will be in a similar vertical or at the very minimum link you to your geo-location for credibility. You want to organically grow your listings. Do not buy bulk listings, search engines will penalize your site by not displaying your website in the results page. Building links and citations that offer a full UNAP and discuss your business is a great way of differentiating your business from others in the area.

How Much Time?

The process of creating local citations can be time consuming and tedious, but the reward of a higher rank directly relates to your revenue. Creating your “referrals” take a considerable amount of time, but monitoring these referrals takes just as much time. It is important to note not all directories are free- be prepared to have a resource budget. Many businesses often choose to have a SEO partner to handle their digital presence, because of the time requirements and knowledge of the best directories (paid and free). Either route, your business needs citations to be shown to searchers.

Summary

Gone are the days, when location, location, location was considered the formula of success. Today, it is all about the different digital platforms where your customers look for information. The formula for success has changed to relevance, prominence and proximity. Reach out to our team to ensure your digital success, email us at [email protected].

 


Source: Paid Search

Millennials Have No (Mobile) Fear

Group of millennials searching on mobile phones and tablets

Before discussing Millennial behaviors, put yourself in their shoes. Millennials were born into a world with Apple and Play Stations, and spent their time after school instant messaging their friends and playing video games. Yes, these are Millennials and have seen technology evolving their entire lives. There is plentiful research on Millennials, the nation’s largest living generation, with a focus on comparing this tech-eccentric generation to previous generations. Our friends at Think With Google shared an interesting infographic recently that highlighted the mobile shopping and booking behaviors of Millennials to those over the age of 35. We’ve cherry picked the best information below for you but encourage you to view the infographic as well.

Key Findings from “Millennial Travelers: Mobile Shopping and Booking Behavior”:

  • 27% of Millennial travelers say they have used a smartphone to shop for hotels versus 19% of people over 35 years old
  • 66% of Millennial travelers are confident they can find the same flight and hotel information across devices, only 43% of people over 35 felt this way
  • 64% of Millennial travelers say they typically book a hotel room on a smartphone after shopping on a smartphone, only 42% of people over 35 say the same

 

Our Takeaways:

Once we see technology trends from Millennials it is only a matter of time for these trends to extend to older generations. The trend of continuing to trust technology, no matter the size of screen, will permeate into other generations.

  • The reliance of mobile phones will only increase, is your mobile website a good representation of your business? Will it allow users to go down the entire path to purchase easily? Your mobile site needs to download as fast as possible, but have all the information needed to book.
  • The need for a seamless user experience across devices remains strong. The iPad and Fire are extremely popular and even though not as widely used as mobile phones, having a responsive website will pay dividends.
  • People do book online with smartphones!

 

 

 


Source: Paid Search

Sales Letter Secrets Part 1…

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This is truly where “rubber-meets-road” – the creation of your sales letter. It may not be THE most critical component in your Lead Generation System, but it certainly is ONE of the most critical – for a very simple reason:

It’s Where You Ask for the Sale!

Now this is often where a lot of business owners freeze up or freak out – “I’m not a writer!” they proclaim, “I barely even passed English!”

If you resonate with that, relax, I have even more good news:

With the system we’ve created for you here, you don’t have to be a GREAT writer to create copy that sells…. All you need to do is be able to put down the core elements of your offer in the sequence we provide.

Basically, you just have to fill in the blanks to a proven Sales Letter Template. Then go through it again, review and edit out the rough edges, and “voila!” You have a sales letter you can use.

We’ve worked hard to make this as easy as humanly possible.

  • This week, we’ll focus on plugging in text for the Headlines, SubHeads, and Bullets. The benefit of focusing on these elements of the sales letter is that they establish the foundation of your pitch… someone should be able to read JUST the headlines, subheads, and bullets and pretty much get the full picture as to why they should buy what you’re selling.
  • Next week’s article will walk you through cranking out the entire rough draft of the letter.

It’s truly a plug and play process.

And when you finish, even if you don’t consider yourself a “copywriter,” you’ll have in hand a perfectly good Sales Letter that in all likelihood stands head and shoulders above ANYTHING any of your competitors have ever produced.

part1

A Fill-in-the-Blanks Formula for ALL Your Sales Letters

As you go through the step by step process over the next two sessions in creating your sales letter, there’s a basic foundational concept here that you need to grasp:

A sales letter is nothing more than a sales pitch in print.

Don’t lose sight of that reality. Because what you’re doing is putting together a sales pitch much the same as you would to be delivered to someone in person, across the table, one-on-one.

And that’s exactly how we’ve designed this tutorial article for you – it’s a carefully crafted FORMULA laid out sequentially to gradually build the strongest case possible for your product/service.

What this means is that you can use this exact same structure over and again with other sales letters… and other types of pitches you make as well.

Okay let’s get started.

Below is an excellent template for writing a pre-head:

Attention [insert target audience]: Stop Putting Up With [Annoying Task or Problem] Forever!!!

What you want to do right off the bat is grab the attention of your target customer by a) identifying exactly who they are and b) affirming you feel their pain by promising to solve a major problem they have. That’s the goal.

Now for the main headline:

“Discover How You Can Quickly And Easily Get [Big Benefit] Guaranteed To [Insert Outcome They Want] Without [Insert Annoying Problem]!”

This headline should make a BIG promise to solve the major problem identified in the prehead – stating clearly the huge benefit for making that happen. Write out at least three (3) different variations on this formula for your sales letter.

Moving on, here’s the a great template for a SubHead:

After Experiencing [Insert Problem] I Decided To Do Something About It!!!

This subhead introduces the section where you tell your story… you want to establish some kind of affinity with your prospect, either by being one of them and experiencing the exact same pain OR by perhaps seeing the problem affect others you care about… whatever, you want to let them know you understand what they’re going through and that’s why you created your solution.

On to the next Subhead:

Why Not Make The Ability To [Solve Problem] Available To Everyone!!!

This section describes your process of understanding the problem, working through various solutions, and finally finding the key – and then making the decision to make it available on a broader basis.

Then a very special Subhead – one that NAMES your Product:

[Name Of Product]

You want your product/widget to have a KILLER name… something easily recognizable as packed with huge benefits for the customer. We spend serious time on Product names – you should do likewise.

Now the letter should get into some of the specifics as to how you’ll fulfill on the promises you’ve made.

Which Of These Powerful Elements Could You Use To [Insert Benefit]?

Fill the CORE Benefit your Customers desire… which will lead to a list of features/benefits your solution provides that make that end result possible.

Now, identify some of the key features & benefits of your product/widget that directly relate to addressing the CORE Benefit your customers want. Use bullet points.

On to another Subhead – where you should finally reveal the investment required.

Okay, So What’s The Cost For [insert problem they’ll be eliminating] Forever!!

The problem you state here should be one that provokes ongoing, serious pain of some kind.

Now let’s talk about the bonuses you’re offering.

[#] FREE Bonuses Worth[$] If You Take Action Right NOW!

The keys here are to 1) pile on all kinds of extra value above and beyond what the customer would expect and b) install a sense of urgency… because if you delay, you’ll lose out on all of this! Make sure to plug in a realistic value in Worth[$] – what you enter here should be credible.

After that, list all the bonuses individually, state why they’re so valuable to the customer, and then give an associated dollar value to each.

FREE Bonus Gift #1: [Explain bonus and give value] FREE Bonus Gift #2: [Explain bonus and give value] FREE Bonus Gift #3: [Explain bonus and give value]

But I Know You’re Skeptical About [Insert Big Benefit]… Which Is Why We’re Taking ALL The Risk!

Here’s the section where you address skepticism by taking away all risk with your awesome guarantee.

In this subhead, insert a MAJOR Benefit to the customer that results from having that BIG PROBLEM solved… and then assure them there’s absolutely nothing to fear. For example, “But I Know You’re Skeptical About Having Every Carpet In Your Home Cleaned for Practically Pennies on the Dollar AND In Just 45 Minutes… Which Is Why We’re Taking ALL The Risk!”

The final subhead just recaps that this decision should now be a no-brainer.

You Really Can’t Afford NOT To Invest In [Product]!

Just plug in your product name one more time and you’ve got the basic flow of your sales letter done. Congratulations!

Next week we’ll be back on the GKIC blog to talk to you about how to complete this sales letter, so make sure you come back…

Source: Dan Kennedy

Data is Your New Oil: eCommerce Managers Tool Kit

Data analytics

Digital Marketing and eCommerce Managers spend a great deal of time capturing, refining, and interpreting the endless stream of customer data. The data comes from multiple channels: social networks, Google Analytics, customer transactions, email, feedback forms and surveys. PWC and Think with Google research found that data driven organizations are three times likely to be more effective in making better decisions. The hospitality industry is no different, your guests are engaging with multiple devices and across multiple digital channels to make their buying decisions. The list of devices and channels within the eCommerce data stream to track can be overwhelming: website traffic, organic search, paid search (generic and branded), social Media, display media, meta search, email marketing, mobile and listings on referral sites.

Data is now everywhere, a continuous stream of data points all waiting to be turned into actionable insights. However, it is also true that capturing, managing, and delivering data driven insights from so many sources is, at best, challenging. It is important for companies to stay closer to customers’ needs and assist them to make better decisions during intent driven actionable moments where customers truly need someone to help them.

At Milestone, we saw common challenges across our portfolio of clients in regards to data accumulation, analysis, and action and developed solutions to eradicate these challenges.

Unalytix solves the accumulation and analysis problem by displaying the data in an intuitive interface. It brings digital marketing and distribution channel analytic data that allows managers to better understand digital marketing and the key performance indicators to make informed decisions.  The key performance data includes revenue, room nights, ADR, and spends. Managers can now optimize digital marketing channels from a single screen – your website, local listings, paid search campaigns, social media, online reputation and email campaigns. Click here to learn more about Unalytix

Intellistar enables businesses to monitor their holistic digital presence from a single dashboard, taking it even further by doing competitive and industry benchmark analysis across key focus areas. Through Intellistar’s insights, businesses are empowered with targeted strategies for connecting with customers across every touch point – mobile, tablet or desktop – and through their journey across channels like social, local and paid. Click here to learn more about Intellistar.

Milestones Galexi’s CMS’s Conversion Rate Optimization Modules (CRO), allows a business to track visitors who abandoned the website due to poor user experience. Site abandonment leads to lost revenue and increases the customer acquisition cost. CRO modules help to get more value out of the traffic on the website by turning site visitors into customers, increasing the conversion rate on your website, which can further lead to higher revenue and ROI from your current marketing efforts. CRO Module uses testing, user feedback, and analytics to make changes on the website to increase conversion and revenue. Click here to learn more about GalexiCMS.

By using Milestone’s data driven software and solutions you will be able to bring all of your digital tools together, reviewing all of your digital marketing and revenue contribution KPI’s in a single interface. Empower your business with a 360° overview of performance and digital strategies with reports delivered in an intuitive and interactive manner. If you are an eCommerce Manager, Digital Marketing Manager or a Revenue Manager, at Milestone, we looked at your daily challenges and developed solutions to address your data analytics pain points. For more information and a demo request, please email us at [email protected], visit us at www.milestoneinternet.com/unalytix, or call us at 1-866-615-2516.


Source: Paid Search

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