Direct Marketing Secrets – The Top 5 Secrets of Selling Ice to Eskimos (Well, Almost!)

Want to learn how to sell ice to Eskimos? Well, you probably won’t be able to do that, but you can definitely learn how to sell truckloads of products by polishing up your direct marketing skills.

Here are the top 5 ‘secrets’ for successful direct marketing that gets prospects to take action now:

Secret #1: Use The Power Of The Bandwagon

Humans have a powerful need to belong. That’s why social proof is very powerful in advertising. When we see others liking the product or experiencing success with it, chances are we too want a piece of the action. Include testimonials from previous customers and endorsements from experts in the field and watch your response skyrocket.

Secret #2: Inject Scarcity

When your customer arrives at your offer, he takes time to decide whether he wants to buy it. The amount of scarcity in your offer is what is going to make him decide now or later. And you definitely want to make him decide now! Humans tend to procrastinate and people will not buy now if you give them a chance to wait. Make your offer time-limited or quantity-limited to inject major scarcity in your offer.

Secret #3: Total Risk Reversal

One of the reasons customers don’t buy is because they’re afraid of risk. They don’t want to risk their money on a product that might not be suitable for them. So eliminate that risk. Offer a risk-free money-back a guarantee with your offer. This will push your prospects over the edge and get them to order immediately.

Secret #4: Ask Questions

Ask lots of questions in your copy. This gets your readers engaged in your copy. The human mind has a habit of wanting to answer unanswered questions. Any question you put in your copy challenges your readers and captures their attention. And the more copy they read, the more likely they are to buy!

Secret #5: Use The Power Of Visual Imagery

Sprinkle your copy with tons of visual imagery to get your readers to imagine what it would be like to use your product. Don’t say “Make money selling this product”. What you’ll want to say is something like “Rake In The Dollars 24/7 By Selling This Product!”

Fabian Tan is a well-known Internet Marketing expert and the author of the popular 59-page Report:

11 Random Ruminations on Direct Marketing

1) Spend six months marketing diligently, and you’ll know more truth about human nature than most psychologists. People reveal more about themselves by what they purchase — and why, where, and how they make their buying decisions — than they do lying on a couch in the office of a licensed psychiatrist.

2) Great marketing requires a wartime strategy. Your customers certainly aren’t your enemy, but you still have to hit them fast, hard, and often. Always keep up the attack!

3) When business is good, crank up your marketing efforts. When it’s slow, ratchet up your marketing efforts even further. Keep moving forward! Never let up!

4) Enthusiasm — yours and that which you instill in your prospective buyers — sells like crazy! Never forget that enthusiasm is infectious.

5) Fear sells! Stir up worries, anxieties, and headaches in your prospects, and you can sell to them without fail — as long as you offer them the “perfect solution.”

6) “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may be true, but in the world of marketing, it’s worthless advice. People buy cures more often than they buy prevention.

7) If you can win their hearts, you’ll win their money. Sell with stories that create emotions in your prospects.

8) Don’t follow your direct competition in lockstep. Instead, shamelessly copy or adapt successful marketing campaigns from other niches.

9) Don’t sell products. Don’t sell services. Sell irresistible offers!

10) Always remember: It’s all about them — not you!

11) “It doesn’t have to be good,” says direct marketing genius Dan Kennedy, “just good enough!” Don’t worry over your marketing ideas. Implement them. And quickly!

Network Marketing – Not MLM

Network marketing is selling products without advertising them heavily. It is quite similar to some of the internet marketing techniques in that there is no advertising for the products. Product marketing takes place through word of mouth and individual people marketing the products to friends and family. They also may have ads that are of the “get rich quick” variety.

The terms, “Network Marketing” and Multi-Level Marketing” are sometimes used interchangeably. The truth is they’re not. MLM is a form of network marketing. In MLM, independent salespeople (distributors – think of the Tupperware Lady) sell products and then make a commission from what they sell. Getting other people to be distributors “under them” will help make even more money. It seems that the only way to “get rich quick” is to have a solid number of people working under you so you can make a considerable amount of money.

Some MLM businesses are pyramid or ‘ponzi’ schemes, which are illegal because they are set up to fail. The people at the top make all the money and at some point, the bottom of the pyramid collapses, because the “sales” force is starving.

There are, however, legitimate MLM businesses. Affiliate marketing and direct selling are both network marketing businesses that are popular online businesses. In affiliate marketing, you can choose products to promote and earn money by getting a percentage every time a sale is made from your website. In direct selling, there is no middle man. Products are sold directly to the consumer. Avon and Tupperware are the most popular examples of direct selling companies

If you’re going to start in network marketing, it’s important to do your research so that you don’t get involved in anything illegal or unstable.

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E-mail Marketing For Entrepreneurs

Many moons ago, small entrepreneurs had to invest money in different types of media to attract new customers: the yellow pages, newspapers, magazines, radio, flyers, direct mail, to name a few.

And then came the biggest gift a small business owner could ask for: the Internet and e-mail.

Suddenly, you don’t have to use a courier, postal service, or messenger to send a sales message to customers. With e-mail, you could send a dozen, a hundred, or even thousands of messages simultaneously to customers, contacts or subscribers.

This week, we continue to answer the questions of Mrs PK (the spa entrepreneur) on the right way to start doing e-mail marketing and how to start a database of customers (for they go hand in hand).

Here were Mrs PK’s other questions:

“Should I start investing and using CRM (customer relationship management) software to keep track of customers and start a database?”

“How do I get started doing e-mail marketing the right way (sending health newsletters to customers and prospects)?”

The short answer to the first question is “yes.”

If you don’t start a database, then you can’t get to do e-mail marketing. But you don’t need expensive software to start out. Just start with what you have. Microsoft Excel and Outlook are just fine.

Before PCs were around, the entrepreneurs who ran mail order businesses like the Book of the Month Club in the United States, kept all customer and subscriber details on index cards-clerks would actually write by hand or type names and addresses on labels.

Try writing 100,000 mailing labels by hand or on typewriters.

Let’s count our blessings. Nominate Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for sainthood. They have made our jobs so much easier.

There are direct marketing outfits where you could send your direct mailers instead of gumming the address labels on your mailers. They have an assembly line of workers who will write names and addresses of your customers or prospects on the outer envelope to give it that personal feel. International mail order companies do this because they say that when the name and address on the outer envelope is handwritten, it is most likely to be opened, unlike computer-generated and printed names.

Take advantage of technology and enter your contacts and customers in your computer database file. Make sure you separate the first name, last name, nickname, job title, birthday, e-mail, etc., in different fields so that you can sort, segment or personalize your e-mail letters later on.

E-mail marketing has great benefits. It’s inexpensive, it’s fast, almost dummy proof, and it is quickly becoming a “personal” media. Almost 20 percent of the population have access to e-mail and cell phones of many people can now access e-mail. The problem with e-mail marketing is that it is prone to abuse and misuse.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts in sending out e-mail marketing communications, whether they are promotions, newsletter or even thank you letters:

What to send

Do send product updates. We receive Skyway and South super highway construction updates from an Ayala Land real estate broker who knows that we have property in the south that are affected by the current expressway expansion. Knowing what is happening gives peace of mind or helps one make decisions and plans. Sunlife Financial, our mutual funds manager, sends us updates on our accounts. All these are welcome content.

Drayton Bird, the direct marketing and CRM guru, says that sending information to your customers is a “service.” So keep on sending information as long as it is relevant.

Don’t send too much information in the form of attachments-photos, powerpoint presentations, word files, etc. Instead, offer links to your website where they can access those photos or files.

Whom to send

Do send to YOUR mailing list. Most entrepreneurs start by mailing out to friends, family members and personal contacts-basically everyone whom they’ve met. This is an okay start, but give your contacts, and even your friends and family members, the option to “opt-out” or unsubscribe to your mailing list if they don’t want to receive your newsletters or promos.

Don’t show your mailing list to everyone. Put those e-mail addresses of your contacts in the “bcc” and not “To” or “cc” field where everyone can see and be tempted to copy your list. Investing in e-mail marketing software would be a smart move since mistakes like these could be prevented.

How to craft letters

Do consider the timing of your offer. If you’re a restaurant operator, consider sending your e-mail offer at 11 a.m., when people are considering their lunch options. If you are a retail shop, consider sending your e-mail on a Friday afternoon so that they can see it right before the weekend.

Don’t leave the subject line blank. Either come up with a creative subject line-”what do Mickey Mouse and the House of Fashion have in common?”-or a subject that is straightforward and informative-”the ultimate fashion sale starts in 24 hours.”

Don’t set your subject line in all caps and use exclamation points in your subject line. E-mail servers will screen this out as spam.

Do include an offer at the beginning of the e-mail letter. Offer something for free or highlight your product benefits right away.

Do repeat the offer at the end of the letter. It still is the most read portion of the letter.

Don’t forget to include testimonials or reviews of your service or products. These boost response rates-by as much as 30 percent in some tests-and your small business’ credibility as well.

Do test your e-mail marketing offer to a portion of your subscriber list before sending it out to everyone. You could come up with two or three variations testing different offers or ad copy. Use the one that gets the best response for the rest of the list.