Monthly Archives: July 2010

7 Simple Secrets to Reducing Your Refunds (Part 2)

There are few things in life as deflating as refund requests can be.

You’ve spent weeks or months (or years in some cases) creating a product. You work so hard to market it and get into your ideal clients’ hands. And they buy! It’s so exciting when you make sales.

And then you get a request for a refund. Argh!

Luckily I have good news. There are things you can do to reduce your refund rate. And many of them won’t cost you a dime. I’m going to walk you through these 7 simple steps, 3 last week and 4 this week.

Let’s get started.

1. Call them to thank them for their purchase. Yes, you read that right. Pick up the phone and give them a quick welcome call.

This can be a very powerful strategy for a number of reasons. First off, almost no one does it in the Internet world so you’re really going to stand out. Second, it’s another way to overdeliver value to your customers. Third, it’s a way to connect with them so they know they’re more to you then simply a sale.

I can hear all of you saying “I don’t have time.” That’s fine, have someone on your team do it. It doesn’t have to be a long call, just a quick phone call to welcome them into your community and to see if they have any questions or need anything from you. That 5 minutes can go a long way to really communicating a high level of customer care.

2. Set up a welcome auto-responder series. I’m currently working with a client to create a very integrated 30-day follow up email campaign. You don’t have to do something that elaborate, but even 5 or 7 follow up emails to help your customers get started with your product can go a long way. These emails can:

* Reassure them they made a good decision by purchasing your product

* Give them some additional tips for using the product

* Tease them about what’s in the product, to get them excited about diving in and getting started (remember, people who actually go through your product are far less likely to return it)

* Ask them for a testimonial or encourage them to refer a friend

* Upsell them to the next level

3. Add in live calls with you. There was a time where you could sell an information product and get top dollar for it and not include any interaction with you. Those days are gone. If you want to sell an information product with no calls or support from you, the price needs to be lower and be prepared for higher returns. But if you add in a couple of training and/or Q&A and live coaching calls, then you can raise the price plus it will reduce your refund rate.

People want accountability (and having those calls does add a level of accountability because they’ll need to go through the program to keep up with the calls) and they also want to interact with you. The more you can give people what they want, they more likely they’ll become loyal customers and raving fans.

4. Follow up with snail mail. I’ve found mailing people a postcard or a newsletter is a great way to build and deepen the relationship with my customers. Again, you’re reaching out to them outside the online world, sending something physical and doing this after the sale. So it’s a great way to stay connected with your clients. Of all the tips I gave, this one is the most costly, but over the long run, it can really pay off in a big way.

7 Simple Secrets to Reducing Your Refunds (Part 1)

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There are few things in life as deflating as refund requests can be.

You’ve spent weeks or months (or years in some cases) creating a product. You work so hard to market it and get into your ideal clients’ hands. And they buy! It’s so exciting when you make sales.

And then you get a request for a refund. Argh!

Luckily I have good news. There are things you can do to reduce your refund rate. And many of them won’t cost you a dime. I’m going to walk you through these 6 simple steps, 3 this week about simple tweaks you can make to your product to make it more valuable and next week I’ll cover 4 easy follow-up strategies.

Let’s get started.

1. Put a Quick Start CD or report in the product. Information products can be overwhelming. You open up the product and you have all these CDs and DVDs transcripts and worksheets and you don’t know where to start. A Quick Start guide (either audio or written) can give people a place to begin and it can help them consume the material more easily.

If people are feeling overwhelmed, they may just decide they don’t have time to figure this out after all and pack it all up and return to you.

(And yes, you can still include this even if the product is all digital.)

2. Include a Welcome letter or extra gift (or both). Let’s go through the Welcome letter first. A Welcome letter should:

* Reassure them they made a good decision by purchasing your product

* Get them excited about digging in and using the product

Welcome letters can also give them additional information and resources, or it can double as your “Quick Start guide” and give them instructions on how they should get started. Either way, it should make them feel good about their investment. (This again can and should be included with digital products.)

Now let’s look at gifts. A gift can be small, just a little extra bonus. Maybe it’s a promotional item, such as a pen or a bookmark. Or it could be an extra bonus, maybe an additional unadvertised report. Whatever it is, it just adds to the value and helps make your ideal clients feel like you’re overdelivering on value.

3. Send them an extra, unadvertised bonus at a later time. With this one, instead of bundling the bonus in the product, save it and send it to them later. This accomplishes a couple of things — your ideal clients feel taken care of plus it gives you another opportunity to reach out and connect with them again. This is a good way to further build the relationship with your ideal clients so they don’t feel like they’re simply a “walking wallet.”

Next week I’ll cover the next 4 strategies so stay tuned.

What If What You Learned About Marketing Was Wrong?

If you’ve been in business for awhile, I bet you’ve heard the “theory” that your prospects follow a straight line to becoming a client or customer. Therefore, the way to boost your profits is to create a straight path to take your leads from point A to point Z.

So what if I were to tell you that’s WRONG?

Look, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen like that. It does. But studies are NOW showing that your prospects are more likely to zigzag to purchase.

That means they are bouncing from one medium to another before making a purchasing decision. As a matter of fact, an iProspect study revealed that 67% of prospects only use search engines to find your products and services only AFTER they’ve been exposed to some offline marketing.

So what does that mean? It means if you’ve put all your efforts into online marketing, you’re leaving money on the table. (And probably lots of it.)

But is integrating your online marketing with offline marketing worth the effort? Can it actually boost your profits?

Absolutely. Positively.

In late 2009, a very prominent athletic footwear company launched a new product with an integrated approach that included social media, press releases, blog tours and point of purchase (POP) displays. The result: a 540% increase in revenue.

Yet, most companies– including entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants like you — fail to include at least one offline marketing tactic in their marketing campaigns.

That’s often because it CAN be a lot of work. Well, it CAN be — unless you have a system in place that allows you to repurpose the content you already have.

And that’s where my Complete Online/Offline Marketing System comes in.

The Complete Online/Offline Marketing System is NOT about you getting more information. This is a step-by-step, PROVEN marketing system you simply plug-and-play into your business in order to get more leads, prospects, customers, clients and sales.

You’ll learn how easy it is to get more visibility, credibility, website traffic and sales. And you’ll also see how you can effortlessly make a HUGE impact in the world by getting your brilliance and gifts out there in a big way.

Here’s the link to read more about it along with some success stories. (Note — the first live training/Q&A call is next week!):

http://www.ContentToProfit.com

The Dirty Little Secret Behind Adding Info-Products to Your Service Business

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You may have heard adding information products (or info-products) to your service business is a smart business decision. And indeed it is. There are many benefits to selling information products as part of your business.

However, there is a dirty little secret around selling info-products. The dreaded refunds.

You see, when what you’re mainly selling services, you rarely run into refund situations. You may run into other challenges with getting paid but not refunds.

But, unfortunately, the unpleasant reality is refunds and info-products go hand-in-hand. And when you’re first confronted with this, it can throw a lot of entrepreneurs for a loop. Even if you know intellectually you’ll get a refund here and there, emotionally it’s a much tougher pill to swallow. And what I’ve found ends up happening is people create “stories” around refunds that simply aren’t true.

So let’s take a moment and talk about refunds and bring this dirty little secret into the light.

First, let’s talk about what’s considered normal. A normal refund rate is 10%. And, in fact if you’re Dan Kennedy, you’ll go as far to say if you DON’T have a 10% refund rate you aren’t selling enough. (Isn’t that an interesting spin on refunds?)

If your refund rate is higher than that, you may have a positioning problem or you’re selling to the wrong ideal client or you need to implement some stick strategies. (Note I didn’t say your problem is the product is bad.)

So let’s assume your refund rate is at or below normal. Now let’s look at the top 4 reasons why people ask for refunds.

1. The product isn’t right for them. Read that again. The product isn’t right for them. NOT that the product is bad. This is where a lot of the “stories” come in — entrepreneurs spend so much time and energy creating an info-product and then when someone returns it, this sends them into a tailspin because they immediately come to conclusion that there’s a problem with the product. If this is something you’re concerned with, I can assure you that your product is fine. How can I know that? Because you ARE worried about it. People who create bad or low-quality products are not at all concerned about the quality.

So why isn’t the product right for them? Perhaps it’s too basic or too advanced for where they’re at right now. Perhaps they’re not your ideal client. Perhaps they read the sales letter wrong and thought something was or wasn’t included and so it didn’t fit their current needs. Whatever it is, it has little to do with you and everything to do with them.

2. They have second thoughts. Again, this has nothing to do with you. Perhaps they run into a cash flow problem. Perhaps their spouse gets angry with them. Whatever it is, they’ve decided the easiest way to fix the situation is to return your product.

3. Something unexpected comes up in their life or business. Things happen. People get into car accidents, spouses get laid off or family members get sick. Whatever it is, it derails them from their current business plans and they have to put things on hold or rethink what they’re doing.

4. They want to take advantage of you. This is a very, very small group but it bears talking about. The reality is there are unpleasant people out there who are looking for ways to get something for nothing. My advice is not to worry about them but know they exist.

So as you can see, it really isn’t about you. It’s about them. Refunds really are just the cost of doing business as an info-marketer and aren’t worth getting upset about.

On the other hand, there are definite things you can do to reduce your refund rate. Next week I’ll share those.

What Hollywood Can Teach You About Business Success (and Keeping Your Clients Happy)

A few weeks ago I decided to go to the movies with a girlfriend. We chose Prince of Persia.

As it happened, it was opening weekend so I hadn’t seen the reviews. However, I was a little worried about seeing it. The previews made it look sort of muddled and I was a bit puzzled by the choice of Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead. (He never struck me as the action adventure type hero.) Worse yet, it was based on a game.

Yee gads. Why did I agree to see this movie again?

Needless to say I walked into that theater with VERY low expectations.

So imagine how happy I was when the movie DIDN’T suck. Yes I know, it got some bad reviews. But truly, if you’re looking for a light, mindless, action-packed summer flick, Prince of Persia delivers. (And I was also pleasantly surprised at Jake Gyllenhaal — talk about some nice eye candy.)

The interesting part about all of this is I think my impression of that movie is higher than it should be. Why? Because my expectations were so low and the movie beat them so significantly — thus my overall impression is that it’s a good movie.

Now, let’s take another movie where I went in with HIGH expectations and the movie DIDN’T deliver. Like The English Patient. Won an Academy Award. Everyone was buzzing about it. I found it slow and terribly depressing. I also didn’t quite get why the Kristin Scott Thomas’s character would have an affair with the terribly depressing Ralph Fiennes’s character when her husband seemed like such a charming fellow. (This was before I saw the Seinfeld episode where Elaine fell asleep during the movie and was ostracized about it. Happy to know Elaine and I have something in common.)

So my overall impression of The English Patient is that it wasn’t a very good movie at all. Despite winning an Oscar. Because it came in so much lower than my expectations.

(And if you take this one step further, it certainly seems like I’m saying The Prince of Persia is better than The English Patient. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t go there.)

So what does all of this have to do with you and your business? Well, let’s take a look at your client and customer expectations.

If your customers and clients are hiring you or investing in your products and service with high expectations, and you aren’t meeting them, their overall impression is going to be they had an unpleasant experience with you. Even if your offerings are better than your competition, they’re still going to be disappointed.

But if your customers and clients come in with slightly lower expectations, and your products and services blow those expectations away, they’re going to be thrilled to death with you, tell all their friends and associates about you and maybe even write a newsletter article about you.

This is why it’s so important to underpromise and overdeliver. Especially now. Because people are becoming more careful with their money so the last thing you want to do is leave them with a sour taste in their mouth after doing business with you.