Monthly Archives: March 2012

Ask PW — “Will this work to bring me traffic or is it just a ‘bright shiny object?'”

J’lene Bradley R.N., B.Sc.N, from www.jlene.com, sent me this question:

“I saw your post on Facebook re: asking questions. Have you heard of XX? I would love to hear your opinion in terms of if you think this will work towards bringing traffic to my site or if it is a ‘bright shiny object.'”

I’m going to start by saying I really don’t know anything about XX (which is why I blanked the name out) but one thing I DO know is anytime you ask if something is a “bright shiny object” then it probably is.

Look, you know in your heart what you need to do to be successful in your business. I know you do. And that next step can be anything from getting your ezine out to hiring an expert to either teach you how to do something or just get it done for you.

Things you know you need to be doing you never classify as “bright shiny objects.” You may not want to do them or procrastinate around doing them or feel upset with yourself for not doing them, but you’re not calling them a “bright shiny object.”

The things you DO call “bright shiny objects” are things that you’re feeling in your gut you shouldn’t be doing. Either because deep down you know they’re a distraction to your actual goals and dreams or something about it makes you feel uneasy and/or it’s a waste of your time.

Regardless of why you feel like it’s a “bright shiny object” isn’t really the point — the point is you do feel like it is one, and therefore you should honor your feelings and not do it.

So what are your thoughts about “bright shiny objects?” Please share below in the comment section. Or if you have a question about marketing, business or writing copy, feel free to put in the comment section and I’ll answer those in a future Ask PW column.

 

5 Proven Tips to Make Money from Your Creative Ideas

By Nancy Marmolejo, Guest Blogger (sponsored post)

By nature, entrepreneurs are highly creative thinkers. Every aspect of a business- from filling a need, to solving a problem, to marketing, to selling, to serving customers- is an expression of creativity.

But for every great idea that gets launched, millions more go the wayside because entrepreneurs simply don’t know how to take action, how to decide if something’s worth pursuing, or if the time is right.

Wild ideas are GREAT for business…  and now more than ever is the time to take action. Why? Because so many people are playing it safe, the playing field is wide open for wild ideas.

This is the time to be bold and brave, to lean out instead of leaning in, to move into theunknown rather than stay in the familiar.

But how do you do that without losing your shirt? Follow these tips, inspired by real-life success stories, and see your wild ideas pay off!

1. Don’t wait until you know everything. The time it takes to become perfect at something is a surefire way to miss an opportunity.Never stop learning, but at some point you must take action before- even before you know all the details. Entrepreneurs are fast learners- never underestimate your ability to learn onyour feet while you’re taking action. As Michael Port shares in “The Wild Idea That Paid Off” virtual chat series, “Be a blank piece of paper with a beginner’s mind.” Let the knowledge fill you as you go along.

2. Turn past failures into future successes. Thomas Edison took over 1000 tries to invent the lightbulb. You might fail at something too… but that failure could be the path to your next big success. Branding expert Kim Castle turned a disastrous financial situation into multi-million dollar business by simply plucking out the lessons and spinning them into gold. (Kim shares her entire story in an interview we did). Where there’s failure, there’s opportunity!

3. Step out of the safe and familiar. Trailblazer coach Shawn Driscoll hung out mostly in the background until one day she decided to break out and fully express her talents through her business. It frightened people around her, but the bold steps have paid off. Productive Flourishing’s Charlie Gilkey walked away from an established career and doctoral program to begin a business that served the needs of creative entrepreneurs.  Social media pioneer Jack Humphrey gave away an extremely valuable product for free at the risk of losing $100,000 in sales. Marketing expert Ellen Britt chose to brand her business with an unconventional, regional twist. They each were told not to take the risk butthey did… and it paid off. Get out of the safe and familiar and take bold steps into the unknown.

4. Live a creative life. Creative people don’t just summon up their creative juices when needed. They show curiosity,try new things, and embark on new adventures. Business coach Andrea Lee views life as a creative adventure and puts what she learns into her business and live events. Author and coach Pamela Slim is drawn to great ideas in all aspects of her business and life. The creative life is a way of seeing possibilities and taking action on them.

5. Make a plan. Taking risks and being spontaneous can still follow a plan, which is what 9 innovative thinkersall agreed was the key to success in these conversations on creativity and innovation.  Being able to put your creative ideas into action is what separates wild ideas that go nowhere from wild ideas that pay off. Look at the big picture. Chunk it down into action steps. Map out the details and set deadlines. Stay accountable to yourself and someone else so things get done. This is where the rubber hits the road and where the success stories are born.
There’s a big difference between a wild idea that pays off  and a distracting bright shiny object.Follow these tips to turn your wild ideas into profitable paths to happiness, prosperity, and innovation.

About the Author:
Nancy Marmolejo is an award winning business owner who teaches entrepreneurs how to stand out as experts in their fields. The founder of the highly successful Viva Visibility, Nancyrecently launched a free virtual chat series “The Wild Idea That Paid Off” to encourage entrepreneurs to think broadly and to encourage curiosity. With 8 forward thinkers joining her, this series is designed to give concrete steps to turning your wild ideas into profitable, lucrativepayoffs. Sign up here.

Beauty vs the Beast — who wins?

I’m celebrating “How to Sell Women” day today. (Okay, I completely made that up.) But it certainly DOES feel like everywhere you turn around there’s yet more proof that women are changing the face of commerce.

So, instead of an ezine this week, I decided to do a quick email to let you know about an opportunity to learn more about selling to women plus give you some juicy intel I picked up at Yanik’s Underground event.

First, the opportunity. There’s still time to get in on Lisa Sasevich’s “How To Sell To Women” free virtual event. People are RAVING about the content. If you want to learn how to inspire, honor and serve women at the highest level so they can step up and say “YES” to themselves, this is for you.

Here’s the link to get your complimentary “virtual seat“.

Now, let me share some of the HOT new conversion strategies I picked up at Yanik.

What’s in: Beautiful online sales letters and videos (beautiful meaning lots of graphics and pictures and just very pleasing to the eye, and sales letters meaning those long-copy sales letters that are online and you have to scroll forever to find the price)

What’s out: Ugly sales letters and videos

Why is this big news? Well, if you studied under the Dan Kennedy School of Copywriting, like I did, you learned that ugly sold better. Ugly sales letters and also ugly packaging on products (there were no videos back then so that didn’t come up). He compared it to a flea market where the best-selling booth was also the messiest. Everything strewn all over in a chaotic fashion and for some reason that was the booth everyone shopped at.

Well, it looks like the tide has shifted and beauty is coming into its own. Now, no one actually talked about WHY beauty was beating ugly, but here’s what I think is going on. Back when Dan was doing most of his copywriting and testing, men were the main buyers of products and services. That doesn’t mean men don’t value beauty — Steve Jobs clearly had beauty as one of his core values — but I suspect overall, men see beauty differently than women. And because of that, they may be less interested in how the sales copy (and product packaging) looks and more interested in what the content says.

Women, on the other hand, are very conscious of how a sales page or product looks. And they are especially conscious around the design of their own marketing materials.

Now this isn’t to say you don’t need good copywriting anymore. ? Yes you still need strong, persuasive writing on your sales letters and web pages. But the difference is now you also need to consider the graphics on those pages as well.

Watch for my ezine next week where I’ll share more tips and strategies from the event. And if you want to learn more about selling to women, make sure you join Lisa for her “How to Sell to Women” virtual event, which is going on now.

Are You Making This Common Mistake That’s Costing You Sales? (Big Time)

Awhile ago, I was attending an event and I met someone who offered a service I needed. We exchanged cards and promised to be in touch when we returned home.

When I got home I turned over all those business cards to my team member as usual to enter into our database for follow up. It was about a month later when I realized this potential vendor had not contacted me or followed up with me. I no longer had the cards so I couldn’t look through them and I couldn’t remember her name or her business name and I didn’t have the time to comb through my database looking for her.

Needless to say, she didn’t get the project. And the sad part was I was ready to give it to her, that was why I thought of her a month later. But she hadn’t followed up so she never got a chance to get the business. I ended up finding someone else.

The morale of the story — you need to follow up with your prospects. Period.

Look, I know you’re spending a lot of time and money attracting leads into your business. You’re networking at live events, networking virtually using social networking, blogging, speaking, and probably a million other things.

So when those leads DO flow into your business, are you following up with them? Are you treating them like the gold they are?

I see this mistake happen over and over again. Entrepreneurs spend so much time and effort to bring leads home and then they never follow up. All those business cards get piled up on their desk never to get into a database. They have every intention of sending out a regular ezine for those online leads but somehow it never gets done. They rarely pick up the phone to connect with a warm (or even hot) prospect.

And then they wonder why their business isn’t growing and they struggle getting clients in the door.

There’s just no substitute for following up. (Have you heard the saying “the fortune is in the follow up?”) Giving someone your business card is NOT the same thing as following up with them. You’re relying on them to not lose your business card AND to remember the solution you offer when they’re ready for it. That just isn’t realistic.

You need to be the one to initiate, build and maintain the relationship. You need to be the one to remind the prospect about the solution you offer and how it will transform their life. Not the other way around.

Now I realize you’ve probably heard this before and you probably already know it. So if you’re not consistently following up, why not? What’s stopping you?

Most likely it’s 2 reasons — time and fear.

You’re busy and you don’t have the time to properly follow up. And you’re afraid you’re bugging your prospects if you do follow up.

I get it. I really do. I was there myself once. But here’s the thing — if you don’t get over those 2 issues, you’re never going to grow your business or enjoy consistent cash flow.

So here are 2 quick fixes to help you get started:

1. Who said YOU have to be the one to follow up? Get some help! Notice in my story I said I handed the business cards I collected to someone on my team to enter into my database. I did not say I was the one doing the entering. Have someone help you. (And the best part is you can probably justify the cost of this help because it directly impacts your bottom line).

2. Follow up doesn’t have to be calling people up and asking for work. Do things people will look forward to getting — send them articles, tips, or maybe something funny that entertains them. Think about ways you can stay in contact with your prospects that’s not about just making sales calls.

Remember, it typically takes 7 “touches” before a prospect turns into a client (and in the “new” economy it’s probably going to take a lot more). So don’t be discouraged if you’re first few attempts don’t turn into anything. Be persistent and consistent and eventually you’ll see your hard work paying off.