Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ask PW — What’s the best way to use cold calling?

Ricky Blunt submitted this question — he wants to call folks via a telemarketing firm because he believes the phone is one of the best ways to establish rapport but he’s also heard if you call people (versus having them call you) it doesn’t work as well.

Ask PWWell Ricky — first off, thanks for sending me a question about calling people. I rarely get questions about offline tactics, like cold calling, so this is fabulous.

And yes, you’re absolutely right — getting folks on the phone IS a great way to connect with people. And, in fact, if you need clients and cash flow RIGHT NOW, there is no better way to see that happen than by picking up the phone.

That said, cold calling is a whole different animal. It’s not easy to get strangers to stay on the phone and talk to you and you have to prepared for a lot of people to hang up on you.

I personally believe it’s better if you can combine a phone call with a larger direct response campaign. For instance, start with an email or a postcard with some sort of offer. Maybe you combine with some content as well.

And then when you call, you have a reason to call. You can ask them if they got the email/postcard, if they’re interested in the offer, if they have questions, etc.

Then you can send a second email asking if they got your voice mail (assuming you left a voice mail because you didn’t get them in person) if they have questions, and reminding them of any deadlines.

Then you can even call again, making sure they’re getting everything.

See how that works?

And if this is a warm list, where you have some sort of relationship with, make sure you remind them of that relationship right up front in the email or postcard and when you call them.

So what are your thoughts about calling folks? Have you ever done it in your biz? How did it work out for you if you did? 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.

Cinnamon Rolls, Breast Cancer and Your Business — How Doing Good Can Grow Your Business

It can make good marketing sense to partner with a nonprofit or cause.

Consider what my marathon friends did when they were raising money to participate in the 3-Day Walk (you walk 60 miles in 3 days to promote breast cancer awareness and raise money for research). They approached a local restaurant called Backburner, which was famous for their cinnamon rolls. For a week, every time someone bought a cinnamon roll, they donated $1 to my friends for their walk.

I personally hadn’t heard of the restaurant, but when I found this out, my husband and I went and had breakfast there (complete with a cinnamon roll of course!).

So this turned into a win-win for everyone. My friends won because they were able to get donations for their walk. Susan G Komen won because they got more money to donate to research. The restaurant won because they got additional promotion and good will, helping out a good cause. And I won because I got to eat a yummy breakfast and discover a new restaurant. (We’re ignoring the calories I consumed there.)

More than ever before, consumers are socially-minded. In many cases, they want to know the businesses they patronize are also socially- minded. Connecting your business to a good cause is about more than just making yourself “feel good”; it can also make good business sense.

So what are some ways to start? (Other than writing a check.) Well, here are a few ideas you can use:

1. Jenn August did a whole telesummit around giving money to various causes. You could do the same.

2. If a summit is too much work, just do one teleclass, charge a low fee, and let people know proceeds will also help support your cause.

3. Have a sale and let people know a percentage of proceeds are going to support a nonprofit.

4. Offer to give a product of yours for free if people donate. Or, put together a special teleclass only for people who donate. (I would put a time frame around this if you do – for instance, allow 48 hours or a few days to donate.)

5. Put links to your favorite nonprofits in your newsletter or on your website. (But don’t make it so prominent you encourage people to click away from your site and not support YOU.)

6. Give away your time. If you’re a service professional and you find your client pipeline has slowed down or dried up, donating your time to a nonprofit can be a good way to jump-start your business. The exposure can help you find new clients, and you can make it known you support their cause. (And don’t forget to get a testimonial.) Now, be careful with this strategy. I’ve used it myself, but make sure you don’t go too crazy donating your time or you could end up getting really stressed- out when you client work picks up again.

But whatever you do, make sure this is coming from the heart. People can sense if you’re not being sincere, so make sure you truly do believe in the cause, if you’re going to publically help support it.

Why Taking Care of Yourself is Good for Your Business

I grew up in the Midwest (Wisconsin) where hard work is not just valued, but revered.

Taking care of yourself is not.

Of all the lessons I’ve had to learn in my business (and trust me there have been many) this is probably one of the hardest for me, and one I have to make a point of remembering.

Maybe this sounds familiar — you work and work until something happens and you stop for awhile. Maybe you get sick. Maybe you get over tired. Maybe a personal emergency happens (and be honest — it probably happened because you were neglecting your personal life to begin with) and you have to drop everything to deal with it.

Whatever it is, outside circumstances force you to take a break. You’re not taking a break for YOU.

Everyone is different, but for me I would battle feelings of guilt when I would take some time off. I should be working. There’s a to-do list sitting on my desk I should be going through. But the reality is your business is like your house. There is ALWAYS something you could be doing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should (or have to) be doing it.

If any of this is sounding familiar, read on. I’m going to share 3 reasons why you need to take regular breaks and be good to yourself.

1. There’s only one “you.” As an entrepreneur, your energy level is intimately tied to the success of your business. If you are constantly sick or have no energy, how on earth can you grow your business? And, for that matter, when you aren’t feeling well, do you really think you’re giving your clients the best service you could be? For the sake of your business and your clients, you owe it to yourself to take time off so you can be the best you can be during work times.

2. Get more done faster. Which scenario sounds better for your business — you wake at 7 am, exhausted and stressed, because you haven’t gotten enough sleep having gone to bed at midnight (and not falling asleep until 2 am) trying to finish “one last thing?”  Or you wake at 7 am (or maybe 6 am) refreshed and energized for your work day, because you knocked off work at 5 pm, took some time off for yourself or your family, and was asleep by 10 pm?

I think you know the answer.

Yes, it can be very seductive to try and get “one more thing” done before you turn in for the night. But the reality is, you need your sleep. And you need time to unwind and get away from the computer before trying to fall asleep, or you aren’t going to sleep well.

Then, what ends up happening? You wake up dragging. So you’re not working as fast or as efficient as you could be. And you don’t finish everything you need to during a normal work day. So you try and catch up at night — and then you screw up your sleep for another night.

It’s a vicious cycle. But if you can flip that, start getting a good night’s sleep each night, you’ll find that you have more energy during the day, you’ll get more done, and you don’t have to stay up late to finish those last to-do items.

This one can be tough to reverse. Be good to yourself. You might have to reorganize your schedule or to-do list for a week or two, so you have less to do during the day and can actually knock off at a reasonable time each night until you get yourself on a regular schedule.

3. Projects expand to fit the amount of time allowed to them. I never took physics but if this isn’t a physics law, it should be. As a freelancer, I experienced this all the time. During my slow periods, I still found myself working nearly the same amount as during my busy periods.

If I had 1 hour of work to do, and all day to do it, somehow it would take me all day to do it. If I had 6 hours of work to do and 4 hours to do it, I might not get everything done, but I would definitely zip through most of my to-do list.

It’s like when you’re about to go on vacation. There’s always this list of stuff you want to get done. You might not get everything done, but you’re probably more efficient the week before your vacation then the month prior.

Now if you start valuing taking time off for yourself, for instance, maybe one day you decide you’re knocking off at 2 to go to a movie or take a nap or go to your kid’s soccer game, you’ll probably discover you get more done that day then you do on the days where you have a huge amount of open time available and no set “end” to your day.

The end result of all of this? You’ll end up working less hours overall, but during those hours you do work, you’ll probably be more efficient, productive, and happy (and you’ll also see your business grow more effortlessly and your clients will also be more satisfied).

 

I am on a RANT!

You can still get my report “The Dirty Little Secret About Direct Response/Internet Marketing: Why What You’ve Been Taught Isn’t Working for You and What You Can Do to Turn it Around” FREE on Kindle until Monday, Oct 21. Just go here: http://tinyurl.com/mpwreport

(Don’t have a Kindle? That’s okay — it also works on a iPad or tablet with a free Kindle app.)

And I would love to hear what you think about it — leave me a comment or better yet, post a review on Amazon about it.

Do you know this dirty little secret about Internet Marketing?

One of the things that breaks my heart is how misunderstood Internet Marketing is.

Now it’s not the fact that Internet Marketing is misunderstood per se, but it’s how entrepreneurs (especially entrepreneurs who consider themselves conscious or heart-centered) make poor decisions based on that misunderstanding.

And then those poor decisions lead them to say things like: “maybe this is a sign from the Universe I shouldn’t have a biz” or “maybe I’m not cut out to have a biz and I should go get a j-o-b” or any of the other doubts and fears that start yapping at you when things aren’t going so hot.

Internet Marketing in and of itself is simply a tool — a way to leverage your time, energy and marketing dollars so you can market your biz on a bigger scale. Rather than you bringing in leads and making sales on a one-on-one basis (or, to be more exact, YOU doing everything on a one-on-one basis) you can allow the Internet to help you out so you can market one-to-many.

But the problem is when people think about Internet Marketing (which is based on direct response marketing [i.e. direct mail] where the marketing copy and campaign gets people to take action without you having to be in the middle) they think hype. They think sales-y. They think manipulation.

They think sleeze.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There IS a way to craft your Internet Marketing presence and use those tools to market one-to-many without being hype-y or sales-y or sleeze-y.

But before you can get to that point, you need to make some choices. And that’s where my special report: “The Dirty Little Secret About Direct Response/Internet Marketing: Why What You’ve Been Taught Isn’t Working for You and What You Can Do to Turn it Around” comes in.

And the best part? You can get it for free on Kindle from now until Monday, Oct 21. Just go here: http://tinyurl.com/mpwreport

(You don’t even need a Kindle — if you have an iPad or tablet with a free Kindle app that works too!)

Here’s the link again to download it: http://tinyurl.com/mpwreport — and if you like it, would love to have you share a review on Amazon as well!

Ask PW — Do you think long web pages are still the trend?

Sara submitted this question to me via email (thank you Sara!) and I’m quite excited about it because I think what Sara (and any of you who are wondering about this too) are actually asking is a different question.

Yes you are asking if you need to write long web pages. But the deeper question here is “do you have to do all that direct response ‘hype’ in order to be successful?”

And that means there are 2 answers — yes, long web pages still work (I don’t know if I would call them a trend, but they do work because you need space and time to give someone enough information to actually make a decision whether to move forward with you or not) and no, they don’t have to be hype-y for you to have them work for you.

What I’d like to propose is a reframe — rather than focus on the length of sales letters (or emails or opt in page or really anything) let’s focus on making them interesting, relevant and maybe even entertaining for your ideal prospect.  Let’s focus on crafting an invitation to your ideal prospects to step up and become your ideal clients. Let’s focus on creating an online showroom your ideal prospects and clients will love to hang out in, getting to know you and learning if what you offer is what they’re looking for.

Ahhhh. Doesn’t that feel better?

So what are your thoughts about long web pages? 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.

An open letter to my tribe

This is a difficult post for me to write. Not only am I opening myself and revealing my vulnerability but I’m also doing something that conventional wisdom would say is a mistake.

I’m delaying the start of my new program “Websites that Go Ka-Ching! How to Write a Website You Love — AND that Gets You Results.” It was supposed to start today but the new date is Oct 29 (2 weeks from today).

This isn’t something I’m doing lightly. I grew up in Wisconsin — being responsible (a.k.a. starting a program when I said I was going to start it) is a core value of mine.

But last week something happened that has caused me to “let go and let God.” My health took a turn for the worst.
I’m not sick exactly — let’s just call it female problems and let it go at that — but I literally could not work much of last week.

My health has always been something I could count on. More than that, I’ve prided myself on my good health. And to have it taken away from me was scary. Worst — because it was taken away I couldn’t do the work I needed to do to start my program tomorrow, which also hit me hard.

But there was literally nothing I could do. I had no choice but to take a step back and rest. So I took one more step and rather than fight what was happening and make myself more sick (or make myself sick with worry), I instead chose to be at peace and breathe into it. I chose to let go and let God.

(Note — this is so NOT in my comfort zone. But 2013 seems to be the year where I’m finding I need to learn a different way to run my biz. I know I promised to share more about this a few weeks ago, and I will, but alas when we walk this path I’m finding timing can be something of an adventure.)

When I finally decided it was okay to delay the start of my program, suddenly things opened up. I realized by delaying it I could tie in the start of my new podcast, which I’ll kick off next week with website critiques and a Google Hangout. (More on my podcast very soon.) I’m also going to be releasing a special report later this week that is part of the foundation to creating a website you love and that loves you back.

So at the end of the day I’m not sure how all this is going to turn out — my gut says it will be better than before, my head isn’t quite on board — and maybe this is yet another 2×4 “love tap” from the Universe (see above regarding being out of my comfort zone) but there’s no question this will certainly be interesting ride.

And you, as my valued and dear tribe, will have a front seat to watch it all play out (and you can bet I’ll be chiming in as we go along with my thoughts and analysis).

Has this ever happened to you? Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments below.

 

Is a new website in your future?

if you’re someone who is not happy with your website, I’d like to take a moment and chat with you.

You see, I’ve been in your shoes. I too had a website I wasn’t happy with a few years ago. And that website was one of the main reasons why I suffered with a feast-famine biz.

There’s no question you can limp along with a bad website (which is probably why you haven’t taken the time to fix it yet — because there are so many other things you feel like you need to be doing other than dealing with your website). But the reality is a bad website can affect EVERYTHING in you biz — and if you don’t like what you’re seeing (your leads, your sales, your cash flow) then it’s time to sit down and get serious about fixing your website.

Think about it — if energetically you know your website isn’t up to snuff, are you REALLY going to spend time and energy to market yourself? Because deep down you know the more you market yourself, the more people are going to go to your website, and there’s a part of you that really doesn’t WANT anyone seeing your site.

And it’s actually worse than that because if you already suspect your website isn’t actually converting visitors to leads and clients, then why on earth would you spend time, energy and money to send folks there?

So your marketing suffers.

Which means your biz suffers.

If you see yourself here, then I’d like to invite you to join me in my brand new program “Websites that Go Ka-Ching! How to Write a Website You Love – AND that Gets You Results.”

Skip the reading and go here to sign up now.

I designed this program to give you everything you need to create an awesome website that attracts your ideal clients to you without being hype-y or sales-y. You’ll love your site AND your ideal clients will too. (Imagine — your biz thriving with the perfect ideal clients who you love working with and they love working with you. That’s what finally taking the time to fix your website can do for you.)

And right now, you can get in on Early Bird Pricing and a special 3-pay plan.

Here’s that link again where you can read success stories from some of my previous clients who have used my teachings to ramp up their results – and where you can get the details on “Websites that Go Ka-Ching! How to Write a Website You Love – AND that Gets You Results.”

 

Your Website Marketing Plan — Your Guide to Launching Your Website to the World!

Congratulations! You’ve just completed the finishing touches on your brand new website, and now you’re ready to launch it to the world!

Except…how do you do that exactly? It’s not like you upload it and your ideal clients magically find you.

So, what you need is a launch guide for your new site. And you just happen to be in the right place, because I’m going to walk you through what you should do.

And the best part? This even works if you DON’T have a new site and all you’re looking for is a bump in traffic. Wahoo!

First off, you need a message. Your message could be “Hey check out my new site,” which is okay, but unless you’re only talking to people who have some sort of relationship with you (friends or those who have been following you awhile) they probably won’t go look.

A better message would be something around the free gift you’re giving away on your site. (What? You don’t have a free gift? Okay, that’s first on the list to get done!)

You could also write a blog post and/or shoot a video with some content in it from your freebie — maybe you highlight one tip or you include content that’s NOT in the freebie — and post in on your blog with a call to action to sign up for the full freebie to get the rest of the tips.

Once you know what your message is, now it’s time to start posting it. Places to start:

  • Your list — send as an ezine or a message (although your list already has the freebie, so you may want to do a variation of the content piece)
  • Post a blurb on Facebook with a link to the article or video
  • Post the article or video itself on Facebook
  • Create a graphic with a quote from the free gift with your branding on it — post that on both Facebook and Pinterest
  • Tweet about the article or video
  • Post a blurb on Linked In with a link to the article or video
  • Post the article or video itself on Linked In
  • Post a blurb or the content itself on any other social networking site you use
  • Create a press release about either your new site and/or the piece of content you created and submit on both free and paid portals
  • Talk about it on your podcast, if you have one. (On a separate note, podcasts are making a comeback so you may want to look into hosting one.)
  • If you make a video, make sure you post it on YouTube (and you may want to create a video in addition to the blog post so you can create more traction)
  • Create some Facebook ads around the content
  • Be creative! Can you think of any other places to either post the content or post a blurb with a link to the content?

Hopefully this has given you some good ideas to start boosting traffic to your website even if you don’t have anything going on in your biz right now. Also, I want to make sure you see the big picture here — which is to find ways to take ONE thing (one piece of content, one event, etc.) and reuse and repackage it to give you visibility on multiple platforms. That’s the key — the more you can do this, the easier it’s going to be to leverage your online marketing.

Website Critique (aka Paranormal Investigation of Websites by Michele PW Monster Hunter)

This paranormal investigation report covers my findings for the website at http://www.TheProsWeightLossCorner.com.

I chose that site for a couple of reasons — first because it shares many of the same “monster signs” I discovered on other sites, and second the owner wrote a nice note to help convince me to choose her site. (Note — never underestimate the power of a nice note to make things happen in your life.)

If you go to the site, you’ll see it’s new and it’s based around promoting her new podcast. So here are 2 things I would do differently to keep the Website Killer Monster from turning it into a haunted site:

1. The banner is too big. Actually it’s more than that — there’s nothing on the banner that would cause you to scroll down. There’s no subhead or language that speaks to her ideal client so they know they’re in the right place, there’s no picture of the host (so we can start to build a personal connection), there’s no indication this is even a podcast and there’s no place to collect an email.

Whenever possible I like to build an opt in for a gift in the actual banner itself — that way it’s right there at the top of every page. I also like to have language that immediately lets your ideal clients know they’re in the right place if they want a solution to what’s keeping them up at night.

2. Speaking of ideal clients, really sinking into who they are and crafting copy that attracts them and creates a buying environment where they feel heard and understood is a very important part of keeping the Website Killer Monster at bay.

Right now it feels like the site is only to speaking to “people who want to lose weight” which is waaaayyyy too big to talk to. “People who want to lose weight” covers everyone who wants to lose “just 5 more pounds” to those who just got diagnosed with a disease and want to lose weight for their health, to women who suddenly gained 20 pounds when they hit 40 to those who have struggled with their weight their entire life and more.

All of them have different conversations in their head and different things that are keeping them up at night, which is why the message needs to be personalized to each one.

My advice is to sink into one ideal client group and really write to them. (I can see glimmers of who I think she wants as her ideal client but it’s not quite there yet.) And if this is something you want even more help around, make sure you join me for my FREE training on Thursday at 11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern “Is the Website Killer Monster Haunting Your Website? 3 Steps to Banish Him for Good So You See More Leads, Clients and Money From Your Website.” You can sign up for it here: http://www.MichelePW.com/monstercall

(Plus there’s still time to submit your site for a paranormal investigation after you sign up.)

Here’s that link again: http://www.MichelePW.com/monstercall