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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Viral Marketing Software

I just found a new software program that we bought and will be using shortly.

If you are a firm believer in viral marketing - and you should be - this software helps you build your list quicker than without. It lets people refer their friends to you, and get a special bonus in the process.

We were looking for something that could do this for us a couple of months ago. This isn't something you can plug in quickly without a lot of thought because of spam issues. But thie software seems to have a lot going for it. Plus it integrates with many of the top email programs.

Visit www.visionofsuccess.com/vg and watch the video.

One warning - even though it says its easy and non-technical to install, it does take a bit of configuration. If you work with a webmaster, or have knowledge in working with your server (ftp-ing, databasing, etc) you'll be ok. If your site is through us, we can easily help you set it up as well. Otherwise, I think its going to be a great way to help build your list!


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Monday, February 26, 2007

Don't Try It, Do It

I've been listening to a program by Robert Anthony. He made a wonderful statement that has stayed with my all weekend.

Trying Is Lying

Think about it for a minute. If you try something, aren't you actually doing it? If you are doing it, you no longer are trying it. So any time you say you will try something, you're actually lying and saying you have no desire to follow through. They minute you move into actually "trying" it, you're doing it.

So the next time you decide to do something with your business, don't agree to try it. Agree to do it. Again, it all comes down to taking action. Once you agree to take action, you'll do it.

And you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in just a short time.


Friday, February 23, 2007

New Social Networking Site For Families

Have you been out to any of the social networking sites, trying to drum up business?

While you may have heard of MySpace and LinkedIn, what about the newest market entry Cozi

Cozi has unique features for families, and can help you network with other friends and families on a personal basis. Set up your family calendar or create your shopping list. It's an interesting approach to help the 30+ population stay on track.



Thursday, February 22, 2007

Make Your Postcards Work For Your Business

I've been sending out postcards lately, and wanted to share my results.

With my postcards, I have one course of action: visiting my website and sign up for a free report. That's it. It's simple to read, and requires one course of action.

I've had a 4% signup ratio based on the 1,000 postcards I've sent out.

I'm not asking for a sale. I'm not asking to speak with a person. I just give them the option to head to my website, and sign up for a free report.

And I've had a 4% sign up ratio.

What results have you found with postcards?


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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Are you still using a MSN or AOL account?

I still see it all the time. As a business, the business owner promotes her website as ABCCompany.com, and then lists her email as ABC@aol.com

AOL and MSN were made for easy access to the Internet for individual people. I myself had an AOL account for years. But several years ago, they began "protecting" individuals more than a business owner. And that's when I turned off my account.

AOL makes it easy for anyone to list an email as spam. With just a single click, you can instantly label an email as spam - even if you asked for it and are expecting it. Maybe it's been a bad day, and you're tired when you open up your email to 100 messages. So you just start clicking "spam" to get rid of them.

But once a server has been labled as a spammer, AOL will no longer accept email. Which means even if you send an email asking a question, I may never be able to respond. AOL simply will not accept my message.

Now think of that from a business owners perspective. You should NEVER block a prospects email from coming into your business. But if you use AOL, that's exactly what you're doing.

Rumor has it, both AOL and MSN are now blocking out email messages based on the length of the email as well. Which means if you are sending a detailed response to a client, it may get blocked!

What can you do to protect yourself as a business owner? Set up your email account based on your domain name. If your company is ABCCompany.com, use you email as abc@ABCCompany.com Your designer or hoster should easily be able to do this. Not only will it make sure you begin receiving all of your email, you'll look more professional too.


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Friday, February 16, 2007

Do it the normal way

I just read through some of my email. In one of the ezines I read, I was sent over to another website to sign up for a series of free reports and a training class. The information was good, so I thought I'd sign up.

Two boxes of information were requested: my name and my email.

I typed in my name, tabbed down and typed in my email. It came back with an error, and asked me to put in a valid email. I went back to the boxes, and discovered they reversed the normal order of the boxes. Most people ask for information as:


But on this sales page, they asked for:


Why confuse people? How many people do what I did, and never bother typing in the info again? These people are probably losing a great deal of business because they are asking for standard information in a non-standard way.

Don't confuse people. Do it the way that is expected. You'll get a much higher response rate.

Do you agree? I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Thursday, February 15, 2007

Book Review: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

I found a book last week on the New shelf in my library. The title - Leaving Microsoft to Change the World - intrigued me, so I checked it out.

The book is about the author's life. John Wood worked at Microsoft during its heavy growth period, and ended up working in Asia the last part of his career. During one of his rare vacations, he ended up trekking in Nepal with a guide, and saw first hand how remote some villages are. Though the people had a strong desire to learn, the tools just weren't readily available. So he pledged to the town he would return with books.

Room To Read was born.

Though it took another couple of years, he soon became disenchanted with working 20 hour days, and began putting his heart and soul into his mission of providing books and education to those that need it most.

To me, it's amazing that you can educate a girl in one of these areas for a mere $250 a year. For $250, you can supply a girl with a bike to get to the school, a backpack filled with supplies, and tuition for the year's worth of schooling. Amazing.

I've always been passionate about education, reading, and helping people achieve the most out of life. To me its very sad that in America, with everything available to us, not everyone in our population is graduating high school. Shouldn't that just be a given here, since its our birth right?

I applaud people like John Wood who have dedicated their lives to attempting to educate the world's population. Education is the key to survival. The more education we have, the more we question, and the more we can contribute to the population as a whole.

If you want to check out more on this wonderful cause, go to www.RoomToRead.org


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How do you flow?

I was working with a client today. She has a pretty complex site, with a lot of working pages to bring people in through various pages.

In order to understand the process, I flowcharted each piece - and discovered some holes along the way.

When is the last time you looked at your business under the microscope? You may not be able to "see" your business yourself. Sometimes you are so close to the situation, it takes a second pair of eyes to see what's truly happening.

You may be leaving money on the table if you don't have each piece of your business working in the best manner.



Monday, February 12, 2007

No More Direct Marketing?

Imagine a world without direct mail. How would you get the word out to potential customers? What would you do differently?

Well in Colorado, and five other states, we may find out. Lawmakers are considering a bill that will create a "no junk mail list".

This means consumers could opt out of junk mail. Anyone mailing to a someone on the list could be fined up to $500 - similar to "no call lists" already in place.

Aren't we taking this all a little too far?

Direct mail promotions aren't cheap for the businesses. If a business chooses to use direct mail, chances are they are putting out several hundred - or even thousand - dollars for the promotion. They are willing to spend the money because it's working for them.

As a receiver, what harm is mail causing? You may have a few pieces a day to go through and throw away, but I'll bet you find something to use along the way. Maybe you're having a party on the weekend, and you save that pizza coupon. Or your favorite store sends you a 20% off coupon for the coming week. I love this kind of "junk mail" and it makes me head out and spend.

Supporters say it will cut down on identity theft. Really? If someone wants to get at your identity, are they really going to look at your pizza coupons? Maybe, but I'll bet if they want it bad enough, they'll find another way.

Supporters also say it will help the environment. This I agree with. We all have to do our part to help reduce waste, and start looking towards a better future. But is junk mail really causing a huge problem with the environment? A lot of junk mail is printed on recycled paper, and a lot of it ends back in the recycle track. Shouldn't we be more worried about disposable diapers and SUV's?

Only time will tell. But for now, I'll be heading to the post office this week with several hundred postcards in hand. They work for me - I received a 3% response rate last week!


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Monday, February 05, 2007

After The SuperBowl

So what did you think of the ads?

Every year, companies spend millions of dollars for a 30 second ad. But while some are great, and it's fun to watch, is it really worth it to spend millions for one shot at success?

See what you think:

The thing I noticed by watching this year's ads is a lot of big name players were missing. Could it be they've discovered they can get a lot more for the buck by advertising online?



Thursday, February 01, 2007

Who Needs The SuperBowl

I realize millions of people actually view the SuperBowl for the game, but millions more view it just for the ads.

I fall into the "ad" category. I always love watching the supposed greatest ads of the year. It's amazing to me to see what people will spend millions of dollars on.

But thanks to the Internet, you no longer have to wait for the SuperBowl. You can head to YouTube and see the pre SuperBowl ads.

Check them out.

Isn't technology amazing?