Saturday, May 30, 2009

Importance of Good Sales Copy

Good day to you. I hope your Saturday is shaping up to be a
fabulous day. It's cooking here -- we're baking in 94 degree
sunshine -- but a dip in the pool should cool me down for a

This week I wanted to continue our discussion about the
biggest mistakes businesses make with their websites. Last
time I spoke about the importance of search engine
optimization on your website.

Today I want to cover the importance of your copy. I've
seen a lot of people spend a ton of money on website
design. Then when I ask them if they want help with their
sales copy, they say "No thanks, I'm going to write it

My first reaction is always, "Are you sure you want to do
that?" As a former Adjunct Lecturer of English at Queens
College (City University of New York), I can honestly say
that most people can't write a sentence, let alone a

Between lack of organization, inability to string thoughts
together, poor word choice, lots of typos, and a million
other grammatical problems, most people could not write a
compelling sales letter if their lives depended upon it.

You may be different. You may be part of the one percent
out there who can do it on your own ... but if you lack
formal education in writing and have no real experience
writing sales copy for a living, then you should turn it
over to a professional.

That said, here's some advice:

1. Use compelling keywords and phrases. Go visit your
competitors' websites and look at their META tags in their
source code. Compile a list of the most critical words for
your business, product or service and start looking for
ways to incorporate those keywords and phrases into your
sales copy. This will keep you focused and also help your
search engine ranking.

2. Do not start out writing a sales letter from scratch.
Instead videotape yourself talking about your business,
product or service -- or tape record yourself -- and then
just ramble for 30 minutes. Then play it back and take
notes. Use those notes for an outline and start organizing
your thoughts so they flow and tell a story. Then start
hanging flesh on those bones.

3. Free write -- don't draft -- just write whatever
thoughts come to mind and don't worry about time spent,
spelling errors, punctuation errors or other grammatical
road blocks. The object here is to open the flood gates --
then go back and start distilling the best keywords and
thoughts -- and from that formulate an outline, etc.

4. Use emotional hooks to grab the reader's attention early
and often. The best way to do this is to tell a story. I
have seen many boring, me-too products and services out
there. People bring these to me and ask me to make them
more compelling. Usually, I ask the creator or founder to
tell me why and how they created their business or product
or service. That's when you see the sparkle in their eye,
and hear the emotion in their voice. That's what you need
to write about. Forget about all that sales stuff. Write a
compelling story that grabs readers' attention and you win.
The object is not to sell but to get them to read the whole
sales letter. If they read it to the end, you have them
hooked and you can ask for the sale. If you can't use a
real story, then make one up.

5. Paint word pictures. Use words and phrases and
descriptions that describe the features, advantages and
benefits of your product or service, and be sure to focus
on the emotional reward. If your product saves people time,
then use words to describe what they can do with all of
their new free time. They can spend time tanning on the
beach, smelling the ocean, listening to it roar, while they
lift their sunglasses to look at their watch and smile. They
have all the time in the world to relax and sip margaritas.
Can't you picture yourself there now?

6. Use a spell checker. Use a punctuation checker. Leave
time to proofread. Have someone else read it. Put it down
for a few hours for a day or two. Then reread it again.

7. At the end of the writing exercise, before you publish
it on your website, ask yourself an honest question: would
you buy your product or service based upon your sales
letter? If not, go back to the beginning and start again.

I recently came across a VERY novel software tool that will
allow you to blast your sales messages to cell phones. So if
you have been compiling a prospect and customer database,
and are wondering why people are not responding to your
email campaigns, it may be time to consider using this
tool and method instead:

Text My Readers

I hope this info is helpful to you. Send me your questions,
and I'll be happy to respond with some free advice. If you
need help with a sales letter or email series, I may still
be able to fit you into my June/July calendar. Just send
$375.00 via PayPal to (50% deposit) to
hold a spot open, and the balance is due upon delivery!

Until next time,


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 101

For those of you in the States, I hope you are having a fun
and relaxing Memorial Day weekend, and also taking time out
to remember our fallen heroes.

This week I wanted to continue our ongoing discussion about
the biggest mistakes businesses make with their web sites.
This week we focus on search engine optimization.

It amazes me how people will spend outlandish sums of money
without implementing basic search engine optimization
strategies. It's like building a store in the dessert and
hoping people will find you in a sandstorm. It doesn't

The most frequent lament I hear from prospects and clients
is that they have invested in a web site but they have no

Now there are many ways to optimize a site and many tactics
you can employ to help you achieve prominence in the search
engines. Some of these are known as white hat tactics
(legal, good) and black hat tactics (illegal, bad). Black
hat tactics tend to try to exploit weaknesses in search
engines, but these only work for a short time. I only
suggest white hat tactics or you risk getting banned.

What kinds of things can help you to optimize your site?
First, check your META tags. View the source code for your
home page and look for these types of META tags towards the
top of your web page code:

meta name="keywords" content="authors, writers,
publishers, publish my book, self publishing, book
publishing, ebooks, ebook publishing, ebook publisher, how
to sell books, self publisher"

meta name="description" content="Get published instantly
with EbookoMatic."

These tags are from site Note how the
keywords reflect the nature of my site content and use
phrases that I believe likely prospects would use to find
my site in the search engines. The same for the description
tag. Without these simple tags, my site would be invisible
to the search engines. If your site is missing these two
tags, then you need to start employing them on every web

How do you choose the most relevant words? Look at your
competitors' sites, view their source code, and start
compiling a list of words they are using. Then adopt that
list for your own site. Here's a good tool for this:

Pay Per Click Web Spy

Secondly, your site must contain relevant information, and
the deeper and wider that content, the more relevant your
site will be to the search engines. So if your site is about
Siberian Huskies, then your page content should reflect that
topics in as many pages as possible. Here's a great tool to
help you to search for and compile info for your site:

Instant Article Wizard

Thirdly, write a press release about your site and submit
it to the search engines. Make sure to use lots of keywords
in your press release, and wherever possible, link those
keywords to your site. Be sure to include references to your
site's URL (domain name) in the press release.

Where and how do you submit these press releases? While you
can research this and do it yourself, the best thing to do
is to purchase a press release submission tool. These tools
tend to come with a list of press release distribution sites
and will enable you to submit your releases in an automated
or semi-automated fashion. They save a great deal of time.
Submitting articles is a good method, too. I recommend:

Press Equalizer

Instant Article Submitter

Auto Submit Article Machine

Article Submitter

The more press releases you can publish -- I recommend
monthly -- the more back-links you will receive back to
your site. Since many of these press release distribution
sites have significant PR ratings from Google, your site's
popularity ranking will grow in Google, eventually giving
you a better organic position in the search engines.

Another thing you need to pay attention to is localized
advertising in the search engines using Google's AdWords.
If you have a substantial budget and know what you are
doing, you can achieve a lot of traffic and sales this way.
The best book about this topic is this one:

Authority AdWords Secrets Revealed

If you don't have a big budget, then you can use another
service which makes the whole keyword bidding process very
turnkey and hands-off but still generates good local
traffic. It's called LocalAdLink and can only be purchased
through a LocalAdLink Brand Builder like me. You can read
more about the service here:


I am using this service for several of my clients. The
Clubhouse Bar & Grille shows up locally in Tulsa whenever
someone searches for "bar" or "restaurant". If you want to
achieve prominence in your own backyard, then this could be
what you need -- very localized and very targeted down to
the zip code. Contact me for more information.

There's tons more to search engine optimization. Too much
to cover in this single email, but hopefully this gives you
some things to think about.

Until next time


Friday, May 15, 2009

Importance of Quality Graphics, Pix and Video

Good afternoon and I hope this email finds you all well.
We've had almost a month of continuous rain here in Tulsa,
OK and it feels more like I am living in Seattle these
days. Rain, rain everywhere. My lawn is like a great big
green, moldy sponge. Everything is sliding and re-arranging
itself. And the suicide rate is climbing. OK, I made that last
part up.

I've been in my new office at the SpiritBank Business
Resource Center now for two weeks, and I've never been more
focused or productive. It's nice getting away from the home
office and being among professionals again. Gee, I'm really
going to miss those weekday summer afternoons when the kids
are whining they have nothing to do and can Dad come and

This week I wanted to continue my talk about the biggest
mistakes businesses make with their web sites. This week we
focus on pictures and video. It amazes me how many web sites
suffer from bad supporting graphics. You can ruin anything,
even a professionally designed web site by inserting poor
quality clip art and pictures and videos.

What do your supporting graphics say about the quality of
your web site, services, and reputation? Now before anyone
starts suggesting that this is a case of the pot calling
the kettle black, I'll be the first to admit that my own
company web site needs a dose of my own medicine. But it's
a case of the cobbler's kids having the worst shoes with
me. I'm so busy making shoes for everyone else, there's
precious little time to make shoes for my own kids.

First, consider your logo, if you have one. Did you design
it yourself? Do you know how to design logos, select
colors, and arrange elements to be effective marketing
tools? If not, then it's time for a new logo. Early on, I
used a cheap service called which promises
to create a logo for $25.00. They are among the best, though
many of their logos look somewhat derivative. They have a
distinct style, but if it works for you, you might give
them a try. Other options might include:

My Logo Maker

Second, how is the quality of your pictures? Many people
use very low quality clip art to illustrate their site or
make a point. There are many high quality graphics
collections designed for this purpose and you need not
spend a ton of money to procure them. Here's a few you may

Super Easy Do It Yourself Graphics

Web 2.0 Graphics Pack

Art Explosion 800,000

Copy and Paste Graphics

Design Dashboard

Logo Creator

Web Graphics Creator

With regard to photos, make sure they are high quality.
Here I am not referring to the resolution. In fact, your
resolution for online viewing only has to be 72-100 dpi.
Anything higher will slow down your page load and encourage

What I am talking about is the artistic integrity of the
photo should be high. If you own a restaurant and your food
looks like standard fare then it won't attract new
customers. If you shoot a picture of car without a model
beside it, the car loses its sex appeal. Understand?

Likewise, photos of your staff should be professional
quality head shots taken by a professional photographer.
Three years ago I spent hours with a photographer in a
studio, doing wardrobe changes, assuming different
positions, different emotional attitudes, and from different
angles. The result was 300 pix and I only wound up using
about a half dozen to date. It takes time and patience to
capture people in the most favorable light.

Does your site feature a slide show? There are many scripts
available to help you achieve this effect. Here's an option:

Awesome Link Effects

Another method is to have someone use Flash to create a
cool "pan and scan" slide show. Here's an example. We took
all of the pix and developed the Flash interface to provide
that neat "pan and scan" zoom effect. The customer can
control the pix through the content management system we
provided with the site. Click on the banner on the left
side that says "Take Showroom Tour":

Are you using video? Too many people are posting videos to
YouTube and other third party services and then embedding
these videos in their web pages. While this video hosting
is free, it is amateurish and unprofessional and can
ultimately hurt your business.

YouTube and other video sharing services may enable you to
cheaply and easily add video to your site, but they also
include ads that can encourage people to visit competitors
or abandon your site in favor of surfing. Bad idea. You may
also accidentally serve up a video that is not appropriate
for your visiting audience. Can Girls truly Go Wild on a
plumber's site? You betcha.

Host videos on your own server or through Amazon's new
hosting services. It's cheaper than you think and allows
you control and to maintain respectability.

Always make sure your videos are well edited and include
good audio and music. Always make sure you have the rights
to use other people's images or music or voice. Don't
assume. Copyright infringements in my old cable TV world
could cost us upwards of $100K for each infraction. We were
damn careful. You should be, too.

There's many ways to present video on your site. Here's
some neat ways to dress up yours:

Video Skins Pro

Video Web Wizard 2

Instant Video Generator

Screen Cam Generator

Media Menu Producer

FLV Producer

So take a look at your graphics and supporting photos and
videos and ask yourself if you are truly putting your best
foot forward or putting your foot in your mouth!

And here's one more product I'd like you to check out. It
is a collection of vivid backgrounds that can be used on
ebook covers, banner ads, web pages, videos. You name it.
These are cool and very inexpensive:

Killer Abstract Backgrounds

Until next time,


Friday, May 08, 2009

Letting Your Business Evolve

Greetings to all subscribers, old and new. We've had
several weeks of almost straight rain and things are
getting soggy around here! Hot, humid, and rain. Feel like
I've moved to Seattle, if you know what I mean.

I moved into my new office at the SpiritBank Business
Resource Center. I'm sharing space with my friends at HRB
Links. Hopefully launching their new web site we've
designed for them real soon now.

I'm in an exciting period where I'm allowing my business to
expand and morph based upon the needs of my clients and
strategic partners. Hopefully this will transform my
services into something that really separates me from the
other marketing consultants out there.

Is your business stuck in a rut? Are you tired of doing the
same old, same old, day in and day out? Start asking your
clients and partners about their biggest problems and
challenges and see if you can resolve those issues for

Then extend the conversation -- what are the biggest
problems their customers suffer from -- and see if you can
help them, too. You may be very surprised, as I have been,
about how what you know and possibly take for granted, may
actually become a new business focus for you.

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with a new friend, and
while he was politely listening to my elevator speech, he
asked me what else I know how to do. I told him about my
electronic publishing company, I explained
how I designed and built it to be a hands-off, passive
revenue generator -- a virtual cash machine -- and how it
has generated almost $100,000 over the past 10 years --
while I sleep.

He looked at me and asked me: why aren't you doing that
for your customers?

Good question.

Certainly shut me up fast.

So now I am looking to leverage my know-how about virtual
cash machine design and implementation for the benefit of
clients and partners.

Got something you want automated so you can make money in
your sleep? Talk to me, baby, talk to me.

And I do mean talk to me. Now that I am in my new office, I
am online again and available to you on

Wouldn't you like to add an online video chat to your web
site and also start holding video-based webinars? Learn all
about it here:

Oh yes, while you are visiting, check out
that Alexa ranking: currently 146,880. While this is not a
top 100 site, it still gets over 2,000,000 unique hits a
year and generates tons of passive revenue for me.

Want to have a site like this one? Read the ebook:

Want to buy Send serious offers to me.

Until next time,