What is a blog, really?

I’ve had this blog for 4 years now, which is totally hard to believe… and it’s been a terrific tool for me and my business.  So I thought it would be helpful to give you some tips about what a blog is and how to best take advantage of it in your business..

Blogs have gained a lot of notoriety in this techno world we live in because in an instant you have access to information on almost any subject or question you might have. And I know you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet but it’s all about adding value and giving terrific content.

What is a blog? Blog by definition is a shortened form of weblog (“web” as in Internet and “log” as in journal). So basically it is a diary of sorts of words, pictures, audios, and videos for public viewing.

Why blog? Businesses use blogs to share ideas, concepts, expertise, knowledge, experience, help, support and ultimately to help promote their business on the World Wide Web.

But as you might guess, not all blogs are successful. You have to have good content that people will actually want to read about. But this content above all can’t be boring or be to over promotional or too salesy. You need to add a splash of humor, show your personality, and use real life personal stories to capture your audience’s attention, as well as even entertain them.

So your blog posts are about your business, tips and tricks, techniques and good advice sort of things that are specific to your niche. In doing this you need to carefully choose keywords to describe these posts so they will rank high with the search engines.

Here’s a free tip for you.  One of the most frustrating things about blogs I find is figuring out what to write from week to week. Ideally you want to have at least 1 post a  week and at most 2 to 3 posts in a week.  So figuring out what to write can be cumbersome and you could wind up with the blank page syndrome.

Here’s a terrific idea that will totally help you — Get your readers to write your blog for you.  You can do what my friend and client Jeff Walker did when he was creating his blog. He used a survey to find out exactly what his customers wanted to read about. He got so many ideas I’m sure he won’t have blank page syndrome for a long time! How did he get so many responses on his survey? He had a contest. If you helped him name his blog and give him some ideas, the winner would get an iPad. This is a terrific tip that everyone ought to be using in their business— ASK your prospects and your clients what they want to learn more about, ask them what their biggest challenges are, start the conversation with them by doing a survey.

And blogs that are more recent and updated regularly are the favorites of the search engines.

Does your business have a blog? If you do, terrific, then why not get your list to help you figure out what to write. If you don’t have one, then check out Blogger.com (blog.com) or WordPress.com and start a free blog with them. This is also an awesome way that you can drive more traffic to your website by having a blog.

Keep in mind your posts don’t have to be long, just 200 – 400 words.

Here’s to happy blogging!

What in the world IS a product launch anyway…

Well, I’m writing this from 36k feet in the sky, heading to Arizona to attend Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula event and we also have our Product Launch Manager Platinum Coaching Group meeting.  The interesting thing when I fly is I often get asked the question of what I do.  And when I tell them I work with entrepreneurs and business owners to create information products and do their online product launches, they always ask me, “What is a product launch?” and they want to know more about them.

So I thought this might make for an interesting blog post.  A product launch is an advertising event that promotes a new product, service or business to the market place.  These can be done offline and online.  I’m going to give you the Online Product Launch 101 course.  The best thing about a product launch is that you’re creating an event and an ongoing conversation with your audience, along with giving them some great free, valuable information that leads up to the launch date, which is when you open the cart to sell.

Product Launches usually take anywhere from 7 to 20 days. It all depends on how much content you have, how much response you get during your prelaunch period and when it’s best to open and close the cart.  The key to selling during a launch is knowing when to open and close the cart. And using some great tactics from Robert Cialdini, mostly scarcity, you will open and close the cart within a short time frame – 7 days or even less – and when the cart is closed they won’t be able to get your product/service again.

The period of time where you’re giving away free valuable content and before you open your cart is called “Prelaunch.”  During the prelaunch period, the main goal is to create great content for your prospects and allude to how you will be talking about a bigger resource later on.  This is key.  Don’t just give them free content and then spring on them you’re going to sell them something.

This prelaunch process should be well thought out and planned.  This is the big set up for your launch and when you open your cart.  Since content is important, I work with my clients to spend the MOST time on this. In fact, the 4 most important factors, I think, in creating and having a successful money-making product launch are:

  1. Terrific well thought out prelaunch content that engages prospects
  2. Creating a conversation, connecting with them and sharing stories and valuable information
  3. Your offer – This includes your product/service you’re launching, your price, your guarantee and your bonuses.
  4. Having a list of rabid fans who are interested in what you’re talking about and are willing to buy.

There are tons more things that go into successful product launches, which there’s no time for now. I promise I’ll do them on a future post.  I just wanted to give you the basics.  Plus after spending 4 days at Jeff Walker’s event, I’m sure I’ll have many more cutting edge things to share with you!

If you’re interested in discovering more about creating a successful launch, check out www.CreateAmazingProductLaunches.com And if you already know you want to do a launch and just need some guidance or a plan, email me info@marketingimplementer.com and I can send you some information on my Product Launch Roadmaps I create for clients so they can have incredibly successful launches.

 

The 3 Most Horrible Product Launch Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make and How You Can Avoid them!

Back in 2007 when I met Jeff Walker at his first ever PLF  (Product Launch Formula) event in Denver, Colorado, I was amazed at what he’d done to make money with his products by turning his selling of them into a value added, value laden, fun and entertaining  “event.”  He actually created a product about these launch events and called it “Product Launch Formula.”

I’ve been doing tons of product launches for my clients since then, and I’ve amassed a ton of information on how to be successful with your launches. I’ve also amassed just as much info on what not to do so your launches don’t turn into flops and failures.  So when I was trying to come up with a blog idea this week, the “aha” moment happened after I started working with several new clients this month on their product launches.  And one of the biggest questions I get all the time, is “what can I do to make my launch a tremendous success so I can avoid making costly mistakes?” (If you don’t know what a product launch is and want to know more, simply click here)

Here they are – the three biggest product launch mistakes entrepreneurs make and what you can do to avoid them:

  1. Not having a hook and story for your launch that grabs people – This is really huge and this is one that MANY people flub up.  And of course, this is one of the things that does take more time than most people give it. If you want to have an incredibly successful launch, you can’t just throw it together. You have to brain storm with your team of people who are working with you on your launch to come up with an interesting story and hook to get them interested, intrigued and wanting to know more.  Some examples: when Jeff did his product launch 2.0 launch a few years back his hook was “food stamps to six figures.”  He highlighted one of his students who took PLF, saved his business AND turned it into a six figure business, using Jeff’s tactics.  So you need to create something that speaks to your audience, speaks to the problems they’re having and create a hook and a story for your whole launch.  (This is one of my favorite things I like to work on with my clients.)
  2. Making your launch incredibly complicated – This is another thing that I’ve seen happen and blow up in people’s faces: making their launches WAY too complicated.  They have way too much content and it overwhelms people in the launch. You need to streamline your content. In a launch it’s all about giving away great content on a smaller scale so your prospects can see and get into what you’re about.  The danger is when you go overboard and give them too much information that they decide NOT to buy your product because they can’t even get through the information you gave them in your launch.  So less is always more.  Err on giving them the “what” – not the exactly “how” to do it.  You don’t need to give them 5 videos at 60 minutes each; they won’t watch it, trust me. Cut them down, give them 3 videos of 20 minutes each.  Or better yet, simplify even more and give them one video, one eReport and maybe a teleseminar. Mix it up, make it interesting. The more interesting the better.
    Make yourself stand out, don’t be boring!
  3. Not Sending Enough Emails – This is another one that I hear a lot!  You don’t want to piss off your list and have them opt out because you’re sending too many emails. Well the way I look at it is it’s not the emails that they get tired of – it’s probably the messaging and information – or lack of it – that’s in there. Plus, I know it sounds weird, but I LOVE it when people opt out of my list. The reason is that these folks would never have bought from me anyway, so let’s make room for those that will.  I only want people who like me and see value in what I bring to the table on my list.  Let’s face it, I’m not naive enough to think that everyone will like me. It just won’t happen – and guess what, that’s ok!  So you’re not your client, send out more emails. Just follow these guidelines when you send them and I promise you won’t have a lot of people opt out.
  4. Bonus – Not having a product Launch Plan and trying to do it all yourself! Ok, so this one we all can relate to.  The bottom line is when you’re doing a launch, you have to have a plan, or what I call a Product Launch Roadmap. You can’t fly a plane without controls or a map, so why try to do a product launch without one.  And then, why try to do it all yourself? There are many people out there who can help you from Product Launch Managers like me, to great technical web people, to great virtual assistants. Get some help on your launch and hire the best people to work with you so you can create an amazingly successful product launch!

Hopefully these mistakes are helpful and these will help put your next product launch on the road to major success.  Let me know if you have any questions, or how I can help you.

How to Leverage Your Relationships With New Influential People You Meet

Wimbledon TuesdayIn the past 6 months, I’ve met over a 150 people, or probably more than that, simply because I traveled to some conferences and workshops where like-minded entrepreneurs gather.  At those meetings I simply meet a lot of people and give away a lot of cards, and I also get my share of cards.  The real question here is how to you leverage those new folks you meet.  How can you turn them into more influential and helpful relationships?

I’ve created some step by step guidelines that I’ve used over the past years that have helped me cultivate these relationships.  This is what I do when I go to a conference or workshop and how I develop these relationships over time:

  1. Always ask them what’s their biggest challenge or frustration and really LISTEN to their answer. Make mental notes for later.
  2. Big key – DON’T solve it for them, just listen and ask questions.
  3. If they ask for your help, then go down that road, but don’t give them too much and don’t overwhelm them.
  4. If they ask for your card, give it to them, but don’t offer it unless they ask.
  5. Don’t be shy – ask them a personal question about what they’re passionate about or what they love most to do in the world, etc.  These are terrific questions to get to them more on a personal level to connect with them.
  6. When you get home follow up with them immediately. Depending upon the conversation and opportunity I do a few things. Send them an email right away, then I add them to my newsletter list and mail them my latest newsletter with a personal note from me.  This ONE strategy has helped me bring in thousands of dollars. Believe it or not ALMOST NO ONE snail mails a follow-up with a person they met.  Direct mail is king in this department, so use it to your advantage.
  7. Add them to your snail mail list or email list and continue to follow up with them over time.

Yanik Silver & Shannon McCaffreyJust remember that every time you meet someone new, it’s an opportunity to lay the foundation for a successful business relationship. You never know how this relationship will unfold or how you can help each other. In my experience, the sky is the limit.  This is how I ended up getting Jeff Walker and Yanik Silver as clients as well as joining each of their exclusive Mastermind groups, because I developed a relationship with them over time… (See photo of Yanik and I at his mastermind.)

Dan Kennedy and Shannon McCaffreyPlus this is how I was able to speak at Dan Kennedy’s AWAI Business of Copywriting Course this past May.  He gets my newsletter every month, plus I fax him about once every other week and he faxes me back. (Yes, that’s the only way he communicates, but it works for him.) In fact, he gave me a great book suggestion to improve my copywriting that I’d also highly recommend to you – The Untold Story by Iain Calder. It’s a fascinating behind the scenes look at how the National Enquirer changed the course of journalism.

So the main take away of my article is this: A lot of times, those relationships, if nurtured over time, will become very fruitful indeed and mean the difference between success and failure.  So connect with people as much as you can.  As Dan always says, don’t let a day go by without doing at least ONE thing to connect with a potential prospect or client.

P.S. Check out this link to discover another hidden strategy to build relationships — this one is a proven way of how you can “wake-up” your dead customers – Plus you’ll get a free download with the template on exactly how to do it…

Product Launch Disasters, Delayed Planes & Flat Tires

What do you think these three things have in common?  Well besides the obvious, that we wouldn’t want any of these to happen to us, or wish them upon anyone else…

The commonality in these three things, is each of them has happened to me… Thankfully only two of them have happened in one week, the other one occurred many moons ago.  So the two I had happen to me this week are the flat tire and the delayed plane.

The ironic part about the delayed plane is not once in my 7 trips I’ve taken this year was I ever delayed or have any issues flying.  So the one time I’m not traveling for more than 30 days, but my son is, he gets this incredible delay.  He’s only 12 and flying alone. He was supposed to leave on Sunday afternoon at 4:50pm for a short flight to Portland, Maine. He’s visiting his aunt, uncle and cousins.  There was bad weather and the plane was delayed 5 times.  When it was 8:30pm and we were in the President’s Club, trying to access our situation, the plane was delayed again until 11:50 pm. That’s when I made an executive decision that he wasn’t going to be leaving tonight. It was scary enough this was his first flight alone, and then he’s leaving at such a late time.  So the agents at Continental were awesome and were able to book him on the next flight in the a.m. for no charge. (Albeit, that plane the next day was delayed 2 hours, but eventually it did take off- yeah!)

Then as my son and I were driving back from the airport (mind you he had been there since 3:30pm and it was now 9pm) I hear this funny noise and the car starts pulling to the left. Thank goodness there was traffic and I wasn’t going that fast. So I pulled over on the side of the highway. I very carefully got out of the car to check out the tire and as the cars were literally whizzing by my head going at least 80 mph,  sure enough, the tire was flat. It was bad too.  (Check out the photo- see that ragged edge all around the tire- not good.  I couldn’t take the photo while it was on the car- way too dangerous, it was on the drivers side front tire).   So I safely got back in the car and called AAA.  This had happened to me before at night like this, so I was pretty calm and I knew how important it was to stay calm.  So we hunkered down with the hazard lights and headlights on.  After a few minutes we were visited by a state trooper who wanted to make sure we were ok.  He said to keep all our lights on and to keep our seat belt fastened. That didn’t make me too comfortable, but I totally got it and said a little prayer that we wouldn’t end up as a statistic or casualty of the Route 78 west in NJ… And my son was so cool about the whole thing.  He laughed at one point and said “well we needed an excuse to spend some “quality” time together.”  He can be funny under pressure…  

It only took 2 more calls and our AA angel arrived and made us stay in the car while he jacked it up and changed our tire. Now that was kind of weird, but safety first.  So it only took 75 minutes, then we were back on the road with the spare on making our way home.

It’s these types of experiences that keep me grounded and centered. To me my life now and going forward is simply about being in THE moment, not thinking about the past or the future, just about being in the present, the here the now…

So this brings me to briefly touch upon my experience of being a part of a product launch disaster.  If you haven’t seen Jeff Walker’s video on this, you have to check it out.  I learned everything I know about making money online from Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula and from being in his Platinum Product Launch Manager Coaching Group. (That photo is when I first met Jeff over 3 years ago at his first ever workshop for Product Launch Formula 1.0)  So over 3 years ago when I first started doing launches I had my own failures.  The real secret to doing a kick butt product launch is having an incredible tech person on your team. This is what hurt me on one of my earlier launches.  I have many more tips for you about launches. I’m dedicating my June newsletter to launches and product creation.  So… if you’re not on my printed newsletter list, sign up here so you can get all my behind the scenes secrets about launches.

Here’s to staying in the moment, being grateful and not letting the little stuff like flat tires and delayed planes ruin my day… I truly have so much to be grateful for.  Your thoughts?

Missed Product Launch Opportunities or Creating Money-Making Products….

Hmm, as I sit here in my comfortable laid back office, enjoying this amazing spring type weather in June in Jersey, the dog is sleeping at my feet, and I’m having twinges of second thoughts for having to cancel my trip this week to Jeff Walker’s Platinum Product Launch Mastermind Group.

I know, I know, I made my decision and it’s all said and done, but it doesn’t stop those thoughts, you know the ones that just pop in your head to mess you up. Those thoughts driven by the ego to stop you in your tracks… Thank goodness I can recognize them right away now and not pay them any attention.  Yet, can you?  It’s not an easy thing to do… (But meditation SO helps.)

I was supposed to be in Durango, Colorado this week at Jeff Walker’s Platinum Product Launch Mastermind meeting. The funny thing is I applied for his mastermind JUST so I could go to this meeting.  The reason is I know how I’ve been able to transform my business with a mastermind meeting. (I’m going on my second year in Yanik Silver’s Mastermind meeting and it’s been incredible.)

So what happened?

I had my ticket, my hotel and was about ready to hunker down, do laundry and pack, when my significant other of 9 years says we need to find someone to watch our 12 year old son and rescue dog because the new job (Supervising Producer of the new Nate Berkus Show, Oprah’s Interior Designer, filmed here in NYC) just sprung a last minute trip to Chicago this week.   Well as much as I could scramble, I couldn’t find someone to care for our son while we both were away on such short notice.  So I decided to give up my trip. It wasn’t an easy decision, but that’s what awesome Executive Coaches like Rob Berkley are for.  In fact, I’ve NEVER in my many years of travel EVER had to cancel a trip or an airfare, I was just lucky like that until now.

In many ways it WAS a missed opportunity, not being able to share ideas, information and the latest in Product Launches, and of course networking with colleagues.  AND, to hear about Jeff Walker’s new Product Launch Formula 3.0 that he’s launching today(June 10)…  (I have all of his Product Launch Formula products and they’re excellent and how I built my product launch business, based on his strategies and tactics.)  However, in many other ways it was incredibly productive and opportunistic to make the decision to stay home and to work on my own product. When life gives you lemons, lemonade is ALWAYS an option! (The photo is me and Jeff at his PLM training last summer where I helped put together the workshop.)

I haven’t had this much time to myself since December’s Christmas break, how scary is that!  As many of you know who get my printed monthly newsletter, I’ve been a road warrior since January.  So I calculated how many hours I’d freed up by not going, it was 24 hrs!  (That figure came from assuming I had 6 productive hours in the 4 days I was supposed to be away.)  Then I made an awesome plan and used my time incredibly well.

In fact, you’ll be hearing more about in the coming weeks. I’m ALMOST finished with my new Creating Amazing Surveys, The Done For You Survey product.  If you want to get on my list sign up here.  I’m aiming on launching it sometime in July. I don’t want to spill all the beans on it. The core is it breaks down step by step how to do surveys in your business, simply and easily, and of course lots of proven examples and how essential it is to actually DO survey’s in your business. I digress…. More later, promise…

The honest and incredibly revealing fact I want to share with you is —  I’ve been helping hundreds of entrepreneurs and internet/info marketers (the likes of Jeff Walker, Yanik Silver, Ted Thomas and Mike Koenigs) for four years to create and launch their products.  And creation of my own products has always been put on the back burner, until now.  So I’m incredibly proud of myself for being ok with this decision to stay home and focus on me and my product, AND to actually DO SOMETHING about it, you know following through with it, not just goofing off with ALL this time… 🙂

So what are you putting off?  What’s got your calendar all filled up that if you canceled could open up a whole new world of opportunity for you?  Don’t be like me from the past four years,  learn from my experiences… take the time now and put a plan together, make time for that next project, product or thing in your life that will truly make you smile and add some well deserved money into your business