Friday, April 06, 2007

How To Double Your Sales With Attention Grabbing Headlines

The headline of your sales messages related to your home business niche, whether on-line or in the local newspaper, is responsible for 70% to 80% of the response from your sales message. The success or failure of any marketing effort rests, to a large degree, on the power of your headline.

David Ogilvy is one of the most respected modern day marketing authorities. He revealed that, with the average headline, only 200 people out of 1000 will go on to read your ad. And that is where your profit is sitting. Capture another 200 customers with a punch line headline and you will double your sales. Lose 100 readers with a poor headline and you lose half your sales.

Headlines are just that important. Even poorly written ads have been very successful because of the overwhelming power of punch line headlines.

Your prospects will decide whether to read your sales message related to your home business in only two or three seconds. That is all the time they will give you to scan your headline. Really, you and I are no different. We do not READ a newspaper, we SCAN the headlines - article headlines and ad headlines. We are looking for only what interests us at the moment.

A headline comprises the first words at the top of a newspaper ad. It is the title of your article, the subject line of an email, or the top of your web page.

Here are four critical tips for writing those "double your sales" punch line headlines.

1. MAKE SURE YOUR HEADLINE IS THE FIRST WORD GROUP YOUR PROSPECT SEES. I know this may seem a "no-brainer" but I see this mistake time and again, particularly in local newspaper advertising. And, even more amazing, the ads the newspaper "experts" use to promote themselves seldom follow this rule. Take a look through your newspaper. Notice how many businesses start out their ad with their store name and location right at the top. This is such a terrible waste of their prime "real estate". It is an ego thing really, and can easily cost them 25% to 50% of their potential sales. Always keep in mind - the public does not give a hoot about you. If they are shopping for you, they will look in the yellow pages. They are only interested in themselves and fulfilling their current desires. Put your store name at the bottom. If the headline draws them in to read your ad, and you convince them to want it, they will find your business name, no matter how small.

2. MAKE SURE YOUR HEADLINE DELIVERS THE PUNCH LINE. The "punch line" is the unique and powerful part of your sales message. You aren't telling a joke here. Do not save the best part of your offer until last. Determine the most compelling part of your offer and put it right at the top of your ad in big, bold print. Virtually shout it out. And make the wording active, not passive. For example, "Save 50% on Recliners" is passive. "Take Home A Recliner for 50 Cents on the Dollar" is an active headline.

3. USE WORDS YOUR PROSPECT IS SEARCHING FOR. Here is another costly mistake you will see every day. Do not try to get everybody to read your ad by being vague or cute. "Everybody" is not your potential customer. Your prospects are only those who want today what you have for sale today. By trying to capture everybody, you will actually lose many of your most important prospects - the ones that want to give you money. Your headline should sort out the buyers. Be specific. If you are selling recliners, then say "recliners", not "furniture". Do not say "Storewide Furniture Sale". Say "Dining Rooms, Living Rooms, Bedrooms - As Little As 50 Cents On The Dollar". The more focused your headline, and your sales message, the better the response.

4. LIKE ANY PUNCH LINE, YOUR HEADLINE SHOULD BE SHORT AND SWEET. The headline should be as few words as possible, yet long enough to tell them what you are selling and why they should read your sales message related to your home business product or service. Usually ten words or less is a good target. The consumer will read longer headlines if the first four words grab their attention. If you need more words, start with a large, short headline leading to a smaller type, longer worded sub-headline.

Here are some very easy and fun ways to find profitable headline ideas.

1. Look through your newspaper every day. Watch for headlines on articles and ads that really grab your interest. Think about why those headlines worked on you.

2. While waiting to check out at the supermarket, read the headlines on the gossip tabloids. Those headlines are the main reason, if not the only reason, millions of people buy them every week. Supermarket tabloids have the high paid experts on staff who do nothing but write compelling and extremely profitable headlines. And these headlines are always good for a "laugh out loud" event.

3. Your junk mail is a virtual goldmine of great headlines and sub-headlines. Save the ones you like for future use. Mix, match and adapt these headlines to suit your business. If you see a headline used over and over again, it's because it is making a lot of money for that company. You do not have to re-invent the wheel. Somebody paid $1000's to write that headline, and $1000's more to test it - and you get to use it free.

4. Practice writing good headlines in the subject line of your emails. It is fun practice and your recipients will enjoy it too. "RE: This Weekend" is passive and boring. "RE: Let's Do It This Weekend" is active and compelling.

5. Buy a good book on marketing. One excellent book, if still available, is "Tested Advertising Methods" by the legendary expert John Caples (with a foreword by David Ogilvy). John devoted four full chapters just to the subject of headlines because he learned early on how important they are.

If you follow these tips, you will become an expert in no time - smarter than 90% of your competitors and 80% of newspaper advertising consultants. And when you experience the flood of sales that your headlines will create for your home business niche, others will want to know your secret to writing profitable punch line headlines.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

7 Ways to Follow Up After a Home Busisness Presentation

In this day and age, it's simply not enough to call on someone and make a presentation. If you don't follow up at least 7 times, you are wasting your time, as well as theirs. The more time you put into getting to know your potential customers with your home-based business niche, the better your relationship will be.

Because of that, you need to follow up after a presentation, at least 7 times, and sometimes longer. Here you'll find some creative ideas to follow up that will be sure to impress anyone.

1. Your first follow up should be a hand written note, thanking them for their time. Use a nice card, embossed with your logo, if you want, or just a simple "Thank You" card available anywhere.

2. Second, find some "Cheese Straws" at a specialty store, and send it with a note saying: "Grasping at straws to find the perfect solution to...(include a problem you can solve for them)? We can help! This is not only a cleverly worded reminder of your presentation, but something for them to taste and remember you by.

3. Rolodex cards are excellent reminders: include a note that says: "We are always at your fingertips when you need us!" Make sure your rolodex card has the little tab at the top with either your name, or the biggest benefit of using your services: this will make it stand out from the others cards in the file.

4. Next, send a bag of popcorn with a note saying: "Just popping in to remind you that we can.... " (mention one of the benefits of using your services or products).

5. A coffee mug imprinted with your logo, and filled with some coffee packets and even a cookie could be next: this will remind them of your visit every time they enjoy their coffee.

6. A seed packet with this message: "We would love to help you grow your business" is another original idea that will leave a great impression.

7. Chocolate business cards will be a tasty reminder of your services. This one may be a little more expensive, but well worth the cost. You'll need to pay for a plate with your logo, but it's a one time cost that will pay you many times over. The chocolate business cards are a great conversation starter, and something that will separate you from your competition.

These are just a few ideas: there are many more ways to keep your name in front of your potential clientele.

And to keep track of what you did, create a folder for each presentation and set up your follow-ups before you even go to your presentation.

You are now on your way to success: good luck with your next presentation for your home business!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

4 Tips on Running a Successful Home Business Email Campaign

Email marketing is a good strategy to use whatever your home-based business. The number one rule in effective email marketing is to ALWAYS capture every email address of every possible prospect. Here is the way to get started building a large customer list to promote your home business products and make more money in the process.

First you will need to sign up for a paid membership at a respected autoresponder service. This is not very expensive. It usually costs no more than $20 per month. Either Aweber.com or Getresponse.com are two good recommended autoresponder services. Here is the outline for using your autoresponder to create campaigns that will sell products for you consistently.

Tip #1. Place a sign-up box on every website you own to capture email addesses from your prospects.

Offer them a FREE report or eBook for signing up to your new newsletter.

You will use this newsletter to 'broadcast' news, special offers, discounts and clearance sales to your 'active' list of prospects in your home business niche at different times as needed. A good tip is to keep your prospect audience 'on the hook' and always receptive to your email messages. Build good rapport with your subscribers.

By capturing as many email addresses as you can and broadcasting a newsletter to your customers on a frequent basis (once every 2 to 3 weeks is O.K. for most businesses), you will increase your sales and profits.

Tip #2. When sending out a broadcast, give your prospective customers a FREE offer that complements the product or service that you are promoting in the email.

This could be a FREE eBook or report that might make them more interested in the product that you are selling. Include in the free eBook or report a hyperlink to your product sales page just in case they decide to go ahead and buy your product after reading the FREE eBook or report. You always want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to read, review and purchase your product.

Tip #3. Then in the same email broadcast, give your customers a "preview" of your next email offer. Also include a line or two about the next FREE bonus offer that will accompany your upcoming email to interest them and set up your next product mailing.

It all comes down to meeting the expectations of your customers in your home-based business niche. They will know what is coming to their inbox next. Who knows, your customer might already be sold on the next offer as soon as it arrives!

Tip #4. When advertising your product in ezine ads, always give the people that are reading your ad the opportunity to get on your mailing list.

In fact, you should be advertising your product for the purpose of capturing the prospect's email address. You are going to make your sales and profits on the back-end. Avoid trying to sell your product from the ad itself.

To do this, you offer them FREE information, and MORE DETAILS about the product that you are promoting in your ad. Then have the prospect send a blank email to your autoresponder. Follow-up using your autoresponder with a message of your choice that includes the promised information. Also add these prospects to your newsletter mailing list.

Refer to the instructions at your autoresponder service on how to make the hyperlink to your autoresponder and how to organize your new email addresses.

Email marketing makes you more money when it is done right. Follow the tips above and cash in on your company's new email marketing strategies with ease.

Now you have a way to get people to see your offers at a minimal cost. And you have built up a high level of trust and loyalty with your subscribers. Plus in the eyes of your customers, you always overdeliver. That's a triple winning combination for your marketing mix. And you did it all automatically!

Following these marketing strategies can greatly enhance the profits and leads for your home-based business.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Do You Know What Your Home-Based Visitors or Prospects Are Worth?

The success of any store, whether online or offline, that sells products or services relies heavily on traffic. Whether walk-in, telephone, or web site visitors, each person that in some way contacts you has a value to your home business. Yes, even the problem people, the random visitors, and the tag-along husbands have a value.

Being aware of how much each person is worth in dollars is extremely important. This will help you maximize your home business income while minimizing your marketing expenses.

Most business owners do not take the time to determine the value of each visitor. Why? Because business owners may be experts in furniture, hardware, plumbing, or teeth, but they hate the paperwork side of business ownership.

Let us take a look at a quick and easy way to assign a dollar value to each person who calls or visits your home business. And how it can increase your income this year, as it has for so many others.

Very simply, take the total sales each week. Divide it by the number of people that visited and called you. This assigned value will become more accurate and more important each week. You add this week's visitors to all previous visitors, and this week's sales to all previous sales.

If you have a walk-in business, such as a furniture store, put a traffic counter on the door. If your door is used for both entry and exit, divide results by two to avoid counting the same people twice.

Keep track of the phone calls too. Have a pad by the phone to record the name and phone number of each caller. This is just good business sense. You, no doubt, are doing this already.

Now, for example, let us say that for the month of May you had 3000 walk-ins and 500 phone calls. Add these together for a total of 3500 visitors. Your sales for the month was $33,000. Divide $33,000 by 3500. You have now established that each visitor is worth $9.43 in gross sales.

Now you have an accurate way to measure your in-store marketing strategies. You can quickly see the results in the rise or fall of the "per person" value in sales. These tactics might include how you arrange your merchandise. Also, suggesting additional items that will complement the visitor's purchase. Also, setting up specific displays with colorful signs or banners tied in with special or seasonal themes.

Be creative. Scout out your competition and similar stores in other towns. Here are a couple proven strategies that are very effective.

Hamburger stores have found that offering a "super-size" package dramatically increases the per person value. They have found that it is much easier to get additional money out of people who are already committed to spending money with you than to sell a new customer.

One grocery store, when setting up an Italian dinner display, will include all the accessories in the display. Wine from the liquor department, French bread from their bakery, and Parmesan cheese from the dairy department. The customers love it and it dramatically increases sales.

Ok - you have optimized your in-store marketing. Now you can look at buying more traffic with external marketing - such as media advertising.

But, before you spend a penny, you need to take the "per person" value one step further. You need to establish the per person gross profit.

The average percentage of profit needed to stay alive may vary from 200% for a jewelry store to 2% for a grocery store. Most stores and service businesses average around a 40% margin. We will use 40% for this scenario.

Let us say you have increased the per person value to $14.90 gross sales by fine-tuning your in-store marketing. Your margin of profit is 40%, so each person is worth $5.96 in gross profit. Now you know for sure you cannot spend more than $5.96 per person to profitably bring them into your store.

For example, you spend $1000 on a TV advertising campaign. It increases traffic by 200 people. You have spent $5.00 per visitor. The advertising paid for itself, but barely shows a profit. Your next marketing effort may be a $1000 newspaper program. It brings in additional 300 visitors. You paid only $3.33 per visitor. This would be quite profitable. Obviously, this is one marketing plan that you will want to repeat over and over again.

Additionally, knowing the value of each person in gross profit will help you eliminate expensive junk marketing. Junk marketing includes advertising on phone book covers, posters, maps, and the like. In fact, yellow pages are quickly becoming a poor investment.

For example, a salesperson asks you to put an ad on a fishing contest poster. Quite likely, it may only bring in one or two visitors, if any. You wisely determine that the most you can spend on this would then be about $12. Anything more should be considered a donation, not a marketing investment.

Numbers not your cup of tea? Follow the example of Henry Ford. Do only what you do best, and wisely hire out the rest. Train and empower a family member or fellow employee to become essentially involved in the success of your business. They can take care of tracking the numbers and you can do the brain work.

Establishing a value for each visitoror prospect with your home-based businss is simple. It is essential. It is powerful. It puts you in total control, no matter what the economic cycles throw your way. It gives you a way to measure the value in dollars of every new marketing idea you implement.