Attention & Reputation (And Revenue) Comes From Launching New Products

November 20, 2014

When you launch a new product you’re opening up a whole world of opportunities for your business. You’re giving current customers a new opportunity to buy something else from you, you’re opening the door to brand new customers and creating a massive amount of buzz within your marketplace.

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In the online space there’s a catalogue of tools and strategies you can use to make money. These include email marketing, blogging, sales letters, webinars, squeeze pages and of course, social media. But, without a product, you can’t really make any real money. Sure, you can promote other people’s products, but at some point you’ll have to step up because all you’re doing is drawing attention to someone else’s business.

This isn’t just online though, this goes for the offline crowd too. No matter where you are or what you do, there will come a time where you need to renew your offer. No matter how sustainable your product is in your market, competitors will always enter with an alternative. So, you need to show that innovation is your thing through a launch.

Where should you start? Well, it’s with a new product. The first task is to identify your goals. For example, will you be looking to get more sales, increase awareness or use it as part of an existing marketing strategy? Those are your internal issues. But, more importantly, what are your external issues? Be aware of the countless new products that are constantly launching every single day of the week. There’s increased competition, and that competition is something you need to study. One of the biggest mistakes marketers in all industries make is they don’t do their homework and research the market. To be unorthodox, is to be highly knowledgeable of the market around you.

Providing that your product is one that the market wants, the next step is to build the product around those customers. That is, focusing exclusively on the potential customers who you believe make your ideal customer and will purchase from you. Look to fill a need rather than create one – if the demand is there, then supply. Be sure to create a unique value proposition too, and not just launch what your competitors are. It needs its own clear positioning and message because a confused buyer doesn’t buy.

You need to communicate this in your sales material, your sales letters, emails and web pages. Copywriting is a difficult skill to master. If you’re not overly confident about your abilities then you can always outsource, but just give it a go. First off, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine yourself as the reader; what would you like to read? Always write with the customer in mind, using simple language that anyone, of any age or nationality can understand with ease. Look to get your readers interested and capture attention. Think headlines, subheadings, case studies, testimonials, product benefits and build on each to encourage the reader to keep reading. But most importantly, encourage your reader to take action. Potential customers won’t know what you want them to do unless you tell them what to do next.

With a product in place, and the sales and marketing materials drawn up, your new offer will need potential customers to find it. There are tons of traffic generators online. You could consider Facebook, Google and the host of other media and news outlets, but I always like to focus on using Joint Venture partners. Here, everyone can win. You get partners working as your ‘salesmen’ to sell your stuff, and then you pay them back a percentage for every sale. In theory, they do all the heavy lifting.

I’ve personally brought in tens of thousands of online sales through JV partners, and I’ve very rarely encountered any problems by selling this way. Of course, look for organic and other paid-advertising sales, but, even in the big league, bribes and golf days out are constantly happening. Instead of having to get involved in the dark arts, your online writers and bloggers can write about your product launch and still get a cut. In doing this, I always liked to make the product available to the big influencers and the big partners as early on in the development stage as possible. This psychologically ‘involves’ that person to an extent that it’s impossible for them not to promote your product launch.

To check out my latest software product called “Azon Commission King” which launched a little earlier this week, please click here.

Rule The World By Telling Stories

November 7, 2014 — 2 Comments

Great marketing is great storytelling.

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Once upon a time… you were a small child being put to bed by your parent. “One more chapter…” “One more story…” “Just one more!” Why? Because, as children, we loved stories, but more importantly, unknowingly we still do. It was the highlight of the evening when mum or dad would sit with us and read a story before going to sleep. A simple story, with simple a meaning, in a simple language anybody could understand.

But how can a story improve your sales?

Well, it can be applied to any stage of the sales process, because a well-told story can affect listeners on multiple levels that you’d fail to do on otherwise. Not only can you better capture a reader’s attention, but you can motivate action, better build trust and make boring data more interesting and relevant. More importantly though, through telling a story, you can transform common beliefs to change minds much easier than you would otherwise.

Sure, storytelling isn’t a breakthrough technique but as marketers we’re not doing it enough, because we believe we’re not trained as fictional writers. That’s a big mistake. The greatest storyteller is the everyday man; the man who isn’t trained or skilled in the art of writing. The everyday man, that uses simple language, which comes straight from the heart, because that is the man who can influence. We need to speak like that person.


 “The most effective structure for any argument will always be story.”
Gerry Spence


Why do we love stories so much?

Because they activate the areas in our brains that give us sensory experiences which influences our way of thinking. They did back then when we were children, and they still do now. More so, when a story captures our imagination, it can cause us to develop new thoughts, opinions and ideas that align with that story, thoughts that bring us alive. This is where we, as marketers and sales people, come in. We can alter perceptions about our products and services and rule our world:the marketplace. Unorthodox marketing is all about this kind of thinking.

A narrative that’s compelling and exciting has social benefits too. If you think about it, it’s been central to mankind throughout history. It’s a community act of sharing knowledge, and it’s entertaining! What would our ancient ancestors have had to talk about around the camp-fire in the evenings when TVs were non-existent?

Stories are appealing to us because we can find meaning to a subject when portrayed through a narrative. Through a beginning or an introduction to a problem; a main body that’s the argument for the solution and a focus on adopting the ‘new alternative’; andfinally, the ending which is the close that solves the problem and showcases the benefits (the happy ending). Simple, right?! Stories also make us think, change the way we feel, and can surprise us. They make us visualise something that we can’t really portray otherwise.

It makes the unreal, real. And this is very powerful.

This is something you can do in all of your marketing activities, be it online in blog posts and on web pages, offline in newspaper ads and on sales calls. It’s a skill you will need to master moving forward. Social media has made talking with businesses and customers easier, but those businesses need to be consistently providing compelling content. If the reader isn’t engaged and entertained, he’ll go elsewhere. Just how many links have you shared this month, or this year, and which of those were narratives? Probably most of them.

Telling a story is a timeless skill because everyone has an interesting story to tell. You just need to unleash it to really make that emotional connection with your prospects. Start building a following, make your content more viral, and let that story carry the sale of your product. Real emotions are working much better than corporate language now.

Every marketer wants to add credibility to their messages. Storytelling is an opportunity to do so by bringing these messages to life by connecting to a natural human behaviour, by tapping directly into people’s emotions.

And if you can tell stories, you’ll make more sales. Because the storytellers of this world are the ones that rule it.

Networking: Being The Familiar Face

October 30, 2014 — 1 Comment

“Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, marketing your uniqueness, marketing what you stand for…”

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People are reluctant to consider networking as one of the main marketing practices purely because you’ll not walk away from that meeting with more money in your pocket. But you’re not perusing a sale here, or anything related to money (in the short term, of course). You’re perusing a relationship. That’s the fundamental of networking, and it’s so   important to remember this. It’s what the relationship may develop into that’s most important. It may develop into a sale or a new job, or a joint venture project or a referral, or even give you the inspiration or the information you needed at that point to progress. It doesn’t really matter which. An unorthodox marketer knows this.

Throughout history people have had to network to achieve virtually anything and everything. How else were things going to happen without the technology we boast today? Civilizations, breakthrough products, marriages, you name it, all have been built through some form of networking. It’s been essential to our survival for so long, and yet at the critical moment we’re forgetting to do something we as a species did so well in the past. It seems strange to report on it like this, though this is what has become of our social and business behaviours. And it needs to change.

We now need to claw back, and re-develop those essential business (and life) skills that have been the life-blood of all economic activity over the centuries. The time to make
networking an everyday part of life is now, because the internet is taking away the ‘need’ to have to meet in person. Even the art of physically talking to one another is affected by Social Media, Instant Messaging, Email and the likes. That said of course, never ignore these digital channels as they are your means to keep in touch after the initial face-to-face meet. Though nowadays, I have personally experienced that from time to time people love to speak to you in person, and engage.

So, what needs to be done? Well, you have to work yourself up to be the ‘familiar face’, because that’s the person who gets the most opportunities. Whether it’s more customers, leads, clients, partners, mentors or friends it doesn’t matter. With more contacts, in your time of need, you’ll find yourself with more options to turn to as people always gravitate towards the people they already know and trust. That’s you!

The amazing thing about networking is not that you’ll build up a much better and more responsive list of stakeholders, but you’ll actually become much more knowledgeable
because of it. You’ll have many more interesting stories to tell, and not only will you be able to inspire people with these stories, but you’ll be able to position yourself as the
go-to-guy that has all the contacts in the industry. This is your social proof, and this association and community membership can always be leveraged.

Stepping out of your comfort zone cannot be any easier when it comes to networking. It’s a natural human trait to want to socialise, to exchange stories and to share company
(just that it’s a little more strategic when it comes to business). Think of it as trying to find a partner through dating; be brave, show your commitment to the cause and be a
little patient, but never forget to leave the meeting without getting closer to your goal. That’s asking what you wanted to ask or requesting what you wanted to request. Remember, you’re doing this for a reason. This reason is to surround yourself with the right people who want you to succeed, but more than anything, would be happy to help you succeed when the time comes. And I can assure you that that time will come…

Get out there amongst the opportunities. It’s always ‘who you know’ in business. That’s the same in every business, in every industry. So, go out and grab a coffee, dinner or a
casual Skype call with at least one person from your industry every week – and never forget to follow up. If you’re already doing this, then seek to meet up with even more people per week. It will bring you more customers in the long run.

The Secret to Selling Your Product… And Sell it Well

17 October, 2014 — 4 Comments

Product creators begin on the right path building their products, but lose their way actually trying to sell those products. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

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Is there a secret? Well, I think there is.

When you first create, develop or research a new product idea, down the next alley is the question (in bold capital letters): “How do I best market and sell this product?” That’s the next step for any business which also happens to be a very critical one.

And right there, down that cold, dark and misty alleyway, is the crucial mistake that’ll hinder your product for the rest of its days.

You’ve created a product, and have gone to sit inside of that product, looking out into the outside world at everything external to your tiny existence. You’re looking to market from within. You’re selling a product as its current form and thinking inside of the box.

What’s happening is that your main selling angle is the product’s benefits and the product’s features. Because that’s really what the product has to offer. That’s how you think that you can give this product its best chance of becoming a huge success. And by all means, you may well be successful selling this way. If so, then count yourself amongst the lucky.

But there’s a much more effective way to do this in the first place. To sell your product much better than the way you think it’s done by conveying its perceived strengths. It’s a way that will not only bring the best out of you, but will also bring the best out of your potential customers. To better sell!

And it involves stepping back outside of the product that you’ve spent days and months and years creating, and going back to the start. To the very start. Back to the time when you got that initial idea for the product – which was all you had back then. Just an idea. But that idea is so much more powerful than any marketing material you can ever think of. The product’s strength is the idea you had behind it in the first place.

Because it’s that passion that you felt when you first set out on this exciting new journey as a product creator (and now marketer) that’ll sell your product. It’s that desire to change the world as it currently is.

You once had imagination. A vision of what your product could do to people’s lives and how those same people would feel from using your product. It was a good feeling.

That’s what this is about, an emotional idea. An emotional appeal will always outweigh a rational argument in business. That’s the way you’re going to connect with your prospect, and that the way your prospect will understand you.

That is your secret.

Your journey will still go on, but keep away from those dark alleyways and keep your eyes on the bigger picture as you go. The people you come to contact with will want to buy your product because of XYZ that brought you to life and made you dream big and change the world, not because XYZ will last twice as long as the next product.

It’s difficult to really market your own product any other way in today’s competitive environment.

After all, that product is you. You’ve developed the idea, and turned that idea into the crown jewel that it is today based on that vision and emotional idea you once had before it all became ‘real’. So do yourself a favour. Don’t sell your product, sell your idea of the product. Think outside of the box, and not inside. Open up.

That’s the secret to selling your product, and to sell it well.

Gamification Is A Way of Life

10 October, 2014

Game thinking in a non-gaming context is a great way to keep your current customers engaged, and is also a great way to generate new customers.

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This is something I believe in very strongly. That is, that we’re all built to want to perform in competitions and contests, feel the need in want to solve a problem and compete against other people to achieve a particular goal, and to be then rewarded for successfully completing that challenge.

Just like when playing a game on your video games console or taking part in a sporting event.

Enter “Gamification.” Basically, this is the introduction of game mechanics and psychology to drive a specific behaviour; in our case, it’s to improve user engagement and drive action. So when it comes to business – more specifically marketing and sales – I’m talking about transforming the buying experience into something fun, and something that, as humans, we’re wired to do… taking part in a game!

You see it all the time within businesses where managers are looking to motivate their employees by placing them directly in competition with other colleagues in one way or another to get the most out of them. Whatever goes on internally within organisations, though, is besides the point here. What goes on externally is what is important because only here will you be able to attract and get new customers. Without customers, the business isn’t even there to hold these internal competitions.

So what can be done to gamify your customers’ buying experience?

Well, in all honesty, there is no secret formula. It’s still a reasonably new principle when it comes to marketing your business. Your business is a unique, unorthodox and creative individual and only you can find out where you can introduce game mechanics.

But what is certain that there are certainly areas where you CAN introduce these mechanics. Here is a blueprint that you can follow to best set up a simple gamification strategy that will work, and will increase engagement, and in the long term will increase sales.

  1. Get your customers motivated by offering a reward for taking part in a competition or challenge with your business, and offer an outright benefit for using your product or service in the first place.
  2. Make sure it’s easy for users to get engaged, but not too easy to gain the rewards, this keeps it competitive. So design the gamification process that your customers win always ‘win’ but not winning without effort.
  3. Give the entire process meaning with a clear purpose and a sense of achievement through your website or blog that your customers can see, but can also share and get other people involved.
  4. Track and measure results and tweak the competition as you go on. You will know how well it’s gone just by looking at your customers’ behaviour.

Keep it simple. Keep it creative. But more than anything; keep your company’s stuff fun. This is a process that can be done to attract new customers, or to maintain relationships with your current customers that will potentially buy from you again. It’s completely dependent on your business – because no business is the same. Therefore if you know your business (and your market), then you will know the areas where the customer needs motivating to take the desired action.

Because that’s what Gamification is there to do within business, it’s to motivate and wake up a natural human characteristic in wanting to take part in a competition, to TAKE ACTION, and then to be rewarded for that action to safeguard a positive experience and a sense achievement.

Didn’t you used to love being rewarded by getting a sticker from the dentist for sitting through an examination when you were younger? Didn’t you love to eat your way through a cereal box to get your hands on that free toy? Didn’t you just love to get medals and certificates when you completed certain sports events? YES! Yes you did.

That’s because games and rewards are a way of life.

And the principles can be the same here when it comes to business. Just like businesses get the most out of their employees internally, gamification will help you on the external front and get the most out of your customers and potential customers. Because that’s what all businesses want, right?

Why You Need a YouTube Channel

03 October, 2014  8 Comments

This post is all about Video Marketing, and more importantly how to make it work for you in a time where everyone is obsessed with it.

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If I were to say that online videos increase understanding of a product or service by a whopping 74%, would you believe me?

Well, it’s true. So now’s the time to rethink your video marketing strategy.

Okay, many people will prefer to digest information through reading, and sometimes I am actually one of those people. But the fact of the matter is that without video, you’re missing out on a wheelbarrow full of benefits. This is certainly the case as customers are developing limited attention spans whilst browsing online.

And if you’re looking to increase brand awareness, boost your lead generation figures or better engage with these customers (or even all three), then you need to start using videos and start right away.

Video marketing really kicked in a few years ago, and has somewhat lost its effectiveness a little as time has gone by. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing any, because there’s one key area that videos can really boost the three benefits mentioned above without really knowing about it. And that’s through SEO.

Search engine algorithms change dramatically. But one algorithm change that won’t happen any time soon (as Google owns YouTube) is its social triggers with videos. You can take literally months to rank a website on the first pages on Google, where by contrast you can rank a YouTube video in 24 hours. That’s a fact.

That aside, there are two places that you absolutely need to be creating videos regardless of the ranking factors, and that’s on your YouTube channel and on your business’ website. These are absolutely the only places where I would be putting my videos because the viewers will always be targeted and your time will be spent much more effectively than, say for example, posting videos solely for Twitter or Facebook where everybody is dropping their videos. I’m not saying that you don’t share your videos here; I’m saying do not solely create them for social purposes.

So if you’re going to be creating videos, be prepared to spend time and money creating them as nobody likes a poorly created video. Go on YouTube and you’ll find tons of poor videos that receive next to nothing views. That’s because the creators do not possess the ability to create unique and original content and therefore did not invest the money in building that video. You do not want to be one of them… A complete waste of time for everyone.

And ask yourself the question, if website conversions with videos are at an average 4.8% compared to that of websites without at 2.9% (figures from Aberdeen), is it then a waste of time to get making videos? Absolutely not. This is why you NEED a YouTube channel.

But it’s a tricky situation.

Once again marketers and business owners have realised the potential that video marketing holds. “People love watching videos so why don’t we start creating them for our customers.” But what was originally unique is becoming saturated and very soon videos will become less and less effective. Just look at the current popularity of Vine and how it’s the most watched form of video currently making the rounds online – and this is purely down to the very short nature of the videos. These videos are killing the traditional sales video.

People do not have the time to watch your videos like they used to. Therefore you need to be smart and a little more unorthodox.

Start a YouTube channel and start creating videos that are focused solely on informative and uniquely created videos, and don’t be afraid to spend a little on these because if people are to see your videos, they don’t want to be put off your business. Then create one for your website that’s created around the same theme as your channel, keeping everything consistent. Keeping them short, engaging, to-the-point and most importantly unique.

Remember to link them together, so then you’re not only increasing engagement between sites, boosting conversions and increasing your leads, but you’re also contributing a lot to your SEO strategy that you probably didn’t think possible.

FIFA 15: Celebrity Footballers, Giveaways and Twitter

25 September, 2014

Celebrity endorsements have received much criticism in the past. But once you analyse what’s going on with EA Sports’ newest product launch, you’ll soon realise what’s the real driving force behind the buzz.  

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In the last post I touched upon a few unorthodox marketing principles by looking at the guerrilla fighter. One of those principles was the element of ambush – and perhaps the best example of this recently was when newly found “Beats by Dr Dre” ambushed the Olympic Games in London by handing out their headphones to celebrity athletes.

But it’s not the ambushing principle I want to pick up on, though. Because what was significant here was the fact that these headphones were given out for FREE knowing too well that during such a competition they would be used regularly, and more importantly, would be picked up by hundreds of news reporters and social media commentators worldwide.

And that’s what happened, in a move that was to firmly place the company within the audio, sound and music industry.

It was all about giveaways to celebrities at the crucial moment.

Take a look at Twitter right now, and you’ll see exactly the same happening to video games maker EA Sports’ flagship product FIFA 15 which launches tomorrow. (#FIFA15Friday is trending as I write this post.)

Celebrities are tweeting photos of themselves holding the game and publicly thanking EA Sports, and are building massive anticipation within the football and video games community in the process. These celebrities – namely professional footballers who are actually featured within the FIFA 15 game itself – have been sent copies up to a week before it hits the market are now doing wonders to the pre-selling of the video game.

And given all of these sports stars have a combined Twitter following of somewhere in the hundreds of millions, which would also include their Facebook following, you’re looking at a worldwide event. If football fans didn’t know what FIFA 15 was about, then there’s no doubt that they do after this week.

These footballers have naturally anticipated the game themselves as it is those that the user control’s within the game. Essentially, they are the product. Which again makes this strategy so clever because it’s those who are the ones that would become very active in promoting it to their fans and followers. Everyone is excited, just like Arsenal Football Club’s Theo Walcott, and his followers.

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EA Sports have identified the method that they are going to create massive anticipation (Giveaways); identified the channel from which they are to utilize to create the most buzz (Twitter and other Social Media channels); and chosen who their main ‘sales people’ were going to be (the celebrity footballers themselves).

Okay, there may be other sponsorship deals or financial incentives going on behind the scenes that we won’t really know about for a while. Sure, celebrities get around $100,000 of free stuff annually too.

But what is certain is that the strategy of offering giveaways and freebies will always be a successful strategy if the product, timing and recipient is right. Being smart, keeping it simple, knowing your product and your market won’t cost a lot also.

Even weeks before the launch of FIFA 15 video gamers have been playing a free demo of the game to get a feel of what’s to come… that’ll also leave them gasping for more.

This is pre-selling through giveaways at its finest x2!

My guess is that this will be one of the biggest video game launches in video game history. And we’ll soon find out why…

Start thinking seriously about giveaways because you will take back much more than what you gave. Human psychology dictates this despite what your initial remarks may be.

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For more on Giveaways, and how you and your small businesses can benefit from adding them into your marketing plan, check out my FREE eBook Unorthodox Marketing.