23 Oct

Master This One Skill for Sure Riches

Hola! (That’s espanol for hello).

If I were stripped of everything in my life, I’d have it all back and more within a year.

That’s not bravado, wishful thinking or theoretical confidence. It’s a fact.

Because I’ve done it.

Twice.

That’s a story for another day but I will tell you WHY I was able to do it in a very short time when it would take most people several years – if ever – to accomplish it.

How was I able to do it, and do it very fast?

The answer is: I know how to capture the mental attention rays of any human or group of humans on Earth. Once I have that, I know how to change their minds and hearts.

They way I do it is with structured sales arguments… or, copywriting for short.

There is no greater skill on earth for building income which can then be used to build wealth. (You know, if you’re into that kind of thing. :-))

If you don’t have time to learn it you can hire someone like me. I’ll charge you a fair amount of money, but it’ll be worth it.

However, I still think you should learn it yourself. Most of my absolute BEST clients were great copywriters themselves. But, as their business grew from their skill at writing, they needed more copy than they could write themselves, so they’d hire me (or someone like me).

If you want to learn copywriting whether to write for yourself or to write for others… or, you want/need a copywriter like me to help your business email me and let’s talk. My email is jason@jasonbedunah.com.

Jason

28 Sep

The Lead Generation Master Post

How would your business change if you had an exhaustive list of methodical ways to generating high quality leads?

What if instead of just one or two lead sources you had four or even six?

It’s totally possible, vital even, and there’s probably nothing more important you could be working on right now.

This guide will help you add new lead sources. I’ll provide EXACT methods that you or someone you direct can put to use immediately.

And, because this is a LONG post, I’ve created a handy table of contents.

Your Platform for Lead Gen Success
Mobile Madness!
Affinity Groups for Authority and Leads
Free Leads! (if you know how)
Wicked Social Targeting
Is Pay-per-click dead?
The Ultimate Question
Is this stalking?
Share those slides
Never Let a Trending Story Go To Waste
Does actual real mail still work?

Let’s go!

Your Platform for Generating More Leads

The hub of your business is most likely your website or blog. We’ll start there. Take a look at your blog and make sure you have the following methods of collecting email addresses as leads.

1. Standard email signup form. These have been around forever. They don’t convert well but your more enthusiastic readers will expect to see it and will sign up. Naturally, you’ll want to offer something of value in exchange.

2. Exit pop. These work like crazy. If you don’t have one then get one ASAP. Look for Ninja Pop-ups or Unbounce.

3. Try to create a custom pdf or tool for EVERY blog post. It’s not always possible but try to find a way for every major post. In fact, add creating a guide, tool, checklist (anything of value) to the blog writing process from the beginning so you can reap the benefits. Few people want to join a mailing list to get more emails in their inbox… many people want a nifty, short checklist, guide or tool. After all, why are you writing a blog post if not to get more leads or move your leads further into your funnel?

4. Use a two-step form to generate a lead. If you want to see an example just look for the following pic on the right hand side of this blog post and click it. That is from leadpages.net.

5. On the right hand side of your blog or website have your most popular guides, tools, etc available for download. A lead might only be interested in one of them so having a single offer means you are missing out on potential leads which could be gotten via one of the other 2 or 3 bits of info they may be interested in.

6. Invite people to email YOU directly in a blog post regarding something. Here’s an example, “If you are having trouble with getting leads email me at jason@jasonbedunah.com?subj=help with leads

7. Use HelloBar.

8. A/B test as much of the above as possible. If you use hellobar, unbounce and leadpages.net they all have A/B testing set-ups. Make sure to do it. Don’t be lazy. There can be a HUGE difference.

All of the above needs to be done SMOOTHLY and without annoying others. It must flow in a way and be geared towards educating and helping others. If you pull it off then you know your website is geared to maximizing your lead traffic.

But, what we have there is email captures. That may or may not qualify as a lead for your business. (It doesn’t for my business). Your email sequence needs to do a good job of turning them into actual leads. The emails in your sequence should outline a problem, agitate it for the prospect, provide a solution and then invite a direct response for those who want more help.

Mobile Lead Generation

Hey, if you’re not banging your head against the wall and scheming constantly about how to get into mobile and take advantage of it you are missing the BIGGEST opportunity since the internet itself came along.

You think adwords is expensive? It certainly can seem so. But, I’ve had $3.00 clicks on adwords and nearly equivalent 3 cent clicks (yes, actual pennies) in mobile.

Of course, you won’t always get clicks that cheap but I’ve rarely paid more than about 17 cents.

But, it’s not all roses. Your business is probably NOT suitable for mobile right off the bat. You will most likely have to get creative. But, I can’t imagine not being able to make it work in some way that ends up much cheaper than web-based PPC.

Get Super Targeted Leads with LinkedIn Groups

9. Join the LinkedIn groups that your target prospects are on. LinkedIn is fond of saying that active members get 4x the profile views as non-active members but I bet that is an average. The more active you are the more profile views you’ll get, and 4x seems LOW to me.

How many groups? That really depends. Some groups are really active. I’ve found that I don’t bother with groups of less than 10,000 members and it is difficult to keep up with more than five groups if they are active.

The key in the group is to post quite a bit, several times a week. Those readers will go to your LinkedIn profile first so make sure your LinkedIn profile can get them to your site.

10. Use the groups to connect with Influencers and prospects in your industry. Send personalized invites that give them a reason WHY you guys should be connected. If they’ve seen you active on the group they will most likely say yes because you’ve been adding value…

…better yet, look at who has viewed your profile and invite them to connect if it makes sense. That is almost 100% acceptance rate.

11. There are two types of posts you should focus on in LinkedIn groups. The first is a purely informational post that answers a major question or pain point for your prospects. The other is an open-ended question which will allow you to write helpful answers to them.

12. Once you have a few dozen quality prospects and influencers start posting to Pulse on LinkedIn. In Pulse you can link directly to your blog which (if you followed the above steps) should be an email capture machine!

13. After you’ve maximized the above, do a targeted LinkedIn campaign. Given all of the other ways of generating traffic I think that LinkedIn ads are too expensive for most businesses. However, I do test them out on occasion because you never know until you test. They could work extremely well in your business. It’s worth a few hundred dollars to find out.

#Twitter

14. Create a twitter card for free. This will generate email leads right from twitter.

15. Create a list of twitter hashtags for your industry and search them. Create a twitter list and add prospects and prospect’s influencers to the twitter list. (A tool like HootSuite makes this easier). From here what I do is give the list to an assistant and have them look at the profile to see if they are a good prospect (I target CEOs, Founders and CMOs), get their website address and/or full name and look them up on LinkedIn. All of this gets put in a spreadsheet so I have as much data on that person as I can get. That feeds into direct mail, linkedin outreach and email cold prospecting.

16. I get a fair amount of blog traffic from Twitter. That surprised me but Analytics don’t lie… and, they stick around. The key to twitter is to tweet a LOT. 10 times a day is not too much even though it might feel like it. You have to remember that people are on and off again all day long. If they are following more than a few hundred people they are unlikely to see most of your tweets anyway. Your only real shot of getting them to see your tweets is via volume and good timing.

17. Try to fit one of your main hashtags into every tweet where it makes sense. You want people besides your followers to find your tweets, too. This will help that and you’ll pick up an extra bit of traffic/followers that way.

18. Pin your lead gen twitter card to the top of your timeline so anyone reviewing your profile sees it and can sign up. Here’s mine:

Pin your tweet to generate leads

Pin your tweet to generate leads from Twitter. It’s EASY.

19. Of course, you should also test twitter advertising. I’ve had some success with it and if you are doing 14-18 you will have set yourself up for success.

#Facebook

Facebook isn’t going to be a huge lead gen avenue for every business. But, it’s silly not to have an engaged presence there. Your prospects ARE on there. The question is: Can you find them?

While Facebook does have great targeting options for B2C via likes/interests/the-graph it is less useful for B2B unless you get creative.

My suggestion is to use an Affinity interest or Cause.

For example, one of my eCommerce clients sells printed materials (signs, magnetics, banners, etc). No one is going to be particularly interested in a page that is little more than another representation of the eCommerce site.

However, if you go one step further and ask… WHO is using the products and WHAT are they using them for?

You will come up with a list of possible Fan Page ideas. What immediately comes to mind are: Sports teams to show team spirit and for fundraisers, political campaigners for rallies and yard signs, real estate agents to sell or rent houses, churches to notify members of services, to boost attendance and retail stores to catch traffic’s attention and get them into the shop.

One or all of those would be candidates for Fan Pages. How about a fan page for a sports enthusiast who is a parent of student athletes? What are the types of things they’d want to know about? Get behind?

It could turn into a bit of work, but… every SINGLE INTERN in marketing, advertising or PR would LOVE to work on it a few hours per day to get experience. Plus, they probably know 10 times more about Facebook than your Marketing exec.

#20. Brainstorm a Facebook fan page that some segment of your target clients would be interested in and get a sharp intern to post relevant stuff to it. Plan on doing little to no self-promotion on the page for 60+ days. (Oh yeah, use a tool that will allow a more seasoned management to see the posts before they go out… not all interns have great judgement at first. Look at BufferApp.com.)

#21. Test a lead gen ad to an app on your Facebook page that captures leads.

#22. Test a lead gen ad to a landing page on your site. Make sure you use facebook pixels (and retargeting) to measure the CPA. (Search the power of custom audiences).

#23. Facebook tools and people you should know:
http://www.jonloomer.com (sharpest facebook guy)

http://www.bufferapp.com

http://www.canva.com (for making graphics quickly/easily/inexpensively)

http://www.postplanner.com

#24. If you have an email list upload it to Facebook and send them an offer or direct them to a blog post while they’re on facebook!

You can get CRAZY with Facebook pixels. For example, let’s say you had a launch video that required an email opt-in. You drove traffic to it and only 30% opted-in. Are those 70% lost forever? No. Not in facebook. See… after the opt-in page you can have another pixel named “saw video1.”

Now, you can create an ad that the 70% who refused to opt-in will see… but the “saw video1” guys won’t see. Pretty crazy, eh?

Powerful!

Facebook has TONS of potential for the right business provided you know someone who can do it (someone like yours truly, perhaps?).

#PPC

PPC is a mixed bag. It can be expensive for some companies. However, if you have some budget and are willing to grind it out you can usually find a sweet spot.

You know you have to be careful when $50 adwords coupons are stuffed into every new marketing book that pops on the shelves. It means there are going to be a lot of dumbos with delusions of grandeur out there gambling. That, in itself, wouldn’t be so bad except for the sheer number of dumbos.

There are gazillions, and… they seem to be multiplying.

They make it expensive for many industries.

You overcome that by being intelligent. Using data. Not gambling. PPC as a discipline is fairly simple so I’m not going to go into a 101 here. You can find them scattered all over the place. Instead I’m going to show you how I kick other people’s butts in PPC.

#25. Be a contrarian PPC’er. If everyone is doing discounts. Offer upgrades. If offering is offering upgrades, offer how to videos, etc, etc. The key is to TEST LIKE A MANIAC.

Here are a few other ways to be contrarian:

* I like to throw in some doubt. If every other company is touting 10%, etc. then I like to do something like this, “Make a good decision” our white paper shows you how to make the best sign possible.”

* Compare Top X Companies – which goes to a landing page that compares the top sign companies.

#26. Map out customer intent. Are you there when they aren’t yet ready to buy but are collecting information? You really should be because the clicks are mega cheaper. Here’s a KILLER way to do this….

Set up a test similar to this on usertesting.com:

You are tasked with getting more attendance to your Sunday Service. You and your group brainstormed some ideas and someone mentioned yard signs.

1. Tell us if you have ever purchased yard signs before.
2. Think out loud about how you’d find out if yard signs were good for church attendance.
3. Open google and try to figure it out

See that? You are getting DATA about how people might search for your product LONG before they have decided they are going to buy.

Think that might be useful for blogging? Facebook posts? PPC!!!!?!??!?!

Oh boy! You betcha!

Gosh, you know, after that little tactic I almost feel like I am giving you guys the sausage (killer marketing info) so why would you even consider buying the pig (me)?

Oh well, I’ll just have to hope SOMEONE out there is a smart enough cookie to snatch me and my ragtag band of marketing pirates before we get all booked up or start working with your competitors.

#27. Make super sure you are doing retargeting if you are doing PPC. If you don’t then I will just assume you are a goofball. I prefer adroll.

#The Ultimate Question

Ok, I have a confession to make. I think I ruined a marriage. I was on a plane to a software conference and the gentleman next to me had a copy of “The Ultimate Question” and I just couldn’t help myself.

I bet when they got on the plane the wife thought they’d talk. Maybe have a glass of wine and look out of the plane window at the clouds and share dreams and feelings and whatnot.

But, I had other plans in mind.

Net Promoter Score is BUSINESS CHANGING and I’ll be damned if I got a newbie sitting next to me on the plane with a brand spanking new copy of that book without giving him the education of a lifetime.

So, I told him in no uncertain terms that it was IMPERATIVE that he get it into action in his company. I basically made him think his company would DIE a horrible death if he didn’t get it going. Perhaps he’d even end up homeless.

Where would his marriage be then?

Come to think of it, maybe I actually SAVED both the marriage and the company. (He was a smart guy. While sitting next to me in rapt attention he made sure he was holding her hand and giving a nice squeeze every now and then.)

Whatever.

The same goes for you. If you don’t get NPS in your company all sorts of death and plague will befall you.

Here’s what I told him:

#28. For those considered Promoters, I tabulate their answers and make sure the marketing people know the answers like the back of their hand. Those features/benefits/services/whatever DO NOT GET CHANGED or modified unless there’s a fundamental change in the entire business model or strategy. In which case, you better have ASTOUNDING reasons and proof why.

#29. I also use the most common Promoters answers and themes in ad copy. This by itself will make you seem like an advertising god in your industry. Your promoters will come up with phrasings, angles and thoughts of such advertising eloquence and beauty that even Claude Hopkins himself would cry over.

#30. FIX what the Detractors are complaining about IF AND ONLY IF it’s a failure of your product or service. It’s not always the case. Some people/groups just aren’t a fit for the product or company. You don’t change the business model or features based on what Detractors say ESPECIALLY if it conflicts with what Promoters say. Got it? Much Importante. But, if it’s a failure on your product or company then you MUST fix it. And, if I can’t convince you to do that just because it’s the right thing to do I’ll give you another reason… The WAY you screwed up is now fresh on their mind. At the first mention of your name they are going to PUKE OUT your horrific actions to all who will listen. So, fix it. Capiche?

(On the other hand, the Promoters will do the same which is a GREAT thing).

#31. Take the whole thing to another level by doing an RFM Analysis of your customer database and overlaying NPS with it. Your eyes will open and the heavens will sing forth! You will then KNOW exactly, precisely and unequivocally (spelling?) the top segments your ad budget should be going to. Wouldn’t that be nice? Figure out where all that ad money really SHOULD be going? Pro Tip: Take the Segments who have the most Promoters! They are the most profitable and the most enthusiastic. They’ll stick around longer, be less of a customer service burden and recommend your service to others.

#Retargeting

You can get really sophisticated with Retargeting. The thing to remember is it’s NOT enough just to throw basic ads at them again. No. No. No. You want to throw something that shows you know they were there, what they looked at and that you want them back. The most common thing is to show them the EXACT product(s) that they looked at.

I could write several posts on this so I’m not going to go into huge detail here. However, I will say that if you aren’t doing retargeting you need to get started. It is a CHEAP way to get your most interested prospects back to your site.

#Slideshare

This is one that I just recently started taking seriously because a few days ago I clicked on a tweet, flipped through a slideshare, went to their website and filled out a form.

Up to that point I just thought slideshare was something a speaker sent people in the audience to when he didn’t have a website. (Partially kidding.)

What makes slideshare work is social media properties. I’d be willing to bet that 90% or more of the people who see a slideshare came from twitter, Linkedin or Facebook. Without those properties Slideshare is much less important.

So, take your best stuff and put the high points into something that can be put on slideshare. I’m in the process of doing so myself.

To be updated when I finally get some up there follow me on Slideshare.

 

How to Generate More Leads with News Jacking (aka Trend Jacking)

Creativity in tying your product/service in to current news or trend can get you links (important for SEO) and clicks to your website. Now, understand that MOST of that traffic will be a waste BUT it is so easy that it’s worth taking a look at.

As an example, when a soccer player bit an Italian soccer player Snickers chimed in quickly and got a LOT of eyeballs. Click it to see the full tweet.

This requires really being on the ball. If you have a sharp intern you can put on this along with a graphic designer that can move fast you are in prime position to execute a few of these as they become available. Careful, though. Ripping things out fast can often result in a PR snafu. Make sure a trusted manager or exec reviews things before it goes out.

#Direct Mail

Does direct mail still work?

Yes!

In fact, if you were ever good at it to begin with you will make it rain now.

Why?

Because everyone has given up on it! Now when you send out direct mail you are almost always the ONLY ad in the mail box. Further, you can combine email and direct mail for better results. Send an email to let them know to look for a postcard. Send a postcard to tell them to watch for an awesome email.

I’ve gotten VERY good at this over the last few years. The INBOX is cluttered. The mail box is empty.

#Wrap up

So, there are quite a few things you can test to increase your sales and generate more leads.

If you need any help with your overall strategy or any of these specifically all you gotta do is let me know!

Jason Bedunah

04 Sep

How to Automate Cold Email Prospecting to Land Clients Fast

Here are a list of high quality blog posts detailing how people have used cold email prospecting to land clients for their services.

I’ll list each blog post here along with brief salient notes I took from each one. At the bottom of this post I give a couple of tools that will make your foray into the process MUCH easier by using some automation.

If you are going to attempt this I suggest you read over each of the blog posts on the original blog in their entirety. Each one gives you exact steps, high quality insights and links to other tools.

How One Cold Email Landed Me A $15K Consulting Project

 wrote this on Aug 27, 2014

Goal: Marco’s goal here was to get new clients for his UX consultancy

Challenge: The challenge was to get QUALIFIED clients in terms of budget. For this Marco got VERY specific on who would be best for his services and created a useful template he could fill in.

Insights: Most important part of the process is really nailing who is best for your service and finding a way to find them en masse. This is likely to be time-consuming so Marco set it up in a way that made it easy to outsource.

Results: He got two highly qualified leads all the way to the proposal stage and got one of them engaged in a $15,000 contract. (Great results!)

Improvement: After the initial email was sent he had to manage the follow-up in Gmail. Future improvement would use a CRM to help keep things organized. (perhaps “Streak”?)

iris Shoor Profile PictureThe cold emails that got me meetings at Twitter, LinkedIn and GitHub by Iris of Takipi

Iris details the emails that got her meetings with high profile companies for her software start-up.

Goal: To get meetings with the right people at larger companies to adopt Takipi software.

Challenge: To find the right contact at the company. This appeared to be fairly time-consuming and included research on their blog, youtube, social accounts to find a contact person’s name. Then, another person utilizing Rapportive and a Spreadsheet to find that person’s most probable email address.

Insights: Iris did a great job of sharing her insights throughout the process which started at a 0% response rate and ended up at 30-40% meeting rate! I won’t list them all here because I really think you should read the whole post. But… here are a couple…

    • Use a super-focused subject line
    • Don’t talk a lot about yourself instead state why and how you can help them
    • Keep it short
    • Provide a call to Action

Results: After refining her process she gets a 40% response rate. (Awesome!)

Improvement: I’m not sure what could be improved! 40% is crazy good.

How to get a $3,000 monthly contract (with exact scripts) by Bryan Harris

Bryan Harris’ provides exact scripts, tools he uses and the 6 steps he has actually used and refined a bit. It is a great process to model and it worked.

Goal: Get clients for a $3k per month weekly video service for bloggers.

Challenge:  There didn’t seem to be any HUGE challenges. He had to use a similar email finding process as other cold emailers (Rapportive with Email format generator). Overall, the value was high and targeting was good so he did well.

Insights: Be prepared to spend more time on these leads. It is a fairly high-dollar amount with a monthly commitment.

Results:  “4 of the 6 people I have sent the proposals to have opened them and half have clicked through to watch the [proposal/sample] video.”

Improvement: Parts of the process could be outsourced to save time. Other than that it is great results.

Several Other Great Cold Email Prospecting Blog Posts:

http://customerdevlabs.com/2014/02/18/how-to-send-cold-emails/
http://okdork.com/2013/04/18/cold_email/
http://blog.close.io/5-cold-email-templates-that-will-generate-warm-leads-for-your-sales-team

How to Make Cold Email Prospecting Even Easier!

I did quite a bit of research on this and those three posts provide most of what you need and link to other great resources. I would, however, add the following things to your repertoire should you decide to try this out for your own sales.

1. Outsource the discovery of the leads BUT make sure you really nail the WHO as best you can. (You most likely will need a couple of iterations on this aspect to get it perfect). I used LimeLeads for a client project (targeting Realtors) and I was satisfied with their timeliness and communication. From their website: “Every email list is custom and made-to-order. You give us keywords, we give you email addresses.”

In MOST cases a couple of keywords isn’t likely to be targeted well enough. In that case, you will need a more involved process using additional information sources like Marco’s.

2. Consider using QuickMail.io to automate sending the emails and follow-up sequences. I have QuickMail setup to send 50 emails from my prospect list per day and to follow-up 2 days later with anyone who doesn’t answer.

The goal is to get in contact with the leads NOT spend all of your time sending out emails and digging around trying to find out who to respond to and who to follow-up with.

3. Use a CRM that integrates with your email program to keep track of the responses. I am using “Streak” for Gmail in Chrome.

Read what OTHERS are doing on http://blog.quickmail.io/  - I got quite a few ideas from reading the blog posts about how others have used the tools there.

Like this post? Submit it to Growth Hackers so others can read it, too.

Jason Bedunah

P.S. If you attempt this or you have ALREADY embarked on your own cold emailing process let me know about it in the blog comments!

03 Sep

7 Ways to Make Your Facebook Contest a Raving Success

… This is a post from 2013 from my old blog. I’m reposting it here only because it STILL gets tons of traffic. The ideas are still valid and the contest was a success … 

Recently, I put together a Facebook contest for ModernGreetings and we had a blast.

The contest did a lot to drive awareness for ModernGreetings.com and they went from a few hundred fans to nearly 8,000 in about 5 weeks. Not bad at all.

I’m sure a few competitors raised their eyebrows as well!

Now that the contest has been over a while and I’ve got some distance from it I have boiled  down what we’ve learned from it as well as a few things to watch out for so you don’t get taken advantage of…

1. When picking a prize go big!

Many companies make the mistake of trying to give away a product or money. I don’t think that is the best option. You want people to become aware of your company so they’ll buy your product. Don’t cheapen it by giving it away.

Also, a product is not something that is going to generate a lot of buzz or make people expend much effort.

Think about how they’ll use the product or make a list of people who are interested in the product or service and ask yourself what they would want.

One of the primary segments for ModernGreetings.com is “Soccer Moms.” They are usually married, have one or more kids above 5 years old and live in Suburbia. (I won’t reveal the exact Prizm codes here, sorry!)

We could give away a photobook (yawn) or free birthday invitations for their kid’s next birthday (bigger yawn) or we could ask ourselves what would really move them?

What would get even other people, non-Soccer Moms, to send messages to the Soccer Moms saying, “Hey, did you hear about the contest? You should enter!”

After some brainstorming we came up with an idea… What soccer mom wouldn’t go nuts for a 2nd Honeymoon? It has a direct tie-in to ModernGreetings.com because we also gave away free photobooks to commemorate their 2nd honeymoon. That ties in perfectly.

But, we didn’t stop there… We decided to give one 2nd Honeymoon away every week for 4 weeks.

Each contest would require them to engage in social media activities to get the word out which would continue to build momentum for the contest.

Which brings us to the Second Way…

2. Make Participation Forward Your Social Presence to Get Even More Engagement and Awareness

We really wanted to get the word out, not only on Facebook, but on Twitter and Pinterest as well.

So, we designed contests to have a social component. The first contest was a funniest wedding photo contest where the contestants had to post a photo and get their Facebook friends to vote for it.

On Twitter we had them tweet a short summary of their proposal using the hashtag #MGTakeUsAway.

On Pinterest we had them create a board of their favorite destination and pin pictures of the sights, sounds and food they’d enjoy. We pinned a small infographic describing the contest task.

The last contest was a video of a wedding moment or of them recounting a wedding moment.

Each week we posted a different task. Each week we announced the winner in a recap video. Anyone who didn’t win could also participate in the next task. Many people participated in all four.

3. Give Frequent Updates via Email, Twitter, Facebook and Video Posts

The LAST thing you want someone to do is enter a contest and then forget about it. What you really want is to get them coming to your Facebook page often to check up on their stats, encourage friends to help them and also to see your OTHER non-contest related information.

The best way to do that is with frequent updates. We updated nearly everyday in some way and often several times in a day.

The day before the end of the contest we’d do an update were we highlighted who the top performers were and encouraging everyone to give one last push. This created a nice flurry of extra activity to our SM properties.

By letting people know WHEN we were going to announce we also had quite a bit of extra hits going to check up on the results. They often interacted with non-contest Facebook posts during that time.

4. Get Permission to Reveal the Winners and Use Their Submitted Items in Promotion

One of the interesting things we didn’t expect was a lot of extra commenting and social activity around congratulating winners. By doing a contest recap, revealing the winner and showing the entry that won, we had another opportunity to get in front of all of the contestants and their friends.

5. Give a Prize for EVERYONE Who Enters

While nothing beats the Grand Prize we didn’t want ANYONE to go off empty handed so we gave everyone who entered little prizes here and there. It built good will and resulted in quite a few full price orders for the company.

6. Leave the Final Decision Up To A Panel of Judges in Your Company

Of course, with anything like a contest involving prizes of magnitude you should have an attorney write the rules. I would suggest leaving the final decision up to a panel of judges who pick the winner from a pool of the top contestants. One reason I say this is because there are “voting groups” on Facebook which are organized to all vote for each other. While not technically illegal it is on the scammy side and is NOT what you want. You want real votes and comments from contestants, their friends and family… not organized groups of “you vote for me on this contest, I’ll vote for you on that contest.” If you disallow such things in your rules then if someone uses a voting group you can simply remove them from the pool of top contestants.

7. Make it Fun!

If you make it a blast for people it will spread. We reached over 1.2 million people on Facebook each week for about 5 weeks straight. A ton more people became aware of ModernGreetings.com and we saw email optins and sales increase as a result.

And, if you or your company want to run a Facebook contest, contact me and let’s have some fun!

Jason Bedunah

P.S. Have you ever entered a Facebook contest yourself? Would you? Let me know in the comments below

27 Aug

Reduce Churn and Reactivate Past Users to Increase Software Sales

Get this post in PDF Format now.

Why do people stop doing business with you? Why do they stop those recurring payments?

One of the biggest mistakes you could make is to think you can sit around a conference room table and figure it out. This isn’t an answer that can be brainstormed, it has to be discovered.

And, there is a sure-fire and direct way to discover the specific answers (plural).

Once found you can take those answers and create positive changes to reduce the churn rate in your business.

Your retention rate will increase because you are doing less to drive them away and providing a higher quality service at the same time.

This creates an impact in the referral rate, too. And, it is not hard.

The first step is to discover WHY people are leaving. The fact that people are leaving is a big deal.

Think about it… they have to research new vendors, engage in a signup process, transfer information and HOPE that the new vendor is better.

The absolute best method I’ve found for this problem has two steps:

Use Net Promoter Score to Increase Software Sales

Use The Net Promoter Score to Increase Software Sales

1. Use the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a very simple 3 question survey that is designed so shrewdly I am surprised every company on Earth hasn’t already adopted it.

After each sale or customer service interaction or time period you send out the following:

“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend xyz company to a friend or colleague?”

The next question depends on their answer.

If they give a 9 or 10 they are considered a Promoter which means they will be loyal and positively recommend your company to those they know when the opportunity arises.

If they give a 7 or 8, they are considered Passive. This means they are satisfied enough to hang around but won’t give you a glowing endorsement and are susceptible to a better offer.

If they give anything below a 7 they are considered a Detractor. This means they are not loyal, will likely stop doing business with you at the next hiccup in service or performance and will most likely say negative things about you if the subject of your product or service comes up.

One of the main things that has kept them from leaving is the overall inertia and annoyance of switching vendors.

The next question is:

“What’s the most important reason you gave the score that you did?”

The final question depends on their score:

9 or 10: “If you were to recommend us to a friend or colleague what would you say to them?”

7 or 8: “What could we do to cause you to give us a 9 or 10 in the future?”

Below 7: “Would you mind someone caling or emailing you to discuss this further?” Then provide a place for their email and phone if they say yes.

This will give you a good amount of data to read through.

It is EYE-OPENING to say the least!

The data from the 9s and 10s you want to know because it shows you where you excel and what you should NOT change. Further, I like to use the statements in marketing materials. Oftentimes someone will come up with an angle/idea/statement that we (marketers) never considered or worded properly.

This is pure gold for copywriters!

The statements from 7-8 should be considered when planning improvements or changes to the product, service or operations. Don’t let it conflict with anything having to do with the 9s and 10s comments, though.

Below 7 you want to look at where you could really make some meaningful improvements.

If there are outstanding customer service issues you want to make attempts to handle them. I’ve seen 3s and 4s jump up to 9s and 10s after a quality response here.

But, the thing to REALLY look for is trends.

We read the data and tabulate the responses that are the same or similar and rank them. By knocking out the highest ranking issues we know we are improving the company to such a degree that we’ll have less Detractors and more Promoters.

Your NPS is something you can track and improve over time. As you knock out issue after issues you’ll see it climbing.

From the NPS website:

“To calculate your company’s NPS, take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors.”

(PRO TIP: By the way, if you are also using my “WHO” strategy you’ll want to connect NPS scores to individuals in the segments. In this way, you can find out which segments are most likely to be Promoters and thus your best customers.)

That’s the first step… Get NPS running as a process and a Metric in your company.

The second step is based on it.

Now, we are going to recover those people who stopped doing business with you. We are going to do it with hat-in-hand.

Take the top few reasons you uncovered from the initial rounds of NPS surveys and craft a one page letter and/or email.

You are going to hit all of those top reasons head on and show that you’ve taken steps to correct them.

Let’s say the top 3 reasons people canceled were: site unavailable too often, didn’t cache so I lost my work and customer service unavailable, you’d hit those issues head on in your reactivation letter.

In emails and letters I use the headline, “Have we done something wrong?”

Dear xyz,

I noticed it’s been quite awhile since you’ve done business with us. As the head of abc Company I never like to see that so I have to ask, “Have we done something wrong?

Or goal has always been to provide software that makes it easier for our users to create amazing infographics.

Over the last few months we’ve taken drastic steps to increase the availability of our service. It now stands at an amazing 99.99% availability. Further, our caching capability is much improved so you don’t have to worry about losing your hard work.

We’ve also expanded our customer service hours by another two hours to accommodate people on the East Coast or others working later into the evening.

If we have done something wrong or you feel like we haven’t lived up to our side of the deal, I’d sure like the opportunity to correct it so feel free to email me at bob@bob.com

If that’s not the case, I’d still love to have you back. When you decide to order again here is 10% off – no expiration date but I hope you’ll do business with us again real soon.

Sincerely,
Jason

Now, what do you think a person is going to do when they get a letter like THAT in the mail?

Since I’ve done this many times I can tell you: They are going to be amazed.

Who does that?

No one.

It will make quite an impression. I received letters and emails back saying it was the best business letter they’ve received. (The real ones I’ve sent not the example one above).

It has caused as much as an 18% revenue increase in a single month just based off of past customers who had not repurchased in over a year. Quite powerful.

It works because it is a reactivation program based on the primary reasons users defected in the first place. A general reactivation program will do only about a third as well.

Using the above you can reduce your churn rate and reactivate customers who have defected.

If you need any guidance I’ve done many projects like this in the past, feel free to contact me for more information on how we can work together.

Jason Bedunah

Like this post? Submit it to Growth Hackers so others can read it, too.
02 Aug

How to Dominate Your Niche to Increase Software Sales

Howdy from Texas! It’s Saturday but I’ve been up early getting things done. And, I wanted to give a preview of a report I’m working on right now called “How to Dominate Your Niche to Increase Software Sales”

First things first… You need to FOCUS on the WHO. In today’s social world it’s important that you serve people. They don’t give a damn about your software. They don’t. They care about their problems, their goals, their needs, their life, their job, their family.

If you approach them with “Buy our software!” you are just a distraction. Of course, you probably aren’t so bold/uncouth to word it that way but most companies are just one step away from that.

I see a LOT of landing pages and other collateral that aren’t that far away from that.

One step away is usually a benefit of some sort, like “Saves time!” But, as I’ve explained here and here that isn’t good enough because it is missing the most important component, WHO.

Second, increase your reach. Your WHO is out there. You should be EVERYWHERE they are. In their mind you should look so prolific, so present, so active and involved they literally wonder if you are stalking them as well as how in the world you pull it off.

Instagram? There. Twitter? All over it and actively tweeting valuable/interesting/intriguing stuff. Facebook. Looks like we’re on it 24/7. Snapchat? Of course. Thumb? Yep. Conferences they are at? All of ‘em.

Almost everyone underestimates the volume of communication it takes to rise above the noise. Don’t worry about turning people off. The only people you turn off are those who never would’ve bought anyway, or if they did, they’d have been a pain in the ass. Either way, you win.

Third, use personalities whenever and wherever possible. People are interested in other people’s ideas, activities, struggles, triumphs and drama (see: Reality TV). The founder should have an active evangelistic voice for the product. Developers should evangelize. Everyone in the company should be on Social Media promoting, promoting, promoting by adding value to the main concerns, issues, problems and focus of the WHO you are targeting.

For examples see 37signals and Buffer’s blog.

Fourth, take responsibility for the well-being of the WHO.

This is actually the foundation and driver of everything else. You decide on the WHO and decide and COMMIT that you are going to be the solver of their core problems. That is what your software is supposed to do anyway isn’t it? Well, chances are you can do A LOT more than just help them with software directly. You can help them with advice, ideas, connections, how-tos, information and everything else.

If your software helps Project Managers save time… don’t JUST sell them the software. Give them dozens and dozens of ways to do it. Be such a supreme provider and solver of that problem that they WANT to give you money out of gratitude.

It’s a different mode of operation but it’s much more workable, fulfilling and effective. It’ll turn them into evangelists, word of mouth will take off, they’ll retweet you, tell all the other Project Managers about you.

The best advertising is FREE advertising.

Just a few ways to Dominate.

Jason Bedunah

Like this post? Submit it to Growth Hackers so others can read it, too.
01 Aug

Can Reality TV Teach You How to Increase Software Sales?

Increase Software Sales from Reality TV?

Increase Software Sales from Reality TV?

Here’s something to emblazon on your brain: People are immensely interested in OTHER people.

If Reality TV has provided nothing else of value THAT one lesson is surely worth millions. And, I’m here to tell you something you might find mind-boggling.

That little lesson can help YOU and your team increase software sales.

Here it is again:

People are immensely interested in the activities, aspirations, problems, beliefs, opinions and even drama of OTHER people. 

But, that shouldn’t be such a shock though. All of fiction, movies and most TV shows revolve around characters (i.e. people). There’s never been a blockbuster, ultra-popular movie about rocks or machines.

So, it makes you wonder why almost all software marketing ignores the PEOPLE and goes straight to talking about benefits.

The context is missing. Or, as I like to call it the “WHO.”

Those landing pages and white papers that tout benefits like “Save time” are falling far short of what is really necessary to get huge jump in conversion and increase software sales.

Why?

Well, let me ask you this question: What does it mean to “save time” to a CEO?

Is that a different meaning for a mother of five?

What does “save time” actually mean to a shop foreman?

Your software might be able to save time for each of them, but you can’t hammer home the REAL benefit, the REAL meaning of that saved time because you have a general context which means there is no meaning possible other than “save time.” Any attempt to develop the real benefits (or the AGITATION of not having enough time) suddenly collides because once you get specific it becomes UNTRUE for the other personas.

The way around this is to focus on each of the personas individually and have specific content for each which explicitly develops the agitation/needs and resultant benefits FROM THEIR VIEWPOINT.

They are interested in the PERSONAL aspect.

Once you focus on the WHO you are then able to really develop the concept and have meaningful case studies, demonstrations and testimonials. The same interest of others that makes REALITY TV so interesting and addictive can then be leveraged for your software.

Here’s another aspect: You can use that same principle to capture the interest of ALL of your target “whos” by letting people see into your company, into the activities of your employees and offices as a mini reality tv show.

This doesn’t have to be super-high quality. Over 50% are going to watch the videos on a 4-5 inch screen. Nor, do they have to be long and involved.

photo credit: JustForSneaks Ent. via photopin cc

30 Jul

Get Funnel Vision to Increase Software Sales

Increase software sales with Funnel Vision

Increase software sales with Funnel Vision

The CEO leaned forward in his chair. Our food hadn’t even arrived and we were already deep into conversation.

“I don’t understand.” he said. “I’ve given them everything they’ve asked for… money, tools, people. Instead of results, I just get excuses.”

I’ve been in these types of conversations countless times over the last ten years and, especially, since Google’s updates wreaked havoc on many.

And, I know what often came next. A blood bath. Budget cuts. Marketing people getting axed. But, the problem wasn’t the people or the budget or the tools. It was something else.

The waiter, sensing a deep conversation in progress, lightly set our food down on the table attempting not to disturb us.

“Ok,” I said. “I’ve taken a look at everything and your best chance doesn’t lie in Google SEO or adwords or an increased budget or anything along those lines.”

He looked at me, still perplexed, but was listening intently so I continued, “The internet has shifted on us again in the last few years. When you started this business in 2008 you could buy Adwords clicks for about a dollar or less. Now, you’re paying between $3 and $6. It’s no longer profitable to treat strangers as almost-buyers.”

He swallowed and put down his fork, “Ok, but if we don’t buy clicks and fix this SEO situation how in the world are we going to get growth?”

“We have to shift your focus to the WHO… and instead of marketing to a problem which ANYONE could have we have to focus on the people who have those problems. I know it sounds like splitting hairs but it makes a HUGE difference.” I answered.

The CEO looked even more confused. “This is your big idea? We already do that. On our website we have the customer personas. Nine of them, in fact. The case studies and testimonials are grouped by the personas, too”

I knew I had to tread lightly here (sometimes I have a tendency to be too blunt… even for Executives).

“Right. But, the fact that they are all there together basically says, ‘Our general solution also applies to you.’”

He gulped down some water and gave me a worried look, “We can’t afford to serve just one group. Besides, our offerings DO work for all those personas.”

“I got that. But, the problem here is NOT that you serve all those personas. It’s that they see the persona, think you have a special solution specifically for them but then get stuffed into the same funnel as everyone else. Context is everything.”

The CEO’s facial expression softened a little bit but he still looked slightly perplexed. I continued, “The funnel is designed specifically for WHO and needs to evolve given feedback from the WHO. If you are making changes on a general funnel one change that could INCREASE conversions for one persona could DECREASE them for another.”

The CEO leaned forward, he already looked a little more relieved, “So, we build unique funnels for each major persona?”

“Yes!” I said enthusiastically. But, I had to tell him it is just a little more complicated than that, “You’ll need unique content and social media for each one as well.”

Get Funnel Vision

We’re now in the process of building out these funnels and, while it does take some time and upfront investment in specific content, it doesn’t require a major investment – especially if you consider the payoff.

The upfront content, aka ‘Lead Magnets’, need to be geared specifically and ONLY for the personas (the WHO). The Lead Magnet brings them into the persona specific funnel which drives them to a specific goal: Trial Offer, Lead Form, A Sale, a Phone Call, etc.

With this setup, optimization of the funnel can provide huge gains because any insights you gain and test on the funnel have the best chance of applying to a significant percentage of the people in the funnel! This isn’t true of a general funnel.

If you don’t do it this way your optimization process will be confusing and essentially grasping at straws. Analysts will look at pages and essentially GUESS what to test and see only moderate increases in conversion.

But, if you connect and focus on personas and build specific content and funnels for them then their feedback, specific problems and benefits provide more than enough ideas and insights to create truly meaningful tests. Those tests can turn into a real boost in sales.

If you think some Funnel Vision could help increase your software sales reach out to me.

Jason Bedunah

Like this post? Submit it to Growth Hackers so others can read it, too.
27 Jul

Discover the WHO To Increase Your Software Sales

origin_347361866

Nail the WHO and You’ll Boost Software Sales

When you discover WHO you are targeting everything becomes much more clear. I often come across software sales pages or other marketing messages that describe WHAT problem their software solves but gives hardly an inkling of WHO it solves it for and that can make a HUGE difference.

Take this quick example: You feel like you need an energy boost because you really notice yourself fading in the afternoon meetings with your junior staff. You don’t want to drink any more coffee because that has diminishing effects and you loathe the crash. You think, “Maybe I’ll take some vitamins!”

You get to the drug store and are overwhelmed by the choices. You decide on a multi-vitamin to see if that helps and are faced with 5 choices:

  • A-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • B-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • C-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • D-Brand General Multi-Vitamin
  • E-Brand General Multi-Vitamin

You pick them up and have trouble distinguishing them from each other. Some brag about their quality, one of them says they’ve been in business over 50 years, another says they use state-of-the art equipment. As far as you’re concerned they look the same so you decide to grab the next-to-cheapest and be done with it.

But, before heading off to the cash register something catches your eye. You see another row of vitamins.

  • Multi-Vitamin for Active Teens
  • Multi-Vitamin for Executives
  • Multi-Vitamin for Seniors 65+
  • Multi-Vitamin for Bodybuilders

You think, “Hey, I’m an executive… but this is more expensive than the General Multi-Vitamins, why?”

You look at the bottle and see a couple of blurbs:

  • “Extra B12 For All-Day Energy”
  • “More Vitamin D to help get a good night’s sleep.”
  •  “20% more B6 to help you keep calm under pressure.”

Suddenly, the Executive bottle looks a lot better… I mean, it’s mentioned you by ‘name’ and hit on your top 3 needs! It no longer looks expensive. Now, it looks like the only sane choice.

It was specially formulated for YOU.

Any of those other General Vitamins could’ve had the same blurbs on them but they would have had MUCH less impact.

Why?

The answer lies in Context. It is not enough to know it internally. Everything in your marketing and advertising must bear it out. This is specifically for YOU.

The Context must be unmistakable. If you can swap out benefits and have it still apply to non-targets you don’t have it down yet. While the feature might be the same, the benefit, the language, the viewpoint will all be different depending on the Context, the WHO.

Now imagine the Context is Multi-Vitamin for Husbands (or Wives). There’d be a whole DIFFERENT set of statements on those bottles, wouldn’t there? Maybe something having to do with *ahem* performance?

The WHO, the Context, makes the benefits seem more real, even more believable. You suppose if it was built/designed/engineered with YOU in mind and it mentions your top concerns and benefits, why consider anything else? Any vendor who has taken the time to do that has a better shot of actually helping you. They get the nod even if they are more expensive.

Any haggling on price is an indication that the WHO is not well-established and the context-specific benefits have not been thoroughly ferreted out. Price sensitivity means they have others to compare your offering to… but when those two things are nailed and communicated properly, there is NO competition. (Price sensitivity can also be created by HOW you are selling but that is a subject for another post).

Context sets you up to get to your prospects early and educate them right into the sale. Further, by creating quality content explicitly for them you can BE FOUND instead of using expensive advertising dollars to compete for their attention along with everyone else.

Which are you more likely to download and actually read, “How Executives Can Have More Energy Throughout the Day” or “How to Have More Energy Throughout the Day?”

How to do this wrong.

I’ve seen sites that had a “Who Is This For” type section which listed all of the WHO’s the software could be used for… I won’t call them out, that’s not my style, but it is rampant.

And, it is weak. In fact, I know it to be detrimental. When they connect in the Context, they shouldn’t see “How Busy Mom’s Can Have More Energy Throughout the Day” with your formula on it.

That destroys the magic.

Is it for me? or Not? If the magic is destroyed then they’ll assume it’s not. The connection is dashed and now they know it was just a cheap marketing gimmick. You want to create a different formula for Busy Moms? Fine. If I’m a Male there should be almost no chance I ever hear of it. If I’m an Executive AND a Busy Mom I might come across it but it should look VERY different or the magic context is destroyed.

Pick your WHO and dive in. Commit! Build everything in that funnel to that WHO.

Most are too scared. They think they are leaving money on the table. On the contrary, you will be penetrating deeper, your cost of acquisition will be low and you’ll be able to charge a premium. If done right, you will have NO direct competition and it will be easy to show why the alternatives are a poor choice.

Picking your WHO makes everything easier. The best time to pick your WHO is before you even have a product.

Second best is right now.

If your software sales are lackluster. If it feels like the cost of acquisition is high. If you have to discount, engage in sales, negotiate on price or do special deals to close a sale consider that you don’t have the magical context, the WHO, nailed down.

Like this post? Submit it to Growth Hackers so others can read it, too.

Jason Bedunah

photo credit: Frédéric Poirot via photopin cc

25 Jul

How to Combine Surveys With Landing Page Optimization to Sell More Software

medium_3843456676
Ever feel like creating new things to test during a landing page optimization exercise is a crap shoot?

I know I often did.

I’d hear ideas like “What if we change the button to red to give the psychological impression of ACTION!”

Someone would counter, “I think the other color to test should be blue in order to keep the brand’s color scheme consistent.”

What it told me was that once you got past the headline and subheads, most marketing people struggled to offer meaningful tests.

Test The Language of the Customer, Not The Language of Marketers Trying to Act Like Customers

But, all that was solved after I started combining the quantitative results of landing page conversion rates with the qualitative results of surveys.

By poring over surveys from customers I got all of the creative ideas to test I would ever need!

No testing red buttons versus blue buttons. Now, I could test actual phrases, angles and concepts pulled directly from customer feedback.

I switched from testing ideas from marketing people to something 10x more valuable… testing the language of the customer. Now the landing pages were talking to the customer, in the language of the customer, using their own words, phrases and angles so they GOT it and understood.

How Surveys Help Your Company Sell More Software

The result: Shortcutting the process to major improvements.

What survey? Net Promoter Score (R) is the simplest and easiest. It is only three questions (when done right) and the third question I like to ask is, “If you answered 9 or 10, what would you say to someone when recommending our service?”

This is THE most valuable question you can get answered. It will be a tremendous source of ideas, angles and language that NO MARKETER could deduce.

It can also solve mysteries. Like the one I was caught in late 2010. At that time, I was consulting with an eCommerce company that sold supplements.

They had a product that did well in their catalog and in stores but for some reason they just couldn’t get it converting well on the web. We KNEW it was converting for others so we really were in mystery about this whole thing.

I launched an NPS survey to the people who had purchased the product. Everything looked fine except a noticed a couple of comments like “too hard to read.”

Odd.

I dug deeper. The product was for older people. I had someone follow up. What exactly was hard to read. The text, the bottle, the ingredients… basically everything, he said. He had to have his wife come over and read it.

Could this solve the mystery?

Not entirely. But, it did help. We did notice a boost. And, it was enough to keep the client’s interest up until we got a few more breakthroughs.

Something as simple as normal text being too hard to read for older people depressed response. And, none of us 20 and 30 year olds would’ve caught it. Ever.

But, the survey did. It also yielded us a use for the product and a major concern that none of us would’ve ever guessed.

All those coupled together provided a huge win in the LPO exercise. It is highly unlikely we could’ve “brainstormed” or “had a creative breakthrough” to get any of them on our own.

The takeaway: Run NPS Surveys on your list of customers and use the insights gained from it to create new landing pages to test during Landing Page Optimization.

Like this post? Submit it to Growth Hackers so others can read it, too.

Jason Bedunah

P.S. If you want to start a dialogue you can email me or find me at either of the properties below.

@jbedunah on Twitter
Jason Bedunah on LinkedIn

photo credit: @Doug88888 via photopin cc

Increase Software Sales by 10-30% With My Strategies

Get cutting-edge information, strategies and tactics to increase your company's software sales. Software cannot be sold like everything else. It is DIFFERENT and in order to get the best results you need to take advantage of the differences to maximize results.