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David Ogilvy Continues to Teach Us – We Sell or Die

It still so true we should repeat it at the start of every new year.

How To Start Your Own Blog – It’s Easier Than You Think

GETTING STARTED!

The  first rule of blogging: THERE ARE NO RULES FOR BLOGGING!

Blogging is no different than any other kind of writing even the fact that at some point you may hope to monetize your work … and to do that you need to attract people to your site. Lots of people. The more followers of your blog postings, the more reason advertisers will want to appear there  to sell their goods and services so let’s get started.

The information that follows comes from my good friend Denny Hatch who is one of the true gurus in the business of writing. He pens a monthly column in TARGET MARKETING MAGAZINE. More about Denny later.

If you are sitting and looking at a blank computer screen (or a blank piece of paper), you’ll never get started. I am reminded of the great wit, writer and actor of the 1930’s and 40’s. Robert Benchley (1889-1945), grandfather of Peter (“Jaws”) Benchley. One day under deadline and suffering from a severe hangover, Benchley was sitting in his room at the Algonquin Hotel in New York staring at a blank piece of paper in his typewriter. To get started he typed the word “The”.

Benchley rose from his chair, walked to the window and, glancing at his watch, realized the gang of regulars was assembling for a splendid lunch of booze and bon mots at the legendary Round Table downstairs — Dorothy Parker, Groucho Marx, George S. Kaufman, Alexander Woollcott, New Yorker editor Harold Ross and others.

Benchley returned to the typewriter and stared at the “The” for a long time. In a burst of inspiration, he completed the sentence. It read, “The hell with it.” Whereupon he took the elevator down to join the party.

Ted Nicholas on Getting Started

Ted Nicholas is a legendary direct marketer, entrepreneur, publisher, copy writer and teacher. In his classic book, “The Golden Mailbox,” he wrote:

  1. Clear your mind. For some persons, this might mean lying down for a few minutes before going to work. For others, it could mean jumping in the pool or jogging around a track. Frolic, spend time with someone you love or go dancing. Do whatever comes naturally to you in order to have a clear mind for creative purposes.
  2. Never write when you’re tired. You’re not going to try to drive or operate machinery when you’re tired. Don’t try to write when you’re fatigued.
  3. Never write when you’re busy. If there are other demands pressing on you, tend to them first. I don’t think anyone can write well when watching the clock. Don’t try to write if you have appointments later in the day or errands to run.
  4. Don’t write in bits and pieces. Once you’ve turned on your creative energy, you need to keep it flowing. I don’t stop until I complete a draft. I try not to stop even for meals.

A Kitchen Timer

The late Gene Schwartz, who wrote powerful mail order/direct mail copy that sold millions of dollars worth of books (many published by himself), once told me to get a kitchen timer and set it on the desk next to me. He said:

Punch in 4-4-4-4. That’s 44 minutes and 44 seconds during which you’re working. Period. All you do is work, write, do research, deal with correspondence, design, whatever. When the timer goes off, get up and shut the alarm sound off. Take a break. Walk around, stretch, get a cup of coffee, clear your head. When you’re ready to go back to work, hit the 4-4-4-4 button again and dive in.

I follow Gene’s advice. It keeps me sane and refreshed.

Hemingway on Writing

When Ernest Hemingway finished a book, he would stick the manuscript in a drawer and come back to it a few weeks later. Most of us under deadline do not have this kind of time. however not looking at a piece of paper or a computer screen for 12 or 24 hours or longer and then going back to it for edits and rewrites can be beneficial. In “A Moveable Feast“,  Hemingway wrote:

I always worked until I had something done and I always stopped  when I knew what was going to happen next. That way I could be sure of going on the next day…I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped; learning, I hoped; and I would read so that I would not think about my work and make myself impotent to do it.

Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter, and author of Denny Hatch’s Business Common Sense e-newsletter at www.businesscommonsense.com.

If you’d like a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success, it’s yours for the asking; just send an email to: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

How To Protect Yourself and Your Privacy On-Line

THERE IS RISING CONCERN OVER SCAMMERS and PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET!

This weeks posting is devoted to helping you to protect yourself while on-line, whether communicating via email, Facebook or Twitter, accessing your bank, or making purchases through on-line merchants. Always remember that it is ultimately up to you to maintain and protect your own privacy!

Keeping your software up-to-date isn’t just a question of adding new features to your programs. It is also a critical part of protecting yourself on-line. But that doesn’t mean just having the latest version of your chosen anti-virus program. Your computer’s operating system and the programs that run on your computer must be up-to-date, too. Never ignore prompts to update your operating system or applications with critical security fixes. When updating your Microsoft operating system, only do it using Windows or Microsoft Update Tools. Macs have a similar updating program that prompts users when it’s time to make an update. All other software programs should be updated via that company’s website to ensure safety.

For years scammers have used email to dupe their victims into sending money or divulging sensitive information. While that’s still a problem, scammers are increasingly turning to social networks, such as Facebook, and using your friends against you. The message, which can appear as a direct message or a post on your Facebook wall, is designed to look like it came from your friend’s profile. A request for money or a free treat from your favorite store presented by a friend can be compelling or a tempting offer but before clicking, you should ask yourself a few questions.

  1. Does the request sound reasonable or is the offer too good to be true?
  2. Is this really something my friend would request/send/write?
  3. Does the language have awkward phrasing or a lot of typos?

If any of those questions raise a red flag, don’t click the link. If you really want to verify the message, contact your friend directly about the request or offer.

When visiting a new website, you should always take a moment to scan the site’s URL  (Uniform Resource Locator) that is displayed in a bar at the top of your Internet browser. That URL, is the address of the website and should be scrutinized for typos or other irregularities to make sure they are not just a clever imposter. Most URL’s will begin with the familiar ‘http’ before the site’s address. News, entertainment and other general interest websites all use this format for their URL’s. But if money is to change hands or you’re asked to share sensitive information such as your Social Security Number, look for a URL with an extra letter. Make sure  that when providing sensitive information that the Web address starts with ‘https‘ instead of ‘http‘. That little ‘s‘ stands for secure, meaning the website has additional security and you are less likely to have your information compromised.

If you use Twitter you’re probably familiar with so-called shortened URL’s which are a method for streamlining a link so it  can fit in Twitter’s 140-character limit. While it  is handy for sharing information, it can be dangerous. Even if you know the person who has posted the link, it’s a good idea  to  proceed with caution. Take the time to expand the link before clicking on it.

Never assume that mobile applications (apps) are safe. Smartphone users who want to use mobile banking should only use apps provided by their financial institution. Third-party apps may not have the same privacy protections as apps offered by your bank and many continue to run even after you exit them. This increases the risk  that keystrokes and touch screen selections will be intercepted. Security on mobile devices will get better but for now don’t do it!

Following these guidelines will make all your on line dealings safer and protect you from scammers.

12 Search Tips: How To Successfully Search the Internet

TRYING TO NAVIGATE the World Wide Web without help is like trying to do research in a library that has no librarians, a  jumble of card catalogs listing just a fraction of the collection—and 320 million books. To flounder less and learn more in your Web voyages, follow these search tips.

For a more accurate search, be sure to use phrases instead of single words.

  1. IF YOUR SUBJECT IS BROAD (cancer, archaeology, politics), start with a directory—such as Google or Yahoo—that categorizes Web sites by subject. Just pick the most likely subject, then drill down through layers of subcategories until you find what you want.
  2. IF YOUR SUBJECT IS NARROW (such as  a particular bed-and-breakfast you want to try), choose a search engine: Alta Vista, HotBot, Excite, Infoseek or Northern Light.
  3. FOR COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH, use several search engines or try a meta-search engine such as Meta-Crawler.
  4. BEFORE USING A SEARCH ENGINE, read any instructions it offers. Yes, these documents can be snoozers. But each engine has its quirks, and knowing them will help you craft a more accurate search.
  5. WHEN CHOOSING KEY WORDS for a search engine, select six to eight words to help narrow your search. If you type just one or two words, you’ll likely get thousands or even millions of documents. use nouns whenever possible, and put most important words first. Put a “+” before any word you want to include and a “-” before any word you to exclude. (this works with most engines).
  6. TO INCREASE YOUR search’s accuracy, use phrases instead of single words. Put quotation marks around the phrase.
  7. MANY SEARCH ENGINES will let you refine the results of your initial query. Do it.
  8. WHEN YOU FIND a good Web site about your topic, check whether it provides links to similar sites.
  9. YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GUESS the address of specific sites. Many are “www,” a period, the name or acronym of the site’s operator, a period and three letters denoting the site’s type. Thus www.microsoft.com (commercial). www.fbi.gov (government) and www.harvard.edu (education).
  10. DOUBLE-CHECK your spelling. You’d be amazed at how many people misspell words in their queries.
  11. KEEP IN MIND that even if you type a precise query, many of the documents returned won’t be applicable. Computers (and search engines) aren’t perfect.
  12. REMEMBER: THE INTERNET does not contain the sum of all knowledge. You may still need to hit the library.

These helpful hints to make your searches easier and more accurate first appeared in an article Bruce Maxwell wrote for USA WEEKEND.

If you have an interest in starting a business of your own, the knowledge of how to use the Internet is a most important ingredient for success. As a reader of my blog, I’d like to offer you a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success. It’s yours for the asking; just send an email to: Send me a FREE copy of Denny Hatch’s 22 Rules for Internet Success

Using Platitudes In Your Marketing Messages Can Kill You!

Well, not literally “you” but if you are in business for yourself or into blogging for fun or have to write sales letters for someone else’s business, using platitudes can kill your marketing.

Saying you’re different and then acting the same, smelling the same, tasting the same, looking the same and offering virtually the same product  and service, makes you a LIAR!

These words of wisdom come from Rich Harshaw and his very useful on line site Monopolize Your Marketplace.

When you use platitudes in your marketing, your prospects have no way to tell if you are any better or any worse than anyone else.

What’s a platitude? A platitude is “any words or phrases that are drearily commonplace and predictable and that lack power to evoke interest through overuse or repetition that are nevertheless stated as though they are original or significant.”

Words like–

  • High Quality
  • Great Service
  • Amazing Products
  • Been in Service for Over 20 YEARS

Words and phrases that fall smack dab into the platitude bucket do absolutely nothing to help you explain your value to the prospect, and worse, they actually hurt your credability with the prospect.

Why? Simple.

Regardless of how cool your product actually is or how revolutionary your service has become, when you advertise it using platitudes you sound like every other average product or service offering out there. You literally become a  duck in a sea of ducks in the pond quacking at the same  time and are indistinguishable to your prospect.

When building your marketing, you need to prepare your case as thoroughly as an attorney would prepare a case for court.

In court, the attorney’s case can mean the difference between freedom or incarceration. Between life and death. In your business, your case for your product or service means the difference between success and failure. Think about your marketing and advertising strategy this way: Your product or service is on trial. The consumer is the jury. You are the attorney…and you must educate the jury on all the relevant issues and prove to them that you offer the best value available…and it’s a life-or-death sentence. Your job is to define the relevant issues, come up with all the proof, all the arguments, all the evidence and present it in a way that the jury believes you. Remember, your prospects are the jury!

PLATITUDES WON’T CUT IT!

Ultimately, if you present your case for your product or service in a compelling and convincing way, you’ll build confidence with your prospects and bridge the confidence gap. They’ll feel like they’re in control of the decision. You’ll have business coming to you because you will have effectively separated yourself from your competition. Just like the jury draws the conclusion of guilt or innocence, so will your prospects. They’ll feel like they’d have to be a fool to do business with anyone else but you, regardless of price.

If the idea of starting your own business  that you can operate from home from anywhere in the world then give some thought to MAIL ORDER. With the power of Internet to sell your product or service on line, it doesn’t matter if you live in Wyoming or Pennsylvania, in Canada or Italy or if you prefer to run your business from the Bahamas, then mail order is for you.

Take advantage of my special offer to readers of my blog to order my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE today. It’s sold on a money back guaaantte of satisfaction, available from Amazon at the published price of $39.95 plus s&h or direct from the publisher for only $29.95 plus $3.50 s&h (Total $33.45) Send a check or money order for $29.95 plus $3.50 (Total $33.45) to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1032, Chicago, IL 60601

Social Media Marketing Fails To Provide Measurable Value To Advertisers

How do I know that? JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY. Traditional media such as television, radio, magazines, newspapers, out of home, card decks and direct mail are by far the choice of most successful companies when it comes to where they allocate the largest portion of their advertising dollars. And now a new study reported by Steve McClellan in the Nov. 18, 2011 MARKETING DAILY article bolsters that truism. Steve’s report follows.

STUDY: SOCIAL MEDIA FALLING SHORT ON CUSTOMER LOYALTY; TRADITIONAL METHODS ENCOURAGED

“While much of the marketing community is focused on sealing better relationships between brands and consumers via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), a new study from Pitney Bowes suggests that their efforts would be better spent in other areas.

New study found social media to be one of the least effective engagement techniques

In fact, the new study—based on a survey of 5,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany—found social media to be one of the least effective engagement techniques for encouraging customer loyalty for larger and small businesses alike.

The survey found just 18% of the respondents believed that interaction with a larger company or its brand on social media would encourage them to buy from that business again.

Social media approach was deemed even less effective for smaller businesses

The social media approach was deemed even less effective for smaller businesses, where just 15% of those responding said it would encourage their loyalty to a company.

These findings will give decision-makers pause for thought, the report stated. Businesses can be forgiven for getting swept away by the hype of surrounding social media and wanting to invest in such activity as soon as possible. But results show that those businesses tempted to lead with such techniques find themselves out of step with consumer thinking.

Conversely several other techniques are far more likely to resonate with consumers and encourage them to do repeat business with companies. They include:

  • a home-delivery option
  • having a say in products and services
  • control of channels and frequency of received communications
  • a choice of channels to contact a company

In each case, nearly half or more of the respondents said those tactics were preferred and effective for small and large businesses alike.

All of these practices are aimed at increasing brand loyalty and retaining customers, the Pitney Bowes survey summary states. However, sophisticated social media and Web interaction can be time-consuming and expensive and outcomes are difficult to measure. Businesses are quickly having to learn the ‘customer dance’ when to lead and when to follow—if relationships are to be nurtured.”

Starting your own business has never been easier or more necessary with the economy continuing to spin out of control and men and women continuing to be laid off in large numbers and not being able to find jobs that pay a living wage.

Take advantage of my current offer to receive a copy of HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE for only $33.45 and that includes postage and handling. The book is always sold with a guarantee of satisfaction or your money back.

Send a check or money order in the amount of $33.45 payable to SUPERIOR PRESS along with your name and address to: Superior Press 333 N. Michigan Ave STE 1032 Chicago IL 60601 and I will promptly ship the book.

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the OWS Protests

That’s the headline to Matt Taibbi’s article in the current issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE. Last week’s post was from a conservative columnist who writes for FORTUNE MAGAZINE. It’s only fair for a progressive view–and there’s few as good as Matt Taibbi. He alone is well worth subscribing to one of my favorite magazines ROLLING STONE. Herein are excerpts:

“I have a confession to make. At first I misunderstood Occupy Wall Street. The first few time I went down to Zuccotti Park, I came away with mixed feelings. I loved the energy and was amazed by the obvious organic appeal of the movement, the way it was growing on its own. But my initial impression was that it would not be taken very seriously by the Citibanks and Goldman Sachs of the world. You could put 50,000 angry protestors on Wall Street, 100,000 even, and Lloyd Blankfein is probably not going to break a sweat. He knows he’s not going to wake up tomorrow and see Cornel West or Richard Trumka running the Federal Reserve. He knows modern finance is a giant mechanical parasite that only an expert surgeon can remove. Yell and scream all you want but he and his fellow Franksteins are the only ones who know how to turn the machine off.

That’s what I was thinking during the first few weeks of the protests. But I’m beginning to see another angle. Occupy Wall Street was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance. It’s about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street but EVERYTHING. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become. If there is such a thing as going on strike from one’s own culture, this is it. And by being so broad in scope and so elemental in its motivation, it‘s flown over the heads of many on both the right and the left.

The right-wing media wasted no time in cannon-blasting the movement with its usual idiotic clichés, casting Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of dirty hippies who should get a job and stop chewing up Mike Bloomberg’s police overtime budget with their urban sleepovers. Just like they did a half-century ago, when the debate over the Vietnam War somehow stopped being about why we were brutally murdering millions of innocent Indochinese civilians and instead became a referendum on bralessness and long hair and flower-child rhetoric, the depraved flacks of the right-wing media have breezily blown off a generation of fraud and corruption and market-perverting bailouts, making the whole debate about the protestors themselves—their hygiene, their ‘envy’ of the rich, their ‘hypocrisy’.

The protestors, chirped Supreme Reichskank Ann Coulter, ‘needed three thing: showers, jobs and a point’. Her colleague Charles Krauthammer went so far as to label the protestors hypocrites for having iPhones. ‘OWS’, he said is Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s- clad, iPhone clutching protestors (denouncing) corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over’. Apparently because Goldman and Citibank are corporations, no protestors can ever consume a corporate product—not jeans, not cellphones and definitely not coffee’—if he also wants to complain about tax money going to pay off some billionaire banker’s bets against his own crappy mortgages.

Meanwhile on the other side of the political spectrum, there were scads of progressive pundits like me who wrung our hands with worry that OWS was playing right into the hands of assholes like Krauthammer. DON’T GIVE THEM ANY AMMUNITION! we counseled. STAY ON MESSAGE! BE SPECIFIC!. We were all playing the Rorschach-test game with OWS trying to squint at it and see what we wanted to see in the movement. Viewed through the prism of our desire to make near-term, within the system changes, it was hard to see how skirmishing with cops in New York would help foreclosed-upon middle-class families in Jacksonville and San Diego.

What both sides missed is that OWS is tired of all this. They don’t care what we think they’re about, or should be about. They just want something different.

We’re all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. People want to go someplace for at least five minutes where no one is trying to bleed you or sell you something.

I think I understand now that that’s what the Occupy movement is all about. It’s about dropping out if only for a moment, and trying something new. It doesn’t need to tell the world what it wants. It is successful for now, just by being something different.”

These are only excerpts from Matt’s excellent article in the November 22nd issue of ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE. To read it in its entirety, pickup a copy or better yet become a subscriber. I’ve been hooked on their political reporting for 25 years and with age, year after year, it only gets better.

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