Make A Million Write A “HoMake A Million Write A “How-To”w-To”

I do a lot of surfing the web looking for business ideas and opportunities.  Almost every day I run into websites selling real estate secrets.  There are a lot of them, and they almost all start the same way “I was once poor, but now I’m rich because of real estate.  Be like me and buy my secret formula.”

I answered a few and ended up getting the hard sell.  Since I don’t respond well to hard sales techniques, I declined and was told that, as a result, I was an idiot and lower than scum.  All because I wouldn’t max out my credit cards.

I really don’t have a clue how many of these so-called gurus actually invest in real estate.  The real money, as far as I can see, is in selling information.  Actual investing in real estate is expensive and carries considerable risk.  I know, I’ve researched it.

This is not a new concept.  Actors who make the most from their TV shows, for example, find ways to own a portion of it by getting directing, producing and writing credits.  Singers can sometimes get a little extra in the form of royalties by adding a line or two to a song lyric so they become a co-author entitled to a royalty.  (Its all legal, and a matter of understanding how the business actually works, especially for professionals with a proven track record that they can leverage).

There are even professional copywriters who have developed their own how-to products.  They make more selling the products than they do writing copy for clients.  There are at least two I know of who make six-figures a year and don’t have a single client.

Selling how-to information can also take the form of consulting fees.  When I worked in the hotel business, there were always consultants willing to evaluate our operation and make suggestions.  Most of them had track records, so listening to them was part of the process.  Considering their advice and applying it was a whole different situation, since running a hotel and consulting carry different risks and expectations.

Just to close out this column, I want to explain that I do make money with real estate.  I write sales copy for licensed real estate agents and brokers.  Less risk, more profitable and a lot more fun.

NEXT WEEK:  The Most Effective Copywriting Formula

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Writing Radio Commercials To Be Read ONCE!

I am the first to admit I don’t like rehearsals.  I get how important they are to the end result of a production.  I just never liked them very much and, whenever possible, would avoid them.  For one Tv production, in fact, I went so far as to get copies of the score and outline the shots I wanted ahead of time so I wouldn’t have to bother with the damned thing.  (The crew and I showed up to support the talent, we just didn’t rehearse anything).

What does that have to do with today’s headline?  I moved into radio where I could sight read the copy cold.  No rehearsal.  Perfect!

At one point or another in my copywriting career I had to write commercials for other people to read.  I would write the commercials, deliver them to the recording studio and marvel at how quickly some of the performers could read the copy and finish the production in one take.  I also noticed how they reacted when the copy they were reading wasn’t done well and required two, three and even ten takes to get right.

Those who could get it down in one take were sought after because, even at that level, studio time is expensive and, more often than not, the performers could crank out a half-dozen (or more) spots in an one-hour session.

Soon after my first experience in the studio, I started writing copy that flowed easily, conveyed the marketing idea effectively and could be read in-one shot.  The editing process was a challenge, often taking the better part of an hour (and the occasional debate with the client) to complete, but thee end result was a joy to watch.

To put it another way, there is writing to be read from a page or a book and a way of writing to be vocalized.  The two methods don’t always compliment each other especially for those, like me, who don’t like to rehearse.

Voicing commercials can be quite lucrative.  There was a disk jockey in Seattle, in fact, who discovered that he could make more money voicing commercials than doing a daily morning show.  There are even “million-dollar voices”, most of whom work out of Los Angeles.  Its an extremely competitive field.

NEXT WEEK:  Make A Million – Sell A “How-To”

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Corporate Vs Entrepreneurial Thinking

About a year ago, I was asked to develop a marketing plan for the hotel I was working.  I came up with a layered approach using social media, email marketing and local business connections.  In fact, with a few variations, I submitted it four times.  Each time it was rejected.

It wasn’t until a few weeks after I left the company that I realized the mistake I was making.  I was in conflict with corporate thinking.  I was coming at the challenge from a more entrepreneurial point of view.

My marketing plan was based on the basics – keep the product “first in mind” of the consumer.  In other words, when they need a hotel room, they think of yours first because of the value they perceive.  In fact, my focus was on guests who shop for value, rather than price.

The first thing I outlined was the use of Facebook as a marketing tool.  I suggested a daily 300-word entry that could talk about community events, the history of the community, personality pieces written by the hotel staff (one staff member keeps Alpacas and could make a very interesting human interest piece).  Over the course of time, the Facebook stories would develop a following, creating a positive relationship between potential guests and the hotel.

Next I suggested a weekly newsletter that would be distributed by email.  It would include a calendar of events and links to local businesses.  This would require connecting with the Chamber of Commerce, the local business association and any local civic groups.  If a local business wanted to include a special discount, that could be included and even the possibility of a spotlight column for the business.

Third, I suggested a combination tri-fold mailer and email promotional piece that would be sent to event planners and sponsors of major, annual events, offering special rates for their vendors. 

The goal was to present the image of total involvement with the community, its events and experiences.  The plan also focused on the fact that they were not well connected within the community, at least not where it counted.

I can’t say for sure, but I think they missed an opportunity because the hotel down the street hired the former general manager and her former assistant to manage the property.  They grew up on the island and were extremely well connected where it counted.  They also had over fifteen years of experience building relationships with former guests (who, once they knew where these people were changed their reservations).

I don’t know if my plan would have made a difference.  I have the plan as part of my portfolio if anyone is interested.

I have no idea how the property will do in the long-run.  I will be watching it from time to time.  I left the property, for the record, because of exhaustion.  I had an 80-mile-daily-round trip five days a week that was not sustainable.

NEXT WEEK:  Writing radio commercials to be read – once!

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

10 Client Challenge

Is it possible to make a comfortable side income with just ten customers?  Yes.  The business model is similar to the one used by cell phone companies (or any utility company for that matter).

For the moment, let’s focus on cell phone companies.  Their product fills a basic human need to communicate.  The prices they charge depend on the specific needs of the customer.  Businesses, of course, pay more than the average consumer.  In other words, the greater the need for the service, the higher and more complex the rate structure.

Now, let’s apply the same concept to a copywriter who produces copy for a monthly newsletter for several clients.  The monthly charge to the client is $400 or $4,800 a year.  Now, let’s say the copywriter has ten regular clients for a gross cash flow of $48,000 a year.  Not a lot of money,  but enough to live comfortably after all the necessary taxes and expenses are met.

The cash flow from the newsletter project creates a baseline, which will give the copywriter a certain degree of leverage when it comes to taking on one-off projects.  S/he can ask for and get premium rates because of the additional time the one-off projects will require.

There is a third option.  The cash flow from the ten clients can create the means to start a subscription newsletter on a subject that is a passion of the copywriter.  Travel, food, collecting, antiques, the quality of beer or wine?  Al most anything is possible.

As subscription project, in fact, is how a copywriter can earn six figures.  Own the product and market it to a like-minded group of subscribers.  A subscription price of $600/Year for 400 subscribers can produce a nice, six figure cash flow, and can be life changing.  All from ten clients.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

So What!

Those are two words I use to challenge a marketing idea.  If I can read the copy and say “So What~” there is no connection to the needs and interests of the market.  No positive responses, no sales.

In order to get past the so what’s, the product needs a Unique Sales Proposition that convinces the target market they NEED the product or service.  Why?  Because the product adds value to the quality of their lives.  It solves a burning problem.  It creates a sense of health and well-being.  It makes them feel that the world is a safer, more loving place.

Not long ago I was watching two guests at the front desk of a hotel.  The first was shopping price and debated with the front desk agent over pennies.  The guest wanted a room, but didn’t need it, since there were several other options, some with lower prices.  Eventually, the guest left.

The second guest had just ended a day of hiking in the Olympic Forrest and was dead-dog tired and needed a place to sleep and recover.  She did not debate the price and, in fact, willing paid it.  I’m sure if the desk agent told her the night would cost her $1,000, she wouldn’t even blink.

When customers perceive that (your) product is the first, best option, they will pay whatever it takes to make that purchase (within reason, don’t get greedy).  When the need is ongoing, so is their willingness to buy month after month, year after year.

I’m reminded of the line in The Godfather.  “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”  Debate and points of negotiation disappear.  Accepting the God Fathers offer placed the product he was selling in a Unique Selling Proposition.  He believed in the value of his product and wanted the buyer to agree unconditionally.  So what becomes an unconditional YESS

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Systematic Marketing

A few weeks ago I was asked to develop a marketing plan for an independent hotel.  They told me they had a 15,000-name email list and wanted a campaign that would bring in business.  Their expectations were quite high and a bit naieve.

The challenge for this type of marketing technique is attrition.  Out of 15,000 emails sent out, the average return might be one-percent or 150 initial buyers and, perhaps, 450 in the after-market.  The remainder of the list may or may not respond over the course of time.

A second challenge is knowing who is responding to the email release and, more important, separating their names into a specialized buyers list, which would be surveyed and the information used to improve the future response to a marketing campaign.

My suggestion was more focused and systematic.  I suggested segmenting the list by the dates the guests came to visit.  Those who came around Thanksgiving or Christmas would likely come again around that time.  Guests who came from Canada around the time the Blue Jays were playing the Mariners would make the trip again and again.

Once these lists were separated, then a highly focused marketing campaign would be created to encourage them to visit again.  As the guests responded, the list would be segmented again, separating those who made reservations from those who didn’t.  After several campaigns using these techniques the goal is to establish a powerful, positive relationship with a group of loyal guests who will come time after time.

So far, the hotel management is not open to making this kind of commitment.  Building this marketing process requires considerable resources and expense.  Maybe next year. 

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC