Tag Expose Yourself
Live Help

The Power of 3

Harness the Psychological Power of ’3′ to Improve Communication

Two might be company in life, but in communication you can go all the way to three and still have a rollicking party. If you step over to four however, it’s quite likely that you’ve stepped into the hara-kiri zone. Back up that truck a bit and learn how the power of ’3′ has the ability to make your communication soar.

Let’s Start With a Little Test

Here’s a psychological test. Lay out 10 business cards in a row and choose three that catch your attention instantly. Now don’t cheat. Do this before you continue reading this article and you’ll be quite amazed at the results.

So What Did You Find?

Isn’t it strange that there seems to be no real reason why you chose what you did? There doesn’t even seem to be a very clear pattern emerging.

Some of the cards have lots of information, and some have very little. Some are colourful and others are not. Yet something has drawn you to play the devil’s advocate and reject some of them outright. Could that something be a deep-rooted psychological trigger embedded in your subconscious? And how can this trigger make such a dramatic difference to your communication and marketing?

Aha! You’ve just run into the magic of THREE.

Understanding and applying it will throw a light into the dark world of your presentations, brochures, web sites and yes, even email! Before you put this into the “This is for my graphic designer” basket, read further because it will help you recognize the psychological background of how the brain understands these things and reacts to them. It will also help you clean up your everyday communication that your designer might never get involved with.

How the Brain Sees Things

The brain finds it relatively easy to grasp threes — elements, colours and fonts. Push that marginally up to four and the brain gets confused about where to look and what to do, and sends the eye scampering like a frisky puppy on a sunny day.

So why does this happen? For that we might have to go back a little to diaper country. As a child, everything you did and learned seemed to be centered around three — A,B,C; 1,2,3; Three blind mice, Three musketeers, Trinity, Three Stooges and Huey, Louie and Dewey. (Quack! Quack! Quack!)

Then again, maybe these writers, animators and wise men understood the ease with which we understand ‘threes’ and reconstructed their work to fit this paradigm.

The Building Blocks of Visual Communication: Elements, Fonts and Colours

Most visual communication can be reduced to these three features:elements, fonts and colours. Understand how they work and you’ve given yourself the added advantage of a mini design degree.

Just What are Elements?

I’m assuming you’ve gotten rid of those business cards in front of you. So I’ve made up some of my own to illustrate how elements work together. Elements are simply groups of objects that are grouped together to form a common definable form. For instance, your eyes, nose, mouth and ears are the main objects that form the element called the face. Let’s look at the cards below to understand this even better.

If You Look at Card# 1, You Will Spot 3 Elements:

Business Card Design

1) The name and the title of the person.

2) The logo, the logo font and the service description.

3) The contact details form the third element.

If You Look at Card# 2, You Will Find Very Subtle Differences.

BusinessCardMistakes

All I’ve done is moved the text and logo just a tad bit around. However, even that tiny displacement has ADDED a series of unwanted elements. Suddenly it appears there are 5 or even 6 elements.

1) The name.

2) The designation.

3) The logo design.

4) The logo font.

5) The service description.

6) The contact details.

Card# 3 Gets Even Harder to Focus On… Guess why?

BusinessCard Design

Card#3 is all over the place, as it has not only violated the rule of elements, but also complicated the visual layout with additional fonts. It has 5 fonts. Learning how to manage fonts makes a big difference to your layout and the overall look of your project.

Here a Font, There a Font, Everywhere a Font, Font

There are zillions of fonts out there today, and it’s hard to restrain yourself when you’re putting together a document. Try to use not more than 3 fonts in any communication. The more fonts you have on a page, the harder it is to actually read what you’re saying. Be aware that a font that is in italics visually ends up looking like another font altogether. It adds to the elements and clutters it up considerably.

Also determine what the font is really doing for your document. You might want to create some drama and use contrasting fonts. For instance, fonts that are vertical used with fonts that are wide contrast well.

I’d also recommend that you read The Design book for Non-Designers, by Robin Williams. It’s an inexpensive, easy to read book that clearly explains the different facets of fonts and their usage, plus how to use fonts to set the mood.

Seven colours are for Rainbows

Whether it’s a tee-shirt, brochure, website or business card, it’s important to restrain yourself. Managing your colour palette with just three colours can often provide the feeling of as many as five or six colours, when moved around a bit.

Count shades of colours as two colours. So, red and dark red are not just one colour but two definite shades and hence, two definite colours. So, be clear about the colours you are choosing. Say you choose something like red, black and green. Move that round a bit and you can get brighter communication without the confusion.

Why This is Important in Marketing and Business Communication

Most of us are always presenting or selling to someone else. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating. But the taste buds start to salivate only when it looks really YUM! If you choose to ignore the psychology behind this, your ‘dish’ might taste wonderful, but you may never get someone to stay long enough to eat.

This also helps you keep a check on your designers. Good designers instinctively get this right, but sometimes they goof up big time. You can run this audit past your marketing material and check for elements, fonts and colours.

Having said that, a competent designer might have the innate ability to break rules. And if it works, that’s OK. Nothing is that sacred, but it helps to know the reasoning behind it. Besides, you now have the ability to make that designer sweat a bit.

Heeeeeeeeeere are some Examples!

McDonald’s: The McLogo consists of two elements-The name McDonald’s and the Big Golden Arches. They use just one font, and just two colours — yellow and white (or black)

Coke: The Coca-Cola button that you see in most advertising, consists of three elements: the button itself, the bottle on the button and the Coke Logo. Even though it is a full colour image, the colours are minimal and there are just one or two fonts used.

Now that you can see the forest for the threes…:)

Go out and look at advertising. Revisit your brochure. Audit your presentation. Streamline that website. You will be appalled at how much clutter you had to start with, and how easy it is to smarten it up quickly and efficiently.

Your marketing message will be much tighter and more professional. But best of all, you’ll know you’re doing something that’s deeply embedded in the psychological psyche of humans.

May the ‘fours’ be with the reckless Luke Skywalkers of the universe (That’s a joke, ok?)

You’ll find it pays to stick to the threes!

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.

How to Turn an Email Marketing Disaster Into Profit

How to Turn an Email Marketing Disaster Into Profit

Have you had an email fiasco where everything went totally bananas?
Things you never meant to happen, happened. And you felt like hiding
in some deep, dark cave, where no one could find you.

“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” So said a guy by the name
of Murphy. And I believe him, because if anyone has had a super email disaster, I have. Keep reading, because if this ever happens to you, you’ll know what to do.

How Would You Like to Get 35 Emails From One Person?

One morning on a day I’d rather forget, about three years ago, I managed to send out over 7,000 emails in less than an hour. In effect, I accidentally sent out 35 emails to each of the 200 people on a particular list.

Here’s How My Horror Story Unfolded…

Back then, I was new to email. I didn’t have any software and no budget to send out email through an email based company. So we wrote a little do-it-yourself program that sent out an email to each individual address, without revealing the whole ‘cc’ list.

We were so proud of our programming prowess! All the names of the recipients were on that list, and the server picked them up one by one, sending the email to each individual.

Which Was Fine in Theory…

None of the recipients could see the other people on the list. They didn’t know that it had gone to 199 other people. But we hadn’t thought through the complete process. One unforeseen bug dialed Murphy’s number. When a recipient hit reply, our little program sent their message to everyone else on the list!

All it Took Was One Person to Hit the Reply Button

It just so happened that the first person who did, also attached a personal note to me. This personal note then went to all 200 people on my list. A client who got to work early saw it, and emailed me to say that she was getting my personal mail.

She too hit reply and sent her reply to 199 other people she didn’t know were on the list. Soon everyone began complaining by hitting reply, and thousands of emails danced our server dizzy.

As if that weren’t enough, the Take-Me-Off-Your-List Brigade started their charge, effectively turning a sunny day into a raging cyclone!

Not to belabour the story, we fixed the problem in an hour. But by then, the dastardly deed had been done.

However, Disaster is Only an Opportunity With a Nasty Name

Tons of people were now acutely aware of our Internet presence. This was a marketing scenario that had gone horribly wrong and needed to be turned around full circle ASAP.

A Little Humour, a Lot of Profit…

We followed the first rule of Public Relations. When in trouble, don’t deny your mistake. Grovel a lot, and then grovel some more. And then pull your rabbit out of a hat.

Here’s how we did it. A couple of days later, we sent everyone on the list our profound apologies with the following cartoon alongside.

 internet marketing strategy
The cartoon that broke the ice and earned us US$5000 extra!

Some clients were so taken with this humorous gesture that they called me in to do business with them. Net result? We got business worth over US$5,000 as a result of this miscommunication. Friends were found through a fiasco fraught with faux pas.

Are You Ready for Mr.Wrong?

You should be, because no matter how much care you take, something will invariably go wrong. As our world becomes more complex, more things can go wrong — and will! Don’t let them catch you unprepared. Bounce back quickly — respond right away, confess your guilt and error, use humour.

And make short work of Murphy’s law.

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.

Tired Of Silly Old Email Enquiries? Say Hello To Autoresponders!

An Aspirin or an Autoresponder!

Tired of silly old email enquiries? Say hello to autoresponders!

If there’s one thing that drives us all crazy, it’s not having enough hours in the day. You need hours to work out your internet marketing, your sales, your budgets, follow up on invoices and god knows what else. What you’re reaching for is an aspirin. What you probably need is an auto-responder.

“You must be joking!” you laugh. “I’ve seen what autoresponders do!”

I’d actually be quite surprised if you haven’t. Here’s the scenario–
It’s 3.00 in the morning. You’re sitting at the computer sending out email. Suddenly, from out of the blue, someone (to whom you’ve just sent the mail) replies. You’re excited. Who could be up at 3am like you?

What you’ve just received is an, I’m out of the officeautoreply and voila, here is the most basic use of an autoresponder. Autoresponders, are like fax on demand. You zap; they zap back.

I run a small wine company. How can autoresponders help my business?

First, you have to understand how an autoresponder works.

Let me make it really basic with a real life example. You hear a radio ad, where they promise you can make millions in the next 2 years. They promise to send you a tape and a brochure if you call in now.

The operator takes the call and your details. She then routes your information to someone else who packs your tape, your brochure, puts a stamp on it and sends it to your mailing address. In a series of very basic steps, you get the information you desire and are now more interested in what the company has to offer.

Once you hear the tape and read the brochure and find it interesting enough, you contact them and a sale is possible.

Autoresponders work just like that. You have a link on your website or someone else’s website. The link says that you are giving away free information on how to buy the best wine.

The person is interested in your offer and clicks on the link. At that precise moment, the website or the HTML code generates an email with a SUBJECT for the email such asFree Wine Info. This is sent to your email address and your computer recognises the subject headline Free Wine Info.

Automation does all the work for you from this moment on. It detects the subject line and puts the sender’s email address in your master email list of subscribers to contact. At the same time, it goes to the folder where you have stored the requested information in a file and sends that file to the person requesting the information.

All this is done, without you lifting a finger. And this is just the beginning…

That’s amazing! What other practical uses can I use autoresponders for?

Autoresponders have the following uses:

1) Information
Clients request information all the time. If you ran the wine company, you could have price lists, types of wine, even a brochure done in Acrobat Reader (pdf format) that gives tons of information about your products and company. Most people like this system because it doesn’t compel them to buy. This is a very non-threatening situation.

However, they are interested in your product, and by virtue of asking for the information, go into your database. You can then follow up and ask them if they want more information. It gives you a very valid reason to follow up and convert them into paying customers.

2) Subscription to Your Ezine
If you run an ezine, (you’re doing a disservice to yourself if you don’t) then this is a great way of getting people to get the first copy without you physically mailing it out to them. Within seconds of sending an email to you, they receive your ezine and get put on the mailing list.

These are live customers remember? All it takes for them to buy your product or service is for you to follow up.

3) Free Reports
The best way to get people to visit your website or test your service or product is to give them information. Information tells them that you know your business. They don’t know you from Adam or Eve. A comprehensive report (such as this), gives them the confidence that you know much, much more than what exists in this report and are in a very good position to advise them.

To get people to your website or to subscribe to your ezine, you need to circulate your report on as many websites, ezines, etc. as possible. If the persons reading your report find it dynamic, they will assume your abilities follow the same path.

This will lead them to your website, where they will sample more about your products and services. At the same time, because they have subscribed, you are following up with them. At some point, the value generated by your product or service will be worth the price you are asking and will convert those maybes into a big yes purchase.

The last thing you need is to have your email address on these reports. It sets you up for all the nuts on the internet. However, if you have an autoresponder email address, it automatically goes to that address and sends your message to them.

* When placing classified ads, instead of supplying your regular email address, use your autoresponder address.
* Appropriate News Groups
* Opt-in email discussion lists
* Guestbooks
* Business Cards
* Letter Head
* Your web site

Follow Up on Invoices

Hey, if the client’s a pest and you need to get paid do this.
Set up the autoresponder and let it go. After a couple of reminders, the client will get the message.

Your blood pressure will stay normal and his will go up. You don’t need non-paying clients anyway and you don’t want to waste time on follow ups, so this is a great tool. You could space it out so that a message goes out only once a week for say 5 weeks. If the client pays in that time, you can cancel the autoresponder.

High Powered Sales

One of the biggest secrets of sales is persistence. Most sales people give up after 3 tries. It takes at least 5 pitches before prospective customers throw in the towel and are willing to listen to you. Most of them are exactly like you. They have little time and resources. If you have a solution that will make them money or save time and resources, they will listen to you.

After 5 Calls!

Autoresponders help you do that. Many autoresponder services have a follow up sales routine. Which means, the autoresponder will follow up with a second, third, fourth, fifth and tenth (if you need that many) follow ups. Each follow up is based on the fact that the person hasn’t responded. If the person responds, the autoresponder doesn’t send them any more messages. If they don’t, it keeps sending them gentle reminders.

Of course, there’s always the thought,”What if it drives away potential customers?” It doesn’t if you’re smart. Most autoresponder messages can be quite informal and not overt sales messages.

People respond to messages that seem one on one. They always do. It’s scared to death business owners and marketing managers who don’t try it and pooh pooh the whole idea.

For example, when someone asks you for information, it means they’re interested. Now all you have to do is keep that interest up.

Here’s a Scenario–

Dear Bruce 
Thanks for your email about our wine list.
Here is the wine list.

————

Dear Bruce 
I see you asked for our wine list three days ago. We’ve got some good news for you. We send out an email not more than once a month giving customers like you a substantial discount. The email also gives you handy tips on how to choose the best wines for a very reasonable cost.

Would you be interested in receiving this money-saving email?

To subscribe:please email xyz@yxz.com

————

Dear Bruce 
I guess you’ve been busy. For the month of July our specials are
1)dddddddddddd
2)eeeeeeeeeeee
3)ffffffffffff
You can have these specials by going to our website at

If you register for the Wine Tasters Ezine, you will get this money saving information on a regular basis plus a great selection of wines.

————

A couple of followups like this will make even the laziest customer finally click, get on your email list, and end up making one or several purchases, depending on your direct marketing skills.

This is one of the most powerful way to make your sales. So use it!

Tracking Your Autoresponder Responses

Tracking your ads’ response rate will be the key to your marketing success. Once you test your ads and determine which ad is pulling the most responses, you can easily test which classified ad sites are producing results as well. This will save you a lot of valuable time by only placing your ads at classified ad sites that produce results.

1. Make a list of the classified ad sites where you intend to post your ad.
2. Number the list of ad sites.
3. You can key your ad using the subject of your email. Many times, if you ask for a certain subject description, it may not be provided. To avoid this problem you can add a simple code to your email tag.

mailto:xyzinfo@yourautoresponderaddress.com?subject=cl1

This code should contain your autoresponder address and will automatically fill in the subject with your ad key when clicked on. The “cl1″ stands for the classified ad site number one. The second ad site you have listed should be coded as cl2 or classified ad site number two and so on. By coding your ads, you will know exactly where your leads are coming from.

4. Begin submitting your ad and replace your normal email address with your key coded autoresponder address.

Recommendations for Autoresponders

Some of the best tools are out there. Do your due diligence. Here are some you’d want to check out.
http://aweber.com/
http://www.1shoppingcart.com

You’ll also find free autoresponders on the net. Free anything is generally a waste of time, much like free internet and free email addresses. They don’t give you or your company a professional image and show you off as a freeloader — something you want to avoid at all costs!

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Article written by Sean D’Souza.

How To Get Repeat Visitors To Your Website

Is Your Website a Super Magnet?

Ok, so you’ve got someone to visit your website once. What if you wanted them to visit again, and again, and again? Ooh, that’s hard, isn’t it? Not really. Find out how to attract them back without begging with this simple internet marketing tool.

First, The Myth

Ask most web designers what is more important: a unique visitor or a repeat visitor? Most will choose, the former. I tend to disagree.

Let’s analyse a unique visitor. They could just be browsing, like shoppers in a mall, or they could be a potential customer. Now, don’t get me wrong. Unique visitors might be important, because they are like new customers. However, with new customers, the onus is on you to prove your credibility.

Existing customers already know what you do and how you do it. You do not have to prove yourself over and over again.

Why Is It So Important To Retain Existing Customers?

Because, it costs eight times as much to get a new customer than it does to retain one. That alone should make you want to keep them. Also, since you’ve developed a relationship with them, it’s now easier for you to do business, to re-sell, up-sell and get referrals (really, really important). If you play it right you can use your website (amongst other communication material) to stay top of mind with them.

My Customers Have Already Seen My Website: Why Should They Go Back?

Precisely! Most websites are about me, me, me and me! Ever notice how tons of websites have an About Us page. Frankly, who gives a damn about you? No one! Everyone who gets to your business or your website or reads your brochure wants to know what’s in it for them! Yet, all communication that goes out is based on me.

Do something constructive. Put your ego in cold storage and start re-engineering your website and your internet marketing to give information to your customer.

How Do I Go About Giving Them Information?

The system is amazingly simple. You know everything (or rather a lot) about your business. Your customers will never know quite enough. If you provide them with a steady stream of information, you are already two steps ahead of the competition. You are taking the time to educate your customers and you are keeping in touch with them.

Take a look at this website for instance. It’s essentially a power marketing vehicle. With minimal effort it gets existing customers to have a look at it repeatedly, simply by giving them information that would help them in their business or their jobs. If you are a casual browser, your curiosity will be aroused, and you will find yourself wanting to read more.

Once you’re through with the How To section, it’s almost natural to move on to the Client Results section. At this point in time, I am no longer selling. You have begun to sell the concept to yourself.

How To Use Email To Retain Customers And Get New Business.

Everyone needs to know more than they currently do. So, how about asking your customers if they would like some more information that will help them understand stuff better. In my case, I send out monthly articles to do with marketing and communication. Detailed, incisive insights that the customer wasn’t thinking of before. Then I ask them to visit the website so they can read other articles.

It’s important to stop and see what we’re doing here. Many may not have the time today, but may have the time next week, or when your next helpful e-mail goes out. The first time the action is done, and they benefit, they are hooked. That’s it. You’ve achieved visibility and top of mindconsciousness.

Sometimes it will happen instantly and at other times it may be several months later. What you can be sure is, that it will happen!

Why The Website Is Such An Important Tool For Your Business.

It’s dynamic, that’s why! Say, you printed your cards and brochures last month. You spent a small fortune on them. But now you discover you need to add something that will dramatically change what you’re communicating. You can’t throw out a thousand brochures or cards, but updating a website is easy-peasy! Simply tweak it, and you’re on your way.

Remember, customers aren’t always willing to buy when you’re willing to sell. By keeping them informed and in touch with your website, they can reach out to you whenever they are ready!

How To Match Information And Credibility.

Credibility is important. So you definitely need to have theAbout Us factor. What you need to do, however, is to tailor it in such a way that the customer understands what you’ve done, why you’ve done it and how you can help them. You can still strut your stuff, just make sure you’re doing it with your customer in mind.

That alone will change the way you write it and present it. It will make the difference between it being read or being ignored.

If You Don’t Have Testimonials, You’re Missing Something.

It’s brief, underestimated and really powerful. Remember, people are looking at your business from a monitor! They don’t know if you’re reliable, smart or just a dork. Obviously clues within the site will indicate these things, but why not go for the kill.

Why not get yourself a testimonial and completely rid them of that niggling doubt? It’s pretty nasty if you don’t have testimonials but totally unpardonable if you don’t go out and get them!

When you do a great job and the customer says, ‘Great work!’, ask for a testimonial there and then. It’s the best time and customers tend to gush more than 6 months down the line, when they can’t even remember what you did!

A Word Called Discipline.

No one said this was going to be easy. Having to update your website, sending out helpful e-mails, and keeping in touch is going to take time and effort. You will need to read more, so you learn more. Then you will have to write. And write reasonably well. You can do it yourself or get a freelancer to do it, but do it you must. Marketing your business must take precedence over everything else.

When times are good, we tend to slacken on the marketing. If you disclipine yourself to read one book on your subject and write at least one article a week, you are now starting to build up content. It can be done. And as Nike says, ‘Just Do It’. It’s the only way.

What you will need.

1) A totally updateable website. You should never have to learn html or a html coding programme. Your website should be such that you can update both pictures and text from a cyber cafe while vacationing in the Bahamas!
2) At least 6 articles that can help your customer. That’s a good start, but invariably you will have to write more and post them on your website and/or e-mail them to your customers. If you can’t do it yourself, write down the points and get someone else to do it for you. But do it!
3) Minimal, fast loading graphics. If you have no time, neither does anyone else. Make sure your website is as lightning quick as possible. Check it out either by cleaning out your cache or by checking it out from different computers. If it’s not screaming fast, you have a problem on your hands.
4) A credibility section. Get your portfolio out there with the customer in mind. And get those testimonials!
5) Iron discipline.

It’s your business. If you don’t do it, no one will.

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.

Is your website Asleep?

Is your website Asleep?

Need To Create A Website That’s Dynamite?

Websites are a waste of money and time. Well most of them are. Most people go online for just one reason– Get Information. Yet, what do you see at most websites?

Portfolio!

See the problem? If you stop and think, this is not a website problem. It’s a communication problem, which is why most advertising fails. The customer wants information and help and most communication fails to do that.

They load you with portfolio and with information about the company. It’s all about me, me, me. This primary reason causes more than 90% of all websites to be inefficient, useless and a waste of time.

It is also the prime reason why not many people make money off their website. If you start talking about YOU, no one is interested. To give out credible, useful information is the prime function of every communication piece. If almost everything on your website doesn’t answer the question What’s in it for me?, it’s definitely not worth the time of the customer.

What A Good Websites Does

1) It gives information, and builds credibility.
2) It builds the brand and allows you to earn off the brand.
3) It builds customer loyalty.
4) It allows customers to use it as a suggestion box. It’s not a perfect world and customers should be encouraged to let you know what can be fixed.
5) It should achieve basic marketing principles. It should be solving a problem and aimed at a specific target audience.
6) It should generate its own income like any profit centre. It should justify its reason for existing.

How To Create A Near Perfect Website

Consider these factors as important benchmarks for creating a website. If your website doesn’t do these things, you have to question, why not?

1) Revenue Generation
2) Data Collection
3) Information Source
4) Feedback and Complaints
5) Distribution
6) Reconstruction
7) Fan Club
8) Associated Tools
9) Meet the Basics of Communication

Show Me The Buckeroos!

While it’s all very fine to be a charitable institution, a website costs money. Which person or organization in their right sense would spend US$50 for no return? There would be questions to answer and heads would roll.

Yet, most organizations do just that. They spend anywhere from US$2,000 to US$50,000 on a website that will not generate any return.

We are not talking about straightforward e-commerce here. We are talking about a bigger brand issue and how you can use the brand to achieve the financial goals of the organization. The watchword should always be–Show me the money!

Yes, even schools, hospitals and other organizations can use their websites to make money, and then use the money for a good cause. Charity and good causes are all very fine, but everything costs money. If you can generate revenue, there is no reason on earth why you shouldn’t be doing so.

When You’re A Guru, Everyone Listens

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Website design is not about design, it’s about thought process. Websites are but a tool to get information that builds the brand further. Articles and material that help the person browsing the site can achieve this.

Information isn’t about getting across what you want them to hear. It’s about asking them what they would like to have. This is endless. The customers’ needs keep changing and you must be able to have information that can excite and educate them. This also keeps the other audiences active.

Who Are Your Audiences?

A website imparting information appeals to two simultaneous audiences. It speaks to your current audience like a newsletter or brochure would and it also speaks to a potential audience.

While you are specifically targeting current clients, there is no reason why the information doesn’t impart knowledge to future clients, even potential employees.

There are a zillion bozos out there who are simply selling goods and services and not helping the customer in any way. If you help them and keep in touch with them, when the need arises, you will be first in line.

Clawing Your Way To The Top

This is also a good system to use when you want to capture business from competition. You don’t always have to be #1 with your client. If you don’t have the business, keep plugging at your #2 position and someday #1 will stumble. When that happens, you get an opportunity to move in. Don’t always look at everything as a sale situation. People have innate fears about change. Imparting good information marks you out as a credible, trustworthy source and their desire to work with you will go up as you keep giving them nuggets of useful information.

If You Don’t Do This, Drown Yourself

This is one of the most important and inexpensive tools to corner your target audience. If a person feels the connection and you lead them through the right steps, they will invariably feel the need to get more information.

If you aren’t collecting e-mail addresses off your website, then you’re missing out on the few people (or many as the case may be) that are really interested in your product or service.

How To Get The Data Off Your Customers

The only way to get them to part with their e-mail address is to first establish your credibility and then offer something in return. However, once you have their e-mail address and their permission, you can turn your website into a wonderful marketing machine as long as you don’t overdo it. People get tons of e-mail everyday and the junk goes out very quickly. The more useful your information is, the more chances you have of getting visitors to sign up. You can then use that information to market to that audience selectively. So make sure you’re collecting data or your website’s true potential becomes pretty dodgy.

Is Your Website Built For Complaints?

You build a car with all the features. You paint it black. The customer wants it red. You try to sell the black car and face resistance. You call the customer stupid and go on trying to promote your black car.

We all do this. We decide that’s what we need to promote. The customer on the other hand would like something else that fulfils their needs. We never stop to ask. Ever!

Every section of your website should have the ability to handle feedback that can then be incorporated within your website and other communication to give the customers what they need.

Feedback also allows you to stay ahead of your competition big time! Once the customers trust you and see changes in the website, they will be encouraged to give more important feedback that could change not just the website but even the working of the organization. Perception is everything, and you need to know at all times what the outside world perceives your organization to be. Once you have that data, it allows you to go ahead and make the changes you need.

Is Your Website Sitting In A Box?

How are you going to promote your website? While most websites rely on getting to the top of the search engines, you may not have that need. You may have a very specific targeted audience you want to reach. That audience would never search for your website online. They would have to know it, or never find it at all.

Companies print brochures and then make sure they go out. They build websites and it sits in the box undistributed. They hope, and this is a big hope, that someone will visit. It doesn’t happen. You have to figure out the distribution process as well, so that your website goes out to your target audience.

If It’s Worth Building, It’s Worth Renovating

Most organizations make changes to their business to keep competitive. Yet, they think nothing of keeping the website stagnant for 50+ years. (Ok, I’m exaggerating, but on the web 1 year= 10 normal years)

Expect change to be inevitable. The website should be constructed so that it’s easily changeable and updateable. It should also not require a degree in rocket science. You should be able to update it while you’re sitting at a cyber cafe in the Bahamas while sipping your Caribbean Punch!

Understand that it’s inevitable and, like all marketing tools, this tool should be reviewed at least every 6-12 months and changed or reconstructed to meet current customer demands.

Are You Signing Autographs Yet?

Most organizations survive on their fan club. People who love you so much, that they’re willing to talk about you to everyone in sight. Many organizations have clients that are well spread out.

The website can be used to keep that Fan Club together. It should be used as a networking tool as well. Most organizations ignore this fact.

If I love eating Indian curries, everyone else in that Indian currysection can be linked up to do business with each other. If they love your company or organization, they will reinforce each other about how great it is, plus they will do business with each other.

The more successful they get, the more it rubs off the organization and eventually, the more business you get to do with them because of their success.

Looking Beyond A Website

Too many people are taken up with the glamour of websites. Websites are just a façade. You must understand the technology that drives business.

Do you have autoresponders? How do you use email? How do you track customers? How can you communicate with customers? How can you make sure your best customers keep coming back? All of these tools have nothing to do with the website itself. However, they need to be thought through every step of the way.

It’s The Psychology

If you want to build a website, or do a brochure or have any form of communication, understand the basics of psychology. We are all driven by similar needs and wants.

A Website Shouldn’t Be Deadline Driven. It Should Be NeedDriven

What’s the point of having an absolutely stunning website before deadline if it doesn’t do anything for the person viewing it. Too many people in organizations are caught up in their own ego of having a website up. It’s often not worth it.

Websites Aren’t For The Organization. They Are For The Customer

Websites are a marketing tool. Use the principles of marketing to build and promote them. That of course, means having a target audience. Having a problem you can solve. Flag off that problem and then provide a solution.

Yahoo might be the wonder of yesterday but Google.com is the one that gets the most converts. Yahoo is trying to be everything to everyone, Google isn’t. Don’t get lost in the hype of technology because everything on this planet is based on psychology and emotion.

Most websites have no objectives at all. They have no target audience. They are created because it’s fashionable to do so.

Dump the fashion. Understand the basics of internet marketing and communication. And if you don’t understand the basics, get someone who can! Otherwise you’re doing what a zillion websites across the world do-

Nothing!

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.

So What If You Don’t Have A Website?

So What If You Don’t Have A Website?

Gasp! Choke! Gag! That’s how people react when you tell them your business does not have a website. So do you really need one? This article attempts to show you how you can use the internet (and websites) to maximise your business potential using simple internet marketing strategies.

Hello, Mr. Superman

If all you do is answer your e-mail promptly, respond to queries and conduct some sort of business over e-mail, you will be achieving more in one day than most websites do in a year!

Life Without Websites: C’est Possible!

Paper was the most effective method of making sure things were read – until e-mail came along. If you look at e-mail as a dynamic form of paper, you will be able to achieve the same (if not better) results in getting your message across convincingly. Unfortunately, most people look at e-mail as a letter writing toolinstead of using it as a communication tool.

How to Use E-mail Powerfully!

The key to e-mail is to have a client database in the first place. Not just any database, but people who have worked with you. Secondly, it must be permission based. People must see your e-mail as being of help to them in their daily lives. Once you have their permission, you can e-mail them on a regular pre-agreed basis and be sure that they appreciate you keeping in touch with them.

A Very, Very Important Fact..

People don’t care about you or what you’re selling. All they’re concerned about is themselves. If your e-mail isn’t helping them in some way, they’ll read it once and trash it. You may never get a second chance! Make sure, your e-mail is about them, them, them!

Which Businesses Can Use E-mail?

We’ve not figured out how a funeral director can use it yet. Other than that, most businesses can use it extremely effectively!

So What Good Is A Website, After All?

Websites are online brochures. They save you time having to explain what your company does. Besides, there are millions of ways to harness the power of your website and actually increase your business. Don’t panic if you’re without a website right now. Use the power of e-mail today and plan your money making website tomorrow.

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.

Do you know who’s killing your email marketing?

Do you know who’s killing your email marketing?

Imagine you take a trip to your post box down the road today to pick up the mail. To your surprise, you find nothing. Not one word. All you see is just an empty hole in the wall with zip in it. Annoyance would be the prime emotion here. Maybe even a dollop of disappointment.

But what if you find out that all that airy space exists simply because the post office decided to send all your mail back? Now that would get you in a bit of a boil, wouldn’t it? Frothing at the mouth, wouldn’t you want to tear all those bespectacled post office workers into little vulture-sized meat bites?

And then what if I told you that your email marketing business is going the same way? What if you suddenly learned that the email newsletters you’d subscribed to are now doing the boomerang dance? What if you’re an email marketer and your subscriber isn’t even getting your mail? What if he’s just getting a stripped down version of it?

Is that smoke coming out of your ears?

The Wild West Lives Again!

In the Wild West the rules were simple. If I didn’t like you, I’d shoot you. Email isn’t dropping to the floor quite that quickly, but there is a definite pattern evolving that you should be aware of. Someone has put your email marketing on a poison drip, and by golly, if you ignore it, you’re one dead puppy! Read how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are systematically working to weed out HTML mail and what you need to do to minimise your damage.

Who’s Paying for Whose Fault?

Spammers are the baddies, and spammers don’t care. Bandwidth can span the breadth and depth of the Grand Canyon and it won’t make any difference to them. You can be sure they’ll find a way to top it up with their junk. It was also obvious, even several years ago, that control of spammers was improbable. They know very well what they are doing. All they have to do is go to an offshore provider when anti-spam legislation is passed. What’s to stop them? As long as there is one country in the world that will allow spammers to send their poison, they will.

Does anyone really believe that every ISP on the network is going to spend the resources to closely examine the specific content of each and every large-scale email transmission to see if it’s okay or not?

The answer has to be no, since this doesn’t avoid the cost of spam in the long term. It simply transfers it from a cost of bandwidth to a cost of administration.

The harder commercial email pushes, the harder the network will respond by pushing back. “Big” email is a lame duck — and will soon be a stone cold dead one. Even with filters in place, my email account bulges with mail I didn’t ask for, and would never reply to. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) on the other hand, are watching this rainstorm with increasing concern. Every day, the volume of email threatens to blow the dam, and they’re not going to sit back and take it.

How an ISP’s Worry Becomes Your Headache

Bandwidth costs money. The more email you get and send, the more it’s costing your ISP. They can’t charge you more (or may not want to charge you), and so the easiest way out is to send your email à la Elvis: Return to sender!

The biggest offender here is HTML email that clogs up the system with a reasonable amount of imagery. It’s the graphics that generates business for you and me, but it’s also this very factor that is clogging up the pipe. This has led several ISPs to take some very radical decisions that border on telling you what you can and cannot read.

A Growing Menace Called Filters

Filters that are easy to implement seem to beat the system, so that’s the option that many ISPs consider first. In an attempt to control the traffic, they simply install cheap and nasty systems that send any mail that’s considered ‘spam’ right back to where it came from. This seems noble until you consider the following. These filters may be stopping legitimate mail from entering your mailbox.

If mom sent you a mail with a word which the filters pick up but don’t like: Bounce, bounce. It would go bouncing back! If you had the word ‘search engines’ in it, maybe they’d decide that word signified spam. Kaboom! It’s back to where it came from. Suddenly, your business that depends on the mail getting through is being vetted by an unasked police patrol run by goons. You’re not getting across to your customers, and even worse, your customers’ mail may not be reaching you.

What’s worse is that as an email marketer, you would tend to take for granted that you would get an “undeliverable” note when this happens. I understand it’s not always true; you can send out thousands of messages and remain blissfully ignorant of their eventual fate.

Why HTML-Based Marketing Will Be Easier To Kill

Macromedia Flash went through a fashionable phase and had to be dumped in favour of good ol’ HTML. HTML, while great on the web, is a pain in the neck in your inbox.

To counter this, many a software developer is seriously working out ways to have HTML-like effects within your email without the code and bandwidth that goes with it. This software, though available today, is quite expensive and not a very viable option except for larger companies. The rest of us have to contend with the inescapable fact that any email over a certain size will be treated as an HTML file and fair game for the intrepid filters to play ‘shoot the ducky.’

HTML will always be bulky, and is already denied or stripped by some carriers and destination ISPs, so it will always be a hazard. Some companies and email marketers have decided they are cutting out HTML altogether. It’s too much of a risk when you don’t even know whether it’s been dumped or stripped.

How Can You Go Past This ‘Doomsday Scenario’?

Two possibilities: text and online HTML.

Text is faster, and has stood the test of time. But it’s devoid of colour and formatting — and more tedious to read. The better bet is to use HTML to link back to the website or online email newsletter. Businesses that get their customers trained to fetch their newsletter off the web will have fewer problems because they’ll have few occasions when they will have to send emails out to their customers — and then only very short notices or informative “drip feeds”.

The kind of email you would then send would rarely have the kind of signature that causes the spam filters to scream. Most of these filters are weighted, and there are very few stand-alone telltales that send email into instant oblivion.

My guess is that small emails, even if numerous, will escape filter security, because it requires a certain minimum amount of text to make a spam offer. Emails, smaller than this minimum will probably not be checked at all, owing to sheer volume.

The Hero Doesn’t Die In The End

The saddest part of this whole scenario is that people like you, me and a dog named Spammer are all trying to achieve the same thing — bulk up the profits. And in doing so, we are all part of the gloomy picture. But don’t despair.

Unlike you, Mr Spammer doesn’t want to be traceable. You do, because you’re legit. Make use of your legitimacy, and drive your customers back to your online newsletter or website.

And simultaneously drive the spam merchant out of business!

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.

The Power of Why: Your Psychological Ally To Marketing Success!

The Power of Why: Your Psychological Ally To Marketing Success!

Here’s why ‘WHY’ is such a profit-making marketing trigger.

“Stop taking two and three plates of food,” my mother said to me angrily.

I was at a wedding and seven years old. Back then, at a lot of the weddings we used to go to, the food would be pre-served on a plate. I could never get enough of those calorie-ridden platters. Waylaying different waiters, (so I would not be recognised), I’d polish 3-4 plates without blinking an eye.

Mum wasn’t impressed, and told me to stop and desist.

“Why?” I’d ask. Her stock reply was always, “It’s bad manners to do that.” This Dustbin Hoffman (yes, I do mean Dustbin and not Dustin) act obviously got her goat, but it left me unfazed. It must have bugged her more than I expected though, because in a short while Dad was peering down at my food-stuffed face.

My question remained unchanged. “WHY?”

“If you invite a hundred people to a wedding, how many would you cater for?” he asked. “A hundred,” I answered, proud of my analytical genius. “If you ate four plates,” he continued, “how many would remain?” He prompted quickly, “Ninety-six right?” I nodded vigorously. “That means some people don’t eat. If you’re so hungry, we can go out after the wedding and get something to eat, but don’t deprive others.”

Dad Made Sense. Do You?

Dad understood psychology. He had to sell my brain an idea that my rumbling stomach didn’t want to understand. And he did it by answering the question, ‘WHY?’ How many of us ignore this powerful trigger in our marketing because it seems too obvious, almost too simple?

Why ‘Why?’ Puts Elvis’ Shaking and Moving to Shame

Let’s examine the six honest men. What, How, When, Where, Who and Why. Which one of these is the most powerful psychological movers of them all? This would be better answered with an example.

Let’s assume you needed to go to the supermarket. All the other triggers (how, when, where, who and what) would make absolutely no difference if you didn’t know ‘WHY’ you were headed there. Everything else would be totally irrelevant. Once you know WHY you’re doing something, everything else is just a matter of logistics.

Why Does 90% of Advertising and Marketing Communication Go Down the Drain?

Simple. Look for the WHY in advertising and scarcity pops up instantly. All the fancy layouts and the smart headlines can’t quite compensate for the niggling question that goes unanswered. All your customers want to know is, Why should I choose you? Why should I take this decision? Why should I spend this money? Why should I look at your website? Why should I read your brochure?’ Why should I listen to your speech? ‘Why? Why? Why?’

Dump the cotton woolly fluff. Get your customer’s brain to go scrambling like an over-enthusiastic pup after a Frisbee. Once you have enough WHY factor built into what you’re selling, everything else is just clip, clop, fall in place stuff.

Be an Accountant, Do an Audit

Look at your communication. Like reeeeeeeaaaaally look at it! What about your website? Does it answer the question WHY straight up? And does it do it on the first page? How about your brochure? Does its headline make it a cinch for dustbin land? What about your speech? Do you have enough beds to compensate for your lack of WHY?

I could go on, but I suspect you get the message.

Be merciless. If the WHYs don’t stack up, dump the communication. Or chop and change it till it does.

Finding the Right Level of Why Power

If you noticed, Mum actually answered my WHY question. She just didn’t answer it to my satisfaction like Dad did. Herein lies a subtle, yet formidable difference.

It’s not enough to simply have the WHY question answered. It’s got to be the most ‘Rambo in your face’ answer, or it will bounce higher than a defaulting cheque. Let your WHYs loose on each other, and let only the one with the most testosterone come out shining.

Aristotle — Man, Was he Smart or What?

All communication must lead to change.

That’s what the old wise man said over 2300 years ago. Not some or most communication.

All.

Yet we are dealing with customers that inherently detest change. WHY is the only motivator that allows them to make that shift. Change is still a scary word, but at least the justification sits nicely in their cranium.

In fact, if you look closely, even a WHAT question like, What’s in it for me?, is really a “WHY” issue. All it is saying is ‘Why should I pay attention?’ Give your customers the WHY factor and their buying sprees will reflect nicely in your growing bank account.

This is simple, down to earth advice. Yet it represents one of the most powerful psychological triggers why people buy. WHY on earth would you ignore it?

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.

Who Is Your Real Competition?

Who Is Your Real Competition?

If you design kitchens, is another kitchen designer your competition? Most likely not. And the sooner you can position and modify your marketing strategy against your real competition, the sooner you will start to see more business come through the door.

So Who Really Is Your Competition?

The answer to that is always–Never the most obvious. So let’s take the example of the kitchen designer. Having decided that another kitchen designer isn’t his competition, he now has to decide who is his real competition.

His Real Competition Could Be A Car Salesman

Is this for real? How can a car salesman be a kitchen designer’s competition? Let’s analyse this more carefully. A kitchen and a car are both fighting for the same thing– The householder’s limited budget.

If the kitchen designer, were able to convince a couple that a kitchen is more important than a new car (which he could easily do if there was a foodie around), he now has a better chance of them dropping the car in favour of the kitchen.

The Advantage Of This Method Of Positioning

The most obvious advantage is that you’re not losing any current customers. All your past advertising is bringing in the customers that are looking for kitchens anyway.

What it does do however, is bring in a new lot of customers that would never have thought about kitchens, if you hadn’t implanted it in their minds. Effectively, you have both, customers who are looking for kitchens as well as customers who are forfeiting their new cars in favour of new kitchens.

How Your Re-Positioning Can Help You Focus

We had a client who ran a laundromat. Her current customers were people who did not have washing machines. Obviously, her business went up and down based on the season and on her customers limited budget. We got her to refocus her marketing strategy on a new target– Customers who had washing machines.

These customers had the money, but no time. By deciding that her real competition was time she decided to target people who had limited time instead.

As a result, she was now targeting busy people while other laundromats were targeting people with washing. This positioning actually helped the laundromat stand out from the rest of the competition.

How The Laundromat Did A Full 180

This re-positioning did a couple of things for them. One, it helped them focus on their target audience. Consequently, they changed their name from just XYZ Laundromat to Bizzie Buggers.

It was catchy and bang on target. It also now meant that busy customers (with the money), were more likely to stop over and drop their washing. Plus they had the regular customers walking through the door anyway.

What You Need To Do

Sit down and write who your immediate competition could be. Then write down what your business is really up against. Here are some examples.

These aren’t necessarily your right targets but they help you see things in a different light and help you determine who your real competition could possibly be.

Cartoonist = Photographer
Computer Salesman = Filing Cabinet
Car Dealer = Expensive Restaurant Meals

©2001-2014 Psychotactics Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Article written by Sean D’Souza.