Tag Archive | "sell"

Join Us Live to Learn Smarter Ways to Sell with Webinars

When I first heard about “webinar hired gun” Tim Paige, I really was a bit skeptical. I’ve read and watched a lot of sales education, and most of it is a horrible fit for me. Either the tactics feel weird and manipulative (and I’m never going to get the personality transplant I’d need to implement
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Aggressive Sell, Soft Sell … What Works?

Recently, a student of ours asked whether “we” (content-based marketers who might prefer a more subtle approach) can learn anything from “those” marketers who use somewhat obvious tactics like silly quizzes or hyped-up headlines. In the course of answering this question, the phrase “orange hat marketer” occurred to me. (Don’t worry; this has nothing to
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SearchCap: Google to sell Zagat, videos in Google My Business & new research

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

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Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Ask MarketingSherpa: How do I write emails that sell?

At MarketingSherpa, we get a lot of questions from readers. When one reader asked about how to write more effective emails, we saw it as a good opportunity to discuss stepping back and considering what really makes an effective marketing email.
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5 ways to sell more this holiday season with Google’s updates to shopping ads

Contributor Frederick Vallaeys shares techniques to get the most out of your product listing ads by employing both new and often-overlooked features.

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How to Create (and Sell) Products People Actually Want to Buy

This week offers a mix of inspiration, clarity, purpose … and some good, old-fashioned results-oriented copywriting. On Monday, I shared some of the practical, repeatable steps you can use to create an online course that people actually want to buy. (That’s a fun thing to do, by the way, and I totally recommend it.) Brian
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Why Sex Doesn’t Sell

"Are you a writer, or a flimflam artist?" – Robert Bruce

In his essay, “It’s Necessary for the Scene,” American playwright David Mamet explains why no play or movie he writes or directs include explicit sex scenes.

Mamet is no prude. He cut his teeth in the theatre, working in and around that last great institution of vagabonds and players, excess and fornication.

No, what he’s getting at here is something more important than a hopeless moral stance. It is a display of wisdom and restraint that can instruct both copywriters and content marketers.

“When we see the scene of simulated sex, we can think only one of two things:

  1. Lord, they’re really having sex … or
  2. No, I can tell, they aren’t really.

Either of the above responses takes us right out of the film.”

Sex doesn’t sell the story; it takes us completely out of the story.

Good copy and great content come from the humility of listening … listening to the conversation your audience is having and entering that conversation with an honest, clear, useful, and helpful story.

What “takes us right out” of that marketing story? Half-truth. Hype. Hard sell. These are the “sex scenes” of copywriting, content, and marketing, online or off.

Like so many impotent Hollywood producers who’ve derailed otherwise great films with unnecessary plot lines and scenes, dropping a little “sex” into your copy to punch it up will only cripple your efforts to tell the story.

And that’s important … telling the story. Yes, “sexy” copy will get you sales — maybe even a lot of them — but it will not get you the kind of audience who will stick with your story, and potentially buy from you for years to come.

Be patient and substantial enough to build (or market) something truly great, and then tell the story of that greatness honestly, directly, and clearly.

Sex doesn’t truly sell, because it’s ultimately just a cheap distraction, an attempt to veil the emptiness of your product or service.

Start marketing at the start, and you’ll find that the writhing, pushing, sweating bodies of hype are merely diversions that your business can’t afford, and that your audience won’t buy.

Image source: Pietro De Grandi via Unsplash.

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How to Write a High-Value Lesson Plan that Makes Your Course Easy to Sell

a step-by-step guide to organizing and delivering your course

The demand for online education is exploding.

The global market for online courses is estimated around $ 107 billion. A mind-boggling figure, right?

Imagine stuffing one-dollar bills into a 53-foot truck. Depending on how crumpled your bills are, you’d need around 1,000 trucks stuffed up to the roof to transport those 107-billion dollar bills.

Would you like one of those trucks to deliver a heap of money to you?

Then you must create a lesson plan so valuable that students get excited about buying your online course.

A high-value lesson plan motivates people to both study and implement your advice. It makes students so happy about their newly acquired skills that they tell all of their friends about your course. That’s how your course starts selling like hot cakes.

Ready to get started?

Step #1: Carefully assess your students’ needs

When developing a course on your own platform, the most logical starting point often seems to be your expertise.

How can you teach your skills to others?

This common approach is asking for trouble. Big trouble.

Because it’s hard to create a valuable learning experience when you think from your own perspective rather than from the student’s perspective.

Think about your course buyers first:

  • Who will buy your course?
  • How will the course transform them?
  • Why are they interested in this transformation?

Imagine, for instance, that you’re a social media expert, and you want to create a course to share your Twitter knowledge. You could answer the three questions above in widely different ways:

  • You might want to target Twitter novices who are hoping to build a Twitter following because they want more traffic to their websites.
  • You might want to target freelance writers who want to connect with publishers and influencers because they want to write for well-known publications that pay higher fees.
  • You might want to target small business marketers who find Twitter a time suck; they want to promote their brands in less time.

Each of these audiences requires a different lesson plan because they have different learning objectives and different levels of experience.

So before you create your lesson plan, define who your audience is and how you’ll help them.

If you’re unsure, read questions in relevant forums and check out the comment sections of popular blogs. Or, even better, ask your own email subscribers what they’re struggling with and how you can help.

Once you understand your audience and the overall aim of your course, you can start creating your lesson plan — the foundation of a popular course.

Step #2: Assign learning objectives to each part of your course

Courses often fail to deliver a smooth learning experience because participants lose track of their objectives.

Students become demotivated when they don’t understand the value of each lesson. They don’t see how your information contributes to their goals. They might even forget why they’re taking your course.

To keep your participants motivated, break the overall objective of your course down into mini-targets for each lesson.

You can fill in the blanks of this magical sentence for each target:

Learn [how this works], so you can [achieve so-and-so].

Each module, each lesson, and each assignment in your course should have a purpose. When participants understand the value of the information and how they’ll benefit from it, they’re more likely to engage with your course and implement your advice.

And what’s more, your valuable lesson plan makes crafting a sales page a breeze, too.

You already know who’s going to buy your course and why (for the transformation). You’ve already listed features (what people learn) and benefits (why they care about learning the information you teach). So, your lesson plan is the ideal selling tool for your course.

But how do you define the purpose of each lesson? And how do you make sure all of the lessons help students achieve their overall goal — their transformation?

Step #3: Create simple, digestible lessons

Ever felt overwhelmed when taking a course?

Or perhaps you’ve studied a course diligently, but were left wondering: “Now, what?”

Ensuring your course meets or exceeds your buyer’s expectations is a tough job. You can’t leave any gaps, but you also can’t overwhelm students by inundating them with too much information.

To avoid any gaps in your lesson plan, start with listing the steps you take to complete a specific task.

Let’s look at an easy example first.

Imagine creating a mini-course for cycling enthusiasts about packing a bicycle for transportation on a plane. You can create this course by making notes of the steps you take when packing your bike.

In this case, it’s even easier to record a video of yourself and provide a running commentary. But when you’re teaching an abstract topic, like leadership or digital marketing skills, it’s more difficult.

For abstract topics, reverse-engineer your processes

As an expert, you often accomplish tasks effortlessly. You don’t think about how you create a presentation; you simply put the slides together. You don’t think about how to write an email or give a client a quote. You simply perform the tasks.

To break down your processes, start by asking yourself, “How did I arrive at this result?”

Imagine creating online training materials for senior managers. One skill you want to teach is conducting performance reviews that motivate staff members and make them more productive.

You can picture yourself going through the process:

  • How do you prepare?
  • How do you ask your team members to prepare?
  • How do you conduct the performance review?
  • What type of notes do you take?

You can mentally rehearse your latest performance reviews and break down the complicated parts. You can play back how you dealt with an underperforming team member. You can think about the questions you asked to help you understand what your team member was struggling with.

You’ll find that you often need to mix different types of digestible chunks, especially for complicated topics or advanced skills. For instance, in my Enchanting Business Blogging course:

  • You learn how to write headlines, subheads, opening paragraphs, the main body text, and closing paragraphs — these are all different parts of a blog post
  • You learn how to generate ideas, outline, write a first draft, and edit — these are all different stages of the blog writing process
  • You also learn how to tell a mini-story, use metaphors, and include specific examples — these are all different writing techniques

You have to dig deep to distinguish different parts, chop up a process, and pinpoint techniques. You have to understand the essence of your topic and the foundation of your skills.

In the Da Vinci course from Sean D’Souza at Psychotactics, for instance, you can learn how to draw cartoons. But first, what’s the foundation of drawing? The course begins with drawing circles.

Now you’ve reverse-engineered your process. You’ve created a lesson plan that’s logical and enticing. Each lesson has a clear learning objective, and your valuable lesson plan is nearly ready.

Step #4: Motivate students to implement your advice

Consuming information in digestible chunks is not the same as learning.

To give your students real value and create raving fans, encourage students to implement your advice. At the end of each lesson, create an assignment for them.

For example, my guide for writing About pages, co-written with Julia Rymut, is a five-day mini-course.

Each day features new information plus an assignment so you can implement what you’ve learned:

  • Learn how to order the key components of an About page to create an engaging flow. Review how your favorite websites communicate the essential components of an About page (analysis of other people’s work helps reinforce the lesson).
  • Learn how to generate ideas for your About page. Complete a 23-point questionnaire so writing about yourself becomes a breeze.
  • Learn specific editing tips for About pages. Edit your page to make your content credible, persuasive, and enjoyable.

Remember, a valuable lesson plan doesn’t simply share information. It inspires students to implement your advice by suggesting activities and assignments.

Step #5: Avoid the biggest pitfall in lesson creation

You’re an expert. You’re brimming with enthusiasm for your topic. You want to share your knowledge and teach your skills. You want to inspire people.

Your red-cheeked enthusiasm is both a huge advantage and an enormous potential pitfall.

While your teaching materials will likely reflect your enthusiasm and get students excited about your course, your enthusiasm may also make you prone to overwhelming your students.

Because you want to teach them everything. Each method. Each trick. Each example. Each exception. And you risk leaving your students gasping for air.

Sharing everything you know is not necessary. Go back to the objective of your course, and ask yourself, “What’s the minimum students need to learn to fulfill that objective?”

Then evaluate your lesson plan:

  • Can you eliminate any learning material that’s not absolutely necessary? (Instead of scrapping lessons, consider turning them into bonus material.)
  • Does each lesson have one, straightforward learning objective, or have you muddled your program by sneaking multiple objectives into one lesson? Try cutting lessons into smaller chunks.
  • For each exercise or assignment, have you covered the relevant knowledge and skills?
  • Do the learning objectives follow each other in a logical order?
  • What could prevent students from implementing your advice? And how can you help overcome those hurdles?
  • Have you warned students about common mistakes?
  • Do the learning objectives match your overall promise?

Too much information makes students feel overwhelmed and leads to inaction. Not enough information leaves students confused and defeated. Good teachers inspire their students by giving exactly the right amount of information.

When running a test drive or beta version of your course, keep a close eye on the questions people ask.

Is important information missing? Are specific assignments stumbling blocks? Do students need a pep talk halfway through your course because they’re losing confidence? Or do you need to slow down and recap the lessons so far?

As a good teacher, do more than share information. Encourage. Motivate. Inspire.

Set the foundation for a thriving online training business

Some say that online learning may be more effective than the traditional model of classroom learning.

People can study at their own pace. They don’t waste time traveling and can save energy by studying from home. They can connect with like-minded people across the world.

But online learning only works if we, as providers, deliver a valuable learning experience.

Creating a valuable lesson plan can be tricky. I’m sure you’ve taken courses that left you confused, cross-eyed, and without hair. Or perhaps you gave up long before that. Defeated, you moved on to the next shiny course. Without making progress.

Your students deserve better than that.

So don’t simply share your knowledge. Create a course that teaches a real skill. Make your course so inspirational that people are begging you to create another course next.

Your valuable lesson plan is the solid foundation of a thriving training business.

Can you hear that truck honking?

The driver leans out of the window, a smile on his face. He’s waving at you, ready to deliver a heap of dollar bills.

Free Webinar: How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

  • Are you currently planning or developing an online course and looking for a few key pieces of practical advice (from a proven expert) that will put you in a position to have a successful launch?
  • Do you already have an online course that you’re looking to improve before your next launch?
  • Or are you simply curious what this online course craze is all about?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the three questions above, then join Rainmaker Digital founder and CEO Brian Clark on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time for a free webinar.

By the end of the hour, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of how to develop an online course that your target audience needs … and that they will be compelled to pay for.

Learn More and Register for Free

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on August 18, 2015.

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Ready to Sell Your Products or Services? We’re Here to Help

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Hey there — welcome back to the Copyblogger Weekly!

So, I’ve been known to lean a bit toward the “kumbaya” side of content marketing. (“Kumbaya” meaning, “Let’s all join hands and sing songs about our feelings!”)

But I have bills to pay, just like you do. Selling is an integral and important part of business. And content marketing is as much about marketing as it is about connection.

This week, we’ve got some content to help you unapologetically, effectively — maybe even joyfully — sell some stuff.

On Tuesday, I was tickled to see Beth Hayden riffing on a presentation I did at our live event in 2015, cracking open the three essential elements your landing pages need to make more sales.

Yesterday, we revisited a classic Brian Clark post on how to motivate audiences to buy. He has some fascinating insights into what we really mean when we say we “sell from emotion,” and about the emotional states that prompt us to act.

And The Showrunner podcast this week dives into how to use empathy (very kumbaya) as a map for creating the products and services your audience will love (very pragmatic). Which is really what we’re all about.

Digital Commerce Academy closes to new students on Friday

Quick reminder that Digital Commerce Academy (DCA) is going to close to new students on Friday, October 28 so we can put all of our focus into developing some killer new courses for our members.

Don’t worry, DCA will be back … but not until 2017, and with a substantially higher price.

If you’re into the mix of ethical connection and pragmatic business solutions, DCA is a great resource for you.

We’ll be adding the videos from our recent live Digital Commerce Summit, as well as a live workshop I taught with Brian Clark that walks you through how to plan, execute, and market a digital course.

The annual price for DCA will be rising quite a bit, to reflect the quantity and quality of new content we’re adding. But you can get all the great new stuff and today’s pricing if you jump in now. Get all the details here:

http://digitalcommerce.com/academy

Hope you enjoy this week’s content, and I’ll catch you next week!

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


The 7-part formula for winning contentMaster These 7 Essential Elements for Winning Content [Infographic]

by Pamela Wilson


Step-by-step for landing pages that convertBuild Landing Pages that Convert with These 3 Smart Steps

by Beth Hayden


What makes people purchase?How to Motivate People to Buy

by Brian Clark


The One Thing That Can Make or Break Your Creative BusinessThe One Thing That Can Make or Break Your Creative Business

by Brian Gardner & Lauren Mancke


Empathy Maps: A Podcaster's GuideEmpathy Maps: A Podcaster’s Guide

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


How to Create Impact That Endures (Instead of Ending Up in a Landfill)How to Create Impact That Endures (Instead of Ending Up in a Landfill)

by Brian Clark & Jerod Morris


Announcing: An Intriguing New Tool for Collaborative ContentAnnouncing: An Intriguing New Tool for Collaborative Content

by Sonia Simone


How Bestselling Sci-fi Thriller Author Blake Crouch Writes: Part OneHow Bestselling Sci-fi Thriller Author Blake Crouch Writes: Part One

by Kelton Reid


Understanding the Brain Science Behind Effective Persuasion, with Roger DooleyUnderstanding the Brain Science Behind Effective Persuasion, with Roger Dooley

by Brian Clark


Cool-Headed Advice for Keeping It Together Just Before Your Book LaunchCool-Headed Advice for Keeping It Together Just Before Your Book Launch

by Pamela Wilson & Jeff Goins


this-week-in-authority

Behind the Scenes with Matthew Berry

with Matthew Barry and Pamela Wilson

Friday, October 28

What can you do when you have a nice-looking site that’s not converting as well as you want? And will content marketing really work to promote a thoroughly offline business like a fly fishing lodge in Idaho? Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from someone who’s on the front lines, using content marketing to promote a strictly offline business.

Join Authority to attend this session

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The Secret to Powerful Products that Sell: Meet Tara Gentile, Creator of ‘Quiet Power’

tara gentile - how to unlock the door between before and after

Tara Gentile is known for helping people grow terrific businesses — without sacrificing ethics or heart.

Tara works with “idea people” — people who have an idea that they want to turn into a product, program, or service, but who may not always see themselves as business owners or marketers. She helps her audience and clients find the right business models, craft marketing that resonates, and structure their businesses for profit.

She calls her approach the Quiet Power Strategy — and it’s a complete reversal of a lot of the “cookie cutter” advice you sometimes see around digital business.

Listen and observe

A while back, Tara spoke with Rainmaker Digital CEO Brian Clark about how to thoughtfully observe your audience in order to strengthen your business.

Listen to Win: How Actionable Observation Provides Profitable Answers

Brian and Tara share a deep focus on listening in order to uncover audience interests, fears, and desires. When you master this, everything about your business starts to work better.

It’s also the key to marketing that doesn’t feel pushy or creepy — because you’re speaking directly to the problems and concerns of your audience, using their own language. Marketing becomes a direct expression of audience empathy.

Listening is the key to building a business based on service rather than selfishness.

“I see [listening] as probably the biggest thing that’s keeping people from creating marketing that works and products that sell easily … and sales processes that don’t feel slimy.” – Tara Gentile

What do they care deeply about?

In Tara’s world (and ours), the journey always starts with the deepest goals and concerns of the audience.

“How are you going to help them go from before to after?” – Tara Gentile

Tara’s process unearths what she calls the Target Conversation. Who are the people having this conversation, and what are they actually talking about?

Most of the time, the road from their problem to the solution you offer isn’t a straight line; it’s a series of somewhat meandering connections. This sequence of relevant ideas will click with the people in your audience where they are right now — not where you wish they were.

Tara calls this step Connecting the Dots: starting with where they are today, then moving purposefully to the next dot … and the next, and the next.

In this way, you create a clear path between your audience’s problems and your solutions.

Solving audience problems … even if you aren’t a renowned expert

“Don’t call yourself an expert … just be helpful. If you’re two steps ahead of your audience on the journey, you’re still a leader.” – Brian Clark

Tara and Brian share the conviction that a business that’s built on solving specific audience problems is far more powerful than starting with a notion of some abstract “market.”

“When you look at real people with real problems — or with real desires — they’ve got blanks. There’s something missing that isn’t allowing them to accomplish what they want to accomplish … There’s sort of a locked door between that before and after … And we’ve got insight into how to open it.” – Tara Gentile

Once you adjust your approach to focus your business’s marketing and products on customer problems and the solutions to those problems, you’ve set yourself up for success.

How to approach writing a promotion

“My best tip for copywriting is to feed your customers’ words back to them … They want to know that you’ve actually thought about what their problem is.” – Tara Gentile

First, Tara listens for the themes and language that come up again and again for her audience. Her promotional copy is then crafted to provide answers and solutions that speak to those specific issues.

She builds each sales page around a single key insight that’s arisen from conversations with her audience and customers. That gives the promotion focus, connecting Tara’s expertise directly to what’s most important to her prospects right now.

Promotions crafted this way stand out from the general background of noise and clutter that we see every day on the web and in our inboxes.

“The opposite of quiet isn’t loud; it’s noise.” – Tara Gentile

Let Tara walk you through her process: 7 Ways to Listen to Your Audience

We’re so happy that Tara will be joining us this October in Denver, Colorado at our live Digital Commerce Summit.

Here’s what Tara had to say about the presentation she’ll be teaching:

“It’s time to stop guessing about what digital product to create (whether it’s your first or your next). It’s also time to stop wasting time and money building the wrong products (i.e. the ones people don’t buy). Learn seven distinct ways to listen to your audience and build a system for turning what you hear into profitable offers. You’ll never have to guess about what people want to buy again.”

Tara’s process is applicable to any business — from selling a single ebook to running a multi-million dollar SaaS.

Join us October 13-14 for a carefully chosen curriculum that will give you the momentum you need to level up as a digital entrepreneur. Tara is just one of 15 speakers who have walked the walk. Over two days, we’ll teach you how to take your digital project to the next level — or how to get something new off the ground.

Click here to get the details and snag the best price on your tickets.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

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