give it away (1)

If you are new to list building, you may not understand why everyone gives something away for free in exchange for joining their list. You may be concerned that building a list of “freebie seekers” will lead to weak sales and profits. By the way, that is a valid concern, it can and does happen.


After all, if you spend a lot of time and effort creating a fantastic piece of content, why should you give it away? Why not sell it? The answer lies in how the human brain works when you receive a gift.


If you have ever received something unexpectedly from someone else, even a stranger, you probably felt a sense of gratitude. You are thankful for that person’s actions. Studies show that this also engenders a feeling of respect and admiration for the gift giver.


Your brain is hardwired to respond in a favorable way. Subconsciously, without even knowing it, your brain will start looking for opportunities to repay that person. This is called the Law of Reciprocity. When you receive something, either virtual or physical, without having to pay for it in some way, you automatically feel like you “owe” that person something.


This is why you absolutely must give away valuable content, or physical products, to build your email list. You are starting off the relationship by giving away something for free, without asking for a sale or commitment. This is why people are more than happy to join your email list in return for something they see as more valuable than their email address.


It is up to you to make sure that that resource, e-book, checklist or physical product is extremely valuable. Yes, give away for free, your best stuff. Make sure it solves a big problem in your prospect’s life. Your new list member will feel a sense of gratitude and respect for you and will be more likely to reciprocate with a purchase in the future when you offer a problem-solving resource for free.


Don’t worry, valuable free resources and pieces of content are easy to develop. Remember, you are viewed as the expert. You probably know more about your market or niche that 99% of your prospects and clients. In a text editor like Word or OpenOffice, create a checklist, beginners guide or short report.


Make it relevant to your area of expertise, and save it as a PDF. If you can shoot a short video (keep it under 2 minutes for high viewability), even better. Integrate this with your autoresponder and web properties, and there you have it – a new, free product to give away to your list!



share your story


Humans are hardwired for stories. People love stories. Think about the last time you heard a great story. But when was the last time you told a great story? If you are looking to increase your ability to influence others make sure you are always telling great stories. Storytelling is a great tool for influencing.

People relate to stories, so if you were looking to get your point across, do you think it would be more useful with a laundry list of facts, or with a story? Everything being equal, the story is going to win out. It allows those that you are trying to convince to connect with the people in your story.

Take a look at a long-form sales page on the internet. They are everywhere, so it shouldn’t take too long to find one.  Just do a search for a particular keyword and check out some of the top results. One of them is bound to be a long-form sales page. When you read through the sales page, pay close attention to the story that is being told. It often starts out with describing someone that was having a certain problem. This person tried everything to solve it and was getting discouraged. Then, a possible solution is being introduced but not yet revealed. First, the writer describes being in a similar situation and how it is not your (the reader) fault. The industry or some other entity is against you, and this is why you were not successful, etc.

Finally, the story shows how this incredible product will take care of the problem and how the person in the story used it successfully to solve the problem. There may be variations on the theme, but this is typical of a long-form sales letter.

You don’t need to sell something to incorporate storytelling. You may be simply trying to increase readership for your newsletter, as an example. Storytelling can go a long way in helping you connect with subscribers. When you relay situations that you or others have experienced, and you describe it using a storytelling format, you will find they will want more of these stories.

Storytelling can also be used to dissuade people from doing certain actions. Parents use this technique all the time. They tell their children about stories of individuals they knew when they were kids who suffered some tragic circumstance as a result of bad behavior. Ready for a challenge? The next piece of content you put out into the world, share a story!


9 Tips to Banish Business Sabotage




(1)  Develop a marketing plan. What’s your number one priority? Unless you said “develop marketing plan,” you’re incorrect. Do this first.



(2)  Write objectives. Write one objective that states what results you would like to achieve with your business over the next year.  Next, write at least one objective for every marketing activity you undertake, that states what results you would like to achieve from that activity over the next year.



(3)  Stay the course. Check in on your progress toward your objectives every three to six months, but give your plan a good nine to 12 months to work.



(4)  Don’t try to be “everything to everyone.”  Focus on a few specific benefits and a specific audience.



(5)  Track all of your marketing activities so you know exactly what is working and what is not working.



(6) One basket ≠ All Eggs.  Don’t rely on one marketing activity. Employ a mix of several marketing activities to reach more people.



(7)  Systems are your friends. Create a system to help you stay on track with your marketing activities every month and to help you plan ahead for future activities.



(8)  Budgeting is another close friend. Create a realistic budget based on a percentage of your projected revenue, or the dollars you have available for marketing and stick to it.  Marketing is an investment in your business.


(9)  Understand your environment.  The economy, competition, the strength of your particular industry, your prospects’ situation.  You have to understand them all so you can create an effective plan to either overcome obstacles or take advantage of opportunities.



All of these activities are part of a good marketing plan. Employ these activities to ensure your success.


You May be sabotaging your business (2)



You may be sabotaging your business.
What?!?  Sabotage your own business?  Who would do that?  You’d be surprised how many small business owners think they are effectively marketing their business, when in fact they are slitting their own throat.


Yep, they may be running ads.  And yes, they may be writing a semi-regular blog. And yes, they may even be doing a pretty good job of marketing on a regular basis to their prospect list.


So if they are doing all of these things “right,” how are they sabotaging themselves?  Well, there are lots of ways.

Following are just a few of the ways small business owners unknowingly sabotage their own success.


(1) They have not taken the time to develop a marketing plan.


A plan focuses your efforts and allows you to make the most of your marketing budget

Make sure you take the time each year (or even every six months) to create a plan.



(2)  They don’t have written goals


Smart business owners have written goals and objectives for what they want to achieve with their business and for each of their marketing activities. I know this sounds b-o-r-i-n-g, but it’s a fact.


You can’t possibly determine what marketing or how much marketing you need if you don’t know what you are aiming for.



(3)          They have a short-term attitude.


They are reactive in nature, and while on the surface it appears they are doing a lot of marketing, they are not doing anything consistently or long enough to make an impact. Running an ad or sending out your newsletter a few times and giving up when you don’t get immediate results is worse than doing nothing at all.


How so?  Because at least when you do nothing it doesn’t cost you any money.  Pulling the plug too soon costs you money.  And statistics show it takes somewhere between three and 10 exposures to a message for the average consumer to notice it and take action.  So it is quite possible your audience was just beginning to take notice right about the time you threw in the towel!


Stay tuned. In our next blog we will focus on ways to banish your (business) self-sabotaging behavior.