Friday, December 22, 2006

A Christmas Marketing Lesson

Dear Marketing Pros,

I thought I would use the upcoming Christmas holiday to give you what I feel might be the most important marketing lesson you’ll ever learn.  And it all starts with that famous question…

“What do you want for Christmas?”  

Kids are great at answering this question.  In fact, when my 3-year old daughter went to see “Santa Claus” and he asked her what she wanted, she answered, “I want Darth Vader & Thomas the Train!”

Clear, precise, accurate.  My daughter left no doubt in “Santa’s” mind what she wanted for Christmas.  

And you know what?  

She’s going to get exactly what she asked for.

Which brings me to marketing.  

Why is it that when we get our marketing together, we often get surprised that we are not getting the results we were looking for?  It seems that the clarity kids possess gets lost when we grow up to become marketers.  Seriously.  I’ve seen ads put out that say absolutely nothing.  And I often wonder what I should do.  

And I’ve seen plenty of web sites that are there that won't ask me to do anything.  It's like they're saying...
Hey, come in and look around, and then why don’t you just leave.  

This, my dear friends, WILL NOT FLY.

Look over your marketing materials.  Look at your web site.    See if you are clearly and obviously asking people to do something.  Are you putting in a call to action?  If you want someone to buy your product, then ASK FOR THE SALE.  Want them to contact you?  Ask them to contact you and give them your contact information.  Make it clear and easy.  

Don’t dilly-dally.  Don’t hint around.  It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for your prospects and clients.  

And so, let me return to where we started--Christmas.  

In marketing we must be clear.  But when we ask others for gifts, we can’t do like my 3-year old.  It ruins the whole fun and surprise.  

So, I say one thing.  If you do hint to your spouse, parents, or significant other about what you want, try it like I did this year when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas.  I said...

…I want something that begins with “I” and ends with “POD”!

Do you have any idea what it could be?  (no more hints, you’ll have to just figure it out)

Merry Christmas, everyone.  I hope all of you enjoy your holidays, and I am looking forward to helping each and every one of you get better response from your marketing in 2007 (but more on that in my year-end No Excuses for 2007 post & newsletter).  

To Your continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Real Purpose of Your Web Site

I had a talk with a client the other day, and I asked the same question I usually ask when consulting about a web marketing strategy:

“What is the purpose for your web site?”

Believe it or not, I am usually met with blank stares (if asking in person) or silence (when asking over the phone).  

The answer I am looking for is usually something like: to generate leads, to sell a product, etc.  

A web site should have one purpose and one purpose only.  But after reading every post in this blog, this client of mine came up with an answer that completely hit the nail on the head.  

But let me get to her answer in a moment.  

First, let me tell you what she was doing.  

She was very exicted to be re-vamping her membership web site.  She had hired a graphic artist and was excited about coming up with newer and better ways to “personalize” the site.  She had gotten herself in a heightened state of excitement.   In her excitement, she sought my advice on what to do for the layout in terms of marketing.  

We talked a little about it. And then, I got an e-mail from her in which she told me that after reading every post in my blog, she had (what I would call) an “ah-ha” moment.  

It dawned on her that the purpose of her site was to MAKE MONEY!  

And there you have it, folks.  I don’t care what kind of web site you have.  Whether it’s a subscription site, a one-page sales letter, a mostly informative site that touts your business or expertise, or whatever, remember the focus of your site is to MAKE YOU MONEY.

I know some of you might be thinking, “But, Carlon, my site is there to give me credibility and show my expert knowledge.  I don't make money from tha-at."  

And I would answer that like this:

Even a mostly informative web site, as long as it's not a personal or family web site, it should have the purpose of bringing you clients.  And having clients=making money.  

I know a lot of people who spend a lot of money on web site design, but I’ll tell you one thing…

…don’t waste your money on fancy design unless it will bring you money!  

Think about it.  I’ll give you an example.  I have more than one web site for my different businesses.  The one I spent the most developing is geared to corporate clients who expect a certain level of professionalism in a web site (in other words, it needs to look more like one of their sites). But another one of my web sites is nothing but a one page sales letter geared to a very non-corporate target.  

Both are effective for bringing me clients.  

So, remember the real purpose for your web site.  It is there for you to MAKE MONEY.  Don’t get too wrapped up in the look of the site.  The look of your site is all about the marketing of your site.  

Never forget the real purpose of your web site, and you will find that your site will work harder for you to make you more money.  

To your continued success,

Carlon Haas

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Are the Ford Guys Reading My Blog?

I came across this article.

Here is an excerpt from Ford’s President of the Americas Mark Fields:

“[The Ford Edge is] a no excuses product that’s really going to set the benchmark for this segment.”

No excuses, huh?

Recall this post where I called former CEO Bill Ford out for his excuse-making.

Did the Ford guys learn their lesson from reading this blog?

So far; so good.

Ford is up 8% from a year ago.

Profits up, excuse-making down.

Way to go Ford!

To your success,

Carlon Haas

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Secret to Writing "Energetic" Copy

I get questions all the time from people who want to know how to write copy. They are looking for “the secret” to writing killer copy.

Today, I am going to share one of those secrets with you.

But first, let me tell you what many of my copywriting mentors told me about writing copy:


It may sound simple, but you’d be surprised at how few people seem to actually be able to do it. Go to many of the websites out there, and you’ll see what I mean. How many of these kinds of pages have you read:

“XYZ Corporation is a solutions-based company that has been providing state-of-the-art solutions with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness desired by small to mid-sized businesses in competitive industries.”

Now, if someone asked you about your company, is this how you would explain it to them?

I’m being serious here.

Go all over the web, this is how many companies write their copy. I get tongue-tied just thinking about this copy--let alone buy a product or use a service. And isn’t that the point of copy: to get people to do something—to move them to action.

I don’t blame them for writing this way though. I learned writing academically, and when I made the switch to copywriting, I had to consciously break a ton of grammar rules.

But the truth is…

…it was fun.

If you are going to write copy that sells, the first thing you need to do is throw your usage dictionary out the window and write conversationally.

That's the first step...but is that some big secret?

I know some “gurus” will charge you about $400 to basically tell you what I just told you. But to me it shouldn’t be a big secret. It’s the foundation of copywriting! Pick up any book on copywriting, and write conversationally is usually including in the first chapter.

The question becomes once you are able to write conversationally, what then?

How do you inject energy and “punch” into the copy to make it exciting enough to get people to read every word of it?

Well…here's my secret weapon...

Drumroll please…


You read that right: coffee!

Before I sit down to write a sales letter, I drink at least 2 cups of coffee to get the juices flowing. I feel energetic and pumped. And it is absolutely reflected in the copy I write.

When you feel down and tired, you write down and tired copy. It’s that simple. Every copywriter I meet all tell me the same thing. They do exactly the same thing I do--drink an enormous amount of coffee before writing copy.

Try it out when you write copy the next time. Drink some coffee and watch the "kick" it gives your copy.

To your continued success,

Carlon Haas

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Timing is Everything!

Just yesterday, I got a postcard from an organization I just love doing business with. They raise funds by selling paintings done by art students. Some are reproductions of older and more famous paintings, and some are original.

The best part about some of these reproductions is that they are in the style of the student rather than the original artist. Some may think this is a drawback, but I like to see fresh interpretations of classic art. It tells me that the artists of today are indeed bold and not afraid to put their own spin on the paintings.

I have purchased many of these, but I never knew when I could buy them.

You see, there is no “shop” to purchase them at. They typically set up shop in front of one of the local Sam’s Clubs and sell the paintings for 3 days or so. At one point, my wife and I were so desperate to buy these paintings that we started “staking out” Sam’s in order to find them.

But last time we went there, we were delighted to know they had a mailing list and eagerly signed up for it.

Which brings me to the postcard I received yesterday. It stated:

“We will be at Sam’s Club from September 22-23-24!”

The problem?

I got the postcard on the 25th.

It’s really s shame because I was all ready to go out and spend more money. But this should be a lesson for all aspiring marketers.

Timing is everything. When you have a time-specific campaign, make sure your mail gets to your prospect on time.

To your continued success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, September 25, 2006

Why Most Image Ads are a Waste of Money

Dear Marketing Pros,

Long time, no blogging, huh?

Well, to make a long story short, my business has finally undergone its transformation from marketing consulting/copywriting to leveraging my international experience to help companies that do business in Korea.

But I also made a conscious decision to continue advising people on marketing.

The reason?

No matter what business you’re in, you are in the marketing business. I never stop marketing myself. And I will work more on creating products to help others market themselves more effectively.

That said. I am resuming this blog to dispense marketing advice. But I will no longer be offering my newsletter (haven’t sent one out in months anyway), as I won’t have time for it.

Now that that’s out of the way…I read something really good and a good lesson for all would-be marketing top guns out there in Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column, one of the few sports columns I’ve read religiously since I was overseas.

In today’s column, King sums up one my harping points quite nicely. He says:

“For all you advertisers out there trying to sell things to me and hitting me over the head with commercials hour after hour in sportsland, here are a few tips: I have no idea what Vonage is ... I have no clue why I should carry a Capital One card over any other credit card, and the idiotic commercials with the Norsemen doing stupid, brutal things does not help me understand why that credit card is any better than any other ones”

This is how companies waste money time and time again on image advertising.

Check it out.

I know the commercials King is referring to. In fact, they are pretty entertaining. But look closely at what King writes:

He doesn’t know what Vonage is (if you don’t tell someone what you do, something is wrong)
He doesn’t know why Capital One is better than other credit cards (failure to state USP)

If you write an ad, any ad, and fail to state what you do or why someone should buy from you or someone else, then something is wrong.

It’s one thing to put something out there with “awareness” in mind, but I am “aware” that the city of Phoenix, Arizona exists. But would you expect me to move there if I don’t know anything about it or have even one compelling reason to move there?

Awareness is not enough. So, when you are writing your next ad, keep what Peter King says in mind.

Clearly state:

what your product does
how it benefits your prospects, and
why the prospect should buy your product and not someone else’s.

That’s the minimum. Without that, your ad’s a waste of money.

To your continued success,

Carlon Haas

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

You Might Just Be An Expert Without Even Knowing It

First of all, I apologize to all my loyal blog readers for my disappearance.  I've gotten a ton of e-mails from readers ranging from "Are you feeling all right?" to "Where the hell are you?".  

I should not have left my blog readers hanging.  

Well…to answer the question…

I have been working on starting a new business that leverages my 10 years of working with Koreans and my in-depth knowledge of Korean culture.  

Those who know me probably know that I lived in South Korea for 6 years.  And since I came back to the U.S. in 2001, I have continued to work for Korean companies in one way or another.

In fact, it was while working for a Korean publishing company that I first got my insights into marketing.  

But what does that have to do with anything?  

The fact is that this whole time I had expert knowledge in my head that I never even thought about.  

For years, I have tried to get my clients to see what they are experts in and use that knowledge to create info-products or go into the consulting field with that knowledge.

But strangely enough, I never equated those sentiments with my knowledge of Korean culture.  

But that’s about to change.  For those of you who read this I hope you draw 2 lessons from this:

#1  If you don’t think you’re an expert, take a step back and write down all the things you know.  You will find that you are an expert in something.

#2  It’s never too late to exploit that knowledge.  

They key to greater profitability is to become an expert.  But the truth is that many of us are experts already, but don’t even know it.  

If don't think you’re an expert, do what I did.  Write down all the things you've done or accomplished.  You’ll see there is something you do that others will have no clue about.  

You’ll discover that you might just be an expert after all…or pretty close to it.  

Discover your inner expert…and the possibilities are endless.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Success Requires Decisive Action!

I got a call the other day from my friend and author Tweed Scott.  And the phone call and what happened afterwards is a lesson for us all.

I could tell he was excited before he even opened his mouth.

“You sitting down?"  
“My book's headed to the Alamo.”

The Alamo…as in James Bowie, Davy Crockett...a Texas monument.  

And also the perfect place for my friend’s book.  

You see, he wrote a book about Texas.  In this book he interviewed prominent and not-so-prominent Texans who described what it meant to be Texan.  He’s got people as high-profile as Willie Nelson and as low profile as your average Texas Joe (we'll call him Earl).  

As a serious history buff, I love it.  And my friend Tweed has been writing this thing for 2 years already, and it just now came out.  

His book appearing in the Alamo's gift shop gives him 2 things:

  1. credibility

  2. validation

Credibility goes without saying, but validation…

…hey, sometimes we all need to know that we did something right…I’m not big on getting validation from outside sources, but it never hurts.  

But Tweed taught me something about doing what it takes to be successful.  

As I was talking to Tweed, he was getting a fax confirming the order.  He got off the phone with and talked to the Alamo people.  

I got a call the next day from Tweed.  

The Alamo had asked him when he could get them the books.

He told them, “How about tomorrow morning?”

And sure enough, the next morning Tweed packed the books in his car, drove a couple of hours to San Antonio and delivered the books.  They were on sale by that afternoon.

The lesson in this story is this: when you want something bad enough, don’t be afraid to do what you have to do.  

Getting what you want takes decisive action.  

I applaud Tweed for his decisive action…and he’ll probably sell a whole lotta books before he’s done.

And it’ll be that determination that’ll do it for him.  

And…if any of you are big history buffs…buy his book Texas in Her Own Words.  It’s an excellent oral history of Texas.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, April 17, 2006

What a 2-year-old Can Teach You About Marketing

I have gotten some good responses the readers of my newsletter today about the latest issue.  So, I thought I’d re-print it here for those who don’t subscribe to it (I wouldn’t want anyone left out).

But I want to add something to this based on feedback I’ve gotten.

The magic word you will learn here especially applies to taking on more work than you can handle.  No matter how much you think you need the money, say the magic word and everything will be all right.

Here’s the issue:


Some of the most important marketing lessons I’ve ever learned have been from my 2 year old.  And one of these lessons is so simple, yet so powerful that I want to share it with all of my readers.

Before I get into it, let me say one thing:  my daughter is a marketing prodigy.  No joke.  

The reason I say this with so much confidence is that I believe most children are brilliant salespeople.  Anyone with a child knows that a child can get a parent to do just about whatever the kid wants.  

The learn-and-adapt mindset for successful marketing comes quite naturally to children.  And I believe that all of us were once brilliant marketers, but we unlearned it through conditioning.  

But enough of my theories already…

…you want to know the powerful marketing lesson--the one word that can get you whatever you want.  

You ready for it?  

That word is...


That’s right...NO.  

I’ve seen too many independent professionals working for bad clients, taking far less than they should all because they can’t say one simple word…NO.  

But there’s good news.  If you have trouble, you can start saying NO right now.  Next time the client from hell calls offering you a new job, just say NO.  

When a prospect asks you to be "competitive" and lower your price, dig in and just say NO.  

The truth is that no one respects a pushover.  And pushovers can’t tell anyone NO.  

Honestly, a lot of people think they are being “nice” by not saying NO.  Or think they’re being nice by giving someone a break on the price when really they just can’t say NO.

If you think you are one of those people who just can't say NO, then I suggest doing an exercise my daughter does (you'll need a partner):

Have someone feed you questions, and say NO to every single one.  Have them change the questions around a bit, and always say NO.  

“Will you write this 2,000 word article for $25?" NO.

“Can you cut your commission down just a bit?” NO.  

“Can you give me a break on the price?” NO.

Once you get really good at saying NO, you’ll find it quite liberating.    My daughter says it quite easily and can pretty much get what she wants because her audience (i.e. parents) know she means business. 

Just to give you an example of the power of NO, I thought I’d share a story.

A music teacher had 2 students she really hated.  They were difficult, lazy, and their parents were even worse.  The students stressed her out considerably.  But she needed the money.

Finally…when they went to continue their lessons, she told their parents NO more.  Damn the peanuts they were paying.  

The result?  

Her teaching improved, stress was gone, and she got four new students the next month.

The story is 100% true, and it illustrates how saying NO can have a profound effect on your business.  

So, channel your inner NO, and you will tap into the secret of getting the best clients and getting the money you deserve.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. If you liked this article, and haven’t done so already, please sign up for this complimentary newsletter at:

Friday, April 14, 2006

If You're Not interested In Music, Don't Read THis!

OK.  This has nothing to do with marketing, but I just can’t help myself.  

I watched American Idol on Tuesday (big mistake), but the truth is I was taken in by the fact that the contestants were singing songs by Queen.  I’m a big Queen fan.  And the show reaffirmed what I already know--Freddie Mercury was one hell of a vocalist!  

After listening to the “singers” trying to deal with Queen’s outrageous chord progressions, I gained a newfound respect for Mercury’s vocals.  When I heard Brian May basically telling that guy Ace to kiss off because Ace wanted him to make “We Will Rock You” easier for him to sing, I couldn’t stop laughing.

Seriously…the American idol producers should be ashamed of themselves for making the "singers" deal with true rock greatness.  

But I digress…

But what really  got me up in arms was the final singer Paris Bennett when she sang, “The Show Must Go On.”

When she got to the chorus, she was trying to get the audience involved with a “come on, come on”.  

Excuse me?  

Did she or did she not bother to take a look at the lyrics?  

A song about inner heartbreak while keeping a smile on.  And the audience is supposed to be whooping and cheering?  

Give me a break!  

Unfortunately, Paris is not alone.  I am disturbed by what I see as a “disconnect” with music.  

Have you noticed it?

I see so many people clueless when they sing songs—oblivious to the lyrics and cut off from its meaning.  

I still remember reading an article about a high school graduation where they played Everclear’s “Everything” and the article described it as beautiful and moving.  

Did anyone bother to listen to the whole song?  I guess parental fighting is a nice theme for a graduation.  

And classical music (one of my great passions) is not immune to this.

I’ve noticed a trend in classical performance where the tempos get sped up a lot.  It may not seem like a big deal, but there are many dark and somber pieces that were written to be played s-l-o-w-l-y.  

I'm not sure why this is happening, and I'm sure there are a ton of people with theories.  But I won’t be putting forth any of them in this blog space.

But I will say this…

If you think you might be one of these people who is out of touch with the meaning of music, I urge you to listen to your favorite song or piece of music and listen to it--really listen to it, and connect with it.  

You’ve got the weekend.  Take your time and enjoy it.  

I’ll be listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Beethoven's 3rd Symphony--one of my musician friends claimed it was the best of the 9, so I'll listen to it more carefully than I usually do.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, April 10, 2006

The No Excuses Quit Smoking Program (No, I'm not selling anything)

A subscriber to my newsletter sent me an e-mail questioning me about how I quit smoking.  I mentioned that I quit "for real" 9 times before quitting for good years ago.  The reader wanted to know what I meant by "for real".  

I wanted to bring it up in my blog because the truth is that quitting smoking was one thing that actually spawned my “no excuses” mentality.  

Here’s the crux of it:

I had tried to quit smoking almost from the day I started.  I started when I was in Korea (where it seemed like everyone smoked), and I quit for good when I found out my wife was pregnant.  So, I smoked for about 6-7 years.  

All that time when I tried to quit, I never quit “for real”.  The reason is that I always had an excuse for “needing” to smoke.  

I had a bad day.
I had a happy day.
The cravings are killing me.  

When it comes to addiction, any excuse will do.

But one day I looked into the mirror and really told myself that I am addicted to nicotine, and I will not make excuses for it.  

From then on when I tried to quit, when I started smoking again I didn’t make up an excuse.  I told myself honestly that I couldn’t beat the addiction.

  And this pattern repeated itself 9 times till finally my pregnant wife was the final thing that pushed me over the top.  I don't consider any of the other times I tried to quit smoking to be real attempts because I was always looking for an excuse--any excuse--to start smoking again.  

But by admitting the addiction…by not allowing myself to make excuses for why I couldn’t quit…I did in fact quit.

Now, I won’t lie.  I went on the patch, stopped doing things I associated with smoking, and used all sorts of other “aids” to help me quit.  

But I believe, all success begins with our mental attitude.  It’s that way for quitting smoking (ask any ex-smoker) and it’s that way for business success.  

When you have the right attitude, you really can do anything.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Friday, April 07, 2006

An Excuse For Not Blogging? Perish The Thought!

The No Excuses Blog has fallen silent…

…readers are in full revolt mode—demanding to know why they’re no longer getting blog updates.  

Would you like to hear an excuse?  

Of course you didn’t.  And I have none to give.  Nada.  Zip.

But I will bring you a lesson from the silent blog.  

Time management.  

I am perhaps the most disorganized person in the world.  Without a routine, I cannot get anything accomplished.  And that really is an understatement.  

Over the last 2 weeks, my marketing efforts have been so successful that my workload has turned upside down…

….and because of that I broke my routine.

BIG mistake.  

Some people will tell you that you have to stay “flexible” in your time.  And that’s true to some extent.  You have to be able to keep a certain amount of flexibility in your schedule.  

But that doesn’t mean putting things off.  And it certainly doesn’t mean changing your schedule on a daily basis.  

In my routine, I devote certain blocks of time to my daily tasks (some of which are not work-related).  I take 30 minutes a day to blog, 30 minutes to practice the violin, and 30 minutes to exercise, and 30 minutes to study Korean.  

Have I done any of it the last 2 weeks?  

That’s a BIG FAT NO.  

The results?  

No blog entries, I’ve made no progress on my violin, I gained 2 pounds, and my Korean is stagnating.  

So, listen up: learn from this mistake.  

Keep your routines.  A routine will save you and serve you when you are overwhelmed.  Routines also pack in the most productivity in the shortest amount of time, so you can spend that extra time doing the things you REALLY want to be doing.  

If you have a routine that works for you, I'd like to hear it.   Feel free to e-mail it, and I will post some of them here on this blog or in my No Excuses Marketing Newsletter (which was delayed this week due to breaking my routine).  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Nuke Your Comfort Zone...Another Lesson From Kid Rock

First of all, I’m sorry to all of my blog readers about my lack of posting.  Many interesting things are happening around me that you will all find out more as they come to fruition.  

But for today, I thought I’d go ahead give you one more thing I learned from Kid Rock (I’m telling you…watch Behind the Music on VH-1, it’s a marketing treasure trove).  

One big lesson I learned from Kid Rock is...

…never be afraid to take chances and venture into new areas outside your comfort zone.  

Consider Kid Rock for a second.  He started as a straight hip-hop icon and morphed himself into a country singer and rock star.  

I mean what happened to all those other rap/rock bands that came out at the same time as Kid Rock?  

Kid Rock has staying power because he went outside his comfort zone, and it paid off BIG TIME for him.  

Truth be told, if someone would just pay me big money to sit at home and write my opinions I wouldn’t be happier.  But the truth is I have to go out there to get clients.  

Sometimes, we have to go outside our comfort zones.  

I, myself, am now in the process of doing something that will leverage my 10+ of international work experience, specifically working in South Korea, working for Korean companies, and working with Koreans.  It is outside my comfort zone, but it could be a big opportunity.  (I’ll keep all of you posted on how it goes).

Personally, I’m going to take the Kid Rock approach.   It will require me to go way outside my comfort zone, but what the hell...

…comfort zones are for wimps and excuse-makers.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

A Good Article For You Internet Marketers

I found a good article for any of you who do internet marketing.

Carlon Haas

Four Reasons Why The Smaller Search Engines Matter
Copyright ?2006 Bill Platt
the Phantom Writers

These days, all search engine optimization gurus seem to only
talk about Google, as if Google was the only search engine on the
Of course, we all know that there really are hundreds of search
engines and directories available to us, and we know that some of
the smaller search engines serve a very tight niche of users.
Honestly, I can understand why there is a lot of press on Google,
because after all, granddaddy Google is the biggest of the big.
We know that millions of people use Google daily for their search
activities, and we know that our websites receive a lot of
traffic from Google.
There are actually four reasons why you would want to extend your
search engine marketing activities beyond Google. I will discuss
each of those reasons here:
REASON #1: Targeted Traffic
Niche content search engines can be a very powerful force in your
marketing arsenal.
For example, suppose you have a website dedicated to helping to
sell real estate. Does it make better sense to list a house for
sale in Google or in one of the many real estate search engines?
Let's face facts. When we look for tightly focused content such
as real estate listings, we generally seek out a search engine
that will serve our search the best. When searching for a new
home, an individual may begin his or her search at Google to find
the real estate search engines, but once the niche search engine
has been found, there is no need or desire to return to
granddaddy Google. The real estate search engine will allow the
individual to search through cities and neighborhoods, prices,
features and pictures, to find just the house they feel might
strike their fancy.
Even in the game of Internet marketing, a niche content search
engine or directory can be a very powerful addition to your
marketing portfolio. It is only a matter of searching out and
locating the niche content search engine or directory that serves
your particular niche the best.
REASON #2: Costs Management
The Big Three have each developed their own pay-per-click search
models. And, because they are the Big Three search engines, they
can also afford to charge advertising rates that permit them to
be among the most profitable enterprises on the Internet.
The perception of pay-per-click pricing at the Big Three is that
the little guy can afford to advertise with them. But with every
Internet marketer on the web trying to compete for the Big Three
search traffic, their five cents per click easily increases to
sixty cents per click, and in some industries, it can climb to
five or fifty dollars per click.
The pay-per-click "auction mentality" really kicks into hyper-
overdrive in some industries. And the Big Three eat it up, as do
their stockholders. Each day, they dance their way to the bank
with your money in tow.
The smaller niche search engines may not serve as much traffic,
but they definitely allow you to reach more people for the same
money. You can reach people who are more inclined to buy your
goods and services, because they were searching on a niche
website, and you can get their traffic for a lot less money than
it would cost you to get the same prospect from any of the Big
Three search engines.
REASON #3: Linking for Google Placement
For those of you who are still involved in the Google PageRank
chase, the smaller search directories can be counted on as a
really valuable asset in your linking portfolio.
Many of the smaller search directories carry some pretty decent
PageRank with them.
For example:
* carries a PR6.
* carries a PR6.
* carries a PR6.
* carries a PR5.
* carries a PR5.
* carries a PR5.
* carries a PR5.
* carries a PR5.
* carries a PR4.
* carries a PR4.
As you are already aware, the PageRank of a website that is
pointing to your website plays a role in determining the value of
your own website in the Google PageRank calculations, thereby
increasing your chances of gaining ground in the Google SERP's
(Search Engine Ranking Pages).
Targeted directories pass their PageRank value to the websites
that list with them, which is great for your website.
Additionally, getting placed into these directories is often
cheaper and easier to accomplish, than with any other method of
linking for the purposes of increasing PageRank.
REASON #4: Extra Traffic
Yahoo, MSN,,, and many others are
making changes, improving their results, and trying to position
themselves to compete toe-to-toe with Google or to compete for
searcher's not happy with Google's search product (yes, there are
actually people out there who do not like to use Google). These
non-Google engines are currently serving millions of additional
searches a day or month.
The Big Three: Google, Yahoo and MSN only served 73% of the
Internet's search traffic in July 2005
(, and
81% of the search traffic in November of 2005
( These
percentages are based on a rough estimation of just over 5
billion searches per month.
Even on the November 2005 numbers, search engines that are NOT in
the Big Three are delivering 950 million searches per month. That
is a lot of additional traffic!
If your search engine marketing activities are focused only on
the Big Three, or even worse, only on granddaddy Google, you are
throwing away anywhere from 20% to 53% of your potential customer
Locating The Smaller Search Engines and Directories...
Here are a few resources that can help to find hundreds of the
smaller search engines and directories that may be available to
Independent Search Engine & Directory Network -
Yahoo Search Engine & Directory Listings -
International Directory of Search Engines -
Small Search Engines and Directories Really Do Matter...
I have just outlined four reasons why the smaller search engines
and niche directories should matter to those of us who market our
goods and services on the Internet. I have also given you a
starting point for locating these excellent search websites.
Sure, it might take a little bit more time to get listed in these
smaller resources, but if you calculate how much time you spend
developing your positioning in the Big Three, then it really is
not that much of a time investment after all.
The smaller directories can help us to improve our Google
PageRank. They can help us to get more mileage from our
advertising dollars, than what we can get from the Big Three.
They allow us to tap into additional sources of targeted traffic
with a real potential for increasing our sales and profits. And,
the best reason to use the smaller search engines and directories
is that they actually serve another 950 million searches a month.

Bill Platt is the owner of
Article Distribution Service. He has been ghost writing for
clients since 1999, and he has been distributing client articles
since 2001. Bill regularly maintains his database of submission
resources, and he applies the human touch to every article
distribution. By reviewing every article and manually selecting
where it will be distributed, publishers and webmasters trust
that he will send only the most appropriate articles to them.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

3 Lessons Every Professional Can Learn From Kid Rock

Today I watched an interesting “Behind the Music” on VH-1 about Kid Rock.  I actually think that all independent professionals and marketers should watch this show.  You'd be amazed at some of the marketing techniques musicians (and the recordcompanies behind them) use to promote their music.  

Anyway, I learned more about Kid Rock than I ever cared to know, but I learned A LOT of lessons from it.  I won't go through all of them, but I can tell you one thing--Kid Rock is one heck of a businessman.  

So, here are 3 important marketing lessons I learned from Kid Rock:

#1  You’ve got to say it if you want to make it

If you happen to own a copy of Kid Rock’s “Devil Without a Cause,” pop it in now and go to the title track.  Kid Rocks exclaims," I'm goin' platinum".  When he wrote this, he was nowhere near platinum.  He was lucky to have gotten signed to a record contract, let alone go platinum.  

But if you want to make it, you’ve got to say it and believe it.  I don’t mean “fake it till you make it.”  I mean put yourself on the line and BELIEVE it.  

#2  Be a shameless promoter

If you’re afraid of tooting your own horn, then you better consider another line of work.  I’m all for being humble, but if you can’t rave about how good you are at what you do and give compelling reasons why people need you, then why even be in business?  

When Kid Rock was negotiating with record companies, he noted that he wanted “Elvis money and Matchbox 20 money.”  That means he felt like he was on par with the King and the top alternative group of the time.  

That took B-A-L-L-S given the fact that he was a nobody outside Detroit at the time.  But, hey, he wasn’t afraid to promote himself as the next big thing.

And guess what?

They treated him like the was the next big thing.

#3  Never give up

This is the #1 lesson I learned from Kid Rock.  This guy’s career should have been over a long time ago.  Signed and then dropped from his record label at 18.  Told that he couldn’t make it as a white rapper.  

So, what did he do?  He went out, learned to play the guitar, and evolved as a musician.  

He worked harder to make it happen.  He went out and drove 10 hours to mix tracks.  Worked for peanuts at a studio to record his music.  And the list goes on.
Too many times, I see independent professionals give up at the first sign of hardship.  Or they quit when the going gets tough.  All I can say is that the music industry is probably the hardest industry to break into...and when you look at stories like Kid Rock's one thing stands out…

…it’s not always the best that make it, but the ones that persevere through adversity.  

To Your Continued success,

Carlon Haas

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ignore Deadlines At Your Own Risk

It’s 5:36 AM.  

I haven’t slept all night.  And our 2 year old will wake in a couple of hours.  

Why am I still up?  It’s not insomnia.  The fact is my wife and I were working on a project together, and we had to burn the midnight oil to make an 8:00 AM deadline.  

This is not the first time we’ve done this. And one reaction I have typically gotten when I tell stories like this is that we’re “nuts.”  

The truth is we could come up with excuses about how the program the client wanted us to use on the project caused our computers to crash, and I spent a good portion of time repairing the computers (which is true).  

But here’s the deal: I am not about to tell that to the client.  We promised this client the work would be delivered by the deadline. Do you think he cares about our excuses?  The client is depending on this to be delivered on time—plain and simple.  

We take our clients’ deadlines very seriously.  If you want an idea of how serious, go have a look at my wife’s web site and read her headline.  You’ll see what I mean.

But am I “nuts” for staying up all night to make sure I made a deadline?  

I don’t think so, and I am actually shocked by how many people I meet in business that don't take deadlines seriously.  I used to find it strange that clients would compliment me on getting jobs delivered on time.  But now I see that it is not as common as it should be.  

But that is an opportunity for you to deliver high-quality customer service.  A simple thing like meeting deadlines can endear you to your clients and bring you their repeat business and referrals (just be sure to ask your satisfied clients for referrals).

In marketing, many times we concentrate on the bigger things and lose sight of the small things.  Don’t make that mistake.  You may have a great marketing system in place, but you should never lose sight of the things that are most important to your clients.  And I guarantee you that deadlines are one of those things that are most important to them.

To close, here is my deadline mantra (feel free to repeat this):

“Deadlines…meet ‘em or beat ‘em—no excuses”

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When The Most Brilliant Marketing is Not Enough

Yesterday, I went to a picture-taking place in the mall.  My wife's brother was in town with his family, and we wanted to get some pictures taken of our daughter with her cousin--ages 2 & 4 respectively.  


..all I can say is that the picture-taking place  had one slick marketing and sales operation…and I mean that in a nice way.

They had it all…brilliant upselling…a great customer-loyalty program…compelling offers…a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  

If I told you the name of this place, I would tell you to go there and observe their sales team.  As a marketing consultant, I can think of some things they could do better, but not much.  They had just about everything covered to maximize each sale and keep you coming back again and again.

There was just one problem…

…the photographer stunk.  

It became dreadfully obvious that this woman was clueless on how to take a picture…and we became painfully aware that she was not use to dealing with children (at a place that supposedly specialized in children’s photography no less!).  

In the end, because of time restraints, we ended up buying just 2 5 X7 pictures just so we’d have something.  We were prepared to spend much more money, but the quality of the photos just weren't there.

So, the big lesson for today’s blog is this…

…a well-done marketing and sales system can skyrocket your business, but only if you are  able to deliver the goods.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. If anyone has a marketing question they’d like answered (no matter if you think it’s stupid), send it to me at  I'll be answering questions from my readers every Friday.  

Friday, March 10, 2006

Things To Think About Over The Weekend

For the weekend, I’d like to share some thoughts with all of you independent professionals out there:

#1  The goal is not to be perfect, but “good enough”.  

#2  If you are waiting for someone's approval before marketing yourself, then you'll be waiting a long time.  

#3  If clients are drying up, market harder.  

And the last thought…

…doing something is better than doing nothing.  

These thoughts tie into the next issue of the No Excuses Marketing Newsletter that my readers get on Mondays.  You won’t want to miss it.  

One last thing, I have gotten so many great e-mails form readers of this blog that I am inviting you to send me any questions you might have about marketing, copywriting, or anything else you might think I can help you with.
Send your questions to:

I will answer questions from my readers every Friday…provided people send in questions to be answered.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More Pitfalls of Not Following Up

Yesterday, I talked about networking and the lack of follow up.


…it looks like I am just getting started.  Because…

….I am shocked and amazed by the lack of follow-up I receive.

Just recently, I’ve met 3 different people in the web design business.  I gave these 3 people my card and expressed my interest in re-doing my web site due to new services (other than copywriting) that I will be offering.  

I even sent out follow-up e-mails to them the next day

The response?  

Nada, zilch, zip.  

Honestly, I’m stunned.  And, naturally, I will not be giving my business to any of these people.  I'm sure they've got their excuses), but just like I make no excuses I accept no excuses.  

The sad thing is that I’m always on the look-out for web designers.  As a copywriter (especially one who writes a fair amount of online copy), I get clients who also need their sites re-done.  

Now, guess what?  They not only lose my business, but any future business I could have brought them.  

Here’s the deal, people:  FOLLOW UP.  Even if it’s a brief e-mail to say that you are swamped and will get back to your prospective client later (and then do get back with them when you say you will).  

And here’s a story to illustrate this: I am about to embark on a pretty big project, and I scouted out web designers for it.  One guy quoted me a price which was 6x higher than other people.  

But he’s the one who will get my business.  

The reason?

He bothered to follow up with me when no one else did.  

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas


Why Most People Fail At Networking

Last night I attended my favorite networking event, the 8 Minute Ripple.  It was a lot of fun.  In my newsletter this week, I talked about networking.  But as I was at the event last night, one thing occurred to me.

I notice one fatal flaw most people make at events.  It’s not the elevator speeches or bad impressions.  Nope. The fatal flaw most people make is...

…lack of follow-up.  

I employ a sound follow up strategy.  I send out e-mail to the people I meet.  But typically, I try to make connections with people at the events, so that when I do e-mail them it's not something like:

“Hi X,

This is Carlon Haas, copywriter and marketing consultant.  I would be interested in helping your company get better results from its advertising…blah, blah, blah,”

Instead on the initial follow-up, it can be more personal focused around a point of interest we both shared.  For example,

“Hi X,

This is Carlon Haas from X event last night.  I really enjoyed talking with you about the meaning of life and about your work as an acupuncturist.  As I told you, I lived in South Korea for 6 years, so I am interested in Eastern medicine because of the results it got for me when I hurt my back in Korea…."

See the difference?  Following up is crucial to networking…without it, you’re just wasting your money to attend the event.  And by trying to make interesting connections while you’re at the event, it makes the follow up process a whole lot easier.  

Try this method at your next networking event.  

To Your Success,

Carlon Hass

Monday, March 06, 2006

Debt & The Winner's Mentality

You may have noticed that I was away form my blog last week, but that's because I was guest blogging on the blog of author and speaker Steve Harper (who is also someone I am proud to call my friend).  I hope all of you had a chance to catch my post

Last week, I ranted a bit about personal debt and the excuses people in debt make.  You may think that because I stress the values doing without and sacrifice when you don’t have the financial resources that I believe that all debt is bad.  

But nothing is farther from the truth. .

When it comes to business, I love debt.  In fact, I think you should spend as much money as you can—especially on marketing…

…provided you are making a positive return on your investment.  

And that’s the ticket right there.  

I see all too often when my clients get cheap on their marketing spending...

…to their determent,  

And I see it a lot when companies are either just starting out or sales are down.  This is when most people want to “tighten their belts.”  

But I say phooey.  When sales are down this is exactly when you need to spend more money on marketing.  Because when you market correctly, your marketing should make you money.  

And if that means you need a little debt to keep up cash flow until the money comes in, I say do it.  

You can cut costs on a ton of things, but marketing is NOT one of those things.  I will admit that I am biased here.  As a marketing consultant and advertising copywriter, I do profit when people spend money on marketing.

But I have seen the results when money is spent wisely on marketing. I’ve seen people who spend thousands of dollars a month on a yellow pages ad, but balk at paying a professional copywriter to write the ad--even though a good copywriter can almost always boost the response of an ad (one case I know of boosted a yellow pages response rate 400%).

Smart marketing is not an expense but an investment.  

So, if you are thinking about cutting expenses and worried about business debt, my advice is…

…borrow some money and launch a strategic marketing offensive.  

Sure you're spending money, but if done right (with the right strategy and solid copy) you'll be making it back and then some.  

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Debt & The Failure Mentality

A reader of my blog and newsletter e-mailed me the other day and made the observation that I seem “older” than others in that I advocate “old school values.” For the record, I’m 32…but it got me thinking about the generation I am in.

Well, that just so happen to coincide with a book I recently read about called Generation Debt. Basically, the book goes on about how this is a bad time to be young because so many young people are in debt.

In debt?

Well, I’ll go ahead and “solve” the whole debt problem for the nation’s youth.


It’s that simple.

Have a massive student loan? I sympathize. I really do. I worked full-time when I was in college so that I could minimize my debt. And when I graduated I had $150 to my name, a student, and had a one way ticket to South Korea in search of a job.

A year later, the debt was gone—and that was in the midst of the Asian Financial Crisis that saw a loss of 60% in the Korean currency against the dollar.

How’d I pay it off?

It’s called doing without. I lived like a monk for a year. A small sacrifice to be debt-free.

But I see too may whiners and excuse-makers who want everything and want it now. They don’t think before they buy. And these are the same people who start businesses, find out that owning your own business is hard work, quit, and then whine about how impossible it is to have a business.

And they wonder why they're in debt.

Wake up…stop making excuses. Then, you’ll get out of debt.

I appreciate you letting me rant a little. But now that you know my opinion about personal debt, tune in on Friday and I’ll tell you how I feel about business debt (you might be surprised) and how penny-pinching on marketing can destroy your business (I see it happen all the time).

Tomorrow, I’ll be guest-blogging on my friend Steve Harper's blog. So, catch me over there.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, February 27, 2006

One Powerful Way To Make Refunds Work For You

When we do business, we will get customers who are not satisfied with our products services for one reason or another.  Yesterday, I talked about 3 things you can do to provide world-class customer service.

But what happens when the client is still not satisfied?  

The answer is simple (and key to your future marketing efforts).  All you have to do is...

…give them a quick and hassle-free refund.  

Easy, huh?  

But this is where most people miss a valuable opportunity.  And what opportunity is that?  I’ll get to that in just a second.

First, let me say that when marketing our services, one of the most powerful tools we have is the testimonial.  For every satisfied client, you should be getting a testimonial from them to give you credibility with future clients.  

And most of us use them.  On my site, I have them in nice yellow boxes for everyone to see.  

But what does this have to do with refunders?  It’s easy…

…ask them for a testimonial.  

I know some of you are thinking I am nuts.  But if you are selling a product (say a book), getting a refunder to give you a testimonial can be more powerful than all the praises.  Think about it.  What if you read a testimonial like this:

“I bought Carlon’s course, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be.  I thought getting a refund would be a hassle, but Carlon promptly refunded my money.  You can’t trust many people on the internet, but I can tell you that his 1-year no hassle money back guarantee is for real.”  

What does that testimonial tell you about me?  It says I am honest, I back up my guarantee, and it answers that one big objection: what if I don’t like it.  It is also a powerful testament to my credibility because it comes from someone who is NOT my buyer.  

So, before you write off a refunder for good.  Think about getting a testimonial from them.  It just might be worth the cost of the refund.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas  


The 3 "Up"s For Providing World-Class Customer Service

I just read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal.  It talks about how although “customer service” is a big buzzword right now, but few firms actually do it.  

I agree.  

But that's good news for you.  


Because by giving outstanding customer service, you can take a ton of business from the big guys.  

I am not kidding.  And in fact I am shocked at how bad customer service has gotten.  My clients actually thank me constantly for being on time.  

Being on time!  

Can you believe that?  I think punctuality should go without saying, but it just goes to show you how little clients are appreciated by some companies and independent professionals.  

But you can fill that void.  The bar is set so low now (pathetic but true) that just doing the bare minimum can get your more clients than you know what to do with.  

I do what I call the 3 "up"s for excellent customer service:

  1. Show up on time to meetings.  In fact, show up 15 minutes early.  People appreciate when you respect their time.

  2. Stay up on the deadline.  Never miss a deadline.  In fact, overestimate the time it will take to finish a job.  Then deliver it early.  Besides, if something comes up you have a little extra time to get the job done on time.  

  3. Follow up after you’re done.  When you finish a job, send an e-mail and ask how it went.  The feedback you get will be more valuable than anything else you will ever

That's it.  Show up, stay up, and follow up.  Seems simple, but you'd be shocked at how many people don't do these things.  Follow the 3 “up”s, and you’ll be on your way to excellent customer service.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Did Biting My Nails Cost Me Big Money?

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped biting my nails.  Now, I’ve bitten my nails for as long as I can remember.  But I can honestly say that I have absolutely no desire to bite them.

What changed?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I was talking with my speaking coach.  She looked at me with the most serious face and said, “Carlon, now don’t be offended.  You know I tell you things only because I think it will help you.”

I knew this had to be something bad.  So, I closed my eyes…

…took a deep breath…

…and waited.  

But instead, she took grabbed my hands and turned them over to reveal my bitten down fingernails.  

“Now, imagine that I am a corporate executive who wants to pay you $5,000 for a 60-minute speech…and I look down at your hands and see those things.  I may think twice about it.”  

"Come on…do you really think my nails make that big a difference?"

“Yes, I know they make a difference.  They can make all the difference.  I’ve seen it happen.”

My speaking coach knows what she’s talking about.  So, I took her advice and stopped biting my nails.  And surprisingly, it has been pretty easy to stop.  

But this brings me to the big issue: appearance.  The way you present yourself is the first step in an independent professional's marketing.  It's because YOU are the product.  And how you look can determine if you get work or not.  

I will cover this issue in more detail in the Monday issue of the No Excuses Marketing Newsletter.  If you haven’t signed up yet, please take a couple of minutes to do so.  You won’t want to miss it.

Till then…have a great weekend.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Finally...The Newsletter Is Ready!

Finally...the No Excuses Marketing Newsletter is done and the first issue has been sent out. If you have not signed up yet, yuo do so right here on this blog!

I'd like to thank all of you (clients and friends alike) who prodded me into getting this newsletter out.

I hope the content of my newsletter will bring all of its readers more business and more profits to boot!

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Good Things Are Coming!

I haven been a bit remiss in posting to my blog.  But I have some good stuff coming up for all of you.  And I think you'll like what I'm doing.

First of all, I am putting the finishing touches on the first issue of my No Excuses Marketing Newsletter for Independent Professionals.  

The goal of the newsletter will be to help coaches, trainers, consultants, speakers, and all other one-person small businesspeople become better marketers.  

In my work as a marketing consultant and copywriter, the clients I have enjoyed working with are independent professionals, and now I want to give something of value to them.  

My newsletter to empower you.  You will get the best marketing knowledge that I have to offer.

And the best part?  

I won’t be charging you anything for it.  I will distribute it as a free weekly e-newsletter.

But it won’t be like so many of those so-called free newsletters on the internet.  Each issue will have a focus message on marketing that you will be able to take with you and implement in your business.  

In other words, you’ll get 100% content and not a disguised sales pitch in every issue.  

Anyone who subscribes to this blog will get a copy of the first issue, and I will send it out weekly.  

It’ll be arriving in your inbox soon…

…so look out for it.  

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Change To My Blog

Dear Loyal Readers,

I have gotten quite a few e-mails from people who have wanted to post but do not have blogger accounts. Since I have no interest in whether my readers have Blogger accounts or not, I have changed the settings and will allow anyone to post comments on this blog.

So, feel free to make comments...

...but not excuses.

To Your Success (and freedom of expression),

Carlon Haas

Friday's Violin Lesson Marketing Revelation

I always preach to my clients, you should look for lessons in business and marketing from every source possible. Develop funnel vision, instead of tunnel vision.

Well, it seems that every week I am always hit over the head with insight from an unlikely source…

my violin teacher.

For those who don’ know, I thought it would be a good idea to pick up the violin after I turned 30, with no musical training whatsoever. I got a violin, got a teacher, and 2 years later…

…I still suck. But at least I can kind of play in tune.

I had another teacher for the first year who gave me some VERY bad habits. But my violin teacher now...for lack of a better!

She’s a “no excuses” violin teacher.

Don’t believe me?

Check out her studio policies, and tell me what you think. In fact, it was her "no excuses" policy that got me to take lessons with her in the first place. And I highly recommend her to anyone in the Austin area who wants violin lessons for themselves or their kids.

Anyway, yesterday my violin teacher asked me about how my bowing was coming along. And I began this long tome about my bowing, intonation, the superiority of Beethoven's 9th Symphony over the 5th...

…luckily, she stopped me before the lesson expired. And she made an enlightening comment. She had asked me about bowing (and ONLY about bowing), but I went on about everything about playing the violin. She told me that when learning the violin I have to take each part separately and pointed out that I have a tendency instead to “take on everything at once” ( I do…ask my wife).

Well, marketing can be like that too. While it is a good idea to do everything at once, you need to make sure you are getting the parts right. Your direct mail pieces should be converting, you should track your internet conversion rates, tabulate the response rates to ALL your ads.

And as you go along, you should tweak your ads to make sure that you are getting the most response and the most sales from them (you must split testing all ads). And just as even the greatest violinists keep practicing and refining their techniques, marketers and businesses alike need to develop and refine their ads to get the best results possible.

Have a Great Weekend,

Carlon Haas

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Carlon Speaks...Intuit Responds!

Yesterday, I talked about being able to back up your facts in your ads. I used the case involving Intuit and H&R Block as an example.


...yesterday I got an email from someone from Intuit who wanted me to have a look at their press release involving the case. Being the fair person that I am, I am posting that link for all of you to look at:

The point the person from Intuit was making is that the case is not as straightforward as I made it out to be.

And you can feel free to read the press release and make up your own mind.

Intuit might be right—it might not be as straightforward as I claimed…

…but, here are the results:

In order to air the ad as intended, Intuit needs H&R Block to provide the facts to prove their case because they need Block to provide the numbers. But at the same time they don’t think that Block is being honest about its numbers (imagine that!). And they cannot run the ad (with the claim) until an injunction is lifted on April 30th—the end of tax season!

The teeth of their campaign have been knocked out the only time it counts—the run-up to tax time.

Intuit and H&R block are big companies, so I’m sure the court case will continue. And, it looks like Intuit will do just fine regardless.

But most businesses cannot afford to go into lengthy court battles against the large companies with deep pockets.

So, my original point stands…

…if you make claims in your ads, make sure that you can back them up 100%.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

An Ad Ain't True Unless You Can Back It Up

I read an interesting article about a lawsuit involving H&R Block and Intuit (makers of TurboTax).

Long story short, TurboTax ads claimed that more people prepared their taxes with TurboTax than at all H&R Block stores combined.

Only one problem…

…26 million returns were filed at H&R Block stores compared to 21 million TurboTax returns.

Whoops…I guess the fact checker needs a new job today.

The moral of this story should be to be honest in your advertising. But I’ll take it one step further: Make sure your ads tell the absolute honest truth and that you can BACK UP your statements.

Intuit is changing the ads, in my opinion, not because they think their figures are wrong but because they can't back it up.

In one of my favorite movies, A Few Good Men, Tom Cruise tells Demi Moore (and I paraphrase,

“It doesn’t matter what’s true or not. What matters is what I can prove.”

And the same goes in advertising. If you’re going to make a claim, make sure not only that it’s true but that you can also back it up.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. If you've never seen A Few Good Men, shame on you. It's a classic. Get it dirt cheap at Amazon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Late Valentine's Day Post

I thought I’d give everyone an extra Valentine’s Day post…

…not about marketing though.

The hardest part about living and working with the woman you love is that it’s hard to surprise her.

Think about it! I can’t just sneak out of the office. And we’ve known each other so long that she always knows when I’m up to something.

But she is now putting our 2 year old to sleep, and I am free to post my love for her to the entire blog-reading world!

So, to my wife of 6 years…who’s been my best friend for the last 10 years…

…Happy Valentine’s Day.

And for the rest of you…

…I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day.

To Your Success (and Happiness),

Carlon Haas

Not Making Sales? Change Your Offer

Sometimes when you aren't getting sales, it may not be your ad copy. When I work with clients as a marketing consultant, one of the first things I look at (other than their list, if they have one) is their offer.

Time and time again, I notice that their offers are either priced incorrectly for their target market or the way they phrase their offer has a lot left to be desired.

Think of the sales you typically see in retail. Think of the many ways they could craft the offer. Let’s say an office supply store is selling pens at half off for the weekend. Here are a couple of ways to phrase that offer:

All pens 50% off.
All pens--buy one get one free.

Now most of us like the second offer better than the first. Most marketing consultants or gurus will tell you that the word “free” gets a higher response. So, more people will respond to an offer with the word free in it.

But I like one more thing about the second offer—it puts a minimum purchase at 2 rather than one.

With the first offer, it says I can buy one pen at 50% off. But with the second offer, I feel almost obligated to buy 2 pens (if I buy one, I get a second one free).

Most businesses should concern themselves with the response to their offers, as well they should. But response is just one part of the marketing equation.

When crafting irresistible offers, ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. Can I get more people to buy?

  2. Can I get them to buy more?

  3. Can I get them to pay more?

Then go out there and test your offer. If your offer can do all 3, then you will see exponential sales growth.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Outside The Box? There Is No Box--My Business Role Model

In business, I think all of us look for someone to pattern ourselves after…

…a business “role model,” so to speak.

Well, for this Monday morning blog entry I thought I’d tell you who my business role model is.

But before I go into who it is, let me tell you what I look for in a “role model.”

I look for 3 qualities.

#1 I look for people who break the mold. I look for people who you would have trouble labeling and putting into a neat little box.

#2 I look for people who are able to succeed in totally different fields. This one narrows down the search quite a lot. But most of the people that others look up to tend to be good at one thing and one thing only.

Not me.

I firmly believe that to succeed in anything you should be able to look outside the norm—to go beyond the boundaries we create for ourselves.

Especially in marketing…

…you need to be able to see breakthroughs everywhere. In fact, one of the most successful pieces of copy I have ever written was inspired by a book on fishing. (the explanation for that is for another time).

#3 I look for people who DON’T MAKE EXCUSES. .

In marketing and in life, the excuse-makers are endless. But people I admire throw out their books of excuses. You screw up? Find out what you did wrong and start over.

That’s it! I lived in South Korea for 6 years, and the attitude there is who gives a rat’s behind whose fault it was. They just want the problem fixed. I happen to agree.

So, without further ado, who is my business role model?

It’s not Trump, Napoleon Hill, or any of the usual suspects.

It’s none other than…

…Wallace Stevens.

Okay…you might be wondering who Wallace Stevens is.

For those of you who don’t know Wallace, you’ll find that he is one of the 20th century’s greatest poets.

No poetry anthology will omit Wallace Stevens—not one.

But why is a poet as my “business” role model?


Because Wallace Stevens wasn’t just a poet. He was also a lawyer and highly successful businessman who was named vice president of Hartford Accident and Indemnity.

In fact, many of Stevens’ business associates had no idea he was a famous poet.

Stevens didn’t even start writing poetry until after he finished law school. He didn’t publish his first book of poetry until he was 44, and to top it off Stevens wrote some of his best poetry after he turned 60.

All the while he moved up the corporate ladder. He made no apologies to poetry critics (who probably thought he should be starving) for wanting to make money. And his business associates always held him in the highest regard for his business sense.

A world-class businessman and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. Not a bad combination

That’s my business role model. In this changing world, we need to stop trying to put people and our markets into neat little boxes.

I’d rather be a Wallace Stevens who did what he wanted and was pretty damn good at being both a businessman and a poet. And neither his art nor his business suffered from his devotion to either one.

That idea might be foreign to most businessmen or English majors, but Wallace Stevens shows that you can achieve anything you want to achieve if you are willing to accept that the "box" we put ourselves into does not exist...

…and once you realize that the “box” does not exist...

…anything is possible.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas
P.S. If you’ve never read any poem by Wallace Stevens, read The Snow Man. And remember the guy writing it was no mystic, but a well-grounded successful businessman. It’ll blow your mind.

I highly recommend:

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (Vintage)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Copywriter Is Not A Copyrighter

Last week, a business acquaintance of my wife called needing some advice from me. You see, my wife told her I was a copywriter, and so the acquaintance thought I could help her.

The woman needed advice badly…

…advice on…


The truth is I get this all the time. The joy of having a job that is a homophone of a more commonly-used word!

So, I’ll break it down. A copywriter is someone who writes copy. Copy in this case is words used in advertising. A good copywriter can skyrocket the response rate of a poorly-written ad. Most copywriters understand the psychology of prospects when they read an ad and know how to write to those psychological hot buttons.

That is what I do in addition to being a marketing consultant. I have always been a writer, but actually being able to sell a product with that writing skill is something to behold. I can’t say that every ad I have ever written has been a smash.

But most of my clients get results...and results is the bottom line in advertising and marketing (or at least it should be).

A copyrighter, on the other hand, just grants copyrights. They won't make you money, but they can help protect your intellectual property.

I cannot help anyone copyright anything. But I was able to help my wife's business acquaintance. Since I am an author and worked for an international publishing company for 6 years, I learned quite a bit about copyright law.

So, I was able to point her in the right direction. But for future reference…

...if anyone needs to get results from their advertising…contact me.

If you need advice on copyrights…a copyright attorney might be a better option.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas

The Only Limit To Your Success...Is You

Last night, I went to an amazing networking/non-networking event called the 8 Minute Ripple. I won’t go into too much detail, but if any of you are in the Austin area, I would highly recommend this event.

The gist of the event is that you ask and answer pre-written personal questions to someone else for 8 minutes to try to make connections with people before talking about business. For guys like me that absolutely abhor networking as we know it, the structured environment made it easier to talk without having to take out my “elevator speech” every other minute.

But the cool thing is that although I met a lot of good people, I got more out of it than that. This event had me observing people and actively listening to them. And from that, I was able to learn a great many things I may not have taken the time to learn.

I was able to see how many people have developed "tunnel vision" when it comes to their businesses and even in their lives in some respect. I

Tunnel vision is only looking at the narrow confines of our own business and sometimes even limiting ourselves to the contextual framework of our limited life experiences.

I have always recommended “funnel vision” which is looking all around in unrelated businesses and taking the successes from those businesses and integrating them into yours.

I will go on about this subject at length in my newsletter this week. So, if you are interested in seeing how your business can benefit from looking outside your industry, you won’t want to miss it. You can sign up for it right here on my blog...if you haven’t done so already.

To your Success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, February 06, 2006

I Spoke Too Soon...What The Seahawks Can Teach Us About Excuse-Making

I usually don’t like to go into sports in a marketing blog, but feel like I may have jumped the gun a little. Whereas Jerramy Stevens showed us a no-excuses approach to horrible playing, Seattle coach Mike Holmgren was getting out his book of excuses:

“We knew it was going to be tough going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Holmgren told the fans at Qwest Field. “I didn’t know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well.”

Uh, Mike, maybe if your guys didn’t turn the ball over so many times you might have won the game.

Blaming the referees isn’t going to change the fact that your team stunk it up the last 10 minutes of the game.

Businesses aren't so different though. Usually when a company's ads fail or their marketing takes a nosedive, they pull out the old excuse "the market has changed," which makes me ask why didn't you change with the market.

Blaming the referees is the old standby for coaches in pretty much any sport. And we all have our own personal excuse for failure...

…you know the one…

…the one that makes you feel better so you can say it wasn’t your fault.

Although it’s tempting, don’t pull it out. You might feel better, but it won't make the situation any better. Start taking 100% responsibility for your decisions.

Be a Jerramy Stevens…not a Mike “where’s Brett Favre” Holmgren.

Mike, you're my excuse-maker of the week.

To your success,

Carlon Haas

A No Excuses Defeat! What We Can All Learn From The Seattle Seahawks

Ever year, I cringe when I watch the Stupor Bowl (the competition between companies to see who can spend the most money on advertising for the least amount of results).

But I did watch the Super Bowl. And even though I was pretty unimpressed with the Seattle Seahawks, I am impressed with Jerramy Stevens.

No, I’m not impressed with the fact that he dropped 3 balls and saved his worst performance for the biggest game of his life. I am impressed with his comments afterwards.

Rather than pissing and moaning about the referees or the blaming the quarterback, Stevens said:

"I don't have a reason or excuse. I just didn't make the plays, bottom line."

And THAT, my friends, is the kind of attitude we need in business and marketing. When you put out new ads, you need to get results…bottom line—results. When you don’t get it done, there are no reasons or excuses that are going to change the fact that it didn't work.

When I write copy that’s not getting results, what do I do? You find out why it’s not working, buck up, and re-write the thing.

Jerramy Stevens may have lost the Super Bowl, but we can all learn from his professionalism and class. May we all have some of that when we don’t make the plays.

So, Jerramy, you get my non-excuse-maker of the week award.

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas