Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Putting Things In Prospective

Monday was supposed to be the day that I sent out my annual best wishes for the New Year.  You see, I lived in Korea so long that I still tend to celebrate the Lunar New Year as my new year's day.  

But the e-mail didn’t get sent out on time.

You see, the night before my 2 year old daughter spiked a high fever in the middle of the night.  My wife and I were up till almost 6:00 am bringing the fever down.  Needless to say, my schedule didn't get back on track until right now.

Our daughter has had a febrile seizure in the past, and so we have to be extra careful when she gets sudden fevers to prevent another seizure (doctor says we'll have to do this till she "outgrows" it at about 9 years old).

For those who don’t know about febrile seizures, let's just say that the doctor says they're not a problem to the long-term health of the child, but they are scary as hell to watch a child go through.

But seeing my daughter like that the other night reminded me of how easily the things we take for granted in life can be taken away.  One day everything is fine, the next day…

…BAM…everything is upended.  

It does happen that way to some people.

Every day I look for more ways to make people (and myself) money and make their businesses successful.  And, to be honest, I love what I am doing and can get so totally engrossed in it that I do ignore things in my life that I should not ignore.

Not often…but we all do it from time to time.

I've never really subscribed to the whole "make money at all costs" theory, but sometimes we get so caught up in what we want to do that we lost sight of what we're doing.  

We lose sight of what’s really important and take the things that we have for granted.

But we can lose those things at any moment.  

So, I think it’s a good idea to sometimes take stock of our lives…

…look at what we want to achieve and why we are doing it.  

I am not saying that we should not go all out to achieve our professional goals or that we shouldn’t try to make as much money as humanly possible.

I am saying that every so often we should put our lives into prospective.  

We should ever forget the reason why we do what we do.  And we should not neglect the things that are really important because sometimes…

…by the time we get around to it, it just might be too late.  

To your success,

Carlon Haas
P.S. My daughter is perfectly fine now and is back to running my wife and I ragged.  Time to take her to "Uncle Steve”'s house again.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Look Around...Your Next Big Breakthrough Might Be Right In Front Of You

When you’re out and about this weekend, keep your “marketing eyes” open.  

You’d be surprised at all the things you can learn just by watching what companies do to try to get you to buy from them.  

One of my biggest marketing epiphanies came once when I was getting gas.  And when I was done getting gas and about to get my receipt, what did it say?

“Would you like a car wash today?”

I thought,  well…my car could use washing.  And almost instinctively I pushed YES and agreed to fork over $5 on a car wash.  

It is, in my opinion, one of the best up-sells I’ve ever seen.  It reminded me of a need (my car was dirty), and it prompted me AFTER I committed to buying (what’s another $5 after spending nearly $30?).  Perfect timing.  

Tune in tomorrow, and I'll tell you about how a truly terrible attempt at upselling...

…and how you can avoid it.  

Looking out for your next big breakthrough,

Carlon Haas  

Thursday, January 26, 2006

No Excuses for Bad Marketing

Some people are asking me just what “no excuses” marketing is.  So, I thought I’d go ahead and let everyone know.

“No excuses” marketing is marketing that doesn’t leave any room for excuses if it falls on its behind.  To me, marketing should be tracked and measured ruthlessly.  And in the age of the internet it’s never been easier to track your marketing.  

If you don't track or measure the results of your marketing and advertising, you can come up with a ton of excuses.  Hell, you might even see ad agencies get awards for ads that get no results.

Don’t believe me?  Case in point: have you checked out that Six Flags commercial with the dancing old guy?  Six Flags spent $72 million on that campaign.

The result?  

No increase in park attendance.   But I hear the agency that created the ad might get an award for it.  

Go figure.  

This is why I can't stand all that image advertising.  I bet that whoever who created the Six Flags commercial probably made up excuses like "the commercial created 'awareness'” or “it increases brand recognition.”

Phooey!  If your “brand recognition” or “awareness” doesn’t translate into sales, it ain’t worth a darn.  

That’s why I limit my marketing to the type of marketing that can be measured…direct response marketing—which is any type of marketing that asks for a response, such as "pick your phone and call now" or "sign up for this newsletter".  

Some campaigns might fail, but instead of making excuses for why it failed, you figure out what went wrong based on empirical data and don’t repeat the same mistake twice.  

It’s that simple.  So, when you come up with your next marketing plan, don’t your waste time and money on image ads that aren’t going to get you measurable results.  

It’s a waste of money and an excuse waiting to happen.  

In your marketing don’t except excuses…expect results.

To your success,

Carlon Haas

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bill Ford, Excuse-Maker

Why is it that every time a major corporation gets their butts whipped, they pull out their big fat book of excuses, admit they did nothing wrong, and then fire everyone except themselves?

Well, it’s Ford’s turn. I don't pretend to have the pedigree of Bill Ford, but he is quoted as saying, "The plans we announced in 2002 were not wrong, They took us as far we could go without making dramatic changes. But that's not nearly far enough, especially in light of how much the global marketplace has changed."

Geez…Bill. The global marketplace? Sounds like another big fat excuse to me.

You wanna put Ford on top, here’s something you could do…

…build better cars and put some teeth in your warranty.

Let me tell you what: everyone used to laugh at Hyundai. My friends and I made fun of their cars all the time, until…

…they backed those babies up with 10-year warranties.

And guess what? All my friends are buying Hyundai now. Are they building better cars? Maybe. But they overcame the main objection people have when they buy cars, which is "what if it breaks down."

Standing behind your product is a pretty good way to get business.

So, here’s my free advice to Bill Ford: stop making excuses, take some responsibility for your own actions (I know it’s hard, Bill, but you can do it…besides your excuse-making isn’t helping all those people who lost their jobs), and most importantly…

…stop spending money on your stupid car commercials.

Replace them with measurable direct marketing campaigns that will build a relationship between Ford and its customers. And I’m not talking about those big full-color things I got from Ford, but I’m talking about personal sales letters. You’ll get better results at a fraction of the cost.

So, there you have it, Bill, you’re my excuse-maker of the week.

Carlon “No Excuses” Haas

Monday, January 23, 2006

Do You Want Content Or Copy?

I am holding off on my entry on business heroes till next week, because…

…I’ve got to get something off my chest.

I want to nail down the difference between “content” and “copy.”

Let me boil it down: all copy is content, but not all content is copy.

What exactly does that mean? Let’s have a look.

Everything on a web site is “content”…the home page, about us page, articles, etc. But out of all that, what is copy?

The goal of “copy” is to get people to take action. On a web site, this can mean opting into a list, buying the product/service, contacting for more information, or whatever.

Anything that doesn’t get people to act is just content. So, an informative site will have nothing but content. If your site is meant to sell, then you want "copy."

Lots of people who have web sites are always asking me to write content, but what they really want is "copy". They want a web visitor to take action on their site.

Some say it’s just semantics, but I have dealt with too many web site owners who asked for "content” and they ended up with informative content. And the result?

No sales, no contacts…no action.

Knowing what you want is an important step in boosting your web sales.

If you’re writing your own web content, decide for yourself first what the purpose of your site is.

If it’s to sell, you should write copy. A few things you should do when writing web copy are:

Write a compelling headline.

Write like you talk.

End with a call to action (call me at XXX-XXX, click here for more information, etc.).

That is a basic guideline. If you are unsure about how to do this yourself, then you should think about hiring a professional copywriter.

Enjoy your week,

Carlon Haas

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sudays Are Great For Making Money

Sunday is a great day to rest...

…and to research.

If you are looking for some of the best direct marketing stuff on TV, glance at the Sunday info-mericals.

They’ll give you a wealth of ideas for your next marketing campaign.

I get a lot of my ideas from Sunday morning info-mercials.

So next time you’re watching one, take note of some of the marketing tactics they use.

And if you’re compelled to buy (or would be compelled to buy if you actually wanted the product), ask yourself what made you buy.

Was it the last-minute bonuses? The guarantee?

Whatever it was, you can “steal” it, and use the same element in your marketing campaigns.

So, forget football and the news…

…go watch an info-mercial right now.

It could just make you a ton of money.

Happy Sunday,

Carlon Haas

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Difference Between Google AdWords & AdSense

A lot of people who call me are confused about the difference between Google’s AdWords and AdSense programs. So, I thought I’d give you a quick lessons on the differences.

AdWords is an advertising program where you bid on keywords and write ads that appear on Google when people type in those keywords. When someone clicks on your ad, you pay Google however much you bid on the keyword.

AdSense is a program that lets Google put AdWord ads directly on your web site. When someone clicks on the ad on your site, you make money.

As a rule of thumb, AdSense is a good idea if you have a content site (meaning you aren’t selling anything). It lets you make money from your site.

But putting them on your business site is a bad idea. Here’s why:

By putting AdSense ads on your site, you would be basically become a billboard for your competitors.

Imagine Home Depot putting up a large billboard in front of its stores advertising for Lowe's.

That’s what a site owner is doing when they put AdSense ads on their site.

So, remember: if you have a content site, AdSense is a good way to earn a little extra money. But if you're selling something, forget AdSense...

…but by all means use AdWords. It’s a great way to get traffic to your site…in a hurry.

Have a great weekend,

Carlon Haas

3 Things To Look For In A Marketing Consultant

I’d like to welcome everyone to my blog. It’s long overdue. I’d like to send a personal thanks to Thom Singer who allowed me to guest blog for him, and in doing no inspired me to start my own blog.

So, where do I start...

…let’s look at the marketing consultant.

Those of you who do know me know that I am a marketing consultant and copywriter. So, I'd like to let give business owners a couple of things to look for if they are hiring a marketing consultant. These are off the top of my head.

1. Make sure the marketing consultant has a similar marketing philosophy with you.

People who have worked with me before know that I am an unabashed believer in results-oriented direct/direct-response marketing. So, if a business owner was looking for some advice on a branding campaign, he would definitely NOT want to hire me. This is especially the case if I write copy for someone.

2. Ask for results…but listen intently if they have had failures.

If a consultant devised a strategy that worked in the past, that’s great. But the truth is that any marketing campaign can fall flat on its face—even if it’s worked before. All the great marketers have had duds. But they never make excuses. Any marketing consultant should be able to tell you exactly why the campaign failed.

3. See if the marketing consultant does more than just consult.

A marketing consultant can often do many things--from training employees to writing copy for your advertising. See what other services the marketing consultant might offer.

Those are just a few things…if any of you think of more, feel free to post.

Look for me on Monday when I’ll talk about the businessman I admire most (you’ll be shocked at who it is...he's quite famous, but his business accomplishments were overshadowed by his other talents)…

Go forth and multiply thy income,

Carlon Haas