Here Is What I’ve Been Thinking

Remember when I said “I’ve been doing some deep thinking”?

Well, it was about my business model.

For those of you who may not know, I’m a writer.  I write direct response copy, articles, and such…while also offering consultation services to people who are using the Internet as a marketing media for their businesses.

That has been a VERY successful model, by the way.  I’m seriously into the “lifestyle business” it has provided me and my family.  From working when I want to (literally), to being able to provide for my family, this business model has served me well.

Now it’s time to expand on the “lifestyle” part even further and be a writer…

Here is what I WILL be doing effective August 15th, 2010:

After some deep thinking, and soul-searching…I’ve discovered that the best ways I can serve people best is to write, but on a different level.

I will no longer be offering marketing consultations as part of my business model, and I’m expanding the writing part of my business model.

Of course, I will provide marketing strategy and advice as an added-value PART of my writing, just not the official, formal, and paid mentoring sessions that I’ve been providing.

So here’s what I will offer from this point forward, effective August 15th, 2010 (have to wrap up current contracts)…

  • My foundational service, writing direct response copy that pulls in sales and leads for my clients.
  • Offline postcards, direct mail packages, and other direct response copy.
  • Magazine articles, I will be focusing some of my efforts towards print.
  • “Lifestyle Essays”.  These will be rather unique, longer articles (reports?) and will be offered on this blog as downloadable PDF’s in paid and free format.
  • And more…

So that’s why I’ve been thinking.

It’s said our businesses go through a transformation as we discover how best to reach our markets, and make the bigger-scale shifts in the economy that we want to in our “missions” as entrepreneurs.  This is how I will make mine.

Until August 15th, I will be offering “shorts”, or those short marketing consultation sessions (up to about 4 hours at the longest).  These “shorts” will be offered in 2 varieties…

Up to 2 hours of hard-hitting marketing advice or a kick in the ass (whichever or both as needed) :  $197.00

Up to 4 hours of hard-hitting … you know:  $297.00

I will only sell 7 of these sessions in either format (remember, mine is a lifestyle business 🙂 ).  Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

IMPORTANT: But just because you want one, doesn’t mean you’ll get one. To qualify, send an email with your preference of 2 or 4 hour session in the email body.  Send that email to joe@josephratliff.com .  We’ll chat a bit on Skype, or over the phone (via email?) to make sure what you need and what I offer are a fit.

I look forward to offering paid marketing consultations, one last time.

One Disease That Is Destroying The Response In Your Direct Response Copy…

There’s no doubt that direct response copy, or the words that move people towards a specific action on your web page plays a large role in the success of your website.

If you don’t believe that, well, sorry…don’t call me when the money runs out.

Onward…

When examining the many websites my clients use to market online, and other websites that I surf regularly…I find a common theme lying in the “weeds” of failure those websites share (i.e. when a client tells me “my website isn’t producing” etc…).

It’s almost like a disease, hence the title to this post.

What is this disease?  (translation:  “Joe, get to the damn point!” 🙂  )

I call it “Lazy-research-osis”, or LRO for short.

Symptoms include:

  • Web pages that have no call to action where they should.
  • Web pages that have the wrong call to action according to the message (copy or video) on that page, like selling way too soon for example.
  • Copy that doesn’t give an immediate feeling of “Wow, this message is directed at me!” to the people reading your message.
  • Copy that “feels” like it’s written generically…loaded with “corporate” language.  You need to write directly to the people in your audience.
  • Copy that “feels” like you didn’t even research your market at all (I mean real market research, not just combing through some Ezine Articles and calling it good).  This is a BIG problem on a good majority of websites.
  • And on, and on, and on…

So, if your website suffers from this disease in any shape or form…the “antidote” for “Lazy-research-osis” is simple…

Don’t use shortcuts when you’re researching your market.

Contrary to some advice provided on the Internet, don’t just “throw a website up” and try to sell until you’ve completed this research.

Some of the elements of complete market research include (emphasis on some) :

  • Talk to people. I can hear the clicks off of this post now, and your “shuddering” when you read that…but yes, actually talk to the people in your market.  Ask them questions about what they want when it comes to the product you’re about to bring to market.  Find out what drives them emotionally (which is the FIRST reason people buy, not logic).
  • Read articles in a number of  magazines pertaining to your market. That doesn’t mean read one and you’re done…sometimes when I’m writing copy for a client, I will read 25 – 50 articles (the Borders bookstore here almost knows me by name).
  • Develop a general curiosity about life and things in general. Read about a lot of stuff, file away interesting stuff, talk to people you don’t know (if you’re an introvert, get over this fear, people are nice for the most part).
  • And yes, part of your research can be done online. Watch the “free” information available though.  I subscribe to a few paid research sites, where info is accurate and studied.  The Extreme Searcher’s Handbook is a good place to start if you don’t know what I mean by paid subscription research sites.
  • And on, and on…don’t stop until you feel you have 5 – 10 times the info you think you would need for your website.

If your website suffers from LRO, real market research is the cure.  Arm yourself with more info than you need, because if you don’t, this disease can infect your website in even the smallest “crack” in your content.

So get to it then…I want to see some websites that sing to me people 🙂

Until the next time we look in the mirror together,

Joseph Ratliff