Thursday, November 30, 2006
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Key to Success: Motivation
Copyright 2006 Donovan Baldwin
Motivation is not a new concept to most of us. We have felt that first burst of enthusiasm. Perhaps it was an ad or news story on TV, an article in a magazine, a chance remark, or an embarrassing moment that brought us that sudden rush of certainty that something needed to be done...could be done. We felt a strong, perhaps overwhelming desire to DO SOMETHING...something that would change what had been or create something new. Often, this is accompanied by a clear and certain knowledge of what to do, how to do, and what the result would be.
Maybe we decided to lose weight, start a business, or write a book. Still bolstered by our reaction to what we had seen, heard, or felt, were certain of success! We would start that exercise program, or open that savings account tomorrow; we would begin writing a chapter a day...tomorrow. No! Tomorrow was too far away! We knew what we wanted and how to get it and we were going to start today!
Nothing could stop us!!
Of course, we know what happened over the next few hours, days, or weeks.
The clear image we had of our success dimmed and blurred; perhaps disappeared all together. The daily exercise routine, became a couple of times a week, and then was dropped all together. We quit making the deposit, or the notebook we bought for writing our great novel suddenly seemed too full of blank pages to ever fill.
The dream ended. If we were lucky, that's all that happened...it ended. For some, however, it lingered on as one more reminder of all the unfulfilled dreams and became part of our self image. It was another defeat to add to the stack.
So! What happened and how do we change it?
What happened was a combination of life, human nature, and personality or character.
Life supplies us with a constant stream of information, events, and opportunities. It is difficult to keep sight of the goal and the process while maintaining the initial level of motivation which burned so brightly when it was the new kid on the block.
Human nature has defense mechanisms and weaknesses which combine to cause us to lose the fervor we felt...before we begin to become aware of the obstacles in our path. Sadly, an obstacle does not have to be real to be effective. The well-intentioned doubts of friends and family, whether real or imagined, are both equally effective in extinguishing the fires of desire.
As with many things in our lives, our personalities and characters have a great impact on our success or failure in any given situation. Whether they contribute to our success or become obstacles does not, however, define us as failures! It is also important to note that the factors of personality or character which may be in the way are NOT always set in stone and may be altered so that success becomes a more common state.
Ways to maintain motivation keep our dream clear, bright, and fresh after the first giddy rush of elation we felt when we first felt we knew "the answer". We cannot change life in general, but we can change how we live it and alter the human nature and circumstances which would rob us of success.
1. Write it down: Whatever the goal or dream, commit it to paper. Often, the dream simply becomes harder to see, more difficult to focus on, as new events and factors evolve. Writing it down allows us to refocus and see the goal again as we saw it when it was fresh.
2. Read it: Carry the paper you wrote it on with you. Make an extra copy and put it on your bathroom mirror, another on the refrigerator door. Take it out several times daily and read it...out loud is best, but silently in the bathroom is better than nothing.
3. Revise it: Things change, we grow, we learn. Be real. Having to alter a dream or the process of achieving it is not failure. It is reality.
4. Log it: Make note of what you did to achieve your goal or what you can do tomorrow or next week. Don't worry about how far you got, or how much you did...just that you did it.
5. Learn it: Study the subject. You don't have to go back to school for a degree, but regularly delving into the subject will help keep you focused and perhaps give you new ideas to help you on your way.
6. Share it: If you dare, you are the judge. Letting people know what you're doing, while being aware that they may have a negative view of it, can be motivating.
7. Read about motivation: These few words are not the only ones written on the subject. There are other ideas out there, and a sentence in another article or a book may be the key you need to go farther than you have ever gone before.
The goal is to keep the motivation level somewhere near the level it was when you started.
About The Author:
Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer and network marketing professional. A graduate of the University Of West Florida (1973) with a BA in accounting, he is a member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. Get more insights on self improvement at http://web-home.ws/self-improvement/.
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Friday, November 10, 2006
Regardless of what you are trying to sell, you really can't sell it without "talking" with your prospective buyer. In attempting to sell anything on the Internet, the sales letter you send out in the form of an email or webpage is when and how you talk to your prospect.
All winning sales letters "talk" to the prospect by creating an image in the mind of the reader. They set "the scene" by appealing to a desire or need; and then they flow smoothly into the "visionary" part of the sales pitch by describing in detail how "wonderful" life will be and, how "good" the prospect is going to feel after he or she has purchased your product. This is the "body or guts" of a sales letter.
Overall, a winning sales letter follows a time-tested and proven formula. It...
1) Gets attention
2) Describes benefits
3) Creates desire
4) Demands action
This is called the "AIDA" formula (Attention, Interest, Desire and Action), and it works.
On your website, your sales page should be about the length of what it would be
if you were doing a mailing, or longer if you're using bullets to emphasize benefits to build the desire. By the way, on a website, this creates "whitespace" which actually makes it a bit easier to focus on each point.
Of course, on the Internet you don't have to worry about letterhead stationery or the cost of postage, which is a considerable savings. If, however, you want to also do a mailing campaign then the following would apply. The sales letters in mailings that pull in the most sales are almost always two pages with 1 1/2 spaces between lines. For really big ticket items, they'll run at least four pages. - on an 11 by 17 sheet of paper folded in half. If your sales letter is only two pages in length, there's nothing wrong with running it on the front and back of one sheet of 8 1/2 by 11 paper. However, your sales letter should always be on letterhead paper - your letterhead printed, and including your logo and business motto if you have one.
Regardless of the length of your sales letter, it should do one thing, and that's sell, and sell hard! If you intend to close the sale, you've got to do it with your sales letter. You should never be "wishy-washy" with your sales letter. You do the actual selling and the closing of that sale with your sales letter - any brochure or circular you send along with in your mailing should just reinforce what you say in the sales letter.
There's been a great deal of discussion in the past few years regarding just how long a sales letter should be. A lot of people wonder if people will really take the time to read a long sales letter? The answer is a simple and time-tested yes indeed! Surveys and tests over the years emphatically prove that "longer sales letters" pull even better than the shorter ones, so don't worry about the length of your sales letter - just make sure that it sells your product for you!
The "inside secret" is to make your sales letter so interesting, and "visionary" with the benefits you're offering to the reader, that he or she can't resist reading it all the way through. You break up the "work" of reading by using short, punchy sentences, underlining important points you're trying to make, with the use of subheadlines, indentations and even the use of a second color, and leaving lots of white space around it. On your website, the sales letter should run down the middle of the page so the viewer doesn't have to keep adjusting the screen to see the whole sentence. This is very distracting and more apt to send that client to another website than losing patience reading a long letter.
Relative to the brochures and circulars you may want to include in your mailing with your sales letter - providing the materials you're enclosing are of the best quality, they will generally reinforce the sale for you. But, if they are of poor quality, look cheap and don't compliment your sales letter, then you shouldn't be using them. Another thing, it will definitely classify you as an independent home worker if you hand-stamp your name/address on these brochures or advertising circulars instead of having them printed.
Whenever possible, and so long as you have really good brochures to send out, have your printer run them through his press and print your name/address - even your telephone number and company logo - on them before you send them out. The thing is, you want your prospect to think of you as his supplier - the company - and not as just another independent entrepreneur. Sure, you can get by with less expense but you'll end up with fewer orders and in the end, less profits.
Another thing that's been bandied about and discussed from every direction for years is whether to use a post office box number or your street address. Personally, I don't like Post Office Boxes in a business address - because it transmits an aura of instability or temporary location. If your business is run from home, get a mail box from a post box vendor that has a street address. Then your address looks like, 1234 Willow Lane, #567, Your Town, and the box number could appear to the reader as a Suite number. However, if you live in a remote area where your address is 7890 Main St., RFD 42, Box 123, Your Town, then you have no choice but to include both your post office box number, AND, your street address on your sales letter. When doing it strictly for your website, put your street address, telephone number, and email address at the bottom of the page. More than likely, the customer will contact you by email, but it conveys dependability if that Internet buyer sees that you're willing to give your address. This kind of open display of your honesty will give you credibility and dispel the thought of you being just another "fly-by-night" mail order company in the mind of your prospect.
Above all else, you've got to include some sort of ordering page or coupon if you're mailing. The coupon has to be as simple and as easy for the prospect to fill out and return to you as you can possible make it. The order page on your website should already be filled out, with perhaps just the shipping left to choice. If your product is an eBook or software to be instantly downloaded, then you don't have any options to be chosen. A great many sales are lost because this order coupon is just too complicated for the would-be buyer to follow. Don't get fancy! Keep it simple, and you'll find your prospects responding with glee.
Should you or shouldn't you include in your mailing a self-addressed reply envelope? There are a lot of variables, as well as, pros and cons to this question. Overall, when you send out a "winning" sales letter to a good mailing list, a return reply envelope will increase your response tremendously.
Tests of late seem to indicate that it isn't that big a deal or difference in responses relative to whether you do or don't pre-stamp the return reply envelope. Again, the decision here will rest primarily on the product you're selling and the mailing list you're using. Our recommendation is that you experiment - try it both ways - with subsequent mailings and decide for yourself from there.