How a 7-Day Cruise Proves Personalization Can Get Your Business an Improved ROI (with only a little bit of effort!)

Cruise Ship In Tropical Climate by Stuart Miles

Cruise Ship In Tropical Climate by Stuart Miles

I just returned from a 7-day cruise with my family on the Royal Princess to the Eastern Caribbean.

We were celebrating my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary.

From the moment I boarded the ship I experienced “personalization”—here’s how my cabin attendant got me to take extra time out of my day to sit down and fill out a comment card about her great service and hand over extra cash for her pocket…she used selling 101!

I arrived at my cabin for the first time and the cabin attendant, Donnabelle, from the Philippines said, “Welcome aboard, Miss Angeline.” She got me from that moment forward.

Not only did she do a great job keeping my cabin tidy and stocked with fresh linens and chocolates, she would acknowledge me “by name” every time that she saw me in the hallway outside of the cabin during my 7-day stay. She made me feel as though she was my “personal cabin attendant.” I felt connected to her. Such a small gesture, made such a big impact!

If Donnabelle hadn’t taken the time to address me by my name in the hallway, or acknowledge me whenever she saw me, would I have taken the time to sit down and fill out the handwritten comment card telling her and her supervisors what a wonderful job she had done? Probably not.

If she hadn’t addressed me by name and made me feel like she knew me personally and actually cared enough about me to take the time to learn my name, would I have given her an extra tip? Maybe.

It really didn’t take much effort on Donnabelle’s part to do this small thing, but the return on her investment paid off double. (Extra cash and a handwritten recommendation for her permanent work record)

So, the moral of this story is—don’t address prospects as a group, be as personal as you can—it works wonders. Address a prospect by name if possible and use the words:
“you”, “you’re”, or “your” often.

I don’t remember where I heard this saying long ago, but it has stuck with me…
“A person’s name is music to his ears.”

Do You Sell Your Products and Services Online? These Buttons Decreased Revenue by 19.67% on Checkout Landing Pages

Paying More Attention to Checkout Landing Page Buttons Can Pay OffDid you know you can maximize your profits if you pay more attention to those little buttons on your checkout landing pages?

Imagine you bring a potential website visitor all the way through your sales process and now to your checkout page as planned, then he abandons the page and decides NOT to purchase your product or service. But why? Maybe the visitor isn’t even sure why he backed out of the buying process.

According to research and testing conducted by Analytics Inspector…adding an “Add to Cart” button is better than the typical “Buy Now” button. Why? Some tend to think the “Add to Cart” button gives the visitor the perception that he has more control over the sale—and whether or not he realizes it, “Buy Now” seems more intimidating to him.

It also appears that when buttons have “action-oriented” copy on them, they outperform the typical “submit” button.

So putting copy on your buttons such as: “Get Your Free Financial Report” or “Download Your Free E-book” does better than the traditional “submit.”

Although there are other variables that make a difference in button tests such as color and size…it may be well worth the extra effort to spend more time on just what that “little” button says, because the returns could be big!


Copy Tests Showed Longer Headlines Improved Response as Much as 300%

Long Headlines vs. Short Headlines, Does It Really Matter?Does it really matter how long the headline is when it comes to your sales copy converting prospects to customers?

According to an article published by Creative Direct Marketing Group titled, Multiply Your Ad’s Results with Benefit-Oriented Headlines and Long Copy, “Believe it or not, long headlines are more effective than short ones. Why? They’re more specific and promise more benefits.”

The article goes on to show that winning headlines tended to be longer and in some cases improved response by as much as 300%.

Business owners, online marketers, and copywriters may go back on forth on this subject, but the point is the perfect length for a headline is probably as long as it takes to state the biggest benefit directly to your prospect and many times this does result in longer headlines.

In a recent blogpost I featured a copy test where these two headlines competed:

“If you’re a retailer in need of fresh ideas and proven growth strategies, this book is for you!”


New Book Reveals Rescue Remedies for Retailers

The first headline improved conversion by 307%.  Why? Yes it is longer, but the reason I believe it won is that it spoke directly to the prospect and followed with a promise of benefits. The second headline although shorter and catchy with all of its “R” words—didn’t win even with its cleverness.

The winning headlines tested in the Creative Direct Marketing Group article spoke directly to the prospect and gave specific benefits.

Whether long or short or somewhere in the middle, your headlines need to answer your prospects question, “Why should I read on any further?”

This One Word Decreased Website Form Sign-Ups by Almost 19%

privacy policy statementPrivacy policy statements are those brief little one-liners that are usually found at the bottom of an online form that your prospects normally don’t even notice…or do they?

In a test performed by Michael Lykke Aagaard,
CRO Consultant and Copywriter of ContentVerve.com
, results showed that using the word SPAM in a privacy statement actually decreased conversions by 18.70% when run against a form that had no privacy statement at all.

When Michael set out to improve the number of sign-ups on a form that had no privacy statement by using the following…

“100% privacy – we will never spam you.”

The conversions dropped… by 18.70%.

Then in another test, he changed the privacy statement to…

“We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared.”

Sign-ups increased by 19.47%!

Michael’s hypothesis after the test, “…although the message revolves around assuring prospects that they won’t be spammed—the word SPAM itself gives rise to anxiety in the minds of the prospects. Therefore, the word should be avoided in close proximity to the form.”

Give your prospects a more “secure” feeling about giving their PERSONAL information to you by placing a short privacy statement that sounds credible near the end of any form to raise confidence.

If you make the privacy policy too long and involved or use the wrong word or words, it could hurt your sign-ups by raising red flags that cause them to abandon the idea of signing up altogether.

Five Steps to Writing an Effective Call-to-Action

Effective Call to ActionThe reason you spend so much time on headlines, subheadlines, and body copy is to ultimately convince your prospect to take a specific action, right?

Whether you want him to sign up for a newsletter, become a subscriber, request more information, accept a free trial, download a demo, or buy a product…you need to tell him what to do next even if you think it is obvious.

If you don’t tell your prospect what action you want him to take next, you could lose him altogether.

An effective call-to-action not only tells your prospect what step to take next, but also motivates him to take that step NOW.

Below are five steps that show you how to create an effective call-to-action:

Example:  Effective Call-to-Action (CTA)

Are you tired of receiving phone calls from bill collectors? Please fill out the online form below NOW to claim your FREE report (valued at $39.95) and you can be on the road to financial recovery within minutes.  Learn how to clean up your credit report quickly and easily—you don’t have to be afraid to answer your phone anymore! Download your FREE report today…this offer is due to expire on March 30th!

STEP 1) Define in your mind what “specific” action you want your prospect to take next
and then instruct your prospect on exactly what to do next—be specific.
CTA: Please fill out the online form below NOW to claim your FREE report

Include a big benefit in your call to action.

Big benefits:
– Learn how to clean up your credit report quickly and easily
– you don’t have to be afraid to answer your phone anymore
– getting a FREE report (valued at $39.95)

Tell the prospect what he will get by taking the action NOW; create a sense of urgency.
– You can be on the road to financial recovery within minutes
Download your FREE report today…this offer is due to expire on March 30th!

STEP 4) Use “active” language rather than “passive” language in your call-to-action.
– fill out the online form below NOW
– claim your FREE report
download your FREE report today

STEP 5) TEST, TEST and RE-TEST your call-to-action. Find out what words and phrases
perform better than others.

Your call-to-action will vary based on what specific action you are trying to persuade your prospect to take and the length and type of the advertising medium you use to deliver your message…but keeping these steps in mind can help you get your prospect to—
“Take Action NOW!”

How to Get Your Prospects to Read Your Email Promotions (and decrease the chances they’ll hit the “DELETE” key!)

Delete KeyImagine your prospect opens his email box and in flows the never-ending piles of emails that he hasn’t checked since last night. What do you think his next move is?

Just like you, he probably does a quick scan to see what catches his eye and then pushes the “delete” key on what doesn’t—and just like you, he doesn’t have time to read everything that comes his way.

You can spend time all the time in the world crafting that perfect email marketing message, but unless your email subject line can get your prospect to open the message and read it—the rest of your hard work on that message is fruitless.

Now, add into the equation the “spam” filters—this decreases chances even more that your hard work will pay off.

In spite of all of this, there are some small but important things that you can do to increase the likelihood that your message will get delivered, opened, read, and ultimately move your prospect to take the action you want him to take.

Stay Clear of These Words or Symbols in Your Promotional Emails

If your email doesn’t reach your prospect’s inbox in the first place, he won’t open it.

Callidus Software posted a list of the words and symbols to stay away from when writing both your email subject lines and copy in a blog post titled, Top 100 Spam Trigger Words and Phrases to Avoid …they trigger spam filters that toss your messages into the spam folder.

Watch the Character Length of Your Email Subject Lines

There has been discussion back and forth on the proper character length of email subject lines, but on average you should keep them at about 40 to 50 characters in length (approximately 5 to 8 words) for desktop users since many email providers may trim your email subject lines if they exceed 60 characters.

For mobile devices, character length is even shorter (approximately 33 to 44 characters) according to an infographic published in a blog post called, Mobile Email Subject Line Displays by MarketingTechBlog.com.

Keeping this short character length in mind, many resources suggest front-loading your most important words first in your email subject lines, those with the most impact, in case they get cut off. These would be the words that describe the “benefit” the prospect will get if he clicks to read more.

Write an Email Subject Line that Talks to Your Prospect and Addresses His Problem

When you send out an email to your prospect, your email subject line is your headline so you need to get his attention immediately or he’ll never open your email to see what you’ve got to say.

According to a webinar conducted by Marketing Experiments titled, Subject Lines that Convert: A review of 100+ successful subject lines reveals what motivates people to open (or delete) an email, you can improve email open and click-through rates if you, “connect to an internal event” that your prospect can identify with…also known as his problem.

Here are the results of a test that they conducted on an email subject line to improve the open and click-through rates:

(Original subject line)

Looking for a Lower Rate Mortgage? You’re Not Alone.

 (Treatment subject line)

 Own Your Home Sooner with Free Bi-Weekly Payments!


(Winning subject line)
 Own Your Home Sooner with Free Bi-Weekly Payments!

— Open rates increased 16%; Click-through rates increased 11.3%

–Why did the new email subject line perform better?

#1: It addressed the prospect individually, talking to him, “Your”


#2: Added the benefits of “owning a home sooner” rather than later, with free bi-weekly payments

The original headline was too vague and told the prospect he wasn’t alone…how does that pull him in? Be clear in your email subject lines; vagueness may keep your prospect from opening your message. Your subject line should talk to him directly and offer a benefit—the solution to his problem.

As the host of the webinar, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, so eloquently put it, “Customers aren’t trying to open your emails, they’re trying to eliminate them. To prevent elimination, the marketer must ensure an immediate connection to the customer.

How the Word “WE” Can Kill Your Sales Copy!

focus on the prospectI know what I am about to tell you sounds absolutely ridiculous—but I’m trying to make a point so stay with me.

This is an old lesson taught by retail advertising masters and expert copywriting teachers Clyde Bedell and his son Barrie Bedell…

Imagine you walk into a high-end retail department store and there is a good-looking salesman that approaches you and instead of asking how he can help you, or asking what your needs are, or telling you how he can solve your problem…he just starts to ramble on about his great sales record, the awards he’s won, and how great his sales technique is—what would you think?

You might think the salesman is self-absorbed, clueless as to what your problem or need is, or just really doesn’t care what your need might be. Chances are you are going to walk if you feel this way. Result: customer abandons the salesman, the store, and…NO sale is made.

Now, the reason I use this story is to make the point that many website and landing pages tend to do this, especially on their home pages. They ramble on about their business and themselves, their accomplishments, their awards, etc.—this should be saved for the “About” page.

You should address your prospect and his problems or concerns, not your business.

Otherwise, he may abandon your marketing message pretty quickly.

So, how do you focus on your prospect?

# 1) try NOT to use “I”, “WE” or “OUR” statements in your sales copy:

There are times you may have to use these words, but don’t litter your copy with them—if you are addressing your prospect’s problem and talking about the benefits or solutions he will get from your products or services, chances are you won’t have these words throughout your copy.

Below is an example of some intro copy on an accountant’s website home page:

“J&L CPA’s LLC was established in 1985 when John Doe, the firm’s founder moved to the Littletown area.  We have stood the test of time and are well positioned to continue to serve the accounting needs of our area.  Our profession has changed over the years; we have changed.  The needs of our clients have changed. What has not changed is our commitment to bring the expected high level services to our existing and prospective clients.”

Ask yourself this question about the copy above, “Does a prospect in need of a tax professional really care about all of that?”

This brings us to…

# 2) try to use “YOU” and “YOUR” statements to make it about your prospect:

NOW—in comparison, look at the first few lines of copy below and see how this dentist’s office grabs a prospect’s attention by talking about him and his needs, not the dental practice:

“How many times have you heard someone say, “She has a pretty smile.” or “He has great teeth”? The fact is that the first thing people notice when they look at you is your smile.

A more attractive smile can make you happier, more self-confident and even more successful professionally. In certain professions, a beautiful smile is absolutely essential, not to mention that a beautiful smile can take years off your appearance.

Let J&L Dental Care help you achieve a truly beautiful smile!”

Would someone looking for a beautiful smile be drawn in by this copy?
It is all about the prospect—“you.”

So the moral of this story is to gain customers and clients, you need to address your prospects’ problems and talk about solutions—make it all about your prospects, not your business.


The 3 Key Questions Your Business Website Should Answer if You Want to Get Customers & Clients

Focus on Customer“Focus on the Customer!”—this is the topic of a video I received in an email this week.  It is a
pre-launch video for
Eben Pagan, Expert Internet Marketer’s latest LIVE webinar scheduled for March 24th called, Accelerate Your Growth.

In the video, he analyzes 37 business website home pages and critiques them to see if they answer what he says are the “Top Three Questions” any business website trying to get customers should ask, but according to him—rarely do—which explains poor conversion results.

Eben says regarding marketers and advertisers,

“…they focus their marketing on themselves, they talk about how great they are, how great their company is, how great their product is, without mentioning the specific, tangible result that it’s going to deliver to the customer—the benefit that the customer gets.”

He continues to say that it is so simple, but just not done enough—tell the customers what they are going to get and they will continue to listen…
(and let them know quickly since you only have about 3 seconds to get their attention).

According to Eben, your business website should answer three key questions:
1) What is it?
2) What’s it about?
3) What do I get?

In the video he shows two web pages that he created years ago that were very successful. The interesting thing to note is that neither had images, both were just text—however, both had big bold headlines that most people would say were on the lengthy side (in other words—not short!) But they were very clear, concise headlines that told the prospect exactly what he would get.

Eben says that you aren’t necessarily competing with your competitors for customers, as much as you are just competing for their attention from other media noise.

The webinar starts on Monday, March 24th at 11 AM Eastern / 8 AM Pacific.

If you’re willing to give up your email address, you can watch the pre-launch video I describe above: (highly recommended!!)

Web Page Sales Increased 36% After This Paragraph Was Added

Test Results Show 36% Boost in Sales When Marketing Copy Focuses on the Prospect’s ProblemI don’t think business owners, marketers, and copywriters deliberately sit back and say, “I’m going to toot my own horn!” I think they really believe they have the solution to their prospect’s problem and want to serve him and in turn—do what they can to present their product or service so that he’ll be convinced too.

In a video produced by Marketing Experiments titled, Are You Missing Copy on Your Page? (How Adding the Right Paragraph Generated a 36% Lift), Senior Editorial Analyst, Austin McCraw shares how one company increased their sales by 36%—the boost in response resulted after a small opening paragraph was added that focused on the prospect’s pain (the problem)—the original copy focused only on the solution.

McCraw teaches that it is not enough to know what the prospect needs, but you’ve got to transform those needs into his wants. He discusses two key principles he says are significant:

1 – Just because you identify a prospect’s need does not inspire the prospect’s need to act.

2- Transform your prospect’s need into a want. According to McCraw, this can be done by using one or more of what he calls the three “problem intensifiers.”

The 3 Problem Intensifiers:

Relevance= the degree to which an offer is connected to the prospect’s situational motivations.

Importance= the degree to which an offer is essential to a prospect’s livelihood.

Urgency= the degree of immediacy associated with an offer imposed by the prospect’s situation or the time limit for purchase attached to the offer itself.

Make It Real for the Prospect: Tell a Story!

In the video, there is an example of before and after copy that shows how generic product copy was enhanced by attaching a personal story, a case study, where an actual person saw a dramatic change after actually using the product.

This gives the prospect the hope that he too can see results after purchasing the product.

McCraw reminds business owners, marketers, and copywriters how important it is to get into the customer’s mindset and know what he is feeling and dig deeper when writing copy for your sales pages and other promotions.

“You have to learn to think like the customer.  So often we come to our pages with this company logic and we are just focused on what we can do…me, me, me, what I have, this is my solution, this is what I’m bringing to the table, but you haven’t adequately considered, What is the customer experiencing? What is he thinking? …you as the marketers have to learn to put yourself in the customer’s mindset….fully understand him and fully sympathize with him so that you can help him.”

But in the midst of it all, remind yourself to be that customer for a moment—since it is easy to forget that you still have to get into the prospect’s mindset to make the sale, to convince him, and to persuade him to take the action you want him to take.

You can view the entire Marketing Experiments video at: http://www.marketingexperiments.com/site-optimization/missing-copy.html

Attn: Business Owners, Marketers, Copywriters:

I’m offering you a FREE 30-minute web page tune-up consultation!

Are You Frustrated, Overwhelmed, and Less Than Satisfied with the Results You Get in Actual Business after Spending Countless Hours Trying to Drive Traffic to Your Website?

How many hours and/or dollars do you spend driving traffic to your website?

Do you spend countless hours and effort posting on social media sites, search engine optimization, spend your hard earned money to buy pay per click ads and other online marketing tactics just to get traffic to your website…BUT aren’t seeing the results you would have hoped for?

I’m sure you are in business to help other people, but you are also in business to make money at the end of the day.

If you are still struggling to sell your products and services online and would like to find out if there are some simple changes that you can make to increase your sales—I’d like to help.

I’m offering you a FREE 30-minute TUNE UP consultation for your web page, sales page, email promo…you name it.

If you’d like me to brainstorm with you on some possible changes to help your page perform better, simply email me today at: angeline@getsmartbusinessradio.com and I will be glad to take some time with you to see what we can do to tweak your page for better results!

Five Ways to Get Your Insanely Busy Prospect’s Attention (and Make Him Your Customer!)

more-customers-and-sales-thermometerHow many sales and advertising messages do you receive a day, whether in your home mail box or email box? (text messages, billboard messages, radio ads, television ads, etc.)

There is a lot of competition to grab your prospect’s attention in any given day—he’s going to pick and choose what he wants to read. Using some of the attention-getting techniques below in your sales copy can help BOOST the chances you’ll get your reader’s interest, keep it, and ultimately get the sales results you want for your business.

1) Write as if you are speaking from “one person” to “one person”…personalization works wonders!
Don’t forget to use the words: you, you’re, your, you’ll.

2) Know your prospect’s biggest problem and address it up front by serving up the “biggest benefit” of your product or service right away in your headline and in your copy message.

3) List a product or service feature always followed by a benefit—don’t just list a feature by itself.

Example: (feature + benefit)

Feature: Compact size
Benefit: Fits in your pocket or purse so you can take it anywhere.
Write: The Acme Gizmo’s compact size allows you to take it anywhere—since it fits in your pocket or in your purse…it’s always handy when you’re on the go!

4) Use an attention-getting headline that uses the (you + feature + benefit = attention) formula.

Example: Now Available: A Proven System that Saves Time… So You Can Focus More on Running Your Business and Make More Profit at the End of the Day!

5) Be specific where you can to capture your prospect’s attention. Use numbers, percentages, and other specifics to improve credibility and interest in your headlines and sales copy.

Example: Rather than just saying… How this Proven Formula Boosted Profits!
Say: How this Proven Formula Boosted Profits by 57%!

Implementing some of these small details can make a big difference in whether or not your copy can capture and keep your reader’s attention…and ultimately turn that attention into cash!