Articles by Lynn Swayze

Articles by Lynn SwayzeMarketing Funnels

Three Ways to Exponentially Grow Your Business

views
47

I first learned about the energy-saving power of levers when I worked as a crew member at Trader Joe’s.

Part of the job required lifting heavy “lugs” (or crates) of frozen food from the backroom freezer to the freezer area, and then take them back once the public-facing freezer had been stocked. It was heavy, heavy work I was ill-prepared to do well. Most of that wasn’t my fault, honestly, given that I’m a mere 4’10.5″ in height – smaller than most 12 year-olds. 

Thank heavens I had a tool to help make the job easier.

You see, every crew member had training on how to use a mover’s dolly to carry heavy items – boxes, frozen lugs, and more – easily and safely. Many of these stacks weighed several times more than me, yet I was able to carry them around the store with relative ease thanks to this ingenious tool.

Fortunately, you can apply that same effort-saving power to your marketing.

Unfortunately, so many business owners think that in order to make more money, they need to increase their number of clients dramatically. While this is one way to grow a business, it’s not the only way

According to Richard Johnson of the “Hidden Marketing Assets (HMA)” Program (of which I am a paid member), there are three ways to grow your business. These three ways act like levers on your business growth, allowing you to exponentially increase your business revenue without doing a large amount of work. (Note that Richard claims learned these three “growth mechanisms” from the great Jay Abraham, of whom he was a protege… which means you can bet that they work!) 

So what are these three levers? They are to increase the number of leads your business has, increase the conversion rate of leads to clients, and increase the average value of each client.

The resulting formula looks like this:

What this formula means for you is that your current revenue is a mix of the number of leads you have, your conversion rate, and your average customer value. Increasing any one of these just a little could increase your business by 10%… 25%… even 33% in a very short period of time. Let’s see how that looks in more detail.

More Leads

The first growth lever is to increase the number of leads your business sees. Whether you’re tracking it or not, your business has a certain number of prospects already in your database and adds a certain number each and every month. (Even if that number is, currently, zero.) This number is your starting point. 

For the sake of easy math, let’s keep the example simple. Let’s say you’re running a basic consulting business serving beginning entrepreneurs. You add 150 new prospects to your database per month and close 5 of those thanks to your steady 3.3% conversion rate. Each of those new clients is worth $1,000 in revenue per month to you. The result is a $60,000 in new business per year.

All else staying the same, let’s say you’re able to maintain your current conversion rate and average value while you increase your number of new leads per month thanks to a new white paper campaign. This time, you get 250 new leads per month, convert 3.3% at $1,000 each. The result of this change gives you 8 clients per month and $96,000 in business per year. 

Easy enough, right? Let’s look at the next lever, your conversion rate.

Higher Conversion Rate

The second growth lever in your business is your conversion rate. So let’s say that you start with that original consulting business serving beginning entrepreneurs. You pull in 150 new prospects to your database per month and close 5 of those thanks to your steady 3.3% conversion rate. Each of those new clients is worth $1,000 in revenue per month to you. The result is a $60,000 in new business per year.

Now let’s say that you increased your conversion rates. Say you tried a new email sequence that did a better job of indoctrinating. Or perhaps your sales team followed up a few more times. Whatever it is, let’s say that you were able to bump up the conversions of prospects to clients to 7%, giving you 10 sales instead of 5. And at $1,000 each, that’s $5,000 more in your pocket every month than you had before.

But what if you increased both the number of leads and the conversion rate? So now you have 250 leads converting at the more effective 7%… giving you 17 sales at $1,000 each, or $17,000 per month (that’s $204,000 annually compared to your previous $60,000). 

Now, let’s crank that ratchet even more

Increased Value Per Client

The final lever you can pull is the value per client. Let’s say that you have the original 150 leads and 3.3% conversion rate, for a total of 5 sales per month at $1,000 per new client. Let’s say that now, instead of getting $1,000 per client, you increase the value you deliver so that you can raise the price per client to $1,500. With everything else the same, you now earn $30,000 more per year than you did before.

But what if you changed all three? So now you have the increased 250 leads per month, becoming clients at the new 7% conversion rate, for $1,500 per new client. The result of these three minor tweaks is a cool $25,500 per month, an over 400% increase. All by making small shifts in key areas of your business.

That’s the power of the three growth levers at play in your business. And this is just a drop in the bucket compared to what you can do if you really know how to optimize leads, conversion rates, and average customer value. 

And as long as you remember that growth can often come from small changes made at regular intervals, rather than big leaps all at once, you’ll do well. This is a core tenant of direct response marketing, and one you would do well to add to your mindset like a feather in your cap.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer you a free worksheet: “Business Growth Optimization”. In it, you’ll get spaces for calculating the effects growth in each of these three areas could have on your business. You’ll also get some tips for increasing each of the three. It’s yours free- simply click here to request your copy.

Articles by Lynn SwayzeMarketing Funnels

Direct Response Marketing 101

views
42

“What is Direct Response Marketing?”

Given that I run a business called, “Indiana Direct Response Marketing”, I figure that it’s high time we actually define what in the heck direct response marketing actually is.

I live and breathe direct response marketing. It works, it holds everyone accountable, and it actually recoups the investment when done right. Which is why I’m such a big believer in and advocate for direct response marketing strategies and tactics.

So the question is – what is direct response marketing?

Here’s a video by David Ogilvy which I love:




… On second thought, perhaps it’s best to start by explaining what direct response isn’t. Because like it or not, all marketing is not direct response marketing. That doesn’t mean that all marketing is bad, it simply means that not all marketing shares the same goals or success metrics.

What is Indirect Marketing?

Logically, the opposite of direct response marketing would be “indirect response marketing.” That’s marketing that doesn’t directly ask for the response or action of the consumer and which doesn’t have a way to track campaign metrics to sales results.

I’m talking things like….

  • Website redesign
  • Educational emails that don’t ask for action
  • Brochures and “brand” marketing
  • Advertisements with no specific call to action

Here, I am reminded of the time I once spoke with an SEO expert.

It was in 2017-ish and I lived in Bloomington, Indiana. The guy seemed bright and friendly, and obviously knew his stuff when it came to search engine optimization.

Buuuuuuut when I asked him about tying results to marketing spend, he froze like a deer in headlights. He seemed generally perplexed that anyone could tie marketing spend to revenues, much less that someone (e.g., me) would make an entire business out of it.

Let’s just say that the conversation kind of ended after that.

Unfortunately, there are many entrepreneurs who spend a lot of money to not see results out of their marketing investment. More than a few well-meaning business owners have been swindled out of thousands of dollars only to get a few hundred “likes” and a couple thousand “views”… when they could have used that money to create real, measurable, and accountable results.

Sometimes, indirect marketing is used to bolster the image of a company. For example, the Super Bowl Ads you see every year are a great example. Companies will spend millions upon millions of dollars to air a short commercial…

… and have no way to directly tie that exorbitant ad spend to increased revenues.

Another example is advertising which doesn’t immediately ask for action. Billboards with a generic URL or phone number is one common example of this lack of immediacy.

To recap, we can say that indirect marketing :

  • Is not easily tied to the sales cycle
  • Does not ask for a response immediately
  • Does not have a “Call to Action”
  • Is more concerned about overall image/reputation
  • Cannot be expected to have an ROI

Here are some types of marketing which aren’t direct response, at least not by themselves. (I’ll share in a moment how to tie direct response elements into almost all of these.)

Types of “Indirect Marketing”

Website Rebranding

Website rebranding is, for whatever reason, one of the first steps businesses make when they want to start marketing. I’m guessing it’s because most believe that a classier website will automatically translate to more sales.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization makes you more “findable” by search engine. This is important, because being found online is everything anymore. If you aren’t online, you don’t exist! Of course, you can get all the traffic you want and still not make the sale. Which is why most businesses try the following…

Content Marketing

Blogging and article writing is often the next thing businesses try. Content marketing uses blog posts to educate and “pre-sell” the prospect. Often, these articles are written around core “seed keywords” businesses want to rank for. Although again, you can have a lot of views and shares and still not grow your database of prospects or buyers.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is another avenue many small businesses take to try to get more sales. Unfortunately, social media marketing can be one of the biggest time wasters out there. That’s because most of the time, it’s not tied to a funnel of any kind.

Email Marketing

Finally, some businesses owners try email marketing. Email marketing is marketing which does most of the selling via email campaigns, either through regular broadcast emails or automated email campaigns. More often than not, small business owners use it as a platform to brag on themselves rather than as a means to sell.

Each of these are good actions to take, but none by themselves qualify as direct response marketing.

To make each of these “direct response marketing”, all you need to do is add a call to action at the end which you can track.

So a blog post would have a call to action to get into the funnel. (Perhaps with a worksheet or checklist of the blog post, for example, available as an opt-in to your email list)

The social media would have a CTA to a front-end offer… and if not, the blog post would have the CTA to the front-end offer. Your site should always have advertisements to take the next step, whether that be book a call, answer a quiz, download a lead magnet, or purchase a relevant tripwire. And for emails, the same thing applies in that you should always be selling the action you want the prospect to take.

As for the website rebrand, the best thing you can do is create a case study for the company which did your branding and then make them point that “success story” back to your site – of course using Google tagging so you can track by referral source. (Ka-ching! Free traffic you can track!)

See how that works?

And when you make everything you do work for you in this way, you can actually track the efficacy of all your marketing efforts. (More on that below.)

The Definition of Direct Response Marketing

In my mind, direct response marketing is the type of marketing which requires immediate action directly from the consumer. Whether that action come in the form of filling out a reply card, calling a specific number, requesting a lead magnet online, or signing up for a special package on the spot, there’s an action the marketing piece requires the consumer to take (or not!). And it’s that action, or lack thereof, which gets tracked.

Direct response marketing is often found in:

  • Email campaigns with a call to action at the end
  • Landing Pages with a front-end lead magnet
  • Marketing funnels with upsells and downsells
  • Direct mail sales letters with a special offer
  • Postcards with a call to action on them
  • LinkedIn messages with a proposed next step
  • Video sales letters (VSLs), webinars, and YouTube videos with a CTA
  • Space ads with a unique number to call

… And much, much more.

As you can see, direct response marketing is found in online platforms and offline platforms. It’s been used for over one hundred years to generate more sales and increased revenues for businesses of all sizes.

Direct response marketing is responsible for creating success for brands and products you may be familiar with, such as:

  • L.L. Bean
  • Proctor and Gamble
  • Harlequin Books
  • Duluth Trading Company
  • “Blue Blocker” Sunglasses

And because the response is immediate and measurable, it’s super attractive to most business owners who need a quick return on investment.

Direct Response Marketing Example

For example, let’s say that between the copywriter, the list rental, the postage, and the production that running a piece of direct mail to a list of 10,000 names cost you $25,000. But let’s say that of those 10,000, a good 100 respond and spend $597 on your offer. Congratulations! You have a 1% response rate and earned a whopping $59,700 for your $25,000 spend, netting you $34,700.

Now let’s say you follow up with those who didn’t spend by sending a series of 5 letters, each one selling the benefits, proof, guarantees, etc. By the end of that sequence (which you already paid for up-front), you’ll have earned another 75 buyers and $44,775 dollars.

Not bad, eh?

And when it’s time to run the campaign with a new list (which you’ll do, because you’re savvy like that), you have three options:

  1. Run the same campaign with a new list.
  2. Split the list in two, with half running the “control” campaign you just ran and half running a new campaign you want to test.
  3. Run a completely new campaign with a new list

Doing this sort of tracking and testing is the hallmark of direct response marketing and direct response advertising. It’s what direct response copywriters (like me) are trained to do!

As you can imagine, we “direct response copywriters” can apply this same testing methodology to all sorts of media:

  • Space ads in magazines or newspapers
  • Display advertising in websites
  • Facebook, Google PPC, LinkedIn, etc ads
  • Marketing Funnels (Clickfunnels, Leadpages, etc)
  • Webinars and VSLs
  • Email campaigns
  • And so many more…

Which is why a good direct response marketer can make you so much more than you ever pay out to them IF you hire the right one and are willing to test, test, and test some more.

How We Do It

There are a few ways direct response copywriters get people to respond to your marketing.

Attention-Grabbing Headlines

In order to grab the reader’s immediate attention, we use headlines that “jolt” and “jar” the reader out of their somnolence and into whatever it is we want them to see. And then we keep them glued until they either opt out of reading more, or end up buying. John Carlton calls it the “greased slide”, and it works well to increase your bottom line.

Laser-Targeted Focus

Direct response works because it’s laser focused. That is, we write copy for a specific avatar with a specific problem that can only be solved with a specific product – yours! It’s this laser targeting in avatar, language, and pain points that makes what we do so successful.

Benefit-Driven, Emotionally-Charged Copy

Another way direct response copywriters get the sale is by using benefit-driven, emotionally charged copy. We understand that people buy on emotion and justify with facts, which is why we use emotional language and reasoning in our marketing messages.

Short-Term Follow-Ups

Campaign success depends on short-term follow-ups requesting immediate action. It’s this measuring of “immediate action” that tells us whether the marketing campaign worked or not!

Long-term Follow-ups

We understand that not everyone is going to buy on the first go-round. Which is why a good direct response copywriter will help you plan a long-term campaign to nurture your prospect and buyer database. That way, you continue to be “top of mind” in the eyes of your prospects.

Want some help?

And if you’d like some help with creating accountable marketing campaigns, simply book a call with my team. We can talk one-on-one about your business and campaigns and see if we can inject a little direct response into it. If not, no worries – the call is free of charge.

Hopefully, this has given you a little bit better idea about what direct response marketing is all about. In Part 2 of the series I’ll share the benefits and drawbacks of direct response marketing.When you’re ready to see how direct response marketing can help you get more leads and increase your conversion rate, then feel free to book a no-cost discovery call with us today.

___________

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Articles by Lynn SwayzeScale Fast

How to Build Congruent Offers that Convert

views
51

It was the summer of 2016 and I was deep in the heart of Texas. My client, a software developer, had hired me to help him revamp his marketing and help him grow his business from a team of one to a team of five.

Like most clients who need marketing help, this client wasn’t quite ready for me.

For starters, he had two separate offers he wanted to sell to two separate and opposing prospects.

For example, he wanted to sell custom applications to startups.

He also wanted to sell custom end-to-end back-end applications for established businesses.

And he also thought that $90 an hour was too much to charge for his services.

AND he wanted to be able to sell all that with a contact form on a website.

Does anyone else see a few glaring problem here?

When I came on, I knew that I couldn’t sell all of that on a single page, let alone with a contact form.

I also knew that my client couldn’t sell all of that, all at once.

And if we tried to brand and market to one avatar – say, the organization who needed custom software, for example – we’d turn away his other avatar, the funded startup.

And don’t get me started on $90/hour!

Phew.

I find that most of the time, entrepreneurs with lead generation problems don’t really have a lead generation problem. They have an offer or an operations  problem.

And fortunately, the offer problem is the easiest to fix, so that’s what we’ll talk about today.

The 10 P’s of a Congruent, Compelling Offer

What I found is that most of the time, when someone has on offer problem, it’s not that they’re necessarily selling the wrong thing, selling it to the wrong person, or pricing it incorrectly.

Just like my software developer client who wanted to sell custom development to barely-funded startups

Alone, any of those components is as fine as any other. There’s nothing inherently “bad” about selling a $5 product or targeting newbies…. Or doing the opposite for that matter and charging a $100,000 for a single consultation call.

The problem lies in the alignment of these components.

That is, the problem is that many struggle because they’re targeting the wrong person for the product they’re selling… or pricing it wrong for the person they’re targeting… or positioning wrong to attract the right person. And so on and so forth.

In all, I’ve uncovered ten different components of an offer, all of which must be in sync in order for your marketing to work as well as it can.

Once you get these down, you’ll know exactly what to say in your marketing messages and why some of the marketing you’ve launched previously may not have worked as well as you’d hoped.

The Top 3 P’s in the Marketing Prescription Formula

The top 3 P’s are the most important to get right out the gate. While the other P’s of the Marketing Formula can be off, get these first three wrong and nothing will work as you hope. These three are Problem, Person, and Product.

P#1 – The Problem You Solve

The first P is the Problem. I list it first because it’s the most important… and also the one so rarely ever looked at. The problem is the reason your prospect (or Person) is going to buy at all. Let’s say, for example, that you sell Tylenol. You’re not selling to every man and woman over the age of 18. No, you’re trying to reach those who have a headache. The same holds true for what you sell.

I believe Gary Bencivenga said it best when he said, “Demographics aren’t markets – problems are.”

P#2 – The Person You Reach

The second P is the Person. This Person will have the problem you solve. This person has certain characteristics, of course, but the important bit is that they will resonate with all your other P’s. (Which you’ll learn about if you download the Marketing Formula Worksheet.)

P#3 – The Product You Sell

The third P is the Product. Now, the product is of course what you sell. It’s also the SOLUTION to the Problem You Solve and it’s the solution the Person You Reach would want to buy or be able to buy. Note that the Product isn’t what you want to sell or what others say you should sell, but the very thing which solves the Problem for the Person.

Now here’s the thing: each of these three must be in alignment with each other. If you change one thing – such as the Product You Sell – you have to change the other items to match.

Before you hire a copywriter or marketing consultant, I encourage you to get at least these three items fully fleshed out and in alignment. That way, you give yourself the best chance for your marketing investment to pay off.

And to get all 10 P’s to build your Marketing Prescription Formula, you’ll want to get the 10P Marketing Prescription Worksheet. You can download it HERE.

Articles by Lynn SwayzeCopywriting

How I Build Funnels In Record Time (And How You Can Learn to Do The Same in < 5 Minutes)

views
45

I once worked with an Agora marketer who regularly built 7-figure businesses.
I can’t reveal his name, but let’s just say he’s big news in certain circles.
Anyway, he did something so radically different when he built businesses. Something that I’d long suspected was the right way to do it, but wasn’t sure until I saw him do it again and again to his immeasurable success.
Before I reveal what he did, I want to ask you a simple question:
How are you building your marketing campaigns right now?
If the answer is anything close to, “what’s a marketing campaign” or “I’m not’, then this is a blog post you definitely don’t want to miss.
Here’s how most small business owners build their marketing, if they build real marketing campaigns at all:
First, you either learn about a new marketing tactic from somewhere or you see it being done by a competitor or peer. You then decide to try it out.  Then, you wait a little bit and, seeing no new sales, abandon it for another new idea.
OR, you have some content ideas come to you and you record or launch them… only to abandon consistent content marketing efforts after a while.
OR, you spend a LOT of money on lead generation only to find that no one’s hitting that “Contact Me” form for more information.
OR, you’re launching campaigns but not selling anyone to the next step. So you might have one campaign to get people in the door and one to sell another piece, but nothing consistent that takes people from unaware to sold to the next step up.
Does any of that sound familiar?
It should, because if you’re being honest, one of those aforementioned strategies is the one you’re likely employing right now. I know this because I’ve seen it in the consulting world over and over and over again. I saw it as a copywriter more times than I care to count.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY.

What if I told you that you could have a consistent, sales-generating marketing machine running for you 24/7/365, able to consistently give you more sales than you know what to do with? What if I told you that everyone who’s making real money is doing this, and that you don’t need to be a genius to reverse-engineer their methods?
What if I told you that having a “complete” funnel is easier than the marketing gurus out there are leading you to believe?
Hang on to your horses, because that’s exactly what I’m going to show you over the next few minutes of your time. (I promise, it’ll be worth it!)

The Step-By-Step Method for Building Funnels

First I want to share some beliefs I have about marketing and entrepreneurship. They’re fundamental to the way I think and why I advocate the strategies I do, so bear with me for a moment while I share them.

  1. I believe that marketing should be simple. Most people complicate the hell out of something that should be as simple as 2+2 = 4.
  2. I believe that marketing is systematic, not creative. I believe that if something isn’t working now, we’ll eventually find the combination of items that works for you. We don’t need the kisses of muses, we just need data-driven decision making.
  3. I believe that direct response marketing works, both online and off. I believe that an “old-fashioned” funnel, while really unsexy in today’s AI-driven, technology-infused world, still works to generate consistent sales.
    With that out of the way, let’s talk about what I suggest.

When building campaigns, I suggest you lay the whole map out from start to finish.

When I say, “From start”, I mean the front-end of your funnel. When someone first learns about you, how do they get in your world? Who are they? What are they looking for?
That’s the first step in your funnel.
And on the other end, the “finish” of your funnel is the highest tiered product you currently have in your product line. Maybe it’s one-on-one consulting or a complete product package. Whatever it is, that’s the penultimate purchase.
Got that? So you’re moving someone from unaware of you, un-indoctrinated in your worldview, and un-sold on your offer to being your biggest fan, completely indoctrinated in the world-according-to-you, and completely sold on whatever you have to sell.
It’s a big chasm, and in order to cross it we need a bridge.
At step one is your Lead Magnet. This is the free piece of information that targets those who have the Problem You Solve. (One of my “10 P’s”.) Note that in order to qualify as a lead magnet, this content must be exchanged for information about themselves. (Like email.) A book seems to do well here, but there are many options nowadays.
Step 2 is the Tripwire, or the first purchase someone can make. So maybe it’s a $29 guide, or a $199 course, or a $59/month newsletter. Whatever it is, it’s something that gets them to invest in indoctrinating themselves in your worldview.
Step 3 is the next step up. This stage should still be mostly DIY, but should have a higher investment of their time and resources. (Note that I didn’t say yours.) Perhaps it’s a higher tiered course or a seminar ticket. It’s something that brings someone into your world without
Step 4 is even higher up. This is where someone should actually get some of your time, and it should be at an investment actually worth your time. So maybe a strategy session or a consultation call. Whatever it is, it should only be done with those who have gone through the other steps and indoctrinated themselves in your worldview.
Step 5 is the penultimate step and should be the most expensive available. This is where you’d actually offer some of your time, and it should only be with clients who’ve gone through the other steps and who are 100% ready and excited to work with you. You should not have to do much selling at this point, because they’re pursuing you.
Note that you can have as many multiple ladders like this at once. However for most, five steps is enough to develop a “full” funnel and create a good amount of revenue.
Of course, people will stop at different points. And some will take longer or shorter periods of time to move from one step to the next. But what won’t happen is you won’t leave money on the table because you have nothing to sell people on next.
So the natural next question is – What do you do at each step?
This is where the Marketing Trifecta comes in.

The Marketing Trifecta

In the Marketing Trifecta, at least my version anyway, each marketing step has three main components:

Component 1: An Attraction Mechanism

This is the email series, Facebook ad, blog post, etc that gets someone into that step’s mini funnel.

  • Ad Set
  • Blog Post
  • Social Media (Video/Post)

Component 2: An Indoctrination Mechanism

This is the piece of content that indoctrinates them a little bit more and gets them to purchase.

  • Sales Page
  • Email Series
  • Video

Component 3: A Conversion Mechanism

This is the item that they’re purchasing or opting in to.

  • Lead Magnet
  • Webinar
  • Book
  • Course
  • Program

Putting it All Together – the Marketing Asset Tracker

If you’re counting, you can see how creating complete campaigns like this can add up to a lot of copy and design assets. It’s not uncommon to have over 100 individual pieces of copy when we build full funnels like this… not to mention all the associated graphics assets. And that doesn’t include the actual product!
It’s no wonder that when you look at marketing campaigns in this way, as opposed to as a single object, that hiring someone to help you can and should be an expensive proposition. Getting this much marketing to work together in alignment with the others to indoctrinate someone takes a lot of work.
It’s more than just “putting something out there”. It takes knowing the frame of mind someone is in at each stage, what they already know about you and your philosophy, and what they need to know (what Todd Brown calls the “Marketing Thesis”) to move forward and purchase the next step.
This isn’t brain surgery, but it’s also not something you want to leave to Fiverr, either.
Which is why I created a tool I call the “Marketing Asset Tracker” to keep it all organized. When I fill one out for myself and for clients, I will generally write out everything at once, and then methodically build it all.
Here’s a screenshot of what that looks like when I’m managing the funnel building process:

So, everyone knows exactly what we’re building, what the status of it is, and where the draft for that piece of copy is. It’s all in one spreadsheet and ready for collaboration. Plus, it’s in an archive format easy to pass on to the next copywriter who’ll be optimizing the marketing assets.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that each “step” has the following components:

  • Ad Set
  • Sales Page (Or opt-in)
  • Thank You/Confirmation Page
  • Follow-up Sequence
  • Product (internal files for deliverable)

It’s really that easy to start. Of course, I do other things that are unique – such as create Project Codes, organize documents in Google Drive, and all that jazz… but I think you can get the gist with what I’ve shown you here.

Conclusion

REAL business owners know that marketing works best when it systematically takes someone from knowing nothing about you to being a repeat customer. And they know that you can’t wait for inspiration to strike – you just build it, step-by-step.
And now you know the 7-figure marketing secret only practiced by those “in the know”. 🙂

Want to dig deeper into how I plan and create complete marketing funnels with hundreds of pieces of copy? Then you’ll want to download my “Marketing Asset Tracker” Template and Mini Training today.

 

Articles by Lynn SwayzeCopywriting

Fix your Operations, Make More Money?

views
50

When small business owners come to me, they usually cite the same problems: wanting more leads, sales, and revenue. These entrepreneurs claim that if they could only sell a little bit more and get more clients, that their business problems would all be solved. For these entrepreneurs, they believe the lack of clients is the cause of their problems.
And yet when I come onto the scene, I find that the lack of consistent sales is the symptom of a deeper problem, not the cause.
These businesses tend to have other symptoms too:

  • They can’t seem to get marketing launched on time (or at all)
  • They have haphazard marketing efforts, such as starting and stopping social media posts and sending emails erratically
  • They are falling behind on completing current client work while still hoping for (or needing) new client work or sales to fill the revenue gap
  • Clients are consistently not a good fit (personality, readiness, follow-through)

When I first became a copywriter, I ignored these concurrent symptoms and focused on the marketing and copy. I figured, it was someone else’s job to fix the operational problems. And if I got my client a lot of sales, well then great… they could figure out how to fulfill on their own.
But that plan didn’t fly when Mr. Success became one of my clients. Mr. Success, as I call him, was very good at what he did. He had a few famous clients on his roster… the kind of high profile clients most of us would LOVE to be working with. And yet, he could barely remain profitable. Clients resisted paying for his fees and he couldn’t keep up with fulfillment.
So how was it that a consultant with high profile success stories, a number of awards, and regular speaking engagements could have such problems?
The answer, I found, was in what I call the Profit-Operations Factor.

The Profit-Operations Factor

The Profit-Operations Factor says that how profitable you are is directly correlated to how solid your operations foundation is at all three points in your business:

  • The Front-End Lead Generation
  • The Core Work Fulfillment
  • The Back-End Product Development

And each of those areas can cause major profit loss if you can’t complete the work required for each. So, you can have the lead generation down pat, but if you can’t fulfill, you’ll still experience profit loss. Or, you can have the client fulfillment down and not have enough time to get more leads or create more products.
And most small business owners suck at at least one of them, if not all of them, without a solid operations foundation.
Mr. Success, it turns out, sucked at all of it. When I came on to do copy, he changed his campaign multiple times, up to and including changing his business name. And when it came to fulfillment, he didn’t have work systemized enough to consistently churn out work. And when it came to new product development and upsells… he consistently spent time creating products no one wanted to buy, rather than selling what people actually wanted.
His problem wasn’t that he didn’t have good marketing assets or copy. It’s that he didn’t have the operations foundations necessary to stick to a plan and follow-through to completion. It is for this reason that I created the Scale Fast System.
In my Scale Fast System, we tackle all 5 areas of your business:

  • Delegation, or your team structure, cohesion, and role splitting
  • Documentation, or the knowledge management about what you do and how you do it
  • Conversions, or your sales and marketing processes and success
  • Automation, or your ability to systemize and automate parts of work fulfillment
  • Optimization, or consistent process improvement

And we incorporate the mindset and project planning steps you’re likely missing so you actually get projects done, rather than starting and stopping a million projects.
And if Mr. Success was a client today, I wouldn’t have started with the copy. I’d instead have addressed the Visionary Chaos causing him to start and stop projects first, and then I’d address his quarterly planning, and then I’d address the copy.
If you’re thinking about hiring someone for marketing, first ask yourself:
Is this really a marketing problem, or a follow-through problem?
And if it’s the latter, I suggest focusing on building a complete funnel you won’t have to change in six months or a year, rather than worrying about lots of little things which won’t move the needle.

Want to know how I plan and create complete marketing funnels with hundreds of pieces of copy? Then you’ll want to download my “Marketing Asset Tracker” Template and Mini Training today.

The REAL Reason Copywriters Have Books and Courses

views
386

The other day, a copywriting friend of mine declared that he couldn’t possibly write a book.

The reason?
“I just don’t have enough experience!” he complained.
I laughed and explained that not being at the top is the best time to launch an information product.
Listen: the copywriters at the top got there by writing a book, starting a course, or launching some other information marketing product.
The top copywriters… at least the well-known ones… began their major upward swing when they launched marketing.
And that marketing allowed them to get even better gigs, for better pay, with better results.
Few became well-known experts, gained expert results, and then said, “Oh, I should probably teach this to others.”
And among those who did, many became famous AFTER being involved in someone else’s marketing. (A podcast or two, an industry event, a conference, etc.)
So the correlation is still the same.
Let me repeat that:
If you want to join the upper eschelon in your field…
Be it copywriting, dentistry, consulting, or anything else…
Then you want to become a teacher. 
Think about it: let’s say you have a project which needs a copywriter and you need the BEST.
Before you are two very similiar copywriters who specialize in your niche. Both have similar results. The difference is that one of them has trained 5,000 others to do what they do… with similar, stellar results. And as a result, this second person is well-known by many, many people and came highly recommended.
If you need and can afford the best, who do you pick?
The copywriter who spends all his time alone in a bungalow, or the copywriter who’s generous and ultra successful in marketing his own products as well as those of others?
There’s a reason that people with books and courses have full calendars — and a high price list to boot.
THIS is why copywriters have courses and books. (Of course, aside from the fact that books and courses are great marketing tools in and of themselves.)
Books, courses, newsletters, trainings, and other information products set you apart as an authority. An expert.
And experts get to charge more… and receive fewer complaints at the same time.
For the exact same service as people charging 10x less.
Unfair? Absolutely.
Effective? You betcha.
That’s just how it works. Either you complain about it, or you do something about it.
Which is why I’m creating a program which walks you through the 10 (or so) elements needed to build a unique, competition-proof persona and charge what you deserve.
And just like writing a book or creating a course, ALL of them can be done even if you’re “at the bottom”.
If you’re interested in hearing more, click here to be first to know.

_____________________

This post was sent as part of “Lynn Swayze’s Marketing Newsletter”. Sign up to get on the list.

Price to Win: Why Price Objections Are Never About the Price….

views
125

 
 

Have you ever heard the following from a customer…?

I can’t afford this.
Your [product/service] is out of budget.
You are too expensive.
I’m going to go with a cheaper option.
If you’ve seen or heard any of these, then this post is for you.
Here are the sobering, heart-stopping truths about price psychology…

Truth #1: Price issues are never about price.

When I first started freelancing, I had a hard time selling myself. I kept getting caught up in the usual things that tripped me up… namely, I kept focusing on me and my skillsmy experiencemy background.
Thing is… no one cares about that. No one cares about me personally. They don’t care how I do my copywriting, or what I used to train for it, or any of that stuff.
They don’t care about the technology.
They don’t care about the tools you or I use.
They don’t even care about the superiority of a method.

Your customers only care about how wonderful their life will be once their problem is solved.

The only thing your customer wants to be sold on is how great their life will be post-solution. They don’t want to know how you did it, really. Even if they’re buying a how-to guide, they don’t want to hear you talk about how you produced that lead magnet using a voice-to-speech software and then published it via a premier publishing company and then shipped it via Samcart. They don’t even care if it’s 30 pages or 150. They want to know how well whatever it is you’re offering will tie into their results.
There are three things you must prove:

  1. You are trustworthy
  2. You understand their problem exactly
  3. Your service / your product can solve their problem better (read: faster, more ROI, less work) than doing nothing, buying from a competitor, or doing it themselves

So if your entire pitch was about you… 
…how you would technically execute the solution
…your years of experience or certifications
…how much passion you have about the job
Instead of about your prospect’s end result…
…the kind of life he will live using your product or service
…how easy he would solve his problem using your service (as shown through testimonials)
Then you are likely losing sales.
 

Truth #2: There are three reasons people use price as an excuse

There are only three reasons that people have when they use price as an excuse.

Reason 1: They cannot actually afford your service.

Sometimes, people will look into your service because they do have a problem, but they’re still in research mode.
They don’t know anything about you or your price or what you do.
Sometimes they’re just looking.
They may not be ready to buy. So if they say they can’t afford it…maybe they literally cannot afford it.
Or maybe, they’re not your ideal buyer.
If you’ve built out a buyer persona and you’re targeting a specific customer, then your price will fit that buyer persona. By definition, a person who cannot afford your service is not your ideal buyer. Period.
Stay top of mind with this person (through retargeting, lower-price hands off products, and regular email marketing) but DO NOT lower your price because then you’re lowering your value.
They will not value you more because you gave them a discount.
Therefore, do not lower your price to win a sale.
If you really think this project or customer is a good fit, the best thing you can do is to continue to offer proof.
Offer hope that will get them thinking about their life after hiring you. Plant that seed.
Let them see your product as a sure investment in their future.
So let’s say someone cannot afford a product, but you know that they will make the money back quickly. If you can absolutely guarantee that they’ll make money, make sure that you’re reducing their risk so it’s a no-brainer that they will no matter what make that money back very, very quickly. Make sure you’ve highlighted your guarantee. Offer them payment plans.
But don’t ever, ever reduce your value by discounting.

Reason 2:  They do not value your service or the end result.

Some prospects want results without investing anything. They expect the moon but don’t respect your time or expertise.
These prospects haven’t done their research about what you do or how you help.
They don’t know how much work it takes to become an expert in [whatever you do] like you have.
They don’t know (or care) how long it takes you to do what you do.
And they certainly don’t want to invest in their own end result.
So they want to 10X their income but don’t want to put in the 10% it’d take up front?
In my mind I’m pretty sure they don’t want it bad enough.
Let’s take a look at my own story, shall we?
So far I’ve invested $25,000+ in my copywriting training, in website building, books, etc. I want to be a full-time copywriter that makes millions for my clients more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my whole freakin’ life. Is $25K worth the seven figures I’ll make? Hell freakin’ yes.
Your prospects should be the same way. If they want the moon, they better be willing to pay for a rocket ship.
If you see these prospects…RUN.
These types of clients and customers are terrible.
They…

  • Will question you constantly
  • Will redo what you’ve done or disrespect your time and effort
  • Don’t actually know what they’re talking about but will talk down to you anyway
  • Will ask for refunds unnecessarily
  • Will complain constantly about the very things others gush about
  • Won’t recommend you to others or provide a referral

The best thing to do here is not sign them up.
And if you can, figure out what attracted them in the first place and disqualify them faster and earlier in the sales process.

Reason 3: You have not proven how what you do ties into their results and how it’s worth what you charge.

The good thing about reason number three is that it’s in your control. Unlike the other ones which rely on your prospect, this one you can fix.
So if you’ve built a buyer persona and know your prospect well…. You shouldn’t have this problem.
If prospects who have the budget and value the outcome are not choosing you it’s because you haven’t sold yourself well.
What do you do?
 Go back through all of your sales materials, your website, and your proposal and pull out every selfish, I-focused bit. Pull out all the feature-only content and rewrite it so that every “feature” has a so what attached to it.
Because remember, people buy for emotional reasons and justify with logic.
 Honestly, this is why copywriting is so freaking hard and is so expensive. Copywriting which pulls the emotional strings and sells without turning someone off is very, very difficult.

Truth #3: Price is a marketing strategy, so use it like one

Your pricing tells the world more than you think. It tells the world what you think of yourself. And it tells the world who you help.

First, pricing tells the world what you think of yourself

If you believe actual core that what you do is valuable and will benefit your customer then it is your obligation to sell it and if you believe that what you do is valuable and you will charge a price that is commiserate with that value when you charge to low you’re saying that you don’t believe that it’s any good.

Second, your price tells the world what you think of money.

If you’ve never made more than $1000 a month in your entire life, you’re going to feel shame selling a product or service for $1500 or $3000 or $10,000. Have you only made $250,000 as an entrepreneur? You’d likely choke at pitching a $350K project.
Your price reflects your own inner barriers if you let it.
This is why most of the top names in the industry raised prices incrementally….
…and also why each of them will recommend mindset books such as “Think and Grow Rich” and what-not to new followers.
Your mindset is everything.
Pricing fails happen when you get stuck on yourself.
Most people price to please themselves instead of the prospect.
Let’s say you sell to enterprise customers:
Do you think a company like Microsoft or Dell is going to take you seriously when you charge $150 per white paper…. Instead of the $1500-$7000 the industry charges?
Or $15 per hour to consult on business marketing?
The answer, of course, is no.
Your client knows that if you really understood the market….
and really understood the amount of work it took to produce a white paper….
And you really knew what a good white paper could do for a company’s lead generation efforts…
That you’d charge a good rate for it.
While you personally might not be able to afford to hire someone at $3000 to write a lead magnet, it doesn’t mean that your prospect can’t.
By focusing on you and your limitations instead of who your prospect is, what their budget is, and what their expectations are, you are missing out.
Your pricing must reflect the your ideal buyer’s expections.
Note, that you won’t meet everyone’s expectations. You shouldn’t!
Your goal is to sell someone very, very specific buyer a very specific outcome. That outcome… that happiness… has a price tag.
Find it, prove it, and then own it.
Remember, your price is not about you.

Third, your price tells the world who you help.

Let’s go back to the example of Microsoft. If you are a white paper writer, your market is pretty wide. Companies of all sizes need white papers written:

  • Small startups just barely launched
  • Enterprise IT companies who make millions in revenue
  • Software Development firms who’ve been in business for 25 years
  • Etc…

Now, if you price at $10,000 white paper you are essentially saying that you only work with clients who have a big budget and who get big revenue out of the lead magnet that you generate. You’re also saying that you’ll only work with clients who deeply value and need what you produce.
See how that works? It’s not about how hard or easy it is for you to write it. It’s about the results and how your customers perceive you.
Your price should be one way that you disqualify bad leads so you can qualify good ones.
Your price is a marketing strategy. Use it as such.

Five Common Consultant Website Problems

views
93

TL;DR: Over the course of this article I’m going to describe the most common website flaws for consultants. There are many (including some that yours truly engages in), but these are the most likely to harm your long-term profitability. These are: a lack of an about page, no email list, no lead magnet, blogging for the wrong audience, and no selling. Read on to get the full scoop.


Table of Contents:
I. Why do I need a website?
II. Common mistake 1: No About Page
III. Common Mistake 2: No Email List
IV. Common Mistake 3: No Lead Magnet
V. Common Mistake 4: Blogging for the wrong audience
VI. Common Mistake 5: Not Selling
VII. Conclusion & Resources


Why do I need a website?

What’s the purpose of a website for consultants?

  • Is it to help with Google search results?
  • Is it to generate leads?
  • Is it to sell your products/services?
  • Is it to showcase your expertise in your field via media (articles, video, audio)?
  • Is it to link to your social media?

If you answered all of the above, you’re right!
And if you struggle with your website, you’re not alone. And also, I want to tell you right now that it’s not your fault. Website creation is purposely made complicated by designers, web devs, and people who make their living selling websites. If they made it sound easy, they’d be out of a job. So if you have in your head that you need to spend $10,000 in order to put up a blog, then you can blame them.
Should you spend some money in quality graphics? Absolutely. Is it necessary when you as a consultant aren’t profitable yet? No. it’s not. Spend money on other things like ads, direct mail, etc., but not on your website. Not at first.
Think of your website as your marketing real estate. It’s the one corner on the internet that you own. It’ll be yours no matter what social media platform is popular or how big you get. It will grow in usefulness the longer it remains in effect. And all of the information on the site is under your control. The layout, the content, the pages, the design. All of it.
Over the course of this article I’m going to describe the most common website flaws for consultants. There are many (including some that yours truly engages in), but these are the most likely to harm your long-term profitability.

Common mistake 1: No About Page

The most common mistake that I see is a lack of an about page or an ineffective about page. Your about page is the one part of your site where you can really talk about yourself. You want to tell your story and through the narrative answer the following questions:
Who are you?
I mean the real you, not your “business persona” version of you. As a tech consultant, do you have a degree in networking, or did you come from a liberal arts background? As a copywriter – did you start off in a different field altogether? What makes you uniquely qualified to do your job?
What do you do/sell?
What do you sell? Do you sell products, like books and courses? Do you sell services, like monthly retainer consulting about something specific? Why do you sell what you do, and not something else?
How do you help your customers?
Here’s an example I came up with on the fly just now for this blog post based on the “60 Second Sales Hook”, a template created by  copywriting mentor Kevin Rogers:
“Hi, I’m Lynn Swayze. I’m an independent copywriter based out of Charleston, Illinois.
For years I watched businesses I worked for struggle to make sales and generate leads. It seemed like everyone had the same problem: they spent entirely too much in advertising, got too few results, and ended up with clients that weren’t a good fit for their services. I knew that their had to be a better way for B2B companies to sell more of their products and services.
In my searching I discovered direct response copywriting. It was the piece that companies were missing! After spending thousands in training from the industry’s top copywriters and internet marketers, reading dozens of books, and hundreds of hours spent reading and hand copying time-tested ads, I learned what worked and what didn’t for B2B companies. 
Now I spend my time helping others apply time-tested marketing and copywriting techniques in their business. I write landing pages and website content, develop marketing funnels, and create lead magnets for companies of all sizes.
If you’re interested to see how I can help you, opt in to my waiting list and then HIT REPLY to the email you’re sent. Or, send me an email at lynn (at) lynnswayze.com and let’s get started.”
See… it’s not so hard! The hard part is opening up in the first place. Note that my about page example as a call to action that isn’t some version of “contact me”. It offers a low-threshold way for people to get more information without directly contacting me.

Common Mistake 2: No Email List

Okay my tech consultants out there… this is probably your #1 problem. You hate spam and so instead of using email to foster conversations and build relationships with your prospects, you avoid it altogether. And you don’t sell. No one uses your “contact me” form. And there is no direct link between website visitors and sales because you didn’t build one.
Mantra: Your website = lead generation tool
Let me ask you really quick…. how many leads does your website generate? If you’re like many consultants, it’s well under 500 total. For one of my best clients, the answer was ZERO. So, let’s say that your website receives 200 views a month. How many of those views translate into prospects, let alone customers? You need to get this number to at least 3%, if not 10%. Ten would be awesome for most consultants. How do you do this? Well, you get a list.
Think of your email list as your future customer database. 
If you do it right, your email list is comprised of people who are your prospects. So, let’s say that you build a proper lead magnet (ebook, worksheet, white paper, etc) and it attracts your ideal client. Your ideal client wants the information and signs up. Now you have a list of individuals who have enough of a problem that they’re willing to exchange their email address for it. That’s a big deal!
Email doesn’t have to be spammy.
Now you can start to build a relationship with those clients. Show them your personality. Offer them value. And more importantly… you stay TOP OF MIND by emailing them at least weekly, if not daily. They won’t forget your name. When they think of a consultant who does what you do, who do you think they’ll think of? If they’re reading your emails every day, then they’ll think of you. They’ll forward your emails to friends. And they’ll refer you to others if they don’t hire you directly themselves. And when it is time to sell (a book you’ve launched, an opening on your waitlist, etc), it won’t come across as spammy because you’re now the friend who’s reaching out with something that’ll help them and not another cold emailing salesman.

FREE course -> “Charge What You’re Worth” by Brennan Dunn

I recommend Aweber  or Active Campaign for email management, but there are others that’ll do the job too, like Drip or ConvertKit or even Mailchimp. Note that you’ll need an @yourdomain.com email address instead of a public one like Google or Hotmail or Yahoo.

Common Mistake 3: No Lead Magnet

In order to get emails, you have to have a lead magnet. A good lead magnet can be used for PPC ads and for email signups on your page. A good lead magnet will provide value (just enough!) without giving away the whole farm. And it will help establish you as an authority in whatever it is you do/teach/sell.
TL;DR: You are offering something of value you have (information) in exchange for something of value they have (an email address/their information, their time). You are looking for those website visitors who raise their hand and are essentially saying, “Yes, I have this problem!” You are starting a conversation with potential prospects.

Common Mistake 4: Blogging for the wrong audience

Okay guys…. you know who you are. Those of you writing about the latest technical tool instead of about your customer’s needs. When you do the former, you are blogging to the wrong audience. So, let’s say that you lead magnet provides value to your ideal customer. Great. But if your blog posts (SEO magnets!) talk to your peers instead of to your prospects, do you think you’ll get opt-ins to your email list? No… no you won’t.
Talk to your prospects. Talk about how you’ve solved a client problem. Address a common question you get. But don’t talk about technical stuff no one but your peers care about. Save that content for where it matters – tech blogs and magazines where you can guest post. Your site should sell you.
Exception: if you want to sell books or training to your peers, then by all means blog about the technical, profession-related stuff. But in this case you’re still following the rule to blog to your customer, because your customer has changed. See where I’m going with this? 🙂

Here’s Jon Morrow’s secret for blogging success (from : https://smartblogger.com/stephen-king/):
“You want the formula for writing popular blog posts? Here it is: Jot down a list of blog topics you could write about. Circle the ones at least 80% of your readers would find irresistible. Write about those topics and nothing else.”

Common Mistake 5: Not Selling

This really goes back to mistake #1 and #2… many people hate selling. For some reason, it’s a big taboo to like selling. I don’t know why it is, but we all think of the sleazy car salesman when we talk about selling. It’s such a wrong mindset to have, though.
If your product or service actaully helps people, it is your OBLIGATION to sell them on it if they’re a good fit. (e.g., they can afford it and they’re ready for it). Why would you deny prospects the ability to grow their busines, improve their IT infrastructure, make more money, or whatever it is that your product does for them?
I think people get caught up in themselves and forget that they’re bringing value. They think, “No one would pay me $150 an hour to do this. I don’t know as much as [insert expert]!” Thing is, you know more than your prospects and clients and you will get them results. That’s what they’re paying for. Not for YOU, but for the RESULTS.
On your website, therefore, you have to sell. Make it easy for people to opt in to your list. If you sell a low-priced product (a book, for example), make it easy for them to buy it. Advertise it like you would someone else’s product. Talk about it at the end of your emails. Make sure that everyone who comes to your site is VERY CLEAR on what you do and how they can buy from you. Because people buy when they’re ready, not when you’re ready.

Conclusion

You’re probably making at least one of these website mistakes, and that’s okay! It’s never too late to fix a website that isn’t working. And if you get stuck, please reach out by commenting below. I love hearing from my readers.
Now go thee forth and make more money!
If you found this post helpful, you should get on my mailing list. And please… share this with someone who needs kick in their website booty.
Useful Resources:*


* this is an affiliate link. Just do some Google searching for the title if you’d rather those pennies stay in Amazon’s/whoever’s pockets instead.

Articles by Lynn SwayzePricing

Why I Don't Ever Recommend Hourly Billing

views
178

Table of Contents:
I. Why do we engage in hourly billing?
II. Why don’t big names engage in hourly billing?
III. What’s the risk of hourly billing?
IV. Price Anchoring
V. How to Sell Using Price Anchoring (Quick 3 Steps)
VI. Conclusion & Resources


Why do we engage in hourly billing?

Tell me: What do all the “gurus” say you should focus on when you go about pricing your services? They talk about pricing per hour.
It’s not your fault. You believe it because when you started working, you were paid per hour.
A “job” = exchange of hours for money.
So then when we go out and start software consulting companies, marketing consulting companies, freelance businesses, etc.,…. we think about hours. Even when many bill “projects”, they still compute the price based on the # of hours it’d take and charge that.
Example: 3 x $100 an hour = $300 for a logo
Nooooooo…….. 

Why don’t the big names engage in hourly billing?

Look… there are consultants charging $50-100 an hour and there are consultants charging tens of thousands per day. Don’t believe me? According to my copy of Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing*, Dan charges something like $19,000+ per day to fix their marketing and build a direct mail funnel.
Why don’t they engage in hourly billing? They don’t because they would never get as affluent as they are charging hourly rates. I mean, some of these guys charge tens of thousands just to speak at an event. How do you think it would sound if they actually talked to people about what they made per hour?

What’s the Risk of Hourly Billing?

There are three risks associated with hourly billing: Commoditization, Profit Loss, and Inefficiency
Commoditization
The thing is, when you charge by the hour, you’ve essentially made yourself a commodity. A commodity is something that’s just like everything else. So when you say, “I’m a consultant who does X and charges Y!” Well, your client is only thinking about the rate. They’re not thinking about why you’re different or the results you’re going to bring compared to what anyone else can bring them. They’re only thinking about the rate. So they’re going to compare you to the next person who does X but charges Z, and they’re going to pick the cheapest one. Or, they’ll go with you until they decide they don’t want to pay your fee anymore.
Profit Loss
And then there’s the profitability ceiling…
Here’s an example where hourly billing goes wrong as applied to profitability:
Let’s say that you are one of the tens of thousands of IT consulting firms who charges between $100-$150 an hour to do IT stuff. (Software development, network infrastructure, whatever.) Now, when it was just you there was a lot of money to be made. You were bringing in 200K a year and had negligible business overhead (let’s say $12K a year for office space and training and such.) Great.
But you wanted to make more money. How did you do that? Well, you got more contracts at $100-$150 an hour, but you outsourced some of the work for $50 an hour. So now you have people underneath you making $100K a year and you pocketed the remainder.
The problem? As you hire people, you expenses go up and your profits go down. Now you have to hire people to do all of the business stuff, like accounting and sales and HR.
And the only way to make more money? Take on more contracts and hire more people. You can’t charge more, because that $100-$150K is the market rate for what you do. Your clients know that what you do is a commodity and can and will go elsewhere if your rate is too unjustifiable. So you just keep taking on more clients, hoping that eventually your costs will stabilize. Or maybe you pay people less, taking on more junior employees. Or maybe you make your employees work more while pocketing the rest.
Either way, it’s a quick train to burnout land.

In short: your profitability has reached its ceiling. Congratulations.

via GIPHY
Instead, what this company (and I swear there are tens of thousands out there like that fictional one I described) should do is focus on the end result they’re creating and point pricing to that. Instead of making only $200K for a year’s worth of work, they could anchor at $250K… $350K… $450K… and actually make a profit that doesn’t revolve around billing employees at 4x what they’re actually getting paid.
Efficiency
When you know that you have 10 hours to do a job and you’ll only get paid if you sit there for 10 hours to do it, do you think there’s any incentive to work faster or get better at what you do? No. It puts you at a moral dilemma. If you weren’t paid by the hour, you could buy tools or do things in such a way that you get your client’s work done faster and better. Instead, you are tied to hours because otherwise you can’t pay the bills. So will you buy a tool that will do the job better, or get the job done quickly so the client can reap the rewards quickly?
The answer is no, you don’t. Instead use up the hours you’re allotted because that’s the only way you make money.
There are only three ways to make money at that point:

  1. Charge only what time you spent, but over time be forced to take on more and more clients once you’ve reached the per-hour ceiling. (You become more efficient so your per-hour becomes less profitable.)
  2. Charge what was quoted, whether you actually used all that time or not. (Cheating and lying to your client – that’s bad mojo.)
  3. Take all the time allotted to do the job, and never break away from the working-all-the-time wheelhouse you wanted to get away from in the first place. (At this point, you might as well go back to your j-o-b.)

Instead of all of that drama, you could just price according to the project’s value, do the job in the time it takes, and deliver value quickly so your client can reap the rewards. No killing yourself, cheating yourself or your client, or being inefficient. Just work you want to do at a rate that pays your bills.
Sounds good, right? Then let’s look at price anchoring and how it affects your billing.

FREE course -> “Charge What You’re Worth” by Brennan Dunn

Price Anchoring

Price anchoring is the idea that the first piece of information you receive about something will create a bias that colors the rest of your experience. This is why it’s so hard to change your prices with existing clients, and why you have to anchor it to something else (e.g., your posted rates are now significantly higher than they’re paying, and you don’t want them to feel like they’re getting second-rate work from you because they’re paying less. Etc). 

How to Sell Using Price Anchoring:

Look at my previous post on pricing for more details, but here’s the shortcut version:

  1. Find out what their most painful problem is
  2. Discover and discuss what that most painful problem costs them or is worth
  3. Talk about your pricing in relation to solving that problem

The best way to achieve this is to price per project. What value are you giving in exchange for your fees?

Conclusion

Summary:

  1. Hourly billing reduces your total income and makes you a commodity
  2. Price according to value, not to yourself or market rates
  3. Use Price Anchoring to your advantage

I want to add something here: Something magical happens in your head when you stop thinking about hours. The first is that you become more efficient. The second is that you stop working so darn  much and you stop sweating it. If you’re bringing the value and end result you promised your consultants, then you’re doing your job. Who cares if it only takes you 20 hours? That’s your business. And if it takes you a ridiculous amount of time to do a job? Well, that’s your business (/problem) also.
The results are what you’re promising and what your clients pay for. Anything else is just a golden handcuff and a focus on the wrong thing (e.g., labor instead of the end result).
You want both you and the client to be on the same page and focused on getting a very specific end result. 
Got it?
Now go thee forth and make more money!

via GIPHY

If you found this post helpful, you should get on my mailing list. And please… share this with someone who needs kick in their pricing booty.
Useful Resources:


* this is an affiliate link. Just do some Google searching for the title if you’d rather those pennies stay in Amazon’s/whoever’s pockets instead.

How to Figure Out What You Should Charge

views
119

Table of Contents:
I. Why is Pricing So Hard?
II. Pricing is all Mindset
III. It’s Not Your Fault
IV. Price Anchoring
V. How to Sell Using Price Anchoring (Quick 3 Steps)
VI. Conclusion & Resources


 

Why is Pricing so Hard?

One of the most burning questions I had when I first got started in consulting was, “How much do I charge?!” I would go into cold sweats every time I thought about raising my rates to even close to what I knew I could charge.
Maybe you’re like I was. If you keep asking the same thing, you’re not alone. So many copywriters, consultants, and even service providers I meet ask the same thing. It’s a difficult thing to price correctly, and the reason is because you’re thinking about it all wrong.

Pricing is All Mindset

Pricing really is more art than science. There really aren’t any magic numbers that work for every person, market, or problem. Let’s look at the consulting realm:
There are consultants charging $50-100 an hour and there are consultants charging tens of thousands per day. Don’t believe me? According to my copy of Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing*, Dan charges something like $19,000+ per day to fix their marketing and build a direct mail funnel. Why such variability in what is essentially the same service?
The truth is, making more money as a consultant is entirely a combination of mindset + price anchoring + confidence. And the confidence in your rates is probably the most important of all of them.

It’s Not Your Fault

Look, it’s not your fault. What do all the “gurus” say when they talk about pricing your services? They say something like this:

“Price what you’re worth!”

But “Price What You’re Worth” leads to a line of thinking that goes like this:

  1. Last time I worked for a client/had a job, I made $X per Hour
  2. In order to pay my bills, I need $Y per Hour.
  3. The other guys I’m competing with charge $Z per hour, therefore I have to charge Z.
  4. I can’t get work quickly despite advertising my rates, so I must be too high. I’m going to charge closer to $X.

Yiiiiiiiikes people. This is bad. This is why we get that race to the bottom that every freelancer warns about. It’s bad mojo and it’s killing your business.
The truth is, there’s a better mantra you have to use when you price. Are you ready?

It’s simple: “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.” 

Seriously, stop thinking about youyour worth, your skills, your experience. Your prospects don’t actually care about that beyond the value of a story, which is what it takes to get them interested in you in the first place. Otherwise, it’s meaningless to most prospects, who by the way don’t know you from Scott down the street.
Instead, focus on themTheir problems, their goals, their pain pointstheir awareness level. Heck, even their budget, which is likely a h-e-double hockeysticks level above your own  meager need-per-month.
Have you ever read the book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People?”* It’s a great book, by the way, and one you should grab immediately. The gist of it is pretty simple, and it goes like this: In order to be interesting, you have to be interested.
That is, people enjoy talking about themselves. They enjoy it so much that they’ll think you’re the greatest person since sliced bread if you’ll let them ramble. People are craving to be heard and understood. You taking a few minutes out of your day to do it will mean the world to someone else. And that’s how you create relationships.
So when you’re marketing, you had better be talking about them. Don’t talk about yourself. Talk about the problem that you solve. Which brings me to the next point: price anchoring.

Price Anchoring

Price anchoring is the idea that the first piece of information you receive about something will create a bias that colors the rest of your experience. This is why it’s so hard to change your prices with existing clients, and why you have to anchor it to something else (e.g., your posted rates are now significantly higher than they’re paying, and you don’t want them to feel like they’re getting second-rate work from you because they’re paying less. Etc). 
P.S. Eric Yu talks about the three benefits of price anchoring. I highly recommend you hop on over there when you finish with this post.

How to Sell Using Price Anchoring:

  1. Find out what their most painful problem is
  2. Discover and discuss what that most painful problem costs them or is worth
  3. Talk about your pricing in relation to solving that problem

For example: as of July 2016, I charge $5000 per month for my consulting and copywriting. It’s a terribly low number for the results I bring, but we all have to start somewhere, right? When I sell my services, I always anchor it on the goal revenue I’m going to bring them as a result of working with me. I point to what I’ve done for other clients (usually 3-4X my retainer) as proof of the ROI.
Then I point to what else they could spend their money on, which wouldn’t get them the same ROI. E.g., hiring an expensive “graphic-designer-slash-marketer” at $60K, who doesn’t know direct response like I do. Or a six figure CMO who doesn’t guarantee her work like I do. When I’m telling a customer (and looking them square in the eye) and guaranteeing that I’ll bring them from $100,000 annually to $250,000+ annually or I’ll work for free until I do
well… that $60K in exchange for “guaranteed” $150K+ they didn’t know how to get starts looking pretty cheap, doesn’t it?
This is why your landing pages, sales letters, etc have to have benefits. This is why any copywriter you hire will rip out your “features” and “years of experience” wording right away. This is why the big time consultants barely talk about themselves.

Here’s a free Freelance Rate Calculator from Brennan Dunn

Example: Look at Ramit Sethi’s about page – everything he talks about  relates back to solving your financial problems. He only shares enough to prove that he’s just like you and that he understands what you’re going through.

Conclusion

Summary:

  1. Pricing is hard because you’ve been misled by everyone
  2. Price according to value, not to yourself or market rates
  3. Use Price Anchoring to your advantage

Now go thee forth and make more money!

via GIPHY

If you found this post helpful, you should get on my mailing list. And please… share this with someone who needs kick in their pricing booty.
Useful Resources:


* this is an affiliate link. Just do some Google searching for the title if you’d rather those pennies stay in Amazon’s/whoever’s pockets instead.

>