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I believe one of the greatest hurdles for most small businesses is that they don’t know who THEY are.

It does next to no good to identify and try to sell to other businesses or consumers if you haven’t yet defined who you are and clearly developed your own brand.  I do a fair amount of work in Competitive Intelligence for clients and in all cases the first thing I make sure happens is that they know everything about themself that they would like to know about their competition.

I liken this to the idea that if you do not have a clear picture of your starting point followed by a clear picture of your goal… there is no way you can successfully navigate from one to the other.

So what exactly is a "Brand" and how does one define it?

Well, I have a gift for you today in the form of a presentation that I stumbled across on SlideShare.net.  I strongly urge you to take a few minutes and watch it below.  There is not audio (so don’t worry that your speakers are not working) but what you’ll see on the screen says it all.

Enjoy… Learn… Put Into Practice… I am.

 [slideshare id 28886&doc=the-brand-gap-14630&w=425]

 (Use the controls above to move through the presentation)

 

Let me know what you think after you watch it.  Your comments will help us all use this information.

Onward & Upward!

Sam

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Offline Marketing, Online Marketing by  #

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Before I get rolling on this I feel I need to make an important distinction:

When attempting to affect the position in which a given page shows in the Search Engine Results there are generally two lines of work that are performed.

First we have SEO or Search Engine Optimization.  This is the work that is done ON a website (which in the Search Engines’ eyes is actually a collection of interlinked individual pages) to help guide the engines to associating pages with the topics we want them to.  This also includes designing pages so they are Search Engine friendly meaning it is as easy as possible for the Search Engines to move through a page and rapidly determine its focus.  This also includes a well designed linking strategy within a site’s pages to maximize and control the flow of page rank as it is passed from page to page.

This is an area that once upon a time was the key to ranking highly in the Search Engines results.  These days, the on-site work still needs to be done to maximize results but it is all that happens off of your site that is most important to the Search Engines.

Search Engine Marketing or SEM is the collection of tactics and efforts that take place off of your site for the purpose of increasing a page’s standing in the Search Engine results.  This can be made up of many activities but at the root of it all is linking.

In the evolution of SEM there was a time when simply having the most links pointing to a page got you the results you wanted.  It didn’t matter from where those links came as long as there were lots of them.  That can still be true to some extent today but the game has changed.

There are many factors that a Search Engine considers (at least the ones we are aware of) when determining its "opinion" of what a link does for your page.  These factors include:

  • The age of the domain from where the link is coming
  • The relevance of the page content from where the link is coming
  • The relevance of the link anchor text
  • The page rank of the linking page
  • The overall "quality" (a nice subjective view) of the linking page
  •  And a number of other factors

 Taking all of that into consideration the impact of fewer, high-power links as opposed to a ton of lower quality links would start to explain how some pages with seemingly low link counts (relative to the other ranking pages around them, are able to make it onto the first page of the SERP’s.

 Logic says then that website owners would serve themselves well to put their efforts into securing links from high PR, well respected sites (which can take some serious work) as opposed to going the easier route which is the acquisition of tons of lower quality links.

This leads to one more issue…

What the client expects.

I purpose that we as SEO practitioners and consultants owe it to our clients to explain the situation and shift their focus away from expecting to see a rapidly growing number of links over time to seeing instead the results they desire — top ten placement for their target search terms.

What’s your take on this?

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing, SEO by  #

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Here’s a video I shot right after I received my early copy of Yanik’s new Maverick Business Insider intro package.

Nothing flashy and you get a tiny peak at one end of my home office (more on that in an upcoming video).

I like clean, honest reviews and sharing so that is what you’re getting here.

 

 

 

There you have it. 

Nothing flashy, just a Real Deal first look at what you get.

I recommend you go and get in line for your copy now so you don’t have to wait for a second round of shipping.  You can sign up here:

 Maverick Business Insider by Yanik Silver

The cost to get everything I showed you in the video above is just $7.95 for shipping if you live in the US. 

Yanik is following in the trend of giving away massive value to introduce folks to his material.  I say take him up on it

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing, Product Reviews by  #

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So… how good is this product?

I have owned many of Yanik’s products over the years and have always been very pleased if not downright impressed.  His “Instant Internet Profits” was the first home study course I ever purchased and I do credit it with guiding me along the path to where I am now.  I was so impressed with that system that I even bought the rights to it from Yanik and went on to sell several hundred copies ($497 a pop).

Yanik preaches over-delivering and as it should be, he practices what he preaches.

Yanik’s Underground Secret Society has blown me away for quite a while.  I honestly received almost too much information every month in that package.

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(Not a part of the Maverick Business Insiders)

This is great, actionable information but it will also run you $87/month.  Not for everyone.

Well, it looks like Yanik has yet again created a great product that is going to make a whole lot of people a whole lot of money… and costs next to nothing!

I received my review copy two days ago and have taken the time to go through every bit of this package.

Here’s what I received:

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This all arrived in perfect shape, packed and shrink-wrapped inside a padded envelope.

The Contents (NOTE: some of these images are blurred slightly so the exact information within them is not revealed)

1. “The $15,000.00 Closed-Door Session: INSTANT Leverage Points in Your Business that Bring You Surges of Cash” DVD.

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This video was filmed at the Maverick adventure down in Baja CA.  It features Yanik leading an open discussion of 4 areas in most any business that contain leverage points you can exploit to instantly add additional revenue.

  • Transactional
  • Pricing
  • Your Database
  • Overlooked Areas

The guys in attendance are all successful to super successful business people from many different areas of the business world. I felt the information they chose to include in the video was very good.  It is clear, concise, and immediately actionable.  Some of it pertains directly to business on the Internet (that’s where most of us here exist) but there is also a fair amount that is applicable to any business both online and offline.

Among other contributors, Mike Filsaime shares a number of diagrams and details that have taken his own business through the roof.

Filming quality is quite good for a live event.  The audio when Yanik is speaking is very good.  The audio on a few of the other contributors could have been cleaner.

This DVD is worth much more than many IM products on the market (IMHO).

2. Yanik’s “34 Rules For Maverick Entrepreneurs” book and poster

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I really enjoyed this piece.

The poster summarizes the 34 rules while the book goes into greater detail for each, applying them to business and life in general along with Yanik’s personal commentary.  This is not Earth shattering information but rather the rules that many of us are aware of on some level but choose the easier road and do not follow them.

There are two additional “Bonus” chapters included as well/

  1. Creating Your Ultimate Big Life List.  This is at the very heart of the Maverick Entrepreneur lifestyle and is something every person owes it to himself to do.  This chapter walks you through the process.
  2. Bonus Interview with Real Estate artist, best-selling author and philanthropist Frank McKinney.  This is a very good interview covering Franks philosophies on living an extraordinary life.  It is an inspiring interview.

Besides providing his subscribers a great read, this book also puts Yanik “in print” and creates a nice calling card for his Maverick Business Adventures.  I can’t fault him for that at all as it is yet one more example of the right way to do things.

3. 34 Rules For Maverick Entreprenuers Audio CD’s

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Mike Litman, of “Conversations With Millionaires” fame, interviews Yanik. The two go through the 34 rules one by one, covering the philosophy and real-life applications of each and every rule.  Yanik is a very clear thinker and presenter in all live events I’ve seen him in and this interview is the same.  At this point Yanik’s success in business has afforded him some very interesting travels and experiences from which he draws for this recording.

Mike is a good interviewer who brings a good level of energy and excitement to the piece.  The conversation includes many intriguing, fun stories making it a very informative and fun listen.  I have listened to this twice already, once while working at my desk and the second time on the Nano while working out at the gym.

Very enjoyable.

The recording quality is as good or better than most teleconference recordings.  This is something that if done poorly is extremely distracting.  They did a good job with it here.

4. The Maverick Business Insider Interview #1

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This is month #1’s maverick entrepreneur interview. This came in both audio format and in printed transcript.

The interview itself was fantastic.  I don’t want to come across as hyping this package but thus far I’ve been nothing but impressed.

Once again, the recording quality is very good.  The print quality is good as well but  I do feel the paper stock could have been a little heavier and the images inside in full color.  The paper is three-hole pre-drilled which I like a lot as I put material like this in three ring binders for safe keeping and easy access.

I’ve got to be honest, regardless of the presentation the contents are the key.  The money-making information provided is why we really subscribe to a product like this.  That said, the print quality is really the ONLY aspect of this package that I feel could use some improvement.

This interview is with Mike Geary who started his online business just 4 years ago, had no profit for the first two years and now through some very smart, solid business moves took his revenues up to $500,000 in 2007 and is now on track to do over $3 Million this year… selling a single product on ClickBank! This is a great story the best part of which is that anyone can do the same sort of thing to their own business if they follow the right guidance and are diligent and focused in their efforts.

If the following months continue to provide interviews like this the membership is worth its weight in gold.

5. Maverick Business Insider Hot Points Sheet

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Sorry gang, I had to blur this one or you’d be able to get all the meat of the interview right here on this blog.

I like this simple little addition a lot.  It is a single page, hot-points summary of the interview with Mike.

I am a strong proponent of taking steps to make the use of my time as efficient as possible.  Yes, I want to listen to the interview and yes, I will read along with it as I listen but once I’ve had my listen I don’t want to have to dig back through to find the nuggets of value I want.

This sheet is the executive summary of the interview and includes links to all of the resources and sites mentioned in the interview.  Thank you Yanik.  I am going to include a similar feature in my own SuccessAudioMonthly.com which will be out in the next few weeks as well.

Here’s my 10 second summary of Yanik’s Maverick Business Insider:

Production Quality:

Audio: A-

Video: A

Print: B+

Information Quality:

Overall: A+

Value for the money:

Stupidly Priceless!

This entire package as detailed above is FREE.

All you have to pay is shipping & handling of $7.95.

EDIT: This package has now gone up in price to $39.95… still an absolute no-brainer!

Yes, if you continue on you’ll have to pay a fee each month to keep receiving the new interviews but you’ve got 30 days to check this intro package out for free and decide if you want to keep going.

In my book this is a “No Brainer”.

The Maverick Business Insider does not officially launch until November 6th but you can put yourself on the early notification list now.

I urge anyone interested in taking their business up to the next level to take advantage of this offer and sign up.  You can get yourself on the list and get more details here: Maverick Business Insider

I sincerely hope this review is helpful to you and that if this sounds like something from which you can benefit, that you are able to grab your own copy, devour it, and put it into action like I did.

That’s all for now.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, Free Resources, General Musings, Product Reviews by  #

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If you’ve done ANY copywriting at all you should be acutely aware of just how important the headline is relative to the success of an overall piece.

The headline is the hook, the pull, the first interaction, and as such sets the tone while acting as the touch point the reader uses to decide if reading the balance of the piece is even worth their valuable time.

The following is a handful of 13 headlines I feel are among the all-time greats.  If you look around you’ll see that many variations of these are used in much of the marketing you see.

Here goes:

 1. "The Secret Of Making People Like You"

This headline drew many hundreds of thousands of readers into the body matter of a "people-mover" advertisement — one which, by itself, built a big business.  It speaks to people’s insecurities and general desire for approval.

 

2. "How To Win Friends And Influence People"

This headline helped to sell millions of copies of the book of the same title. This is a great examp[le of the classic "How to" headline format.  Again, it speaks to people’s desire to have friends (how do you think MySpace, FaceBook and the like have done so well) but this one also grabs on to the desire to rise above the folks around you.  Mind control at its finest (did I mean the headline or what it is selling?).
 

3. "You Can Laugh At Money Problems — If You Follow This Simple Plan"

This headline hits the reader with something pretty much everybody wants to be able to do.  After pulling you in with an almost universal desire (to solve an almost universal problem) it then hooks you with the offer of a "Simple Plan" you can use to solve the problem.  Emotional entry and strong hook.

 

4. "When Doctors "Feel Rotten" This Is What They Do"

This headline has got a number of elements at work.  First, it combines the instant authority of the Doctor with a familiar human issue of  "feeling rotten".  The reader continues into it because 1. An authority is speaking, and 2. That authority feels just like I do sometimes.  It is also unusual to think of a doctor not feeling good so that element grabs the reader.   It also suggests the existence of a solution to feeling rotten, and that solution happens to be what the authority on NOT feeling rotten does when he/she feels rotten.  It must be a great solution!

5. "Five Familiar Skin Problems — Which Do You Want To Overcome?"

This headline pulls you in just out of curiosity.  Just what are the five problems and do I have any of them.  It then speaks directly to you, making you answer a question.  Byopeningg that communication it hooks you into moving further into the ad.

6. "How Often Do You Hear Yourself Saying: "No I Haven’t Read It: I’ve Been Meaning To"

I’m about to use a slight variation of this one myself (stay tuned for SuccessAudioMonthly.com) This headline was part of an ad for a well known book club.  It speaks to a very large market as most people would probably be able to say it applies to them.    The words hit upon the emotional guilt button.  Variations of this headline have been used in all sorts of markets for manydifferentt products.

7. "Do You Do Any Of These TenEmbarrassingg Things?"

We are all afraid of embarrassing ourselves.  No one likes to be criticized, looked down upon, talked about, etc.  The reader is magnetically drawn in by the need to know just what the ten things are, to make sure they aren’t unwittingly doing any of them.  My god… maybe folks are laughing at me behind my back and I don’t know about it.

8. "Six Types Of Investor – Which Group Are You In?"

Interesting lead generation headline.  Even if you aren’t an investor you know you should be.  Just what are the types and which would you be?  This headline could be modified to fit almost any topic.  Rather than investor it could be Parent, business owner, teacher, marketer, etc.  The list can go on and on.  The curiosity factor hooks the reader and also preps them for choosing which group they fit – so they can be properly marketed to.

9. "They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano… But When I Started To Play!"

We see this one all the time. Americans especially love to see the underdog triumph.  It’s a lot like the old Atlas comic book ads that featured the 98 poundweaklingg getting sand kicked in his face.  We all loved it when that guy got pumped up and knocked out the bully.

This headline also uses the emotional issues ofembarrassmentt, dominance, victory, acceptance and a number of others.  We’d all like to have that feeling one would get when we surprise them all and triumph… especially beating the folks that laughed at us.

10. "Little Leaks That Keep Men Poor"

Again, the reader needs to know "What are the leaks?",  " Am I the victim of any of them?", "I don’t want to be poor.  He who has the most gold when he dies wins so how to I stop these leaks?"  Need I say more?

11. "To Men Who Want To Quit Work Someday"

This headline is pretty obvious.  It is speaking to men (a pretty large pool) first and to the fact that most everyone would like to be able to quit work.  Men also stress and worry over their ability to retire.  This one grabs its intended victim, and twists the knife as it drives it in.

12. "Imagine Me… Holding An Audience Spellbound For 30 Minutes"

Very effective combination of words.  It speaks to the reader.  It is humble which helps create acceptance.  It also speaks to an issue for sooo many people: public speaking.  There is also then an element of "shoot, if HE can do it surely I can".

13. "This Is Marie Antoinette — Riding To Her Death"

A straight "fascination" as Eugene Schwartz used to call them.  The headline is designed to make the reader feel they’ve got to take a peek at this.  The words paint a good picture while tickling our morbid sense of curiosity.  I love it.

 

That’s it for the 13 my friend.  Take a moment and read back through that list.  Then take another few moments and see how you might modify and adapt one or more of them for your own purposes.   Also look at the next magazine headlines you see from a different perspective.  You may just start to recognize variations of headlines you’ve seen before.

"There’s gold in them thar words… gold I tell you."

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll
 

 

Filed under Blog, Copywriting, General Musings by  #

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