Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fear of Failure Will Kill Your Opportunities!

"Don't worry my dear, it is only a rat."
He said, beginning to run in fear,
"A stinking, slimy rat!!!!!"

- Baron Von Frankensteen
Mel Brook's Young Frankenstein

Fear.  Four letters that can really scare the crap outta ya.  Worse that having to deal with a Zombie apocalypse,unless you really are afraid of zombies, that is.  Zig Zigglar used to say that FEAR stood for False Evidence Appearing Real. I agree.

I used to be a professional trombonist. I can remember the very first time I had to play a solo in front of a group of people, I was scared to death.  I was so scared I almost knocked over a table.  The judge I was playing in  front of tried to keep from laughing when that happened, but he couldn't help himself.  However, on the evaluation sheet he sent back to my band director, he noted that I should persevere.

I did persevere and I got better and better at playing in front of people until I became energized by performing in front of a crowd.  Like I said, I did it professionally for the better part of 15 years and play in front of an audience whenever I get the opportunity to.

Now I'm an extrovert.  I love to speak in front of audiences, and look forward to doing that as much as I can.  I find it hilarious that it is the number one fear that people have, as a survey recently showed.  So, one day it dawned on me that the reason I don't have a fear of getting in front of people is that I have done it thousands of times.

That is the key to losing your fear.  Do it a million times over and over and you'll get used to it.  If there is some aspect to your business that you are afraid of (like selling face to face) I would suggest that you do it a lot.

Now, if I could just get over my fear of heights....

Happy Halloween

Mark "Elmo" Ellis

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It's Frightening When You Can't Explain What You Do!

Next to the Valley View Ferry
Richmond, Kentucky

You know, it's a scary thing when people ask you what you do and you can't really explain it to them.

I often get asked what an ad copy writer does, and the problem is I really don't know exactly what to say to people when they ask me that.  The best thing that I can tell most people is that a good ad copy writer is a person that can sell using words. So, to make it really clear to you exactly how this works I'm going to offer you an illustration.

Let's say there's a salesman and he selling silver bracelets. He's going to go up and down the street selling door-to-door and he's going to be lugging his wares with him as he goes. These are beautiful silver bracelets with some nickel plating and other beautiful features that he is going to sell. Ladies will just love them.  He goes to the first house and he knocks on the door and a bachelor answers the door. He doesn't have a girlfriend he doesn't have the time for one and he's never been married, so, there is no sale there.  He goes to the next house and knocks on the door and there's a little old lady who was trying to get rid of her jewelry and she had the giving it away to all of her granddaughters great-granddaughter's. So, she's not a buyer and that means no sale. He goes to another house where there is a married couple, however, the wife is allergic to nickel plating silver so no sale again. One of the houses he knocks on the door and there is a family with four daughters that just love bracelets and jewelry, however their father just lost his job, so therefore they cannot afford to buy any bracelets at this time. No sale. He spends an entire day and evening going up and down the street trying sell his races and by the third day he sells two bracelets to two different families.

Now let's compare this to somebody who knows how to write ad copy. A good ad copy writer will understand how to craft a sales letter that is dynamic and powerful and will lead a prospect through a series of logical and seamless messages that will lead to a sale. He will also understand exactly what hot buttons to push in order to get a person that is interested in silver bracelets to buy from him.   A good ad copywriter will also understand what it takes to get a person to open an envelope or a magazine or navigate to a website where there is dynamic content that people are interested in reading. A good ad copywriter will also understand how to network with list sellers so that they can find people who are very interested in buying silver bracelets. He will know that a good list broker can sell him a list that is highly targeted people on that are very interested in buying silver bracelets and has bought them recently. A really good ad copywriter will also understand that the absolute best list is a list of people that have already bought from him and like him. He knows that he can sell them more bracelets, more bracelets trees to hang the bracelet on, or jewelry boxes and other back end products and that these people will buy from him over and over again, not just bracelets also other products but are very similar.

The most powerful part about this type of sewing, using words instead of going door-to-door is that you can sell to thousands of people just by sending out a pile of letters, or writing a great advertisement for a targeted magazine or create a dynamic and powerful website with great ad copy on it which leads to a sale. That is what a really good ad copy person can do and it beats going door-to-door day in and day out.

It is this ability to duplicate your sales that makes an ad copywriter very powerful in the world of marketing.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You Need to Be a Failure in Order to Be a Success

Next to the Valley View Ferry
Richmond, Kentucky

When you look at many of the great entrepreneurs that made America such a wonderful place to live in you can't help but think about Thomas Edison. If you didn't hear the story about how Edison invented the light bulb, you must be living in a cave. Edison spent years and years and lots of money trying to figure out how to create a light bulb that would work.  Finally, after working on the project which would've made most people pull their hair out,  and run in absolute frustration Edison was successful. “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

 Success Is Built on Failure

Many successful entrepreneurs will chuckle when they hear somebody call them an "overnight success". The reason they laugh that the statement is because they spent years and years trying to successfully achieve a goal that they have been pursuing, and then all of a sudden,in one day they achieve their goal. It would appear to everybody else that was an overnight success process, but in reality it was probably a long string of failures in which a person finally achieves the greatness that they were looking for.  One of the main ingredients for all of this of course is perseverance. If you give up pursuing your dream you will have put the final nail in the coffin of what you were trying to do and in that sense, you will be a failure.  You have to keep your ultimate goal in mind as you work toward the success you dream about.

Knowledge Is Power

One of the ways that you can move quickly towards your objective is to constantly feed your mind with the knowledge that you need to move toward your goal. If you are a business owner and you want to be successful with your venture, you have to constantly read up on marketing strategies and any process that will bring you closer to bringing money into your door.  You have to find out what other people are doing that are successful and then model though strategies and behaviors which will be conducive to achieving your goals.  The reason that this is so important for you to do is because these people have the experience of failing. They have been through many diverse situations and their knowledge and experience can help you. So, it is vital for you to gain valuable knowledge from people who've already been there.

Action, Action, Action

The other thing you must do that is very important is to take action. Not just a little action here and there but a massive amount of action. You need to put everything you can into making your life or business work and it can only be achieved by actually doing the work that you need to do.  I think it would be very difficult to think of a successful person that was not moving and gaining momentum in their business or life.

I was watching an episode of the ABC TV show Shark Tank several weeks ago.  Some lady came in with a business idea and she pitched it at the millionaire and billionaire people in the hope of getting them to become a partner with her financially and entrepreneurially. Everything was going fine for her as she presented her product and business idea until she told one of the Sharks (the nickname given to the millionaire and billionaire entrepreneurs they were pitching to) that they might not be good enough for her since she worked on her business 8 to 12 hours a day. One of the sharks looked at her and said, "I don't work my business 8 to 12 hours a day, I work my business 16 to 20 hours a day so that I can sit here and tell people like you that I'm not going to do business with you."  The woman stood there in complete, stunned silence. I have to admit, I thought she was being really stupid with a statement like that, but it gives people like me opportunity to see just how hard a real entrepreneur works.

So if you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or you want to increase the bottom line in your business you may just want to take a look at a couple of these success principles. No, they are not easy and they are not what most people want to hear, but it is the reality of the business world.

Mark "Elmo" Ellis

Monday, October 28, 2013

Only the Big Boys Can Pull This Off!

Next to the Valley View Ferry
Richmond, Kentucky

Today I'm going to make a big, fat, ugly statement about the way business owners view marketing. I have been a business owner before and spent a lot of time trying to learn how to sell my wares on the Internet and in the local market. One of the things that I have learned is that a small business or even a medium to large business cannot rely on the same marketing tactics as a brand-name Corporation. Of course, I'm talking
about the superstars of the corporate world like IBM, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, etc. These companies have a brand that everybody recognizes so they can afford to just rely on funny commercials that don't really tell you much about the product. For anything smaller than these big corporations, it is almost a disaster to try to market yourself that way.  I have seen a lot of local car businesses advertise their wares by trying to be funny and quirky in this local economy and I cannot believe that they are selling anything by having dorky commercials that don't really tell you anything.

A business of this nature really needs to know how to tell their clients about what their product will do for them.  We really don't need to know about the family of the business, and we really don't need to know how long you would've been in business, but what we needed to know is how the product or service that you are pumping at us is going to benefit us or our needs.

I recently saw an ad online for a diet program that some bodybuilder was trying to promote.  Despite the entire page of ad copy he had down his webpage, the first half of it only talked about himself and what our muscles and body needed. The copy on the page merely talked about how our bodies supposedly worked and how this individual uncovered his almost secret method of making you lose weight.  I decided to list the benefits of what was being sold on the web advertisement and at the end of the entire page there was only about 5 to 7 benefits that I could list after analyzing it.  I took the liberty of getting some old ad copy on similar products that were done in the 50s and 60s and started listing the benefits in those ads, and by golly, there were 20 to 30 benefits at least on a single advertisement.

The point I'd like to make is that most people that sell products or services don't even know the benefits of what their product can do for the public. I'm not talking about features such as the color or shape of something, but I am talking about what it can actually do for that consumer that is considering purchasing it.  If you cannot identify all of the benefits that a person could get from using your product or service then you are missing the boat, and by the way, you need to find the main benefit that would drive a person to purchase your product.  You need to find the main hot button and other hot buttons that will push a person to want to use your product or service.

The only way that you will be able to do that is by telling while you are selling.  The more you tell the more you sell; you cannot do that with a short commercial that shows a couple of guys dressed in clown suits goofing around in front of a bunch of cars that you are trying to sell.

It just doesn't work that way.

Mark "Elmo" Ellis

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Big Mistake by Most Businesses!

Next to the Valleyview Ferry
Richmond, Kentucky

I like marketing. Sometimes I think the reason I started some of the businesses that I did was because I really enjoyed marketing and connecting to people.  I learned a lot of things about marketing especially in the area of writing words that will grab a person's attention and then selling a product. I can remember the first time I started reading a book about marketing was quite some time ago, when I picked up a copy of Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson. For some reason, I really enjoyed all of the creative ways that a person could use to sell product, so much so that I actually started a small business and started selling a product that my wife and I made to the military. Then, years ago, I was running an online embroidery business from my basement and I saw an interesting e-book by a man called Dan Kennedy. I remember staying up until two o'clock in the morning to read that book and that is when I became aware of the wonderful world of ad copy writing. Even though I haven't studied it until recently, I have used some of Mr. Kennedy's books to sell some of my wares, especially his magnetic marketing course which is become an industry standard.

A Big Mistake Even I Noticed !!!

I have learned a lot from many of the marketers and ad copywriters out there over the last couple of years
and I have always enjoyed reading their thoughts and ideas on how to market businesses and gather a tribe of people that will follow you and your business in a way that attracts them back to you over and over again.  One of the things that I have learned  is that a business cannot afford to skimp on customer service. Since I read an awful lot about marketing and enjoy it so much, I can't help but notice when businesses do really stupid things. Just recently my wife and I purchased a refrigerator from a well-known vendor. The vendor offered a gift card in the marketing and when my wife and I went to claim the gift card there really wasn't one to claim. Actually, we were told to go to an online website and fill out a form which didn't exist. I actually had to write the CEO of the corporation and let him know in no uncertain terms that his website had absolutely no way to redeem my free gift card, which was just like a rebate. The Corporation made good on the card since I had to go all way to chief executive officer to make sure that I got my card. I won't go into tons of details as to how much muck I had to actually sit through to get these guys to follow up on their offer, but I can tell you that the damage has been done in the minds of my wife and I.

Add This to Your Business for Big Gains!

So, I hope that you can get some real value from reading my blog and that it is not just a lot of rambling and promise making.  If you are a business owner, I can tell you one key piece of advice that seems like many businesses are missing and that is to add the personal touch to your business. I cannot tell you how many times I do business with people and they act like once they are finished with you that is all you are worth to them. Big mistake! The easiest people for you to do business with are people that you have already done business with, especially if they really like you.  I personally cannot believe how many businesses ignore customers that they have already done business with, much less not try to market back to them in some way, shape, or form.

Anyway, stay tuned for more brilliant insights from a guy that's trying to learn how to write ad copy.  God bless!

Mark "Elmo" Ellis

Getting Started - Welcome to My Brand New Blog!

October 23, 2013
Next to the Valleyview Ferry
Richmond, Kentucky

This is my first journal entry as I take up the task of learning how to write ad copy.  I have been an entrepreneur off and on for the last several years, but mostly I have been a teacher in a private school. Over the years, I've learned a lot about marketing and how to run a business and how to deal with people.  I've had the opportunity to live all over the world and learn about how people work and what makes them tick. The reason for this journal so that I can chronicle the processes that I have taken in my journey to become an ad copy writer. Learning how to write ad copy is not easy, nor will it be an easy business once I get it started. Even though I have taken several courses in ad copywriting from two or three very fine writers in this field, as well as reading as many books as I can on the subject, there is still much for me to learn by way of experience and practice. One of the best ways that I could motivate myself as well as check on my own progress is to write down my thoughts and ideas on the subject.

After I finished taking a course or two on ad copy writing, I decided to join an online network called the "Warrior Forum" which has several fine writers that are well tuned to this trade for some advice and guidance. Believe it or not, there were quite a few people that were willing to help me learn as much as they could in their spare time on the art of writing advertisements. To these people, I am very grateful and wish to extend my thanks for all the help that they have given me so far.

Much of the education that I have received in this area so far has been merely a preparation for what must come next, which is the constant practice of writing this type of material and all of the blood, sweat, and tears that goes along with it.  One of the first things that I learned from people working in this field was that in order to be successful at it you had to write, write, write and then write some more. Just like any other kind of writing that you would have to learn through experience, ad copy writing is not nearly as easy as it would seem while you're taking some of these courses. As a matter fact, whatever amount of time that you put into taking a course from a brilliant ad copy person you to multiply that by about 1000 times and you would probably still not have practiced your craft enough.

Fortunately in the land of advertisement writing, there are a lot of people that have preceded me that have done enough groundwork that I can learn from. As I go through my Journal writing over the next several years, I will be bringing up in writing about many of these individuals; marketers, writers, entrepreneurs and others that have become very successful in their fields and how I have learned from them.

If you are a person that is interested in being an entrepreneur of any kind, this journal may help you. It may be a guide to different resources and people that can help your business out, or you can actually learn from my failures and achievements themselves, because as we all know, it is the experience of others in which we can build our education about any particular subject we want to know, whether it is good or bad.  So, I hope that if you find this journal over time you can go back and look at some of the early writings I have done as well as some the other lessons that I have produced in this chronicle of my own quest to learn how to write ad copy.

-- Mark "Elmo" Ellis