Monthly Archives: November 2010

Selling from the Ceiling

I was recently in Philadelphia for a mastermind session, and on the way to the hotel I had the cab driver drop me at a supermarket so I could get some healthy stuff for the hotel room.  (Anything beats pretzels and $10 bowls of oatmeal)

Anyway, ¬†I’m walking through the supermarket looking for some organic greens (yes, I know, I’m a total nerd), but I couldn’t quite find the right section.

One of the employees walked right up to me and said “can I help you find something sir?”

I had NO idea how he knew to ask, because I thought I was walking in a very determined manner towards the side of the market where I thought I’d most likely find the greens.

“How did you know to ask?” I said.

“Well”… he said…

“My boss always reminds me ‘we don’t sell anything on the ceiling'”

I smiled, took his directions, and walked out with my greens.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the interaction.

There was a LOT of marketing insight in “We don’t sell anything on the ceiling”:

  • This was a business that was proactively looking for customers with unmet needs who could be sold more…
  • This was a business which had identified the VERY PARTICULAR SIGNS these customers unconsciously emanated…
  • And a business which had trained it’s employees to recognize and act on these signs..

I was very impressed, and walked out a satisfied customer.

Which got me thinking…

How do WE¬†identify customers ready to buy, if only we could direct them to what they’re looking for?

How can we train all of our employees, customer service people, etc. to be alert for these people,  to know how to attend to them, and be motivated to do so?

I’m not quite sure of the answer on this one, so I thought I’d ask YOU.

What do you think?

Anyone got any experience?

MSN-Yahoo Merger – Best Practices

OK, well, to this point advice on managing MSN and Yahoo PPC has been relatively sparse in and of itself…

But AFTER the merger, chaos and confusion rules the day.

Rocket Clicks to the rescue!

Have a listen as Jerrold Burke, one of our top Managers, reviews best practices not only for solving post-merger crises (higher costs, CPAs, loss of traffic, etc), but for working with MSN going forward.

Don’t anyone ever say I never gave you anything!

Dr. G ūüôā

The Persimmon Paradox | Overcoming Price Objections

Persimmons are far and away my favorite food.

They outrank everything including chocolate, pasta, pizza, bread and butter, bagels, black and white cookies, onion soup, salmon, ¬†fried clams, applesauce… even my mother’s tuna casserole (sorry Mom!)

In fact, as they’re only available for about 6 weeks in the fall each year, if you happen across a ripe one in February, I might be willing to sell you certain non-vital organs for a bite.

But the other day I had a strange experience at Whole Foods (our organic grocery here in New England) the first week they were available this fall.

Sharon and I go shopping most Sundays.  And I practically fainted when we walked into the store and saw a display full of hundreds of them.  HEAVEN, I thought!

I rushed to the display (almost pushing Sharon aside – and I’m only half kidding) and started filling up a gigantic bag with about 14 of them. (You can’t eat’m before they’re ripe by the way or you’re going to throw up)

Then… I paused.

Because the season just started, they were $1.49 EACH.

Which meant I was going to be shelling out about $20 for the bag.

And despite what I just told you (I’d ¬†almost sell you my Mom for a bag), despite the fact that $20 isn’t very much money to me these days…

A Big Hairy ¬†Price Policeman in my head shouted “NO WAY GLENN… YOU CAN’T PAY $20 FOR A BAG OF FRUIT!!!”

And therein lies your pricing problem.

If your prospect thinks of what you’ve got to offer in any kind of predefined commoditized category… you’re sunk ūüôĀ

But there’s good news.

I did indeed buy the big bag of persimmons, and walked out with my head held high.

Do you know why?

Because I remembered that I’d probably spent $40 on “Decaf Venti Soy Lattes with No Foam” at Starbucks that week.

And I said to myself ¬†“I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Starbucks hijack my brain into believing I should spend twice the money on a quarter of the nutrition and a tenth of the pleasure of this big bag of organic fruit in front of me”


I made an apples to oranges comparison in my own mind and castrated the price police.

Which is exactly what you need to do with your prospects.

You need to ask yourself what artificial, commoditized category your prospects place your product or service in, then make comparisons to things they’re already spending without thinking about, and show them with specific, well grounded logic why they’re actually going to get a LOT MORE from you with this purchase than they’re brainlessly spending elsewhere.

Makes sense?

And the best part is… if what you’re selling actually IS packed full of value, then you’re doing them a favor, like I did myself a favor by buying the persimmons.


G ūüôā

Going Beyond PPC (Excel Tips for Productivity)

One of my coaching students has recently built a business answering people’s questions about Excel, and I wanted to let you know about it for several reasons:

1) If you’ve got virtually ANY question about Excel, just head on over to his site ( ¬† He answers most questions (even fixes your excel sheets for you) for a pittance. ¬† And right now, as his model is evolving, he’s answering them himself, which is a BIG plus for you, because I don’t know ANYONE who’s spent more time inside the Excel machine than he has. ¬†(During the course of his research he’s answered approximately 1,000 very tough questions, and debugged almost as many spreadsheets)

2) So many of us are “stuck” on the information product model, ¬†we forget the internet is evolving to favor those who provide more human contact. ¬† Have a look at what he’s doing and you’ll see an intriguing business structure most people would never have thought of

3) This student in particular is a master of getting traffic via guest blogging, and thus able to leverage his hyper-responsive research in an important additional channel beyond PPC.  Have a look at his excel formulas editorial piece.

4) The content in his editorial piece actually contains the four easiest Excel tips we should all know for productivity. ¬†You might know these, you might not… but they’ll save you time if you don’t.

5) An excellent example of the hyper-responsive process done right

6) A solid guy for whom I’d like to do a “solid”. ¬† (Hey, does anyone else remember “Linc” from the Mod Squad? ¬†Or am I a hopeless old man now?)

NONE  of these are affiliate links.  I just thought you might like the info.

All my best,

G ūüôā

Michel Fortin Reads My Blog

I don’t know Michel Fortin personally, we’ve never so much as exchanged an email, yet he reads my blog.

Well, at least he tweets about it periodically.

Why does this matter to you? ¬†For two ¬†reasons, neither of which is the one you think I’m going to say.

The first is, I’m a big fan of Michel Fortin, ¬†I read his blog, and so should you. ¬†(I’ve picked up more than a dozen conversion boosting secrets over the years)

But the second reason is more important.

You see, I’ve spent a lifetime taking note of ¬†“credibility boosters” I could leverage, authority I could borrow… things I could immediately add to my resume. (Yes, I know that’s due to a lack of attention and praise as a child, and yes, it’s not the most well-adjusted thing for a psychologist to do,… but hey, it’s really served me well as a marketer!)

The astute reader will note I didn’t say Michel Fortin endorses me. ¬†He’s never sent me a testimonial, ¬†I’m not sure if he owns my products, and for all I know he might sit around the campfire with his family saying “I sure wish that bastard Glenn Livingston would just go away!”

But he DOES read my blog, and, if you know who he is, just knowing that makes you a little more curious to dig deeper into what Glenn might have to say, doesn’t it?

Which leads me to my point.

When people first get started in a market, they rarely have testimonials.

And the FTC is putting all sorts of pressure on the kinds of testimonials we can actually use as proof.

Which leads many people feeling like there’s just no way to PROVE their credibility.

As if testimonials were the only form of proof… as if they were the ¬†ONLY way to get people to believe and trust you.

But what about association?  What about proving your worth with valuable content over and again? What about using multi-media follow ups to help people know, like, and trust you?  What about using a stronger guarantee?

There are literally dozens of ways to overcome the “no testimonials yet” conundrum. ¬† In fact, I’ve got profitable products in the market right now WITHOUT A SINGLE TESTIMONIAL… in markets where no one knew me from Adam.

I’m not saying to stop going after testimonials… they’ll always be powerful, and we should all continue to gather as many as we can get, printing them on our t-shirts and on the back of our jeans so people can say “wow, they really said that about you” while we walk down the boardwalk.

In the coming year, Terry Dean, Sharon, and I are going to be launching a radical new program on CONVERSION… and we’ll cover PROOF in ways you’ve never even dreamed of before.

So what I’m ¬†saying in the meantime is, let’s all stop singing the “testimonial blues” and get down to work.

All my best,

Glenn ūüôā

My #7 Money Making Secret – Segmentation

My #7 money making secret is SEGMENTATION.

Which is a big fancy word I learned in my corporate consulting days for “separate your market into reasonably large groups of reasonably¬†unique desire and serve them separately.”

Most internet marketers don’t bother with segmentation at all. ¬†They think their market is comprised of a bunch of white ping pong balls zipping past them, and so they gear all their marketing communications to white ping pong balls.

Which is FINE ¬†IF 80% of your market really IS white ping pong balls… having essentially the same needs, wants, language, emotions, and concerns…

It’s ALSO FINE ¬†if your market is so small that the financial boost you’d see from segmenting it is outweighed by the time and resources needed to manage a separate and distinct sales process…

But if you’ve got more than one color of ping pong ball in your market ( most markets do) AND it’s large enough that boosting the response of the new ¬†segments financially outweighs the resources required to do it… then you’re leaving ¬†money on the table.

Sometimes a LOT of money.

Because you can’t underestimate the value of showing people that what you’ve got is EXACTLY for them. ¬†Not 65% for them… EXACTLY for them.

How do you decide?

The key is in guesstimating, in dollars and sense, what improvement you might expect to see, and what it might cost you to execute the segmentation.

Let’s look at how you might do this.

Generally, I assume that segmentation should boost response by 25% to 50% for minority segments broken out of the main marketing stream. (You can see this effect in Adwords itself when you “peel and stick” keywords into their own group and write ads specifically for those groups… in fact, the impact is often MUCH greater)

I’ve definitely been VERY ¬†wrong about this (in both directions), but as a rough guideline it’s a pretty good one.

Add to the equation the fact you can usually charge MORE for a segmented solution than you can for something perceived to be for the market as a whole. (That’s why we pay more for medical specialists than our general practitioners)

Then do the math, look at the estimated financial bump, compare that to the resources required to make it happen and decide.

A fictitious example will illustrate the point.

Let’s use a new “Mega-Wonderful-Diet-Solution”, and assume we’re attracting 100,000 visitors a month to our site for simplicity, selling a product for $100, and converting 1% of the visitors.

Also for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume we’re selling an e-book with 100% profit margin (we must have a really beneficent payment processor who’s granted us zero fee processing and no customer service costs too).

In this ridiculously oversimplified example, we’d have a visitor value of $1 ($100 x 1%), and a profit of $100,000 each month.

Now, what would happen if we did a little research and segmented our sales process into “The ¬†Low Carb Mega Wonderful¬†Diet Solution” and “The Low Fat Mega Wonderful Diet Solution”

To estimate that, we’d have to know something about what percentage of the market were attracted to Low Carb vs. Low Fat vs. Other Types of Diets.

Let’s assume it’s 40% Low Carb, 25% Low Fat, and 35% Other Types of Diets.

And let’s further assume we’re gonna get just a 40% bump in overall dollar value for each visitor in the new segments.

So now, the Low Carb people (40% of the market)  become worth $1.25 per visitor, the Low Fat people (25% of the market) become worth $1.25 per visitor, and the rest of the market stays at $1 per visitor.

40% x $1.40
25% x $1.40
35% x $1


= 100% x $1.26 (when you do the math above)

So we’d be looking at an overall bump in visitor value of about 26%

Now, at 100,000 visitors per month, we’d be estimating $26,000 per month additional gross, or $312,000 per year.

Is it worth it?

You’d have to ask what resources would have to be put into achieving this segmentation, and compare that to the business owners other opportunities, priorities, and overall goals.

If all that were required were maintaining two separate advertising systems, the answer would very likely be yes.   But if it required developing a whole new product line, the owner would have some harder thinking to do.

But that decision would be a LOT easier with these estimates than in a vacuum (which is how most people make their segmentation decisions… and probably why most marketers never do)

The point here isn’t to give you a hard and fast rule to decide how and when to segment. ¬†It’s to teach you to “think on paper” about it in a more methodical way.

On a practical basis, I’ve found segmenting a market enormously helpful. ¬† I used to run my body language market segmented into 8 groups. ¬†It was the difference between $500/mo profit and $3500/mo profit.

The cost?  Running 8 adgroups instead of 1, keeping people in 8 separate lists in aweber, and 8 separate salesletters.  (I hired a writer to seriously alter one letter 8 times based upon my understanding of each segment)

It was a great marketing experiment, ¬†but maintaining 8 separate salesletters and email follow up lists was a real pain. ¬†So I condensed it into the biggest 3. ¬† And after I got slapped, I just let it run with ONE segment, because at this point I live in a world with more zeroes… my resources are better spent elsewhere. ¬† Though as I’ve built up my outsourcing team and systems, segmenting smaller markets is looking ¬†more attractive, and I’ll once again attend to it.

Do you see how estimating the impact of segmentation helps?   And how the DECISION to segment changes depending upon where you are in your company and the resources involved in execution?

In sum, ¬†unless you serve an exceptionally small market with a very, very narrow positioning, there are almost always unique segments in your market, and money on the table to be picked up by addressing them. ¬† But you’ve gotta weigh the predicted value of segmentation against the resources necessary to execute it.

There are much fancier sets of statistics and procedures for making these calculations, but I hope I’ve gotten you started thinking the right way about these decisions with some simple math.

All my best practices are STILL in the hyper-responsive club. ¬†(Note: that’s the reason I haven’t done anything “shiny and new” for some time… I’ve just been pouring my best thinking into the club, rewarding my most loyal customers. ¬†BUT, I’ll shortly be revealing a Video Marketing service, a Conversion product, and a thoroughly updated Choose Your Market product. ¬†Join the club for best pricing and earlier notice when most of these are launched)

All my best,

Dr. G ūüôā