How To Avoid Fake Marketing

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Fake News Affects Your Business

It works - sells more - it doesn't work - sells less!

There's nothing new in fake despite it being all over the media right now as something new. It isn't.

Fake even affects marketing solutions or what you should or could use to create more results.

Fake news arrived in the world of marketing on mass with the advent of the web.

Here's what happened and how it can adversely affect results in your business.

When I arrived online in the late 90s people like myself were usually early adopter of the web for their business. It was a problem in those days because not everyone had email!

It's was just another way to expand our reach or to expand my own marketing outlets to gain more business after all business is about being successful not struggling.

The New "FAKE' Expert.

During the mid-2000s in particular saw the rise the 'new expert'. These were groups of people that went doing business but started the business of selling advice to those that had no idea how to use the web to expand their business.

That seemed fair after all we all have to learn. But ot long after then rose the fake news reporters and advisors in an area of the marketing world that would and still will do anything for a sale.

They would and will tell you anything to get a sale for themselves to your detriment.

Yes this will work, yes that will work and most would listen to them especially if you are in businesses and don't have time to learn yet another skill.

And the fake principles are like this.

Make some promises but not set in stone.

Confuse them with science as science sounds impossible.

Create complex thoughts and ideas that they will be happy to leave an expert to.

Build proof and patterns for jumping on board with the next new or big thing in marketing.

They will mantra

Stay ahead of the pack

Use social media daily

Use LinkedIn for connections

Hire a monthly blog content writer

Focus on SEO

Get some Facebook Ads running

And you know the story!

32 Years Later

In my 32-years experience. In my twenty plus years working with clients like yourself. In my experience generating sales going into the millions for my clients. In my experience creating strategies that sold almost £1.5 million in cars from a single campaign. And in my experience as someone that has been on the frontline of direct marketing since 1985 I want to share this with you.

RESULTS!

First the only way to measure your marketing is by something a ‘new expert or guru’ will rarely talk about. Results! It either works or it doesn’t. Direct mail works or it does not. Social media works or not. Fusion works or doesn't work.

Fake news or fake marketing can only be measured by the results it delivers.

Second I am yet to see and strategies that work built on the back of using all things new, the latest and the greatest.

The problem with new is it takes time to roll out, time to establish and time to see any genuine results.

Thirdly almost every successful campaign I have seen, been involved with and been part of has this.

Stripped Back Strategy

A stripping back to basics.

This means.

  • Stopping and analysing what is currently being done with any marketing.
  • Strong targeting that reduces waste and increase sales.
  • Tuned in message to match your audience.
  • Careful testing and measuring.
  • Designing a strong conversion strategy and offer.
  • Scaling up tactics and strategy once the testing is complete.
  • And most usually this is done with stripped back to the bone marketing that has nothing to do with the latest and greatest.

Because.

The Mind Not The Latest

Marketing is mind based. The mind has to trust before it reacts. Trust is built over time. Time can take months not minutes or hours.

Once trust is built then and only then can a conversation take place.

Yet the fake new in marketing will tell you that do everything, anything and all things new.

Here is what I know.

If theres nothing in the bank … My marketing has failed.

Thats the only way I measure if it works.

How about you?

You know how to get me, you know where I am.

Yours in results and success.

Alan Forrest Smith

Success During Uncertain Times

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It feels like the world has gone mad.

It does and can affect us.

Somethings we cannot control and cannot stop.

Somethings we can.

There’s never been a more important time in history to take control of your life.

There are things we can control and cannot control.

  • BREXIT – we cannot control
  • ECONOMIES – we cannot control
  • TRUMPLAND – we cannot control
  • RISE OF POPULISM – we cannot control
  • TAXES – we cannot control
  • REDUNDANCY – we cannot control
  • RETIRMENT – we cannot control
  • DEATH – we cannot control
  • GOOGLE - we cannot control
  • And frankly the reality is you have no idea if your job will be around next week despite the appearance of all being well at work.

If you are in business this affects you.

If you are in a job it affects you.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Business Up Despite The Madness

Just recently a new client came to me. His new project was failing and had never really got started. His initial investment was pretty huge to say the least.

He had taken the usual routes I see time and time again.

  • Going to a social media company.
  • Hiring an SEO expert.
  • Using a web design company.
  • Blah blah blah and I’ve seen it all before.

Blind the client with science and get them to pay monthly.

Promise them everything knowing that delivery is almost impossible.

The results are results I see time and time again.

  • Nil
  • Zero
  • 0

Not a damned thing!

Now when a client comes to me he or she has usually passed through at least 5-6 different experts or consultants. I am in the eyes of some the most expensive yet the reality is I am always the best investment because of results!

The new client above - the project is new.

The initial changes can take around 1-2 months after careful research and checks.

Yet

I always like to make an impact early on using one thing I do with all of my clients.

In the first week of running a test for just three dollars they have had three enquiries. Now that isn’t bad when you understand the volume of money spent so far for ZERO enquiries.

Just wait until we get going.

Now getting going involves a lot.

It’s an overhaul of everything they have.

The layouts, the design, the words, the images, the presentation, the scripts to open and close a sale and so much more to be looked through, tweaked, critiqued and added.

Yet NO huge changes, just adjustments to what they already have.

It takes time but when you are making no sales or not enough sales, time is something you have plenty of.

And of course unlike many of these new social media ‘experts’ I never promise to do anything overnight as it takes time, strategy, tactics and using tools that actually work toy build a long-term business.

I Know This

Let me share a couple of things I do know and have seen time and time again.

If you have what you might call a business that makes no real profit that isn’t a business.

If you are turning over £3 million and still making no profit that isn’t a business.

If you have everything in place and are loaded to the top with investment and loans yet still not making a profit – that isn’t a business.

And if you think you are doing marketing …

If you are doing social media everything yet still have no clients that isn’t marketing

If you are focused on SEO and positioning in Google yet still have no page listings or still no sales – that isn’t marketing.

If you are old school doing direct mail yet get no results from your direct mail… why are you doing it?

If you are old school with guys knocking on doors yet still get no results … why are you doing these things?

Because here’s the best advice that less and less people in business take.

You do not have to reinvent anything. Sales and marketing are a process that has been tested despite the changes. It isn’t a one off event it is a strategic process that has to be planned out and carefully executed.

And that doesn’t mean rebuilding everything. Most of the time it means simply taking what you have, making changes, testing and refining until the process is in place for you to increase your sales.

Now there might be things we cannot control, you cannot control taking place in what can seem like a crazy world. Yet the reality is this.

When it comes to sales or marketing your business that can be very carefully controlled.

I am yet to meet a client that hasn’t been to many other experts before they arrive on my doorstep.

I am yet to meet a client who’s problems in sales and marketing I have never been able to fix.

I am yet you meet a client that has never experienced an almost instant impact from my work yet.

I AM A SHOW OFF - GET OVER IT!

And I don’t mind showing off

I have increased client’s sales by £15,400 in just 3-days.

I have increased a client’s sales by £42,000 in 12-hours.

I have created converting direct mailers that have previously failed into million pound best sellers

I have generated sales overnight from client’s website.

All by doing small things that carry more power than big things.

And if you know what an Atom is… you know the power small can have?

So we might not be able to control what is going on in this mad world yet we can control the results of of business and its easier than you might have been told by many experts.

You Can Do this

  • Plan your results
  • Use what is proven
  • Get tested solid advice
  • Put experts - NOT 'EXPERTS' in place
  • Dont be scared to change things if they aren't working
  • Stop what you're doing and take time to think.
  • Stop reading the news - it really doesn't matter to your business
  • Test what you do for results
  • Measure the results
  • Be in control
  • Get over social media - it really doesn't work for everyone.
  • SEO is dead unless you spend mountains of cash
  • There are many ways to skin a cat - or attract your clients - find out how.

If you need more results … You know exactly where I am.

Peace & success.

Alan Forrest Smith


Work At  Alan's Side

Take an advanced direct marketing course

Get Breakthrough Advice

Visit my office

Le Force Majeure

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Le Force Majeure

Seven days ago I had a visit from Le Force Majeure.

Seven days later I am one stone lighter a little weaker and although much better I am still in bed as I write this article.

There are something’s arriving that we cannot control.

Le Force Majeure - this simply means a far superior force than what most can overcome. Overpowering, overwhelming and all consuming. It was and it has been.

So superior in fact it took away my appetite, took away my hunger, removed my energy and replaced my optimistic positive outlook with an almost depressed start to the past seven days. Even my temperature has been like a roller coaster - 40-plus one day alone.

Now the good news is the past two nights I sweated so much I had to change the bedding five times in one of those nights! Yes, that's the good news because this is the last stand of the force as my body fights back. As I write I have slept a lot of today and feel much better. And this is all during my disc herniation on New Years day.

Sometimes there are powers so great that they just arrive and remove all of your daily or any other expectations and you have no control.

So why am I sharing such a story of misery?

I believe 2017 there will be a different kind of Le Force Majeure heading towards your business. It will and has already affected strategies, tactics, social media and online marketing in ways that have brought devastating results.

And like the flu virus I have had I had a feeling I might catch something as the village has been like a plague and when you live in the village so closely like ours the chances of escape are slim.

Le Force Majeure heading towards your business isn't something new. It is a force I have been teaching and talking about for years to my clients. It is the death of average, me-too, same-old, same old follow-the-leader marketing. This hugely affects your campaign impact, results, conversions, and effect as you as a person.

The problem is this; Not only has the web bred a new breed of marketing expert with no expertise it has also bred a belief that things that are easy are hard and hard are easy.

This kind of expertise teaches things like

  • It’s new so you should be doing it
  • Everyone else does this so you should also
  • Everyone is on Facebook
  • Adwords is best
  • Invest into SEO
  • All business does business on LinkedIn
  • You should definitely tweet daily
  • A good sales letter will sell you more
  • This is going to be huge

And more.

This is HIGH-RISK marketing.

Last year I don’t think I have ever seen so many new clients that are so overly fixated on doing what ISN’T WORKING! Yes actually fixated on doing things that just aren’t working in their businesses.

Like on client that has invested over £2,000 every month on SEO. This has gone on now (with his 3rd SEO company) for 10-months. He was confused that despite this endless cash being spent monthly they had poor positioning on Google and no increase in sales. The company kept telling him it simply takes time.

My team and myself took the account and carried out a very detailed check through everything that was apparently being done. It wasn’t being and the SEO that had been carried out was built around strategies that were in place over 10-years ago.

I have seen this time and time again with clients. I will write an article soon. I will name is something like WHY SEO IS DEAD because as a single strategy for any business it can be a death nail.

Or the client hat came to me and shared all of his endless post on LinkedIn. He boasted how some of his companies posts were getting more attention than any post similar. One post had 1800 comments and likes. I asked him this question.

“That’s a lot of likes, how many turn into leads and sales?”

His reply was this… ‘No sales as yet’

In fact no sales, no leads and no anything apart from spending hours with himself and team posting FREE content into LinkedIn. Again I see this time and time again.

Yet for 2017 I honestly, truly believe you, me, we are facing Le Force Majeure that will wipe out businesses by 2020 (in under 3-years). Le Force Majeure is not only an overwhelming force it is something that has more power than you think and can know.

Let me explain what it is for you.

Things we cannot control drive some forces. For example when the web really arrived for businesses this was a overpowering force or Le Force Majeure.

It meant that if you wanted not only to grow but survive in business you had to face this power and ride on it’s back. It couldn’t be defeated it simply had to be used as it moved.

As early as 1997 I started collecting email addresses from my clients as I thought it would be great to let them know what was happening via email as well as the more expensive direct mail I did at that time.

The problem I had was most of the clients I dealt with didn’t have something called an email address in those days. I would tell clients time and time again this was coming and they would have to ride the wave.

Of course there were the bigger companies, the corporations hat had their foundations so deep and so embedded in history that no change would affect them. They underestimated the Le Force Majeure of the times, ignored it and paid a heavy price.

Freeman, Hardy & Willis, Comet, Woolworths, C&A, Radio Rentals, and the mighty card shop Athena who went on to blame the internet for lost sales but the actual reality is they could have invested into the web and remained a leader. All are now extinct!

You are going to be faced with Le Force Majeure so great that one if the biggest issues now is not getting out of the noise and bombardment online but riding it, accepting it whilst mastering how to get seen through that noise.

Most will fail if they carry on in the old ways!

Those that work it out will win.

Here is just on e thing that will be huge and it’s nothing anyone has been talking about and it is something I have talked about for years.

BRANDING but not as you know it.

Most think of a BRAND as something as simple as a logo. Science has proved without a doubt that there is something much deeper taking place to create a successful brand.

I’ll happily share on with you right now.

The purpose of real branding is to create memory structures. These structures creates reminders and good thoughts associated with those reminders.

So part of the purpose of a BRAND is to create structures inside the memory. For a structure to be created to last it needs more than one element. Here’s an example for you.

The famous Coca Cola Christmas advert broken down has this.

  • The colour red (a fixed HEX col)
  • The white scroll font name
  • The big truck
  • The snow
  • Christmas time

The five elements of this brand Ad have created a memory structure in the brain itself built around familiar feel good theme, colours, music and of course the big steal – Christmas day itself. It is a Masterclass of MEME or memory building.

That isn’t the whole story of course.

Whilst in Scotland recently with my wife we took a drive to Stirling Castle where we came across a tapestry. The tapestry told a story. It was the story of a Unicorn and its sacrifice. The tapestry had no words yet it had hidden letters woven into the cloth.

Here is what was interesting for me and will apply to business.

These were created in the 1300s. This was a time when people could not read. This was also a dangerous time to spread religious teaching. So the tapestry had to share the word of god, the sacrifice of Christ and use images the locals that saw this could relate to. They also could understand the secret single letters woven through.

Why is this BRAND story important?

This is a whole other story but is still part of Le Force Majeure.

People as humans haven’t changed.

The habits of people have changed and changed hugely.

Who would ever have thought you’d see masses frozen to a spot with their heads down staring at a small screen while their thumbs performs a continuous movement.

Everything marketing has changed and the pace will pick up even faster. If you fail to do this how are you going to get seen? Are you going to simply keep posting on social media or doing the same old thing whilst hoping it'll work?

You will have to make a major step forward into your BRAND more than ever before but not BRANDING as you might traditionally think – those old branding days have well and truly gone.

Would you like my eccentric rule breaking results driven expertise to help you do this?

You know how to get hold of me.

Peace

Alan Forrest Smith

We answer real phones here: Manchester UK, 00 44 (0) 161 928 8328

Orange Beetle News & Views 2017

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Orange Beetle News & Views - What's Coming 2017

Alan here.

We are now in slow motion in preparation for Christmas and a well deserved break. What a crazy year and what a telling year for businesses.

Of course I never really take time off. I’ll be writing, philosophising, thinking, opinionating and loving my darling wife over the holiday period.

So… 2017

I just wanted to share a few things worth you knowing to get your mind flowing for 2017 & some bits of news.

Office Hours and Emergencies

We close on 24th until January 2nd … Our office phone is on redirect but for marketing emergencies you can still text me direct and expect an almost instant response.

This is a premium rate service - NOT free.

  • Office: 01619288328 (redirect from 24th - January 2nd)
  • Cell: 07793069486 (Text only from December 24th - January 2nd)

My 2017 Diary

As you might be aware I work with fewer and fewer clients each year. My focus is on your results. I cannot get that with huge lists of clients.

This year i had a 33.4% and a 116% conversion on two campaigns alone. Those results can’t be had working with a ton of clients so I keep my numbers low and quality high - very high. My dairy for fixing and building businesses with clients is filling fast for 2017.

If you’d like me to fix, boost and change your results in 2017 you need to let me know as soon as possible. Once my diary is full I can only offer my stand-by list. There are no guarantees of a gap on stand-by.

If your cash is tight right now - You can book me with a (non-refundable) deposit and grab your start date. Terms and payment to be agreed. Please ask.

BREAKTHROUGH 2017

I predict BREAKTHROUGH will not only continue to be my  best selling service ever but will go through the roof in 2017. Breakthrough dates are about to go into my diary. They will then be added to my website. Grab your BREAKTHROUGH day before they go live (as they always go quickly). One client on a BREAKTHROUGH increased her sales by over £30,000 after a single breakthrough session. Another over £300,000 from one campaign!

Breakthrough can go over campaigns, copy, strategy, tactics, future planning and more. Just prepare for the breakthrough that you need right now.

NEW COPYWRITERS MASTERCLASS

This is a one day copywriters and word training. It is always a small group. This is for business owners that write their own copy or copywriting or marketing staff that need more response and conversions tricks up their sleeves. One client after a copywriters masterclass increased his sales by over £42,000 after understanding why his copy was failing but more important - how to fix it. Another had his first sales letter success of just under £7,000 from his relaunched campaign. Places are limited.

It is a fast-track one-day only training. You can bet it’l be loaded with some real breakthrough fixes for 2017.

MENTOR 2017 - Strictly for you if you demand lasting changes!

I have limited place on my MENTOR programs… Please ask about availability.

My fast-track 12-week or 12-month copywriters mentor program is available.

My business breakthrough mentor & alliance mentor is available. Please ask.

Prices go from £5,000 - £150,000

O.B. Blog changes.

In the new year I will be creating an area on Orange Beetle that is premium content. The only way to access this content will be via registration. This is for those that want success, breakthrough and fast fixes! It is also for those

Are YOU THE ONE?

Finally I am searching for one big multi-million project next year to work on. It might be you but only if you have good infrastructure in place and understand you need more results from conversions, response and systematic planning from a genius thinker. This can only be revealed in more detail over a conversation. Location is not a problem.

This project has to deliver me a result of at least £250,000. This means I am going to have to increase your turnover by millions. That's what I do. You know where I am.

GEORGIA - The Republic.

Next year around May I have one place for someone special that would like to spend around a week with me at my mountain home in the Republic of Georgia. During that week we will physically work together around our home, build stuff together,  walk in the fields, avoid the snakes, pick grapes, drink wine, eat katchapuri, learn cultures, go swimming in the river, watch the stars and of course solve the problems you have with your business or create a plan that will change everything for you in your life or business or marketing dilemmas.

There is one place only. From 4-7 days. One price only. Bring a partner, wife, husband or business partner. This will be the best investment you will ever spend on your business.

You should know this: This IS NOT 7-days talking business. My best work for clients is done through friendship and bonding. My greatest work is usually an idea that appears as a consequence. This is an experience that will give you results.

Georgia is very easy to access. It is also an adventure for the adventurous. I love it, it is a mind opening place and an incredible land of opportunity. Come and pick grapes with us.

This is a week in business I promise you will never forget.

Call me direct for more details but be very quick as I am expecting this opportunity to go very quickly.

Priceless at £25,000

  • Office: 01619288328
  • Cell: 07793069486

The Optimist... 2017

I am an optimist. My nature always tells me there is a way to conquer everything. Everything is simple a problem that needs to be solved.

The past few years i have seen businesses making the business of taking their services or products complicated. Full of distractions. Full of reactions to what is in or on trend.

There are many factors that will affect and do affect your business. Most business people from what I am seeing are unaware of that. Maybe you know something is wrong yet you are doing everything the same as always.

The problem is the everything you are doing isn’t bringing results like you expect them to bring. The myth of endless social media marketing has paid its toll on many businesses. Invest and a lack of results are clear. My pal has just gone bust. His endless social media marketing killed his business. His office lies empty yet filled with technology waiting for the debt collector to take it away and sell for peanuts.

The biggest thing I can give you for your successful business starting in 2017 is for you to review everything. If the results aren’t in from what you are doing - why are you doing it?

I have seen a to of lazy marketing directors and teams doing the same old stuff because it is easy and that is what they do. 2017 is going to see some very bug changes - HUGE - in marketing. Lazy marketing won't cut it in 2017. You need to get smart.

The one thing you are going to see me speaking a lot about is the one thing I have consistently done well for decades. It is the one thing that has seen me sound like a voice in the wilderness during an age of copy and bad looking marketing.

It is this.

BRANDING.

Branding is not a logo or a tagline. Branding has a deep psychological effect on the mind of who you are selling to. I cannot remember a time more important in business where this will be more relevant than from right now and the next few years.

Good copy is no longer enough.

Good business structures isn’t enough.

Great looking logos is not enough.

Catchy tag lines just aren’t enough.

A marketing team in place is no longer enough.

Paying marketing directors over £100,000 per annum is no longer enough.

The return of the brand is back but with a very modern twist that will be driven and fed by the age of attention deficit. I have a ton of detail on this but this is reserved ONLY for my paying clients.

I’ve spent years, reading, practicing, studying & understanding branding and playing the branding game myself. My biggest piece of advice to you is get started on the road of branding. Get genius advice (myself obviously) and take the lead before your competition beats you to it. If you don’t brand up you will start to lose out.

If you fail to brand your loss will be slow to the point you probably won’t even notice your losses until it’s far too late. That sounds dramatic but i strongly believe it to be with what I have seen and what I know from 31-years in business.

Brand up and brand up as fast as you can.

I’m ready to work with a few exclusive clients in 2017 - is that you.. I am also looking for those that want to play big and win big.

2017 could be the most testing year you ever have in business.

My clients say I am a genius.

I agree.

I can help you.

Get in touch right now.

Your partner in success and genius in life

Alan Forrest Smith

The Parrot Escaped

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The Parrot Escaped!

When I get up in the morning and head for breakfast I always sit in the same chair.

It looks out onto large trees. The bird noise in the morning is pretty deafening. It’s funny how I can identify the birds from the songs now. Now and then I can see a red hawk as well as all the usual pigeons, crows, and other none exotic birds.

Today when I sat down I heard a screech that I have heard before but never heard here. When I was young my father kept parrots and other birds. They have a sound that is very piercing and very loud.

So when I heard the bird noise this morning I immediately thought of a parrot. Yet we don’t have parrots here, they don’t survive alone in the wild.

I grabbed my binoculars as I could see a large bird on the tall birch tree in front of my apartment. There it was a huge green parrot sitting at the top of the tree making a racket!

Here’s the thing.

It has clearly escaped captivity.

It now has to survive.

It can only survive if it adapts and adapts very fast!

It will have to do something different. It’ll have to eat something different. It’ll have to play wild until it becomes wild. Its life has gone from comfort to survival it just doesn’t know it yet. It's still overwhelmed by the fact it is free, flying around and maybe for the first time in years it’s able to stretch its wings and fly across opens space. There he goes, from the top of the tall silver birch to the large 40-meter conifer.

Last night he was probably in his safe little cage. Today he is flying truly free as a bird.

I can’t see him now.

It got me thinking, though.

There are times in business or in life when things happen very unexpectedly. If we fail to adapt our business or our life flow just withers and dies.

Recently with the UK leaving the EU I’ve seen and heard some really interesting comments. Comment son TV and comments on the streets.

A change arrived that no one really expected. That change cannot be unchanged. The truth now for anyone in business, anyone thinking about business or anyone that is now feeling free is this.

An adaptation or evolution or change has to take place in the way you do things. If it doesn’t take place there could be a negative effect.

Now some will sit and wait for something to happen.

Some will take advice and not work on the advice they are given.

Some will even try some new advice and never go beyond trying.

Yet the world is changing, the world has changed.

There is nothing we can do about things out of our control but are we looking at the things in our control?

Someone said to me the other day

Alan, you’ve really changed since we first met.

Now we first met over 30 years ago so how could I be the same?

Every cell in my body has been replaced and is replaced every 7-years. The only old part of me is my memories; the rest is renewed and refreshed. My whole being has gone through 7 full body changes since I birth.

That means, of course, I have changed.

That also means you have changed.

For example, you might have run marathons when you were 21-28 years old but that doesn’t mean you can run them later in life. You have to adapt always.

Like the green parrot on the tree today.

Now I am no prophet but I do know that if that parrot fails to adapt it will be dead pretty quickly.

Yet the parrot has a secondary problem to overcome and it is this.

Deep embedded, repeated routine that is harder to shift than the deepest stain on the whitest sheet.

It has never had a life outside a cage. It has never had to find its own food. It has never had the habit ingrained by its mother on what food to choose. It has never found its own shelter.

This really is a change or die scenario.

A very long time ago a group of parrots found freedom in Windsor England. It was said they would die very quickly die.

Surprisingly they didn’t. Not only did they survive they thrived to the point they are a nuisance in some areas.

How do they survive?

They changed their behaviour.

Now listen up close because I am going to say this once for you.

If you are struggling to the point that the changes you need are not coming if you fail to change your behaviour you will not survive.

You can only survive through change.

Sitting and thinking about it changes nothing.

Sitting and moaning about it changes nothing.

Walking around looking at your feet change changes nothing.

Running the same marketing campaigns that have already proven to fail for your business changes absolutely nothing.

No change means no change – it’s as simple and as uncomplicated as that.

I’ve been doing some cool stuff that is stripping back layers and getting into the core of what works.

Works in life and works in business. Some of the results have been pretty astonishing, to say the least.

We can talk about that if you get in touch.

I hope that parrot survives. I am a fan of the underdog, the rebel and the non-conformist. I always gave been. Maybe that is because most of the happiest success stories I see are those that ride against the wave of the norm.

I like the idea that the parrot feels free, he is happy and he has escaped the confines of a caged life.

Part of me wants to catch the parrot and save him.

Part of me wants to let him go and see if he works out his own future.

Life’s like that.

We work it out and are happy doing it.

We struggle and cry and wish our life were the life of someone else.

Either way now and then it’s possible we all need some help.

As always you know where I am.

Here’s to a life thriving, thriving and prospering.

Alan Forrest smith

Catch me here

Iconoclast Collective OrangeBeetle 2nd Floor 213 Ashley Road Hale Cheshire WA159TB (Above Thornley Groves Estate Agency)

Tele: 00 44 (0)161 928 838 (office hours) Text: 0044 (0) 7793069486 (text anytime any day) Email alan @ orangebeetle.com

Old v.s New School Direct Marketing

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Old School vs. New School or

FUSION MARKETING?

Old school marketing is using sales reps, cold-calling, flyers, and anything else including FAX machines to spread the word of your campaign.

New school is email, social media, websites and anything else that flies through the web in or even out of the office.

Old school is seen as expensive.

For example here, is an actual case study.

Old school team wages

  • £65,000 - £115,000 for a marketing director
  • £24-£35,000 for other members of a marketing team.

It isn’t uncommon for me to go and meet a team of twelve people working in a marketing office or suite.!One client I have was spending over £230,000 on wages for his marketing team.

One client I have was spending over £230,000 on wages for his marketing team.

Direct mail can cost as low as £1 per letter or as high as you want to go. I worked on one direct mailer that cost around £25,000 to send 10,000 letters. I also worked on another that was costing over £1,000,000 per month.

If you take the back of a Sunday magazine and place your advert there it will cost you around £70-£100k for a full-page glossy advert.

New school is seen as cheap and fast.

Email to click and send – free!

SMS to click and send – free!

Social media free to set up!

Web pages can now be free to set up!

And most of the time you don’t have to have a team you can do it all yourself.

What would you choose old or new?

The truth!

Why is it I see and meet more old school marketers that are rich and successful and many less online marketers that are hardly making a penny?

The reason is simpler than you might be thinking and then I will tell you what I prefer and advise you to do.

THE WEB PROBLEM

Web marketers usually try to do everything themselves. They sit with laptops in cafes, on a sofa or even on a beach (how they do that with sun glare is beyond me) and try to do everything themselves.

They can email endlessly, SMS to death and more yet the reality is most web marketers that I have met over the past 2-years and more struggle to make ends meet.

Why?

They fail to work out some very simple formulas and data.

  • Return on investment
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Breakeven vs. lifetime value
  • And the biggest cost of all – time!

If you have no idea what your time is worth you’ll run around like a headless chicken trying and hoping something will work at some point.

Most online marketers believe that if they simply keep throwing it out there something will come back in.

Here’s another critical thing to think about.

  • Not all of your targets are on Facebook
  • Not all of your clients like social media
  • Not all of your clients use email
  • Not all of your clients feel good about SMS into their space.

Coke a cola invested a year's marketing budget into social media rather than old school media they have been running for decades. The result was a 5% drop in market share. For a company as large as coke that was huge. They now stick strictly to what they know.

Recently I did a trade show in Manchester. There were over 7000 businesspeople at this event. Almost every conversation was the same and went a little like this.

We use mostly Facebook and LinkedIn. When asked about results again the response was mostly the same… not good!

At the same event, I spoke to a guy that does just direct mail and nothing online. I asked him about his results and his reply was similar. He told me his response was very good, business was just fine but his costs for marketing were just far too high.

So what’s the answer?

It’s easier than you think but it needs you to have a re-set of your mind and marketing actions to make it work.

FUSION

I call it FUSION. It’s always been part of my AFS METHOD and has proved itself time and time again for my clients.

Let's take a step back a little.

You can send a simple direct mail/flyer/postcard to a home at a low rate. It can start with a number as low as 25 houses. This is what I call part of a seeding strategy and a warm-up strategy. It’s also very old school. You would send a number of these, not just one! One send will do nothing!

After the campaign starts you then support that with a more guerilla style campaign. What does this mean? It means you need to get more information about the household so you again set up a way to do that using old school guerilla style marketing.

Once that is in place you can support this with a more visual marketing in the local area. This can be done through THE placement of Ads where your marketplace will see these ads. They must be very simple and direct using triggers and buzzwords that apply to your customer.

Hang on in here don’t stop reading I will explain everything and why it applies to your business in a second.

At the same time, everything you do is fully supported with an online campaign using proven Facebook tricks and other social media tricks that have already been tested to work. There is more but I don’t want to complicate it for you right now.

Recently we ran a campaign for a client using just that very method. Everything was tested and eventually put together in a fusion campaign supported by my AFS METHODOLOGY. Not only were his results good his response went up by 1,700% in a single day! He was happy because not only was his failed marketing for the past 2-years now fixed he was also making money.

Let me share a short story with you about a client that was so fixed the results for him were disastrous.

This client had cash from investors. The investors were Russians. These guys are tough. They asked and paid for my advice. I put forward a plan for them that would do the following.

  • Use low cost-high-return guerilla marketing
  • Create a distinctive USP that really did stand out
  • A fusion plan that had been carefully planned through for cost and return
  • A system that put their core message back into the minds of their buyers

And so much more

They had invested 4-weeks of my time into this plan.

At the same time, I didn’t realise they were also talking and asking for advice from an ad agency.

The agency put together a very predictable plan.

Focus on the logo/brand and do as much social media as possible. They would buy likes and hire cheap labour in the Philippines to post content daily.

I was dead set against that whole plan.

A solid return on investment hadn’t been worked out

An acquisition cost hadn’t been thought through

No consideration of any kind of outcome was in place. They were simply told that they would get the message out there.

They asked my thoughts and I told them blunt it is a plan with failure written all over it.

Why?

They had failed to plan and hence planned to fail!

18-mothns later I received and email from the director. He apologised for what happened at the time and told me the company had folded and that he wished he had stuck to my directions.

The problem is this.

They were too fixated on a single plan of action and the world of marketing is now very different.

You have to be smarter, you have to be clever, you have to think, you have to plan and you have to minimise risk. Never before has the opportunity to so that been greater.

Are you doing fusion marketing?

Are you stuck on trying everything and anything online?

Are using just cold-calling?

Are you knocking on doors and doors only?

Are you running the same ads for the past 3-years just hoping they might work?

Are you doing just one email every month and hope that email will get sales?

Whatever it is you are doing today you need to get smarter.

The world has changed and the world of marketing has transformed.

Yes, Facebook might be telling you how to take your business to market in a step-by-step fashion. Yes, Google is doing the very same.

Yet are they showing you how o get smart, how to position, how to close deals, how to create scripts, how to build trigger sequences or how to sit and strategize and put together a smart fusion system that is measured and capable of actually increasing your sales?

The future of marketing is very different from just old school or just new school. Truly it even goes beyond fusion. The future of marketing is built around very careful smart thinking that we supported by planning, systems and testing.

If you like the idea of working alongside and installing my AFS METHOD into your life and business you know how to get me.

And just so you know.

Here at Orange Beetle I am making some huge changes to keep in harmony with the marketplace. Those changes include my fee or your investment with me and I can tell you my fees won’t be going down quite the opposite.

So now is a golden opportunity to either work at my side as a mentor protégé, have me rebuild or fine-tune your entire marketing systems or have me leverage what you have to give you more of what you need.

Do you want me?

You know exactly where I am.

Just in case.

Tele: 0161 928 8328

Text: 07793069486

Summer Time - Time For What?

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SUMMER TIME -Time For What?

The school is out so if your town, city or village is anything like most at this time of the year everything has gone pretty quiet into your salon.

Now let me tell you this.

It’s as good as impossible to pull people in when they are not there but that is for another post. The real question is what are you going to do or what should you do in this in the slow spell?

This is a period of the year I love and my clients that are the most successful love. I’ll tell you why in a moment but first let us start with a story. It isn’t true but it’s based on a lot of people I have met in business over the years.

There are two people in a salon business that both have a business.

The Story of Tom and John.

Neither man knows each other.

Tom loves summer. Despite his business just doing ok, he loves going away, sitting in the sunshine and doing nothing apart from a drink, a swim and all the usual things we are told we should do on holiday. During the summer he will spend up his cash reserves completely. He knows that in advance and he knows because she's been repeating the same pattern year after year since he started in business.

He goes in, hopes it's all going to be busy and places an offer or two in his advertising here and there hoping that he'll be busy when it's slow.

He has no idea how the business will be when he gets back after her holiday but he refuses to miss a holiday.

John thinks different.

John’s business opened over 7-years ago, he knows it takes effort and work. He also knows he can never afford to just hope.

John still has a holiday. He still has a drink or two on the beach with his family. He still does a lot of what most people do in the summer. There is a difference though and it is this.

When away John relaxes but he relaxes smartly. He learnt the hard way years ago that the only way HIS business will be a success is if he carefully planned that success. Planning meant he could track his progress, he could keep on track and he could put in place things that were working and things that wouldn't work he would remove.

He plans his turnover. He then plans how to reach that turnover. He plans his money, his income and all of his possible sales. For John doing this can be a little painful yet he knows the key to his business is planning and when he plans well the results always come in.

Tom does the same old thing and gets the same old thing back in return while John’s business grows every year without fail.

This should raise a question for you?

So what will you be doing this summertime in your business while it’s a little slower?

First I don’t mind sharing what I do here at OrangeBeetle.com and my other company SalonPunk.com as I think this will help you and then I will give you more tips on what you can do yourself. Stop and review

I stop everything, sit in a corner and write notes based on what my results have been so far in the year. In my business and I am sure your business is about results. Results in sales, turnover and of course success for my clients.

If the desired results are not in I want to know why and I want to know the changes I have to make. I’ve learnt in life I cannot wait for anything to happen I have to make it happen and that includes changes.

Salon Web pages and communications

I will go through all of my essential web pages. Over 93% of my own traffic now comes through a mobile phone. So are my pages fully optimised and converting for a smartphone? I feel this has made a change to the way we present certain messages. That is for another post as it is too long for this now. Web pages can be easily tracked, tested and measured for success or failure these days. I look at my analytics and make the changes I have to make. It’s always interesting for me that a lot of clients rarely change their web pages yet that is a little like never changing the shop front window.

Salon Imagery

Images go in the eye and make an impact. Now and then I get it wrong so I like to make the changes I need to change. I personally use Photoshop Elements for my own images. Images on a website that are never changed make no impact. It isn't uncommon for me to change my main images EVERY MONTH. For example, the previous header I used on OB failed miserably although I liked it. It dropped response rates dramatically. Why? Most visitors won't and don't go beyond the top of a page so you need to get it absolutely right. I changed the image 4-times in a single week. Most changes were single words. Yes single words can make a difference and sometimes a huge difference. Now it converts again.

Salon Engagement and Social Media

This is still hard for even me to get a grip of – social media. We test everything time and time again. The past few months we ramped up the tests on Facebook with what I can call huge turnaround results compared to what we did in the past.

The past few weeks I have been running tests on something I have never been able to get a grip of – Twitter. I have to say the results are impressive so far but not complete so maybe I will share more again. Finally Instagram. Again I used to simply put photos up there but the past 4-weeks I have been testing a few things with some pretty cool results but I am still not 100% happy to go full out on this one yet

And of course, I learnt a long time ago social media is NOT about likes and shares it is about converting and engaging them into clients.

I do more things and this stuff can take 2-4 weeks easily. The difference after the tweaks can be dramatic.

How about you - what will you be doing over the summer in your salon business?

Let me ask you this before you answer. It’s almost like a short questionnaire.

  1. Simply say yes or no to yourself.
  2. Are your results what you want them to be?
  3. Do you have a proven strategy in place?
  4. Do you stop, think and review or do you simply keep on hoping things will change?
  5. Do you have a test and refine system built into your business?
  6. Do you have a 12-month plan in place?
  7. Do you try and do everything yourself?
  8. Do you advertise like crazy when it’s slow in the summertime?
  9. Have you asked for expert advice over the last 12-months?
  10. Are you in fear for the future of your business?

If you answered yes to most you need to make some changes and make them fast.

Summertime is that time where you should make the effort to install changes if they are needed. You have the time so do it.

Recently I dealt with a client that had hired a team to post endless posts on social media. The crazy thing about was this.

He had agreed to pay £2,000 each month.

His results halfway through his 12-month contract were absolutely zero in terms of converting to clients.

He had tonnes of likes

Lots of shares

Most of his fans were paid for fans (fake likes).

I asked him why and he replied that he was getting a tonne of likes that he felt would turn into sales at some point yet ... He also realised his business wasn't a business because his sales were so low at this point. Sometimes talking to some clients makes no sense!

That just makes no sense when you are in business.

So it’s your choice and you do have a choice.

Summertime is a good time to sit and make changes to your salon strategy. Is it a good time to review and ask yourself many questions about the direction your business is really going in?

And please do this even if we never ever speak to each other – go hire an expert and get expert advice. You wouldn’t do your own heart operation so why play with your businesses life.

There are a tonne of options for you to work with myself of course.

You can hire me for any set period of time. I can review, critique and reveal any potential flaws in your marketing and business very quickly. I can install testing and tracking to maximise any future results. And more…

I have appointments racing towards me in London and Scotland. I could come to you then or you can come to meet me? Please ask but be quick when you respond.

I also have our new space here.

You can bring your team, your campaign and I can mastermind, critique, review and fine tune it with your guys. I can even train your team. You send them to me as marketers and I will send them back as higher response direct marketing people that understand results, tracking, measuring and more.

Call me and let's see what we can do.

00 44 (0) 161 928 8328 00 44 (0) 7793 069 486 alan@salonpunk.com orangebeetle

Iconoclast Collective 213 Ashley Road 2nd Floor Hale Cheshire WA159TB

I hope what you read helps you.

Summertime can be your most powerful and productive time ever deep inside your business.

What will you be doing and really making time for this summer?

Let's talk very soon.

Enjoy your summer.

Alan Forrest Smith

The Social Media Question

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The Social Media Question

I’m just back from the coffee shop where we drink coffee before we get over into the office.

Behind me were two guys. One was speaking very loudly. Both were talking about social media. The conversation went like this.

"Once we set up our LinkedIn account we then set up Facebook and Twitter pages. Then we simply connect to as many people as we can via LinkedIn so that will bring people through all of our Social Media. That will give us a massive reach."

The older guy said he didn’t quite understand. The younger repeated what he had already said but in a slower much easier way to follow. The older guy then asked this question.

“Will it bring in more clients?”

The younger guy replied,

“I am not sure but I think so.”

Both final agreed to kick-start their social media campaign on the basis that they simply HOPE it’ll work.

This approach to social media marketing isn’t unusual. The reason it isn’t unusual is that for some it is still new. For some, it is a learning curve. For some, it is almost magical and hence mysterious.

That has been supported by a huge wave of NEW marketers selling the social media myth. The myth is simple and dressed in a way that social media can seem magic. Once we enter the realms of magic it is usually left to magicians. Yet we all know magic isn’t real.

The true social media question you as a businessperson should be asking is this.

Will social media give me more business, more sales and more money in the bank?

An Example from an Art Gallery case Study

A couple of weeks ago we had a call from a company that struggled to deliver a full house into an art gallery.

Here was the problem: Just 6-days away and still no ticket sales. The artist had said if it wasn’t a full house he wouldn’t turn up. The gallery was hysterical with fear of failing.

They had been doing social media for a few years but had no idea if it worked. This was the first time they tried to make it work. They simply posted events with no response.

We were asked if we could help.

Now if you have just six days to create a turnaround what would you do?

First, I will tell you how it ended then I will tell you what we did.

Six days later the gallery was packed. The photos on Facebook showed a gallery that had no booking just six days earlier but on the day of opening was packed to the roof.

Obviously, they were more than happy.

So how do we do that in such a short period of time?

The first thing we do is look for targeted, speed and proven strategies. Speed is clearly based online and proven are things we have tested in the past and know will work. The only real problem is we do like to test things for each business in a bespoke way and are their targeted customers online or more important on social media?

Once we find the targets or people we are aiming for we started to test images on social media.

Here’s something that was crazy!

A single image of his painting - that are just brilliant - pulled just 3 clicks where a totally different image of the painter painting pulled 250 plus clicks.

It was …

  • The same advert
  • The same words
  • A different image

They were already committed to paying $10 dollars per click – we reduced it right away using what we know to just $1.50 for the same click.

The next thing we did was testing multiple online channels. Now the mistake most make is they simply throw everything online and hope it works. You know the stuff like Facebook posts, LinkedIn networking, regular Adwords etc. The only problem is when you are very short on time you need to be sure that the traffic is highly targeted so risk on a hope and pray campaign isn’t an option.

So we did all the research needed to make sure we had

  • The target as close as we could match
  • The message as close as we could match
  • The reach as accurate as possible
  • And then we took the available online channels to push out the tickets.

We took a route where rather than use everything we know we would reduce the risk and use (on a bit of a guess) what we felt based on experience would work and has already worked.

So we chose 7-ways of reaching the marketplace rather than just one or two.

There was no truly better result from either ticket outlet as both had the same amount of tickets downloaded.

The lesson was simple: Use what you know, use everything that you know but stick to what you know will work.

Ask these questions.

  • Are your customers on LinkedIn?
  • Are your customers on Facebook?
  • Are your customers on Twitter?
  • Are your customers on Instagram and more?

Because the reality is there are still a lot of buyers out there that do not use Social media. Those buyers could be your buyers. If that is the case why over rely on social media as a tool to bring in clients?

Social media could be your best option for marketing ever. It could also be an option where disaster will follow.

I have seen businesses fail because they refused to ignore advice that the only option was social media.

Guess what?

As you read above when targeted, tested and done properly social media could transform your business. A client of ours went and bought himself a new red Ferrari on the back of the campaigns we did for them using social media. For him, the 300 plus leads we delivered transformed his business.

And then, of course, the gallery above… six days later the artist turned up to a full house that could have been disastrously empty.

Over the past few years time and time again I have completely turned around businesses online campaigns. Maybe I could do the same for you?

  • Like the client that went from 3 leads to over 330 every month
  • Like the client that went from no online leads to 17 per hour – every hour – every day
  • Like the client that transformed his booking systems and sales from the odd one here and there to over five million units sold in a single month

And more.

Social media does raise a question and should raise many questions for you.

Questions like

  • Why am I in business?
  • Why do I advertise?
  • What do I want from my business?

The answers are really simple – you want your business to be a success. That being said just taking the latest things and trying them, hoping and praying they will work can cause a danger to your business.

  • Social media should be approached with care.
  • Social media should be tested for actual results.
  • And ask what are the results you want?

Buying LIKES, getting likes and shares – do they actually increase your bottom-line – sales?

I love social media but I keep reminding myself that over 31-years I have amassed over 257 ways to build a business. Yes, 257 proven, tested strategies, tactics and techniques that build a business.

Around 4-years ago I decided to stop using social media for business. I got sick of the hype and lack of results for myself and for my clients.Maybe 18-months ago I decided to kick-start a few tests supported by research we had been reading.

The test results for clients and us were pretty amazing I have to say. Today social media is part of the toolbox of 257 tools because frankly it works for some businesses and will fail miserable for others.

Don’t play with your business on social media. Don’t listen to unproven advice on social media. Take wise steps to make sure it is working for your business not you working to put free content on social media.

I hope this helps you somehow.

And if you would you like me personally to look over your online campaign and offline campaigns I can do that for you.

We can do more than a few things.

  • Locate your targets – IF they are using social media
  • Slash advertising costs and start tests from as low as $5 per day
  • Increase response by testing everything
  • Boost sales using tested to work strategies
  • Message to market narrowed down so we give your buyers what they are thinking
  • And …
  • Increase your leads
  • Create brand domination
  • Six-day Turnarounds
  • Huge Breakthroughs
  • If you’d like to talk this through you know where I am.

 

  • Offices: Iconoclast Collective, Orange Beetle, 213 Ashley Road, 2nd Floor, Hale, Cheshire, WA159TB
  • Tele: 00 44 (0) 161 928 8328
  • Text: 00 44 (0) 7793069486
  • Skype: orangebeetle
  • Facebook messenger: www.Facebook.com/orangebeetle

Give us a call right now and let's talk.

Feel free to hit reply and arrange a conversation.

All the very best.

Alan Forrest Smith

Alan's Notes June 23rd

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NOTES FROM MY DESK June 23rd

Today I’m doing my own thing.

That means doing what I want to do.

The day began with a hug and a kiss with my darling wife Tamuna.

BREAKFAST

I’ve been doing this new regime with a TV gladiator called Hunter. Over the past few years I have got pretty fit but I want to look in the mirror and look my very best. It feeds the vanity in me yet makes me feel good to look good.

Breakfast was the big change. I’ve been a toast and porridge eater most of my life. This morning and for the past 8 weeks I’ve eaten turkey, chicken, salmon and plenty greens.

The difference is amazing. After zero bread for a couple of weeks the bloating went down pretty considerably. I am not at the stage where I have dimples rather than a ton of fat around my waist. Waiting this kind of protein has made a huge difference to me. I feel better, stronger and of course the vanity in me looks better in the mirror.

Once I get my ripped look I’ll share a photo with you guys. J

I have to say it was a hard habit to change moving away from a ton of carbs daily but it has been worth it. Just 8 weeks down the line the thought of bread isn’t a great thought.

Lesson? The mind can be re-trained.

COFFEE MORNINGS

We start everyday with a coffee outside our home and outside our office. No set time, no set anything just a moment in the rain or a moment in the sunshine. Today is was sunshine and plenty of it.

In the coffee shop in front of me was a man wearing a very loose and pretty grim pale grey suit. He looked around 55-years old but was probably around 45-years old. His hair had gone apart from a few strands. His moustache looked outdated and his glasses looked like something a child would wear. Under his arm his essential work item his tablet. Over his should a laptop bug over filled with paper and a sandwich. His shoes were scuffed and he looked in his face as if his life had ended years ago.

The Spanish barista took his order. She always has a big smile but he had no smile for her in return. He paid and stood rigid and silent as he waited for his drink. Not once did I see him raise his eyes. He started at the floor and stared and stared. Maybe worried about his next meeting as he went from his watch to the floor to the floor to his watch and finally to get his drink. Black coffee, no milk, no sugar, and no happiness sprinkled in. He sat close to where we sat outside but he was in the shade. Each sip of coffee was supplemented by another look at the time.

It made me ask; why do we do that to humans? Train them, restrain them and turn them into machines until they die. Isn’t that abuse?

Tamuna and myself sat until we left. No fixed time just coffee, observations, a kiss or two and then over to the studio.

WORK

What is work? I’m sitting at the window of my main studio. Outside there are people walking back and forth along the street going to wherever they are going. Two things are noticeable right now.

A beggar arrived in the bus stop. He sleeps there or at least I thought he did. Where does he go to the toilet? Anyway for weeks now he has been sleeping g in the bust shelter. He looks filthy and thin. I have always given to anyone on distress but this time I haven’t. No judgments I just haven’t but I will try and explain why.

He appears to be over loaded with donations of food. He sits on cardboard surrounded by foodstuffs. One day I walked past and watched him get up. He traded places with a woman that looks remarkably like him. Later that same day I saw him stationed outside the local train station entrance doing exactly the same thing. Then later again I saw him and the woman both on their smartphones counting what looked like a ton of cash at a table outside a coffee house. He still sleeps outside in the bus shelter.

One thing I have learnt in life is regardless of where we are right now we have created it. We create every situation, we are about to create situations and once created we can either accept or do something about it. Every now and then I feel it’s a good thing to question life – your life – and make changes where they are needed. This world really gives us everything we need. There are no bad cards and no group of gods around an oracle making decisions on your life.

We create what we have we create our life.

EU REFERENDUM

Last night on TV we had a shocking debate on the IN or LEAVE reasons for Britain and the EU. Jeremy Paxman is a fraction of the man he used to be when it comes to handling debates. Some people run their course.

I don’t feel qualified to offer an opinion on anything because for me the complexities of a membership like this are far to tangled for me to give time to untangle and then decide.

What I do know is this.

I create my own life regardless of the outcome and whatever the outcome is everything will still be fine. Yes there are a lot of blatant lies spoken that is clear and obvious. The immigration lie is absolutely the biggest and you only have to spend 20-minutes researching facts to see that. Yet the minds of those that are followers would not only not see the facts but are pre-trained to follow on mass.

The mass of humanity always follows because of what they are fed and allow into their minds. The mind direct the actions and the actions are usually to follow.

The lesson for me is clear, create your own life regardless of conditions. Politicians will never have our lives at hear but are directed towards their own power. Boris Johnson proved that!

THE OFFICES

It was hard getting used to working in a new space as at first I felt confined. I love it now. I love people like you coming here. I love my clients coming over and I love the days where I can sit in peace while watching the world pass by.

It’s been a change but so far has created a ton of interest. The other thing of course is it is a change. Change is good and keeps the mind healthy. When is the last time you made any real changes in your life?

GEORGIA

I’m finishing this note with thoughts of Georgia. As a write Georgia inspires me at some many levels. It’s raw; it’s a very different way of life. I love how they missed out on the 20th century and have jumped right into the 21st century. Its advanced and does so many things better than we do yet it still has that old feel where men are men and women are women. We are heading over there in July or August for a few weeks.

The sun will be blazing, the heat is exhausting, the food is incredible and the culture always embraces me with many hands. Grapes, bread (I know Im not eating but I will there) and all of the fresh produce that is easy to buy in Tbilisi.

TODAY

I am working on two courses at the moment.

The first is for you if you want to write a book – the proper way – and then know how to get that book listed everywhere and selling. I thought I’d do this because it’s taken me a long time to work out how to get my books into the marketplace. I only started writing seriously in 2012 and already had one best seller on Amazon.

I am also working on another training designed to share and help you create the perfect life through understanding your own life.

OK I have to get something done.

Enjoy your day and remember everything will work out exactly as you want it to work out.

Here’s something I write yesterday.

Enjoy.

Waiting for God

There's a man outside waiting for God. I can see him each and everyday from my window. Each and everyday he appears to grow weaker.

He looks older than his years. His frame is light, his clothes look over sized, his white hair sticks out from under his hat, his faced is cracked and filled with lines of pain and impending death.

He can still walk but only with the help of the woman.

I don't think she lives there. She comes and goes and goes and comes to look after the man waiting for God.

Today she did what she does everyday. Brought him into his luxurious yard, made him comfortable in or out the shade. She brings him drinks. She brings him food. Today she brought him some love and kisses from her large friendly Labrador dog. The dog walked up to the man with his happy tail waving back and forth only to lick him on his face as the man sat up.

I've watched him now for 8 weeks. He has grown weaker and weaker. He moves less and less. Today he is almost motionless but alive. When we arrived here his garden was untidy. In a single week they created something beautiful for the man to enjoy in his last days. It does look beautiful it does look luxurious. I can tell he enjoys and appreciates it.

Yet his days seem short. I can see his life leaving him. I can see his helper understanding while making sure he just is as he is.

It's sad yet it's life. It's part of life yet it's sad. He can't see watching him and I can't resist watching him. I know soon the garden will be empty. I know soon the man will never come into his garden again. Where has he gone once he does? What will he be when he dies? Will he be anywhere when he dies.

I'm not sure. He's a bag on bones in thin skin right now. He's fading and fading. Soon he'll be gone.

I want to ask him what he's thinking.

There's a man outside waiting for God.

Peace.

Alan Forrest Smith

 

Marketing Change Part 2

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Marketing problems ...Marketing has changed part 2.

In the last article I hopefully sent the fear of God into your hearts by talking truthfully about how businesses predictably fail by using marketing techniques, advice that no longer serve your business in this faster than fast generation.

So here is what you can do right now to kick-start a whole new campaign.

Stop

Stop everything that’s being done right now.

Why? Because it isn’t working and if you keep on doing what you are doing right now you are going to lose cash, waste time, lose sales, lose your investment and eventually there is a possibility that your business might fold.

And stopping wont be a problem for the reason that nothing is working right now. Once you have stopped you now get time to …

Think about everything. I said ...

THINK

Now is the time to give your marketing and advertising some real thought. Stop it for a day or a week or even a month and think it through very carefully. Is your targeting correct? Are you engaging your audience in the correct places? Have you found out and mastered all the buzz words spoken by your targets? There are a lot of things to think through to get this right – think it over in full and then …

Take a moment

Yes go get a coffee, sit on a hillside, go fishing or ride out on your Harley for a day or so. Get out of your office and take a moment so you can look from the outside into your business rather than trying to see everything from the inside out. This will give you more clarity and a clean sheet mind to work from. Now you need to …

Analyze

That means start to give your marketing some serious thought here. Be honest … is it working, do you get the numbers, the leads or the results you not only want but you need to grow and expand your business into the coming years? Simple analysis can bring up a lot of thoughts, can help you see problem but can also surface solutions for you. Be honest and truthful and once you have done that you can park your Harley and …

Regroup

Regroup with your team but I will offer you this warning. Those that have already been working on your campaigns will not be the ones to fix what they have already failed with. Think about it – it makes no sense and they will probably fight any changes because your new changes will feel as if you are attacking their skillsets directly. Yet the reality is they have been given a chance and it simply isn’t working. Next you need to think about your …

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Big picture

The big picture is the direction, the profits, and the everything you see and want for your business. The numbers year-on-year and results do you know them? If you don’t know where you are heading your marketing and advertising will reflect that. Work it all out, write it down and then next …

  • Remove anything not working
  • Remove adverts that don’t work
  • Remove webpages that don’t work
  • Remove people that don’t deliver
  • Remove brochures that don’t work

How do you know they do or don’t work? Make sure you test and measure everything. That is the only way you will and can know what is and isn’t working.

That goes for your team also. Measure and track what they do and if they fail to deliver … they have to go otherwise your business will go and they will simply move on. You also must …

Removed fixed thinking

There are and will be people in your company that have big thoughts on marketing and advertising that are NOT experts. They should be ignored when it comes to an area as specialized as this. In my experience their thinking will be very fixed based on the fact that it could be their business so they think they know best yet the results speak for themselves and are clearly not for the best.

Here are a few more things you must give serious thought to…

Be open to ideas

New ideas, different ideas and ideas that might challenge your concepts of what you have been doing for sometime now with no results.

Don’t ask those that have already failed to deliver to now deliver. They will simply repeat the same mistakes but dressed in new clothes. These ones are great at blaming others for their bad decisions. Find them and throw them out the building.

Just fire them or ask them to make coffee while you solve this with your new team.

Hire an expert thinker

Don’t try and pretend you are an expert at marketing – you’re clearly not as I think deep down you know. A true expert will not cost you anything, they should be seen as an investment. Listen to them closely as long as they have a long track record that is proven.

Release new minds from inside

You might have a few geniuses around the office that are waiting to be unleashed. Now is your chance to let them out of their cages so they can shine. Get smart as there are some very cool ways to get these guys shining like the sun for you.

Create a workspace for minds and pens

If the usual meetings don’t work well don’t do the usual meetings. Shake things up and add or take from the mix. Gets smart and break the routine.

Work out ROI for your new marketing investment

Marketing isn’t a cost and if it is this isn’t marketing. Get a genius like myself to create something new. If you cannot afford a genius like myself get smart and find someone that is a fit for your business. If it is not at least ten times higher than you invest – screw it don’t do it.

That’s it for now.

If you need a thinker that can not only shake things up for you but deliver powerful measurable results you of course know where I am.

Your orange genius

Alan Forrest Smith

Part 1 of this article is here

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4 Things Hairdressing Taught Me

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4 Direct Response Marketing Tricks I Learnt From Hairdressing

What can hairdressing teach your business about marketing, copywriting, strategy and good old direct response marketing?

This weekend I was taken back in time when I caught sight of a video of John Paul Dejoria talking about his business, the salon industry and of course how he built his four billion dollar empire. I had the good fortune to meet him and talk with him in 1990 in Buckinghamshire England. That meeting was to change my salon business completely. It was my first encounter with marketing.

Lets go back in time

I was a hairdresser for over 20 years. I started cutting hair when I was around 15-years old. I then trained at twenty years old officially as a hairdresser and then had 3 salons of my own until the year 2003 when I then launched full-time into OrangeBeetle (OB started in 1998).

On the first day of opening my very first salon with my very first employees I also had my first staff walkout from a junior member.  I had no idea what I was doing and frankly I don’t blame her, it was total chaos.

The second week in business it was slow and that carried on until I was around 2-3 months into being a new businessman and desperately counting the cash to see if I could pay staff wages by the weekend.

Then late 1989-90 (I know it’s a long time ago) I saw an advert in the hairdressers journal for a club for hairdressers that was being supported by Paul Mitchell Salon Products.

I saw the advert once, twice and maybe a dozen times after that when I decided to call the number and ask a few questions.

I spoke to a guy named Mike Kemball in Buckinghamshire and before I knew it I was on my way to their Insight meeting.

Marketing Was New To Me

Insight was an understatement. Despite the reality that I started selling things to other people at the age of just 10 year, I hadn’t thought about business the way I was now being shown.

For example; I learnt about how to price services. In those days I simply thought you charged what you were wanted to charge. I certainly never understood perception of a price can affect your business. Mercedes – you never ask the price you simply know this. You can or cannot afford it but you know it’s the best and part of that belief that it is the best is in the price. It’s expensive so it must be – good!

Then there were all the other things I began to discover. Upselling services, products, reception layout, staff wages and just about every single thing you can think about to run a business I discovered fast!.

The nice thing they did that also affected me in a big way was introducing me to something called a book. Yes you read correct I said a BOOK.

You see up until that point in my life I had read NOTHING – not a single thing that was printed onto a page apart from what I was forced to read at school so the thought of reading a book was against my inclination because I associated booms only with school. So I began to read books - business books.

I also bought a cassette (remember them?)  for my car by a guy I had never heard of before named Jay Abraham. I also bought a book by an expert named Zig Ziglar and one more expert named Tom Peters. It was heavy but I was enjoying this new learning the business of business experience.

So in a short period of time I had learnt lots of new things about running a business. How to structure everything, staffing, finances, marketing a lot of new and mind-expanding materials.

Astonishing Results From Hairdressing

The more I discovered especially obeyer direct response marketing, the better the results were for me. I managed to build a huge 5-bedroomed house in its own grounds with my success, had the holidays, the cars and all the other benefits that a successful business gave me. It was hard, really hard but it gave me a foundation that transformed a lot of areas in my life.

But for you reading this I wanted to share something’s that were critical in that business succeeding but any business I have worked on since then and are working on right now.

4 Things I Learnt from Being a Hairdresser

Number one: Feed from others for bigger ideas

There’s nothing wrong in looking at others for ideas. I used to look outside the industry all of the time for ideas on how to build a strong salon. That meant my salons were very different to all of the other salons. The other salon owners all looked inside the industry whilst I was looking at things like how a football club was structured so I could apply those guidelines to my salon business.

For example in 1991 we were the only salon business in a town of 35 salons to sell something I named a ‘season ticket’. In other words they could pay in advance for their appointments at a lower rate. This was something that was only really seen in the football industry and certainly not hairdressing. This was also direct response marketing at its best with everything being tracked and measured.

I saw they were filling their football stadium appointments (seats) up to two years ahead so why couldn’t I by simply copying them. I did and it worked massively. Actually as a side note I have never seen this in a salon ever apart from my own salons.

I have since applied the very same to all my businesses since. For example today I model a lot of my ideas on the film industry. Why? Well if you want to sell a lot and be the best at what you are selling you’d better model a business that turns over literally billions and the movie business does just that. They sell a movie based on a 120 second video and very powerful imagery. I use them as one of my swipe models. Today I read around 5-books a week to feed my mind and write around one million words a year to keep me in full flow.

So how about you who do you look to for idea outside your current industry and how many ideas do you discover, swipe and apply in your business?

Number two: Get the infra-structure and finances right - STRATEGY & SYSTEMS!

This is short and simple… get it right or you are forever hoping and praying.

In the early days of my salons it went like this. I got cash from the clients and then I would put that cash in my pocket, under my bed, in an old sock and then inside my mattress or – I would go and buy something with the cash. Most of the time I would go and buy something.

That led to problems and here was one of the major problems I faced one day. I had received a huge tax bill that I simply couldn’t pay. I missed the payment day time and time again yet I would go home and sit and ask myself this, “I’m taking a ton of cash here in the salon but how is it I can’t pay a bill for £5k?”

Now the answer is really obvious but it wasn’t one I had in place all those years ago. It was this – I was spending far too much and managing nothing.  I quickly discovered that if you are taking £50k yet spending £51k you are in big trouble. I then found out that money should be divided and split apart so that everything is covered. I know its obvious right? Yet I never did it. It took me years to learn cash management.

Not too long ago I knew a guy that bought a post office. The old post office and shop was very old and needed urgent renovations.

So he went and got a big loan. On his loan the first thing he went and bought was a new Range Rover. Then he bought his wife a new Range Rover in white. Then they spent cash on the house attached to the Post Office and lived the good life – for a short while.

Suddenly he realised that he has to pay stock bills, pay staff, and pay invoices and pay and manage the cash in all areas of the post office. He never did and about six months later he finally was forced to close. On a Saturday after my salon had closed with my very young kids at the time for their comic and sweet treat I found out when I went to the shop it had been closed by bailiffs and his cars and home had no been removed.

Why?

He simply failed to manage his finances and had no infra-structure in place.

How about you in your business? Are you finances covered and do you know exactly how they should be split? If this is a failure in your business your business will fail. It was a very early lesson I learnt through hairdressing and running three hairdressing salons.

Number three: You are only as good as your service or product

Before you do anything I discovered that the service or the product has to be good enough. For example in those days I would promote a new stylist that came into the salon. The stylist was then sent clients and the clients would expect a service that I was advertising. Unfortunately I had yet to discover that despite all the bells and whistles I was blowing and waving I was not training my staff to support for my marketing was saying. This meant I was saying how great we were but my services and products simply didn’t support that. Of course this lost me clients that I had paid to bring into my business.

It’s like pouring endless water into a bucket with holes. The more you pour in the more that pours out.

This took me to a place where I had to rediscover my salon services and make them work in a way that was a match with what my marketing was saying. Not easy but we did it in the end.

Now as a consultant for the past 15-years and more the first thing I ask is how good are your services. The reply is ALWAYS the same, “ yes really good”.

Once I flew to a salon to create a new strategy and plan for her business. She had already told me her business was the very best, services and skills were the absolute greatest in the area yet her spread sheet numbers were telling a story of clients in – clients out, like the bucket so I decided to fly over and see what was actually going on.

From the moment I walked into the salon the staff clearly hated her, she clearly hated them and it all showed in the work they were doing. Service was poor, skills sets were average and nothing was quite as it should or could be.

The day I sat and spoke to her and her team the phone rang. She jumped up and shouted, “can’t one of the miserable FU&%KERS get the phone”. I was shocked and clearly there was a huge problem with a team that was reflecting in the salon services.

So it was a big lesson for me to be able to support any marketing with solid service and solid products.

And what I have seen in business is the need to sell is stronger than the need to fulfill and deliver. People will sell sub-standard services or product just for the sake of the sale yet it’s a recipe for disaster in business.

Once I realised this we spent thousands in cash and hour upon hour in time training my staff to a level that was unsurpassed in the salon business in the location we were at.

How about you?

Everyone always tells me very blunt that they are the very best at what they do. Are you services and product as good as you think they are? Have you tried them, tested them, read them or even reviewed them? Have you asked your clients for an honest review or opinion on your services or products? Regardless of the industry you are in you need to know the answer to this.

Number four: Marketing is a daily event

After I had been on course in the 1990s I started to apply what I was learning. For example despite there being no real home computers as such in those days or certainly no laser printers for an office unless you spent thousands I began to run direct mail campaigns. Direct mail was personal and as the name suggests it as direct. Every Tuesday was direct mail day. I would send mail to, new clients, birthday clients, Christmas cards, thank you, promotions and literally a long list of ideas for direct mail. There was no email or social media or even text in those days.

The response was crazy at the time. The more mail I sent the busier we became. More marketing meant more promotion and that of course I had less and less time to do my marketing.

The problem then was that when I never did my marketing guess what happened? Business would slowly drop off. So I created a whole system that was a little chaotic at the time but it worked for us. Not every month, not every week but every single day of the week we did active direct marketing. That meant, direct mail, flyers, posters, PR events, promotional events, piggy back promotions and just about every other thing I could think of at the time.

Yes marketing had to be DAILY. It had to be regular and it had to be a system. Even today in my current businesses if we do nothing - nothing comes in and if we do a lot a lot comes in.

I see time and time again that marketing is treated like it isn’t really part of a business. Some businesses treat marketing like its something they have to do now and then because they feel that’s just part of being in business. Yet it is the lifeblood, it’s the part of business that should be prioritized always.

A farmer cannot shift his potatoes if he doesn’t drive over to the market. They will simply lie in the barn and rot. Why? Because of lack of visibility and if you are not seen you won’t sell.

  • A website isn’t marketing it’s a critical business tool. Once you have a site you must have a strategy to send people to that site.
  • A random advert isn’t marketing. It takes at least a dozen shows of an advert before it ever gets read and noticed as long as its well designed and written.
  • A one-off magazine advert isn’t marketing because no one sees it with one hit.
  • A Facebook page definitely isn’t marketing because Facebook is a gossip forum not a place of business and those that tell you millions are being made on Facebook are lying to you.

I learnt in my hairdressing salons that marketing has to be a daily event and when it isn’t we the daily event of taking profits just doesn’t happen.

Today things are even harder because the noise is so loud in the world of capturing people’s attentions.

Messenger, text, email, social media, on the go TV, streaming this, streaming that YouTube and just about every other battle for the attention of your buyer is raging yet what is it you are doing for your business.

I learnt early that marketing is a daily event. It is a strategy that must be stuck to and applied. It’s tactical and well thought out. Its planned over a period of time and there is no let up because once you let up suddenly the guy down the road that you thought was ok takes over you and is getting more sales and more customers than you will ever get.How about you?

Is direct response marketing part of your strategy or is your strategy designed around your service or product?

If that’s the case how are you getting that out to your buyers? You have to fight and battle for attention theses days are you doing that. Are you presenting your very best and are you doing it on a scheduled basis or is it simply random?

Random marketing means random profits. Lots of marketing means lots of profits.

Hairdressing taught me a lot, way more than simply cutting hair.

I hope this article helped you or even enlightened you at some level.

If you have to have the very best advice and cannot afford any more risk - call me on 07793069486

Your ex-hairdresser and hairy marketing genius

Alan Forrest Smith

 

MENTOR can be found here

CONTACT me from this page

The HABIT - Important Read

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Bad Habits Hold You (and me) Back

As a business mentor I am adding a warning because if I am correct, you'll resist what you are about to read. How do I know that?

Because that’s what humans, people - YOU and me - that’s what we do, we resist change because change means confronting habits.

It’s about habits, changes, you resisting me and then you finally working with me and rewarding me for ground breaking alliance for the results I will and I can deliver for you.

It’s a long article but one but worth every minute of your time.

If needed you may print and read it later with a coffee or tea or whisky if that’s your thing – just read it because it affects you and your business.

Ok … Here we go…

Every now and then you get an awakening call in life and business that makes you feel uncomfortable to the point that you either change things or lie down and give up. Yet the reality is and has been shown and proven time and time again is that …

  • Everything can change for the better
  • Everything can be put back on track
  • Everything will be OK - it always is

You can survive thrive and prosper into change but only if you haven’t lay down and totally given up yet. Have you lay down and died or am I still getting through to you?

So here's a story, short but true none the less.

I started with a new trainer last December. Frankly he is killing me but killing me in a good way to the point I now have zero-shirts that fit me because the muscle size is so large in relation to how it was previously. Yet we have one conversation weekly and it is about belly fat and body fat generally.

Despite having huge arms, a huge chest, big muscular legs and a well defined back I cannot shift my fat. The problem is the fat of course covers the muscle so despite the reality that there has been a ton of change in my body I cannot get the definition I really would want. I know I need to grow up and lie back and retire gracefully but that isn't for me.

And here is my problem.

H.A.B.I.T. that is compounded with decades of reenforcement.

I was born with a sweet tooth that won't go away and lie down gracefully and despite trying as hard as hell I still have huge cravings for sweet things until I realised this isn't anything special or new it is something I simply have to accept and then confront.

So right now I have not stopped the sweet things but I have adjusted accordingly and replaced sweet things with things like dates, figs, apricots and more. it seems to be working.

Habit can hold anyone back but the real problem is we oversee the habit and try always to blame it on something or someone else.

You changes might be getting stopped but habit - nothing else.

Do you know what you want in your life? Do you know what you want in your business? Are your embedded habits destroying everything? The habit kills, destroys and holds back anything it can hold back.

If I want muscle definition I have to make a change. If you want definition in areas of your life you must make a change.

Life and business: Yes both are absolutely intertwined and if you are in business, they can never be taken apart so if one isn’t right neither will the other be right. When business is bad your life becomes miserable.

That creates unhappy people.

I have another habit in my life that isn’t a drug habit although some will claim I’m on another planet, I’m not a sex addict although sometimes I think I could be or would like to try and be at least and I don’t gamble but this habit has me addicted.

It’s a habit called repetition.

That life repetition leads me down the same paths every now and then and despite the fact I think I am going down another path in a different direction. It’s usually when I am halfway along the path I realise hang on, this looks familiar and it’s at that point I make changes. Progress is made but life can feel like one step forward, two steps back. Thankfully I am aware of it. Thankfully I make the changes.

Some will say well that’s life but I know it isn’t it’s  a habit and it’s a destructive habit that needs to be addressed.

Do you understand that? I know you do and I know maybe you experience it also. Why? Because it’s a very human thing for us to be like that in life and business. To repeat and do the same old thing again.

The problem with this habit is it can make you frustrated, angry, resentful at the lack of change and success and ultimately it can lead to you being frozen to the spot if it’s not addressed.

  • The same route
  • The same path
  • The same ideas
  • and worse - stuck in the same place

They all leave you totally stuck stuck stuck!

I see it all the time and I mean all the time with clients I work with. Of course you’ll feel this isn’t you, how can it be?

Are You Stuck?

Here’s a pattern an embedded habit I see in businesses; A fortune gets spent on the business structure. That means cool office, the best equipment, latest gadgets, and lots of meetings with lots of PowerPoint from experts in dark suits waiting for applause and finally of course … The Car (BMW preferred) …parked outside imperceptibly decomposing and rotting money even as I type. At this stage ZERO marketing or true business building has been done!

I even saw a client once spend almost £30,000 on a freestanding reception desk that could barely hold a computer on it. That was habit of his ego and he replaced the desk a year later as it simply wasn’t practical. Now they have coffee, tea, cookies and lots of circular stains all over the 30k desk in the dark damp back room where his slaves sit and moan.

And then there’s the wages, the costs and just about every other expense in business. Yet the situation always seem to be the same when clients contact me and its this … we have everything our customers want and need we just don’t have enough customers. Our advertising doesn’t work, our marketing team seems clueless and we are getting deeper and deeper into the red or they are simply not getting the growth that would just be perfect for them.

Yet it’s all part of the habit

And that’s the habit of doing things the things that are expected to be habitually done. Crazy right? Yes its so crazy we all do it all of us including me.

Yet every now and then the moment arrives when we have to get serious and be honest and that can be hard for you to face.

One of my millionaire clients has the habit. He has cash pouring through his fingers all the time but is always broke. I have worked on and off with him now for well over twenty years and the habit is always the same.

Big office, big staff, big invoicing, big visions and lots of cars, lots of holidays, lots of wine and women in no particular order yet he is always broke and struggling for more and more yet his outgoings are so huge even great incomings never pay for things. I think he’ll die and get buried in a cardboard box – recycled of course!

He makes me laugh when we meet because the story is always the same yet he never confronts it, waits to go broke and then repeats the habit all over again.

His Habits Always Destroy What He Builds

Recently he went for another medical to see if he was dying again. He has this machine that reads and delivers a 3d image of all of his insides. Once he thought his brains was his kidney and thought that his kidney was so misshapen that he had a week or two to live.

Then once he found out his illness was all stress related he went and bought his 6th sports car to make him feel better yet … he couldn’t pay his staffs wages that same month. I fear he is heading down another total breakdown, closure and then repeat.

And then very predictably just a few years ago he lost over fifty million pounds and this wasn’t the first time. Nuts right?

So Unless You Change Your HABIT Your Habit Will Always Control You

If the habit controls us our life remains the same. If our life remains the same and we are not happy with our current results and then the reality is, it’ll be the same if not worse the older we get because your body and mind simply wont be able to keep fighting all the stresses and strains of the habit. Time to act?

Can you make any changes or maybe the real question is are you humble and wise enough to realise that you have the habit in your life and changes must be forced through? Most people with habits don’t believe they have habits. Go ask a clairvoyant to ask any of rock n rolls famous 27 club (the rock stars that overdosed and died at 27 years of age).

My mother believes in herself in a big way and always has done. She doesn’t like me but I do admire her. She believes that you are weak to ask for advice and you should fight through everything and battle everyone until you find out the answers for yourself. I don’t accept that and I have watched the consequences of that acceptance of the habit in my mother’s business life.

Yet she was one of the very first pioneers of the health food shop on the high street. There was no such thing as a health food shop when she had her shop. People came from miles to get her advice, it was very cool. She knew every working of the body from a holistic view back to front and with her medical training she was just amazing. She always wanted to do it her way and NEVER took advice from anyone. I had to endure garlic tablets each day and go to school stinking of garlic in the classroom. That wasn’t great for a 10 year old Scottish immigrant I can tell you.

In the mid-1980s a now famous health store offered to buy mother out at a high rate just to get her out of the town because her expertise was such a threat to them. She refused any advice and decided she would fight them to the end (think of brave heart in a dress). Mothers shop of course closed and the giant of health foods and supplements have well over 659 stores in the UK today. Where’s mum’s? (I know you’ll be wondering why she doesn’t like me now – that’s a whole other story for another story time)

Why did she lose out? Her habit was so deeply entrenched that change for her now becomes the impossible reality.

I have seen this habit in action so many times yet times have changed and 2014 running a business is very different. The difference is of course the web. When I say the web I don’t just mean having a website but I mean the way connections are now made.

  • You have to connect and stop sitting and waiting
  • You have to be a leader and stop waiting to be led
  • You have to have brains and guts to take action
  • You have to build your cult or tribe around what you are offering
  • You have to make it easy for your buyers you are now know as your friends
  • You have to make sure the like you or they’ll unlike you over night
  • You have to make sure they are follower’s not just passers-by
  • Instant branding
  • Instant ideas
  • Instant memory installations
  • Instant likes
  • Instant everything for a world that is fast and thinking different
  • The need for speed has never been greater
  • Change must become your mantra because change is the mantra

The old ways used to be the best ways but the best ways are now the new ways. Delivery must be fast. People want viral, they want clickable, they want apps, connections, hangouts and everything at light speed. Zooooom!!!!!!!!

Habit Killing Your Business and Preventing a LIFE?

Yet is your habit running your business, running your job or even running your life? And you wont change because you didn’t realise you have to change and because you didn’t realise it you are not even thinking about change. All you are thinking about is what the hell am I going to do to make things better?

  • Change starts as a thought
  • Change is a point to begin
  • Change is a plan
  • Change is a strategy
  • Change is an action

Change has to be done if you need change but habit hates change so it isn’t easy because you love to be habitual and you don’t even know it… YET!

When I started orange beetle in 2000 it was almost impossible to get anyone on email from my old AOL address – even in 2000. I had to call everyone because hardly anyone had an email address.

Today that can sound so ridiculous. Everyone has a connection and is connected at light speed. Nobody wanted an email address but everyone now has an email address. Changed pushed through because of necessity.

I asked all of my four kids what they use to communicate and why and they only use iMESSENGER now. Why? They said its fast and yet I thought email was fast but apparently not as fast as messenger because you can see the other person typing a reply right away in messenger. That’s cool and that’s a change for me.

Beyoncé sold millions of albums overnight using images on Instagram

Radiohead delivered a genius way to sell millions of albums but giving them away or the fan could pay what he felt the album was worth

Prince gave away a double album in a Sunday newspaper

Why?

It increased their sales. Do you think the music label wanted to do that? No way, they never wanted in a million years to break their habit but that habit was smashed by change and change changed everything. Of course change in the music business is nothing new just read the book named 'The Grateful Dead on Marketing a band' … very cool!

They all broke the regular habit of doing their marketing the same old way. The habitual way and the unchanged way and nobody liked change and if they don’t like change they soon go back into the habit.

This is the 21st century but are you still living in the habit of the last century?

Why? Because you think it should work because it’s always worked right?

  • People don’t live how they used to live 3 years ago never mind 10 years ago
  • People don’t do business like they did 5 years ago
  • Everything is changing but is your habit holding you back?

HABITS are tough to break but even tougher to recognise and admit.

I understand I absolutely get it - habits can be a killer and I have and still have plenty of them that need changing yet how about you? Are you simply happy to carry on as usual and hope and pray changes will take place? If that's the case the bad news is they never take place on their own. Do you maybe feel like you have tried a lot and still cannot mange that big breakthrough? Are you feeling so stuck that you are really just not sure what direction to take next.

I CAN HELP YOU CHANGE YOUR HABITS

I’d love to work with you, partner with you and guide you into change.

  • I understand how it feels to be trapped by habits
  • I have helped myself and many others move forward fast
  • I have been involved in many changes over the past 30 years in business with some incredible success stories
  • I have mentored many new business overruns and established business owners into more success and change of habit
  • I am tapped into every source that is tuned into change
  • I live and breathe change
  • I study how buyers think and act and finally buy from you
  • I am obsessed with mind triggers and mind directions and all the twists and change that take place in a mind before a purchase is made.
  • I have written, completed strategies and alliances with people like Jay Abraham, Jay Conrad Levinson and many many more giants of business
  • I eat breakthrough information for dinner each day
  • I have been doing just that and smashing habits and creating changes for over 30 years

If your organization needs a habit change that could be holding you back from advancing

If your marketing is like most others embedded with old habits I will see them in a second for you

If your own mind is stuck, trapped and cannot break out I can guide and mentor you into your new change.

Will It Mean More - MORE OF WHAT?

And lets be frank here what does the breaking down of habits that are backed up with change mean for you?

Profits and more of them?

There’s nothing dirty about that word but maybe you need a strategy that is more in tune with a new world and that is ‘giving back’ because your new century customers expect you to be giving back. Do you do that or are you out of the habit?

Are your messages into the media the same old stuff that no one really cares about anymore? Habit!

Are you feeding into a old-mindset that passed away with the last century? Habit!

Are you doing everything you do in your life and your business out of pure habit?

Habit is the death of most things. It creates boredom and prevents change. Habits tells you that you cannot be wrong yet your bottom-line is telling you that something is wrong.

I have helped changed and transformed businesses and lives fast. I have turnaround business, lives and created spectacular changes and sales for my clients.

Just imagine what I could do for you with my 31 years of experiences?

I’ve won with direct mail with insane 47% response rates yet they told me that couldn’t be done. The client had a habit of sending out to 5000 a month regardless of the result. I said stop, cut it back to 100 mailers and made the client over 800k… smashed his habit and created change!

Look …

Shall we talk things over to see if I can actually help you or are you already resisted doing that because your habit tells you that you know best and what could I do for you that you don’t already do?

Maybe you have no bad habits, maybe life is great and maybe you don’t need change of any kind. That’s fine I hope you enjoyed what I shared so far and I didn’t waste your time. Maybe you have enough sales or you love your job and for you it’s not a habit its something you just do because you know you have to do it.

I never used to read. I never read until I was around 46 years of age as a serious way of learning. Today I read maybe five books every week. That was hard for me to get into but it worked.

I read newsletters about marketing that you will probably have never heard of. I am inside inner circles that create billions in sales (not millions) for business and am a student of the human being, the human mind and words that can change everything for you. I’m an early adopter of all things even the stuff that fails bt I love to give it a go and see where it leads.

I even once sat on the street all night long in a big line to buy a new Video 2000 so I could watch movies at home. It was minus 5 on January 2nd 1980. Do you know anyone that has one of those dinosaurs now? Change!

Yet even after reading this far your habit is still probably telling you no to change and here is why.

You are maybe thinking now what will this cost you because your habit tells you that everything has a cost.

Yet my services and alliances have never cost any of my friends and cleints a penny and I will tell you why.

Yes they have paid me and paid me well but here are a few numbers to look at.

  • Paid £5,000 and got a return over well over £200,000
  • Paid £10,000 returns £300,000
  • Paid £15,000 returns £489,000
  • Paid £10,000 returns £1.2 million
  • Paid £35,000 returns of £250,000 a month
  • Paid £15,000 returns £74,500
  • Paid £500 returns £15,400
  • Paid £7,500 returns £2.4 million

Now your habit is telling you that to work with me will cost you but the reality is that it NEVER costs an of my clients money to work with me. Can you see why? The habit says no yet the proof tells another story.

  • Yes an investment has to be made but the returns are always huge.
  • Buying a huge office is not a good investment it’s a massive cost
  • Buying a stack of cars is not a good investment it’s depreciation

The habit has told you what is what but it isn’t. The habit takes you down a path that you have been walkng down for years and will resist change. I can pretty much guarantee your habit is stopping you from taking action and working with me right now yet ask yourself this.

  • What do I need right now?
  • Am I getting what I need right now?
  • What would I pay to get what I need right now?

One client came to me and told me he had to get to five million over 24 months. I worked out everything and realised that 8 million could easily be reached. His business was a new business but he had a habit of telling me I was wrong.

So we talked and talked and exchanged emails and calls.

Finally it came to a fee or as I like to call it a reward. I told him this. “If I can create sales of 8 million for you I would like to be rewarded well” He told me ”fine name your reward” I told him that I would like a reward of £400,000 plus a vintage Triumph motorbike as a bonus” His reply was something like this.. “Are you serious I don’t want to pay more than a few grand and that is outrageous” Maybe you think, “Holy shit Alan that’s outrageous” … do you? OK but now lets think about this.

He had a new business that was going head on into a very strong and established arena with a lot of huge competition in the world of muscles and fitness.

I had ideas for his new product that were current, new, and diverse and put a strategy together that would put him into the top of his market in 7-21-days flat.

At this point all he had to pay me was a monthly residual to cover costs and wages and a small down payment of just £20,000 for us to get started. The £20,000 would barely cover costs from my side but it was a commitment from him.

The rest was to be paid on a deliverable agreement of hitting figures. The first number was £2 million in turnover for him. This would give him lots of sales, lots of profits, and lots of fun buying toys and would help him pay back his Russian investors very comfortably

Yet…

He was being over ruled by his habit. His habit was telling him contrary to the facts. The facts were I was going to help his new business create sales of £8 million. His habit was telling him I am not paying this stranger for marketing that any monkey could do so he went to an agency… it didn’t end well!

Yet marketing companies and agencies do what they do – create flyers brochures and stick you on Facebook and wouldn’t ever dare promise turnover of £8 million pounds! Of course a promise of a number is hard to keep and cannot be guaranteed but if we never hot that number I never got paid so they were in a win-win.

The client had invested over a million into a deal in Moscow Russia to make this happen. His house was on the line but he drove a very nice Bentley so he would look good in his meetings.

We never worked together his habit stopped him and change wasn’t in his agenda. Two years later his partner emailed me to talk about a new business he was planning. I called, we talked and he told me that the fitness company had folded with huge debts and almost NO sales.

I did say wow but I wasn’t surprised after all this is the 21st century and you can play 20th century games around here.

Why did he fold?

Because the habit over ruled the mind and the mind deceived the man. He believed doing things the way things should be done was always enough and that would pull them through.

NO – not in the 21st century where everything is about

  • Fast
  • Change
  • Smashing old habits
  • Creativity
  • Invention
  • New
  • And being smart

And being smart means doing things different and doing things different means taking action and taking action means taking action against habits and the old ways.

Even kids hardly have habits these days but everything is new new new.

Did you resist me? Have you though this isn’t right? Are you getting bored now? Are you awakening to the reality that embedded habits are killing your business and giving you a life you don’t want?

Shall we talk?

I’m always interested in interesting alliances with interesting people or even boring people that want to do something interesting.

As you might know I am creative and always looking to get rewarded well from my customers. I am open to lots of adventure, motorbike riding across the USA and renting out paradise islands for our business meetings. Are you or are you so restricted by old habits you cant bring yourself to hit reply and speak to me?

I am sat here right now with my feet on the table whilst writing to you and drinking coffee. The coffee is strong Turkish coffee as prepared by my partner Tamuna. It keeps my high and buzzy. I had my first drink of coffee just 3.5 years ago. I decided to change a habit of green tea only because it was utterly boring. The habit still wanted tea but now it’s coffee. Coffee brought me love – literally. Change is good and confronting habit is good.

Soon I shall be finished doing what I am doing so I am ready to break some habits and make some new friends and incomes.

  • Shall that be you and me?
  • Shall we meet in the USA?
  • Shall we meet in my house in Tbilisi Georgia?
  • Shall we meet in London’s best restaurant?

Where shall we meet?

If you are thinking Starbucks forget it. Manchester? OK that’s cool in the right place. Or how about I come to your office or home?

Did you realise I can come and train your marketing team. You know the ones that rent delivering for you right now. I can do lots but that means you breaking a habit.

My mind is thinking big, it’s on big and I am looking for smart entrepreneurs that understand that every now and then you have to do something really different to make an impact and that won’t start in a cheap coffee shop where all the smelly reps look over spread sheets on cheap laptops.

Are you ready to break the habit – your habit? The habit that is holding you down, pinning you to the ground and threating your business and even threating the way you live your life?

If you business folds will you lose you home and all the stuff you love to play with? I am here I am ready and I can’t wait to work with you.

I can even help you start a new business. That works and some of my mentor guys do incredible stuff with their new business.

  • Everything is possible for you
  • Everything can change for you
  • You can be your change for yourself

All you have to do now is take the first very small step and that is hit reply to this email with your number and some information about yourself in there or send me a text to

UK 07793 069 486 OUTSIDE UK 00 44 7793 069 486 All you have to do is put the words… LETS TALK CHANGE

Finally … I am looking forward to talking with you, meeting you and creating change through shifting and removing habits.

Ready?

Lets do it!

Where shall we meet? I can fly anywhere if I think the reward for helping you is great enough.

I know – it was a long email. Sorry if it wasn’t what you expected but if it wasn’t well I am not right for you. Either way hold in there I have some good stuff always coming up and would love you to be a part of that.

Shall I share a story with you before I go?

It’s a story of change and the breaking down of a restricting habit.

On December 2009 I was alone and pretty broken after a long 5-year war and battle in divorce. It was horrible and close to killed me. I never did anything alone, I was a home bird and loved having family around me.

I thought how do I break this because if I don’t I will be alone forever. So I bought a ticket to New York, flew there for New Years Eve on my own and confronted my habit of hiding away. I was terrified. A new friend named Sam emailed me seeing I was in New York and promised to look after me for a day or so.

The first time we met he asked if I wanted to go out in the evening to a club. I don’t do clubs so I said… YES. I wanted to break the habit. He said can I meet him at the empire state building at midnight? I go to bed at 10pm so I said YES as I wanted to break a habit. He took me to the biggest baddest black mans rappers club in the west side of Manhattan and I can tell you when you are the only white guy there I felt freaked. I dint want to go but I went and I loved it.

One thousand plus hard-core rap fans bouncing to a 50-cent type rapper. I loved every minute – loved it!

Then I walked home alone at 4am through the streets of New York getting approached by prostitutes and almost getting mugged. Why did I do that? So I can reform my mind, break habits and create a new way to do things. That trip changed a lot of life for me – I loved it!

19955_268754881424_3104530_n But I didn’t want to do it. I was worried on the plane thinking what the hell am I doing going to NY all alone. Then 5-days of doing everything I had never done before.

It broke me and smashed my habits. Sometimes you just need to get out of the comfort of your habit and do something so new it changes everything for you.

I’m ready to help you. MENTOR – I am ready to work with you. STRATEGIC ALLIANCE – just ask.

If you read and are ready to change your habits we what the hell are you waiting for … Hit reply and let’s talk

Your man on a Vintage Triumph Motorbike heading to LA from New York

Alan Forrest Smith – The destroyer of Habits!

MY ACCLAIMED MENTOR PRGRAM CAN BE FOUND HERE

33% Response Sales Letter Interview

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Below is an interview I did over 10 years ago ( I think). The interviewer wanted to know more about a letter I had written that pulled a huge 33% response.

Here's the interview.

JY: Hi, this is Jerry Yeo from AdWriting.com, and today, my guest is Alan Forrest Smith, from AlanForrestSmith.com. Alan specializes in writing sales letters, and his sales letters have brought in millions of dollars in sales for his clients. He has worked with the leading marketers in the world, such as Andrew Reynolds, who is UK’s number one marketer, and also the Jay Abraham Group, and Marlon Sanders, and Michel Fortin and many other very successful marketers. And, Alan has also lectured throughout the world, in countries such as Russia, UK, Ireland, and he even has upcoming lectures in Milan and Japan. So, welcome, Alan.

AFS: Okay, Jerry, thanks, it’s good to be here.

JY: Great. so today, we’re going to be breaking down a sales letter that brought in an amazing 33% response, which is quite amazing. I’m just doing the math here, and it seems you’re making about ₤16 for every letter you mail.

AFS: Yeah, well, Jerry, I don’t know, because I write for the client, and the client mails it out, and he sets his own price, his own figures, his own breakeven. But, yeah, on this particular letter, the guy did very, very well with it, very well. And, he’s still running this letter. In fact, he ran this letter last week, and he sold 155 products with the letter, so he was very pleased.

JY:That’s a very good response. So, I’m going to just jump right in, so Alan, how do you prepare yourself before you sit down to write copy?

AFS: OK, well, to be honest, I don’t think I do anything in particular, or anything special, but I will tell you what I do do. When I have a first contact with a client, I get as much information as I possibly can about the whole project. The next priority beyond that is to find out about the target market of the client. My client is looking to sell to someone in particular. I try and find out as much information about that individual or that target market. I then read everything I can on that particular market, and I research as much as I can. When I’ve done that, that takes a couple of days, I don’t do anything, probably, for about two or three weeks. I think about the project. So, while I’m writing one project, I’m usually thinking about the next one.

So, that’s how I do it, Jerry, I just turn it over in my mind for about three weeks, two or three weeks. I then sit down and write, and it takes me probably a day to write the whole letter. This particular letter was probably about 20 pages when it was written. I sit down, write the letter. That will probably take me about 12 to 14 hours, non-stop, I’ll just go right through. And then, when I’ve done that, I go back to it in the morning, I just re-read it, I take some copy out, and then, I’ll leave it for a few days. Then, I go back after a few days, polish it, and send it to the proofreader, then.

JY: Okay, I see, so let me back you up a little bit. You mentioned researching your target market, so what are some ways you would recommend that we go about that?

AFS: Well, we’ll come, as an example, the letter I sent you.

JY:Okay.

AFS: And, I can tell you how I worked that particular one. First of all, this actual letter is for the business opportunity market, so it’s for the kind of guys that go on many courses, buy many how to do it books, how to succeed, how to pack in your job, so you’ve got to tune in to the mentality of that market. In other words, you’ve got to try and think the way that target market would think. So, these guys are thinking, I want to get away from my job, I’m fed up with 9:00 to 5:00, I’m sick of sitting in the car all day. What would be a good way for me to earn a month’s wages in a few days? So, basically, research the mindset of that market, where they’ve been, where they are now, and where they want to be. And, that’s it, really, Jerry.

JY: OK, great, so when you’re writing copy, do you use any kind of a formula?

AFS: I don’t really, to be honest. I mean, there’s loads of people talking about formulas, and you know, you can buy this electronic software now where you know, like Push Button Letters, or so on, which, actually, they’re not too bad. But, for me, it’s too formularized. I just believe that copy, I mean, I do like formal copy. For example, if I wrote a letter for a bank, it wouldn’t be in the style of the letter that I sent you. It would have to be more formal. Well, I don’t really use any fixed formula, but what I try and do is, I try and have a conversation through the copy to one individual, rather than talk to a big target market of 10,000 people at once. So, just try and keep it conversational, really.

JY: Yeah, and you’ve really done that in this letter.

AFS: Yeah, I think this is a good example of that, yeah.

JY: Okay, so I’m just going to go through the copy, and ask you questions along the way.

AFS: Yes, fire away.

JY:So, let’s start the headline, so I believe you’ve put a lot of thought in this, just this headline, so could you kind of break it down, how you created this headline, and what’s the psychology behind it?

AFS:Sure, well, just for the sake of the listeners, Jerry, I think what I’ll do is I’ll just read that headline out, shall I?

JY: Sure.

AFS: At the very top, in very small font, probably about a 10 or 12 font. It just says, “Important,” in bold, “if you are serious about creating a life free from 9:00 till 5:00 restrictions, you’d be nuts not to read this incredible story of...” “How Ex-Landscape Gardener turned Web Entrepreneur banked 2,540 UK pounds,” which is about $5,000 U.S. dollars, “in just 9 days from his ‘NEW’ First Venture.” Now, the psychology behind that headline, was first of all, it’s tapping into the target market, because the target market, they want to be free from a life of 9:00 till 5:00 restrictions.

So, first of all, you’re tapping into the way those people think, straightaway. So, if they want to be free from those 9:00 till 5:00 restrictions, well, you say to them, “Well, you’d be nuts not to read this incredible story of how…” And then, what we’re going to do is, we’re going to tell them a story of somebody who’s really done this, and we have an average guy, ex-landscape gardener, who if he’s always going to be a gardener, he’s not going to be earning great money. Notice how he’s turned Web Entrepreneur, and he banked this massive $5,000 in just 9 days. And, the point is, it says, “From his “NEW” First Venture.

So, in other words, all that headline does is, it says to the target, “Look,” it says, “you are the target market,” because that’s the way they’re thinking subconsciously, and then, it says to them, “Here’s an average guy, nobody special, who’s done this in 9 days, on his very first venture.” In other words, it’s easy, anyone can do it. You just need a system, and if you want to know the system, read his story.

JY: And that will lead them to read the story.

AFS: Hopefully!

JY: So next to the headline, you have, actually, a picture of a guy with a shovel…

AFS: Yeah.

JY: And, is there any reason why you decided to put the picture there?

AFS: Yeah, just to show, first of all, the eye will be drawn to the right.

JY: Yes.

AFS: Just naturally, your eyes are always drawn to the right, so the photo’s on the right for a reason.

JY: Right.

AFS: And also, just to show that this really was an average guy. And, this is an actual picture of the guy at work, so I just said to the guy, I said, “I need a photograph of you doing your daily, average job, digging a hole, filling a wheel barrow, and working in the cold,” because, if I put a man right at the beginning, sitting behind a desk with a big wad of dollars in his hand, well, the average person can’t relate to that. That’s what they want to be, but they don’t relate to it. Where, on this photo, it’s the average guy, doing an average job, average wage, and they can relate to that. So, they’ll automatically say, “Well, you know, if this average Joe has done this, I can do it, as well.” So, that’s the psychology behind the photograph.

JY:Okay, I see. So, now, moving along in the letter, I’m not going to read out the letter. The listeners are going to have a copy of this letter.

AFS: Yeah.

JY OK, so, but I see the first two-thirds of the letter is basically a personal story.

AFS:Yeah.

JY: So, is there any reason why you chose this approach?

AFS: Yeah, there is, I mean, you know what, Jerry, if you read a newspaper, what you read in a newspaper, is you do get some editorial. But, the really interesting stuff that people want to read is the stories.

JY: Yeah, that’s right.

AFS: So, people want to know what’s happening to someone, what’s happening to a country, what’s happening to a nation, what’s happening to a product. People want to know stories. But, when it’s a one-on-one story, a real guy doing a real thing, he’s at home with his wife, he’s got all this stuff, all this junk piled up everywhere, and he’s suddenly become a success, people want to know why, because it’s intriguing. Because, just on a purely human level, people are always interested in reading about people who’ve achieved things that they’ve never achieved, because they think, yeah, well, I would love to do that. I want to be there, as well. If this guy can do it, I can do it.

So, stories are great. For me, stories out-pull anything, and what you’re doing is you’re sitting…it’s like one guy sitting on one side of a table, another guy sitting on another side of a table, both drinking a coffee, and you’re having a conversation. So, you sit there, and you’re telling this guy, “This is my story, listen to this.” And, people love stories, people just love hearing about people. So, that was the reason for the story, Jerry, on that.

JY: Okay, I see. And so, you’re sending a business opportunity product letter, and most people selling such products, they try to position themselves, like they say that, “I’m a guru, and I just discovered this new way to make money.”

AFS:Yeah.

JY: But, your letter takes quite a different approach.

AFS: Yeah.

JY: And, in fact, kind of self-deprecating.

AFS:Yeah.

JY:And so, why did you choose this kind of approach?

AFS: Because, I think the reason…I might be wrong on this, Jerry, but I do believe the target market for this stuff has been absolutely destroyed, really, by online copywriters, because I think there’s too much of the same going around. And, when I first had this project, he wanted to go down that first approach, this is a guru, etc., etc., and I said, “What is the point,” because we knew that other projects exactly the same are drawn out to different mailing lists in the UK, and he would have been happy with a 2% response rate. But, for him to have a 2% response rate, meant to have a 98% fail rate, and I didn’t really want to go down that path, because I just felt we’ve seen it all before, we’ve heard it all before. People are becoming numb to the word, “guru,” the word, “expert.” People just don’t believe it now, and we do live in a very skeptical society, because we’re being fed so much junk.

I wanted to make it as real as possible. And, it was a little story. I just wanted to tell this guy’s story, exactly how it happened, so I avoided the guru thing on purpose, because I think it’s been hammered to death. But, Jerry, just let me say, I might be wrong on that. But, I wanted to take a different approach, and I think the response rate proved it was the right way to go in this particular case.

JY: Yeah, I think it really made a difference.

AFS: Yeah.

JY:And, so as I read your letter, I find it very disarming and, in fact, it seems that there’s some emotional bonding going on.

AFS: Yes.

JY: So, how did you achieve this effect with your letter?

AFS:Well, I think the best way to say it is as others said before, really. What I’m trying to do is, I want the audience, or the one individual I’m talking to, to be able to relate to the guy in the letter, so, eventually to say, “Well, yeah, I’ve made those mistakes, and I’ve wasted that money, I have tried this, I have tried that.” He’s tried it, as well. So, if he’s tried all this, and he’s wasted all that money, and eventually, he’s been able to make a complete success of it, well, maybe I can do the same, because, I think people like to think of themselves, and probably including myself, people like to think of themselves as I’m successful at what I do, I’m doing really well, you know, and nobody can teach me anything.

And, what I wanted really to do was to bring down every single barrier, which I think the letter did well, and just have a conversation, just sit and chat to someone, and just again, say, “This is my story. Anyone can do it.” And, I think the point was, it was to disarm the reader, to pull him into the copy, so that it’d take down every single barrier that he may have, and to keep him reading through the copy.

I mean, I think we have to remember that the whole purpose of a sales letter, initially, is to get read. You know, because if it doesn’t get read, we don’t get any response.

JY: Yeah, that’s right.

AFS:So, you have to pull them in, and it’s a little bit like grabbing the end of a rope, and the individual is 100 meters away at the other end, 100 yards, and you’re pulling them in slowly. And, that’s what you have to do with a sales letter, you have to pull them through. People don’t want to read. People don’t want to read, I mean, in this case, it’s a 12-page letter. People don’t want to sit and read a 12-page letter, so you have to give them a good enough reason to pull them through the copy. And, you have to keep pulling them through, because as soon as they get…it’s a big boring, they’ll just burn it, it’ll just go straight in the trash.

JY:Okay, so…and, I see that along the way in your copy, you sprinkle in lots of seemingly meaningless details, like, for example, the part about waking up the wife in the middle of the night.

AFS:Yeah.

JY:And, imagining himself on the beach, and all those…is there a reason why you included these details?

AFS:Yeah, there is, because I think I try and pinch some of my ideas, again, from newspapers, and from things like kids’ books, as well, because I have four children, and we read all the time. And, I like the way that they actually build pictures in peoples’ minds.

JY:Uh huh.

AFS:So, people can…see, Jerry, the thing is, I didn’t want to just tell the story. I wanted them to be able to look into this guy’s house, and I wanted them to see him unloading everything from under the stairs. I wanted them to see him having this great idea, and running upstairs, and waking up his wife with excitement. I wanted them to actually see that, and to feel that, because what it does, it creates a little bit of adrenaline, as well. Along that stage, you can feel the pace of that letter actually picks up, then, because, he says, “In the morning, I didn’t want to go and do my landscape gardening, I didn’t want to cut the hedge. I needed to do this…”

So, it goes from kind of a story, and the pace picks up then, and becomes a little bit more exciting. And so, yeah, they’re meaningless details, but it builds a picture of the guy’s life, and that was the point, really. See, because a lot of these guys that do these biz opportunities, you know, they’ve already spent thousands, and you know what it’s like if you’re a married man, and you’re going to say to your wife, “Listen, I want to spend another $3,000,” she says, “You spend another $3,000 and I’m going to throw you out the window.”

JY:Yes.

AFS:So, I was just trying to make it as real as possible, really.

JY:And, along the way, I see you have pictures along the way, and also, there’s hand-written notes.

AFS:Yes.

JY:About hand-written notes, aren’t they kind of untidy? Why don’t you just type in directly to the letter?

AFS:Because, one, the hand-written notes are supposed to look a little bit like an afterthought, so it says, we’re going through the letter. And, again, going back to newspapers, if you look at newspapers, they will have many headlines just stuck right in the middle of copy. Now, in this particular case, to be quite honest with you, I would normally put hand-written notes in the margin. In this case, I wanted to try it within the copy, so that was why I put the hand-written notes right in the copy because I wanted it to stand out, and we have to remember, when people read…if somebody gets a 12-page sales letter through the Post, they’re going to read the headline, they’re going to flick through the pages without reading them, and look at the sub-headlines.

But, the stuff they will read, they’ll read the copy that’s underneath the graphic, and they’ll read any other copy that stands out, that was different. For instance, on Page 7, you just see, “I’ve banked a monster 2,540 in only 9 days.” Well, as they flick through the copy, they’ll read that, and it’s exactly the same in a hand-written note, because it stands out. As they flick through the pages, before they decide to read the whole letter, they will read those little notes. And, I think the one that you’re talking about is the one that says, “I hate computers.”

JY: Yeah, that’s right.

AFS:Yeah, the one that says, “I hate computers,” again, that was to get onto their level, because I want these guys who do these biz ops with people like, I don’t know, Internet marketing opportunities and so on, a lot of them are not that good with computers, and one thing that holds some of them back is, they’re terrified. “Well, I have to build a Website, I have to…I don’t even know what auto responder is, how to use e-mail.” You know, because I deal with a lot of these guys, and they’re a bit frightened of using this stuff. So, it was just, again, it was just to get onto their level. You know, it says, “I hate computers,” well, they’re thinking, well, that’s good, because I hate computers, as well. So, it was just to get right on their level, again there, Jerry.

JY:Yeah, and I can see you repeat that point many times in that letter.

AFS:Yes, that’s right, yes.

JY:Okay, and so, since we are on the topic of cosmetics, so, could you explain like how do you pick out these sub-heads and all these phrases that you underline and emphasize?

AFS:Okay, well, again, this has got to go back to the second the target opens the envelope, he will take the letter out, and he will see the headline. Beyond the headline, he’ll flick through the letter, and he’ll pick up the sub-headlines, and he’ll pick up anything that’s unusual in the boxes, the hand-written script, copies, or the offer or the P.S. at the end. So, what you do is, I’m just going through the letter now. You see, you’ve got this big headline at the beginning, and the next thing the guy would find interesting is, “Here’s what I did to make 2 months’ wages in just 9 days, flat.” Then, this other one, “Check out my private sales ledger from my first crack at changing my working life below.” And, then there’s one under there, I think it’s Page 8, it says, “Steve, can I copy what you have done and earn some serious cash?”

So, again, the headlines, the sub-headlines, they’re usually to emphasize a point, and I think it’s important to remember, as well, Jerry, that most of these little tips and techniques are grammatically incorrect, and incorrect grammar within a sales letter can work very, very well, because if you have a letter that’s too grammatically correct, people generally, as a sales letter, wouldn’t read it. They think, oh, no, just another letter, tear it up, in the trashcan. So, when it’s grammatically incorrect, it tends to draw the eye, because it’s a bit different, you see? And so, really, most of the sub-heads and the cosmetic stuff are there for a reason, and the reason is to catch their eyes in reading through it, because most people will scan read it first.

I think you mentioned the bit about the how to, why was the how to boldened up.

JY:Uh huh.

AFS:Well, in the bullet points, in fact, Jerry, do you want to move on and I’ll step back in line.

JY:Oh, it’s OK. So, let me back up a little bit.

AFS:Sure.

JY:You mentioned one point just now about grammatically correct.

AFS:Yeah.

JY:Yeah, I noticed this letter has a very folksy tone, and it just seems like someone just scribbled a note to his friends and pasted a few pictures in it, just sent it out without any editing.

AFS:Yes. That was the whole idea.

JY:Yeah.

AFS:Because, it had to feel as real as possible. You see, the purpose was not to look as if it’s been written by a copywriter.

JY:Uh huh.

AFS:The purpose was, to look as if it was just a letter from a friend…to a friend, as if that was the whole purpose behind the whole thing. If this was going to directors or CEO’s of big companies, it would have to be absolutely right. But, you’re sending to a similar mentality, and you have to tune into that mentality, so it has to feel and appear as if it’s from a friend, simple as that.

JY:Yeah, and along the way, there’s a lot of places where you ask yourself a question, and then, you answer the question, yourself…

AFS:Yes.

JY:…many times in the copy, so is there a reason why you’re doing that?

AFS:Yeah, the reason for that is, that target audience for that letter would generally ask themselves those questions, so what you did is, you’re actually raising a question, that the target would have in their minds, and you’re giving them the answer. So, as they read through it, they might be thinking…can you give me an example in the letters, and I’ll try and go through it, any one in particular, Jerry?

JY:Yeah, so, for example, “Steve, can I…,” there’s a big sub-head on Page 8, “Steve, can I copy what you have done, and earn some serious cash?”

AFS:Right. Okay, so, and then, Steve says…”I say a big yes. I should know, I have done it.” And so, it’s raising the question and giving the answer. So, the point is, maybe at this stage in the letter, maybe they’re saying, “Well, I wonder if I could copy what he’s done?” So, really, what you’re doing is, you’re pulling out the thoughts in the mind of that individual, so you know at this stage of the letter, the individual may be thinking, Steve, I wonder if I could copy what you’ve done? And, Steve says, “Well, I say a big yes! I should know, because I have done it, and if I can do it as an ex-landscape gardener, believe me, anyone can do it, it’s that simple.” So, yeah, so, the questions are raised, on the basis that the target may be thinking the same thing, and then you offer the answer. All that really does, Jerry, is it really shows that individual that they’re making the right decision to buy, that’s what it does.

JY:Oh, so it’s kind of like if it was a face-to-face selling situation, the prospect would be asking that question at that moment.

AFS:Exactly, that’s it, yeah.

JY:Yeah, okay, I see. And, I see, I’m looking at the bullet points right now, and it seems your bullet points…do you actually target your bullet points at different objections that the prospect may have?

AFS:Right.

JY:Like, the prospect may say, “I don’t know how to create a product,” so one of your bullet points is, “How to create or find a product that Web users are looking to buy.”

AFS:Which page is that on, Jerry?

JY:Uh huh. And…

AFS:Just give me the page number, and I’ll put that one in.

JY:Page 8.

AFS:Oh, Page 8, okay, yes.

JY:So, do you do that intentionally, like to answer…?

AFS:Yeah, again, it’s just the answer, because for some, I mean, if you’ve read through to Page 8, they’re going to start raising questions in their own minds. So, you have to start giving them just solid, simple answers now. And, when you say, “How to, how to, how to,” because they could be thinking, well, how am I going to do this? How am I going to find this perfect thing? How am I going to find a product? How do I build a Website? I hate computers, I hate the Internet. I don’t have thousands of pounds to invest. You know, how am I going to drive people to this Website, or this product? There’s all sorts of ways at the end of it, it says.

So, you’ve got to draw out the mind of the individual and pull them into the copy. So, really, what you’re doing, Jerry, is you’re answering the questions that they’re thinking, and again, it’s just…you know, you said before about the face-to-face, it’s just, it’s face-to-face selling in print, that’s what it is, just on a one-to-one level.

JY:Yeah, and since we’re on the topic of bullet points…

AFS:Yes.

JY:Do you use formulas when you write bullets?

AFS:I do not at all, really, it just depends on the product, to be honest. I mean, I’m not sure exactly what you mean, so I’ll tell you what I do with bullets.

JY:Okay.

AFS:The format with bullets, I do like bullets on the how to, how you can see the first how to is bold, and then, it stops. Well, I think that makes it easier to read. And also, what I tend to do with bullets…I don’t think I’ve done it in this letter, but on other copy, what I’ll do, is I’ll take the one word from the paragraph in that bullet point that sums up the whole paragraph. And, I will put that bold, at the beginning of the bullet point. Because, some people, and again, I base it on newspaper writing, some people do not want to read the whole bullet. So, if you can say it in one word, well, say it in one word. And then, you can break down that one word in a few more details through the bullet.

And, I also like the way John Carlton does bullets, and kind of use that effectively. John Carlton uses a technique called, “double punch.” And, the way John does it is, he uses a very powerful headline, but a sprinkle through his bullets, he’ll use another powerful headline alongside the bullets, so you have your bullet point. Then, in your brackets, you would have another headline. So, you would have a double headline in each bullet. So, I think the way he does it is really good, really.

JY:Yeah.

AFS:Yeah, he does that very effectively, yeah.

JY:Yeah, I love John Carlton’s bullets.

AFS:Yeah, it’s good, yeah.

JY:And, let me back you up a little bit. You mentioned you tried to sum up the whole bullet into a short phrase, and then you put it right in front of the bullet…

AFS:Yeah.

JY:…in bold. Do you have a few examples of that, like, offhand, can you think of a few?

AFS:The one I can think of, offhand, is not actually a bullet point, but what I did is…I mean, as you know, I have two Websites, there’s OrangeBeetle.com, which is my main Website, and I’ve just launched a new Website, which is AlanForrestSmith.com. But, with AlanForrestSmith.com, I tested loads of headlines, but I’ve wanted to do something a lot simpler, on the basis that I wanted it to be more like a classified headline, rather than a story headline, just wanted to try something different, really. So, if you look at that Website, the only word it says in the headline is, “impact.” It doesn’t say anything else, apart from impact. So, we have impact, and then you have three smaller words underneath. I can’t remember exactly what it says, Jerry. I don’t know if you can bring it up in front of you. I’ve not got a computer where I am.

JY:Let me bring it up. It says, “Impact, results, response, profit.”

AFS:Right, and then you’ve got a few results underneath. I tested loads of headlines before I came to that, and the reason we used that is one, that Website, at the moment, is just under 30% conversion rate from visitors. And, when I say, “conversion,” that is not conversion to sale. That’s a conversion to responding the form at the bottom. So, at the moment, it’s doing really well, and that headline, I think…what you could say is, “How would you like to build your business by 67% in 5 days?” And, if you build your business by 67% in 5 days, well, obviously, that’s high-impact advertising.

So, what I wanted to do is, I wanted to do a classified-style headline, which, basically, you know, you have to say as much as you can, with as few words as you can. So, the word I settled on in the end was, “impact,” and then the other three words underneath, which, hopefully, sum up why they get the impact. So, that’s the best example I can think of at the moment, which is working very, very well for me.

JY:Okay, so, now, going on to Page 10.

AFS:Yeah.

JY:Just the point about ask for the order, and you say…there’s a little sentence that says, “Do me a favor, though, just don’t expect hidden secrets from the Pharaohs or any other miraculous program.” So, is there any reason why you decided to put that sentence there?

AFS:Yeah, there is, Jerry, because I think what’s happened…I mean, let’s be honest, advertising and copywriting has been around for decades, hundreds of years. So, what we’re doing is nothing new, really. But, I think…one thing I don’t like at the moment, is I think a lot of online copy is destroying the credibility of copywriting, to some extent. There’s some brilliant copywriters, like Michel Fortin, I mean Michel does fantastic stuff. His copy’s great, and there’s loads of copy out there that is really good. But, there’s a lot of this really, really bad stuff, and what’s happening is, these copywriters are selling absolute junk through words, and I think what’s happening is people just don’t believe it.

So, you know, it’s saying there, “Do me a favor, don’t expect hidden secrets from the Pharaohs or any other miraculous program.” What we’re just saying to them, “Look, I’ve told you exactly what it’s done for me. Don’t just buy this product and expect to be a multi-millionaire overnight, because it’s just not going to happen.” And, that was the reason that paragraph was put in, just to make sure they know that it was just a real live product that anyone could use, but it’s not a miracle cure, you have to work at it, simple as that.

JY:Yeah, and I do agree that it really adds to the credibility.

AFS:Yeah, I mean, that is the word, Jerry, credibility. It makes it credible, yes.

JY:And, also like, in this company, like Steve, the client, he says so many…when I’m reading it, he says so many bad things about himself, that he has to be telling the truth.

AFS:Yeah, that’s right, yeah. And, that’s the point, I mean, you know, we’re not all Supermen, are we? You know, we’re just all average people doing average things, and every now and again, we all do something a little bit special, but all this mess on line, that if you buy this product, you’ll make a million, it’s absolutely rubbish. I mean, I wrote with a big company in the UK, these guys sell fantastic marketing stuff, you know, the Terry Dean stuff, the Corey Rudl, Declan Dunn, all the good stuff. They’re only something like 25% of the people who attend their seminars, actually do anything with it. And, these guys are paying 5,000 UK pounds to go in the seminar.

You know, but I think what they expect, Jerry, is they expect to take it home, put it in the house and think now I’m going to make a lot of money. It’s not like that. You know, just buying a pair of scissors, doesn’t make you a great hairdresser. You’ve got to pick the scissors up and practice, and practice, and practice, and then you become a great hairdresser. And, the principle’s the same with this stuff.

And, you know, I think when I write copy, I’m really zeroing away from the fact that I don’t want to tell anyone it’s a miracle cure, I don’t want to tell people they’ll make millions, I don’t want to tell people to do anything with it. I want to tell them real life examples, and I want them to say, “If this guy can do it, you can do it, but you must follow the system.”

JY:Yeah, okay, and right now, I’m on the last page, and there are three P.S.’s, so could you kind of explain what you try to achieve through the P.S.?

AFS:Well, the P.S., I’m not sure about P.S.’s, really. I’ve never really tested them to the limit, myself, but a lot of other people have tested them, like Dan Kennedy, and Michel Fortin goes on about his P.S.’s, and quite a few others go on about the P.S. Very honestly, what I do is I just copy what other people are doing, as far as testing goes. You know, the current line of thinking of testing with a P.S., is three P.S.’s work better than one, and that is the reason I used three P.S.’s.

I just want to say, looking at this letter now, because this was done quite some time ago, I think these actual P.S.’s are quite weak, but P.S.’s can work very, very well. And, again, what I’ve started doing, and I’ve been doing for a while now, is on my last P.S. is I think, a pinch from John Carlton, on my last P.S., using a testimonial in it, or a couple of testimonials. I think just doing a testimonial in P.S.’s, it’s interesting what John Carlton does, because sometimes, what we all tend to do, if somebody sends us a testimonial, we tend to use the whole thing, but what John Carlton does is he says, “Just take out the three or four words of it that does the work, which are really powerful, and glue them together, and use it that way.” So, I think that’s a better way to use a testimonial, especially in a P.S.

JY:Okay.

AFS:Just remember, with a P.S., as well, you know, going back to the beginning, when people scan read a letter, they scan the headline and the subs, and then, they always go to the P.S.’s, as well as the offer. So, it’s important to keep the P.S. very strong, and give them a reason to buy in, or to read the copy.

JY:I see, and you spoke about testimonials. Is there any reason why there are no testimonials in this letter?

AFS:Well, there is because…with the actual product, the actual product is a Terry Dean video and some other stuff, Marlon Sanders, and so on. This particular product has been hammered to death, so I really didn’t want the letter to read like anything anyone else had seen already. In fact, I think what’s interesting about this letter, it doesn’t actually talk about the product.

JY:Yeah, you’re right, it just talks about the end results.

AFS:Right, it talks about Steve and his experience.

JY:Uh huh.

AFS:And then, at the very end, the product gets a slight mention. You know, “This is what I use, order it, and I’ll send it to you.” So, I didn’t really want to use testimonials in it because I really…all I wanted to do with this letter was to tell everyone an experience, what happened to someone that worked well. And, this guy’s basically saying, “Look, this letter is my personal testimonial. It’s worked for me, it could work for you, but you have to do it.” So, testimonials, although we have loads of testimonials from people we didn’t know, I didn’t want to use them, really. I just wanted to keep it very personal.

JY:Okay. Now, Alan, I’m really going to put you on the spot, now.

AFS:Go ahead, fire away.

JY:This is the Alan Forrest Smith Challenge, okay.

AFS:Yes.

JY:Okay, so, suppose you had a time bomb planted into your body, and you’re given an assignment, a piece of copy to write.

AFS:Yeah.

JY:And, the copy has to succeed, or the time bomb will explode in your body.

AFS:Yeah.

JY:So, what are the three most important things you would do to make sure that the letter succeeds?

AFS:Right, well, the first thing you have to do is get their attention. So, the headline is crucial. The second thing you have to do is give them enough information, that they could be thinking about in their minds. And, the third thing is to give them the biggest desire to act that they could ever possibly want. I think David Ogilvy, famous copywriter, sums this up really well, because he talks about subway advertising. He talks about how subway advertising fails really badly, and it’s because they try and write a long piece of copy while people are stuck in the subway, hoping that people are going to read it. And, actually inside the cube on the train, itself, you know, the boards that you have, and what David Ogilvy said of this, you’ve got to say it quick, you’ve got to say it fast, and you’ve got to give them a good enough reason to act.

And really, I think that’s the whole thing, really, great headline, great reason, and a great reason to act. So, basically, the usual thing, you’ve got to attract, inform, desire, and get them to act on it. I think that just goes back to the classified-style copy, as well, Jerry. You know, if you can say in one word, say it in one word. You know, a lot of copy…especially new copywriters, think, well, I’m going to have to think of this great headline, and they think of these headlines which are about 20 words long, or whatever. If you can say it in two words, three words, five words, say it in that amount, because if you don’t catch them with the headline, they won’t read the rest.

JY:Yes, okay.

AFS:Has the bomb gone off?

JY:No, okay. Alan, you’ve given so much great info on this interview. I know my listeners are going to want to know like what other resources or any services you have that can help them?

AFS:Okay, well, the funny thing, Jerry, since I’ve been copywriting, I’ve been…my work in life, I started working very early really, was a bit of a young Entrepreneur, but my first job, I was a landscape gardener for a few years, and I used to wash cars, and I used to do all sorts of things. And then, I became a hairdresser, and I had a chain of hairdressing salons, and due to that business, I started doing my own copywriting. So, probably for the past 10 or 15 years, I’ve been writing stuff for myself. But, for the past three or four years, I’ve been doing it as a living, and this is what I do all the time now.

So, for copywriting, I think the best thing you can do with copy is, first of all, you’ve got to learn from the masters. Now, when I say the masters, I tend not to read a lot of the modern day guys, because I think what they do is they dress up a lot of the old people, you know, like the John Caples and David Ogilvy, and Leo Burnett, just all the real old masters. I think if you can get into them, that’s great, and of course, Claude Hopkins’ “Scientific Advertising,” which everybody talks about, but I just wonder how many people read it. You know, I’ve read it…I must have read it 10 times, at least. But, I wonder if people buy it and think, it’s a little bit too simple, so they don’t read it. But books like that are brilliant books.

Also, find someone you can copy, so if you can find a mentor that you can actually…if you can get his advert., his sales letters and so on, and you know he’s successful, you just copy it, and I’m not saying blatantly copy it and use it as a working piece. I’m on about copy the style and everything else. And, when you’ve got his style right and you know it’s working, well, what you start to do is you start to develop your own technique, your own thoughts, your own thinking, and you move forward from there.

But, the most important thing, I think, is to just start writing because just even this letter that we’ve gone through this morning, or this evening in your country, this letter that we’ve gone through now, I’ve not read that letter, probably for 12 months, and I’m reading it, and I’m seeing a lot of mistakes in it, really. And, I’m thinking, you know, oh, I should have changed the P.S.’s, I should have done the headline different, I don’t like the sub-heads. And, the point is, the more you write, the better you become, because you can start chopping out a lot of junk, and you start to understand that people don’t read certain things you write, you know, so there’s no need to do that.

And, just keep writing, really, Jerry, keep on going. Try to copy someone. Can I just tell you what really winds me up these days?

JY:Sure.

AFS:I think…now, don’t get me wrong, I love John Carlton, I’ve got all his stuff, I’ve bought all his stuff. I love what John Carlton does, and you know, when I see his examples and his DVD’s, you know, you get loads of great ideas, and you go, oh, fantastic. And, the same with Gary Halbert, as well. I mean, who wouldn’t click open a Gary Halbert page and read it? You have to read it, because his copy is done in such a good way, you’re pulled all the way through.

JY:Yes.

AFS:And, the same with Marlon Sanders. Marlon Sanders, fantastic to read his stuff. The one that gets mine these days, Jerry, is everybody thinks they’re John Carlton or Gary Halbert, or Marlon Sanders, and what’s happening is, we’re going to loads and loads of Web pages or Web sites which look and sound exactly the same now. So, people are not defining themselves with a real definite face. I mean, years ago everybody knew Ogilvy had done this, or people knew that someone else had done that, and so on.

These days, everything’s mish-mashed into each other, and people are just trying to copy, copy, copy. But, don’t get me wrong, I mean, I think copy’s the best way to start. You just duplicate something that someone else has done, but I don’t think…it must infuriate John Carlton and Gary Halbert, or maybe flatter them, I don’t know. Everybody’s trying to copy exactly what they do. Because, the problem is, you know, people stop reading it in the end because it all looks and sounds exactly the same, and let’s face it, there’s nothing as good as the original, anyway. So, it’s very important that yeah, you copy these guys initially, but you progress and develop your own style, it’s very important. Sorry, Jerry, I know I’m rambling on there.

JY:Oh, no, no, it’s okay. So, could you give us more information -- I know you have a couple of Websites, and you have a copywriting service, as well. Could you give us more information about your Websites and how people can get in touch with you?

AFS:Sure, yeah, well, and anyone can contact me through OrangeBeetle.com, or they can contact me through AlanForrestSmith.com. And, I have a few new projects which are not ready to go yet, so I won’t let you know. I also…I’ll just give you another real interesting thing, I have another website called Hairee.com, and Hairee.com is a good example of how to establish a niche online, because this particular Website just draws on past experiences from running and owning hairdressing salons, and it’s now one of the biggest hit Websites just for hairdressing salon-owners in the world now, so that does very well.

There’s a couple of services, you can e-mail me at OrangeBeetle.com, or AlanForrestSmith.com, and OrangeBeetle… OrangeBeetle is moving towards being more of an agency. Probably over the next 12 months, you’ll see more of that. I have nine first class copywriters that I work with on that one, based in Canada, Australia…they’re based all over the place, to be honest. So, that does really, really well. That’s grown unbelievably, really. The phone numbers are all the same, as well, it’s UK 00-44-1925-764-422, and I’m not cheap. I try to stick being a premium, top end copywriter, but I think with a 33% response rate, I can justify my prices.

JY:Yes, and would you like to spell your Website URL’s in case people are listening?

AFS:OrangeBeetle is O-r-a-n-g-e-B-e-e-t-l-e.com. AlanForrestSmith.com is A-l-a-n-F-o-r-r-e-s-t.com. Oh, sorry, no! It’s, A-l-a-n-F-o-r-r-e-s-t-S-m-i-t-h.com. See, there you go, Jerry, that’s why copywriters need proofreaders! I can’t even spell my own domain name!

JY:Okay, so thank you, Alan, for taking the time today for this interview.

AFS:Well, you know what, Jerry, I mean, I’ve had all sorts of invites, and just to sit and I tell you right now, I’m sitting in the middle of a field by an orchard, surrounded by sheep. I don’t know if you can hear them, Jerry, there’s some tractors in the background. So, I just live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, and I’ve just come back from Russia for four days, which was incredible. So, I’ve had a little busy four days, but just to sit here and be interviewed, you know, by a guy in Singapore, who I’ve never met, and we’ve had a nice chat, nice relaxing conversation. And, even just going through these things refreshes my mind, so I’m really grateful that you’ve asked me to do it, and I just want you to know that I’m grateful for your listeners that they’ve taken the time to listen, as well.

JY:Okay, so thanks a lot, Alan.

AFS:Okay, Jerry, the pleasure, it was all mine.

JY:Okay, see you, bye.

AFS:Thanks, Jerry.

JY:Bye.

More sales letter and conversion related direct mail articles:

47% Response Direct Response Marketing Sales Letter

Direct Mail Failure

Direct Mail and Selling Cars

The 47% response Rate Sales Letter

DIRECT-RESPONSE-MARKETING.jpg

The 47% Sales Letter

How the hell do you get 47% response rate to conversion from a direct mailer? Especially when the guy had already been mailing every couple of months with a dismal response.

This is a true story.

The story will shock anyone involved in marketing.

The story will also be hard to believe.

The businessman has asked for his name to be protected.

So it started with a cake.

A guy walked into my business one day and asked to speak to me. I walked over introduced myself with a smile and asked what I could do for him.

He handed me a box and said I heard you love Mille Fleur cakes (I do) so I brought a couple for you. He had got my attention right away. The cake wasn’t opened there and then but we drank tea together and shared a cake. His problem was really simple, brutally honest and threatening his marriage.

His problem was this.

He had set up a new company with a partner just around one year previously. The partner was now screaming his brains out and threatening all kinds of actions if more sales weren’t made.

You couldn’t blame the guy because he had pulled together an investment of just under a million to kick-start this project. The project included a mad-scientist from the mountains of Switzerland where he worked in a deep cave where he and other mad scientist were working like crazy to save the world. However …

Almost one year had past and sales were pathetic.

I asked him what he was doing to take this new business to market. He told me the following about his campaign.

“Each month I send direct mail to a list of highly targeted prospects”

“How many pieces do you send out?” I asked him.

“I send around 5,000 a month, sometimes more, sometimes less”

“And you get how much response?”

“Most of the time I get no reply”

“No reply?”

“Yes” he replied with a face that looked grey and surrendered to a battle he now believed he could never win.

“Anything else?” I asked.

“Yes one thing”… he stalled for a moment, looked me in the yes and smiled.

“This is weird but if this doesn’t work now my wife is leaving me with our two kids”

“Wow” I replied.

SOLD HIS WIFE'S CAR

He then went on to tell me that he had sold her car, sold their small holiday place, and had re-mortgaged his home 3-times to make this dream business happen. The same dream that was now fast becoming a nightmare of nightmares.

So for the sake of getting to the point here is what I did (because this is a long detailed story).

Five thousand direct mail letters a month for this guy was like a King's ransom. So the first thing we did was reduce the volume of mailers. Why? No response after all the mail he had sent proved his targeting was way off.

Second, we hand picked just 100 targets from his list to chase. All were more specific to his product and a higher end client. The list I used was a leverage campaign. This meant they had dealt with him before so this increased the possibility of the sale.

Third, we stopped trying to sell from the direct mail but created an intimate evening where they were all invited to join us, listen to professional advice for the target’s businesses and receive free gifts for from the evening. This allowed the target to get to know my client before making any commitment - trust!

The build-up period for this small gathering was just 4-weeks as time for the client was now very tight. The mailers were packed with good news, urgency and a strong call to action.

One thing I spent a long time persuading my client was to create an offer that was an acquisition offer. This meant rather than make money from the first sale he would actually spend some money to buy his new client. This is a killer strategy that almost no one uses.

All of the one hundred direct mail letters were sent.

Out of the 100 targets, 47% responded and were booked into the open evening. All apart from one arrived on the evening. We used another strategy to ensure all came.

The evening began with a small presentation. The presentation gave the guests more than they could ever have expected.

THE BIG CALL TO ACTION

Finally, at the end of the evening, there was to be a call to action.

It was really simple. I removed ANY profits from the first sale to the client. This removed all risk for the potential new buyer. So a package that was to cost £2,500 was reduced to just £1,100. This was cut-right back to the cost price. This is the acquisition strategy.

So the reality was for everyone that bought on that night it was going to cost my client to buy them. It cost him around £100 per client. Honestly, he didn’t quite get it but trusted me at the time.

Here’s the good news.

His wife never left him.

His partner didn’t fire him.

That evening was had a 12-month value in sales for him of OVER £800,000

All from 100 direct mailers.

All from stripping-back his wasted and thoughtless marketing campaign.

All from a response from a tiny almost microscopic list of just 47 prospects.

And it all started with a cake and a dammed good one at that!

So looking back what went wrong for him?

GET IT RIGHT FROM THE START

Really simple, he did what every business I work with has been doing for years before we meet and that is just do marketing with no thought at all.

  • If you get your planning wrong it just won’t work.
  • If you get your strategies wrong it just won’t work.
  • If you use tactics that are just not suited to your targets – it just won’t work.

So when you create your own sales letter you have two things you can do.

Hire an expert copywriter that understand words, paragraphs, openings, closes, body copy, offers, guarantees and more.

Do it yourself and hope and pray to God your wife or husband doesn't leave you in the middle of your hapless efforts. But seriously why take a risk or a chance or waste time trying yourself?

The client above is proof of that and believes me when I tell you 99.9% of clients that come to me despite doing what they have done for years waste fortunes on marketing that will never work in a million-billion years.

Over 30-years in business has taught me one thing … thinking and planning a campaign through is always the key but the most and biggest thing I have learnt in business is this…

Ask for advice and where required a cake offering can help.

If you need help planting a rocket in your marketing systems … you know here to find me but be quick and to the point – I’m a busy man.

I’d love to help you.

Peace and cakes.

Your beard wonder - Alan Forrest Smith

PS. You'll like to read Direct Mail The Lead Sales Letter Sample article

How to writer a sales letter article

Marketing Budgets and Costs

How to Create Flyers That Sell

MENTORGIF
MENTORGIF

Mentor Tips For FREE

What do we actually do in MENTOR?

Here's 11 Things You Can Do Today To change Your Life or Business Without Spending a Single Penny From My Business Mentor Program!

I thought it would be interesting for you if I shared today some things we do on MENTOR. Clearly not everything is here as MENTOR is bespoke for each client.

Ready? So here is an initial list I do with my MENTOR guys and of course you can do or should do yourself. OK ready to go?

YOUR LIFE?

Remember everything is life and life has a time on it. The real problem is you don’t know when the time stops (it does and will stop).  All you know is the clock is running and at some point it will stop dead.

So think about your life.

  • Are you happy?
  • Is it a struggle?
  • Do you feel like you hate everything?
  • Is it simply a life you no longer want?

The bottom-line is this. MENTOR is built around life not life built around MENTOR. If life isn’t happy you can do as many MENTORS as you want but ultimately happiness isn’t about money or playing the high-flyer, it’s a much deeper and more human thing that I like to address right at the start of MENTOR.

So you can ask yourself these few things right now

  • Am I happy with how my life or business is right now?
  • What changes can I make that'll change things?
  • What is causing the problems with my life and business?
  • Can I fix those problems and create a happier life and business?
  • Can I build a business that will support my new-life choices?

YOU MUST STOP

Why stop?

Well if everything was working just fine you wouldn’t be reading this so stop right now - Stop everything you're doing and ask why it isn’t or hasn’t worked for you right now. The reason we do this is to look at the lessons to be learnt. Your life is filled with patterns that you will be repeating. There are some great discoveries come out of this process and it’s pretty amazing that by simply stopping you can see what is happening.

Years ago I drove all the way to Wales in my car with a noise coming from the rear left wheel. It got worse and worse and worse until smoke began to come from the wheel. I then of course drove the fifty miles back home. I carried on until one day the wheel had locked and refused to moved. I called the rescue service, they arrived and told me I need a whole set of new everything for that wheel.

The final bill on this old Mercedes came to £2,100. It all started with a problem that should have cost almost nothing to fix. I finally got rid of the car but it cost me heavily.

If you are having problems with your life or business you need to…

  • Stop
  • Get out look at what the problem is

Only when the problems are fixed … you get back in and start to move again. Business and marketing is no different. Don’t do what most new clients do and that’s keep throwing cash at everything just hoping it will work because it should work. The only way to solve the problem is to be objective and proactive and sometimes that simply means – STOP!

YOUR LOCATION

Think about where you are right now with your business and your life.

  • Are you where you want to be or should be?
  • Do you actually ever think that through in your business?

If you jumped in the car this morning and told your wife or husband you are driving somewhere. He or she asked where are you driving? And you replied somewhere that is better than here. Yet if you have no destination to reach or planned how the hell will you get anywhere? You can drive and drive yet if you have no idea where you are driving to you won’t get anywhere. Make sense right?

You think your business is any different? You need to know where you are aiming to get to otherwise you’ll drive around in circles. (I know lots of car analogies – vroom vroom).

  • Look at where you are right now.
  • Find out why you are there because it could be a repeated habit that needs addressing and fixing before you move forward.
  • Look over your history, look at your tools and skillsets and then take corrective action.

YOUR DESTINATION

Where are you going and how will you get there? You need a destination to aim for. Be realistic. I once had a client say to me they wanted to turnover £1 BILLION in two years selling key fobs that were to retail at just £2. Each. Do you know how many key fobs you actually have to sell I asked her? She replied NO but she felt she could do it. Guess what happened?

So when we plan our destination we don’t simply talk about ‘yes I am going to get rich and do really well’, we plan each specific objective.  What is it for you personally and write it out in absolute tiny detail. Plan your life and the changes you need to make in your life to make your destination a reality. Most never take into account the life changes yet it’s the life changes that will make the changes. If there's no winter there can be no summer - change has to take place.

For example some will say they simply don’t have time to plan yet once we do time management and planning suddenly a lot of wasted time reveals itself. One client was driving his car back and forth for over 15-hours every week with his kids. That’s 15-hours that were wasted because his kids asked for a lift rather than walk or get a bus. Now they get a bus, now he has stolen back his time to build his success and make changes.

So ...

  • Know where you need to go
  • Know how you are going to get there
  • Plan your final outcome
  • Write and detail out everything including exactly how much income is realistic and needed to help you create a new life.

YOUR STRATEGY

To drive anywhere takes a strategy. Will you drive direct up a never-ending traffic packed 500-mile long road or take the more scenic routes through the countryside? Once you know you must create a strategy to make it happen. If there are no strategies in place (yes more than one) nothing will happen I can promise you that!

When we build strategy we talk about things like seeding, positioning, branding, framing and many other strategic importance that most miss but make a huge difference to business and life.

  • Do you know how to create strategy?
  • Can you find out how to build new skills?
  • You must plan your strategy in detail
  • What is needed to make it happen for you?
  • Can you get what you need from the resources you have?
  • Have you mapped out the strategies in a diary and on wallboards?

YOUR SKILL-SET

You cannot drive a car unless you pass a driving test. To pass the test you must take lessons. Right? The skills that are need for above are bespoke for you – no one else. This means you need to create a skill-set that is carefully chosen to suit you, your personality and your overall plan for your life and business.

The good news is - It’s easier than you might be thinking you just need to get started.

  • This could mean reading a lot to start with doing select and scan fast-track-system
  • This could mean learning new skills – like mastering Microsoft word or excel or a computer if you don’t use one
  • This could mean hiring in staff to do the jobs you really don’t want to do yourself

Once you know what you need go get them and practice until the skin falls off your fingers. You cannot become an F1 driving ace unless you drive each and everyday around that damned killer track! Find out the skills

  • Find out how to learn them
  • Steal back time to learn them
  • Practice the skills until your are a master
  • Anything you need to buy to do this has NO-COST – it’s always an investment for you.

YOUR TOOLS FOR CHANGE

No questions, if you need them to move forward you must go collect exactly what you need to get the job done. I personally paid £270 for one collector’s book on marketing. £190 for another and I have at least 3-5 books arriving into my home every week. I buy a book to read one chapter and even one paragraph. Once I invested $5,000 for a bit of information that transformed one aspect of my business. The investment was worth every last penny.

If you don’t order the tools you need you’re in the wrong mindset. If you are in the wrong mindset nothing will happen for you and you should simply get get another job until you are ready?

  • Need a new computer, order it now (you can get one cheap on eBay and even the returns and refurbished page on Apple's own website)
  • Need software – order and download (stop looking for FREE software - free is what it is - valueless)
  • Need books, order them on eBay for low price (I have one book I pad £7 for I swear returned to me hundreds of thousands of pounds but - you have to read and act on what you read)
  • Need a killer pen, go buy one ( I use a pen that cost me £60 but you can get pens for pennies)
  • Papers and anything else – you need to get it otherwise you won’t move forward

GET STARTED - WILL YOU?

Open the doors, put in the keys, sit on the drivers seat and for Gods sake start driving. It’s amazing how many businesses I see that can spend weeks, months and even years planning and you know what – they still don’t get started. It’s really simple – get started and even if it isn’t quite right or goes a little wrong just get started.

Once you know the above making a start is easier but still hard all the same.

Do you find it hard to get started – why?

Find out the answer. We use a special tool I have developed to find out exactly why that happens but you might be able to find your won way of asking why? Is it fear? Is it something else? If you always struggle to get off the starting block you simply need to get a start.

WRITE

For those that I MENTOR as writers (as I MENTOR many businesses and consultants) I sat and worked out how many words I write a year and the number was pretty staggering yet I also felt the number I arrived it was under-estimated. I write around one million words a year.

Years ago there was a snooker player whose name is Steve Davis. He was asked how often he would go to the table and practice as he was winning championship after championship. His reply astonished me … 12 hours a day, 7-days a week.

Then in later years David Beckham the soccer player was asked a similar question. His reply was 8-10 hours a day just kicking a ball (I have no idea what you do with a ball for 20 seconds, I thought you kicked it once and that's it).

Recently I fell in love with artist Lucien Freud’s work. His paintings are a work of genius to my eyes. I watched an interview with him and although he never said how much time he spends painting (and gambling and womanising)  his assistant revealed Lucien painted 7-days a week from the moment he climbed out of bed until he had done enough each day.

The lesson is clear – if you want to be good you need to put in the time. To be a good writer you must write daily and if not daily as often as possible. I can always see the massive difference between my MENTOR students that write a lot and those that hardly write at all. So you can ask yourself.

  • How often do I write?
  • How can I get more time to write?
  • Do I realise to get good I have to practice?
  • Can I make a new habit to practice daily?
  • How many words can I write daily?
  • How do I find the time?
  • Can I steal back time?

REALISM Vs. DREAMISM

Being realistic isn’t easy in a world that makes claims of nothing being impossible. Actually there is nothing wrong with admitting that some things are impossible. For example it’s just not possible for me to ever live on Mars. It’s just not possible for me to be 25 years old again. It really isn’t possible for me to do things that I just know I cannot do. So some things aren’t possible and this is what we talk about in MENTOR and that is being realistic. You must ask yourself this same thing!

Over the years I have mentored students that have read the odd book, seen a speaker here and there and have come to believe that they can do great things with little effort. There’s a guy I see around online a lot. He like a lot of his partners sell from stage. This guy in particular sells how to become an expert speaker. So in the audience people will sign up for this at £5,000. They go to the training, get the training and then they are awarded a sheet of paper that tells them they are now a speaker. The problem with that is if you have no business model, no experience, nothing to teach others, and a lot of other critical human elements missing you will never in a million years become a speaker that creates huge sales of millions of pounds.

What the expert on stage never tells you is that he has spent a lot of money and a lot of cash training to become the expert he has become. In lots of cases these experts have spent many many years training to be who and what they are yet they promise others they can be the same in a weekend. In others words – it’s just not realistic.

So in MENTOR we get real ands realistic. We bespoke and create the MENTOR for you and no one else. In other words what could be possible for you? One MENTOR I worked with came to the conclusion that if he did just £18,000 the first year he would be happy as this gave him the option to change his job because he had replaced his wage whilst at the same time given himself a raise.

So ask yourself this…

  • Are your goals realistic?
  • Are they dream based and impossible for you (at this time)
  • How real are you aims for you?
  • How real are the possibility of your outcomes?
  • How real is it that you can actually do this?
  • If they are not realistic how can you create a roadmap to the bigger goal so you can make the unrealistic eventually realistic?

Even if you never sign for MENTOR in a million years has this page helped you today? This is just a tiny part of what I do each week per 90-minute session with my guys. The changes I have seen over the past 9 years MENTORING have been huge.

So there you have it at least 11 things you can do today without spending a penny and all guaranteed to improve your life or business. It's just up to you to make it happen.

If you enjoyed this article and tips from my business mentor program please feel free to leave a comment, I'd be grateful.

You can join MENTOR here and I promise you this it’ll be the very best investment you ever make into your life.

Your MENTOR and man of beard wonderment.

Alan Forrest Smith

Muscles Marketing & Mentor

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Direct Marketing Consultant - With Muscles!

See that photo above?

Yes it’s me so don’t click away just yet as there is a point to this story.

I know its a bad picture but its a picture in bad light of me in the gym this week.

The arms and chest are real - Here’s what happened.

At the end of last year I decided for once in my life to takes my own advice and get a mentor, here’s why.

Those that know me know and understand I am untrainable, I listen to no one and rarely take advice unless … The person I am asking knows something I really don’t know despite I think I might know.

So at the end of last year I looked at myself naked in the mirror and frankly didn’t like what I was seeing. I had gained weight, was losing my shape and really wanted things to change.

Now heres the interesting part.

I started using gyms in 2007 and once i started I lost 20-30 pounds in weight. Maybe a year into that I started to gain weight again and couldn’t get the shape I wanted to be.

I have spent a small fortune on

  • Fitness DVDs (stacks)
  • Fitness books (hundreds)
  • Diet books (a whole library)
  • Equipment (everything)
  • Bars (I have them all)
  • Bells (ring-a-ding - yes every weight is here)
  • What looks like a million multi-vitamins and protein shakes and more.

I read them and that’s about it … I just read them.

The pile got higher and higher and higher. In fact I probably have a copy of every Men’s Health magazine from 2007 in my home gym just lying there collecting dust.

I keep buying them like an addict hoping that one day just buying them will be enough for me to lose those extra 14 pounds hanging around my waist.

It never happened. It hasn’t happened and at the end of 2013 I had enough so I decided to go and find myself a MENTOR of my own.

Let me tell you I hate the idea of paying someone to tell me what I think I know yet the mirror was telling me that I clearly didn’t know what I thought I knew.

Meet Lewis My Trainer.

Lewis is a twenty-year-old 5 foot 7 inch trainer at my gym. He’s blonde, looks like he’s just 15 years old he also looks like he’s never shaved and still has spots.

When I met him on the first day I actually said to him are you serious you look around 15!

He laughed, I laughed and we went into the weights room where we sat and talked. He asked me… what do you want from this?

I told him I am not interested in weight I just want to look like Wolverine. He laughed and said lets get on with it.

It’s been hard, really really hard.

Each session is one hour although is passes in what feels like minutes but I can tell you this.

It’s tough, it’s full on and the last 15 minutes almost kills me (especially the Abs work).

At the end of each session I can barely move never mind walk out of the gym and go home. It’s a killer.

Now four weeks on and little by little I am starting to look like a pink version of the incredible hulk (ok that was overkill) but in just 4 weeks I am starting to see results. (even I was shocked at the photo above)

And here’s what’s interesting.

My fitness MENTOR has done in just 4-weeks what I haven’t been able to do in 5-years on my own.

We are training together all the way until May so by the time myself and my warrior woman go to our other home in Tbilisi, Georgia my body transformation will be complete (for now).

And yes …

  • I fall back into crisps
  • I am still addicted to cakes
  • I can eat dozens of Kit Kats
  • And I still get it wrong but I am doing my absolute best to jump if Lewis tells me to jump.

I don’t know about you but I have learnt something really valuable about myself and it’s this.

If someone can help me get somewhere or do something I just couldn’t do for myself the past 5 years well why didn’t I pay for it earlier?

The answer is I don’t know but here’s what I do know. If I had booked a trainer earlier on it would have saved me years of moaning and groaning about not looking as good as I wanted to look.

  • If my trainer tells me to do it - I do it.
  • If he asks me to do something - I do it.
  • If he feels I’d be better jumping around naked to get a result - I will do it.

Why?

He knows what I don’t know and what he knows is bringing in a result after all I have already bought everything over 5 years and the results have never looked as good as this.

I really didn’t want to do another 5 years looking and feeling the way I was feeling. Yes FIVE YEARS I failed to take no action apart from order everything I read and equipment i never used and diets I never followed and fads I couldn’t keep.

By the time we go away in May hopefully my goal of looking really the way I want to look will be hit.

So the lesson is clear but how about you or your business?

It’s my experience that most people I speak with and deal with in business are almost the same as I have been with my fitness. They try everything themselves and get zero or mediocre results. Nothing seems too happen quite the way they expect. The marketing team are just doing what they learnt in their marketing degree. Those with no degree just copy those with the degree or even worse they do the marketing themselves.

It’s crazy when you think asking for an experts advice can change everything about your business and hence your life.

Over the years I can boast some crazy results for clients that anyone can be proud of. I have increased businesses by 53.3% in just 4 weeks. I have even generated well over $500,000 in 21 days for one client from zero. I have saved one clients business from bust and generated over £2 million in sales for him. I even magically generated £15,400 for another client in just 3 days.

I can tell you hundreds of stories just like that and more.

ALL had taken the route of trying and hoping yet all were clearly failing and failing fast until they finally got a mentor that would guide them and help them.

That photo above is me after just 4 weeks. I can’t wait for the next photo maybe in another 4 weeks. I just hope I can kill this belly fat :)

Finally - Over the past 9 years mentor has been helping business just like you make massive changes.

A critique can increase your response rates by huge percentages - Just ask me. Consulting can literally turn your whole business around in days - not months - Just hit reply and ask.

Having copy written where every word is carefully crafted can transform everything in your business - Just ask Roy who experienced a 4000% increase after his sales letters were re-written.

Critique - Consulting - Copywriting - Mentor

Don’t do what I did and spend year messing around and not getting results. No one in the climate can afford to do that anymore and you’ll know that,

I’m ready to help you and work with you but - ARE YOU? Contact me right now.

I have to go meet my beardless trainer now at the gym for session 8… It’ll kill me but the results are more than worth it.

Speak soon.

The new Wolverine…

Alan Forrest Smith

Real Price of Marketing

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Some business meetings and decisions are like staring out of a window whilst drinking coffee and thinking about the next day of. That has a real measurable price.

The Real Price of Marketing

Businesses complain about the costs of marketing. You want to know how much marketing REALLY costs?

After working with clients for the past 15 years or more there are certain things that remains the very same every time I get a phone call and its this.

Marketing sounds too expensive I can’t afford it.

Then they fly away and start working with what they think is a cheap marketing team that have no idea how to create strong powerful direct marketing. The campaign predictably  then fails so they move on to the next team and do the same again. And then to the next team and do the same again. Then after trying for a year or two they call me again and ask me to review, critiques and then help with a new marketing campaign.

So truthfully what is the REAL price of marketing?

If you are a business owner and  entrepreneur or a marketing guy running a team read this and prepare for some truths.

I am going to base the following article on 5 staff because that isn’t uncommon although its a lot lower that what a lot of my clients have.

Look at this. This is male or female but I have used male for the example.

  • £50,0000 for a Marketing Director
  • £35,000 for his car
  • £1,200 for his mobile phone
  • £20,000 to install his office
  • £1,500 for his MacBookPro
  • £600 for his iPad
  • £20,000 a year for his bonuses
  • £10,000 per year (low) for travel, hotels, overtime and other bits

That is £138,300 per annum so far for one marketing expert.

Then ...

£130,000 for 4 team members

They might have cars and they certainly have offices and equipment.

£150,000 at a very low guess

Total estimate (which is way under) is

£288,300 annually for a team of marketing experts.

Once the team is in place the years of feedback I am getting is this … most of these guys have no idea what they are doing.

  • Adverts don’t work
  • Direct mail campaigns fail to respond
  • Social media flopped
  • Email is a waste of time
  • Billboards irrelevant
  • Database marketing (the most profitable) is never used and if it is used its used badly

The most the marketing experts ever seem to do is book in advertising space and then spend the companies cash on marketing into that empty space.

The ads are mostly developed in-house by graphics guys that have zero idea on what makes the mind of a buyer actually work and the words are usually done by the in house copywriter that rarely writes anything apart from a 10,000 texts a day to everyone and anyone.

They appear to know nothing as judged by their results. Please prove me otherwise!

You know the things like the 16 micro-second mind response to an image and how the beta brain decisions then react. Pros know there are mind triggers or switches and what we do is create powerful words or images designed to flick triggers that are already in place.

Yet strangely enough most marketing geniuses in offices have no idea.

They will create new urls like Facebook.com/thebrand yet who goes to Facebook to buy a BMW?

Here's the bizarre thing... The owners/directors.CEOs can allow that behaviour to go on for year after year after year.

Recently I got an email from a client asking for his adverts to be reviewed. He runs 300 staff and a huge business yet the business had flatlined over the past two years.

I have to say the adverts were bad, really bad. Everything was slick but what a glass of orange with a straw and a cocktail umbrella had to do with property services is beyond me.

These ads were failing - they had failed!

It was obvious why to me and it was obvious why to the CEO that had contacted me.

I wrote half a dozen new draft ads for his team to use.

He loved them and told me they reminded him of the market that built his empire 25 years before. He then sent them to his director who was getting paid a huge sum to make this company profitable.

Three months later I heard nothing back. Six months later I still heard nothing back. Eventually I got a reply telling me marketing he has the adverts in the review pile. Almost a year later I contacted the client that contacted me in the first place and he said he had almost given up trying to get his director to review them.

God knows if they were ever used but think about the scale here. A business that is flatlined is in decline. The life of that whole business was now in the hands of a few people that couldn't make a decision because the director of marketing had a new baby and he was tired. He actually emailed me personally telling me to stop making demands to his boss as he was very tired and at the time of emailing me drunk! (true)

That's a 25 year empire and 300 jobs or 300 lives on the line because no one can see the value of marketing.

Think about this also.

The lost time, the lost sales and the overall decline of a business that has a far wider reach into the community than just the 300 staff.

If they went bust that means less taxes paid into the economy. That means more unemployed, That means more stress on a fragile economy.

And can you imagine writing a pay check for 300 staff each week when your business is struggling?

That's the real price of marketing yet... It can be fixed easily and the companies out there can stop paying the price for bad un-directional marketing.

Here's the thing in his case...

A new set of adverts could have created a new set of incomes and clients yet... They failed to think through the real cost of marketing.

  • Did you know database marketing can increase almost any business by well over 100% in just 12 months?
  • Did you know sending out lower volumes with more targeting can give you huge rewards?
  • Did you know sometimes it isn't even about the words just one simple image can make or break and advert?
  • Did you know the worst thing you can ever do is buy in a list of any kind?

It doesn't take a lot for a business to tip into the red that's for sure.

Do you need help, reviews, critiques, copy, advice, or a strategy session so you can avoid the real price of marketing?

Contact me here.

Marketing Budgets and Cost

marketingbudget.jpg

The Price of Marketing How much does it cost to do your marketing? Well I could give you my rather predictable reply that marketing should cost nothing yet the reality is money has to be invested to make marketing really work.

So rather than try and explain this to you from my own thoughts let me look at this from how you are probably thinking about it.

Now the truth is marketing should cost you nothing and the reason for saying that is the return should always outweigh the investment.

For example: I personally need a good strong reliable hardware and software in my office to be able to perform successfully.

In my case that meant at my last upgrade

  • 27 Desktop iMac with every bell and whistle you can think of.
  • MacBookPro fully loaded.
  • IPhone latest always

In total it maybe cost me around £5000 and that doesn’t include extra software I paid for.

My pal said to me Alan you can get computers for less than half the price you paid and of course I am not simple I know that but here’s the thing that makes the investment a second thought not a first thought.

EVERYTHING that is created, written, planned and performed in my business is created on those machines and every year a machine is a major part of my business and marketing process.

I also seem to get a minimum of five years from every computer I have owned so think about this.

That investment returns for me

  • Annual turnover
  • Annual profits
  • Client’s turnover
  • Clients profits And is has clients paying me tens of thousands of pounds on a regular basis for strong returns.

Yet I still have to do an initial outlay yet the returns are so huge the outlay becomes almost irrelevant.

So how much should your marketing cost you? Lets look at an actual campaign.

This campaign involved

  • Direct mail
  • Website
  • Direct mail Unfortunately for a lot of business out there that read marketing books and websites from ‘experts’ that have never experienced marketing in their lives but have read plenty about it they do have a habit of sending business owners just like you down the wrong path.

They can and do tell you things like

“A killer sales letter is what makes the sale”

“Well laid out direct response advert works really well”

And so on.

Yet …

Every target has it’s own mind triggers and mind conclusions and mind experiences that have to be met and if you don’t meet them I don’t care how good your copy is it wont get the sale.

And if you have every done incredibly well but you send your materials to the wrong targets you will have just thrown away your efforts and investment with no return.

So I will explain this in UK pounds for you.

To send 1,000 pieces of direct mail can cost

  • 1,000 stamps will cost you £1,000 to get started
  • 1,000 envelopes with design and copy
  • 1,000 single sheets or multiple sheets
  • 1,000 lift letters
  • Color print
  • A designer’s time
  • A copywriter’s time
  • A strategist’s time

And

  • Market research
  • Target research
  • Lists

Total at the absolute lowest I have seen is around £10,000 but a realistic price is £15,000

2. WEBSITE Once the direct mail goes out it must be supported by a website. Why? Almost 100% of all buyers search online before they visit or call – FACT!

So even if the direct mail is delivered perfect yet the website hasn’t been strategically put together with strong copy and strong design the direct mailer will come to nothing.

  • Good images
  • Good media
  • Direct call outs
  • Mind-set triggers
  • Good navigation
  • Good layouts
  • Strong copy
  • Strong call to action
  • Easy to follow sales path

A good website alone  (basic) can take around 45 - 100 hours of time to build. Those hours are anything from £25 - £60 per hour.

That build will usually involve two technicians and one consultant. There is also the copy to add to the website.

That is three wages and a copywriter.

A website that is designed to sell will cost around £5,000 minimum.

So to start with for your marketing you now have around £20,000 and that is £20,000 I know you will see as a cost.

And as nothing ever goes as planned you should have a contingency of around £5,000 just in case.

This is a start-up GUESS-TIMATE.

(YES you can get cheaper but I have clients that pay cheaper many times before they come to me. Cheaper means lost sales and lost time. cheap can also means lost businesses. Would you pay for a cheap surgeon or pay for the best?)

Now let me take you through an actual example of a real client that has done exactly that above.

The first step to marketing is not just good idea but filling a demand that already exists.  So research if there is a demand.

Once you find the demand you must then locate where the buyers are and find out exactly how to get in front of them or what tactics should be used to get in front of them.

(At this stage I strongly advise you hire a consultant for expert advise. This will cost you but of course could save you a small fortune. On two occasions I saved clients £100,000 in one case and £60,000 in another – get advice)

So far this will take time – maybe a week or two of your time and possibly longer.

So lets get back to the example I just mentioned above.

He spent around one week researching demand and found a high-demand for his idea. That idea then had to be translated into a huge ecommerce website that took around 8 weeks to build (and was then totally rebuilt after launch).

A copywriter, a designer and a team of web technicians and a marketing consultant. To get everything off the ground and locate associate partners his investment was around £50,000. He then also had to pay for several flights into the USA a couple of times each month to get his project off the ground over a six-month period.

His expenses so far have been around £100,000.

Does £100,000 sound like a lot to you?

His turnover for his brand new business in 10 months was £2.6 million. Let me ask again … does £100,000 into his marketing sound like a lot to you?

So to generate £2,6 million he had to invest £100,000. I think that’s a fair exchange to do?

Now that example might feel a little high but remember the whole page is about this.

To have successful marketing that costs you nothing you must…

Plan it out well

It’s easier than you might be thinking. All you need to do is plan every step of the way from start to finish.

The biggest problem I see most business having these days is this… bad information written simply to sell marketing books, marketing websites or marketing manuals. The problem is most of the stuff out there is now created by sellers of information not sellers of real world experience and the problem with that is marketing must be bespoke and built around a generation that wants everything custom designed.

The old ways still work but only on those that want old ways. The new ways works even better but only on those that demand the new ways.

Here’s the first step I advise everyone … Get advice before you spend a single penny on anything. I once paid $2,500 for 30 minutes of advice. That advice returned me tens of thousands of pounds. Honestly OI had to think about paying it but once I thought about the possibilities that would come from the advice I knew he could share with me the fee became irrelevant.

Do your numbers – if you want to create £100,000 from your campaign what do you need to invest (be real – you won’t make 100,000k investing $100 unless you’re incredibly lucky)

  • Plan everything every steps from start to end
  • Get good advice
  • Work with experienced experts
  • Test with a prelaunch campaign
  • Measure your results

And finally you might find this interesting.

Did you know?

  • Most marketing campaigns fail? It usually takes a few campaigns until you hit a home run and good sales.
  • Direct marketing such as newspapers adverts, magazines adverts, and direct mail needs to be seen on several occasions before you feel a real impact. Send once and the impact and the sales will be as good as zero.
  • Most sales copy fails.
  • Most marketing fails.
  • Most smaller companies write their own sales copy for years before realizing it takes an expert to make it work.
  • On average you should invest 20% - 30% of your total revenue on your marketing
  • Most businesses still have no idea how to use the web to create sales.
  • Most businesses have no idea what marketing actually is.
  • Some businesses believe the hype that good sales copy is enough to build an empire.
  • Some believe that word-of-mouth is all it takes to build a strong business.
  • 80-90% of all new business close within 12 months.

Three things you need to remember

  • Do your research
  • Have a marketing budget
  • Always get expert advice

I hope this little article has helped you.

One last note – If you don’t want to invest in any kind of marketing yet want to build an empire – sadly is a delusion created by marketers that have no idea how to run a business. If that’s the case don’t waste your time, go get a job.

Almost 30 years in direct marketing with multiple million-dollar campaigns under my belt.

Contact me here to arrange a consultation.

Yours in success

Alan Forrest Smith

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MENTOR CHANGE 2014

TERRACE.jpg

See that photo above? The second to last window on the right was a tiny bedsit house that was to literally save my life from absolute hopelessness.

I’ll explain more in a second.

There’s this guy. On December 25th 2009 he woke on Christmas day on a cheap rollout sofa, which was his bed. In fact it was the only piece of furniture he owned at that moment. He bought it from IKEA. He woke up that day - Christmas day alone, lay there for a while and cried and cried and cried some more.

He cried so much that the tears couldn’t be stopped for at least 20 minutes or so but looking back he will tell you it was a huge pressure release for him.

But first let me take you back just a few weeks before then. The man had found himself doing something he had been doing over the past few months  each and everyday and that was sitting at the back of the old graveyard behind his elderly parents house.

Every night in that freezing cold winter he would walk out alone and then walk just around the corner into the 16th century old graveyard to think about what has happened in his life over the previous few years, where his life was and was this almost the end of what had once been a very happy life but was now a life of a man that had looked like he surrendered to life.

The man never sat at the front of the graveyard because people would walk by and see him and they would think that’s strange or something was wrong with the guy sitting in the graveyard so he always walked to the back and would sit on the old iron bench next to the stone of John Watson 1937 - 2005. John had lived a long life but now was a pile of dust feeding the earth. The man would think about John and who John could have been. Now John was just a stone and a memory.

As the man sat there for one hour, two hours and three hours until the cold finally reached him he would spend that time sitting back so his face was pointing into the pitch black diamond lit sky and asked himself question after question after question after question.

His life had not turned out as he wanted it to turn out and right at this point right now he had, no home to live in, no wages or cash to spend and no woman to wrap her arms around him, to love him back to life and comfort him with sweet words of tenderness, love and strength. He missed the stroke of a woman's fingers slowly across his chest, he missed the soft lips of a woman on his face. He really was alone.

He actually believes that a man needs a woman but a woman needs to be a woman to keep her man until the final day. The days she stops being a woman is the day he stops acting like a real man. Anyway I digress so lets get back to the story.

One night as he looked up into the sky the man realised that if he allows things to remain the same as they are now, broke, alone, lost and living at his parents at 47 – he is as good as dead! His kids had lost all respect for him. His first wife wanted him destroyed. His family had all but rejected him. In fact one member of his family had tried on more than one occasion to try and kill the man. No wonder the man would cry.

CHANGE.

With that thought he realised that where he was wasn’t new, it had happened to many before him and would carry on happening to others after him. Maybe even old John Watson 1937 – 2005 had been through the same yet his outcome was also the same for him as it was for all men.

The man made a decision. If things were to change for him he had to do get out of the graveyard, stop surrounding himself with death, get generating an income again, find a home to live and finally search for a woman that could get someone as complicated as himself (others would say he was complicated so the man had started to believe he himself was complicated but actually he was just a man).

He left the graveyard feeling different. He told John Watson 1937 - 2005 that he was going, he is alive and he won't be back to sit with him.

Today that man lives a very different life.

I should know - I am that man. I wanted to share this story to encourage you and give you courage at the same time that you can overcome anything in life but only if you want to. How do you know you want to? You'll just know.

And if you are facing total loss like I have been through I want to share with you that recovery and resurrection and creation of a new life is very, very possible for you as long as you understand this six letter word.

CHANGE. Change is an action so to create change action has to be taken.

Here’s what I personally did.

After I finally came to my senses I set a vision of three reachable outcomes.

1. Income – restart and increase so I could fund a new life

2. Home – find a place of my own for privacy and my own self-pride

3. Woman – I knew what I needed and now I had to find her only only she would do

Why did I do that?

Because I sat and worked out what I needed right now to kick-start a brand new life that I was going to design from the ground up. I had to have a plan.

I had no income yet needed an income to get a home to live in (the photo above) and get out of the 80 square foot room I was currently living in at my parents and I needed a place of my own if I was to tempt a beautiful woman a little less crazy than myself to join me in a new life by design.

Let me take you back a moment so you understand  how I got here; a divorce and all the destruction that came with it. It was full on, vicious, destructive and left myself with no home, no work, and no access to my kids, no family and frankly no nothing. At the point I write about above I had not worked for well over 6 months and had not a single penny to my name. I was back at year zero where it was stand up and walk or lie down and die.

That night I left the graveyard full of life and had shaken off the death of the past and left it behind. I went back to my parent’s house where I was living and planned everything out. Not in detail but just a bigger picture of what was needed.

I decided that I must be in my own place for Christmas even though it was just a few weeks away but to do that I also needed to be able to pay for a home with 12-months rent in advance. Within 4 weeks I had the cash to pay 12 months rent. Within five weeks I had moved into my new tiny little home and then of course like I said at the start of this letter I awoke on Christmas day lying on a roll-out bed alone and crying but happy that I was alive again.

The tears were not for me being alone but they were mourning for the death of an old life that had passed away and the relief that my new life had now started. It was now up to me, it was to be my own choices that would now make a difference.

How?

CHANGE and the… actions behind the word!

You can recover, you will be ok, it’ll all be fine for you only if you allow it to be and take action to make it happen. You can change everything as long as the action is mapped out according to you and your circumstances.

No map - no directions, no direction and you'll get and go nowhere.

Now we are in 2014.

Just a few years later I will wake up in our large detached old Cheshire house on Christmas morning. My bed is no longer a rollout it’s a massive 7-foot wide luxury bed made from Mahogany. I won’t be alone this Christmas because lying across my chest in the morning is my darling woman, the love of my life. She’ll have her soft olive skinned arms and her long thick dark chestnut brown hair curled around me. She is my Georgian woman Tamuna whom I met just 3 months after I set my vision of three I mentioned earlier.

And today my new life is going really well. It’s built by design. It’s a life no longer built around things or even money. It’s a life designed to be lived and to be full to be enjoy and not to be controlled by a love of money or a love of consumption.

Why am I sharing this with you?

Because I understand that if you are alone over Christmas and New Year you feel that your life is as good as done the good news is your life isn’t done in fact it is just about to begin but that really depends on you and the actions you take?

Let me say this to you – you’re not the first to be going through whatever you’re going through and you won’t be the last.

The outcome for life is the same for all men – you are no different so grab your life by the neck and take action of some kind right now

If you are alone take the time to think, to re-evaluate and to design what your needs in life really are. Don’t forget needs are things you cannot live without.

How do you do that?

CHANGE

MENTOR IS CHANGING

We write use or say the word change on the basis of what we were or are doing no longer works.

Imagine if you could change everything that no longer works for you?

If you did... How would that change manifest itself?

2014 is a big year of change for me... I'm restructuring, simplifying and fine tuning a life by design so I can focus on even more writing and word mastery.

Why?

I discovered many years ago if it doesn't work... Change is the only option because if we don't change nothing... No-thing takes place. I don't want to get to the end of my life

I had a client come to me after 8 years of trying the same things that just didn't work. It led to chaos in her business and her private life.

She made huge changes and the visioned outcome manifested itself perfectly after fine-tuning and changes.

Your life is connected to many working parts. Some of those parts may need to be changed, refined or overhauled.

For example if you have a business right now and it’s just not working that part of your life affects your private life due to the stress and an outcome that you are unsure about.

Maybe it’s …

Your job and the dislike or even hate you have for it. You feel under paid, trapped and are working longer hours than ever.

Maybe its simply your lifestyle and it really isn’t what you need to thrive and come to life with.

Imagine if you could change the problems you have right now... Would that make you happier?

Over 30 years I've seen and been involved in many many changes in life and in business. I have told you a little change above.

That story above about what happened to me doesn’t tell you everything.

It doesn’t tell you about the bankruptcy I was forced through.

It doesn’t tell you how it feels to have your car repossessed and the bailiff saying “tough luck get a bus!” after I told him I need it to see my kids.

It doesn’t share the details of having absolutely zero of anything and yet still rebuilding a more than full life that most admire and would die for.

And I never told you about all the stories of success I have created for clients and MENTOR students of mine and myself over the past 30 years that total into million upon million in sales for them and new lives and lifestyle created through good mentoring, strategies and planning.

ALL had to go through CHANGE. Some resisted, some changed because the other option just wasn't acceptable.

Dramatic changes have brought dramatic results but even simple changes have brought huge results.

Remember this … Good advice carries no price!

And now looking back over life I wish I'd been taught to ask for advice. Good advice and mentoring would have saved me heartache and money and given me a faster route to successes.

MENTOR 2014 is all about CHANGE Here’s a fact that cannot be denied.

If you don’t make CHANGES and take actions guess what?

NOTHING happens, not a single thing will happen.

You can sit and pray and hope and wish and dream but if no action follows – your finished.

Do you recognize your need for change this year?

Mentor 2014 is more bespoke than ever

Your MENTOR has to have life experience, business experience, wisdom, smart and savvy thoughts and of course be a good visionary.

Here's some areas I specialize in and can help you make CHANGE with in 2014 (in case you don’t know)

  • Marketing precision tuning
  • Strategic and tactical overhaul
  • Turnaround strategies
  • Low investment high Return marketing
  • Training consultants
  • Training copywriters
  • Training writers
  • Lifestyle design and mentoring
  • I can come to your business
  • I can fly to your business
  • You can visit my office
  • You can hire me for a whole year
  • You can hire me for 3,6 or 9 months
  • You can hire me for one day

And much more

I proudly boast almost 30 years as an entrepreneur that has successfully helped many others in many industries or situations just like yours to thrive and prosper through real change.

Be honest with yourself ... Have your past few years been the same old and the same old situation and frankly this new year looks like going nowhere? Do you need change?

Here’s what you can do (and what most do) …NOTHING… but nothing will give you NOTHING as far as change goes.

Or you can be mentored through it carefully, slowly and following a path that has already been tested and proven?

I Will Work With You For Lasting CHANGE Mentor change 2014 has had improvement tweaks and fine-tuning. Absolutely bespoke to you your life your experience and circumstances.

Here are some options I am offering this year.

MENTOR OPTIONS

For the first time you can pay for just one months mentoring from as low as $2,000

Pay as you go mentoring from as low as $500

Alliance mentoring (terms and deal to be agreed)

3-6-9 or 12 months mentoring

Face to face mentoring weekly in my office

Or you might prefer

NEW MENTOR ELITE I have just two places for this.

MENTORSHIP is for one year and built around a bespoke flexible package designed around you. I have designed it to give you exactly what you need with a reward built in for myself.

Each place has an investment of £50,000 per head for 12 months.

Details to be discussed during an initial consultation over the telephone.

You have ONE-LIFE how are you living it?

Are you happy with the way it is right now? Are you happy with 2013, 2012, 2011 and the years before then?

How long can you put up with the same old stuff or are you resigned to being another one of those that will get to the end of their life and say what many others say which is

“’If only!” MENTOR for CHANGE 2014 is open for business … Will you make the changes you need in your life and business?

First we should talk to...

See if I can help and serve you and if I can create a deal that suits us both.

Mentor is built around serving you. I know if I give you results I also get rewarded.

However I DO NOT take on any mentoring with no payment or on future sales only unless in exceptional circumstances

If you need change I suggests this.

Contact me

  • Let's talk about your needs
  • Let's discuss your changes
  • Let's see if I can serve you

And then I'll get back to you after a little thought to let you know if I feel I can help you make the change you need. I’m ready to help you make 2014 a year of CHANGE. Join me on new MENTOR. Yours in change Alan Forrest Smith Important P.s Just so I don't waste your time and I cannot reply to the following. I don't work with... No cash start-ups No get-rich-quick schemes No business without a marketing budget Clients looking for free everything