Direct Marketing – Common Mistakes

In this ever changing world there’s always something new and exciting to learn and this is also the case with direct marketing. There are many of us who ignore the fact that there is always something new and useful to find out and something that could make a huge difference in selling our packages, so we advise you to be informed before starting any marketing campaigns. Research and information go hand in hand and in the field of direct mail, both of them are essential.A common mistake with most direct mail providers is the fact that they don’t include in their package a sales letter, which is the most important part of the package. This letter creates the illusion of personal communication and people are usually trained to view letters as real mail and brochures as advertising. The best thing of direct marketing is to find out exactly what your customer wants to hear and to tell it to him in the email you send. Furthermore, don’t send any messages that don’t contain an offer, since the purpose of the email is to receive an answer.In order to be successful, a direct mail package must comprise a message meant to sell the offer and not the product itself. Make sure you have an irresistible offer in your mailing message and keep in mind that some important offers for direct marketing are: free brochure, free analysis, free consultation, free demonstration, free catalog, etc. Your offer is meant to increase the reader’s desire to receive your offer. Lack of content is the worst mistake you can make when sending marketing emails. The purpose of these messages is not to make an impact related to image and design but to generate a response within a short period of time.One of the fastest modalities of killing the response you are waiting for is being superficial. Talking vaguely, about generalities and rambling without any authority on a certain subject will not show potential customers that you understand their needs, their problems and their industries. Factual direct mail messages are a must, even if this means that you will have to spend a little more time digging for facts. Studying the product, the prospect and the marketing problem will enable you to write a good copy, one that will reach the targeted audience. In direct marketing you don’t have to save the best for the end because starting slow and ending with a great conclusion is not good enough in this sort of marketing.Successful sales letters used in direct mail include: asking provocative questions, going straight to the bottom of the reader’s concern, arousing curiosity and presenting your offer from the very beginning. The hot spots of direct marketing are: the first paragraphs of the letter, the subheads, last paragraph and the post script, so make sure you put the best in one of these places. Another frequent mistake is the poor follow up. It is essential to start making phone calls after 48 hours from when your email was sent. Thus, you can be sure that people will remember you and what you are talking about.

Market America – Golden Opportunity, Money Pit, Or Just a Good Place to Shop? Part 2

If you read my first installment you saw that I had jumped head first into the Market America arena because of my belief in some of their products due to the relief I received from a persistent medical condition. Unfortunately my jump in left me unprepared, uninformed and ill-equipped so I have spent the last month figuring out what I was doing, where I was going, and that it was predominately wrong. I will try to outline some of the obstacles that I have encountered, and provide some insight which will hopefully allow anyone in a similar situation avoid the negatives and find the positives.

My Number ONE mistake

When you are going to jump into something like this, try to get your spouse on board BEFORE you do it. My mentioning this should obviate the fact that it is not something that I did. This has led to the battle of the decade between myself and my wife and has made our start with this endeavor less than pleasant, to say the least. What I had jumped into with the absolute belief that I was doing something with unlimited positive potential, turned into a nightmare with me trying to do everything I could to get the process started, and my wife fighting me every step of the way. Although I was anxious and willing to take the steps needed to, what I believe will, change our lives for the better, she believed she was “happy” with the way things were and became belligerent in her objections to every aspect of “our” (I thought) new home based business and anything and everyone associated with it… including the person that “got me into it”. This being my sister, of course, made the situation unbearable. The more I would do to try to get started, the more she would do to sabotage my efforts. Receiving negativity, ridicule and criticism from partially informed and unenlightened acquaintances is one thing, however, living with and coming home to it every day it is quite another. One of the reasons that people get divorced has been demonstrated to me in a very personal manner. Needless to say this has been a major obstacle which has taken a lot of time and effort to get beyond (hopefully), and quite possibly could have been avoided if our individual goals had been addressed prior to my committing to the business.

The sad part is that I did not learn from previous experience as it is not the first time we have gone through this. A previous venture that I entered into put me into a position of wealth and power, but with my wife as my enemy led me to walk away from it to “salvage” my marriage. I have regretted that decision every day since and am determined and confident that WE will succeed together this time.

Additional miscues

Although I have spent endless hours online researching countless opportunities both through my own searches and then offered up in the resulting onslaught of junk mail, upon entering the Market America family I began to institute activities that I believed needed to be done to get started, without reading the “getting started guide”. I read the career manual, attended a number of seminars, and began prospecting for interest in products both in person and online with limited success. I was immersed in my efforts, attempting to do it myself while admittedly overly distracted by the aforementioned situation. I purchased numerous products both to sell myself on, and also try to sell my wife on to “convince” her of the validity of the company, the product lines and thus potential for earnings. For me it reinforced my belief, but as the saying goes, you can’t sell a drowning man a glass of water, even if it’s the best water in the world. This was not the right way to get started.

The company has a 16 year history with a proven track record, and the guide is supposed to be followed in order to emulate the people that are already successful in the company. I didn’t even notice that I had the guide until I was no longer distracted. I should have known there was a simplified set of directions. The career manual, while much thicker and in depth, may be the blueprint for the business, but is not the blueprint for getting started.

Some needles in the haystack

While in my distracted state I spent countless hours trying to find the way to get myself started. In the process I came across a couple of gems which while not directly related to Market America and their plan, are nonetheless worth mentioning as I believe they have contributed to my progress, helped in resolving my number one obstacle, and will ultimately assist in our efforts to build our business to as far as we desire. The first of these is a series of emails I received from Joshua Valentine. I don’t remember how I got onto his list, but the free information he provided in his emails was both informative and enlightening. Although I have not gone on to partner with him in the business the emails were directed at, I sincerely appreciate what he provided and look forward to seeing him at the top. The second of these gems is a free bootcamp that was offered by Mike Dillard at Magnetic Sponsoring. As with Joshua, the information provided in the free bootcamp was very informative, but in this case led me to purchase his product, and also additional products from him including Blackbelt Recruiting and Traffic Formula 2.0 which will without a doubt provide me with an unfair advantage over anyone lacking the knowledge contained in them.

My take on my decision to sign up and what I have learned thus far

Although off to a somewhat rocky start, I am sure that I made the right move. Market America has some good people, and some not so good, some that just want a little extra income, and some that want to go all the way. And some eventually drop out, it’s not for everyone. You get out of it what you are willing to put in just like in any other business.

My exposure to the company thus far however has been overwhelmingly positive, you just have to read the directions and look in the right places to get linked up with the best people that are in line with your goals. JR Ridinger, the founder of Market America, is truly a man that believes in his vision of what the company can provide to anyone willing to follow the plan that has made a great number of properly motivated people wealthy beyond anything they could have attained in a traditional job. We intend to be among them. When have you ever seen a privately owned company volunteer to be audited every year and provide that to anyone that wants to see it? They do it. What company gives the people at the bottom the opportunity to out-earn the people above them if they have that motivation? They do it. What company has multi-millionaire people with guaranteed residual income working directly with teams of new entries? They do it. Invaluable training is available to those willing to “just show up”. One of the themes that they try to drill into you is – You have to decide who you are and what you want, write your goals down. Make your short term goals attainable, and your long term goals will become your reality. And lead you to believe it by showing where they came from, a corrections officer, a body shop worker, a waitress from a restaurant near where I grew up. Real people that are living the dream.

Unfortunately if I sound like a cheerleader for the company now to you it is because the atmosphere that is generated by the people of the company that are already successful because they followed the plan is contagious, and I just went to a seminar with Andy Docos as the featured leader, and he is inspiring! But am I being brainwashed? Will this work to help us attain our goals? I’m certainly not a guru yet but we are making progress…let’s see if it lasts until my next update.

The Advantages of Direct-Contact Stock Photography

Most stock photography libraries have to restrict contact between their photographers and their photo buyers.

These libraries operate on a commission, so if the two start connecting on their own, then the library is going to lose money and eventually go out of business. Unfortunately this approach is rarely ideal for the photographers or the photo buyers. It’s just what they’ve been stuck with… until recently.

There’s a new breed of stock library emerging that not only allows direct contact between photographer and photo buyer, they actively encourage it. They have gone back in time in a way, to when the stock libraries were partners and facilitators. For many photographers and photo buyers, it’s a very welcome change.

For the photographers, the most important advantage is that they finally have the ability to build their own list of responsive buyers, people known to use the subjects they shoot. This means the photographer can go to their existing customers to offer more images of the same subjects, to suggest alternate images and float ideas for new work.

This direct contact also allows them to hear valuable feedback for the first time. In the current hyper-competitive marketplace, this is essential if photographers are going to really understand a specific Client’s requirements and anticipate their future needs.

For years marketing books have told us how valuable an existing customer is — it’s many times easier and cheaper to sell to an existing customer, than it is to find a new one and sell to them — and yet the entire stock photography industry was built on a model that precluded photographers from knowing who was buying their photos and forbade any direct follow up on previous purchases.

So this new direct-contact marketing model offers photographers a whole new level of control over their business and the means to develop long-term relationships with their customers. This takes their stock photography operation from being a passive business, totally reliant on the stock library, to being a viable and sustainable business that can generate it’s own leads and sales on demand.

Photo buyers are seeing some advantages to this model as well.

Most photo buyers are extremely time-poor. They are under pressure to locate dozens of new images every week, and as more and more libraries start catering to the lowest common denominator, photo research becomes a nightmare.

So when they discover a photographer who can supply one or more of their regular subjects, it makes sense that most photo buyers would prefer to go straight to them as a first point of call, than surfing through hundreds of pages on multiple stock library websites.

In fact, many photo buyers are now using their own mailing-list of specialist photographers, so they can cut to the chase and go to the ‘most likely’ source first. The stock libraries are still there as a back up, but if the buyer knows a certain photographer shoots a certain subject they need, and they’ve done business with them before, it’s always going to be a preferred option.

It’s also worth noting that many photo buyers got into their current jobs because they have an existing interest in photography. In fact many we deal on a daily basis with are also active photographers. So it’s no surprise that they’d rather deal directly with another photographer.

The added bonus is, most of these direct contact libraries have done away with research fees and agency commissions, making it an even sweeter deal for photographer and photo buyer alike.

So whether you’re a photographer looking to sell your photos, or a buyer looking to license images, if you come across one of these ‘direct contact’ stock libraries, take a moment to check it out. You might be quite impressed with their alternative.

OzImages was the first ‘direct contact’ stock library on the internet. Since 1998 they have been offering photographers a powerful and unique marketing platform for their work, and photo buyers a more personal and productive research experience. If you’d like to know more: