The most important thing to communicate on any website and other tips from renowned copywriting guru Dr. Harlan Kilstein.
On Monday, June 8th 2009, Dr. Harlan Kilstein hosted a small group of website owners & managers in the lounge of a Jerusalem hotel for an open consulting session.
Each guest was able to ask one question about their website, which Harlan would subsequently visit & critique while answering the question. As Harlan put it, his hope was to leave each of us with a way to monetize our sites.
These were my notes from that session, and I’m sure you’ll find lots of useful information you can apply to your own website and business.
- Postcard marketing is a great offline way to drum up new customers for your website. To motivate people to come to your website, give them a “purl” or “personalized url” that has their name in it, such as http://twitter.com/jacobshare. That link should have a special offer that’s only redeemable by that person, and if anyone else tries to tack their own name on to the website’s url, tell them that their access is unauthorized unless they sign up for your newsletter list, and then give them a purl. (As a form of business card marketing, you could give out calling cards with purls too)
- Typos are the worst mistake you can make with a direct mailing (in the recipient’s name).
- Use oversize, color postcards because people will notice them more easily.
- Get people’s names & addresses for postcard marketing by renting contact list information via a list broker. There are 2 kinds of lists: compiled and DR (direct response). Compiled lists pull information together from many sources to make a list such as all the lawyers in a zip code. These lists are notoriously bad and should be avoided. Direct response lists, on the other hand, are lists of people who have bought things, and people get on the list depending on the way they made their purchases. Focus on these lists.
- Always check when a list was last updated.
- SRDS is a list brokerage service that provides access to targeted DR lists and allows you to filter for how recently people made a purchase, for example.
- The list broker will want to know which product you are planning on pitching to list members and might not give you access if they sense a potential conflict with what else is already being pitched to list members.
Websites & Blogs
- Beware of The Kilstein Rule: people are stupid. They need to be told what to do, so tell them! Want people to click somewhere? Tell them. Want people to fill in a newsletter subscription form? Tell them.
- People usually read websites from the top lefthand corner moving downward and to the right, so have your best information as close as possible to the upper lefthand corner where it will be seen first.
- Load the top of your website with benefits, which are the most important thing to communicate on any website. One of the first things you should tell people on your website at the top are the benefits they will get from your website, product or service.
- Make sure you understand the difference between features (“my ebook has 27 pages”) and benefits (“my ecourse will teach you to hit a gold ball further than anyone you know”)
- Good website headlines have at least 3 benefits, see golfersmind.com as an example.
- Any promised benefits should be believable based on other elements in the near vicinity so that the eye doesn’t have to jump far to see them.
- Don’t make people work to get information about your site. If you’re running a personal, authority blog (like this one), there should be credibility-enhancing information on the homepage above the fold.
- USE VIDEO. On your homepage, have a video that shows you giving the benefits you claim your site will give readers.
- Adults don’t like to hear that they don’t know something, or that they’re a beginner.
- Before going into a niche, you need a “food chain,” which is a series of products that you are going to sell and give away; a first product, an upsell, a 2nd product, and so on. Once you get started, you need to measure how quickly you are selling products in the food chain. For example, suppose your first product is $20 and your second one is $200. If you have an affiliate that you know will be able to sell the 2nd product well, you might want to let him offer the 1st product free because each purchase of the 2nd product will pay for the 1st.
- Choose a graphic designer based on the monetary success of their past websites/projects, not based on what looks good.
- Study his site nlpcopywriting.com for best practices in every which way
- To avoid the Google Slap (where Google no longer sends organic traffic to your say), don’t make 1 page websites that just have a sales page. Instead, make a blog and use one of the blog’s subpages as a sales page, like http://www.nlpcopywriting.com/nlpcopywriting1.html.
- For people who don’t know you, keep videos short e.g. 1-2 minutes maximum. Videos can get longer as your relationship develops with them.
- 3 different kinds of videos that work: 1) talking head 2) creative/do the unexpected videos (like Frank Kern) 3) Screencasts
- Use a decent camera for your video. Harlan recommends the flipcams like the MinoHD for good quality & relative low cost that you can keep in your pocket.
- Better to have low quality video than no video at all.
- Never use white text on a dark background. People over 40 have a harder time reading it, if they can read it at all.
- Use a tool like Traffic Geyser (paid) or TubeMogul (free) to broadcast the videos you make.
- Email marketers worth emulating: Frank Kern, Matt Furey (mattfurey.com – he likes to tease people so they’ll click through) and Eben Pagan (penname: David Deangelo, he’s know for ‘pushing the free line’ i.e. giving away such good content free that you assume his paid stuff is that much better.
- Study http://www.thegaryhalbertletter.com/
- Don’t try selling before there’s a relationship with the lead. Harlan calls this the ‘will you marry me?’ strategy that he demonstrated by turning to one of the women attendees and proposing to her. She said “no” and he persisted, telling her that he’s a nice guy. She said “no” again and he persisted once more by saying that he makes 7 figures. She still said “no”. No relationship.
- Learn about who your customers are.
- Affiliate marketers to study: Rosalyn Gardner, Liz Terry, Alan Gardyne
- If he had to start all over from 0, he would join Opportunity.com and learn affiliate marketing for $37 per month from John Reese’s team.
- Personalize your message for leads by giving them a benefit that will appeal most to them specifically
- Don’t give people objections by telling them things like “I know this product is a bit pricey, but…”
- Don’t ask questions that people can answer Yes / No / I don’t care. Asking questions forces people to focus themselves away from your website/email/etc. and they won’t always come back. Instead, use benefit statements to lead people through your content.
- Follow @perrybelcher to learn about twitter. For example, it’s easy to get people from Twitter to come to teleseminars.
- Use words. You don’t need to repeat the same terms over and over in your text. If you’re concerned about keywords, focus instead on getting the reader to take the action you want.