A Guide To Complete Freedom
Vol. I Issue V
Secrets Of the Infomercial Experts
How To Write A Press Release
Developing A Positive Attitude: On Being Contrary
Guest Article: Helen Park
Mission: This e-zine is designed to help new web-entrepreneurs locate free and inexpensive resources to help them start their own home business. Our goal is to help everyone understand that freedom is earned, not made. This e-zine will hopefully guide those who wish to earn money do so. We cannot guarantee any of the information in these e-zines, and only offer them as a guide to help you gain success.
Well, as promised, we begin tackling the information that some infomercial gurus might charge you $39.95 + $9.95 shipping and handling for. I'm not saying that these guys are not providing a service. I am merely saying that when I looked at one of them, it seemed to be an endless commercial for some of his former students to sell you aspects of the information. I'm a believer in, if you can and it's worth the time, do it yourself.
First, you need a product or service. Some of you might have seen the list I put out last week. (And all I asked was that you forward this letter to someone else. If you missed it, here it is again: 97 Opportunities.) And we will have more this week. But, no money can be earned unless you offer something either tangible (product) or intangible (service).
Maybe, you have stumbled upon a product or service by developing your hobby as I mentioned in a couple issues ago. But, of course, the supply of products and/or services are endless, if you search for them. Another one that I have set up just for you can be found here: Product and Service Listings.
(If you still need help finding something, check out one of the import/export books or The American Drop-Shipper's Guide that I have available at Books, Kits, and Courses. You can also find lots of service oriented material there. Just browse through the page and I'm sure you will find a service that might interest you)
The point is, a lot of these places require little or no up-front cash to begin operating. They stock the items, you advertise. Why do they do that? Because, they know they cannot reach everybody. (It runs much like the affiliate programs you see on the Internet today. I.E. Amazon.com, CD-Now, etc.) But, of course, you still have to go to step two: Advertising.
But, before I take you there, let me mention a word about merchant accounts and shopping carts.. Merchant accounts allow you to accept credit cards. If your affiliate program does not offer a merchant account, then you must get one of your own. But, that often involves paying up front and/or monthly lease fees. I wanted to find an account that would take about 8% to 10% of the gross in return for the use of the merchant account. I wasn't sure that one even existed.
But, of course, I found one. There is a catch, though. It can only be used for tangible products, not electronically transmitted, software, or of a money-making nature. But, hey, it's better than not having a chance at all. Plus, it even sets up a shopping cart for you. For more information on this, then go to the special site I've set up to show you what they offer: 8% Merchant Account
If you have a merchant account, then I highly recommend GTA-Tech. You can set up a 50 item shopping cart for your customers to purchase products from you, and the update is only $100.00 to give you even more flexibility. But, you would have to obtain your own Merchant Account, either through them or from another source.
After you have found a product, you need to advertise. Now, of course, there are a lot of gurus that advocate tiny, classified ads. But, there is a trick here. Number 1, when they show you a figure on those info-mercials, that is the gross, not the profit. They don't tell you how many thousands upon thousands of dollars they are spending to get that check. I'm not saying that there is not still a lot of money left over; I'm just saying that the dollar amount you see is not the actual profit, (which is the real bottom-line.)
(Whenever you are dealing with a tangible product, you should charge 4 times the amount of the cost. You will have cost of the product, advertising charges, office products, mailing products, etc. to purchase. Information selling is the cheapest to go and you can often charge 10 to 50 times what the information costs you to purchase or make.)
The other thing you need to know is that every single ad has to be tested for several factors. Will a lower price outsell a higher price? Will a change of one word in an ad outsell the other? Will local appeal outsell regional appeal? You have to test for a variety of factors. But, you can only test one factor at a time. Be it price, print size, whatever. It has to be tested to try and maximize profit. In all other respects, the ad has to be identical, (I.E. Same issue, same heading, whatever.)
Even then, there will still be a lot of different variables that can interfere. But, you all didn't come here for a lesson in confounding principles of statistics. (It's not always necessary to know how something works, as long as you know it works. You might not know where the light switch gets the electricity from, but you know if you turn it on, you'll get light.) The main thing here is try to keep your ads to the point where they only test one thing. The next time you can test wording. Then you can test free gifts with your product versus no free gift. Are you getting the idea?
But, now you're going to scream at me, right? You're probably saying, "Paul, that will cost thousands of dollars! I can't do that!" And you're probably right. But, we are not going to do it the way the gurus do, (maybe later we'll explore off-line classifieds).
The easiest way to do this is probably one of the most well-known places on the Internet. Yahoo! Make sure you apply for your account first. Once you go through all that, then you are going to post your ads in the classifieds section, (you can do 10 per day.) Just find the most appropriate category and run your two ads, (this gives you a chance to test five different factors.) Now, you are going to have to go back every two or three days to re-post, but that's okay, (Remember, I didn't promise you a rose garden. I told you up front your freedom had to be earned.) When you re-post, you will have to delete your previous ads. This method, keeps you on top of the classified listings.
With this method, all you've done is invest time, not money. And you will get an idea about writing classified ads, which we covered in Vol I Iss I. (Which by the way, if you ever need a back issue to refer to, just go to the archive.)
The other thing is that you have to track the ads to test them. So, when the people reply, you might put "Ask for offer 04-01PG" (translated April 1, Podunk Gazette. If there really is a Podunk Gazette, my apologies.) This way, you then know which ad pulled the most for you.
But, of course, the other biggie that the gurus toss at you is a thing know as "per inquiry" advertising. (I have yet to see a legitimate per inquiry method on the web. Not saying they don't exist, I just haven't seen them. If you know of a real one, let me know. Most of them want their money up front before you get your leads, even though they guarantee you will get the leads.) The idea behind this is that you set up an agreement with the broadcast network, radio, magazine, newspaper, etc. to do an infomercial of thirty seconds to thirty minutes. They just keep track of the orders and forward them to you. In one method, they charge so much per inquiry--50 cents on up, (whether you sell a thing or not) and in the other, they take a commission off the top-- 20% of the gross on up.
Of the two methods, I prefer paying the higher percentage. This figure comes out of the gross, but it is money that the media did earn. You might get two thousand leads from the other one, $1000 cost, but if you only sell three of those two thousand leads, I'm sure you can see how quickly you are losing money. The other figure, at least guarantees you made something on the sale.
You will still bear the cost of the production or write-up, etc. But, it is a viable option.
Now, there is one other advertising method I'll mention before I call this portion quits for the week.(Don't worry we're far from done. But, I am a pragmatist, and I realize that if I try to jam too much down your throat at once, you might do something nasty - which I can't repeat in mixed company.) That's the use of the Press Release. If you can provide an informational newsworthy release, which simultaneously promotes your product or service, then you have a gold mine of prospects flocking to you. We'll only cover writing the Press Release this week.
HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE
The word "Press Release" seems to scare most people to death. On top of that not many people take the time to even think of writing their own Press Release. We hope this brief article will help clear up some of the mystery's surrounding this simple form of marketing
The first thing you have to remember is that a Press Release is a "news" item. It needs to "inform" people, NOT sell them something. For example, you are reading this report because you want to learn something that will BENEFIT YOU. You aren't reading it just so you can buy something else. If money is the deriving force in your business -- you won't go too far. Your main goals should be in pleasing customers, providing them with a high-quality product and more than their money's worth. The trick is to do all this while still making money. People don't care what mountains you had to climb, what seas you had to cross or what tribe of people you had to learn the ways of just to find a secret formula. Instead _ they want to know WHAT \par the secret formula is.
The sales circulars you print and mail sell your product. A Press Release informs others about your product. Instead of your main objective being to sell the product and have the customer send in an order immediately, a Press Release informs the customer exactly how your product will benefit their lives. This must be conveyed in the form of a "newsworthy" Press Release. If you have a sales circular to sell a product, you can easily turn it into a Press Release without much difficulty. It's just a new marketing angle of presenting your product to the public.
The following is an example of a typical Press Release for our publishing services: So many people are entering the mail order market these days, but so many of them are getting ripped-off by a bunch of hype. People are promised untold riches in a short period of time. The hype ads play with their emotions by making them believe it's so easy to make money through the mail. It's sad.
However, a new book has just been released to help solve these problems for the average person. For the first time in history _ a REAL directory has been compiled listing the ACTUAL name and addresses of 179 honest and trustworthy mail order folks. People can write DIRECTLY to these people and receive FREE information to get them started in their own business now!
It's unbelievable. Without trying to sell you anything else, you can get this book for only $4.95 -- a price anyone can afford. Meet the real mail order dealers who care about their products and wants to help you get started doing what they are doing.
Only available from Graphico Publishing, PO Box 488, Bluff City TN 37618. As you can see, this is a short but sweet Press Release -- however, you should \par be able to see the "newsworthiness" in it. It's main focus is on the fact that most people get ripped-off when they start their first mail order business. The solution to this problem is a new directory that is availablefor the first time in history. The sell is slowly led into because the reader will naturally want to get their hands on this one. It doesn't ask for money \par it only tells the reader how to get a copy if they want one.
Here's a great test for a real press release. Since your final sales pitch is included in the last paragraph -- read the Press Release aloud. Would it still be worth reading WITHOUT your sales pitch? If so, it's probably a Press Release.
Press Releases come in many forms due to the product you are writing about. However, the basic rule of thumb still applies. If you've never wrote one before _ it may be a little difficult. Don't despair. Grab the latest daily newspaper and read some of their informational articles. Notice how each \par article is written and pattern yours after the same format. After you do a few of them -- you'll be able to "get the picture."
When your Press Release is written to your satisfaction, the proper way to submit it to a publisher is: Be sure and type it on a typewriter or computer.Standard format is double-spaced and not longer than two 8 1/2x11 pages. Be sure and put your name, address and page number at the top of each page.
Write the note: "For Immediate Release." at the top. If you are only sending the press release to one publication -- tell them it's a "first run."
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Here's another giant secret to success you might not have considered: To be successful, you must do things differently from those who aren't successful.
I know of a man who sets his haircut appointments at weird times. (I.E. three minutes after the hour, instead of right on the hour.) He does this to remind himself to be different. (And yes, he is a millionaire.)
See, if you are exactly the same as everybody else, you either live in a socialist society or you are not successful. But, then if all men, were the same, there would be one very tired woman. I'll wait. The punch-line will hit you in a second. If you really, really don't get it, e-mail me and I will explain it.)
Now, this advice goes contrary to the ideology that to succeed you need to follow someone who has already been there. The best way through a mine field is to follow someone who has made it. And that is also true. But, unfortunately only to a point.
I never understand that principle until a brilliant sales trainer of great repute sat down and had a heart to heart with me. He told me that I sounded exactly like him. But, I had not yet internalized his closing techniques, or in other words, made them my own.
And there are a lot of people out there who have simple lives. If that's what they want, fine. But, truly successful people are not afraid to get out of their comfort zone. They want to push further and harder. They are willing to take risks. Now, this does not mean you don't minimize your risks. The Internet has become a great tool at helping you minimize risks by offering a lot of free things.
But, you have to be willing to put in more time and/or more effort and/or use your brain differently from the way you've been trained to succeed. You could be "normal," but "normal" people rarely succeed. Take a look at Robin Williams, the actor. Long before Jim Carrey came along, Robin was bouncing off the walls with his comedy. (I'm sure I could find thousands of examples, but I believe in brevity, and Robin is the most off-the-wall person I could think of.)
Now, this doesn't mean that you need to bounce off the walls to do what you intend to do. But, can you think of a way to do things differently. When I started this e-zine, I have seen hundreds of people who provide far more information than I do. And they are far more proficient at it. But, I knew that there had to be a balance. I knew that people could only digest so much information per week, which is why these issues do not have a hundred links per issue.
I also knew that very few e-zines provided motivation to keep subscribers on track. Hopefully this mini-column does that in helping you understand some secrets that nobody else will share with you in helping you be of the state of mind of a successful entrepreneur.
I also knew that I could pull in thousands upon thousands of subscribers if I wanted to promise something I couldn't deliver. But, I know the facts. To succeed, you must start somewhere and continue on the journey. I'm not saying that MLM and other opportunities do not work, (they obviously do otherwise there wouldn't be so many of them.) What I'm saying is I chose not to follow that path in a hard core manner.
Now, what you need to do is use the brainstorming method I taught you in a previous issue to decide how you can be contrary in your business. This will provide you a unique position among your contemporaries that will set you apart. (And don't fall for the easy one, lowest prices. There's always somebody out there that will sell it lower)
Once you focus on that, you can then find new ways of expressing your difference. (By the way, how many of you responded to my "Don't Even Bother With This!" advertising. If you did, then you can see the power of being contrary. While everyone else was hyping free and making extravagant promises, the wording I chose made you click on the link.)
That's all for now! Have a great day - EVERYDAY!
An old rule in selling is to let your customer analyze a product before they buy it. This is especially true with the advent of the Internet.
And the process, called shareware, has been most effective when the product is information based. Now, there's a web-site that allows you to see how this method of marketing works. And the best thing is the information is FREE.
The site is: http://www.secrets2success.com/special10070.
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