Silly Ways To Anger Your Customers #1 (Verizon, I’m talking to you!)

Mashible.com confirmed with Verizon that beginning in January, a $2 fee will be charged to customers who pay their bill online or by phone. Their stated reason is that it will help defray the cost of processing these payments!

If you sell a service that involves billing and receiving payment, the cost of processing those lifeblood payments is on you!

Who decided that having the customer cover the pennies involved in electronic payment services as a separate line item on their bill made sense? What’s next – a half dollar to cover the cost of opening an envelope? Repairs to the mail cart?

Verizon probably has more employees working just on pricing than a city block full of small businesses have in total employees. Factor in the cost of doing business when you set prices and live with it!

Extracting 40 nickles more from a customer who is PAYING THE BILL YOU SENT is beyond silly.

Get The Tagline Right: Phrase It The Way Your Audience Thinks!

This simple headline caught my eye on Twitter yesterday:

How to Write Taglines That Double Sales

The author, Roger Dooley, is the primary author at NeuroMarketing.

He writes that one phrase slogans actually have a profound effect, but you have to tap the readers motivations.

One key factor in crafting that phrase is matching its content to the customer’s mindset, and in particular to two important consumer motivations: prevention and promotion.

Learn to speak the language of your best prospect.

It sounds like a big snooze, right? But think about the people you personally talk to on a regular basis. Some are positive and optimistic, with a “can-do” attitude about almost everything. The rest seem to take the dimmest view of every subject, turning even a sunny day into a fear of radiation.

The article is brimming with specific ideas about addressing your message to these two groups in a completely different way. The mindset of fear responds to words that promise prevention and protection. The sunnier outlook group sees opportunity in a message crafted to say “Here’s your chance!”

I found much to appreciate in this piece; the idea that many products can meet the needs of both mindsets, but the message must be distinctly different. And the worst scenario is when you mix and mangle the message so neither group responds.

Do you do that in hopes of reaching everyone? I do.

The statistics Dooley shares are interesting. One product, advertised two different ways, with almost the same words, tested strongest when the words were ordered in a way that matched the intended mindset and weakest when the message was aimed at both simultaneously.

People put more value and will pay a higher price when their mindset is matched.

One more interesting segment of the article. In testing price, Dooley reports that when the message matched the mindset – either promising prevention or presenting opportunity for benefit, the audience indicated they would pay a much higher price for the product.

Each group was asked to say how much they would pay for such an item, and in both cases where the mindset match was achieved, the answer was a value higher than the actual retail price for the product. When the message was loss/prevention, the subjects valued the product at 50% higher than when the message was mismatched. The gain-oriented group was willing to pay twice as much for a product when the message matched their mindset.

These lessons could help you achieve greater results. As the headline suggests: Double your sales!

And for those prevention minds still reading: The wrong tagline could cut your sales in half!

Explaining Affiliate Marketing

There’s a reason I put my explanation of Affiliate Marketing right at the top of this site.

Whenever I tell someone who isn’t in the “biz” about my job, I get the blank stare and head shake and then “I still don’t get what you do?”. It isn’t the first time someone has tried to simplify the explanation or the definition. I’m not sure I even managed to do it now.

But for my friends who follow a link and end up here, the explanation is now here.

Big Gap

There’s a pretty big gap between the last post in April and this one today. I’ve let this site sit idle for months while I worked on a new project and today was the day to stop and sweep up a little.

Affiliate Summit is in less than 2 weeks!

In fact, if the stars are aligned the way I hope, this time two weeks from now, I’ll be at the ShareASale Under the Stars party, or depending on the difference in time zones, waiting at a cab stand for my transportation. SAS always has the best party at any gathering of affiliate marketers, so I’m really looking forward.

To get back to my topic, this site is the one that gets listed on business cards and web registrations because it’s my own name and not very useful as an anonymous niche site.

So it was time for some major clean-up and tweaking of the theme. I was only one version from being updated; I always wait about a week before jumping in.

Now that we’re just about functional here again, I’ll add some more marketing bits and pieces here. I intend to keep my ears open at Summit to find out what new affiliates are trying to figure out. Other managers have done a great job assembling the A,B,C s of Affiliate Success, but I think there are things I can contribute.

Start from scratch

My apologies if you stopped by in the last 3 weeks and I wasn’t here.  I had to trash a database and start over.  It’s just as well because all the current topics of interest can have center stage now.

What I’m working on:

* Arkansas just passed Act 1001, which is that crazy attempt to make Amazon heel and start collecting sales tax.  State after state jumps on the bandwagon only to find the buckets of money they anticipated are not really there.  And even though they might not care to look under the floorboards of said bandwagon, if they did they would find that small affiliate marketing businesses (like mine) have lost a huge percentage of their ad revenue as merchant after merchant terminates their agreements to avoid sales tax nexus in the state.

* Online merchants, especially the mid-size kind, are realizing what brick and mortar stores learned a long time ago:  coupons are a huge PITA.  What to do?  What to do?  That question generates passionate discussion on forums all over the online marketing world.  I think that’s worth some attention here, too.