October 2014 Promotional Calendar Ideas [OPT-INS + CONVERSIONS]

octoberWelcome to our second instalment of essays focusing on promotional calendar opportunities for a particular month.

In creating this essay about October’s awesome calendar of events (and, more importantly, the promotional opportunities it presents), we encountered some real gems – and some real head scratchers. In an example of the latter, we’ve learned that 3 October is Virus Appreciation Day. That’s right, as in viruses, like, you know, influenza and ebola. Yikes!

Well, let’s rephrase that. No one is quite sure whether Virus Appreciation Day is meant to in some way celebrate biological viruses or computer viruses. In either case, we’re not taking too much stock in this October calendar event (though some clever promotions do come to mind if you happen to be in either the hand sanitizer or computer repair business).

We also failed to find much love for Moldy Cheese Day (though, if you think about it, isn’t all cheese “moldy?”). Likewise, we aren’t quite sure how to promote around Evaluate Your Life Day (19 October), unless you happen to be a Jedi. Other than these few “bad” examples (which admittedly, aren’t all that bad), October is brimming over with cool holidays and calendar events. In fact, October is so awesome when it comes to promotional opportunities, picking ones to leverage in your monthly marketing strategy is like shooting fish in a barrel.

So for this, our second essay listing promotional ideas for a specific month, we’ve had even more fun than in the first. October of 2014 is loaded with promotional gold, and with a little creativity, you can leverage the popular holidays and events belonging to the month of October can drive customers into your store as well as result in increased conversions (which happen to be two of the 7 Levers of Business, which can help you double your profitability).

Let’s take a look at some of the standout promotional events for October.

Breakthroughs, Triggers, Influence + Tested Methods [Noise Reduction .78]

I know I usually rant and rave about the fact that your portfolio needs to be larger than your library. That you need to be taking action and building a portfolio of results — as opposed to spending all your resources on just learning and creating a dusty bookshelf.

Well, I’ve learnt that no matter how much I preach, sometimes, as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

So, in this week’s edition of Noise Reduction, I wanted to share with you a list of what I believe are some of the non-negotiable must-have books in your marketing library.

No matter what I say, you’re most likely going to be buying books and courses anyway… at least make them the right ones.


Sales Letter Copywriting Cheat Sheet

I have always believed that writing advertisements is the second most profitable form of writing. The first, of course, is ransom notes.  -Philip Dusenberry

I can still remember the first and most powerful lesson in the science of copywriting I ever learnt. 

I was in Year 10 or 11 of high school (that’s sophomore or junior for our North American friends), and my buddy Martin S. was writing some posters we were going to stick up around campus to get volunteers for a project.

As we were trying to brainstorm what to put on the posters he said, “Well, we want as many people to read this as possible, so why not write ‘FREE BEER?’ It will at least get attention that way.”

Now that powerful lesson wasn’t how to ‘bait and switch’ your audience… it was simply the importance of a captivating headline that gets noticed.

Another  important lesson that I continue to reap benefits from which  I learnt in high school was the power of a cheat sheet.

If you’ve been around our little community here for any time, you’d know my mum was a math teacher. And thus, it’s no surprise what subjects I ended up doing a lot in high school (clearly, it wasn’t literature).

Now as handy as it was having a permanent tutor at home to get me ready for tests, the best thing about these advanced math classes was the ability to take a double-sided cheat sheet into exams. For some reason I still can’t quite understand, we were allowed to create two pages with formulas, equations and examples to take in with us and reference during these tests.

It made such a difference to have something to rely back to, ensure you were not missing any steps in a formula, and use as a kind of checklist.

And it’s why I use cheat sheets and checklists in almost every area of my life… and felt a little less weird when I read Atul Gawande’s great book, The Checklist Manifesto.

So combining these two lessons together, I want to share with you a Copywriting Checklist I created a few years back.

It’s the reference sheet I lean on regularly when trying to craft a piece of sales copy.

Does it replace a great copywriting course?

Does Atul’s checklists replace 6 years of medical school? Of course not.

What it does do though is act as a fantastic map to follow when you’re working on your next piece of marketing.

The downloadable two page cheat sheet reads like a sales letter, but is in fact a guide and reference tool to ensure you never miss any of the 11 critical copy tactics or elements.

I hope it helps you, like it does me.

Copywriting, Sales Games + September Marketing Ideas [Noise Reduction .77]

“I’ve always believed writing ads is the second most-profitable form of writing. The first is ransom notes…”
- Phil Dusenberry

Hey Gang,

As you may have seen, we’re having a little sales, influence and copywriting focus here in the Preneur Community at the moment… and that’s spilling over to today’s Noise Reduction below.

Now, have you ever noticed that nearly every week there’s some calendar event going on, be it a local, national or international holiday, an awareness week, a cultural celebration, or a lead-up to a major sporting event? Have you noticed savvy marketers in other businesses and industries seizing upon these calendar events and thought, “Wow, I wish I was that clever?” Well, with a new blog series we’ve started (below), we’ve got your back with a massive swipe file of sales and promotional ideas!

Plus, the podcast will be back real soon with some cool conversations — including one with an absolute direct-response legend and author of the must-read book Triggers, Joe Sugarman.


September 2014 Promotional Calendar Ideas [CONVERSIONS]

DJI_Dazzle_Sept_september2_cDo you know that 7 – 13 September 2014 is Migraine Awareness Week? Now, before you think of a million and one smarmy responses to that revelation, think about he marketing possibilities for such a week. As a solutions provider to your customers, you could put a clever spin on the oft maligned migraine by positioning your marketing efforts to offer relief for your customers’ headaches.

Okay, so maybe that examples a little too easy, but there’s plenty of merit to the idea. Have you ever noticed that nearly every week there’s some calendar event going on, be it a local, national or international holiday, an awareness week, a cultural celebration, or a lead-up to a major sporting event? Have you etover noticed savvy marketers in other businesses and industries seizing upon these calendar events and thought, “Wow, I wish I was that clever?”

Well, in this essay we’re bringing you good news. You don’t have to be a relentless agricultural almanac subscriber to make the most of all the sweet promotional opportunities offered by the calendar. You just need to know all the events and have a few creative ideas for each month.

And we’ve got you covered on both accounts, with a September calendar of events, plus some examples of promotions used by real-world businesses in the recent past. You can borrow from these examples by adapting them to suit your business, or wiping the slate clean and using the events to create your own original promotions.

In any case, the idea here is to drive traffic into your stores (or to your website) and boost conversions in the process. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dive right in.

Compelling Surveys & Questionnaires, Healthy Passwords & Lead Magnet Examples [Noise Reduction .76]

Hey Gang,

I can’t wait for you all to hear some of the new podcast interviews I’ve been recording this week. As our active PreneurCast listeners would know, Dom and I are taking a short break from publishing new episodes, and rebroadcasting some of the best shows from our 3-year catalogue.

But we’ll be back with all-new shows very shortly, including two I recorded this week: one with the direct-marketing legend behind the BluBlocker Sunglasses, Joe Sugarman, and one with Phil Barham, who is the man responsible for the My Family Sticker phenomenon.

Until then, I hope you’re enjoying reliving some of the best podcasts we’ve done, along with this week’ s Noise Reduction below.


p.s. If you’re interested, one of the projects I’ve been working on during this break just went live over at PonsfordPen.com.au.

Crafting Compelling Surveys and Questionnaires [Opt-Ins and Conversions]


Client reconnaissance. Cool phrase, right? But what does it mean? “Preliminary surveying or research” is the strict answer, of course. And now that we’ve said that, you are likely to already know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you should be learning as much as you can about every lead that enters into your sales funnel.

That may tempt you to put surveys allover your various webpages – and you no doubt see lots of businesses doing that. Buy something; hit with a survey. Complain about something; offered a survey. Read a FAQ entry; treated to a survey. Take a survey; how about another survey?

Unfortunately, even as the business world embraces surveys based on the value of customer data, most businesses are getting it wrong when it comes to deploying surveys.

A 2013 journal article from Label & Narrow tells us that surveys have become a “scourge” for some consumers, citing the high saturation of surveys as a increasingly “annoying” aspect of modern business. The article, written by Mark Lusky, poses some interesting ideas as to what kinds of questions are worth asking, and when it’s best to ask them.

Lusky’s article is at least partly contrarian to customer surveys – at least, as they exist in the “shot-in-the-dark” format adopted by many businesses on the Web. But Lusky’s on to something.

And, though his article mostly refers to face-to-face client reconnaissance (suggesting that you take your customers out to breakfast to solicit their opinions), his article got us here at Preneur HQ thinking about how surveys can be used creatively.

Insane Guarantees, Micro-Commitments, + Free-Image Sources [Noise Reduction .75]

Hey Team,

So you may have seen the essay we wrote recently on Guarantees over on the Blog.

Well, the team over at MagCast are right at the final stages of their 2014 intake, and have taken their guarantee to the next level:

If you publish one issue a month for the next 12 months and you’re not thrilled with the results your digital magazine is getting, they’ll buy your licence back for double what you paid for it.

Think about this offer for a moment: they are essentially guaranteeing a 100% ROI for their publishers — a guaranteed minimum exit price for their publishers’ businesses. What a risk reversal for a target market of online marketers!

These publishers (which you still have time to become) are investing in the platform and training, so they can make a profitable digital magazine. Now, what’s their biggest concern?

It’s, “If I create this magazine each month, am I going to make any money?” right? We’ll they’ve completely removed that risk by guaranteeing a minimum profit. Not a money-back guarantee, a profit guarantee!

Now they’ve got the data to back this guarantee up (667 marketers over a 12-month period, generating a massive 3.2 million new customers — that’s an average of 4,797 new customers each)… but have a think about how you can apply this in your particular business.

What is the true objective or outcome your clients are wanting, and how can you guarantee that? Don’t just remove the risk, guarantee the outcome!

On that note, enjoy this week’s Noise Reduction below.


Five Examples of Profitable Marketing with Micro-Commitments [Conversions]

Marry MeA good friend of the Preneur family, James Tuckerman, founder of Anthill Online and Not So Freaky University, has a great little anecdote about building profitable customer relationships. James explains the core of the relationship-building as follows:

You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you before you’ve shared a cup of coffee with them.”

James is spot-on about this. Though he’s making a point about starting out baby steps when it comes to earning sales, his philosophy brings to mind a slight caveat.

Building a profitable customer relationship is really about getting them to follow-through on a series of micro-commitments, before taking on the comparatively big, scary commitment of conversion.

While much is said about those broad, macro ideas about the sales process, what are the little steps along the way? The answer: those micro-commitments that constitute the interactions that lead up to the glorious sale at the end.

This essay focuses on micro-commitments. That is, small actions you ask your customers to take leading up to (and sometimes in lieu of) a big conversion step.

In this essay we’ll look at the following concepts:

  • An explanation of the psychology of micro-commitments
  • Buyer-identifying micro-commitments
  • Social sharing micro-commitments
  • Free-trial offers as micro-commitments
  • Payment micro-commitments
  • Customer feedback micro-commitments

These concepts aim to increase conversions (and sometimes opt-ins) by asking your customers to take small, non-threatening steps.

Let’s get started!

Selling Air, Doubling Conversions, & Acquiring 3.2 Million New Customers [Noise Reduction .74]

Hi Gang,

Hope the start to the back half of 2014 is off to a flyer for you!

This week’s Thought of the Week comes from a conversation during a recent Platinum Advisory Board meeting:

You can’t control the “outcome” of making a baby, just the “actions and inputs” (bad pun intended).

Same in business… we can’t sit down and actually make $10,000 unless we work at the mint printing the stuff. We can only sit down each day and do actions that are consistent with moving the business or project forward.

So… what’s your next productive action?


Pete Williams is an entrepreneur, author, and marketer from Melbourne, Australia.

Before being honored “Australia’s Richard Branson” in media publications all over the continent, Pete was just 21 years old when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, The Melbourne Cricket Ground For Under $500! Don’t believe it? You will! Check out the story in the FAQ section (it really is our most asked question).

Since then, he’s done some cool stuff like write the international smash hit ‘How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality’ (+ the upcoming ‘It’s Not About the Product‘) and he’s created a bunch of companies including Infiniti Telecommunications, On Hold Advertising, Simply Headsets and Preneur Group.

Lots of other people think he’s pretty good too! He’s been announced as the Global Runner-Up in the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Awards for 2009, the Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and a member of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Under 30.

Download Pete’s First Book For FREE!

“Now that I've got the rights back from the publishers, if you enter your email address below, you can instantly download a free audiobook version of my first book, How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality.” - Pete
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