Business Books and Novels

Are you using Email Marketing? Then read this!

Email Marketing Dynamite - Ed Rivis In June Ed Rivis announced his soon to be launched new book: "Email Marketing Dynamite".

"E-Mail marketing is the #1 most critical tactic any business can perform online. Pound for pound it’s also reported to be the most effective tactics any company can perform in terms of ROI (Return on Investment).

All the biggest companies use it to generate extra sales, revenues and profits - so if I have a ‘mission’ at the moment, it’s to get a lot more small business owners using e-mail effectively."

If there is anything I can totally agree with, it is his mission. Our own retail businesses thrives on web marketing which includes - of course - email marketing.

Ed has asked (through his own email marketing campaigns in combination with his blog) if he could interview various small businesses about their experiences with email marketing: what effect it has had on their business success or even survival. I had the pleasure of talking to Ed for almost 1 hour as one of the interviewees.

You can subscribe to the pre-launch news of his new book - which, and I'm sure of it, if it is anything like any of Ed's other products and publications, will show/teach you how you too can effectively implement email marketing to grow/sustain your business in any economical circumstance.

First step: preregister your interest and profit from the opportunity to buy his book for only P&P the minute it is released.

How to......... free book

The title of the book I'm going to recommend below is too long to put in the title of the post, but here goes:

HowtoGunterShorten "How to Fill your Small Business with Non-Stop Customers, Money, Success and Growth... Leave Every Single one of your Competitors Scratching their Head to the Bone.. and Create Great, Great Personal Wealth Quickly!"
by Paul Gunter and Andrew Shorten.

Don't let the modern long title fool you, or come to think of it, the 'volume' of the book - 'only' 80 pages.
It is a good read, simple and straight forward. It contains one of my all time favourite quotes: "Good Fortune is what happens when planning meets opportunity". (You do make your own luck.)

Although thin (what's 80 pages nowadays, my own début business novel contains 168) and happily without any 'credit-crunching' references like we seem to be bombarded with today, I would even go so far as to state:
It's "Good to Great" in a nutshell.

And it is (still) offered for free, no catches. (Just a tiny fee for P&P and it is delivered extremely quickly too, mine arrived 1 day after claiming my own free copy)

UK Recession = free book offer by Robert Craven

Always one to stay positive - although he still finds it dreadful news - Robert Craven's reaction to the official news is offering his new book for free to every 25th email coming in.

Robert's new book - being printed at the moment - "Beating The Credit Crunch - How to Survive and Thrive in the Current Recession"
is promoted as follows:

"Here is a book with a short shelf-life, hopefully a few months. Realistically it might last a couple of years.

The aim of this book is simple – to show you how to trade your way out of the credit crunch; to make money and get on with your life."

Get one copy for free by emailing Robert Craven (Director of The Directors Centre and author of - amongst other business and marketing advice books - "Kick start your business

Your email should contain the Subject: Free Book and the following 4 pieces of info:

  1. Name
  2. Job Title/Position
  3. Company Name
  4. No of Employees

If you win one of the copies you might be asked to write a review on it. Entry only for UK-based companies and only 1 entry per company - but of course

It's one way to beat the crunch, keeping positive is another. Not with rose tinted glasses or sticking your head in the sand by ignoring the facts around you but by emphasising  your marketing efforts - which I hope you are still doing - on the long lasting benefits your product or services will give your prospect. Making his/her life better, simpler, richer, more efficient etc etc.

Book review: Content Rich by Jon Wuebben

Beginning last month I wrote a post on Meta Tags: writing for Google ranking or Prospects? Too many web-designers only focus on the first part, while most copy-writers focus on the last.

Contentrich It should be a perfect match, like a marriage or come to think of it like the title of my dynamic website (aka blog) number 7: 1 plus 1 makes 3.
Two weeks ago Jon Wuebben (Custom Copywriting) asked me if he could send me his book to show me that there are writers and marketers around who really know what it is all about. And who am I to miss out on an opportunity to learn some more? His book "Content Rich - Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web" arrived duly and from page 1 on I was hooked!

Finally someone who marriages writing for SEO and writing for Prospects in a simple way. Not just simple, but very comprehensive and almost timeless (we all know the Web can change overnight, but even that is covered in one of his chapters: The Future of SEO Copywriting - the Future is Now).
The whole book is based on what I come to think of as the main principle in a successful web-presence: SEO Content should speak to Search Engines & People.

I especially liked chapter 12: SEO copywriting for small/medium sized businesses - filled with practical, hands-on tips and examples for this very large but mostly overlooked (even by themselves) sector. Any small business who thinks it is too small to 'conquer' a place on the first page of any search engine results should read this book and breath a sigh of relief: it's really simple! (if a small retailer in a niche market like us can do it, everyone can!)
And don't miss Jon's insight on 'local search': more and more qualified leads you didn't even knew you could have are using the search engines to find and visit/contact local companies - make sure they find you by following Jon's tips.

270 pages with practical, hands-on, simple but thorough "Rich Content". And because it marries simplicity with powerful content Jon receives my Kiss Award (but of course)


Book (p)re-view: The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy - Ed Rivis

In my last post I talked about team work, essential for any business, even or especially if your business 'only' exist of 1 or 2 employees. Prior to my next post on this subject I want to point your attention to a brand new book, so brand new it isn't even available in any shop or on Amazon!

When you establish a outstanding team around you one of the best ongoing result will be 'the looking out for each other' practise: if one of the team members sees something he/she knows the other will benefit from (even if it's not related to the project your team is working on at the moment) it almost becomes a habit to point the other towards it. That's exactly what happened over a week ago.

Richard C emailed me about an UK based blog about webmarketing: Ed Rivis, Web Marketing Strategy for Small Business Success.

"I suddenly remembered that I meant to send you an email re Ed Rivis. His blog has become, probably only since the beginning of 2008, really good value (for people like you and me).  He seems to post a blog daily now (almost too much for me to take in) but they are extremely 'educational' in content and currently very relevant to you and I.  He is clearly feeding off Paul Gorman (a mutual friend / business marketing guru I know).  What is very skilled is his approach to offers etc - he is very strict on the 'time frame' for responses and it seems to be working for him.

His current 'special' is a .pdf download of his book - provided you've registered with him by 1st February."

Which, of course, I did. And even before registering to his blog (using the AWeber web form) I picked up a very useful web marketing tip (what, how, where and why I implemented that straight away is for a later post, this one is - again! - already turning into a longer one than originally planned).

Anyway, as promised by Ed Rivis last Friday at 4pm an email with password arrived in my inbox to go and download his gift to his subscribers: the PFD-version of his new book. The full version, no cutting 'cheap' corners.

Downloaded it, printed it (and for my readers looking for green credentials: on the back of already used paper - I recycle) and took it home with me, all 210 pages of it.

To be honest, I do think I know pretty much about Web Marketing already. I mean, last year we increased our turnover with 66% and 68% of our new clients found us through our websites!
But, everything can always be made better, that's the beauty of learning.

Friday evening I was already on page 129 and yesterday evening I'd finished it all. And now I have to find even more time because my head is (again) filled with ideas and new, better web marketing projects that will last me the rest of the year!

Our 'static' websites are already on my list to be revamped (again), but now with the extra knowledge gained from Ed's book this project will:

a) be moved forward on the priority list
b) even more focussed on - as New Customers Only based business (that's worth another post, no, make that another book) - capturing prospect details to start the conversation, utilising the surrounding software packages (like AWeber) we have even better.
c) while continuing and keeping in line with the already successful parts on there

IMHO Ed's book is written very well, straightforward and based on the great principle: don't just read it - implement it! And he makes that very simple with excellent Kissawardbutton1examples, links to software packages, websites and much more.
(Keeping It Simple means I've awarded him the K.I.S.S. award, but of course.)

You're too late to receive the PDF-version, that's been taken of the blog since last Saturday, but by all means subscribe to his excellent blog and start learning and earning.
The physical copy will be available around 18 February on Ed's blog with a 65% discount on the official price for his blog subscribers, so what's keeping you? Trust me on this one!

And if you've missed the 24 hours special offer, you can now buy The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy direct from the author


Robert Craven's Bright Marketing (both book and vibrant workshops of the same title) contain some remarkable but simple (yeah!) definitions:

Marketing = about systematically selecting how and what you're communicating to whom.

Brand = combination of

  • Signs by which you are known and remembered
  • A bundle of explicit/implicit promises
  • A reflection of personality
  • A statement of position

Conclusion and learning objective (more about that in a later post)

By the time you finish the book (or leave the workshop) you should have sorted out
How and What your Brand should be Communicating and to Whom.

Talking about workshops, like business advice books I have an personal 'definition' on proper, worthwhile workshops: it's in the word WORK - i.e. not having to listen for hours to a so-called guru going on and on about mostly already known strategies and/or marketing ideas, but being actively involved in the going ons. You can find more on my ideal image of how workshops should be organised in my The Kiss Business novel:

"Like why (business) workshops should be interactive and not just a lecture filled with cliché solutions (clichés most times only suitable for specific kinds of businesses - nine times out of ten not yours)."

The 'Lets talk...' workshops by Robert Craven in cooperation with Barclays fit the bill perfectly, if you are ever in the position to join in don't hesitate, just go and be prepared to work!
(Another proper example has been a workshop I attended some years ago now - organised by Burns-Waring's Stephen Askew and Mind Mentor Lauri Philp.)

Talking about Robert Craven and Accountants (see the above reference to my own accountant) - this week Robert published a blog-post on the very subject: I love my accountant.
In his post you'll find a link to an interview he recently did - made me smile many times over!


Very versatile, Robert is, and he does keeps it simple.

('award' button thanks to cool.text)

Unique, in who's view?

Every marketing 'guru' will tell you the same: have your client in mind when creating products, service, ads, marketing material, sales scripts etc. Some even call it: clients are focused on station WII.FM (What's In It For Me), make sure you broadcast on the same 'wave-length'.

I've been rereading 'The Jelly Effect' by Andy Bounds and one of the items discussed brought back 'memories' of my own début novel:

If we are all focused on our clients, why do we keep talking about Unique Selling Point? We sell, but our clients buy.

With that (the client and his WII.FM station) in mind, wouldn't it be better to talk about Unique Buying Point?

Now, I've never been a 'fan' of restricting USP terminology my self - and allow me to quote from my own novel to explain this better:

"...Also, concentrating on finding that one single unique point that makes you different from all others can take up so much time, you could lose site of more important things, like trying to sell your product. I think one should lose the U in the Acronym and replace it with a O of Outstanding and add an S to make it points instead of just point. Why would you have to restrict yourself to only one item you’re good at? Why not use three or four fields you’re outstanding in? Suppose you have the combination of high quality products with superb service and delivery within 48 hours, all of them Outstanding Selling Points on their own, but which of them is the unique one? Or is it the combination that makes you unique?”
(The Kiss Business novel - chapter 12: More New Ways - discussion between Johnston - John for short - Adams and Kate on marketing ways)

So, combining 'John Adams' (part fictitious, part factual character) thoughts on USP with Andy Bounds UBP, perhaps we should start talking about Outstanding Buying Points (and should I edit my novel?).

Or should we just forget about fancy names and make sure our clients experience an unique and outstanding buying experience every time they buy from us?

The Jelly Effect contains many more valuable ideas and 'mind-sets' than just the one I've mentioned above, but that's for another post. Stay tuned!

Changes and 'simplicity' (or plain laziness?)

StevechangesChanging methods never comes without some repercussions.

On  "All Things Workplace" Steve Roesler is dedicating a whole category on the subject "Creating Changes and Smooth Transitions". The main train of thought on his latest series (4 articles so far) is how to get others on board when the change instigator has a mile-long head lead.

A week ago I mentioned working with (more testing out) the online software program of AWeber that will make my life as 'marketing' manager more easier (with a bit more automagical auto-responder emails to our prospects). I'm getting to grips with all the features the online program has to offer and I must say, I didn't find it that hard once you know the sequel you have to follow to start an email campaign.

On a monthly base we as Wood You Like send out an semi-automated newsletter and one of the features of AWeber is doing that fully-automated. Only thing is though, our existing newsletter readers have to confirm their subscription. Re-register their interest in our news, because we, as company, are changing one of our methods to communicate with them. We know it's for the better, but - and this is the reason for mentioning Steve's series - we are also miles ahead in this particular 'change-process'. Will our readers 'catch-up' with this and how quickly?

No better way to find out with a small test-group. I've just finished reading (on recommendation of the 'good doctor') Influence: Science and Practice by Robert Cialdini. One of the captivating researches mentioned in the book (more posts will follow on this excellent and sometimes astonishing book) is that most persons want to appear consistent, i.e. once they have agreed to something they are more than likely to back that decision again.

Counting on that human trait I mailed one group of 100 of our readers with a small newsletter, requesting them to re-register their subscription. The email contains a link to our newsletter page on the website where they have to fill in their name, email address and click the button "Sign me up!". Then an automated request to confirm the re-registering would follow, with the request to click the link embedded in that email. All in all 5 actions, very kindly asked, but 5 separate action nonetheless.

Another book (“The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing” by George Silverman) I read beginning this year talked about "Shortening the Decision Cycle". Making it very simple for a person to decide on anything really. AWeber also has a feature to import existing lists of readers, who will be sent an automated email - the same Request Confirmation email the first test group will receive once they've gone through the 4 other actions.

So I decided to test out if the combined ideas of consistency and shortening the decision cycle would make a difference to the number of re-registering readers. In AWeber I created a new campaign, edited the request confirmation email text to explain very shortly why the receiver was requested to click on the link in the same email to re-register for our  newsletter - imported a different group of 100 existing readers to the online software and waited.
That was Friday afternoon.

Same wording used in our kind request, only the number of actions to take is different.
A clear winner - in this catch-up race for change - is showing its face: but is it laziness or life made simple?

The results so far:
3% of group 1 (5 actions) re-registered versus
25% of group 2 (1 action)

You tell me?

Autoresponders by AWeber

Having a 'bal'

Do you have a 'bal' ?
(Not ball, I really mean a bal - but in Dutch that does mean ball, so am I finally talking real double Dutch?)

Business Advice Library?

I have now, and it will be update continuously, because I presumable will never stop reading - three more books on their way, one came with the highest recommendation from The Company Doctor (Robert Cialdini's "Influence: Science and Practice").

Do you have a bal?

Business Advice Books, so what? (or better: which ones?)

In my living room there is a large (slowly growing) pile of Business Advice Books (I read a lot, have to have a book in front of me early mornings when I'm enjoying my first - of many - cups of coffee.)
Some I only read only once, others I read again (and again and again.) What makes me re-read? To answer that I will give you my personal definition of a good Business Advice Book.

A book that you constantly have to put down, one that constantly makes you stop reading, because you just have to jot down 'sudden' ideas for your business triggered by what you are reading.
Those are also the books I like to re-read sometimes, because they keep on giving you new ideas (or additions to other 'sudden' ideas you've found reading other books): those books keep Advising you.

At the moment I'm reading The Jelly Effect - How to make your Communication Stick - by Andy Bounds and boy, I can't seem to read two pages after each other without having to put it down!

Stay tuned, book-review will follow soon (and a page with all the books I read that pass my definition of a proper Business Advice Book).