Your Email Marketing List is a Captive Audience

You know, many people don’t entirely grasp the power you have when you have a high-quality email marketing list. The folks on that email list are a captive audience for you. I’ve even seen some people use the catch phrase “captive traffic” to refer to an email list.

Permission-based direct email is a tried and true mechanism for increasing sales and improving customer loyalty. The people on your direct email list are truly a captive audience, many of whom actually *want* you to email them about special offers and timely information.

Suppose the money you spent developing your email marketing list had instead been spent for some ‘guaranteed visitors’ to your website. Assuming the vendor were honest, you would have had a large number of people at least ‘eyeball’ your home page, but that’s probably the one and only chance you would ever have to sell or promote anything to 99.99% of them.

In contrast, your list has as many or as few names on it as you can buy or capture through your subscription forms, and you can email them again and again, until they tell you not to. Or you can entice them to one of your double opt-in autoresponders, and get a decent percentage of them as long-term subscribers that way.

So what are you going to do with your email marketing list? How are you going to approach them?

I would suggest you keep a few things in mind as you map out your email marketing campaigns.

First, you need to ‘train’ your subscribers right from the start that if they want something from you, they have to give in return. Initially it might be a double opt-in subscription in exchange for a free ebook or a free report. Later, you will want their attention, and eventually their money, in exchange for what you are offering them.

In the beginning however, you have to be willing to GIVE to them BEFORE you can expect to get.

Give them a free report, or a free ebook, or a free e-course right up front — the sooner, the better. WHY?

Because that is what they signed up for in the first place … information … and they expect it to be free at this point.

Remember, most sales are not made until after a minimum of 5-7 contacts, and right now your list is ‘cold’ – these people don’t know who you are, or whether you can be trusted.

The other thing I would encourage you to keep in mind as you plan your email marketing campaign is the wants and needs of your audience. You have been, and perhaps still are, an ‘opportunity seeker’ yourself. Think about the kinds of things you most wanted and needed when you were starting out. Chances are, the people on your list want the same kinds of things.

Did you want some stranger demanding that you whip out your credit card and pay up for information? Or did you want someone to give you some free advice, and show you the ropes while you got your feet wet?

What problems can you solve or prevent for the people on your list? How can you educate and help them? What can you do to make their quest for online opportunities easier?

REMEMBER — It will be much easier to sell to people later, if you give to them in the beginning. Once you’ve got them looking forward to your emails, and considering you a trusted friend, they are a captive audience for whatever you have to say …

Internet Marketing for Lawyers – Advice That Counts

Lawyers face the same challenges any business does. In order to get new business they must market their services, i.e., advertise. And lawyers deal with the same marketing and advertising challenge every business does – how to beat the competition. Plus lawyers have to assume that any Internet or non-Internet marketing or advertising they do may well produce little or no results for the amount of time and money they spend — regardless of what an outside marketing or advertising advisor may say to the contrary.

Prior to the Internet the main non-Internet marketing option or advertising choice for any lawyer was to advertise in the yellow pages. To this day the print yellow pages contain plenty of colorful, one page display ads that feature lawyers offering their services, and lawyers pay a lot for these ads. How effective these ads are is anyone’s guess — it’s hard for your colored, one page display ad to stand out when you have 20 other lawyers doing the exact same thing! The yellow pages companies, however, continue to promote their marketing and advertising philosophy that “bigger is always better” and “everything we sell is an opportunity,” so they often present a lawyer with a non-Internet marketing and advertising solution that costs plenty but often produces little.

This line of thinking, along with the use of print yellow pages in general, has gone the way of the dinosaur at a very accelerated pace. The yellow pages in print form had their heyday for many decades, but the population now goes to the Internet for the information they seek, so most print directories are collecting dust. A lawyer who advertises in the print yellow pages may well get calls, but they’ll most likely be from vendors using the yellow pages as a cheap source of leads.

The major paid search providers (pay per click search engines) tend to offer lawyers Internet marketing and advertising solutions in a manner similar to the way the yellow pages do with their print directories. “Bigger is always better,” so rather than realistically discuss with a lawyer a pay per click Internet marketing and advertising campaign that makes financial sense and produces a decent ROI, the pay per click providers will tell the lawyer to go for as many top listing keywords (the most expensive) as their budget will permit and bid as high as they can. The lawyer may go broke in the process, but at least they’ll get exposure! Many lawyers get into pay per click as a quick way to get leads but quickly exit a month later after spending lots of money for Internet marketing and advertising results that produce nothing but expense.

While pay per click Internet marketing and advertising is the running favorite of Internet marketing advertisers worldwide, pay per click advertising for a lawyer is usually an extremely expensive proposition for what they get. How much a lawyer is willing to “pay for a lead” takes on a whole new meaning with pay per click. The cost per click for many lawyer related keywords, e.g., “personal injury lawyer,” “criminal defense lawyer,” can range from $5.00 to $70.00 per click depending on the market, and when the typical lawyer’s conversion rate (the number of clicks it takes to generate a lead) of one to two percent is factored in, the lawyer can find themselves paying upwards of $500.00 to $7,000.00 per lead, and a lead is not a client.

Part of the problem lawyers face when they work with pay per click (and this translates directly into poor conversion rates) is that (1) they spend little time creating their pay per click ads and (2) the ads direct traffic to the lawyer’s website. Any Internet marketing professional who knows something about pay per click knows you never send pay per click traffic to a website. Instead you create special pages, i.e., “landing pages” for pay per click traffic to be directed to. The landing pages perform the job of convincing traffic to do what the lawyer requires, which is normally to contact the lawyer via e-mail or by phone.

Legal Internet directories and portals offer the lawyer a potential Internet marketing and advertising option because of their popularity and enhanced Internet visibility. How effective a listing in a legal Internet directory or portal can be for a lawyer in terms of marketing, advertising and Internet exposure will depend upon the particular attributes of the legal Internet directory or portal in question. All things being equal, legal Internet directories or portals that charge a fee to be listed in them make more sense as an Internet marketing and advertising choice than similar sites that offer listings for free. The lawyer has to be particularly careful, however, when they consider advertising in legal Internet directories and portals that “look” like they offer a lot — and a price to go with it — but for whatever reasons simply do not produce enough leads for the amount of Internet marketing and advertising money the lawyer must spend.

Many legal Internet directories and portals exist that have a very strong Internet presence, and they are excellent resource centers for lawyers, but this does not automatically make them good places to advertise. With Internet legal portals especially it’s not how many lawyers the portal attracts but how many people the Internet legal portal attracts who are searching for legal services. People have paid thousands of dollars for advertising in Internet legal portals that have produced nothing in the way of Internet marketing and advertising results. A very wise idea for any lawyer who considers advertising in an Internet legal portal is to get some very accurate user demographics on what kind of specific traffic the Internet legal portal is actually attracting.

What is a lawyer supposed to do? Everywhere the lawyer looks, whether the marketing and advertising media is Internet or non-Internet, considerable financial risk is involved, and a guarantee that the lawyer will get good, solid results for the amount of money they spend is often hard to achieve.

Ultimately the best way for a lawyer to go with Internet marketing and advertising – the way that will ultimately get them the best long term results for the money they spend — is to focus on getting their website to rank high in organic search results. When all things are considered, people on the Internet who search for goods and services mainly search for websites to find their answers. They may look to legal Internet directories and portals, and if they don’t find what they want they may turn to pay per click listings as a last resort (only about 30% to 40% of users bother with pay per click) but ultimately people who search the Internet are looking for websites that provide them with the answers they seek.

If a lawyer is looking for an Internet marketing and advertising solution that doesn’t require being part of the pay per click crowd, the lawyer may want to look into pay per phone call programs. Pay per phone call is like pay per click, but the lawyer does not pay for a call unless they receive one. And the costs for pay per phone call are normally substantially less that what the lawyer will pay for a click in many cases. A smart lawyer may even want to consider getting involved with several pay per phone call providers with the idea that between the providers the lawyer will receive enough leads in the aggregate to make involvement with these programs worth it.

Many of the Internet marketing and advertising solutions that a lawyer chooses to look into must be tried on a case by case basis. Absolutely nothing can be assumed. A pay per click advertising campaign that works extremely well for the lawyer with one search provider might fail miserably with another.

One last thing that a lawyer should be aware of when it comes to the Internet and a website presence is that appearances really do count. Many people have been on the Internet for 10 years and have correspondingly seen websites of all types and styles. People are used to seeing professionally designed websites. The lawyer’s website should be too.

Marketing From Your Conscience

Years ago I learned a simple yet powerful marketing secret: You must become so convinced of the benefits of your product or service that you feel you’d be unjustly depriving people by not doing everything in your power to get the word out.

I was infected by this attitude from Jay Abraham. Jay has an absolutely brilliant way of thinking about marketing. For example, if you’re an accountant, and you’re skilled at saving people money on their taxes, Jay might ask how much you save your average client. Say it’s $500 per year. And then Jay would ask how much you charge. Say it’s $200. Then Jay might take you through a conversation like this:

Jay: So it’s costing people a net $300 per year not to do business with you.

You: Yes, that’s fair to say.

Jay: How long does your typical client stay with you?

You: About three years.

Jay: So that’s a total of $900 then. People are effectively being charged $900 not to work with you, $900 they would have otherwise been able to keep.

You: Alright.

Jay: So if you meet someone and don’t tell them about your service, you’ve just cost them $900.

You: Hmmm…

Jay: You have a duty then to share this knowledge; to do otherwise would be irresponsible.

You: That’s a strange way to think about it.

Jay: What’s strange about it? If you have the ability to save people $900, then you’re costing everyone $900 they could have saved whenever you don’t tell someone about your service. Don’t you have a moral obligation to save people this $900 if you can do it? Wouldn’t it be unethical not to do it?

You: How is it unethical?

Jay: You’re cheating people out of $900 you could have saved them. All you had to do was speak up – or at least try. What might that $900 mean to certain people? You’d be costing people a great deal of additional enjoyment, education, retirement income, vacations, etc. I consider that kind of negligent behavior unethical. Don’t you?

You: I just never thought about it that way before.

Jay: Start thinking about it that way then.

In other words, if the product or service you provide is truly of benefit to others, then marketing becomes a duty. Not spreading the word is irresponsible and unethical.

Of course, the opposite is also true. If you have a product or service with no real benefit, then to actively market it would be irresponsible as well. If deep down you have doubts as to whether what you’re providing is of real value, you’ll probably sabotage yourself in your marketing efforts. I see this all the time among small business owners — they often don’t believe enough in their products to aggressively market them. So they hold back and fill their days with non-marketing activities instead. Doing too much marketing makes them feel uncomfortable.

I’m not advocating trying to fool yourself into believing in your product/service when you don’t. I’m suggesting you consult your conscience to see what you already believe. If you run your own business and don’t market it very well (a common situation), is it possible you don’t really believe in the benefits you provide? Or if you feel you’re ready for a better job but don’t go out and apply for one, could it be that you secretly feel the potential employer would be better off hiring someone else?

How well do you market yourself in other areas? Do you hold back from pursuing new friendships or relationships because you don’t believe enough in the benefits that others would experience from your companionship? What would happen if you truly believed in the benefits you can provide?

When you find your conscience is holding you back from effective marketing, don’t try to squash that inner voice. Listen to it. Hear what it has to say. Are your products just wasting people’s time? Are your services pointless? Would an employer be better off hiring someone other than you? Would a friend be better off without you in their life?

Your conscience can point you in the direction of greater internal congruence, allowing you to market yourself very naturally and eagerly. Sometimes this involves recognizing the genuine benefit that’s already there, such as with the accountant example at the beginning of this article. But other times it requires changing the offering to create a new benefit that really matters to you.

When I started, I had to remember this powerful lesson: marketing must align with conscience. I can tell I’m congruent in this area when I’m eager to do marketing work instead of wanting to put it off. If I feel a desire to procrastinate on marketing, I know something is wrong. So I run through one of those imaginary Jay Abraham conversations in my mind to see where I stand. What is the real benefit I’m providing? How can I quantify it? What will I be costing people if I don’t market to them? Why do I have an ethical duty to market this information?

Be careful not to confuse this with vanity, which is self-directed. This type of motivation is directed outward. It’s not about telling yourself how great you are. It’s recognizing what you can do for others that really, truly benefits them. If I think about myself being a great writer or speaker, that isn’t going to help my marketing. In fact, it will likely hurt me by injecting too much ego into the message. But if I think about what real benefit I can offer someone, that is very motivating. My understanding of this benefit must be rooted in the facts, not on a fictionalized exaggeration. Recognize and acknowledge the real, down-to-earth benefits and what they can actually do for people. And if the benefits are too weak to give you the feeling that marketing is an ethical duty, then stop your practice of junk marketing, and listen to what your conscience has been trying to tell you all along.

What kind of product or service do you feel you really should be marketing and selling? What skills do you need to develop that would make you an intelligent choice for your preferred employer to hire? What do you need to change in yourself to make it genuinely beneficial for others to befriend you?

By creating and acknowledging the real benefit that you actually believe in, you accomplish two things. First, your feeling of certainty will move you to action. You’ll become driven to market yourself, your product, or your service because that’s the right thing to do. Secondly, you’ll actually be providing something of value that genuinely helps others. And together these two results will create a positive feedback loop where the more aggressively you market and sell, the more people you help, and the more certain you become that you’re doing the right thing.

Acknowledge the real benefit you provide. Don’t fall into the ego trap by exaggerating your impact, but don’t minimize or deny the positive benefits either. Find the truth of the situation. Is your conscience congruently committed to the belief that you’re marketing something of real value, or have you been lying to yourself? And if it’s the latter, how can you correct it?

When your marketing message is congruent with your conscience, your motivation for promotion won’t be restrained by hesitation. When you believe that marketing is simply the right thing to do, you’ll do it eagerly, not for your own gratification but because you know you’re genuinely helping people.

VIX and the Psychology of Markets

We know that greed and fear rule the markets. But did you know that when investors gets too greedy, markets usually fall, and when investors are overcome with fear, markets usually rise. So how can when we monitor investors emotions and take advantage of investors emotional extremes?

Welcome to the world of investor sentiment analysis.

Investor psychology has been analysed for at least 250 years. Charles MacKay wrote his book, ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds’, in 1841, describing, among other manias, the herd mentality that caused the South Sea Bubble. Since then, many academics have published financial theories based on the concept that individuals act rationally and consider all available information in the decision-making process. But real life frequently demonstrates that the behavior of equity markets is irrational and unpredictable. A field known as “behavioural finance” has evolved over the years attempting to explain how emotions influence investors and their decision-making process. Studying human psychology helps predict the general direction of financial markets as well as many stock market bubbles and crashes. At the height of a period of optimism, greed moves stocks higher, ignoring business fundamentals and therefore creating an overpriced market. At the other extreme, fear moves prices lower, ignoring obvious opportunities and creates an undervalued market.

One important study, (“Aspects of Investor Psychology,” The Journal of Portfolio Management, Summer 1998) found that investors are much more distressed by prospective losses than they are made happy by equivalent gains. Some researchers theorize that investors “follow the crowd” and conventional wisdom to avoid any regret in the event their decisions prove to be incorrect.


When a stock or market index rises, we know that it means investors are more eager to buy than to sell. But how can we accurately gauge just how investors feel?

Most often, investors are somewhere between mildly positive and mildly negative, and only occasionally do they demonstrate the extremes of greed or fear. It is easier to detect emotion when it is close to either irrational exuberance or outright fear. When markets act this way, it becomes “news” and moves from the business section, to being featured at the start of the evening news, and on the front page of the daily newspaper.

The success of charting as a tool, depends on investors repeating their behaviour patterns. There is always a comfort factor in doing the same as others and generally an aversion to behaving differently. Investors display herding instincts in their behaviour and this has become particularly noticeable among institutional investors. In the early stages of a rising trend in a market, positive sentiment can act as a positive driving force as everyone rushes in to join the party. However, there comes a time after the trend has been in place, when this positive sentiment acts as a warning that the trend is nearing its climax. That’s when smart investors will start switching to alternative investments.

The most sophisticated and active players in the market use derivative products to effect their transactions. These players tend to display earlier changes in emotion than most investors and normally their emotions run to greater extremes. So, derivative markets are a good source of data on investor sentiment. There are various options available on stocks, ETF’s and indexes. By using an option pricing formula, we can extract a measure of how much investors are prepared to pay for the possibility of making a profit, or hedging against a loss. This is known as implied volatility, and it provides a mathematical valuation of investor emotion. Implied volatility tends to be high (the scale is inverted) when the market has had a sharp fall and this is associated with investor fear. At the other extreme, low implied volatility often occurs after a rise in the market and when investors are becoming complacent.