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Cat Butt Push Pins… Million Dollar Idea?

Million dollar business ideas are everywhere and they don’t even need to be original. If you’ve ever been on Ebay, then you know that once you click on one item, another dozen items will be suggested. And while most are targeted towards you and what you’ve searched for, now and then something odd will pop up. Like Cat Butt Push Pins.

Cat Butt Push Pins... Million Dollar Idea?

I’m not making this up… It’s a real thing. Intrigued, I clicked on it and found that for about $15 you can buy six plastic push pins (like for a cork board) that are in the shape of six different cat butts; Calico, tabby, black, etc.

Thinking the price was an anomaly, I searched on Ebay and found only one other listing, and that one cost $20. Then I went to Amazon and found I could get their very last set of cat butt push pins sent to me for $17.99.

Walmart, on the other hand, would be glad to sell me a set for just $49. That’s right… $49 for six plastic push pins in the shape of cat’s butts.

I might be in the wrong business…

This isn’t the point of this article but as an aside, here’s a business idea for you: Hire an artist to design 8 cat butt push pins for you, being sure to NOT copy the ones already out there. Find a company – likely in China – who can cheaply manufacture push pins and get an initial run of these made. You don’t even need fancy packaging yet.

Sell them on Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, Mecari and any other website you can think of. Find your best price point where they sell quickly and yet you are making as much profit as possible (Hint: It will be lower than $49 and likely lower than $17.99).

Use your profits to design clever packaging and now get them into stores as well as continuing to sell on Amazon. Okay, that’s one business idea, but it’s not even my point.

Here’s my point – or rather, my two points.

First of all, there are great ideas everywhere, and you don’t even need to be all that original. Clearly there is a market for clever push pins that isn’t being fully satisfied. Who knew? Push pins are the sort of thing we take for granted, but one enterprising person said, “What if? What if I design these in the shape of cats’ butts?”

While his friends were falling on the floor laughing at him, he made a go of it. And without competition, he’s selling these things for a ridiculous price, too. There is room for improvement here in quality, in appearance and in price. Three opportunities in one.

What products do you take for granted that can be improved? If you have no desire to get into physical products, that’s okay. What virtual products need improving, revamping or even inventing?

During the pandemic sites like Zoom and Skype went crazy. But what about people who want to talk online and don’t want to have to think about their appearance or the state of disarray their room might be in? Bingo! Clubhouse was invented – audio chat rooms, no video and no recordings.

Second, when you have a rabid, hungry market, you can sell them the darndest things. People are PASSIONATE about cats and they will literally pay $17.99 for 6 push pins if they are in the shape of cats’ butts.

To put this into perspective, a non-cat-butt-shaped push pin costs a few cents at most, while these cost $3 apiece when bought in a set of 6. That’s not just insane… it’s also a great example of how passions override common sense in purchasing and how you can take advantage of that in the market.

5 Ways Icons Boost Your Email Marketing

It might seem strange to think of icons as helping with your email marketing efforts. After all, it’s the message that’s important, right? But anything that can help you to better convey your message is something worth looking into.

5 Ways Icons Boost Your Email Marketing

Icons can highlight your company’s benefits and show the positive effects of your offer. They can demonstrate particular features or characteristics of your product or service. And they can be used to split email blocks, making the message easier to read.

What else can icons do for your emails?

1. Icons help organize the content.

No doubt you’ve seen this on webpages but perhaps not as often in emails. Imagine if your email has three options:

→ Ask a Question
→ Share Feedback
→ Get More Information

Each of these can have an appropriate icon that helps to organize and clarify the options. “Ask a Question” can be a question mark; “Share Feedback” might be a talk balloon and “Get More Information” could be a video icon, a book icon, a person icon or whatever, depending on the format of the information.

2. Icons help express ideas.

There are times when an icon can be used either in place of – or in conjunction with – a keyword to clarify the meaning in a more straightforward manner. For example, a play button icon is so universally understood, it makes more sense to use that than to use the word, “Play.”

3. Icons can replace heavy images.

Images in emails are great… until they aren’t. Images need to be downloaded, they can be blocked by email clients and unfortunately their appearance changes in different apps. While icons are less expressive, there are times when they are a better choice than stock photography.

4. Icons support your brand identity.

If you are using a particular set of icons on your website and advertising, it pays to use them in your emails as well to maintain your overall design and brand strategy.

I’ll bet there are certain businesses that you recognize by icons (for example, social media sites). If you received an email from them that did not contain those icons, it wouldn’t look authentic. In fact you might even suspect it was a phishing email to steal your info.

5. Icons reinforce interactive elements.

When it comes to things like call-to-action buttons, icons can reinforce the action you want taken by the reader. And they can also be animated to draw attention to something important, like the “Check it out” or “Grab your copy” button.

If you’re just getting started in email marketing, give icons a pass until you master the basics. But if you’re looking for a way to increase your email readability and conversion rates then I highly suggest you spend the next week observing how others are using icons in their emails while you devise your own strategy.

It’s surprising what a few little icons can do for your business!

Offline Marketing – How to Sell $5,000+ a Month With a Menu and “The 21 Day Trick”

Are you doing offline marketing, or would you like a second income in the offline world? Here’s how you can make it drop dead simple and super profitable.

Offline Marketing

First, build a simple website with a menu card on it. Not the kind of menu you find in a restaurant, of course, but it can look like that if you choose. Your menu is going to offer all kinds of services to brick and mortar businesses.

For example:

→ Local SEO
→ Creating lead capture pages and setting up their autoresponder
→ Website creation
→ Writing blog posts and articles for them
→ Repairing their online reputation
→ Creating a professional looking video
→ Creating detailed reports on their competitors
→ Doing social media (this can be a wide variety of offerings)
→ And so forth…

Give them different prices – some low and some higher, to give business owners plenty of choices.

Now here’s the 21 day trick – through testing, we’ve found that you will actually sell MORE services when you extend the date by which you’ll have the services completed. Naturally you can do many of these things in 2-5 days. But if the client believes you’re working on it for 3 weeks, or even a whole month, the perceived value is much higher and you will sell more.

Yes, human nature is a funny thing, isn’t it?

Now then, before you panic and think you can’t provide all these services, realize that all you need is to visit Fiverr.com. There you’ll find people who can do all of these things for you, rather inexpensively. You will need to pay more than $5 for most of these, but that’s okay because your profit margins will still remain sky high. Typically, you’ll pay $5 to test the gig out, and then somewhere between $50 and perhaps as high as $200 to get your job done.

Meanwhile, you’re selling services for $300 to $1,000, depending how much work it involves. You are the ‘middle man or woman’ getting the orders and then having them fulfilled.

So how do you get the clients? All of the usual methods apply, of course. Also, LinkedIn and Craigslist can be great places to get clients with a little practice. Also look at potential client’s social profiles and websites to get an idea of what they might need, and then contact them directly via email or even phone. When you’re ready to take it to the next level, you can also put together a mailer that incorporates your menu and send it to likely prospects.

This is perhaps one of the easiest businesses you can start and almost immediately begin making money. Because you are outsourcing all of the work, you can focus solely on getting clients, making them happy and gaining repeat sales.

And by the way – once you choose a method for client acquisition, you can outsource that as well. Then your only job will be to send orders to your outsourcers and send the completed work to your clients. Not a lot of work for a $5,000 or more a month income…

How to Become the Go-To Expert in Any Niche Online with No Previous Experience

Are you entering a niche in which you have ZERO experience? Good. Actually, great! Here’s what you do…

How to Become the Go-To Expert in Any Niche Online with No Previous Experience

Start a blog. From day 1, explain that you know nothing about (your new topic, such as cooking) but you’re on a quest to learn (a specific outcome or goal, like how to make the world’s best pancakes) and invite the reader to make the journey with you.

Now start reading about your topic. A lot. Buy and use the products in your niche. Write about what you learn, and tell about your experience with the products. Recommend the good ones.

Once you’ve got a dozen or more blog posts, start asking experts in the niche for interviews. If you’re too shy or nervous at first, you can start with email interviews and work your way up to audio interviews. You become the researcher / reporter, and you let the experts handle the heaving lifting.

In 1-5 years? Now YOU’RE the expert. And you never had to lie about knowing stuff you didn’t know when you got started. In fact, you got to be honest, truthful and yourself the entire time. And you’ve built a tremendous rapport with your audience who very much feel you’re just like them.

When you use this formula, your readers will trust you and they’ll act on your advice, whether that’s to buy an affiliate product you recommend, buy your own products or eventually let you coach them.

WordPress is a Website Developer’s Dream

As far back as 1996, Bill Gates stated that the Internet would evolve into a “marketplace of content”. This prediction has indeed come to pass, as content is now considered to be “king” in the world of CRM and marketing in general.

WordPress is a Website Developer's Dream

You are already aware that presentation is the key to success. Whether referring to blogs, white papers or the average product update, client engagement is key. Fully developed strategies to implement, collate and present this content are now critical to the success of any business. WordPress has become one of the cornerstones of this industry. What aspects of this turnkey software allows it to be the choice of countless companies?

The Intuitive Edge

Were you aware that no less than 55 percent of the top million most-visited portals in the world employ WordPress as their CMS provider of choice? This largely arises from the fact that WordPress is highly intuitive. In other words, you need to know very little in regards to coding to create a great online presence. From user-friendly dashboards to preview pages to make certain that your page presents correctly, the user-friendly nature of this system cannot be denied. If you are able to edit text within a standard Word document, you will have little trouble adapting to WordPress.

The Power of the Open-Source Force

Another massive advantage of WordPress is that it is an open source. You will not have to pay one cent in order to utilize all of its tools and benefits. This is in direct contrast to other systems which require monthly installments in order to access benefits. Free products and services are attractive; particularly those which are as effective and easy to work with as WordPress.

Multifaceted Multimedia

In the past, embedding videos, GIFs and other widgets into a website were difficult without having a great deal of experience with coding. This frustration has been done away with thanks to the streamlined presentation that WordPress offers. Importing videos, images and graphics has never been easier. As we all know, embedded visual aids can make all the difference between an interested visitor and a high website bounce rate. The built-in tools provided by self-hosted WordPress have made it very simple to design a high functionality, and visually compelling website without very little technical knowledge or experience.

The Mobile-Responsive Edge

It is no secret that modern websites need to be mobile responsive in order to reach the most users possible. This can be difficult to address with in-house systems and if the mobile demographic is not reached, a great deal of business will naturally be lost. WordPress offers a number of turn-key themes which can be quickly integrated into your existing website architecture. This alone can dramatically boost a website’s natural ranking in the search engines, and thus a site’s daily visitor numbers.

Community Help

The open-source nature of WordPress enables you to find help when you need it the most. While most features are easy to use, there will inevitably be times when questions need to be asked. Thanks to a robust online community, help is never far off. This is in direct contrast to other CMS systems which usually provide a much more limited range of community support and creative solutions. With WordPress, there is a solution for nearly anything that you want to accomplish with your website, and if it doesn’t exist yet, you could easily have a coder create it for you on third-party sites such as Fivver or Upwork.

WordPress is here to stay. As a continuously growing number of websites are building their online presence with WordPress, it only stands to reason that its marketing value for online businesses will continue to grow. It will be very interesting to see how WordPress evolves as the needs of the modern business likewise advance, but rest assured they will meet tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities just as they have been doing since 2003.

The King and His Swimming Pool of Milk

Once there was a king who wanted to bathe in a giant swimming pool of milk rather than water… He had heard it was great for your skin, but it was too large a task to do alone.

The King and His Swimming Pool of Milk

He first told some of his workers to dig a pond. Once the pond was dug, the king made an announcement to his people saying that one person from each household had to bring a glass of milk during the night and pour it into the pond. So, in his estimations, the pond should be full of milk by the morning.

After receiving the order, everyone went home. One man prepared to take the milk during the night but milk was very rare in this town and he wanted to keep it. He thought that since everyone would bring milk, he could just use a glass of water and pour it inside the pond instead. Surely, because it would be dark at night, no one would even notice. So he quickly went and poured the water in the pond and came back happy.

In the morning, the king came to visit the pond and to his anger, the pond was only filled with pure water! What happened was that everyone was thinking the same thoughts as the other man that “I don’t have to put the milk, someone else will do it.”

When it comes to business help, do not think that others will take care of it all for you. I’m not saying not to accept help where you can get it. Help is important, but remember that it starts with you. If you don’t do things for yourself or at least oversee them, no one else will do it and if they do, you can’t complain that they did it wrong because you used something or someone outside of yourself to make it work.

There are only so many experts, workers, software, systems etc. that you can use to get ahead, all that will come later when you are rolling in your fortune. Meanwhile, if you want quality, get your hands dirty, do the learning, do the work and feel genuinely rewarded from it. This will avoid mistakes caused by others, it will encourage you to take responsibility and it will give you a sense of achievement.

If you have many automatic processes working for you and they are performing well, that’s great. But if there is anywhere in your life that you can step in and say – “Can I do more here? What can I do today that I didn’t bother with yesterday? What extra mile of work can I put in just for now?” Then every day will have purpose and every moment will feel in your control.

Life and business is all about what YOU put into it, so be sure you are doing everything you can every single day to actualize your full potential. Yes, leverage the help of others along the way when needed to improve efficiency, but never fully rely on others. Your life is what you make it, so make it ALL that it can be!

You Don’t Need to Know It All to Succeed

Many people think that they need to have all the answers to be successful in any capacity; business wise or in life. While we all require some knowledge, there are some people in the world that have made it without.

You Don’t Need to Know It All to Succeed

That is, without qualifications, studying, school or even full expert knowledge of the field they want to be in. In fact, the majority of the world’s richest people know that they don’t need to have all the answers in order to gain success, and what’s more, they use that to their advantage.

They may have a certain specialism in their field, but using Henry Ford as an example, having a solid team of people who fill out your knowledge gaps is far more important than having all the answers for yourself. Henry Ford was the founder of Ford Motor Cars and was a very wealthy man in his time.

A Chicago paper published some articles after the First World War, claiming that Henry Ford was an “ignorant pacifist”. Mr. Ford rejected the idea that he was ignorant and retaliated by bringing a libel suit against the paper, even taking the not-so-common approach of putting himself on the witness stand to prove that he was in fact, a very clever man with nothing to hide.

The court lawyers asked Mr. Ford a series of pointless general knowledge questions and accused him of being a man who runs a car company with no real knowledge or experience with cars, the industry, academics or mechanics. The answer he gave silenced the court and became a very famous statement…

“If I should really WANT to answer the foolish question you have just asked, or any of the other questions you have been asking me, let me remind you that I have a row of electric push-buttons on my desk, and by pushing the right button, I can summon to my aid men who can answer ANY question I desire to ask concerning the business to which I am devoting most of my efforts. Now, will you kindly tell me, WHY I should clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”

This retort was genius. The fact was – Ford didn’t have all the answers and that was OK. He had instead kept his mind free from clutter and employed experts in their fields to answer his questions while he focused on keeping his company running smoothly. If he needed to know about brakes, he would push the button for that expert, if he needed someone to explain engines to him, he had another. He used the specialized knowledge of others as an external brain to store extra information in and it made him the success he was.

You Too Can Be Like Henry Ford

We now live in the greatest information age of our time. You can Google any question you may have, so without qualifications – we are becoming experts just by searching.

The point is this – do not avoid a certain field or reject a job opportunity or investment because you feel you are not up to scratch, use other experts and research to find out as much as you can about your industry. Knowledge is power. If you think you don’t have it and that’s stopping you from moving forward, find someone who does and get up to speed.

22 Ways to Increase Your Conversions Fast

Getting traffic to your squeeze page, website and sales pages is terrific. But if that traffic doesn’t convert, what good is it doing you? Here are 22 proven strategies to get your visitors to do what you want – whether that’s giving you their email address, sharing your content on social media or buying your products.

22 Ways to Increase Your Conversions Fast

Before you read the following, allow me to offer 3 words of caution: Empty your cup. Just as a full tea cup can hold no more, a closed mind can’t increase conversions.

Imagine 3 people read this article. The first person says, “I’ve heard some of these before,” and dismisses the entire list. But is he doing these things? No. Are his conversions increasing? No. The second person reads this list and says, “These won’t work.” Again, her cup is full and her conversions never improve. The third person? Is you. You read through these and say, “That’s a good idea, yeah, I’ve been meaning to do that. I’m glad for the reminder.”

And then you get busy. Think your conversions will improve? Absolutely.

Let’s get started…

Use testimonials and case studies. A lot. Don’t just have a section for testimonials – work them into your copy, into your videos, everywhere.

→ If you don’t have testimonials and case studies, get some. Even if it means giving your product or service away or at a steep discount.

Use a guarantee. Or two. Or three. What sounds better, “If you’re not happy, you get your money back” or “You are 100% covered by our TRIPLE guarantee.”

Don’t make your guarantee contingent on anything but their satisfaction. Don’t say, “When you do every step in the program exactly as outlined, we guarantee you will get x results.” Instead, tell them if they so much as don’t like the font, they are fully covered. This takes all the fear away. Yes, refunds may increase slightly. But sales will increase even more.

Give them an ongoing bonus. Refunds do affect your true conversion rate, so reduce refunds by offering a terrific bonus that they get only if they don’t refund. For example, a valuable year-long membership can work well.

Use action verbs. Instead of, “Get yours today,” say, “Grab yours” “Reserve yours” or “Claim yours today.”

Reaffirm the sale repeatedly. Write an autoresponder sequence that kicks in after the sale. Each email should reaffirm how smart they were to buy the product, provide testimonials and show them something about the product they may have missed. “Did you see the trick in video 4 on how to get your mother-in-law to stop harping on you? Sally Smith used this exact technique and here’s what happened…”

→ On opt-in forms, use as few fields as possible. If you can just ask for their email address and first name, do it. If you need more info, consider asking for it later.

Use a two part opt-in. The first page announces the bonus and has a button to grab their copy. They click the button and it takes them to the second page where they put in their email address. These almost always out-perform one page opt-ins.

Pay a graphic designer to create a professional looking cover. Whether you’re giving away a book or selling a course, your cover should look as good as a New York Times Best Seller. If it does, your conversions will increase – sometimes dramatically.

Test and retest possible headlines. Sure, you’ve heard it before. But how many headlines have you tested on your squeeze page? Your sales page? It’s possible there is a headline that will literally double or even triple your conversions – you just need to find it.

Use video. On landing pages and sales pages, have a short, simple video showing that there is indeed a real live person behind the brand.

Create dedicated landing page for… everything. You’re doing a guest blog post? Create a page that says, “Welcome readers of ABC blog.” You’re running a PPC ad? Create a dedicated page that perfectly matches what the ad said.

Include subscriber or social media follower counts. Anytime you can provide positive social proof, you’ll increase conversions. That said, if you have 5 followers or 10 subscribers, wait until your numbers are more impressive to share them with the world.

Use strong, clear calls to action. Never assume they’ll fill out the form if you don’t tell them to.

Lose the hype and “get real.” Customers can spot hype a mile away. So instead of “BUY THIS NOW,” try, “If you want (benefit) then I’ve found ABC product works well.” Then tell them why it’s not for everyone.

Prevent them from comparison shopping. Let them know that your product has no competition because you do things or offer things no one else does. (Do this only if it’s true. If it’s not true, make it true.)

Get visitors excited. Use emotionally charged language, tell stories and create desire. Get visitors eager to have your product or service.

Don’t use boring generic images. You know the ones – a stick figure at a computer, 4 people in suits sitting around a table, a lightbulb, etc. Use interesting images that capture attention and make the visitor look twice.

Test a single column layout. MECLabs tested having a sidebar versus not having a sidebar. The version with only one column won – and generated an astonishing 681% increase in conversions. But further tests showed this is not always the case – thus the need for testing it on your own pages.

Include headshots on your webpages. Again you want to show there is a real person behind the brand.

Spend serious time crafting your “about me” page. Include your bio, come across as a real person, include plenty of contact info, and talk about what you want to help the reader accomplish. Done right, your “about me” page can be your greatest selling tool.

Pick out exactly 3 and write them down. Do one of them today, one tomorrow and the third on the following day.

Then pat yourself on the back, because you’ve just done more to increase your conversions than 95% of marketers out there.

Grow Your Online Business by Modeling One of the 8 Craziest PR Stunts of All Time

Sometimes the shortest path to your next great internet marketing idea can be found in the annals of public relations history. I’ve sorted through 100 different PR stunts to bring you the most inspiring and entertaining exploits to stimulate your thinking and give you that one great idea you’re searching for.

Grow Your Online Business by Modeling One of the 8 Craziest PR Stunts of All Time

1929 – Torch of Freedom anyone?

There was a time when it was not socially acceptable for women to smoke cigarettes in public, because it wasn’t considered ‘lady-like.’

So in 1929 Edward Bernay, one of the fathers of PR, got good looking women to light up cigarettes in New York’s Easter Parade, and he hired photographers to send the photos to news outlets around the world. He also renamed cigarettes “Torches of Freedom” for the women’s liberation movement. Sales of cigarettes to women skyrocketed.

How can we use this? First, if it appears that your product is being used by others, then prospects are more likely to buy it. It’s social proof, and it can be highly effective. Second, take great care when naming your product. Would you smoke a cancer stick, coffin nail or lung buster? Of course not. But if you were a woman in 1929, or even 1990 when they revived the ‘torches of freedom’ name, you might very well smoke it.

1986 – Human chain for charity

More than 7 million people across 16 states made a human chain to raise money for the hungry and homeless. Even President Reagan joined in, with everyone paying $10 for their spot in the chain. (Do the math!)

How can we use this? With social media, it would be easier than ever to organize something like this to raise money. Your website would of course be the sponsor. Imagine the free publicity! Tie it to a current event, such as relief for a natural disaster.

1996 – Taco Bell buys Liberty Bell

Taco Bell took out a New York Times ad that stated, “Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell.” The ad explained that they were renaming the historic landmark the, “Taco Liberty Bell.” The publicity was enormous as people rushed to complain. By noon Taco Bell admitted it was an April Fool’s joke. Over a thousand media outlets covered the story, and millions of dollars in additional sales were generated over the next two days.

How can we use this? The possibilities are endless. You can spread your ‘news’ on the internet or actually take out an ad like Taco Bell did, or both. You might announce that your website has just purchased a historic landmark, or is going to do something at a landmark (leap the Grand Canyon on your brand of vacuums?) or declare national naked day or whatever your imagination inspires you do to. The trick is to tie it to your brand like Taco Bell did.

1998 – Burger King announces left handed Sandwich

How people fell for this one I don’t know. Burger King announced they’d redesigned the Whopper to make a version better suited to the needs of left handed people. It was of course an April Fool’s joke, but that didn’t stop 32 million Americans from going to Burger King that day.

How we can use this – a website for left handed people? Tall people? Red-headed people? How about your products – maybe you can modify them to suit a special group of people. For example (and I’m being serious for a moment) you could take your marketing course and tailor it just to chiropractors, just to dentists, just to plumbers, etc.

And in a humorous April 1st mode of thinking, you might claim to alter your books for dyslexics, swapping the words around so when they’re read by dyslexics they come out right. Make sure you’re on the correct side of political correctness if you try something like this.

1999 – Half.com buys town for $100,000, sells company for $300 million

Half.com paid a small town in Oregon, called Halfway, to change its name to Half for one year. They gave the town of Half $100,000 and a package of other financial subsidiaries. The publicity on this exploded, and shortly thereafter Ebay bought the company for $300 million.

How we can use this – obviously most of us can’t afford $100,000 to buy a town for a year, although if we could, the return on investment could be mind boggling if Half.com’s experience is any indication.

You might pick out a very, very small town – Ideally one that isn’t even incorporated – and offer some kind of package (perhaps a marketing package to tourists?) If they will change their name to your website url. The key here is of course the free publicity, not only for your site but also for the town itself. And you can always offer a piece of the pie to the town should you sell your site for big bucks due to the free coverage you receive.

2000 – BA Can’t Get It Up

British Airways sponsored the London Eye (the ferris wheel) but they had an issue getting the wheel up. After several attempts while the press was watching, BA had a plane fly over with a banner that read, “BA can’t get it up,” turning a PR nightmare into a good laugh.

How we can use this – when everything is going wrong, find a way to laugh at yourself and others won’t mind. And more specifically, next time your site is down, go ahead and email your list and tell them you can’t get it up. They’ll enjoy a good laugh and they won’t soon forget you or your site.

2008 – Shreddies Goes from Squares to Diamonds

Shreddies – a 70 year old breakfast cereal – got people talking about their product again when they turned their square cereal 45 degrees. This was the “new and improved Shreddies,” and tons of positive feedback poured in. Customers even reported the diamonds tasted better than the squares.

How we can use this – rename your products, rename features on your products, put a new spin on something old… seriously this one should set your brain on fire with possibilities.

If tongue-in-cheek claiming that a cereal has changed shape by rotating it 45 degrees can create an influx of free PR and boost sales, imagine what you can do.

2012 – Pretending to Get Publicity

Ryan Holiday tried to get free press simply as a joke. He used Help a Reporter Out to find reporters needing experts for their stories. Then he made up whatever the reporters wanted to know, resulting in his being featured in numerous articles and news stories. His goal? Simply to get his name out there.

How we can use this – if Holiday could get publicity for fake purposes, imagine what you can do with your legitimate expertise. Get registered on HARO and then look for reporters who need exactly the kind of information you can supply them with. And if you can add in a little humor into your interviews, all the better.

There you have it – 8 crazy PR stunts that worked like a charm. Start small, think out of the box, and don’t be afraid to try something new, silly or charming. The worst that could happen is nobody notices. But you might just get free publicity for your business, an influx of new subscribers and customers and a day in the spotlight.

Data Proves Amazon Reviews with “Free or Discounted Disclaimer” are Extremely Biased. Here’s What You Can Do About It…

Did you know that more than half of all new reviews submitted to Amazon are incentivized reviews? Third party review clubs have popped up all over the internet. “Get Products in Exchange for Reviewing them Online” they tell their visitors.

Data Proves Amazon Reviews with “Free or Discounted Disclaimer” are Extremely Biased. Here's What You Can Do About It...

According to Amazon, this is acceptable as long as the reviewer discloses this fact. But here’s the major flaw in the system – product owners can CHOOSE who reviews their products. Thus reviewers are motivated to post positive reviews, so they can continue to receive free stuff.

Post an honest review that’s not positive, and you may never receive a freebie again. Post a positive review regardless of whether or not it’s honest, and the free stuff keeps coming.

For example, one reviewer has over 1,600 reviews, all of which are 5 star except for one lone four star review.

So how biased are these reviews? ReviewMeta analyzes online reviews and helps identify which ones are honest and which ones are less than honest.

On a study of 1.7 million reviews on 807 products…

– 7% received a lower rating from their incentivized reviews

– 6% received the same rating from their incentivized reviews

– 87% received a higher rating from their incentivized reviews

So what does this mean for you?

If you are selling products on Amazon, you can get incentivized reviews and they will almost assuredly boost your star rating.

But beware. As more and more shoppers realize what’s happening, there is a possibility it could hurt your product sales in the long run.

Best bet: Get incentivized reviews in the beginning just to get your first reviews. After all, a dozen or so incentivized reviews still looks better than no reviews.

From then on, let your reviews happen naturally.

And if you are buying a product on Amazon, you might want to insert the URL into the ReviewMeta analyzer to see what the reviews say minus the incentivized reviews.

For example, Xfinity Internet had an original rating of 3.7 stars. But the adjusted rating when you remove incentivized ratings is just 1.4. Ouch.

Marketers beware – there is no substitute for having a genuinely great product.

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