Learn Copywriting From The Best: Alice Seba’s Last IM Makeover Coaching Program

week1Today I want to quickly tell you about something that won’t ever be offered again. And no, I don’t have any sort of affiliate link to this particular product, because I have never bought it or tried this particular course.

However, I have purchased several of Alice Seba’s products over the last few years, and found every single one to be worth its weight in gold – and then some. So when she says this is the last time this coaching service will ever be offered, I believe her – and at an 80% discount, it’s well worth considering, if you’d like to improve your copywriting skills, and boost the content of your website (and particularly your sales).

I’m talking about Alice Seba’s Internet Marketing Copy Makeover coaching program. This is 4 week, “intensive” program which takes you from understanding basic copywriting concepts to the most sophisticated – applied directly to your actual business.

It includes one-on-one personal feedback on a daily basis, if needed. Alice promises personally to help each student (and yes, there’s a daily assignment.)

The class size is limited to 20 students only – and at an 80% discount, I’m sure it will be gone quicker than you can blink. Doors close forever on October 23 – or when 20 students have signed up.

If you’ve ever wanted to get in on one of Alice Seba’s high-end coaching programs at an entry-level price, this might just be your lucky day.

Google Keyword Tool Demystified

Whether you know about the Google Keyword Tool or not, here’s something great for new marketers.

Eric Giguere (author of my favorite Privacy Policy Plug In) has written a delightfully clear guide to properly using Google’s free AdWords tool – and he’s generously inviting everyone to download it and enjoy.

This is my shortest post yet – but the keyword research guide Eric is sharing is so ideal for people who are still foggy on solid keyword research, I couldn’t resist sharing it.

He does mention the Micro Niche AdSense course – and Micro Niche Finder, which I love – but there is no huge sales pitch to wade through; just a really focused, handy AdWords Keytool guide.

If this sounds like something you could really use, read KeywordSearchToolGuide online ( or download and enjoy).

You can find more of his work at his main website.

Thanks, Eric!

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Moms Working From Home Beware

This morning I sat in on one of Kelly McCausey’s “Monday Morning Breakthrough” live chats at Mom Masterminds – a weekly event she offers for moms working from home who are part of the MomMasterminds forum. ( “MM”, as it’s affectionately known, has been running like clockwork since 2004.)

Why did I put aside that precious hour, when I’m so run-off-my-feet busy that I’m turning down clients?

Well, on September 8, Kelly McCausey held her first (we-hope-annual) “Totally Free Tuesday” – a live online event packed from morning to night with top, high-powered and highly successful work-at-home-mom speakers. The purpose of the event was to welcome new work at home moms (and dads) into the community – and help them start off on the right foot. (“Starting off on the right foot” means saving them the usual year of getting ripped off by deals which Aren’t, then wasting time trying to make these spurious and often incomplete products work).

Usually when you hear of an event like this, any internet marketer expects the inevitable product or membership to buy at the end of it – but not if you know Kelly McCausey. She’s tough, she’s blunt, but she’s also 100% through-and-through, a pillar of business and personal integrity. Helping work at home moms is her passion.

From morning to night, her participants in Totally Free Tuesday got nothing but high value, all the way – with nothing to buy.

My Own Personal Monday Morning Breakthrough

I booked the afternoon and evening “off” to attend – and it was phenomenal, way exceeding my expectations. In fact, it was one of my greatest days in Internet Marketing and even though I’m not exactly new, I too came away with real nuggets of priceless information I’m putting into practice every day.

When I found out Kelly regularly does a mini version of this event, with one guest, it was only natural to book an hour off my writing time to join in the weekly “Monday Morning Breakthrough”, since I’m a member of the “Mom Masterminds” forum myself.

One of the subjects Kelly touched upon was the thorny question of publicity and promotion. Since I work behind the scenes 95% of the time, it’s never been something I’ve thought about all that much, though I admit I have felt real pressure from other IM experts to “maximize my exposure”. I’m constantly being told I should create dozens of personal information products, guest-blog here and there, hold teleseminars, make videos, run teleseminars, host a membership site and send out a slew of regular press releases (not to mention putting my grinning face on every social networking platform I can sign aboard).

When Publicity And Promotion Do More Harm Than Good

Don’t get me wrong – publicity is good – when it’s natural and organic. And that was Kelly’s point.

She spoke about thousands of moms working nearly full time, offering time, service and products for free on “giveaways”. And – what’s worse – actually paying significant sums of money simply to create connections and popularity. Naïve little behind-the-scenes workhorse that I am, I was surprised to hear her say fiercely that they should have been getting paid for promoting products, spending their valuable time on other peoples’ businesses. She talked specifically about deals like the Dyson vacuum cleaner, where mothers were given a Dyson for 2 weeks to use, just so they could write a favorable review. At the end of the 2 weeks, they had to personally pack up the machine and send it back.

I always say “no” to PR “opportunities” because I’m way too busy writing. That’s what I am – a writer. That’s what I do. I turn down work regularly, thanks, and don’t need publicity for publicity’s sake. But thanks to Monday Morning Breakthrough, I learned the 2 most important questions I should ask, should I ever be tempted, the next time anyone wants me to pay for the chance to promote them. (New moms working from home take note.)

Those questions are:

  • “What will you pay me to do this promotion?”
  • “Did this deliver the payoff that I hoped? Was it as enjoyable as I expected it to be? Was the payoff as high as I had hoped?”

And now I’m off to put the valuable advice I personally received from Life Coach Aurelia Williams (Kelly’s special guest this week) into practice.

And fellow copywriter Lexi Rodrigo – here’s my 15 minutes of personal blogging that I promised you I would do. ;-)

If you’re a work-at-home mom marketer, do yourself a huge favor and check out Kelly McCausey’s high-quality, complete products and services on her WAHM Talk Radio blog. Join MomMasterminds and get in on the Monday Morning Breakthrough – be prepared for a refreshing and easy-to-take “wake up call” – and some very solid help.

Finding The Right Keywords

Finding the right keywords is easy when you know what people are searching for. However, new internet marketers face a common problem – not being able to guesstimate good keyphrases longer than one or two words.

Run just one or two keywords in Google Adwords, and the results may be too generic.

There are two methods I use to combat this, when my brain refuses to be creative. The first is to run my basic keyword (or 2) in freekeywords.wordtracker.com. This quickly generates a list of what people are actually searching for, that day. You can then further test any interesting keyphrases that come up in the results, to see what Google or Adwords competition they have.

My other idea-generating technique is to access Google’s Wonder Wheel.

The nice thing about the Wonder Wheel is that it’s visual. Google generates a graphic that gives you a select number of top searches, based on the word(s) you input.

All you do to access this:

  • Pull up any search page in Google. Up near the top left corner, under the Google logo and search Text Area box, you’ll see the words “Show Options” beside a plus sign.

show-options

  • Either click on the plus sign or click on “Show Options”, and a drop-down menu unfolds on the left-hand side of your page.
  • Slide your eyes down the drop-down menu, and click on “Wonder Wheel”. You will then get a result similar to this:

wonderwheel

In the center, you see the word(s) you entered. Around it, the top phrases searched for. The beauty of it is, you can click on any of these keywords, and it will open up into a second Wonder Wheel, specific to that phrase.

This is not advanced SEO – just a quick way to extract ideas for long-tailed keyword phrases out of one-or-two-word short ones.

But it’s all part of finding the right keywords

If Gilderoy Lockhart Was An Internet Marketer

I don’t think there’s anyone alive in North America right now who isn’t familiar with J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books or movies.

This weekend, I was re-watching “Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets” with one of the family munchkins, highly entertained by Kenneth Branagh’s performance as the monstrously egocentric Gilderoy Lockhart.

For those of you who don’t know, Lockhart is a wizard, best-selling author, celebrity, heartthrob – and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s “Defence Against The Dark Arts” teacher. His idea of Detention is getting Harry to help him sign autographed photos of himself, and his office is plastered with his own portraits and photographs.

Children soon suss out fakes. Lockhart unleashes a swarm of mischievous Cornish Pixies he can’t control, leaving Harry, Hermione and Ron to put them back as he flees the classroom havoc. They’ve all got his number by the time he bolts.

But even Ron Weasley is shocked at Lockhart’s most brazen revelation. After Ron’s sister Ginny is abducted by a monster, the boys rush to Lockhart’s office, where he is supposed to be getting his “tools” prior to saving her.

Instead, they discover Lockhart feverishly packing his bags, about to leave. The boys tax him with this at wand point, thunderstruck he’s running away.

“You’re leaving? After all that stuff you did in your books?”

Lockhart admits: “Books can be misleading.”

When Harry protests that Lockhart himself wrote them, Lockhart protests: “My dear boy, do use your common sense. My books wouldn’t have sold half as well if people didn’t think I’d done all those things.”

Harry accuses: “You’re a fraud. You’ve just been taking credit for what other wizards have done.”

There are internet marketers – and copywriters – who operate this way. They lift the work of others and don’t do primary research. They rehash articles and reports and pass them off as original with only the most token disguises. (And I’m not talking about PLR or master resell rights, here.)

It’s a dangerous thing to proclaim yourself as an expert in a field you know absolutely nothing about: One you have never personally explored, done primary research for, and gained first-hand experience in for yourself.

In Lockhart’s case, these tactics literally backfire on him when he tries to wipe out Ron and Harry’s memories with Ron’s faulty wand. The “Obliviate” spell bounces back, and instead of Ron and Harry losing their memories, Lockhart himself has his mind permanently wiped.

There’s a moral there, of course.  Building a house cards results in it inevitably crashing down when you don’t deliver the goods. Someone blows a little, or touches it – and the illusion crumbles.

And you don’t even need to be a wizard to figure that one out.

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The Attention Span Of…

racecarIn my part of North America, not many people have seen a gnat.  We used to have tons of them, back during my childhood in Scotland – the local name was ‘midges’, but technically, I’m assured they were considered true `gnats’.

Midges are such tiny little flies, they’re almost invisible. On their own, hardly noticeable – but they take to the air in clouds.

Midges get up your nose, in your eyes and hair and down your throat. While you’re busy swallowing half the cloud, the rest chomp invisible chunks out of your flesh in happy unison till all you are left with are huge itchy red blotches.  Try to swat them, and they’re somewhere else.

They don’t stay still.  Speaking of which…

I finally decided to bite the bullet and sign up for Twitter.  I wasn’t quite sure what it was. Just that I’m always being warned I’m missing out on keeping up with clients and peers.  After all, one must stretch one’s envelope to grow, you know.  It’s bad enough that my name is actually in a museum, as I recently found out. (The Brantford Museum Of Personal Computers.  Hails back to the heady days of my technological infancy, when Commodore 64s roamed the earth.)

Why, I still consider blogging new.  So imagine my surprise (naïve fool that I am) when I saw that Twitter posts were limited to a mere 140 characters.  I asked a Twittaholic friend why the restraint, and she readily answered, “So it doesn’t strain people’s brains. RSS feeds take too much time to read, you know.”

“140 characters, so brains won’t burn out?” I cry. “Not because we’re stupid, but because we’re all multi-tasking on fast forward, like adrenalin-flooded, formula one race car drivers! Everything’s already flashing past at speeds too fast to grasp!  The way life is accelerating feels like being on a runaway train speeding downhill – we’re all going to crash!

“And it’s going to be a terrible wreck.  People will be dying at 30, because they’ve maxed out their body systems, multi-tasking like chihuahuas on caffeine-”

But she was gone.

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When Rare Diseases Aren’t So “Rare”…

little-kyleWhen fellow copywriter Melissa Ingold got the news her baby Kyle didn’t have cancer last October, she and her husband Jeff were relieved.

Until they found out that Type III Gaucher Disease is considered terminal, with a 0% survival rate beyond age 10.

Melissa wouldn’t wish illness on any child, of course – but she couldn’t help finding it bittersweet when she read an American Cancer Society article stating that 97% of infant cancer patients achieve complete remission.

She says on Kyle’s blog: “So is it any wonder that I wish Kyle’s diagnosis had of been cancer, that he had of been given a 97% survival rate? And because he would have been diagnosed at 3 ½ months old, they would have caught it so, so early. I mean, by now his treatment could have been done and over with, he could be in remission and living a normal life.”

When the Ingolds were told it was Gaucher’s, there was a brief period of hope while they waited to hear if it was Type I, which usually sees its victims survived to adulthood.

It wasn’t. Kyle had Type III.

What Is Gaucher Disease?

You don’t “catch” Gaucher Disease. It’s genetic. It’s considered so rare very little attention is spared in the medical community and even less in the media.

As a link on the blog Melissa started for Kyle says, “rare diseases aren’t so rare”.

Particularly when it’s your unique and precious child who has one.

Type III Gaucher children lack a vital enzyme preventing fatty acids from building up in bones, liver, lungs, spleen and brain, swelling each cell beyond tolerance levels.

pictures-043 The toll it takes on their tiny bodies, bones and brains is catastrophic.

Gaucher’s symptoms depend on which of the 3 types your child is unfortunate – or fortunate – enough to have. Symptoms range from “minimal” to total disability and death before 3 years of age.

Typical of Type III (the sub-group Kyle was diagnosed with): Swollen stomach (enlarged liver and spleen), fragile bones, eye displacement and later, neurological involvement and death.

Can It Be Treated?

Kyle has already been started on painful and expensive enzyme replacement therapy. There have been many long-distance trips to specialists and hospitals. The family is now gearing up for a 1 ½ to 3 month stay in Toronto, miles away from home, while Kyle undergoes a high-risk bone marrow/cord blood transplant at The Sick Children’s Hospital.

Melissa has put her name on the waiting list to stay at Ronald McDonald house, so she can be with Kyle throughout – but there is a slim chance that will work out, since there are hundreds of families on the waiting list, and not nearly enough room. She and her husband will have to cope with hotel fees, travel expenses, food, laundry, time away from work, and still pay all their regular bills while Kyle undergoes and recovers from this high-risk and grueling procedure.

I too once had to spend time in another city while my 2 children both underwent testing and treatment for a rare genetic disorder, and I know what it’s like to have to cope with staggering medical-crisis expenses that banks don’t give loans for – when all you want to do is be there every minute for your very sick child.

What Can I Do To Help?

So while Melissa is focused on setting up the new charity organization, “Neuronopathic Gaucher Foundation” – dedicated 100% to raising money directly for research – and organizing an online fundraiser for it, I’m breaking with business protocol, and putting a link to Kyle’s blog on my site.

Please visit it, and make sure that Kyle’s is not just a statistic brushed under the invisible rug of “rare” diseases. Please make sure his story is not just a small, still voice, unheard, and silenced far too soon before its time.

There are things that can be done to help children with catastrophic, painful, life-ending diseases like Gaucher’s.

But not if we don’t make it our solution too.

UPDATE: Melissa and Jeff have decided not to go ahead with any radical surgery at the moment. She explains why in a blog post, It’s Official

How To Deliver An eBook Junk Food Surprise

KFC's Original Recipe fried chicken and French...
Image via Wikipedia

If you’ve ever downloaded an eBook (which in the world of internet marketing is kinda like saying “if you’ve ever rode in an automobile”) you have probably come across this strange phenomenon:

•    Making your purchase
•    Opening your eBook
•    Scanning through 26 “introductory” pages telling you all over again why you need that particular e-book, and why the author is the greatest expert ever

That just happened to me – with a PDF from a top internet marketing guru.

Think about how you’d feel if Vince from the “ShamWow®” commercials had personally sold you a Shamwow® at the local farmer’s market – but instead of handing it over, he kept on selling and selling, continuing to tell you why the product was so good, and why you were right to buy from him.

Now picture yourself wanting to smack him and grab that ShamWow®.  The emotion feels pretty realistic, eh? (Even without the smack).

Yet internet marketers do this to their customers all the time.

Where did this “I must prove my customer needs my product before I give it to him but after I’ve taken his cash” phenomenon come from?

From the very first burst of “proof”, you can practically see whoever wrote your eBook of the moment – guru or paid copywriter – hunkering down, earnestly ready to persuade you all over again that the thing is worth what you paid for it. Hunched over the keyboards, shrewdly imagining your supposed tirade of scorn as you challenge them to prove you’re actually going to deliver the simple “How To” information you bought the book expecting to read…

So why don’t they just deliver the goods?

I don’t know about you, but this trend of long, rambling “I’ll prove this book was worth it” eBook introductory pages drives me straight up the wall.  By the time I’ve waded through all the “I’m going to tell you about… but first” teaser stuff, I’m mentally exhausted.

When I finally reach the main course, my tiny overloaded copywriter brain is far too stuffed with carcinogenic, fatty, deep-fried, sugar-glazed, donut-’n’-fake-chicken bites to move.

Let alone tackle my dinner.

Ya know, I wouldn’t mind so much if the 26 pages of appetizer actually proved to be high-value, tasty bites of citrus-soaked Pacific salmon and herbs on cedar, or wafer-thin prosciutto wrapped round fresh Honeydew melon.

But they taste more like fried white bread and sugar blobs.  And lots of ‘em.  Bleaugh!

Somewhere, long ago and far, far away, some evil person must have written a Special Report on how to create the perfect eBook.  (I suspect it’s the same one, recycled over and over and over again).  And somewhere in there, someone got it confused with “How To Write The Perfect Sales Letter 101″ (point number 6, “anticipate your customer’s objections, and answer them before he asks!”).

The average reader doesn’t need 26 pages of “proof” before they bite the goodies, once they’ve clicked that “Buy Now!” button.

They’re hungry.  They want the meat.  And they’ve already paid for top filet mignon, thanks.

Any eBook introductory lead-in should deal with what you’re about to deliver. Too many fried white bread and sugar blobs forced down a surprised gullet, and your glutted and irritated reader may never make it to the main course.  They’ll walk away, stuffed but queasy, saying: “That was lousy quality – wasn’t worth the money I paid. I’m not going back there again.”

Which is probably just as well – because far too often, all that hype was there to hide what you were suspecting all along:  The book had nothing new to deliver.

The writer was just desperately trying to trick you into believing it did with a lot of dynamic rhetoric.

But I’m starting to repeat myself. I’d better go before you get 26 pages of…

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Hot Button Havoc

Making eggs in the basket.
Image via Wikipedia

It needed to be said. And Alice Seba said it:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

Alice was referring to the need to diversify internet marketing efforts, which we all agree is a good thing. There is more than one way to do it:

  • multiple clients
  • multiple projects on the go
  • multiple streams of income

But then she went one step further and expertly turned the subject on its head with a warning to beware the pitfalls of “Hyper-Niche Marketing”, a phenomenon where internet marketers rush from one project to another. All feverishly trying to create – and balance – multiple baskets full of eggs, heads spinning in a state of total chaos.

Alice points out: “But seriously, if you’ve got a ton of baskets to carry…how the heck are you going to carry all of them? It’s tough to do THAT many things well”.

She goes on to give 5 reasons why internet entrepreneurs in particular fall into this trap – and then offers 5 excellent counter suggestions on how to avoid it.

The “Get Rich Quick” Bug

This is one of the best internet marketing articles I’ve ever read, and that’s why I’m blogging about it – something I wouldn’t normally do and actually don’t have time for right now, with another copywriting deadline looming. But I think what she says, and the clarity with which she says it, is so significant, I’m pointing people to her post: “Myth or Real? Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket”.

I’d like to add a couple of thoughts to what she says, however: One of the biggest reasons people rush from one project to the next without ever completing and carrying each project through (and that’s probably about 85% of all would-be internet marketers, from what I’ve seen on the forums over the last 2 years)? They are seduced by the “Get Rich Quick” bug.

Being a successful internet marketing entrepreneur just doesn’t happen that way. As Alice points out, her own success was built up over a number of years, and started out with a good solid foundation in a related field – in her case, copywriting. It takes time, consistency and hard work to build a reputation.

On Being Trigger Happy

The other thing I see as a copywriter: we internet marketers are a strange breed, conditioned to rabidly buy at the first sniff of a sales letter. And our inboxes are flooded with them. It’s part of the culture.

Start out reading the familiar long copy format, throw in a few bullet points with intros so common they’re practically cliches – “3 sure-fire ways to”… “10 Top Tips for”…. “The Single Most Important”… – and we’re all salivating like Pavlov’s famous dogs (yes, that includes me). We’re hitting the “buy” button before we’ve even bounced our eyes over the subheads, let alone read the fine print.

And yes – it might genuinely be the most fabulous offer in the world you’ve seen for a whole 24 hours. But if it doesn’t fit in with your marketing plan and the step you’re scheduled to take now, chances are 99/1 it’s going to distract and sabotage your efforts.

Alice is right. Do one thing at a time, and do it well, before you race on to the next.

But she actually says it far better than I could. Find out why she’s one my my personal Top 5 Internet Marketing Heroes by clicking here.

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Life’s Too Short To Dance With Ugly Women

If you’re a female reader, you’re probably finding the title’s enough to make you grit your teeth.

That’s exactly the effect my brother-in-law Vince intended back in the 1980’s, when he bought a baseball cap with this chauvinistic slogan, and wore it to work.

You see, Vince taught commercial diving at Seneca College. Back then, women students were rare, and there was tension, conflict and a lot of uneasiness in the course when they were first “allowed” in. So Vince wore the infamous “Life’s Too Short To Dance With Ugly Women” cap just to stir things up and get the female students to speak up for themselves.

My sister was disgusted and annoyed.

Vinnie was unrepentant. (Though he did later admit – with a big grin – it was “too effective”.)

But then I got thinking about the principle behind the words, and over the years as life grew harder and more challenging, it’s actually become one of my core personal mottos (and got me more than a few Funny Looks in the process).

But when I think of “ugly”, I’m not speaking physically, of course.

The point is, life is precious. Don’t waste it on negative people or no-win situations that make you utterly miserable. Things that don’t advance you towards your life goals and potential.

It’s your life. Make it what you want.

That means discarding people who constantly drain your energy: The ones who don’t understand the principle of reciprocity – giving back. (These are the people who do the most damage. People in genuine need recover, then turn round to be supportive to you. There’s a balance.)

But if you’re always finding that you’re constantly giving, giving, giving – or a situation has nothing in it for you and you feel like you’re endlessly spinning your wheels and heading straight towards a big fat nowhere, stop and take a long, hard, look.

You may have encountered an “Ugly Woman”.

Walk away.

As for my brother-in-law Vinnie, he ended up marrying his most offended, vocal and assertive student – my sister.

How’s that for a suitable fate?

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