Therewas a time when I was once an innocent trainer with a very humble view of whatit meant to make it in the fitness business. I was looking at what everyoneelse was doing and based my plans off of that. So like everyone else, I was "working hard," hustling for clients and goofing off the rest of the time.

ThenI decided to start my own training business. Not too long after that, I decidedit might be nice to actually make some money at it. I then discovered DIRECTMARKETING. Nothing was the same ever again.

Youcould say that's the day I lost my innocence, because it was then I stoppedbeing one of the sheep and instead became a hunter. If you want to make thesame change yourself, direct marketing is the only kind of marketing you shouldbe doing. It will force you to think aggressively about to whom you're selling,track how much you're spending, how much it's pulling in and the effectivenessit's having. Get this right and it's the closest to printing money you can everget.

Whenyou're growing up, everything you see around you is usually dominated by brandadvertising. Every commercial and most magazine ads can be put in thatcategory; they're just an effort to get the brand into the customer's head. Thestatistics show that they're usually not very successful at it.

Theproblem is when a lot of small business owners start to advertise, they justfollow what they're used to and what everyone else is doing. But if you're areader of my articles here, you're probably starting to get it. You're startingto understand the difference between brand advertising and the direct response marketingyou should be doing. In case you don't know, I've put together some generalconcepts for you that will help you understand exactly what it is and what youshould be trying to achieve.

TheDifference Between Direct Marketing and Advertising

Asimple definition is that advertising sells products, and direct marketingsells offers. If you need a bigger and broader definition, take this:Advertising seeks to change behavior; direct marketing seeks to repeat or modelit.

The goal of advertising is to "get your name out there." With direct response, the goals is to get their name in HERE. They key is to market to just the people that want to be sold to. For that, WHO your leads are is the most important thing. Find out who they are, and get their names in here so you can sell to them.

Advertisingdeals largely in emotional imagery. Direct marketing deals almost exclusivelyin facts (specific benefits derived from enumerated features, backed by proof,including performance comparisons, user testimonials, etc.).

Advertisingdesign is often image driven. Art and photography are frequently the primarycommunicators. Responsedesign must be functional and disruptive. It supports the copy as the primarycommunicator.

Ifadvertising is an art, direct mail is a science.

TheSales Funnel

Yourgoal in direct marketing is to take an individual that you decide to targetdown your sales funnel. Here's what the sales funnel looks like: Suspect >Prospect > Customer > Client > Advocate.

Youare looking to create a relationship that guides them down this course. As asuspect, they are someone that you can potentially direct your marketing at. Aprospect is someone that has raised their hand and indicated they areinterested in what you have to offer. A customer has made a purchase from you. Aclient has made repeated purchases from you. As an advocate, they have donerepeated business with you and now help you bring more people into the funnel.

Measurement

Measurementis the cornerstone of all Direct Response Marketing. You need to measure whatyou're spending, who's responding and how much they're worth. This will thendictate how much you continue to spend, leading to an ongoing cycle of testingand tracking. If you get this wrong, or rely only on hunches instead ofaccurate measurements, you'll only be doing a fraction of what you could be. Getit right, and you'll be able to print money.

Whenyou measure the ROI of your campaigns, you will start to make thesemini-assessments on all of your other business activities You'll start planningyour time better. You'll change how you communicate with employees. In general,direct response takes over your brain and starts to change how you think -- itall becomes about measurement and results, and nothing else.

The first thing to know isthat direct response marketing is bigger than any medium that you find it in. Whetherit's the internet, print, television or skywriting, they are all only mediums --they have nothing to do with the message.Whenever you hear internet marketing referred to as the be all and end all,that's just a savvy marketer creating a message -- it's a technique they areusing to get sales, but doesn't tell you how or why buying happens.

Ifyou learn the basic principles behind direct marketing, such as what goes in toa powerful offer, what people buy, and why they buy, you and your family willnever go hungry.

Despitethe fact that the internet is just a medium, it's probably the greatest thingthat's ever happened to direct response marketing. You can put an offer upimmediately, get immediate sales data, and the entire process is nearly free. Thereare so many benefits to it, that it would be foolish for you not to master thismedium and everything that's possible with it. It can be your stepping stone tounderstanding and mastering all other aspects of marketing.

Withany marketing campaign, your success depends on:

YourList: 50-80% -- who you've decided to target. The quality of this list is also abig factor.

YourOffer: 25-50% -- whether what you have to sell is compelling enough to buy.

Format:15-25% -- the medium you chose, and how you use it.

Copy:10-15% -- copy, what most amateur marketers spend the most of their time on, isthe least important. If you were selling to thirsty people in the desert, theonly copy you would need is a big sign that says WATER.

Theoffer consists of everything that impacts the value or perceived value of theproduct or service, and everything that impacts the process of getting it fromseller to buyer. It's the "deal." I'll give you a free trial,a demo, a free issue, a free report, an on-site needs assessment, a video, acalculator, a video, a calculator, a sweepstakes price, a special, a limitedtime price.

Withany offer, you need to make a guarantee, or else you're just blowing smoke. Andyou want action, not agreement. With your marketing, you don't want approval oragreement, you want ACTION. That's the difference between direct response andadvertising. You want to tell your prospect: "This is what you're supposedto do, and this is what you stand to lose if you don't." You're not justlooking for a positive response; you want immediate action.

Also,don't be afraid to be ugly. Good direct response ads won't win style contests;they get results. To the world at large, your friends, and peers, your adswon't look good. But the right headline will scream out to the person lookingfor it. Think of how you read the newspaper, or the next time you see someonereading one, watch them do it. They don't read the articles that look the best; they read the articles that apply to them. They are hypnotically drawn tothem, based on the headline and opening body of text. That's the responseyou're looking for.

Adheringto these principles has allowed me to beat the pants off of anyone that doesn'tknow them or chose to acknowledge them. Keep them in mind with all of yourmarketing, and you'll be doing the same.

Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, Super-Trainer.com. He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at www.super-trainer.com.

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