Write Selling


Saturday, January 12, 2008

You Live and Learn!

I've often said after reading something I wrote, "I wish I could write like that".

Then lo and behold I find I'm not alone!

I was reading this week that it's a common occurrence, and it's all down to your muse.

Now there's me thinking a mews is a little street in London, round the back of big houses, where they used to stable the horses.

No, this muse is someone who does your writing for you. Like a MacDonalds Take-Away but for words.

You sit there, do nothing and all of a sudden your word meal is ready to publish.

Joking aside, there is a lot to be said for just sitting there and typing.

Type anything.

And surprisingly the words do start to flow.

No corrections, that comes later. Just write.

Don't even think about what you're writing.

And voilà, your article is ready!

Mind you, they do also say, that given enough time, you can sit a monkey in front of a typewriter and it will type the complete works of Shakespeare.

Sigh...now I have to decide whether I'm assisted by a muse or a monkey!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sex and Marketing!
Do you remember the days before supermarkets were invented?
Those were the days when the owner of the business was pleased to see you.
Instead of cold impersonal shelves full of merchandise, the shop owner would often greet you personally and welcome you into his shop.
He would find out exactly what you wanted, and then do his best to supply it.
No ultra modern, plush interiors, just the basics for his trade.
The great thing was, you felt you were a person not another number.
You were the owner's reason for his existence, and he knew it.
You were treated like the most important thing in the proprietor's life because you were.
The shop owner was grateful for you visiting him and would do his utmost to make you feel wanted, and cater to your every comfort to make sure you stayed. Deliver your goods for you.
Quite simply, the customer was his business, not an interruption to it.
Sigh those were the days.
Not a lot different from the recipe for success in the world's oldest profession.
Customer satisfaction is high on the list of priorities for every call girl, street walker or prostitute, call them what you will.
A happy customer is a satisfied customer, and satisfied customers come back for more, no matter what you're selling.
Remind you of something?
It should.
Because if you remove the mystique and secrecy spun by the so-called internet guru's, it is exactly like the internet today.
On the internet, the customer is king, or queen, or in some cases both.
I have said it before and I will say it again, the mystery of the internet is a fallacy put about by those who stand to make money by perpetuating that myth.
Snake oil salesmen I called them, and so they are.
Rather than the wonder of the modern age, the internet is a great lesson in going back to basics.
Where Mr Entrepreneur sitting in his bedroom in front of a computer monitor can compete fairly with the biggest multinational company.
Providing you supply the right goods, of the right quality in the right place at the right time you can compete with the biggest and the best.
That quotation is attributed to Gordon Selfridge, an American, who opened Selfridge's store in Oxford Street London in 1909 because he was unimpressed with the standards of service offered at that time.
His maxim, "The customer is always right" summed up his attitude to a service industry.
His staff was taught to do everything possible to make the customers visit enjoyable, which would in turn ensure the client stayed to spend money.
This is the blueprint for the internet today. It's exactly what many of the internet "experts" preach.
There is no secret formula, except supplying your customer with what they want.
Gordon Selfridge had a very basic work ethos, and that attitude towards his customers is summed up in the title of a book he wrote, "The Romance of Commerce" which traced the sales process as far back as Greece and China.
Ancient merchants would travel the trade routes with their donkeys loaded with rugs and spices, tools and clothing to satisfy the needs of their customers.
They studied their market and bought the right goods to satisfy that market.
Trade at its most basic level.
Two thousand years later. Gordon Selfridge was using the same principles to serve his customers in his Department Store. And now, one hundred years on, the internet is using the same basic principles.
Customer satisfaction is the name of the game.
You see, things really haven't changed.
It's all about having the confidence in yourself to embrace what is effectively just a new design to the traditional shop.
Whether it be a street barrow, shop, upmarket boutique, or a high-class call-girl, the principles remain the same.
The creation and satisfaction of customers.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Makes You Think

Aging is a funny thing to humans.

The fact that our views on aging change throughout our lives is not what makes it unique. (Our views on almost everything we think about will change throughout our lives as we continue to gain more and more perspective and experience to draw on.)

It’s the inescapable nature of the subject that makes it worth looking at and finding humor in. Whether you’re the president of the United States or flipping burgers at White Castle, you have an age, and that number means something to you and the people around you.

Aging is an experience we all share, and that alone makes it noteworthy…

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we’re kids? If you’re less than 10 years old, you’re so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

“How old are you?” “I’m four and a half!” You’re never thirty-six and a half. You’re four and a half, going on five! That’s the key.

You get into your teens, now they can’t hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. “How old are you?” “I’m gonna be 16!” You could be 13, but hey, you’re gonna be 16!

And then the greatest day of your life . . . you become 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony . . . YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!!!

But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There’s no fun now, you’re just a sour-dumpling. What’s wrong? What’s changed?

You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you’re PUSHING 40. Whoa! Put on the brakes, it’s all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50 . . .. and your dreams are gone.

But wait!!! You MAKE it to 60. You didn’t think you would! So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.

You’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; “I Was JUST 92.”

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. “I’m 100 and a half!”

May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Spin, PR And Viral Marketing.

The difference between Spin, PR, and Viral Marketing.

Spin is when you lie to promote a good image.

PR is what you have to do to get you out of the crap left by your lies!

And Viral Marketing s the bad or good things people say about you, all depending on your Spin and/or PR.

There couldn’t be a finer cautionary tale on the dangers of spin than the venereal (my misprint!) British Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Anthony Blair, Our Tone to his friends.

Putting my political bias to one side, Mr Blair seems to have really believed that the public are fools.

He used spin to enhance his image with the public, but to him image was the priority over substance.

There is no point in enumerating the many examples of Downing Street spin, they are already well documented.

But image over content is no way to engage and build on the trust of a not so gullible public.

Remember that any promises you make, every word you utter can, and often does come back to haunt you.

And to try to cover half-truths and maybe downright lies, as in the Iraq war, with spin attempting to make the decision appear correct is a guaranteed recipe for disaster.

No matter what the size of your company, a one-man business or the British or US Government PLC, your word is, or should be your bond.

There is no finer way to build a business than to have a well-earned and respected image, honestly won and diligently built on.

A good reputation, enhanced by PR and voluntarily passed on to others by Viral Marketing is worth more than any amount of paid for Advertising or Spin.

Mr Al Fayed, who bought the illustrious Harrods store in London, also discovered that a good name must be earned not bought.

Money can’t buy a good name, or the prestige, which goes with it.

And empty words and rhetoric will not maintain it.

PR, Public Relations, is just that, building a relationship with the people you come into contact with.

And Spin is what a car often does when it runs out of control, just before it crashes!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Internet Snake Oil

We are in awe of this wonderful being called the internet, fortunes are being made through ignorance and fear.

It’s like the old days when the bogus quack Doctor sold “snake oil” to cure all ills and gullible people queued to buy his wonder potions.

That’s exactly the scenario we have today.

Look around the WWW and what do you see?

All the old ideas, repackaged, and sold at 5 times the price.

The greatest work of all time, according to those who know on here, is a work called Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. What a wonderful name, you couldn’t make it up!

That was written over 100 years ago.

Yet it’s still being promoted as the best thing since sliced computer chips.

Forget the get rich packages you see on the internet, where wonder kids will introduce you to riches beyond your wildest dreams.

Don’t believe me?

Some of the greatest financial brains of our time had orgasms over the wonder of the internet snake oil revolution.

Their greed and their fear of being left behind led them to invest billions of dollars on internet dreams.

We saw the dot com revolution where fortunes were made overnight with dubious promises…and we witnessed the spectacular dot com crash when those dreams were found to be just that.

The snake oil buyers got bit!

Everything you see and hear on the internet is the same as it’s always been.

Nothing changes.

All the marketing and sales skills which work so well in the real world also work on the internet.

OK, you have to dress them up a little differently.

But isn’t that true of the skills you already have and the way you apply them to different customers?

You wouldn’t sell a Roll Royce to a millionaire in the same way that you’d sell a nose job to a Barry Manilow wannabee.

But the principles are the same.

I have subscribed to a so-called internet marketing guru for three years now.

He has yet to talk about any technique, ploy or subterfuge which isn’t used every day in some form by every marketing person who has managed to keep their job.

Yes there are differences.

But the biggest difference is so basic.

No matter how good your product or ideas, they must be communicated effectively to sell.

Without the ability to communicate, your ideas are useless.

And on the internet, the method of communication is by writing supported by graphics.

And that, dear reader is why success on the internet has to be accompanied by good writing skills.

Write Selling…the art of marketing in a different media.

Enjoy your weekend,

Mike (Samuels)

A final word on the spellchecker...

Eye halve a spelling chequer

It cam with my pea sea

It plainly marques four my revue

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word

And weight four it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar write

It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid

It nose bee fore two long

And eye can put the error rite

Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it

I am shore your pleased two no

Its letter perfect awl the weigh

My chequer tolled me sew!

Friday, February 16, 2007

K.i.s.s. - Keep It Simple Stupid.

Corporate Speak…Written English gone mad!

Try this.

“A marketing blog about the intersection of social media, search marketing and online public relations”

How about that for the subtitle for a blog!

Now I have no doubt the writer really knows blogging inside out.

He has probably forgotten more about copywriting than I will ever know.

But I just read the sentence to my wife, who ain’t stupid, and she said, “What does that mean?”

Now this is what I was saying in my last blog about the self-styled guru’s of the internet.

Make the thing complicated, baffle them with science, and then watch the consultancy fees roll in.

(I have no idea if the writer of the blog concerned is actually selling anything, I never got beyond the title)

The whole point of writing is to get the reader to continue reading.

If they have to stop and work out what your title means, then you have lost straight away.

In writing the whole point of the headline is…to get them to read the subhead.

And the point of that, to get them to read the first sentence.

And then the second sentence.

And if you break that natural flow, even for a moment, you stand a good chance of losing your reader.

Would the writer of the above blog talk like that in the real world?

Use those words?

I think not.

And that is the biggest problem facing a writer.

People tend to write as they think people are expected to write.

They seem to think that the complicated bull makes them sound smarter, it doesn’t.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

Write as if you were chatting.


What is the first thing we do when we are chatting to a new acquaintance.

We subconsciously adapt to their level.

Speak to them in a language that our subconscious thinks is right for them

To a baby it might be “Hi diddums”, but try saying that to a Manchester United “Neanderthal Man” fan, and you are likely to have your headlights kicked in!

You adapt to your audience.

So before you can write one word, you must know who your audience is, or it’s all a waste of time.

Picture the person and importantly, realise that you are presenting and developing an idea, a thought.

And remember, in your real world conversation, if the person you’re chatting to doesn’t understand what you mean, fine they just ask.

Not possible here.

Your readers, most if not all of them, must understand what you mean with no chance of you clarifying that meaning.

To me the art of true genius is not to understand your art yourself, but to be able to make it sound easy to others.

So make sure you KISS off the bullsh*t.

Have a good one,



Before the author of the blog I mentioned messages me, I admit to being a satisfaction deprived, locationally disadvantaged , melanin-impoverished member of the mutant albino genetic-recessive global minority oppressor who is motivationally dispossessed, factually unencumbered and a sexually focused, chronologically gifted individual. So there.

Translation…A pissed off, lost, white male who is lazy, ignorant and a dirty old man.

Before you go...

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What is the big deal here?

I read so much online about self-styled internet gurus.

All selling their secret magic formula which has to be paid for within seven days or the spell wears off.

It seems to me that the internet is turning into a bottomless pit for unsuspecting mugs.

The internet is not some secret, sleeping giant which can only be released by those who are in possession of the magic spell which is only available from those in “the know”.

What is this big secret, this instant riches bonanza?

There is none.

The internet is no different to the world as we’ve always known it, except it's in the here and now.

Everything you’ve ever learnt can be applied to the internet with only small adjustments.

Sales and marketing is no different just because it takes place between a keyboard and the punters monitor.

Yes you do need to adapt, and anyone with a bit of common sense and able to read can perform quite nicely on the internet.

Talking about performing…nah that’s for another blog :)

They say there’s nothing new under the sun, and that goes for the internet too.

As in any new venture it’s the person who identifies a basic need, and fills that need with a product or service that the punters need and want who will be successful.

Forget the get rich quick scams, concentrate on providing a service that people want.

So how does the internet differ to the “real world”?

It’s called the attention span.

Look at a TV advert, the normal length is 30 seconds.

I know there are longer ads smartarse, but by far the most often used length is…30 seconds.

Now it’s not because the advertiser is too tight to spend his hard-earned readies on anything longer, it’s because 30 seconds has been identified as the amount of time that people will concentrate on something!

Ye I know that a great body and not many clothes may get your attention for longer, (note the asexual wording there, no sexist here) , but for you to get a message over to Mr Average, you have just this 30 second time span.

Actually it’s tragic, at a time when the written skills of most of the worlds new generation have never been so bad, here comes a medium in which you sink or swim by just those same skills.

Everything you do or have done in the past in a face-to-face situation now has to be done by word and graphics alone.

Master the art of marketing and copywriting on the net and you will make money.

"The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning."...Ivy Baker Priest

"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."...Alexander Graham Bell

While we're talking about change...

A farmer goes out one day and buys a brand new stud rooster for his chicken coop.
So the new rooster struts over to the old rooster and says,"Ok, old fart, time to retire."
The old rooster replies, "come on, you can't handle ALL these chickens, look what it's done to me. Can't you just let me have the two old hens over in the corner?"
The young rooster says,"Scram! Beat it! You're washed up and I'm taking over."
The old rooster says, "I'll tell you what, young stud, I'll race you around the farmhouse. Whoever wins gets exclusive domain over the entire chicken coop."
The young rooster laughs, "You know you don't stand a chance old man, so just to be fair, I'll give you a head start."
So, they get a chicken to cluck "Go!", and the old rooster takes off running.
About 15 seconds later the young rooster takes off after him. They round the front of the farmhouse and the young rooster has closed the gap He's already about 5 inches behind the old rooster and gaining fast.
The farmer, meanwhile, is sitting on the front porch when he sees the roosters running by.
He grabs up his shotgun and BOOM!, he blows the young rooster to bits.
The farmer sadly shakes his head, "Dang it,.....third gay rooster I bought this month."