Archives for July 2008

Avis And Their 3 Minute Promise

Avis and their 3 Minute Promise

Guest post by Bill Hogg

In the same vein as my earlier post Are You Measuring What Counts, the blog Customer Relations referred me to an article where EasierTravel reported that Avis has launched its “3 Minute Promise” service, for Avis Preferred members in France and the UK.

“The 3 Minute service begins when the customer enters the Avis premises and time can be measured by the renter with a stop watch provided at the start of each rental process. If the time elapsed is over the three minutes, the customer will receive an apology, and a few days later, a retail voucher worth €30/£20 in the post.”

Daniel McCarthy, Commercial Director, Avis UK explains: “It is our aim to enhance our customer service through best practice initiatives such as this, particularly focusing on offering a fast, efficient service.” Daniel continues, “This is part of Avis’ ongoing commitment to consistent benefits and standards across our network.” (read full article)

I thought I would offer a slightly different take on these kinds of initiatives.

The Avis view (and one I believe shared by Customer Relations) is that this is putting the customers’ needs at the forefront. So far we agree.

I guess where I think we need to expand the discussion is based on the the concept — What gets measured gets done.

My concern is that if time becomes the measurement, then others things, like quality customer service, may suffer. You need to make sure that your “time-based” measures have a corresponding measure of quality of customer service experience.

I often say to clients with call-centres, “The easiest way to get a higher number of calls each hour is just hang up faster.” The customer may not be happy, but if all you want is higher throughput then hanging up will deliver it.

Now obviously, I am not serious, but it demonstrates the point.

So make sure you don’t get lulled into thinking that numeric measures alone will lead to quality customer service. Make sure the quality aspect is also built into your tracking.

Something to think about.

Bill’s passion is branded customer service that exceeds expectations. He works with clients to activate a “customer-focused” culture where engaged employees internalize the brand promise and deliver an intentional Branded Customer Experience — internally and externally.

As well, he is a dynamic, results-oriented speaker on the importance of a customer-focused culture, either as a guest speaker or acting as a facilitator of a group discussion/workshop.

Blog Mastermind Is Here & My Action Bonuses For You

Yaro has been working hard behind the scenes for the big launch day for Blog Mastermind.

NOTE: Yaro is offering 3 Action Bonuses for the first 100 people to join!

Today at 10AM EST, you will have an opportunity to join his program and put his teachings into action. It’s not easy putting together a big launch like this as I know I’ve gone through the process myself.

Over a rather short period of time I wanted to share with you some things that I’d like to do with my own blogs, and the first thing that will change is going to have to be my opt-in box.

Of course, I would love to also increase my readership at my scrapbook blogs as well. Hopefully my experience will also help you look into your own website to see what you could make better for your business.

If you missed the recent posts, I discussed Yaro’s Conversion Blogging Video, and an inside look into how he makes money with his blog.

Getting Ready To Start The Blog Mastermind Program

As I type this I’m also preparing myself to take the Blog Mastermind Course. I’ve taken several courses in this industry and am very proud of all that I have learned to apply to my business.

The one thing I’d like to get across is taking ACTION on what you learn. So I’ve decided to offer you a bonus if you choose to purchase through this link. I know by taking this course that I will make more money with my blog because I fully plan on taking action on everything that I’ve learned.

(Can you tell I love the word Action?) 🙂

A Take Action Bonus For The Whole Process

I know that there are many things we need to do to run our business, but if there is something like this course that will help us move our blogs forward creating traffic to our sites, a relationship with our subscribers, and make more money with our customers then I opt to go ahead and take this course.

If you would like to join me in this journey with Yaro, I will set up a private area inside my business management system for you to share your thoughts on the program and what you need to apply to your blog.

Also monthly I will share my plans with you and my experience with the program, along with the success of it all. I’m really looking forward to meeting you and bringing you into my private online world.

A Monthly Audio

For myself, I also love to learn with audio. So each month I will prepare an audio for you on my own thoughts of the program, what I’ve learned, what I’m applying and how to make the most out of the teachings. It will be a great experience and it will also help me sort out what I’ll be planning from the lessons. We’ll have discussion about opt-in rates, increasing our subscriptions, different things to tweak, and following the path laid out for us.

Claim Your Bonus

After ordering the program send me an email to smallbusinessbranding @ with your payment receipt. Once I have confirmed your payment, I will set you up in my business management system right away. We will get started covering the program right away.


I’d like to see more business owners follow the lead of Yaro to improve their blog presence, to understand the reasons behind why we should choose WordPress as the best blog platform to use (I will be covering this topic very soon), to understand why we should have effective copy near our opt-in boxes, and the benefits of applying this system into our business.


Yaro has some cool bonuses also for the first 100 people who take action and grab the Blog Mastermind Program. So you’ll want to jump on this right away!

I’m really looking forward to digging into all of this, and by the audios I’ve received from Yaro previously, I trust that this is an excellent program. So far, the audios I’ve heard have given me a clear focus on what I need to implement to my blogs.

Click Here to Claim The Blog Mastermind Program

Thank you for ordering and I look forward to sharing this new journey with you. 🙂

You Can Say Thank You Too

IowaBiz had an excellent post about how as a business owner, it can be incredibly frustrating when your employees always want a little more. Victor went on to suggest some ways that you can help your employees understand the investment you make in them.

What a perfect segue to what I wanted to talk about today.

Want to know how to create a workforce that appreciates you and all you do for them? Appreciate them first. It doesn’t have to be big bonuses or fancy prizes or trips. Most small businesses can’t afford that sort of lavish reward. So unfortunately, most of them decide to do nothing.

Wrong choice.

As long as it is sincere, making the gesture matters more than the monetary value of the gesture. Case in point:

Our building had an air conditioner and furnace go down a while back. Yes, when it was 90 degrees every day. The office itself wasn’t 90 degrees though. It cooled down to a balmy 87 degrees, if we had the fans going. Because we’d had a week of record temperature days, all the A/C companies were swamped.

And our job wasn’t a small one. We’re talking a crane to get the A/C unit on the building etc. So, it took almost two weeks from the day the A/C went down until it was bearable in our office.

And my team didn’t complain. Not once. They made sure the servers etc. were first in line for the fans, so we wouldn’t fry a computer. They tried to figure out how to stay cool and still get the job done.

As the boss, I felt that they needed to know how much I appreciated their attitude during the heat wave. So I went to Dairy Queen and got everyone a $25 gift certificate with a note that said “thanks for keeping your cool!” Then, I went to Target and bought some silly sucker fans. At our staff meeting, everyone walked into the conference room to find a fan/DQ gift card at each place.

For about $30 I said thank you in a way that demonstrated that I had given some thought to how much I appreciated their efforts and wanted to do something special.

How are you doing on saying thank you? And what is it costing you if you don’t?

Lament of A Mobile Web User

You unleashed a blog post on Twitter
So compelling, I had to click
On a cell phone I was, but t’was no matter
Thank God for unlimited plans, that are super quick

Patiently I waited
For your blog on this tiny screen
With each ticking second
My excitement deflated

Finally I see it!
But alas! I had to scroll forever, to read
Lucky you
For normally, I would have long ago quit

Please don’t pick on my poetry skills, I am a geek after all, not a poet 🙂 . Allow me to explain what this is all about.

In the past two weeks, I’ve been traveling a lot. During those days I truly appreciated GoogleApps, Google Reader and other mobile friendly sites I use. So much so that I’d gotten used to it and got a rude shock after clicking through to a site.

Too many ads, graphics and oh the scrolling.

It was a fabulous post and one I felt compelled to read and comment on, but because it took so much scrolling and was graphics heavy, I gave up and have never been back since.

Depending on your audience, your mobile readership may still be small or non existent. But it is getting there, so why not start now? Be ahead of the game and make it easier for existing readers – bet they’ll love you.

You don’t really have to do that much. Here are some things I’ve tried.

  • Keep your design clean, simple
  • Keep your images small and quick to load
  • Go easy on those ads
  • Make sure the content appears first. Menus and other links should only appear after
  • If you have an RSS feed, make it display the full story, not excerpts. It’s very annoying to have to click through to a mess

I continue to look for new ways to perfect the site’s usability on a small screen. Will be back to share more when I find anything of interest.

Conversion Blogging – Is It Really Something We Need To Do?

(My Review of Yaro’s Conversion Blogging Video)

This text will be replaced

Ok I have something to admit, I’m a terrible affiliate. I’m an awesome promoter but terrible affiliate, how does that make sense? If you’re an affiliate promoting other companies products obviously you’re promoting them right?

Not Always Right

I’m really great at promoting things to people in person VS. over the internet, I can promote face to face, but don’t do that great a job of promoting products that I believe in, so this really is my Affiliate Experiment.
I’ll be posting soon about more products and services that I personally use on the Resources page but at the same time I don’t feel it’s right to just post up something short and say “there ya go.” It’s important to me that I give quality information based on my own experience.

I Only Promote Products I Personally Believe In

Let’s go back a bit, before taking over Small Business Branding I did get people interested in my websites. I managed to make money as an affiliate on a few key products, and even Polaroid sponsors my scrapbook podcast.

I’ve also been included in various magazines, books, and interviews all based on my scrapbook sites. But now that I own Small Business Branding I’m amazed at all of the email requests that I get of people wanting me to promote their products, even some major companies that want to partner with me.

I was even offered some pretty nice perks by a company that had THOUSANDS of customers and wanted to promote me as well, but I didn’t respond because I did not agree to what their company was based on.

Why Would I Tarnish My Reputation?

It would have been easy to pimp my readers out and make some cool cash (Ok not so cool cash). But that’s just not me. As I’m also a christian, I also must align all of my values in my business as well.

Yaro’s Video On Conversion Blogging

Which leads me to WHY I’m promoting Yaro’s new Blog Mastermind Program, Yes I have personally reviewed some of the audios on my IRiver and will be reviewing everything he has to offer throughout this launch.
This is really my own experiment to becoming a SUPER affiliate.

I have also studied Product Launch Formula inside and out and realize that it’s the ONLY way you want to launch a new product or service on your site which is what Yaro’s doing, It’s much MORE than putting together a few videos (Even in my sales copy I have to evaluate EVERY single word).

My Take On The Conversion Video

Yaro talks in the beginning on how internet marketers and bloggers are somewhat separate. He says that he wanted to show bloggers how to use internet marketing to their advantage and work on converting people who come to your blog.

Also mentioned is that alot of internet marketers don’t utilize a blog like they should, and I believe us as business owners who are in the more traditional ways of marketing need to realize that we are set in our ways too.

I think back to a company who hired me to get them on the internet and market their business for them. They were stuck in their old way of thinking, and their website was ancient! Really that would have worked years ago but not now. I told them kindly after a few meetings with them that I would not be able to handle their website. I will not try to beat things into their head, companies need to get with the progress we are having on the internet right now!

By Not Developing Your Business With The Use Of The Internet You Will LOSE Out On Huge Potential

Creating Stable Income Streams Based On A REAL Business

From what I’ve learned there are different ways to run your business and the internet is just one way to expand your reach. But it’s a very powerful way. Yaro has proven that you can create a substantial income by blogging and I have proven to myself that this can be done by selling off and closing my store locations and running my business online.

The Challenges We Face

In his video Yaro Mentions some core challenges we face when trying to build a business on the internet they are:

  • Attention & Traffic
  • Building An Email List
  • Relationships
  • Making Money

So What Is Conversion Blogging?

Yaro also dicusses how to convert your traffic, there’s no sense in having TONS of traffic if it’s not converting. He tells us how we first need to create a blog and add an opt-in box to it. This opt-in box should also be “above the fold” which is what you can see on the site before you have to scroll.

I need to fix my opt-in box along with my offer, I know it just plain sucks right now.


I’m running a new stats program that’s very similar to Google Analytics. The stats program shows me how many clicks I get on my Submit button etc. I’ll be sure to post a review of that when I’m ready but I’ll share with you why I think this opt-in box sucks. You see the opt-in box like Yaro says needs to be Above the Fold, which it is, and have an offer.

Right now my offer is…


Sign up to get your Authors report along with informative info in Business

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Submit Button

Does that sound like a compelling offer, does it make you want to get my report quickly? My stats tell me a bit NOT! I need to either add an audio, video (yah I’ll pass on this one), or a better offer. Even just the word Submit is not a good word. I should be using something more in tune with “Click Here To Claim Your Exclusive Monthly Report” and I’m sure there’s more I could come up with that is way better to use.

Recently when I was at the Speed Money Seminar (I think that was Eric Graham “The Conversion Doctor who said this in his portion) they mentioned to add a Red Line around your opt-in box, and when you hover it it turns Green. I thought that was a neat idea, and if you take a look at Yaro’s opt-in offer it is exactly that!

Why do they tell us to do these things? For us “traditional” type folk, why would we do that? Does it seem realistic to put some colors on your opt-in form and get a better response?

I Challenge You To Try It!

I’m sure this is one thing Yaro will teach in his program too because obviously he’s doing it and in the video I noticed the student site he covers does the same thing.

I can tell you as soon as I figure out how to do it for myself, I’m going to give it a try. I personally don’t know if it works but someone who has had it work for them told me to try it, and I see Yaro is using it, so why wouldn’t I?

It won’t hurt anything because my conversion is terrible, I have a way bigger conversion on my scrapbooking sites! And this is just ONE of the many things we can change to gain a better response to our business products and services, just one.

Once you get your opt-in performing the way it should, then you’re obviously going to be having people signed up to your newsletter and Yaro talks about making money with your email list. He says you want segmented lists, and the more interesting thing he mentioned is that you want a list that is just of your BUYERS.

This is so easily done because it can be all automated. When someone purchases advertising from me, they are automatically put onto my “Advertisers” list and they immediately get an email from me welcoming them and giving them instructions.

There are tons of things I need to work on for this blog alone, and I hope you enjoy the Conversion video. I know I sure did.

Since the kids are home on summer vacation I either have to go to my office, or turn off the Spiderman Video that’s blaring. 🙂

Podcast Alert – A Million Dollar Interview

Yaro Starak (the previous owner of this blog) is launching his Blog Mastermind Program. I’ve been listening to his program via the IRiver I received from him in the mail a while ago. I have to be honest to say that I have listened to only a few of the audios as I’ve been busy taking other courses which I’m sure I’ll share here as well.

The one thing I noticed with Yaro is that he has a relaxed voice so it makes it easy to learn from him. I even took him to the gym and it actually motivated me to stay a bit longer on the machines (weird, I really hate exercise).  The funny part was I was working my butt off in the gym I was listening to his interview with Darren Rowse from Problogger, and as I’m listening in the audio was probably half way in I realized that it was Brian Clark from Copyblogger he was speaking with.  Talk about throwing me for a loop! I was wondering where Darren’s accent was. 🙂

Anyhow, I’ll be follwing Yaro’s launch for his program since I’m taking one audio at a time from it to learn more about correcting my blogs, building traffic, and best of all making more money from them.

Recently Yaro interviewed a Million Dollar Blogger Alborz Fallah, he’s also one of Yaro’s students. Apparently his blog is valued at $5 Million Dollars (he also got some key investors), which does seem a bit hard to believe, but knowing what I paid for this blog it doesn’t all that surprise me. Would be cool to own a blog worth that much!

I figured we could all learn a few things about blogging from these 2 people who are changing the internet business world.  I’ll be cozying up after the kids go to bed to listen in, I’m really looking forward to some good tips to apply to my own blog and hopefully it will help you with yours as well.

–> You can listen to the audio here.

THE introvert’s guide to selling

Not everyone throws on their spidey outfit and relishes leaping into the fray of the business sales arena. As a matter of fact a great deal of people sell because it is just part of what they do. If they could get the sales some other way, they’d probably jump at it. In the mean time all of the reluctant sales people out there, have to do they best they can with the few sale skills they have.

For the past few months I’ve been in touch with several reluctant sales people from around the world, and we’ve been sharing tips and techniques that has made selling a little bit easier. None of these contacts are Anthony Robbins clones or Dale Carnegie wannabe’s, BUT the one thing they did have in common was that they are introverts in an extroverts world. They’re tired of the books on sales that assume you love to put yourself out there.

So guess what? I’ve taken this valuable conversation and put them together in a little eBook that I am giving away for the asking. It was a pleasure putting together this information because of the insight it gave me. This is my first offering in the eBook realm. I call the effort, “The Reluctant Salesperson: An Introvert’s Guide to Selling.”

If you see fit to add this eBook to your reading, I’d love it, if you’d drop back here and let me know what you think. One thing about blogging that I find immensely gratifying is the breadth of opinion – all of it with the goal of helping all of us improve how we do business.

…for all the reluctant sales people who may be too shy to drop by my site and pick up a copy, I don’t mind if you get a friend to do it for you.

All the best.

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