NSW Young BizStar Entrepreneur Competition

My fellow director of Freestyle Media, Frank Restuccia had a great time talking at the final of the NSW Young BizStar Competition 2007 yesterday.

He told me it was a great opportunity to pass on our experience of the pros and cons of being young and starting a successful business to the next generation of entrepreneurs

I know he inspired them to great deeds with our story of:

  1. Starting Freestyle Media while studying at University in 2001
  2. Building it up to group revenues exceeding $2M in the past financial year
  3. My being appointed ADMA Australian and NSW Young Direct Marketer of the Year 2006 for pioneering work combining traditional direct marketing with online marketing techniques.

Most importantly he motivated them to persevere in their quest to be entrepreneurs because in the words of former President of the United States Calvin Coolidge they should:

“Press on: nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent”


Warning, Are you ignoring Your Desperate Customers Searching for…

During the evening my stomach hurt, but when I woke in the morning..

At 1:02am on Monday my stomach hurt so much that I felt like crying, I had no idea what was wrong. My father is an anaesthetist and I called him because he helps me out when I am really unwell. I told him my symptoms and he quickly diagnosed that it was my appendix that was in trouble. I live in Sydney and know of all the private hospitals, although I was in Melbourne for business and had no idea where or what the private hospitals were called. So I did like everyone else would and asked a mate for a recommendation, he said the Alfred Hospital was good in St Kilda so I went there.

At the same time as this I asked my dad to go on Google and find a private hospital in Melbourne, “Private Hospital Melbourne” was the keyword I muttered underneath my pain. Now, my dad couldn’t work out a private from a public hospital in the search engine as they had the worst search engine marketing in the world. I wasn’t exactly in a position to be reading a review as my pain was excruciating. I personally was desperate for care, I would have accepted an Indian backyard shop with a pocket knife if he was going to remove my appendix. The Price was not even a consideration. I would have re-mortgaged my apartment just to get under the knife.

I quickly got into a cab and hurled down the streets to the hospital only to find out it was a public hospital. I have had 2 operations in my life and this one has definitely been up there in the pain stakes. Its amazing how much you use your stomach muscles. I must say that the service speed has not been super at times but the nurses have been great. The food is hospital food and with some creative ordering you can get some nice stuff (I would recommend the spaghetti Bolognaise).

After my operation I heard a diagnosis from my surgeon who said apparently my appendix had actually burst and had created an abscise. My stomach had created a wall around it to stop it from infecting my entire stomach but was not in a good way. The extreme requirement of this situation was drastic although I could not find a single place on the internet for somewhere to fix it. It seems that the hospitals have turned a blind eye to people searching for a hospital to fix their condition in an emergency.

4 things I would immediately do if I were search engine marketing hospitals
  1. Buy Relevant keywords – Start buying up keywords for every single emergency condition and send them to a landing page with address details and a good guide on how to get there.
  2. Optimise the basics on your website – Display a clear title tag for each page. Especially information as to whether you are a private or public hospital.
  3. Put your details on Google Maps – Update your Google map details immediately so that people can quickly and easily find your premises.
  4. Search Optimise your website for emergency terms – Start optimising your website for all of your main services and the conditions they fix. Make sure you create pages optimised for human speak and not just doctor speak. “Appendix out” vs. “Appendectomy”. Emergency terms although it makes me a bit squeamish to say this are good money customers searching for services for hospitals, they need your service as a matter of life or death!

During my stay I have thought of a lot of ideas in terms of hospital marketing. Here are my initial 3 ideas. I am sure some of you entrepreneurs out there could build businesses out of these.

3 Killer ideas for web businesses that would make money in the hospital niche that are currently wide open
  1. Hospital Review website – The website reviews and takes in feedback from people who have used a hospital and makes recommendations. It also provides information and service provisions for the different hospitals.
  2. A directory of hospitals in every major city – A simple directory could bring in a lot of traffic from the travellers and I am sure could be a good audience to market to.
  3. A hospital survival Blog – There must be people out there who have mastered the art of going to hospital and having a superb time. There are so many little nuances and things you pick up over time. Like why doesn’t the tea lady bring me strawberry milk but they do bring the other patients exotic drinks. How do I upgrade my drinks?

Update: I have been discharged this Friday Morning at 10:24am from hospital and am now recovering in a hotel room. After 5 days in hospital I have had a whirlwind experience and look forward to catching up with you for some of my new online marketing strategies I came up with in my hospital bed! Ask me about my new landing page strategy.

Free stuff

Look over my shoulder as I search engine optimise…

Free Search Engine Optimisation Webinar Recording

Last week I did a webinar with SmartCompany and search engine optimised a few websites including:

Key elements we went through:

  1. Overall search engine optimisation performance of a website
  2. Keyword research and selecting profitable words
  3. Structuring your website for keywords
  4. Code optimisation
  5. Inbound Links

Bonus Questions answered
I also answered some very specific questions about search marketing that you can learn a lot from at the later 3rd of the webinar.

You can view the search engine optimisation webinar now.


Freestyle Media adds Goodman Fielder to its speciality FMCG online marketing divison


Advice on creating a headline that makes your Website…

What makes a Website Headline Appealing to Your Visitors and gets them to Buy from You?

In any website, landing page or advertisement your headline is the most important part. How does this apply online:

  1. Converting Visitors on Website landing pages – The first words your visitor reads when they land on your landing page.
  2. Getting Traffic from Google Adwords Copy – The Headline in your Adwords copy will determine whether your ad gets viewed or not. I would recommend using the keyword you are optimising for in the headline as it usually gives you better quality score and encourages more clicks.
  3. Increasing Banner ads Click throughs – The copy in your banner ad determines whether someone clicks not the image. The image needs to tell a story and support the copy. Checkout some banners on some websites and notice what you look at.
    1. Image – This sucks you in and supports the copy
    2. Copy – This determines if you click or not.
    3. Action to take – What do you need to do to take action.

How can you write a killer Headline?

  1. Test – Understand that writing the best headline ever requires testing. Just like with those ads I clipped out from London they had been tested and perfected. I clipped them out because the advertisers had done the testing for me and I noted it in my list.
  2. What is in it for you – Start from the key appeal of your readers. What is in it for them. The best headlines have self-interest built into them for their readers to be enticed.
  3. Remove complicated words – Any word that doesn’t make sense to a 6 year old, revise it and put something simpler in there. If it doesn’t make sense to anyone who reads it. Revise it.
  4. Do not be funny, cute or tricky – Those types of headlines are written for copywriters and they don’t sell. Your headline is there to sell not impress people with your copywriting skills.
  5. Copy from the best – There are tried and tested formulas for headlines and you may aswell use them. My personal favourites are “How to travel overseas for under $37 a day”, “Finally! A credit card without fees” or “Advice on saving money with credit card debt”. Simple words that gain your interest, copy them and test your own.
  6. Curiosity – If you can get a user curious you will also get more attention. Although, attention doesn’t necessarily mean sales. Headlines that sell are better than headlines that get users to look. You know those funky ads on billboards where they just say something weird and you just get confused. Dump that idea. Just hit your target markets selfish bone and get them into your copy.

Analysis of a great headline

“They laughed when I sat at the piano, But when I started to play..”

This is a classic John Capels ad that ran for over 7 years and sold distance learning piano courses every time it ran. Why?

  1. The headline has story value – The copy continues to tell how this person learnt to play the piano and how you too can learn.
  2. You are immediately curious – Why did they laugh? What happened when you started to play?
  3. The product is bang in the middle – You are immediately enlightened to the benefits of the product. This course will teach you how to play the piano and shock your friends at your new ability.

Headline’s Appeal – Be popular and attract attention, Prestige, Enjoyment and gain more leisure.

I love copy. It makes your website sell. Bad copy. No sales.


How to make your website sell and never need…

How to tap into the Inner Desire of your Customer every time they land on Your Website?

When I was over in London last week I clipped a number of advertisements from the newspaper because I felt they had killer sales appeal to consumers. They tapped into the topics which all humans are concerned with. When you look at advertisements look at them carefully to see what exactly they are appealing to. There are a lot of poor advertisements out there that are just wacky pictures and text and have absolutely no appeal or core benefit to the people who will potentially buy their product. Those are the ads which fail. You can tell an ad which fails because it doesn’t get run over and over again.

Why do ads that work keep getting run?

You would have thought that ads that work get tired because all of the people who have seen the ad have decided whether or not they are interested. This is not true. The reason why the same ad gets run over and over again is because it works. It brings in more net profit than it cost to place the ad. For example the sales letter for the wall street journal was run for over 14 years. The same letter sold subscriptions to that newspaper. There was no need to change it because it just kept selling subscriptions. An advertisement close to home are the AMI sniff and stiff ads. They haven’t changed in 2 months, because they just keep making sales. Every time they run one of piano ads their phone rings and they sell enough product to pay for the ads and make a profit.

How to tap into an appeal to make your website sell over and over again?

The first thing when you begin thinking about your appeal is to forget what business you are in. Any business can appeal to a particular appeal but it does not mean that it will sell. The process to figure out which appeal will work best for you is testing. There are some classic appeals for different markets such as

  • Business books = Make more money
  • Cosmetics = Popularity and attracting attention. (Especially from guys!)
  • Doors, Doors, Doors, Doors ads = Bargain. (A little offensive but they have been working for 10 years now)

Appeals which have worked over time

The following appeals have sold products throughout time. Which appeal is your website tapping into?

  • Make more money
  • Save money
  • Retirement security
  • Better heath care now
  • Healthcare security
  • Security in old age
  • Advance in profession or trade
  • Prestige
  • Enjoyment
  • Easier chores
  • Gain more leisure
  • Comfort
  • Freedom from worry
  • To be one of the “in” group
  • A Bargain
  • Be popular, attract attention
  • Desire to outshine the neighbours

So once you have decided which appeal you are going to test you need to formulate a headline. Headlines are the most important part of an advertisement.

Advice on making a headline that makes your sales.